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Monday, 30 November 2009

Dear Santa

Hoping this finds you and yours all well in your Winter Wonderland. I trust the season has been a little kinder in your northern clime than it has here in this great southern land.

I've no doubt you are in receipt of many letters at the moment, but hope you might find the time to cast a wise eye over my requests.

This year, above all else we would like 12 inches of rain.
Not all at once.
Preferably over about four days would be most suitable.

If this is too large an ask, you could possibly arrange:
a B-double of hay
52 tons of molasses, and
24 tons of grain.

Again, if this is out of the question, then maybe the following would be of some assistance in getting us through this trying time:

8 bottles of Rum
10 cartons of XXXX Gold, and
1 bottle of Tequila.

Wallace is in desperate need of a 'Buzz Lightyear' with green retractable wings, I re-iterate the greeeen wings. For the past two years you have most generously provided him with Buzz Lightyear's, but unfortunately the 'greeeen' wings seems to be the sticking point. The 'retractable' also seems to be quite important. But I think first and foremost if we can aim for the 'greeeen'. If all else fails, let me know, and I'll do some work with a texta the night before.

Sally would like a slithering robotic snake and large hairy spider, both preferably remote-controlled, so she can attempt to scare her long-suffering mother at the most inopportune moment.

Sarah is at a loose end. She's at that age where toys just don't cut the mustard, but she's not quite ready for the grown-up stuff. It doesn't help that her techno-phobic parents won't allow electrical devices into her room. If there's anyway you could provide her with her own bedroom, that would be most suitable, in her mind at least. Failing that, if it would be possible to relocate at least two of her younger siblings for a short period of time I know she would be most grateful.

Jessie is fairly easily pleased. She doesn't want her mother or father to spend any money this year as she understands money is being poured into drought fodder at the moment. She explained to me that you (Santa) would have it covered. That's a great relief to us.

Please note, that we will endeavour to leave some lucerne on the front yard for your reindeer, but in light of the fact that over 30 wallabies are currently descending on our garden nightly in a vain effort to steal a little green grass, please be forewarned there may not be much hay left for your most worthy sleigh-motors. Please help yourself to the rather meagre haystack in the far shed. Your own beer and bikkies will be safely guarded inside the house.

In the meantime we will look forward to meeting with you at one of the local shopping centres during school holidays.

Until then.
Kind Regards.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Smokin'

Had I been asked last week what I thought this contraption was, I would have had to say I had no idea. Or hang on, is it a mailbox?


But of course, now I know it is a state-of-the-art Matthew-made 'Texas-Barbecue-Smoker'.

Of course.

Note the various levers that must be in just such a position for the best result.

Our smoker had its inaugural run on Sunday evening.



Let's just say I'm not pulling the Chef wall oven out anytime soon.

But this little beauty is going to be a major contributing factor in the production of bacon, hams and all manner of smoked goodies in the months to come.

Quick, somebody go throw Charlotte another feed.


Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Pig Shuffle

Last weekend saw much pig-relocating taking place. Somewhat different to moving cattle, pigs require much sweet-talking, gentle coaxing, a trail of bread crumbs, very Hansel & Gretel-ish.

The unexpected arrival of piglets caused much of the fuss, as we hurriedly separated this little family group, fearing for their safety.

Mama Pig and Boots have since been moved to their own paddock, boasting their own sprinkler system (necessary during our current bout of 40 degree days).

Socks & Co are sharing a paddock with two young males (destined to lose some of their 'maleness' this weekend).

And poor, poor Charlotte is in solitary confinement, awaiting her final journey to the Christmas table.

....I do wish the children wouldn't name them.



Thursday, 19 November 2009

When Cowgirls become Schoolgirls

Today my baby became a schoolgirl.
Orientation Day for the Prep Class of 2010.
Thankfully it was compulsory for Mummys to also attend.
I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for this yet.


But I think she is.

So I'll have to be.


And she's got a fairly good team of "looker-afterers".
I know they'll keep an eye on her.




I'm just not sure who's going to keep an eye on me.

The Turtles have Spoken

Part of our early morning ritual, as well as coffee, involves checking weather sites to see what the Weather Gods have in store for us. As the dry continues we've taken to checking them morning and night. The models tend to change radically in a twelve hour period, sometimes they really mess with your head. Last night the ten day forecast showed up to 200 mm of rain falling in our area by the end of next week. This morning it's showing less than 20 mm. I wish they'd give us a positive outlook every morning, whether it's right or not. Nice to start the day feeling positive. Especially those days when you have to shoot a calf, drag a dead heifer out of a molasses trough, put down the kids' pony. Those days you need every little bit of positive you can get. It's what gets you through.

But... the turtles have spoken. They're moving to higher ground. Not here. There are no turtles on this place. No ground water left whatsoever. But not far north of us we've been told they're heading high. Can only mean one thing. Rain within two weeks. The turtles have spoken.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Makin' Babies


Today saw the start of our donor-needling program.

A torrid time for the dear girls as they endure four days of morning and evening jabs.

They are so very tolerant and well-behaved. By Day Four they almost line themselves up for you.

