Leap of Faith

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6 years 7 months ago #515799 by Fuzzy Duck
Leap of Faith was created by Fuzzy Duck
Hi all,

Mr Fuzzy Duck here new to LSB. My family has just made the leap of faith and moved into our first LSB. The thing is within 6 weeks of thinking about the change in lifestyle we had found a neglected place "with potential" we liked made an offer and moved in. So here we are heads still spinning and exhausted (self moved) the Fuzzy Duck family married 5 years with 2 kids 4 & 11 wondering what the hell just happened.?.? :S. Oh we are now in the honeymoon stage with our new property marriage, full of energy and in love with the idea and all very excited about the possibilities. In the first 5 weeks of being here we have so far made great progress knocking the place into shape (albeit exhausted). This is the known territory as far as house reno's and landscaping goes, we have plenty experience there and plenty work to do.

Now We are ready to start the "thing" with the animals. I call it the thing because it's something Neither of us know anything about. We have zero experience with farming and we are sitting on 12 acres of rolling and undulating pasture spread over 6 paddocks. It wasn't until I waded though the thigh high grass (mostly Kakaiu) getting peppered with carrot weed seed along the way checking the fence line condition, electric wires, gates and troughs (fed from 2 large ponds) for the first time since moving in that the reality of it all suddenly sank in. Looking down over our land from the top paddock I wondered what I was going to do with all of this. I don't have any stock to keep the grass down and I don't have a tractor to cut the grass and stem the weed growth. First thing that came to mind was to hire a contractor to hay bale, then get a couple heifer weaners and small handful of steer weaners. I was thinking the heifers will help us renew our stock and the steers will put meat on the table and resell others for profit to buy a few more when at the right size / age (?) whatever and whenever that is. :S

My wife is keen on doing the veggie "thing" ;) . So I bought here a whole heap of gardening weapons to help her along the way. B) .
Next would be an orchard to grow exotics that we can see a good return on investment. Our very long driveway is lined with plum, Apple, pear, lemon and lime trees, all wearing a scruffy coat of lichen. So a new orchard was definitely on the agenda.

So we have our work cut out for us. But I know we have to go,out on a limb because that is where the fruit is as the saying goes.
I am so glad I found the LSB site because there is no way we can do this alone without help,and guidance from the seasoned pro's here.
Any tips or guidance will be always welcome, especially for best beef stock to buy for best return in investment. Happy to pay the extra if yields are better.

I hope my next message here will not be one from a broken man in tears in realisation that honeymoons don't live forever! :unsure:

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6 years 7 months ago #515807 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Leap of Faith
My advice is not to try and do too much too soon. Get to know the seasonal changes of your land before you leap in over your heads. If the grass is a problem, by all means talk to a hay or silage contractor, get them to come and look at the property and pasture first. If full of Kikuyu/carrot weed, baleage may be a better option and you can see if the contractor will buy it off you. Otherwise see if a local farmer will graze it off for you on an agreed price and timeframe. Do you have good yards on the property or nearby ones you will be able to use? They are essential for receiving and sending stock out. There may be a Young farmers club in the area where you can tap into advice, or, livestock/farmer advisory offices where you can gain some help to get you started. Enquire through local stock and station agents, vets etc.

And don't forget to ask all the questions, even if you think they might be silly ones. There will be plenty of answers (not all helpful, but you'll get to know the experts)
All the best with your new venture.
A Lifestyle block does not mean a life sentence, :whistle: it can be very rewarding too. :woohoo: Welcome to the LSB :cheer:

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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6 years 7 months ago #515826 by Fuzzy Duck
Replied by Fuzzy Duck on topic Leap of Faith
Thanks for the reply and advice, it was really welcomed. Especially the encouragement. Fortunately we do have stick yard, loading ramp and drenching station here. Just well overgrown and matted through lack of use. I have been steadily slicing and hacking away to get it ready to receive first 4 heifer and steer weaners Tomorrow. I learnt I need to get the NAIT registration so got that sharply first.

Kids are well happy and after "losing" their iPads in the move, the adventure and freedom of all the open space here, plus finally getting their first puppy (collie x ridgeback) has eased the pain for them.

We are having fun working hard a feeling like we are getting ahead. Decided to ditch the contractor idea when I found out the cost. Taking up the offer of a tractor loan, free lesson and will jump in at deep end to get the paddocks into shape myself with a slasher.

Yiur advice of don't do too much too soon is still resonating in my head. Good advice, I just need to find the criteria of what too much is. Yep may be I am reaching that threshold now. Fingers crossed I will be handing the tractor and slasher back in one piece. ha ha., better go check my insurance policies. I will let you know how I go.

