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Our first eNewsletter. We hope you find it interesting.
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February 2015 eNewsletter

WWOOFERS, WORKSHOPS AND DRY/VERY WET WEATHER

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Hi <<Your Name>>,

Where did February go? Time flies when you are busy. This edition has become a letter of February news rather than a February newsletter, but it has allowed us to write about things that happened on the last day of the month. We hope you enjoy reading of our adventures.

On the Farm

This month we have been enjoying the long green grass that has grown following our plentiful summer rains. The Forest Bluegrass is approaching seven feet tall in places with the Green Panic not far behind. A quick tally came up with fifteen grass species we could name and another six or eight to identify when we find time to open the pasture books. We love seeing this kind of diversity in our pastures and look forward to the time we we have as many broadleaved legumes and forbs amongst the grasses. They are increasing.
 
Up until the 20th February had been a dry month. Cyclone Marcia improved the average by sailing right over the top of us dumping almost eight inches of rain in a few hours. She overflowed two dams that rarely fill but broke another and a road we had built last year to an inaccessible part of the farm. There is always someone worse off, as we didn’t get much wind and other farms have much more fence and dam damage.
 
Most of our cows have calved during February, four or five months later than usual. Last summer’s dry weather must have prevented them from cycling until the season broke at the end of March. Late summer is possibly not a bad time to drop calves as we generally have a lot more grass then, than in the springtime. Maybe we’ll put a bull in now to keep the pattern going.

 

Welcoming WWOOFers

Gleneden Organic Farm welcomes travellers through the exchange programs HelpX and WWOOF (Help Exchange & Willing Workers On Organic Farms). We have travelled through a number of countries working on farms as WWOOFers and now it is our turn to play hosts. In five years we have had the company and help of more than fifty interesting people from around Australia and the world. They enrich our lives as they tell us about their homes and families, their help on the farm is invaluable and they become live-in friends in what can be a socially isolating place. Until we can travel again WWOOFers bring the world to us. With us at the moment are Julia from Germany and Pirmin from Switzerland. After trying to explain to Pirmin what Lucerne hay is made from (a legume, not grass) we discovered that he lives in a town not far from the city of Lucerne in Switzerland. Today he fed Lucerne hay to our Toggenburg goats, a very Swiss happening. Perhaps you could consider spending some time somewhere as a WWOOFer or becoming a host. We have found both sides of the arrangement to be very rewarding.

Workshops in Gleneden

We have started our year of monthly workshops by playing host to a Burnett Catchment Care Association Seed Collection Day. Organised by Fiona and drawing on the expertise of botanist Caroline Haskard the day began on the banks of the Burnett River, then migrated to the remnants of semi-evergreen vinescrub in our gully. With paper bags full of seed pods and fruit the participants spent the afternoon in our bullock shed sorting the sound seeds from the sullied and labeling them to take home for future propagation. It was very interesting to put some names to faces amongst the scrub species in our gully and the seeds are an important first step in our idea to replant belts of scrub around the farm.
 
Our workshops are intended to be social days bringing people to the farm to share information and practice forgotten or innovative farming and kitchen skills. March will see us preserving and making jam from some delicious Summer fruits. To register for a Sunday afternoon of jam and preserves on March 29 contact us on 0429 137 224 or rohan@glenedenbullockteam.com.au. Cost: $30 per person with afternoon tea and samples to take home. April might be too busy as we host the week long bullockies’ get-together which we will follow in May with a full weekend workshop of bullock driving and training. We have plenty of ideas for the rest of the year. Bread making, cheese making, whip making and organic gardening are among them but we are open to suggestions.
                                         
Our Bullock Driving and Training Weekend on the 22nd and 23rd of May will give participants the rare chance to drive a team of experienced working bullocks and then to be involved in the starting of a couple of young pairs of steers. A session on bullockies' crafts will give an introduction into making the gear for working bullocks and materials will be available for those interesting in setting up to train their own pair of steers. Cost: $180 per person including two full days of activity, all written resources, bullock gear materials and free camping. Second person sharing resources and materials: $90. As far as we know Gleneden is the only place in Australia offering workshops in these skills. Contact us as above to register.
 

Pork, Sausages, Ham & Bacon

Our next batch of old breed, slow grown, organically fed, free range, pastured pigs will be ready in April, locally processed for you by Burnett Butchery into fresh pork, preservative free sausages and wood smoked, preservative free ham and bacon. These popular products have all the flavour and texture missing from supermarket meats. They are ideal for those who like flavoursome food, need hard-to-find nitrate and preservative free meats or have a desire to eat locally and ethically. Ask us for an order form.
 

Gleneden Organic Farm Film Clip

Each of our WWOOFers brings their own talents, often with fantastic results for us. Recently a Frenchman, Max, stayed with us. His hobby is making short movies of the places that he has visited. His film of his time here on Gleneden Organic Farm is a wonderful glimpse into our way of life and captures Gleneden at it's most beautiful. We are very lucky that he has left us with such an amazing reminder of a great time in our lives. You can view it on our youtube channel. Why not check out our other videos while you are there.

Joel Salatin in Australia

Joel Salatin has been described by Time magazine as the world's best farmer. For good reason. His family has developed at their farm Polyface, in Virginia USA, a farming system in which everybody wins except the industrial food giants. Last Saturday Rohan took the opportunity attend the Noosa day of Joel's Australian speaking tour. It was a great day of re-energising (Joel's enthusiasm for family friendly farming is very strong) and it was good to hear the new ideas they have developed since we last saw him in Queensland in 2013. Some of they key ideas are; stacking multiple enterprises (also multiple incomes) onto the same land area so that younger generations can and want to stay on the farm, direct marketing of produce and developing relationships between farmer and community. He has a very positive and powerful message. Now we are topped up full of energy and ideas again.

Until Next Month

We are moving into our favourite time of year when the grass is green, the temperature is mild and the days are still long enough to get something done. May you enjoy the coming months as much as we do. It is great weather for camping in Gleneden and having adventures in the bush. We would love to see you here. Our weekly Saturday afternoon bullock team displays and farm tours begin in April, you don't even need a tent for them . Feel free to share our newsletter with those who may be interested in Gleneden Organic Farm and The Gleneden Bullock Team.

See you.

Best Wishes,
Rohan, Fiona, Eden and Jethro

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