Our poultry are an important part of White Stone Farm. They are our natural insect control, fertilizer makers and feathery entertainers. (And one day, some of them will make it to the dinner table as well).
Poultry are fascinating. The way the chickens go about their business in their endless search for tasty bugs, the way they relate to each other in the flock, maintain their pecking order, interact with the other animals, peck, preen, dust-bathe, squawk, cheep, cluck, scratch, explore and cock-a-doodle-do (for the rooster at least!) – all of that is really interesting stuff! And it entertains us to no end! Except the cock-a-doodle-doing at 4am…
Our house chooks – Avalon, Bentley (and her 2 chicks), Commanche, Delorian, Eldorado (and her 9 fluff-ball chicks), Ferrari, Galaxy and rooster Henry Ford (yes, all alphabetical and car-themed…) live in the old stables and go about their business of scratching and exploring around the house, garden and nearest paddocks. On a hot day their favourite spot is under the house, so it’s not uncommon to be sitting in the lounge and have Henry cock-a-doodle-dooing under your feet directly under the floor! Continue reading
The chill of Winter is leaving the landscape and the warmth of Spring is finally upon us. Thank goodness!! Those -2°C mornings (down to -6°C one day…brrrrr!) are behind us for another year and we can look forward to longer days, more sunshine and a verdant, productive landscape. Even the llamas are happy about the plentiful, fresh green growth…
Spring is my favourite time of the year, a reminder after the dry summer and cold winter that there are ideal growing conditions to be had in this part of the world, blue sky days, clement weather and a myriad of birds filling the farm with a joyful chorus as they do their birds and the bees stuff. Nests are popping up all over the place, birds are courting each other, plumage colours are enhanced (even our male duck’s bill gets a bit more orange and he struts around proudly!) and it’s a great reminder of the joys of new life. Continue reading
With its last gusty, frosty breath, winter seems to be finally waning here at White Stone Farm. The warmth of spring is starting, the fruit trees are in their flowery finery of pinks and whites and the pastures are becoming verdant and lush once again. Ah Spring, my favourite month at the farm as the landscape dries out after its winter deluge.
Golden rays and deep blues
White and pinks and purple hues
Heady scent upon the breeze
Will likely bring hayfever’s sneeze
But Spring is welcomed in all her glory
To help us with our White Stone story
A change in the seasons also sees a change in birdsong. Birds quiet, hidden or holidaying somewhere else during the colder parts of the year are back with their songful presence – Grey Shrike Thrushes delight us with their whistling and Striated Pardalotes call and flit amongst the Eucalyptus trees near the house. The Welcome Swallows have returned and are again nesting above the back door, their indignant calls berating you if you disturb them when going in or out of the house. Continue reading
As April rolls into May and the leaves turn golden, the first frosts appear and the landscape is blanketed in autumn colours around Clunes, things are also busy as we prepare for winter at White Stone Farm.
Our winter crops have been planted, out in the newly established growing beds enriched with mulch, multiple animal manure (the llama girls certainly contributed!) and worm laden soil. The garlic is sprouting, reaching out to the sun as the days begin to cool, while other seedlings are gathering strength and size in the greenhouse.
And in our desire at White Stone Farm for more manure makers, natural insect eaters and a possible food source later on – we’ve officially gone quackers! White Stone Farm welcomes our first domestic birds to the farm – our new Pekin Ducks!
Originally bred from Mallards in China, the Pekin duck is now a popular meat bird across the world, but is also a good egg layer too, laying about 200 each year. They are highly sociable and can bond closely to humans if imprinted when a duckling and can also be good guards (enough to rival geese apparently – which is great because geese freak me out slightly with their aggressiveness!). Our first three duck members to the farm are a little more wild, having lived the first 5 months of their lives on a dam at a nearby farm, but they are slowly getting used to us and living in their new home. Continue reading
He sits still by day, a part of the tree that he calls home. His eyes are closed as he prepares for the nightly hunt or mere slits to quietly watch the world through sleepy pupils. When he does look at you, it’s with piercing yellow eyes.
At night he waits. He watches. Silently. You barely know he’s there…waiting for a scurry or a flutter…
The first time I realised that we had these residents in our garden was by hearing their distinctive call at dusk.
I was watering the garden and suddenly realised I could hear the deep, low oooom…ooooomm….oooooom coming from the nearby gum tree. Upon closer inspection, there they were – a pair of Tawny Frogmouth birds.