Sunday, October 28, 2012

ho hum

Went all winter with hardly a sniffle really, and then like ninepins, in fourth term, they have fallen...biggest one declined to be photographed in what was hardly her finest hour...2IC found mum's bed quite comfy for a nap, thank you very much. Even though I had the rest of the bed covered in rejected clothing as part of my big ruthless, and realistic cull. Big girl Saturday, middle on Wednesday.

This one below though, prefers to do all of his upchucking nocturnally on Saturday night, which is terribly inconvenient to his mothers sleep patterns.

And of course, with about as much condition on him as a Kenyan marathon runner  hardly needs a day off his feed, has struggled all day and laid about looking pale and interesting (although it could well be the start of the male condition Man Flu)

His beloved collection of cars did not even tempt him, even though I tipped them over just so, allowing them to tumble slightly out of their bag (mesh peg back, has been the Best Place for storing, and carting about, a little boys favourite toys).

With luck, this week will bring far better health - and less need for sourcing non holey, suitable containers in the wee hours. (ie NOT a colander)

Must add Detol to my shopping list. Have run out in my disinfecting frenzy in the wee hours.  Hooroo.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Its that time of year, when we sell the bigger male cattle, for a host of reasons that I won't go into, but basically because 1. the money is good and 2. they aren't going to get any fatter from now on in and 3. money is required to keep the rest of the cattle enterprise chugging along. Bills to pay. You know the drill.

You may remember, the last steer mustering operation earlier in the year did not go as smoothly as one would hope. So this time around it was greeted with a little apprehension and worry. We booked our mate the chopper pilot in advance (last time we had hoped to not require his services) to flush the rascally steers out of the thick timber. Bigger steers, a bit like milking cows, seem to get rather opinionated about what they want to do (or not) but this time things went like clockwork. Our chopper pilot, an experienced cattle man, had the steers poking out of the woodworks very nicely, and advised the men on the ground to park up and let him do the work, and before they knew it, the steers were in the holding paddock, barely an hour after the chopper took to air. The men on the motorbikes then took control and and hour and a bit later the steers were in the yards. All well before smoko, my arrival on the scene half way home was hardly even warranted. I could have SLEPT IN!

IMG_1351 I made this terribly exciting little video from the back of the mob. Just imagine this scene over a few hours in the hot sun, and that pretty much covers a morning or afternoon walking cattle in. Of course, things can get a little bit more hurried from time to time, however this is how you WANT it to be! Nice and steady.

We had time for a most leisurely smoko before the drafting and weighing commenced. My job was hardly taxing.

IMG_1366Sitting in the shade, reading and recording the weights. Occasionally I had to get off my bum and open and shut a gate, or persuade a reluctant customer to enter my office. It was hard work, I can tell you.

IMG_1364Not all as big as the fellow in the crush, but still not too shabby.

IMG_1367Four decks (two double decked trailers) were loaded this morning (I would have taken photos, but I was permitted to stay home, and sleeping in trumps taking photos any day!) and at some stage this evening these boys will board a southbound train, landing in Fiona's neck of the woods.

And I look forward to seeing the cheque in the mail :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bits and Bobs

yes, still here, no excuses, just laziness, pure and simple.

I attempted to try my hand at getting some photos of the kids, being inspired by the photographer in my last post. Was not successful. I admit though, I tried this a little early in the afternoon, the light was quite harsh. 

IMG_0963and the subjects? well.

IMG_0970   and maybe this one wasn't so bad, but it still doesn't have that...glow and crispness that I would love to achieve.

Then I tried these, a bit later in the afternoon another (obviously cooler) day. I have a favourite, that sort of comes close to what I was try to do, which is yours?!

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In other news, we brought in the neighbour's milkers when they were away, and ran not only the dogs, but their pig as well. Pig was more use in getting cows than dogs. And our Wally now thinks he is quite the Cow Dog, although Cow would really like to grind him into the ground for yipping at her heels. Milking cows get QUITE opinionated about things, I've found.

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We also went for a ride, helping uncles bring in some cattle. Our presence was vital to the operation of containing the wild herd.

