12 Fun Things to Do When You Stay at Annie’s Cedar Farm

Are you thinking of visiting us here at Annie’s Cedar Farm?   Take a look at the many fun things to do in the area while you’re here.

Play Golf – Hidden Valley has a secret gem and it’s the professional 18 hole golf course. Wonderfully scenic, the course will stretch you while the surroundings soothe you.

Wallan Olde Time Market – The Wallan Market is one of our favourite events, happening on the second Saturday of every month.  It’s a big market which has everything from fresh produce to crafts, trash and treasure and food. Many people come to Wallan especially for the market.

Dining in Wallan

Eat! – Wallan is fast developing a reputation for great places to eat.  Try Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, and Hogan’s Hotel, and there are lots more to choose from. Visit the new Wallan Wine Hub and enjoy boutique wines and beers or book in for one of the occasional winery tours.

Horse RidingUncle Nev’s is famous for its horse riding experiences which suit beginners to advanced riders. You will ride through the hills and the State Forest. Catering for people aged 8+, you will discover our local bushland and wildlife from the comfort of your saddle.

Visit the Wineries – People are just beginning to realise that a lot of great wines are made in this region.  Take a tour of some of the local wineries and taste them for yourself.  There is a list of wineries on the Mitchell Shire site.

Paintball and Laser Skirmish – get the adrenaline pumping! Adrenaline Games keeps you active I Wallan. Laser skirmish is an outdoor combat team sport; think paintball without the bruises. Alternatively, be splattered in paint for the real effect!

Walk the Wallan Trail – Walk through Wallan following Wallan Trail from Hadfield Park to the Wallan Railway Station. It’s a gentle walk which takes about half an hour and leads you through our park and playgrounds, past the new wetland area and down to the station.

Funfields –  Funfields is an outdoor family fun park in Whittlesea, just a few minutes from Annie’s.  Famous for its water slides and activities, the fun park actually has a great mix of both wet and dry rides  If you’re staying with us for a while, think about buying a season pass to Funfields. It’s great value.

Bundoora Park – This is a fabulous animal farm where your children can help feed the baby animals and even enjoy pony rides.  This is a lovely way to continue the engagement with animals that they start with us.

Pretty Sally Riding RanchEnjoy Pretty Sally Trail Rides which is situated in the heart of the Great Dividing Ranges with panoramic views and wildlife in abundance. The pony rides are suitable for children and adults.

Reading Cinemas, Epping – If you need your movie fix, you’ll be pleased to know that the Epping cinemas are only a short drive away.

Ned Kelly;s homesteadKelly Homestead – Visit Ned Kelly’s childhood home. While the homestead is on private property, you can see it clearly and take some great photos of this iconic property. The homestead was recently sold.  Read more about it here.

Of course, once you’ve tried all of these activities, you’ll be very pleased to come home to Annie’s and put your feet up while you drink in the soft, soothing noises of nature.

Book a cabin with us by calling 03 5783 2234.

The Top 5 reasons to desex your pets.

desex your petsIt might seem odd but desexing your pet can often be the best thing you can do for them.  It doesn’t make them unhappy but it does help to keep them safe.   Desexing has many health benefits as well as behavioural ones.  Take a look at our top 5 reasons to desex your pets.

  1. It keeps them from wandering.

Dogs and cats will both wander from home when they are looking for a mate.  A stray male can create many babies in just one night as he goes from female to female.  Even worse, though, is the risk he puts himself at by wandering around the streets. He could be hit by a car or captured by your local pet patrol (the better although more expensive option).

  1. Reduces the birth of unwanted animals

The RSPCA says that its shelters take in around 160,000 animals nationally each year, many of which are the result of unplanned breeding.

What do you do if you are landed with a litter of unwanted kittens or puppies?  You give them away and hope the new owner is a decent sort of person.  You give them to a pet shop to sell and hope that they will be cared for.  Or you dump them somewhere and pretend they didn’t exist.

Perhaps that’s not your sort of behaviour (thank heavens) but unwanted animals are a liability rather than an asset, and they can become “disposable”, a view which makes me angry and upset. If you don’t want your pets to have babies, desexing is a simple step to take.

  1. Decreases their desire to fight.

Often your pets will choose to fight to protect their mating territory, or keep other males away from their female mate. By desexing your pets you remove the need to fight over mating rights but you are also reducing production of the hormone which makes animals, especially males, aggressive.  If you have children at home, an aggressive pet is bound to be a problem at some stage.