Actually that's not always the case. Two Christmases ago we were heading down to the beach for a few days break. We'd lined our donors up, they were to be AI'd on the Tuesday evening, we were heading off for the beach next day, returning to flush the following week.

The very last cow up the crush (a big giant of a cow who just happens to be in this group we're needling now) kicked back at the gate, slamming it into my face. My first concern was my teeth, as blood gushed down my chin. After a quick feel that all teeth were still firmly in place my attention turned to my forehead which was throbbing and an ostrich-egg sized protrusion was well .....protruding.

By next morning when we set off to the beach, the protrusion had somewhat subsided, but as a reminder of the occasion I had two great black eyes and a busted lip. Looked much like a racoon that had taken on a Ford Louisville and lost. Spent my whole holiday in dark glasses and floppy hat skulking in corners, hiding myself from the crowds who kept glaring at Matthew.
Here's hoping there'll be no such repeat performances this week.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Saturday

Today saw the young'uns partake in a little 'general maintenance'. Car-cleaning - inside and out.


I hope that's not my house broom Jess!

By the way, "Where's your brother?"


"I thought it was about time Sal learnt to ride without trainer wheels Mum".

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

...and then it Rained

Whilst not drought-breaking, we've enjoyed 34 beautiful "listen-to-it-on-the-rooftop" millimetres (136 points) of rain in the past twenty-four hours. Maybe not drought-breaking, but very spirit-lifting. And it hasn't gone yet.

On the strength of it, we plunged straight into our first ET program of the year today, with CIDR's inserted into recips and donors, first phase of a program to flush on Saturday, November 28.

It's been a lovely feeling to flick mud off your boots at the back door.





Meanwhile Sally's spent most of the day searching for tadpoles. Won't have it that they need longer than twelve hours for eggs to be laid, hatched and tadpoles emerged. It'll take a braver soul than me to argue with her!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Drought





...stinks!!!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

One Each plus a Spare

Socks, our youngest breeding sow presented us with five squealing bundles of joy yesterday morning. Haven't sighted the children since.

With mother Socks and father Boots, what could you expect the youngsters to have been named other than: Topboots, Gumboots, Slippers, Stockings and ......... Patchy. One of those kids is either not very footwear-savvy, or just a non-conformist.


After explaining repeatedly to the children that Socks is a first-time mother and may be very protective of her newborns and that they must remain cautious and wary around her at all times, it would appear that Sally at least took note.



Our much-awaited rain-event came and went last night, with not so much as a shower over our heads. Those "in-the-know" tell us it will be Christmas before our turn comes. Those 'here-in-the-know' know that if we have to wait until Christmas we'll have dead cattle and a concerned bank-manager.

Last year was a dream-season, over 3 inches in October, seven and a half in November, seven in December, five for January and eight for Feb. Followed by a long dry spell. We've never gone this long before.

I believe our turn is coming.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Winners are Grinners


Whilst I didn't manage to back the winner of yesterday's Melbourne Cup, I did make it to the winner's circle. Glammed up in our best racing attire, about 70 other local ladies and myself headed for Marlborough Hall for a wonderful day of drought-forgetting festivity, including a beautiful morning tea and lunch, chilled champagne, fashion parades and the 'delayed telecast' of the big race.

Purchasing my 'age' on the lucky number board proved to be a very smart move. Never have I been more grateful to be 39, when my number was drawn and I was announced winner of '2 nights accommodation in a two bedroom, two bathroom lagoon apartment' at 'Beaches on Lammermoor'. So as soon as it rains, you won't see us for dust, figuratively speaking. Still haven't wiped the smile off my face.

I also had the opportunity to model an 80 year old beautiful satin wedding gown, belonging to the mother of one of our local residents. With approximately 140 buttons and hoops down the back of the dress, it was quite an effort getting into it. Can only imagine the impatience of getting out of it on wedding night!

On another bright note, a load of replacement molasses is arriving tomorrow morning. No guesses how I'll be filling in my day.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

No Place Like Home


After moving mountains to get away to the Gold Coast for a birthday celebration for Matthew's beautiful younger sister Saturday night, we were happy to walk into our magnificent room at the Sheraton Mirage. Dumping luggage, Matthew was quick to make us a drink, jump on the super-sized bed and hit the TV remote to find MacGyver screening. No siree, it just don't get better than this.

After a magnificent evening, followed by a super-sized buffet breakfast-cum-lunch we rolled ourselves back onto the plane for the trip home. What a wonderful time we had and even though only one night, it provided a great escape from the harsh reality of home at the moment. It also made me realise I would never trade my lifestyle. Well except maybe some of that soft clear shower water which lathers soap like I could only dream about. Or maybe the King sized bed just made for four squirming kids to squeeze in between Mum and Dad. Or maybe more of those 9:30 breakfasts.

But the people, oh the people, nothing wrong with the people, just soooo many of them. All crammed into a very small space. It was refreshing to touch-down in our hometown, and look out across the tarmac at a dry dusty vista all the way back to the mountains. Not a high-rise in sight. And then to bump into 3 people you know at the airport. That didn't happen in the south.

After a week which included losing a tank of molasses, putting down one of the kids' horses, two flat tyres and a speeding ticket (don't look at me), it was a most welcome break.

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