Like that old Seekers song on a farm there is a season for everything. Everything that happens, happens at certain times of the year. . .and not at others. Quite often, upon check in, guests will ask us if they can buy some farm fresh eggs. Not an unreasonable question unless it’s July and our chickens aren’t laying. Despite being able to buy eggs all year round at the supermarket, free range farm chickens like ours lay eggs according to the seasons.
So I’ve put together a guide for the seasons detailing what happens in each season on the farm and around the region. This may help our future guests plan their holidays based on what is most important to them and their family.
Spring can be a lovely time of year. Days not too hot, not too cold with cooler nights but not freezing. It can also rain a lot in Spring. But this makes the grass lovely and green and lush. The waterfalls in the area, such as Beedelup Falls and the Cascades, generally have lots of water in them and are looking their best and the strong winds of August are fading away.
The chickens, ducks and turkeys are all starting to lay eggs- slowly at the beginning but really picking up by October. We often have eggs in the incubator and by mid to late
spring should have some chicks, or ducklings, or quails hatched. The male turkeys and roosters are busy strutting their stuff for the girls and Flynn, our Peacock, is busy showing off his tail which has fully grown back since it all fell out last Summer.
Our lambs born in July or late August are healthy and robust with the Spring grasses and are mingling with the rest of the flock of sheep. We may have baby Alpacas (Crias) or will be expecting them late Spring or early summer.
Our citrus trees with have almost finished fruiting but in early spring there may still be a few late mandarins, lemons, limes or grapefruit and our peach trees, plum trees and apple trees will be beginning to flower in preparation for fruiting in summer.
And the wildflowers will be out. A riot of colour; oranges, purples, whites and pinks as our native wildflowers bloom in almost every patch of forest. Bees will be in abundance as will the native birds; parrots, New Holland Honey Eaters, Rosellas and Superb Blue Wrens to name a few.
The weather has warmed up, especially in February, and places like Big Brook Dam and Windy Harbour are really popular for a picnic and a swim and a sunny day spent at the Timber and Heritage Park is fun for the whole family. The grass is drier and less green but our dam still has plenty of water for canoeing and fishing.
Our Alpaca crias are finding their legs and are fun to watch and it’s shearing time for the alpacas, sheep and goats so they all look their best. Our ponies and horse lose their winter coat and look sleek and shiny and duck and chicken eggs are still quite plentiful. If we’ve planned things well we will have a calf on the farm or be expecting one around about Christmas time.
We will have brand new hatched ducks and even some that are growing fast in the petting pen. The ram will be in with a few ewes in preparation for lambs in five months time.
It’s a great time of year to climb the fire trees; The Diamond Tree, The Gloucester Tree or the Bicentennial Tree, as the fine weather means the view will be spectacular. And a trip to Yeagarup Dunes is a must do if you have a 4WD or take a tour with Pemberton Discovery Tours. A ride on the Pemberton Tram through the cool forest is a great way to see the magnificent Karri trees without lots of walking.
It’s fruit time too; Peaches, plums, apricots and cherries. And the local cherries are fantastic.
For those into fishing summer is when Marron season is. Just make sure you check your dates and check the rules before heading out.
Autumn is my favourite time of year. The air is cooling down and it can rain some days and be beautiful the next but the main thing about Autumn is the colours; reds, oranges and yellows with tinges of green towards the end of the season as the grass begins to grow again after the summer heat. For budding photographers this season is awesome.
If food is more your thing it’s the season for apples, pears and figs and many local growers have their apples in the supermarket or at local roadside stalls. My favourite is the farm packing shed at A. Guadagnino’s and Co. with a huge range of apples and pears and heaps of other seasonal fruit and veg. Just remember to take cash as they don’t have eftpos facilities.
Camp fires by the dam, wine tasting at one of the many wineries like Chestnut Grove, Silkwood, Truffle and Wine Company, Hidden River Estate or Mountfords to name a few, or a tasting rack at microbrewery Jarrah Jacks may be more your thing.
Our chickens are seriously slowing down with the eggs and all of our chicks and ducklings are pretty close to full grown.
Winter is not for everyone as the cold wind from the south blows in but if you love the forests, rugging up, enjoying a wine and good food this is the season for you. This is also the one time of year that the Fontanini’s Fruit and Nut Farm opens to the public so people can pick their own chestnuts, feijoas and walnuts.
Oh and this is the season that our little lambs are born. Each year, in summer, we have put a few ewes in with our ram and by winter we have some rather rotund sheep just about ready to pop. We usually get at least one set of twins. This year we got two sets of twins and one set of triplets!
There is usually one lamb that needs some feeding. This year one of the twins, Miss Lizzie, was rejected by her mum so she ended up being completely bottle fed
and even follows us around on the daily animal feeding. We always make sure that our lambs are people friendly by taking children into the paddock with our newborns to help socialise them. Cuddles all round is the name of the game and it’s a lot of fun and a great experience for kids.
This is also the season for Truffles. Truffles have a short season but you can always book a truffle hunt in advance or just visit the Truffle and Wine Co’s tasting rooms. In fact most restaurants and wineries will be serving a few truffle dishes at this time of year.
So whatever your preferences or the type of holiday you are looking for there is a season, or two, that will suit you.