  1. Stops them from making a mess at home.

Female pets leave little blood droplets when they are on heat, which can stain your floors and carpets.  Male pets choose to spray their urine around the house to mark their territories.  If they have not been desexed, the smell is much stronger and it’s difficult to remove the odour.  The smell of tomcat lingers for a long time and they manage to spray in the smallest and most hard to get to places….

  1. It’s good for their health.

The National Desexing Network says that there are many health benefits for your pets, including:

Reduced risk of getting cancer or other diseases of the reproductive organs, such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer/disorders in males, and cystic ovaries, ovarian tumors, acute uterine infections and breast cancer in females, and also other diseases like mammary cancer, perianal tumors and perianal hamias.

The cost of desexing your pet is probably far less than the price you might pay if they are not.

If you love your pets, please make the decision to protect and care for them.  Book an appointment with your local vet and have your pets desexed.

 

Easter Holidays at Annie’s.

Easter bunnyHappy Easter to you.  Yes, it’s almost here.

The Easter Bunny tiptoes around Annie’s Cedar Farm Cottages so that he doesn’t scare our animals, which is very considerate of him.  He still manages to leave behind a lovely collection of Easter eggs every year, though.

So what happens in the area during the Easter holidays?

Join one of the biggest, craziest Easter Egg hunts going around at Funfields on Saturday, April 19.  Children 12 years and under receive a showbag and a free Easter Egg Hunt ticket for one hunt with the purchase of their day pass.  Find out more on their website and check out the timetable for your child’s age group.

Jungle Kid’s Play Centre offers Easter egg decorating on Monday 14TH and Wednesday 16TH April, free with normal entry costs.  Help your kids get their eggs ready for display to their friends and family over Easter.

The YMCA in Craigieburn runs a number of different school holiday activities ranging from cooking to science.  Book your child in for a learning experience that’s really fun.

Of course, there are many things you can do as a family if you are staying here at Annie’s.  The best thing to do is explore.  Early autumn is a lovely time of year.  It’s cool but not cold and there is little wind. That means you can take a really good look at what is happening to the trees and flowers.  You can look for wildlife and check out the insect world.  You can even help us feed the animals.

Annie’s Cedar Farm Cottages in Upper Plenty gives you the choice – action or relaxation. It’s up to you and your family.

Now, the Easter Bunny is preparing for his big day so whatever you do, keep your eyes and ears open for him.

We wish you a very happy Easter.

 

It’s shearing time.

sheep shearing This has been a busy month on the farm so far.  It is shearing season!

Mid to late spring is usually shearing time. Each year before the warm weather starts our sheep are shorn.  It’s important that they aren’t shorn too early in the year because it’s pretty cold when you go from wearing a thick woolly coat to wearing only your underclothes!

At the same time, we don’t want our sheep being exposed to the hot sun when they have just been shorn.

We also have to take into account the lambing season and the availability of shearers, too.

Yes, shearing time is busy.

It is not just our sheep who need to be shorn, either.  Our alpacas have a thick, woolly coat which requires shearing, too.  Shearing an alpaca is not as easy as shearing a sheep;  they are very talented spitters!

alpaca shearing

It is quite a spectacular sight when, as you stumble out of bed in the morning, you see a hillside dotted with glowing, white creatures.  Imagine how light on their feet they must feel after losing all that woolly weight!

How to recover after Christmas

Do you realise that there are less than 2 months to go until Christmas is here?

The lead up can be exhausting, with parties, shopping, gifts to buy, food to cook, people to catch up with, cards to send…..

By the time Christmas Day is over, most of us fall into an exhausted heap.  Well, that’s a luxury for those of us who don’t have to worry about holiday drop-ins and surprise visitors.

If ever there is a time to recharge your batteries, it’s the post-Christmas time.  That’s when you need to get away and find some peace.

(We still have vacancies at the moment so book your cabin while they are still there)

Can you imagine how delightful it is to wake up in the morning, stretch in your comfy bed and realise that you don’t have to get up at all, if you don’t want to?  What a luxury!

Can you imagine how peaceful it is to take a picnic pack with you and walk through the country grass to picnic to the sound of cows mooing in the distance, and the wind gently rustling through the leaves?

starry skyEven better, picture yourself lying on a rug on the ground which is still warm from the day’s sun, surrounded by darkness lit only by moonlight.  Such serenity!  Up above you is a huge sky filled with shimmering and twinkling stars. You haven’t seen stars until you see them in a country sky.

