This week, care of my good mate Johnny, we added a Dorper ram and ewe to our stock. Dorpers are South African breed of domestic sheep which were developed by cross breeding Dorset Horn and Blackhead Persian sheep. These are great sheep for meat and, unusually, shed their own fleece. A unexpected bonus we discovered is that the ewe is in lamb so, God willing, we’ll have a third smaller Dorper at some point. Elsewhere, Wendy’s chicken empire is due to grow again. With our older birds going off lay, she’s planning to pick up some younger birds rescued from a closing farm in the next few days.
The day job has kept me pretty busy so I have got a bit behind on the jobs around the smallholding. Luckily, we have a surprise house guest staying with us for a week or so who is helping with the backlog. Alex, a young guy from Cambridge in the UK, is a WWOOFER (a Willing Worker On Organic Farms) who is travelling NZ and earning his bed and board by doing work on farms. After spending a week at our neighbour’s equestrian centre, Alex has wandered up the lane to help out around our place.
With spring here and Alex ready to crack on, I have been servicing our power tools for all the work in the summer ahead. Hopefully, this will help me get jobs done reliably on time and without stuff breaking down.
After a couple of years using the hopeless standard bump feed line cassette on our gas-driven line trimmer, I have tired of the endless jamming of the line and repeated disassembling of the head (above right) . After seeing one in a local farm store, I bought a Littl’ Juey replacement head for our trimmer. Fitting the new head, I found that the extra-long spindle of our trimmer left a gap of a few millimetres and this meant a far-from-ideal a loose fit. After a quick think I came up with my own No.8 wire solution and butchered an old gumboot (above) to make two rubber washers that closed the gap perfectly and solved the problem (below).
I also gave the chainsaw a bit of service today, cleaning away six months’ worth of sawdust and oil, tensioning the chain and generally cleaning it up.
Once the chainsaw was ready to go, I got stuck into trimming back the shelter belt that protects the house from the Westerlies that blow through. This is quite some task as the thick boughs have grown out and close to the ground, making it extraordinarily hard to wield the saw effectively. With about three-quarters of the job done, I ran out of gas and chain & bar lube so I’m now waiting for the family to get back so I can drive to town to get some more.