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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Chivalry is Alive and Well...at least at Stanwell.

Chabo view

Those little black dots in the centre are exploring weaners

More exploring weaners

Well I've decided I don't want to be a truckie when I grow up. Two days in the Hino and at least the weaners are now all safely delivered to Chabo. Unfortunately things ended poorly with a blown front tyre at Stanwell on the way home. After much scowling, some cussing, and even more muttering I'd managed to at least find the jack and associated implements when a knight in shining armour pulled up and asked us 'ladies' if we'd like some assistance. That was the highlight of Sally's day, she's never been thought of as a lady before.

We limped into Rocky then, left the truck at the tyre-shop, borrowed a car and raced for home to meet the bus. Truck will be ready tomorrow.

My plans for tomorrow are a bit banged about now that they've cancelled the teachers' strike. We had a day of cow-wrangling lined up while the ringers were home. May have to wait until the weekend. Matthew's enjoying the hospitality Blackall has to offer at the moment.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Bulls are Gone!

People shouldn't chase cattle in cars. That's why there are horses. But sometimes when darkness is approaching and there are still a few heifers in the yards needing to be put back to a paddock, it seems the quickest solution. Unfortunately it often isn't. And sometimes your blood pressure rises to such a frightening degree that you cannot be held responsible for your actions. I usually know when I've reached this point, because the frightened children start pulling desperately at their seat belts, trying to at least save themselves. And sometimes when it's really dry, as it currently is, you lose sight of the cattle in the self-propelling dust-storm created by the circle-work you are doing round and round a self-feeder. The 5 nasty heifers are back in their paddock now.

The bull buyers came and went, leaving us with 9 less bulls. They enjoyed a hearty smoko, but despite our best efforts left without any additional dogs, pigs, chooks, horses or kids. Just bulls.

Truck's on the ramp now waiting to load another group of weaners for a trip to Chabo today. Will be a clock-watching day trying to get there and back in school hours.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Another Week Down


It would be nice to wind down at the end of a busy weekend with a relaxing drink, and the delicate aroma of lasagne wafting from the kitchen, without a child squealing from the bathroom that "there's no water". This involves a car trip, 2 gates and some tap-changing. The irrigator will enjoy a spell while we divert some water up the hill.

Spent the day at "Chabo" sorting out cattle. We've started moving weaners from here to there, had females to put out in the mountain country, and some more young bulls to come home. As every rural partnership will testify, the only ingredients required for some marital disharmony are cattle, yards and a drafting stick. Throw in a couple of self-inflicted headaches from a prior afternoon spent at the races, and conflict is guaranteed. Introduce a neighbour's cow with a personality disorder and it can only go one way. As I like to say, all's well that ends well.

And tomorrow involves some bull-buyers visiting. Always a positive sign when they say they're only coming to look but they're coming in the truck. Last time these fellas came we managed to send them home with two pigs and a dog as well as a body load of bulls. So here's to a fruitful start to the week.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Friday Fun



Fridays are always a big deal in this household. No moreso than when they involve some blue ribbons, some red ribbons, and even yellow ribbons. A glorious Winters day in the tropics, bordering on a little too warm if one wants to complain. But who could complain after such a day. Children returned home happy and tired.

This young fellow is an action study in the serious contemplation that precedes annihilating the opposition in the high jump event. Who'd have thought?

Who'd have thought the jumping genes were present in this little body. Matthew believes he was switched at birth. I believe he's a natural athlete. He wants to be a footballer after all. I believe he's far too smart for that to ever be an option.

He can also run really fast. Took a super stumble in his sprint, saved himself and kept on going to bring home second place. There's always next year buddy.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Back on Deck


We obviously need to be a little more careful when and where our political discussions take place, after Sally stated this morning that she hopes Anna Bligh catches swine flu. While many of us do harbour similiar hopes, it possibly does little for the psyche of our four year old to be 'pointing the bone' at others.

On a more positive note we stumbled upon an exciting discovery this morning. One of our recipient cows disappeared at the end of last week, obviously hiding in the hills to calve. Unfortunately she was never to return, and even though we scoured the hills valiantly searching for her, it was all to no avail. So after cursing ourselves for not having them secured in a smaller closer paddock, we put her down as a 'missing-in-action', obviously died calving. A few days ago though I found her in another paddock, albeit solo, we believed the calf mustn't have survived the calving, but were happy that we had at least not lost the cow as well. But today, wonder of all wonders, I found her with her beautiful bonny baby bull calf. Haven't wiped the smile off my face all day.