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6 years 6 months ago #516168 by Fifibear
Replied by Fifibear on topic Leap of Faith
Good luck with it all, Fuzzyduck. We did something similar about 8 months ago. SO much to learn! We have 4 alpacas and got a couple of steer weaners but they don't even make a dent in our grass which is now all going to seed. Neighbour has been great. We exchange some occasional heavy grazing for the odd bottle of wine. Our next step is to break the two 5 acre paddocks into smaller units for grazing rotation and get more alpacas!

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6 years 6 months ago #516174 by Olivia
Replied by Olivia on topic Leap of Faith
Welcome, Fuzzy Duck! Good to hear you have a sense of humour...you're going to need it ;)

Such good advice to sit on your land and get a feel for it before taking on anything major. I was told the same after purchasing a 1/4 acre town section - a good friend listened to all my grand ideas and said "Wait one year and watch how the place changes through the seasons, then you can make informed decisions on what to change."

My initial plan for the front garden (we purchased in winter so couldn't even see what was buried in the earth) had been dig it all up and plant edibles. Thankfully I waited and saw what a beautiful garden (albeit ornamental) someone had laboured over; filled with at least 6 varieties of peonies, day lilies, bearded irises and dahlias. Prior to this house, I was not a flower person, more fruit and vegetables but this experience has changed my heart and I now eagerly await spring to greet my prized ornamentals...interspersed with edibles ;)

Keep on keeping on and you will get "there," even if it takes longer to achieve or your dream evolves differently to what you originally thought. Very true quote that it is the journey, not the destination, that matters.

Look forward to hearing how you go!

Proud Farmer of a little family, little lifestyle block and a little house in the township.

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6 years 6 months ago #516214 by permaculture15
Replied by permaculture15 on topic Leap of Faith
Welcome to the site FuzzyDuck!

I've gotten a lot of pretty good advice from the members on this forum, considering that I''m new to all this farming stuff as well.

Since you mentioned overgrown grass, it reminds me of a purchase we just recently made. I pressured my dad into buying a scythe (which he did order in the end), and it just arrived last week. My bro and dad assembled it and tried it out straighaway and found that it is actually quite an effective grass cutter! The blade is very long and very sharp, so unfortunately I'm not allowed to use it, since everyone thinks that I'm way too short and clumsy! :angry:

I'm assuming "kakaiu grass" is kikuyu? I got worried when I first read that, thinking, "Oh no! don't tell me there's another cuckoo invasive weedlike grass that I don't know of here in NZ!

I wish you all the best with your lsb project!

pc15

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6 years 6 months ago #516216 by Fuzzy Duck
Replied by Fuzzy Duck on topic Leap of Faith
Hi Fifibear,
I know what you mean about the weaners not making an impact on the grass. The ones I bought were a bit in the skinny side and needed supplementing with feed. That's the last time I go view Calves alone and with a hired trailer first (really dumb move). Instantly realising my error after weighing them with a tape, (60kg to 80kg each). I sought the advice of a stock agent over a cup of coffee. By this time the loan of the tractor and slasher hadn't materialised. The advise from stock agent was to advertise the land and put it out to larger herds of mature stock to graze it down. Once grazed to a good standard I could stop others grazing and add new weaners then. I was told the weaners won't really each much of the long grass and prefer to eat shorter. That surprised me because I thought grass was grass, and the bigger the better. I was also advised the grass wasn't suitable for silage because of the carrot weed. But he was only looking at a vantage point where the worst was. He further advised against using slasher to cut the grass as there will be little benefit for the land or for cattle grazing. Well I immediately advertised for grazing but still really want to throw some more steer weaners in there, against better advice of stock agent. I will wait a week and see if I get any response to the advert. I have to do something quick because it goes against my better judgement to just leave it to get worse. I hope I get a reply to my advert soon.

So how are the alpacas working out? Are you doing anything with the fleece?