Of course, there are shops and restaurants and people nearby if you want them.  But the choice is yours.  No one will intrude on your special time.

If you remember how tired you felt after Christmas last year, you know you should take a break. Think of your health, and think of the peace of mind and body you could have if you came to Annie’s Cedar Farm Cottages.

Christmas is fun but recovery is bliss. Book yourself a recovery break now.

 

What’s Coming Up?

Have you booked your stay with us yet?

It’s getting busy here leading up to the holiday season and there are all sorts of events coming up that you will enjoy.

 

Go to the show!

In just 11 days’ time the annual Whittlesea Show returns to fill your weekend with fun and activities.  It will be held at the Whittlesea Showgrounds on Saturday November 2nd from 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday November 3rd from 9 am to 5 pm

There is plenty of parking but this is a very popular show so we recommend arriving early.

Find out more on the Whittlesea Show website. Don’t forget to buy us a showbag!

 

Do you like jazz? 

Hawkstowe Jazz FestivalVisit the Hawkstowe Music Festival in South Morang on Sunday, 17 November 2013 beginning at 1pm.

It’s a celebration of jazz with lively music playing throughout the afternoon. Food and drinks available for purchase on the day.  There is also a range of activities to keep the kids amused.  This will be a great family day out.

 

Pat a pet.

The 2013 Pet Expo will be held on Saturday 16 Nov 2013, Hadfield Park, High Street Wallan.  If you love animals, come along and have a look.  If you have a pet you can take advantage of the reduced price microchipping available on the day.

Mitchell Shire Pet Expo

Weave with plants.

On Sunday 17th the Wallan Environment Group will tease your green thumbs by showing you how to weave and twine with plants.   The venue is yet to be decided (keep watching the Council webpage for more info)

  • How to recognise and name local indigenous plants and grasses suitable for weaving and twining.
  • Where to locate and how to grow suitable plants, using the re-vegetation of Wallan’s local waterways as examples
  • Weaving and twining a small object
  • Creating a shared community art piece

There is always something to do in the area so make sure you book your cabin so you can spend a comfortable and relaxed weekend with us.

We are looking forward to a big September.

Wallan Car ShowNow that spring is in the air you must come and visit us at Annie’s.  The world is waking up after the spring snooze and there are beautiful blooms, new animal babies and lots of events popping up around the place.

If you enjoy your golf you will love the Growling Frog Golf Club in nearby Yan Yean.  The course is aGraham Marsh designed 18-hole, par 72 course, set on 280 acres of picturesque, gently undulating land.  It has an excellent restaurant overlooking the course, too.  This Tuesday 3rd September is Seniors Day. If you are a senior, take advantage of the specials on offer and enjoy a social day out.

Speaking of growling frogs, did you know that the Growling Grass Frog can be found in the nearby wetlands of Morang?  This is a locally endangered species but Parks Victoria is helping to prevent its extinction. The wetlands are also home to many different species of birdlife, both rare and threatened.  You might enjoy the bus and walking tour of the wetlands where you can look out for the different forms of wildlife.  Join the tour on Friday 6th September.

If you are bringing your family to stay you will be thrilled to hear that the famous Funfields Amusement Park reopens on September 22nd in time for the school holidays.  This is an incredible place filled with water fun, rides and all sorts of amusements.

On the same weekend you will see Wallan filled with shiny cars.  The Wallan Vintage Car, Collectables Swap Meet and Car Show is being held on September 22 at the Wallan Recreation Reserve in Duke Street.  You will see: Ford / Holden / Chrysler / American / British / European / Vintage and Veteran / Hotrod / Motorcycle / Scooter vehicles all vying to win a trophy.

Don’t forget that the Whittlesea Market is on every third Saturday of the month and the Wallan Old Time Market falls on the Second Saturday of the month.

September is bursting at the seams with fun things to do so book a stay at Annie’s Cedar Farm Cottages. 

It’s school holidays so bring the kids and let them enjoy being up close to our friendly animals and have fun on the farm.  Book your cabin today.

 

National Tree Day is next Sunday.

National Tree DayWe are so lucky to be surrounded by gorgeous bushland and big, healthy trees but without care, our environment won’t thrive for long.

