One of the wonderful joys of living in Tasmania is the ability to be immersed in the seasons. Living on a farm intensifies this privilege; spring heralds the arrival of the babies, summer's long, long days exhaust us as we sit down to dinner at 9pm after the light has faded and the jobs are done, autumn brings crisp, cool mornings that see the goats eating more hay to "get their rumens going", and then there's winter...
Winter is bliss here on the farm - the days are short, the wood-stove is on, the slow cooking fills the house smells that "go round your heart like a hairy worm" (a Scottish saying, for the uninitiated), and the goats are dry - no milking for 2-3 months! Bliss! Which should mean sleep-ins - but then we have a toddler.... and now a new-born. So despite it being winter, there is a new baby on the farm. And she's settled in well and is thriving.
2 years ago we had our first winter baby - and it was during his early months that the dairy was built. Since then, we've had 2 very successful seasons producing goat milk. This winter, the arrival of the baby has coincided with the build of our dairy processing factory. We are hopeful that we will have everything in place in time for the kid-drop in mid-late September so that we can start cheese production on farm at the start of the season. So while winters are usually a time for rest, recovery and getting outstanding jobs done (like fencing - the eternal, bloody fencing), this winter is once again frantic - as we build again with another new addition to the family.
And as we try to squeeze as much as we can into every short day, the cows and goats quietly continue to gestate while the bull and the bucks sadly realise that their work is done for another year. The grass is slowly growing with all the rain and the mild temperatures we've had, which is a reprieve after the last 3 dry years, particularly the summer just past. The magpies greet the sun every morning and the kookaburras cackle at the setting sun every night, and slowly, but surely, their songs are getting further apart as the days lengthen.
As we start our 5th year on the farm, we've had a chance to reflect on this new life we've started. We can't believe that 4 years (in one place!) has gone so quickly. We've managed to take this land in a new direction, successfully producing ethical, pastured, yummy beef and goat meats and goat milk. And so it's onto the next adventure: raising a young family and producing artisanal cheese. We'll keep you posted.