- The most significant event for Markdale in Spring (and arguably all year) is the birth of our lambs.
- Over the next month or so over 3,000 lambs are expected to be born on Markdale.
- The team will vigilantly monitor the ewes and their new bubs to ensure that the lambs get the best start in life.
- We will also be looking to purchase some more rams from Bogo (Merino) and Glenfinnan (White Suffolk) given the greater number of ewes to be joined next March.
- The garden is set to put on a real show this Spring, with our head gardener Phil constantly seeking to upgrade in line with Edna Walling’s designs. A couple of new highlights for those garden enthusiasts include a new tulip garden which is already blooming under net, a new garden space at the back of the lake and the beginnings of a Magnolia grove.
- The bees are back into production as the weather warms and the flowers begin to colour our wonderful Edna Walling garden again.
- Weed control intensifies as we the team tries to control the spread of blackberry, serrated tussock and Bathurst burr before the long, windy Summer days.
- Many families from Sydney and Canberra will visit us as they look to get away during the school holidays and escape for some clean, country air. The pool and tennis court are popular spots as are picnics by the creek which is full now the worst of the drought has broken.
- Spring veggies to be planted include tomatoes, capsicum zucchinis, chillis and beans. We will also be harvesting our garlic shortly – the second time we have grown it at the farm and the Italian Red variety is looking great.
- The ewes are in lamb and have been moved to the best pastures. Over the coming weeks they will be scanned to make sure the mothers are healthy and to get an estimate of how many lambs the farm will soon welcome.
- Stacks are alight across the property on any given weekend. During the previous months of the year dead trees and woods are pushed together to make piles or ‘stacks’. They are lit during the winter months as the risk of the fire getting out of hand is low and it clears the property of potential fuel during the summer months.
- The bees have been bedded down for Winter with sugar syrup to see them through the cool months. We look forward to opening the hive in Spring to see how the colony and the honey they will have stored over the winter months.
- Piles of firewood have been cut by the family and the staff of Markdale in anticipation of cool winter nights and red wine and marshmallows around the fire.
- The farmstay is in full swing as many families from Sydney and Canberra look to get away from town as social restrictions ease. Long walks in the cool clear winter days and nights by the fire are a perfect remedy.
- Winter veggies to be planted include potatoes for the first time on the farm, spinach, onions, peas, kale and brussel sprouts.
Spring is a magical time on Markdale as the property emerges from the cold months and the ewes prepare to give birth to our lambs.
The two most important periods on the farm are shearing and lambing, and much of Markdale’s activity revolves around these two times. The ewes have now been moved into the paddocks with the best pasture in order to keep them strong as they give birth, recover and feed. A daily inspection is made of the ewes and lambs during this time and our team works hard to ensure the health of the entire flock. The cheeky foxes, pigs and the odd cold snap keeps everyone on their toes.
With so much happening it is a wonderful time to visit Markdale – there are literally thousands of lambs running around, our donkeys Nancy and Nelly are settled in and love being hand fed and the garden is emerging from its winter hibernation.
We also take the opportunity to remind our readers about the ongoing impact of the drought on many Australians especially those who are doing it tough in our rural communities. We would encourage everyone to get out and visit a country town or farm – not only is it beneficial for those towns and farmers, it is a great opportunity to understand where Australia’s produce and some of our country’s great characters comes from.
We are expecting 3,000 lambs on the ground from late August – early September.
Weed control and eradication of invasive introduced plant species. This includes ground spraying for serrated tussock and blackberry bushes, spraying by helicopter of harder to reach areas and burning of dead blackberry bushes
Maintenance work continues on the farm as we consolidate much of the work done through the winter months.
On the October long weekend we have a family wedding on Markdale with the ceremony being held in the garden and reception in a marquee on the Polo Field.
On Saturday, 19 October Markdale is holding an Open Garden between 10am – 4pm. Entry is $5 and visitors can explore the Edna Walling garden and pack a picnic.
A beehive will be introduced to the garden in late October. We are looking forward to trying how the beautiful flowers in our garden flavour our honey.
Spring veggies including tomatoes, chillis, pumpkin, zucchini, cucumber, silverbeet and strawberries have been planted.
Autumn was a busy time on the farm.
The rams and ewes were joined in March in preparation for lambing in late August and early September.
The shearing of the Markdale flock took place over the first two weeks in May.
In early June the entire flock was dipped for lice (a common problem in sheep that can eventuate if a pesky goat or two vaults a fence).
Fence work continues on the property – with close to 100km of fence on the property and it is a big (and constant) job to maintain.
Wood (plenty of it) has been chopped in anticipation of fires in winter (with plenty of marshmallows and red wine).
School holiday bookings are starting to come through for our comfortable accommodation at the Farm Stay.
We are taking bookings for Christmas in July with a special catered menu available.
Winter veggies have been planted into the family garden beds – broccoli, leek, cauliflower, onions, garlic, peas, beans and radishes