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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Nutritional Balance

Despite the ever-presence of smoke on the horizon in recent days and weeks, and the impending threat of neighbourhood fires, we just weren't going to get away without having a marshmallow-toasting exercise these holidays.


The children have had their eye on a large pile of my pruning debris in recent weeks, and it seemed we could stall them no longer.
The resulting towering inferno really needed to be seen to be believed, flames leaping thiry feet in the air, causing plants in a nearby garden bed to wither and even Dad's recently acquired rain guage (Happy Father's Day) to melt considerably.


Several hours later, with chores completed, we were left with a pile of coals, perfectly conducive to expert marshmallow-toasting.


Of course, marshmallow toasting at dusk, whilst fun, is not to be recommended to those families who would like their children to eat a more nutritionally balanced dinner.


Sometimes though, we throw the rule-book out the window in school holidays.


Even Dad tried a few with a cold beer.  Again, not recommended.


And so, with our fire safely extinguished, sticky fingers and bellies full of sugar, we retreated inside to review the food pyramid with the children.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Monday, 26 September 2011

Run, Forrest, Run

I was that kid at school sitting on the benches while her classmates ran, jumped, hit, caught, leapt, cartwheeled, swam, threw, bowled, kicked or hurdled.
I was that kid with the Mum with RSI in her wrist from writing notes to the Phys. Ed teacher explaining why Fiona was unable to participate today.
"Could Fiona please be excused from Physical Education today as her knee is giving her trouble";
"Could Fiona please be excused from Physical Education today as she's not feeling well".

While the reasons behind my inability to participate in these sporting sessions are probably fodder for psycho-therapy, rather than a blog post, let's just say that in an attempt to right these wrongs from my past, the past three months I have participated in the 'Couch to 5K' challenge.


The program endeavours to haul couch potatoes from their lazy prostrate comfort zone, and have them running five kilometres (in thirty minutes), by the end of the nine week program.  Whilst I have never considered myself to be of the couch potato ilk, I did have a healthy disdain for running, unless being chased.

In my youth as I drove into town, I would chuckle at the hordes of joggers pounding the pavements, lamenting the fact that they obviously didn't work hard enough in their day jobs.  My physically intensive choice of work didn't leave leftover energy for the likes of purpose-less running.

And now while I still keep myself rather physically active in my day-to-day doings, middle age is contributing to a layer of padding around my middle that requires tougher strategies every year in an attempt to move it.


So, at 5:30 most mornings, I don the sneakers and head out to run four laps of our front house paddock.  My attire has altered a little since I began, the Ariat lace-up work boots replaced by Saucony running shoes, the Akubra work hat replaced by a cap (aerodynamically superior), and the second glances by passing vehicles are not nearly as incredulous.

Living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks, next year I'm thinking of swimming the English Channel.
Or maybe I'll stick to mastering the art of baking macarons.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Another Weekend Down

We've been a little busy.  Nothing new.  And no complaints.

Bulls are being readied for sales in only a week's time, which means veterinary visits for semen-testing, muscle-scanning, and just because we like working under pressure, Matthew has decided to lift the vet-crush to install new scales.  The vet-crush being the life-blood of this operation, it's even where I milk my cow, which won't be happening for some time at this rate.  Cattle also work through the vet crush to the loading ramp, so bulls won't be leaving until installation is complete.  And people will be taking their coffee black.

Carted more cattle to Bottle Tree yesterday, again young bulls had made their way into the breeders.  After sorting, patching fences and returning bulls to their correct paddocks, one fight left a young bull with a broken back leg.  He had to be put down.  Makes a good, productive day end not so well.
We returned home with a load of heifers to be used as donors, signalling the start of the new breeding season, when the relentless rounds of needling to synchronise donors and recipients starts all over.  Our recipient herd is now running at Bottle Tree and we will flush donors here and transport embryos to there before placing them in their new Mamas.  Well-travelled babies.

Snakes seem to be in abundance this season, with one brown found in the shed this morning.  I upset another earlier in the week, when he copped a dose of poison, meant for the lantana bush he was hiding under.

Our neighbours are trying valiantly to burn us out.  Fire has slowly but surely been working its way through the ranges which adjoin us.  It's been a very slow-moving fire and we have sufficient breaks in place to think it will stop before taking out too much of our country.  The night lights have been quite beautiful.

And today, as reward for the hard work the children have been putting in, we headed south after lunch to enjoy a fishing spot.  Something we talk about often, but rarely get the opportunity to do.


So as the sun set over Herbert Creek, we flicked lures and floated live bait in the hope of snaring a barramundi.

These Wagyu cows came down to keep an eye on proceedings


{Photo for Mare}


Dad was kept busy catching bait fish, with Sally on hand to jump on the lively little blighters.