Kids have made it back to school too, the horrors of yesterday's illness long forgotten. Be still oh mighty Fisher & Paykel 7.5 kg auto washer.

Interschool Sports Carnival tomorrow. Stay tuned for photos.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

More Buckets Please



Sometimes there just aren't enough buckets.

3 kids and a mummy down with the vomiting bug.

But with all kids now sleeping soundly, some even managed some dinner, a little peace is calmly settling in, and all seems well with the world again.

Daddy and Sarah appear smug in their apparent resilience, their ability to resist all forms of viral infection has been construed as some form of superiority. (But the night isn't over yet I remind someone, reminding him that he who laughs last also laughs loudest, and chuckle I might if he rolls over in the evening to tell me his belly hurts). Not that I would wish sickness upon anybody.

He did at least get the lucerne fertilised. Now the irrigating process begins, not usually without some form of drama.

Here's to a better day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Winter is No Longer Upon Us

View from our front verandah this evening


So Winter came and went over the weekend. We're back to days in the high 20's. After enduring two very cold winters over the last two years followed by two very good wet seasons, we're a little concerned that following this mild winter may be not such a good wet summer. They're already talking El Nino, if you care to believe everything you hear.

We have a very sick little girl in our midst today. Woke up with tummy ache and has deteriorated throughout the day. Managed to come on a molasses run, only to be very sick along the way, is now curled up in a lounge chair with a bucket by her side.

Matthew returned home early to spread a ton of fertiliser on the lucerne, but alas, I can hear him still bashing away at the spreader as I type. Much of our farming equipment would be viewed as antiquities to those in the know. To us they're valuable items of plant, and even though they've already started and finished on someone else's depreciation schedule, they've still a way to go on ours. We find if you start most jobs with a spanner in one hand and a prayer book in the other, the job usually gets done, not always on time, but generally within a loosely constructed time-frame.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Sacrificial Pig


What a wonderful weekend! The kids and I headed for town early Saturday morning with a car laden with excitement and eager anticipation of catching up with distant cousins, playing with helium-filled balloons and eating cake. There were also far too many pairs of shoes, much cooking equipment, and two large chocolate cakes, just waiting to be layered, smeared with chocolate cream, cherry ganache and liqueur. Daddy followed by about lunchtime with a car full of dead pig ready to go on the spit (he secretly likes balloons too).

We enjoyed a really terrific evening of catching up with good friends and family who we just don't get to see often enough. Combined with a feast fit for a king, a 2 litre bottle of 15 year aged Rum and much reminiscing, we managed to solve many political problems of the country, re-write the constitution and poorly sing a few Kris Kristofferson masterpieces.

It wasn't a particularly momentous birthday age to reach, but why not celebrate them all. In fact I don't think it need even be your birthday. Here's to many more Grandad.

....and here's to the guest who turned up with an esky brimming with mud crabs. You're welcome anytime!


Friday, 17 July 2009

Winter is Upon Us

"Look what I found in the chook house"


'Tis a cold and blustery day at Rock Wallaby. Sheets of dust keep moving up and down the road, making you take a second look for a vehicle. Feels particularly droughty. 14 weeks since we've measured a drop of rain. Which should serve as a reminder to all to be particularly fire-safe. I returned from town yesterday evening to see a very large burnt area near the chook-house. Seems the master of the house had taken his eye off the ball. He butchered a pig yesterday, which of course involves hot water for scalding purposes, so we generally light a fire under a drum, ensuring someone always stays on post. All's well that ends well I suppose.

The sacrificial pig is to be part of party festivities for Grandad's birthday party tomorrow evening. Party preparations are in full swing. Cake in the oven as we speak. Should be a great evening with family coming from far afield to help celebrate.

Much to be done in the meantime. Best get to it.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Babies Abound


Our rather brown Winter landscape is interspersed with little white dots this week, which on closer inspection are indeed baby calves.

We have 8 new E/T (Embryo-Transfer) babies on the ground. All due last Thursday, but managed to spread it out over a week. 7 heifers and 1 lonely little bull. Mother Nature's brilliance usually evens up this ratio by the end of the season, (fingers-crossed).

The fencing came to a rather abrupt halt after Matthew was summonsed back to work last Thursday and Friday. My hands are still sporting the scars of tangling with barbed wire. I had work gloves in the ute, but strangely enough, as so often happens with all things meant to be in pairs, there was only one to be found. It was possibly all a little ironic with Michael Jackson being laid to rest during the week. We may dedicate this section of boundary fence to him. Anyway that's another job on the "to do" list.

