Around the farm

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Fly trap

by cjj on November 24, 2014

In all the decades we have lived in this house on this farm, this is the first year we did not get a break from flies. We were shooing them off our faces all through winter. The frosts were only very light and did not get cold enough to kill them :( In addition, the farms around here are not particularly dung beetle friendly, so there are more flies than there should be and they really ruin the outdoor life. It is no fun gardening or doing anything outdoors when there are flies. Because they are there to degrade the quality of my life I can’t just ignore them, I believe in fighting back!

When I first came to Barraba, a local farmer, Mr Allan, showed me fly traps that he had made and had scattered all around his sheep property. They were trapping flies by the bucket load! And making a big improvement to the health of his sheep. I remember him telling me that he had a plastics company all ready to start making and marketing these fly traps. However, they did not go ahead with it and gave him no explanation. He said that it was obvious they had been bought out by the chemical manufacturers. The people who make ‘sheep dip’ for example,  would go bust if everyone had fly traps like his!
 

Here’s the design:

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1. The top is a piece of fly screen and a rubber band made from an old inner tube. (Yes, we have stuff lying around … called JICs – just in case). You could also use a sheet of plastic, perspex or glass.

2. The top bucket has a hole in the base – the same size as a plastic bottle with no base. Glue the two together so that it’s water tight.

3. Lid of the bottom bucket has an equally big hole cut in it. I used a sheet metal nibbler to cut this hole. It wasn’t easy, but doable.

4. The lower bucket has small holes, the size of flies, drilled about half way down its sides.

5. At the bottom is the smelly bait. I wish I could make it smell like a BBQ so the whole trap could go near the house! I’m working on that idea, but at the moment I put raw prawn heads in there every week or so. Garlic prawns for dinner is a bonus :-)

This is my version of Mr Allan’s design:

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He used 2 x 10 litre buckets, but this one uses 2 x 20 litre buckets. I think he had a pane of glass on the top.   The bait is in the bottom bucket and the trap is in the top. The flies go through small holes in the side of the bottom bucket.     The lid of the bottom bucket has a large hole in it, corresponding to a hole in the base of the top bucket. A bottomless plastic bottle is glued onto this hole. After doing whatever it is they do with the bait in the lower chamber the flies see the sky above them and fly up through the bottle. Once in the top chamber they can’t get out. When they get too tired they fall into water and drown.  

The trap is not too difficult to make. Besides drilling holes, the only tricky bit is to glue the top section of a plastic drink bottle onto the hole in the base of the top bucket. You will need a plastics glue. I use Selley’s 3 in 1.

 

Here’s a little movie that shows you flies going into the trap.
 

 
And looking inside the top bucket.

 
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Shearing in mid summer

by cjj on January 9, 2013

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Typical winter day

by cjj on June 21, 2012

Home from summer in Europe, to winter! At 9 this morning, this was the view from my backyard. A beautiful white frost on everything. The temperature was obviously less than 0 Celcius, and this afternoon it was warm enough for me to wear a t-shirt … about as warm as it was in Europe just a few weeks ago :)

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Fixing the fence

by cjj on April 13, 2012

Me doing a little knitting on a wire fence!

This is the back fence of our yard. Before we can go away, we have to be confident that the fence is going to keep out grazing sheep and cattle. It is an old fence, so there are always places where the wire has broken, and we just do our best to fill the holes with more wire. It usually looks like very untidy knitting :)

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The back paddock

by cjj on April 11, 2012

Horseman and 3 dogs in the back paddock

Once again I can only comment on how long it has been since my last post. And how dry it has got since then. That period of rain was very special, I really love it when everything is wet. The colours are always so rich. But I love the colours in this photo too, the summer grasses I call them, and so thick this year because of that rain a few months ago.

All of this year I have been incredibly involved in my hobby of learning Mandarin. To be honest, I was quite tired of learning it, so I really wanted to get that bit over with. I wanted to start using it! So I set myself a goal of being able to speak by the end of March. And that’s why I haven’t made any posts. Up until a week and a half ago, that is all I did all day and all night … and I achieved my goal! (http://carmeljames.cajo.com.au/learningChinese/)

But I still have a ways to go because there is goal 2: to learn to speak well :)

However, before I start on that mammoth task, I am going to have a holiday … in Europe. And I will be documenting it here as we go.

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Rain!

by cjj on February 1, 2012

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Cleaning up with fire

by cjj on September 5, 2011

burning off the side of the road

Burning off the side of the road

Last Saturday morning a few locals got together and tidied up the side of the road outside our place with fire. The grass was very long and thick. It hadn’t been cleared in anyway since it was last burnt 10 years ago. The smoke was quite spectacular, and they did a good job, keeping it under control, and not doing too much damage to the living trees.
On Saturday evening we saw a whole lot of quail walking across a cleared area towards our house yard. It was a shame that they also saw us, and they flew back into the long grass in the paddock. We have never seen quail near the house before. We thought that maybe they had lost their home in the fire.

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Mowing outside the garden

by cjj on April 20, 2011

Carmel mowing in pink hat

Me mowing

We spent most of today just outside the fence, pulling up young thistles and mowing. It is not good to have dried grasses right up to the fence mainly because it is a fire hazard. But we are very keen to have mown lawn because it looks so good, and we can walk out there. It was lovely weather today, and that work was good exercise. J took this photo of me because he liked my hat. It is just a big sun hat, but it bends down easily under the ear muffs. I did feel a little like Bo Peep!
See the sheep in the background under the tree!
BTW that tree is the shape it is because galahs flew in one year and stripped the bark off it, nearly ring barking it. The tree recovered by growing branches from low on its trunk. I think the birds do this to encourage branches to die which eventually gives them hollows to nest in.

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Maintenance on an electricity pole

by cjj on April 20, 2011

As we worked outside today, all these vehicles kept arriving on the property.
Just a few days ago there was a helicopter inspection of all the power lines in the area. Obviously they found something that needed fixing near here. I didn’t notice it before I looked at my photo tonight, but it shows an obvious problem. There is a dangly bit at the top of the pole.
This team of people worked until after dark fixing the pole. This meant that we were without electricity for a few hours. It was good that before they cut off the power one of them stopped by to tell us what they were doing. I was able to fill a thermos with hot water for tea. It only meant that we worked outside until they finished. I’ve mowed lawn in the dark before.

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Irrigation

by cjj on April 5, 2011

Irrigation in the Peel River Valley at Dungowan

Irrigation in the Peel River Valley at Dungowan

We had another very enjoyable weekend at our cousin’s hay farm at Dungowan. Being late autumn, the farmers only have 1 more chance to cut their hay before it stops growing over winter. The paddock in this photo has just been planted with a new lot of lucern. It is being watered to try to give it a head start. It won’t be cut till next spring.
This animated photo is a series of 18 photos that I took with a hand held camera as the irrigation was turned on. The real thing looked a lot better than this because it was a very long pipe and the water pressure varied until it got to full pressure. I still think it looks rather interesting though, so here it is.

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