Unfortunately, despite everyone's best efforts, our haul only included five catfish and two under-sized barra.

Thankfully, the person whose property we were on, had enjoyed a heavy haul earlier in the week and filled our esky with fillets upon departure.

A grand afternoon had by all.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Happy Holiday Tale

Once upon a time, four very spoilt children were gifted a Christmas Cubby House, built lovingly by their Grandfather, then painstakingly painted by their beloved Grandi.


The four very spoilt children loved their cubby house, but would only play in it when their Mummy was by their side.  {Not the outcome Mummy was hoping for}.

Fast forward five years.  The cubby has been used as a guest-house, general dumping grounds for unwanted items, repository for lost hats, shoes and socks and shade-source for the assortment of weeds growing beneath.  Not so much as an entertainment cove for children.

Until these holidays.


When the girls took it upon themselves to spring clean and re-vamp the cubby, then reward themselves with a festive morning tea.


With nasturtiums and murraya as a fitting floral accompaniment.


Jessie's home-cooked mini-doughnuts, patty cakes and carb-loathing Mummy's rissole.
Mmmm.
Lucky Mummy.


Ruby, the pampered pooch was allowed to join the club,


and made herself right at home.


And so as the girls managed to fill in nearly an entire day in their cubby, Mum was able to slip away to complete molasses runs and poison lantana.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Jessie's Joke of the Day

What did the farmer say to the cow with no milk?


You are an UDDER failure!!!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Cattle & Kids

Some days it's just Cattle & Kids.  Hold the Chaos.














Some days it's just Cattle.  Hold the Kids.  And Chaos.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

A Weekend Review

Dad spent the weekend trucking cattle between Rock Wallaby and Bottle Tree (or BeetleTree as we've taken to calling it ... I don't know why).
Wallace is in town with his grandparents learning the finer arts of fish-wrangling and crab-tying.  Grandad insistent they may need to buy heavier guage rope, as baling twine just won't be strong enough to tie the monster crabs they're going to haul in.  We'll wait and see.
So while Dad trucked and Wallace crabbed, we girls spent our time gathering and drafting cattle in readiness for the truck, keeping an eye on the gate, racing to the yards to help him load, ensuring a fast turn-around for the old Acco.
In between times we dabbled in a little cooking;


a little dog-washing;


with Ruby suitably unimpressed;


a little gardening;




including some short back and sides for some out of control shrubbery;


even a little overdue room-cleaning.


And finally, as I'm often prone to do, even my clothes-line threw its hands in the air at the amount of laundry we had to deal with.


Now, for two weeks of school holidays. 
Bliss!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Hockey 1, Hockey 2 ...

Thursday morning saw an early rise before we headed west to participate in the second annual inter-school hockey carnival for the three small schools in our region.  Team sports are something of a novelty for these young students whose school populations unfortunately don't stretch far enough to produce 'teams'. 


Our resident Policeman's wife, herself a much esteemed hockey player, very graciously offered to train our youngsters, equipping them with some valuable skills they'll be sure to take forward with them into secondary school.

With Junior teams (Prep to Yr 3) and Senior teams (Yr 4 to 7) playing, it was a long, hot day.


Wallace captained the Junior team to victory, then doubled up to play in the Senior team as well ...


and came home with a nice little memento for his efforts.  (Mother head swell alert).


Sal was in Wallace's team, and so shared the spoils.

The Senior team was also victorious, but at the end of the day I think every child from every school came away having had a great, fun day.


Sarah's games were alternated between goalie and on the field.  Quite the get-up.

Jess on the other hand was still quarantined and had been sent to town to Nanny's.  Ending the week with another doctor's visit and perforated eardrum, we're looking forward to better days ahead.

I shouldn't have made her do that ironing.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

In Sickness and in Health

Last Friday I was called to the school to pick up one very sick young girl.  Pale, listless and with a dreadful headache, she shouldn't have gone to school in the first place, but was adamant she couldn't miss hockey training.  By the time I'd made it into the school, she was joined by older sister, also the colour of porcelain, and cold and clammy to the touch.  Sarah has since recovered from what became a rather nasty head cold.


Jessie on the other hand has been granted an extension to school holidays which are to start this Friday, with a suspected case of Rubella.  Although the worst of the 'sickness' seems to be behind her, she still has some rash appearing.  Although vaccinated, there is apparently still a slight chance of infection occurring.


Fortunately, she's well enough to iron.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Meals on Wheels

Despite a beautiful early break to the season, with four inches of rain falling a fortnight ago, we are still delivering this liquid gold to the girls.


and they love it.


Packed full of vitamins, nutrients and essential elements


it also tastes great.


Don't tell them it's healthy ...


and they'll eat it by the trough-full.

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