That’s where National Tree Day comes in. National Tree Day was co-founded by Olivia Newton-John and Planet Ark in 1996, and since then more than 2.8 million people have planted over 17 million native trees and shrubs.

The event focuses on planting and caring for our local native trees and plants. It’s important to plant local species because they have adapted to our climate and soil.  Other species might not do so well here.  Local trees and plants also offer the best food and shelter for our local wildlife.  It’s all about balance in the world of nature.

In addition to the environmental benefits of National Tree Day, Planet Ark intends to reintroduce children to the outdoor world.  In 2012 Planet Ark and their sponsor Toyota Australia prepared a report on the “benefits of interaction with nature for children’s health, wellbeing and development.”  The report found that within the space of one generation here in Australia, our children have lost the freedom to explore and play outdoors.

Isn’t that sad?   Can you imagine having grown up without trees to climb or bushes to play hide-and-seek behind?  I can’t.

This year, National Tree Day will be held on Sunday 28 July 2013.  Around our local area there are many opportunities to get involved.  To find an event in your area head to the National Tree Day site and click on “find an event.”

If you have never planted a tree before and you’d like to learn how to do it well, head off to one of Bunning’s free ‘How To Plant A Tree’ workshops. Once again, check the “find an event” link to find the workshop closest to you.

The day is an important one but it’s a fun one, too.  Get out and get your hands (and knees) dirty for a good cause and show your kids what it’s like to play outdoors.

Annie’s in Winter

I just have to show you this photo.  If you follow us on Facebook you may already have seen it.

This is what I have woken up to for a few mornings over the last couple of weeks.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

anna1

 

In fact, it reminds me a little of autumn.  The mornings are quite cold, the grass is frosty and the air is still.  You just know that soon the sun will be shining and the day will be quite perfect.

Other mornings have been foggy.  We are quite high up on our hill so the fog is either below us on the flat ground closer to Wallan or on the hilltops above us like it is in this photo.

anna2

 

We have a fantastic view here no matter which way you look and the weather lays patterns all over it.  If you have a camera make sure you bring it with you when you come to stay with us.  You will love what you see.

Don’t worry about winter at Annie’s.  You’ll be snug as a bug in our comfy warm cottages and outside a gorgeous day will be waiting for you.

anna3

 

Give us a call and book yourself a fabulous stay with us.

Organic gardening.

Last week we talked about organic gardening and the effect soil has on vegies.  Today I want to look at seeds and pest prevention.

hydroponic

Seeds

Once you have prepared your soil, it’s important to know a bit about seeds before you start growing your own vegetables. There are usually different varieties of seeds for each type of plant, each with its own characteristics. For example, the common tomato plant has hundreds of varieties.

Some varieties will do better in different conditions, such as being sun hardy, shade tolerant or drought resistant. You can also divide seeds by type. There are heirloom seeds, which are really perfect to use in an organic garden as the seed from the plants that are grown can be used to plant your garden the following year. This is really the most sustainable and natural of all seed planting practices.

There are also hybrid plants that are the result of selective breeding practices. Hybrids may be more tolerant to certain poor conditions but the seed cannot be saved from the plants and planted the following year as each generation will be weaker than the one before it.

In some countries there are GMO or genetically modified seeds, that feature a seed that has been cloned with a different species to make it pest resistant, but these seeds are not “natural” and really defeat the purpose of organic gardening.

Pests

Organic gardening takes advantage of many strategies, such as companion gardening, to help deter pests in the garden. You can conduct a simple search about companion gardening online, and discover which plants “like” to be planted next to each other. For example, certain flowers planted in a border around your garden will deter certain bugs that might eat the vegetables, and certain plants fix certain nutrients or release other natural substances in the ground as they grow and can help an entirely different species of plant to grow better.

Common examples are the practice of planting varieties of squash with corn and beans or planting onions next to your potatoes, dill next to your tomatoes, garlic in your rose beds and carrots near your peas.  You will also want to learn about natural remedies for common ailments such as blight, mould or mildew and other natural solutions that can be made at home to help keep pests from attacking your vegies.

While it’s a bit more involved than gardening with man-made chemicals, it is really much easier than it sounds. Once you set down to enjoy the different, delicious taste and texture provided by organic vegies, and know that you are putting something into your body that you helped to create, that is free of dangerous chemicals and was grown in such a way as to help improve the Earth, you will realize it was well worth your time and efforts.