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6 years 6 months ago #516217 by Fuzzy Duck
Replied by Fuzzy Duck on topic Leap of Faith
Hi Olivia, your garden sounds great. We are fortunate enough to have my wife's family visit from Philippines and are now helping with ripping out the claustrophobic overgrowth to make way for space and sunlight to areas where we can give new birth to new landscaping. Our taste differs from previous owners so we are not as fortunate to enjoy what was left behind. My wife is keen to get vegetables in the ground and has been planting them around the house where where I prefer the landscaping to go. I bought a portable green house for the nursery veggies to be grown to limit the need to dig her veggies out again later to make way for the more ornate native and subtropical pants I had in mind. Just got to find a sheltered cleared place to erect it. Also going to build a long raised garden bed for the veggies away from the house, close to enough to water and tool shed. Another job on the list that needs to get done soon. Just got to finish jet washing roof and gutters (painfully slow going with lichen growth), cleaning out water tanks and fitting a better filtration and pump system in. The old fly wheel and piston system looks great as a museum piece but doesn't have much oomph! All of this whilst chipping away at redecorating inside the house (and washing and treating timber outside the house (cladding, decks, retaining walls and garden fence).
You sound as you have a good combination going of the ornamentals scattered with edibles. It has me curious to know what edibles you have interspersed with the ornamentals and how it looks look once in full bloom. It has me thinking of getting some ornate miniature fruits strategically positioned amongst some of the landscaping where items may blend in well. Some Herbs can generally blend in well too I suppose. Got to get into google for some more ideas too lol.

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6 years 6 months ago #516218 by Fuzzy Duck
Replied by Fuzzy Duck on topic Leap of Faith
Hi Permaculture,
Thanks for your message. I had to laugh at my spelling of the grass when you pointed it out to me. Yep I meant kikuyu

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6 years 6 months ago #516266 by stephclark
Replied by stephclark on topic Leap of Faith
welcome Fuzzy duck.... sounds pretty much what we did 12 months ago...we are working thru the same as you..i am curious, where are you?..

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6 years 6 months ago #516268 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Leap of Faith
sounds like you have been very busy! Water blasting moss is a no no as it only spreads the spores. Best to use the moss kill stuff and be patient.
The best pump system is one from Bunnings, don't go for the pumps that have a small pressure tank on top, they are unreliable. I use a 30 and 5 micron filter system from Trade Me.
My experience with raised beds was not so good - they dry out too quick in summer, even with a drip irrigation system, so have gone back to conventional veges. Have had most success with using fine mesh cover over veggies, keeps all the nasties out.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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6 years 6 months ago #516272 by Fuzzy Duck
Replied by Fuzzy Duck on topic Leap of Faith
Oops. Too late. I jet washed because I didn't want the chemicals for the moss kill to go into the drinking water system over time. Talking of which the tanks had seen better days. I have 2 X 25,000 litre collection tanks and another 25,000 litre header tank that the water gets pumped to. All tanks have lime pitting through the concrete and in need of repair. Will get a UV filtration system installed and a variable speed booster pump because the head pressure is a bit tame for my liking. No Santa this year ($$$$). Was looking for a similar tractor as yours but it will have to wait afte the Tanks get fixed. Thanks for the tip on the raised garden beds. How do you ankle your own wine. Do you have all the equipment? Was keen on the idea myself but don't know where to start. My wife is asking how much maintenance the pigs are? We were told pigs are a lot of work.

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6 years 6 months ago #516280 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Leap of Faith
If you want grass, don't get pigs. They'd need proper nose rings to stop them digging.

Tonybaker wrote:

The best pump system is one from Bunnings, don't go for the pumps that have a small pressure tank on top, they are unreliable.

We have a Grundphos pump. It has been going reliably for more than ten years and has a small tank on top. Only maintenance it has needed in that time was to clean the impellers but that was entirely our fault for not having a leaf diverter on the collection roof. We like them so much we installed a second one for the farm supply.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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6 years 6 months ago #516283 by Fuzzy Duck
Replied by Fuzzy Duck on topic Leap of Faith
Hi Steph

We Live in Oakleigh, 10 mins south of Whangarei. Are you near?

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6 years 6 months ago #516284 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Leap of Faith
With your leaking concrete tanks, there is a filler designed exactly for that job, that works well and is quite easy to use.
I am on to my second Pedrollo pump. The last one wore out after 22 years of very good service, and I got a good trade in on the new one. Running the old pump for a week with no water in the tanks probably did not help it :( .
Calves are much more difficult to keep healthy than yearlings. With your little either full Dairy or Dairy cross calves, they will be healthier if you are able to persuade them to eat a calf meal, and feed it to them regularly for the next month or so. If you are planning to sell the heifers for meat (only to a meat works, you cannot sell homekilled), at about 2 years they suddenly become cows and lose half their value.
Beef calves are generally sold in mid January through until about April as 200 to 300 kg 6 months old weaners. The can usually be tamed, but if there is one that leads the others astray, I get it turned into runner veal a month or two after I realise that it is a nuisance, or send it back to the sale yards for someone more experienced than me to deal with.

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