cows 2013

The Calves

Richard Roxburgh and Lena Headey

Yes, the Lady Caine has finally, reluctantly, produced a Calf – Richard (Roxburgh). A bonny young beefy bloke if ever there was one.

In addition, we have another female calf (calfette?) called Lena (Headey). We have been trying, to no avail, to have Lady Caine mother Lena, but she won’t have it. Instead we halter the truculent Lady C twice a day, while the motherless Lena has a good drink. Still, both calves flourishing.

pigs babies

The Pigs

Peggy and Polly

These two sisters are kuni-kuni, a South Pacific pot-belly pig. Extremely cute as piglets, they have grown into pigs that are…well… not very cute. Unless you’re a pot-belly pig bloke, if you follow. In which case you might think they’re the bee’s knees. If we could use a diminutive metaphor for two massive creatures.

Let it be understood: We are not fattist at T.P. On the contrary, more than one of us at H.Q. carry a few more kilos than is entirely necessary. But Peggy (blonde) and Polly (brunette but not noticeably smarter) may just have gone too far. They are, we’re not ashamed to admit, vast.

Still, they’re decorative. They also consume fruit windfalls, acorns, kitchen scraps, grubs – pretty much anything. But useful – not…umm…really.

We thought we might be blessed, last spring, with a couple of dozen piglets [See T.P. Blog 4 September 2007]  Alas it was not to be. The girls have mastered the dark art of the phantom pregnancy. Their boy-friend, Boris, is a reportedly a little deflated.

We have planted fifty or so truffle-infected oak trees at Redbank. There was hope at one point that the pigs could be used to find, and dig up, the truffles. Unfortunately Peggy and Polly are now so huge it would take three or four men to drag them away from the truffle. Another dream abandoned…

Our kuni-kuni will certainly not end up as pork. We just hope we can find… goals for them. Do pigs have dreams? Undoubtedly; but what exactly are they? If we were pigs, a comfy free-range existence at Redbank might be a dream realized. If so, they’ve got it all.


25 April 2011 -- When it comes to taste in grapes, man and pig can be in complete agreement at time. Read more in our blog posting called What To Do with Cabernet Sauvignon

baa4 sm

The Sheep

Baa Baa

In 2005, after a time of wonder, a lamb was born at Redbank, and was immediately orphaned. Like Bambi, except there was no naughty hunter involved here. With all the best care in the world, we sometimes lose a ewe at lambing time. Any orphans become pets and are hand reared on the bottle, and are always lavished with love and care by small children. Especially by little girls, who for some reason like to dress them up for parties, etc.

When they are old enough they rejoin the mob in the paddocks. This they complain about volubly for a couple of weeks – and wouldn’t you, if you’d been persuaded by small girls that you were a similar small person all your short life? Something of a shock to find you are actually a grazing wooly creature.

Nevertheless, they become socialized after a few weeks, and turn into sheep, forgetting their human friends, from whom they flee in irrational panic in the way sheep do.

Except Baa Baa. (Rather dully named, but a two year old was given naming rights.) Baa Baa reasonably quickly fitted in with his sheepy friends, but has NEVER forgotten his human friends. If called, he belts straight over for a chat and a scratch. Good company, and we all love him.


29 March 2011 -- Baa Baa Murdered.


A Charming Milk Cow

Lady Shakira Caine

Again, named for one of the world’s great beauties, the utterly charming Lady Caine.
She is a milking cow, but is not producing any milk as yet. Apparently a bull needs to get involved in the process, but this blog has no curiosity beyond that ... let us draw a veil. Children and maiden aunts read these pages after all.


The Goat


It became clear a year or two ago  to all and sundry, that Billy, goat of distinction, by appointment, etc. was without a friend of his own kind; he has an irrational hatred of sheep, even though from a distance, he could pass himself off as a woolly ruminant, rather than a hairy one. An easy mistake – you would imagine they had much in common
– a fondness for grass, a ruminant nature, four legs, a bleaty kind of voice and so on.

Wrong. Sheep and goats. Chalk and cheese. Oil and water. Beer and wine.

So, as a kindness, a companion was sought, and found. Another goat.

Not just any goat. A Boer Goat. The name betrays its Southern African origins. And possibly its temperament.

In short, Hamish is an entertaining goat. If you like that sort of thing. If you don’t he’s a pain in the neck. Hamish has no respect for a fence, for instance, and can sail over the highest fence with elan, and feet to spare. Now, while all our animals and birds roam free range, there is a limit. It is not acceptable to soar into the Riesling at harvest time, eat grapes and most of the vines they are on.

Accordingly Hamish has been warned, and warned severely. Any more of this, and he’ll be gifted to the goat farm down the road.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s what he’s been working on all this time? Probably sounds like fun to him. Hmmm...

feeding chickens

The Chickens

Georgia Flatman (4 years) and sister Isabel (2 years) contemplate our chickens

Interview by Sheree Flatman


S:   What can you tell me about chickens Georgia?
G:   Eggs… Dead chickens you poke with a stick.

S:   What do the live ones do?
G:  They peck at food.

S:   What can you remember about ‘Big Boy’? [our old rooster]
G:  He jumped in our fence, then he died, then he was buried.

S:   Anything else you know about chickens?
G:  They lay into a baby egg… Rocky! He’s always dead for life. [Rocky hatched and was abandoned at birth] They hatch out by themselves without their
mums and …

S:  Can you tell me anything about roosters?
G:  A rooster flies and says Cockadoodledo, and sits on the post. Do you know what I saw? I saw that on “Charlotte’s Web”. You know you should sit down with me and watch it. You can come and watch my ballet lesson.

S:  What do chickens do after the sun goes down?
G:  They sleep.

S:  What do chickens do all day?
G:  They cockadoodledo all night. They run around and get fresh air.

S:  What do they eat?
G:   They eat food – old things … Ask Isabel now.

S: What do chickens eat Isabel?
I:  ka to ta to to do
G:  … and they run.
I:  3 8 9 10 8 9 10

S:  Which ones are the girl chickens and which ones are the boys?
G:  A girl chicken is a chicken and a daddy chicken
is a rooster.

S:  How do we call them?
G:  We say “Here chook chook chook!”

S:   How else do we look after chickens?
G:  aah… we didn’t look after Rocky. We didn’t find his mum quickly.

S:  What do baby chickens eat?
G:  They eat tiny little grass.