Kids returned rather glum-faced to school today. We had a really great break from routine with flushing, mustering, weaning, fencing, shopping, visiting all involved. I'm sorry to see them go back, and Sally's particularly lost today. Especially as I wanted to get some work finished in the house, not her cup of tea at all. Have been busily making some new school skorts for Sarah, who seems to have had a little growth spurt. So it's a much quieter house today.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Scissors, Paper, Rock

Let's play Scissors, Paper, Rock

Can I play too?


...and then there were four.

Good Friends



We've just farewelled some wonderful friends who dropped in unexpectedly and stayed two days. We hadn't seen them in over 2 years, so had much catching up to do. Ate far too much, drank a little, laughed way too loud and shared many memories. The kids rode horses and pigs, chased chooks, played footy and at night collapsed exhausted into bed.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Some Days are Diamond


I wasn't even born when our sisters burnt their bras and demanded equality. And as much as I admire their conviction and applaud their achievements, I have days when I'd be happy to revert to a simpler way of life. A time when men went out to do battle with the elements and the lady of the house stayed home and was exactly that. Some days I'd rather not have to pull on my work boots, but instead pad around the house in my slippers picking up a few toys, making a few beds, washing a few dishes and ensuring dinner was in the oven when the man of the house returned.

Instead I find myself heading out every morning to feed bulls, cast an eye over some cows, run lick, check waters, move irrigators, needle recips, AI heifers, feed chooks, pigs and dogs and still ensure dinner is in the oven when the man of the house returns. And some days it all runs smoothly and the jobs that have to be done are done with ease. But some days are stone. Some days the travelling irrigator has lost the urge to travel, some days a calf has been rudely deposited into a molasses trough, some days a trough float has become dislodged and let forth 30,000 gallons of water into the surrounds, some days the sale bulls manage to lift a gate off its hinges and become acquainted with the AI heifers, some days the weaners find it all too frightening being out in a big paddock on their own, so take out a couple of panels of fence overnight, some days a newborn baby calf can't work out which end of its mum to get a drink from.......and it's on these days I wish for a little less equality, and a whole lot more chivalry.

But as the bank manager won't allow our man of the house to stay home and play farmer, the equality shall continue. And our three girls and boy will grow up all the better for it. Dinner might be late making it to the table some nights, we often sleep in beds that haven't been made, sometimes you need to wear your socks in the house to stop the dirt sticking to your feet, but mum and dad respect each other and what each has to do, and that's real equality.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Don't Fence Me In


The Camp Cook

The Result
It seems the best part of fencing is "tucker time", at least according to the team. Hot damper and golden syrup for smoko, Master Chef can't compete with that. The most difficult part is curtailing the kids from adding too much timber to the dinner fire - with the amount of dry feed around these parts at the moment, we'd be lucky to contain it before it reached Bredbo.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Weekend in Review

Lunch

"You can do it"

A marsupial find

Wattle they think of next

One day down...


They say time flies when you're having fun - I'm a firm believer it does even when you're not.

A full weekend was enjoyed/endured by all.

Molasses delivered.
Kids vege garden planted.
Weaners tailed out of yards for first time.
Hay mowed......nearly. (machinery breakdown).
3 km of boundary fence started.

The big fella has taken a week off 'paid work' to get this fencing done, so all hands were on deck at one of the 'rougher' ends of the place. Hopefully some completed fence photos will be available to share by the end of the week. Got a good start today, kids are all in bed exhausted. We won't be far behind!

Friday, 3 July 2009

It's a Numbers Game


110 km's to town.
7 sibling disputes.
3 phonecalls from Daddy.
2 choruses of 'Leave him in the Longyard'
4 games of "I Spy"
6 changes of CD
1 toilet stop
...and we were in town.

Now we're home.
Thankfully.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

There's Nothing to Eat


We're obviously overdue for a town trip. The kids are spending a lot of time in front of the pantry. The dishwasher's been running on dishwashing liquid for over a week, the bread machine had to come out of hiding today, and we're all a little sick of Shrek toothpaste.
So tomorrow sees an early start and a two day town trip. As well as several sibling disputes, spilt milkshakes, wasted bought sandwiches and much discussion of how much Wallace hates shopping, there will be some holiday haircutting, new school shoe purchasing and some additions to the winter wardrobes.
And most importantly, as is apparently part of the double-digit deal, there will be some ear-piercing.

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