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Georgie had to ride poor old Charm, dragged out of retirement whilst Mum mounted up on the new pony to give him a tuning. New pony did not step a foot wrong, so any previous naughtiness we hope was a temporary aberration.

IMG_1342 This pair decided to build a cubby house on the lawn using a set of sheets (purloined from the laundry, waiting to be washed) and the outdoor setting chairs. Here they are enjoying breakfast (as you do) at their new abode. They did request to sleep out there, but that would have lasted 2.5 seconds before someone got skeered.IMG_1000 I currently am in the office, calculating my BAS, having been reprieved from drafting cattle duties today. Am watching via NAFI a fire raging to our north (and am quietly thankful it wasn't us again) causing a great deal of damage, with much loss of infrastructure and grazing land. Report HERE as well.

Hi de ho. This is not getting my BAS finished.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

what I could have done

instead of going to the Gold Coast for part of the school holidays, is stayed a little closer to home and gone to a very special camp for bush kids, held at a little know gem called called Cobbald Gorge. A long way from anywhere, but then again, the people who attend this camp live a long way from anywhere.

Organised by a dear friend of mine and her mother, and with the backing of Scripture Union (who supply the Chaplains to most schools in the north) the camp which is in its third or fourth year, was devised for bush children to access support and services and plain old fashioned FUN not normally easily accessed for those in remote areas.


The camp, run over four days, is almost free for participants, with most of the tutoring and activities supported by grants and fundraising.  Covering things as intensive swimming lessons and life saving, fun sporting and craft activities (often with expert instructors brought in)  and full on socialising for not only the children but the parents (many mum orientated activities) it also has a more serious side. Mental and physical health are also targeted with a psychologist and other like professionals also present at camp.

The ABC's rural report Charlie McKillop did a most wonderful report and interview HERE well worth listening to, and explains the camp in far better words than I can. And more information HERE, some great coverage.

Camp Cobbald this year, among other things, had a wonderful photographer present (free of charge) who took photos of each and every family present, giving each family a disc of their images. Given that there were around 160 people there, covering 30 families, this was a rather big undertaking over the four days of camp, but the images are stunning. I was so impressed with the quality of the images from Agi Davis Photography, and I have Kat's permission to share some of these stunning images, and some of the other attendees, here. What a wonderful thing for each family to get (doesn't Agi have a wonderful grasp of lighting, I just love her photos)

_AGI3902 copy

_AGI3937 copy _AGI8748 copy

_AGI7196 copy  _AGI3851 copy

And after much gentle nagging to attend the camp each year, and even (OMG) teach a class or two (its taken me three years, but I think I have something in mind now) I have agreed that we will indeed come along next year in the second week of the September school holidays, and might even take The Husband along. If you listened to the interview, you'll know of course that dad are welcome, and this might well be the sort of holiday that will run rings around any sort of Gold Coast type adventure (which wouldn't be hard, if it weren't for the cars and too many people down there, the place would have been brilliant, snort ).

And I've said it before, who said there was nothing to do in the bush?

Friday, October 12, 2012

photo shoot, of a special kind

Whilst on the subject of horses, this I must share.  We have, in our little township, a great bunch of families and their animals, the animals we all know nearly as well (or more so) than their owners. One in particular is Redman, a horse that is known and loved far and wide for his great personality, gentle nature, big heart and ability. Bred with the famous (or should it be infamous) Taffy bloodlines, old Red really is one of a kind. Red has won campdrafts, brought Santa to school on numerous occasions, mustered innumerable cattle and had many a don't-tell-mum adventure with his boys (and even taken me on a memorable dash through the wattle after a wayward cow many years ago, and let me tell you, I wasn't driving the ship, Red knew what was up and I was just there for decoration!)

And so it is with heavy heart that his junior owners, and the rest of us, are bidding him farewell, as their dad has decreed that its time for him to retire and be shipped north to his brother and young family, to teach the youngsters there a thing or two. But before he leaves, we took the opportunity to take some photos with the dear old bloke.

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We had a bit of fun, with the youngest Toby, showing his tricks and a bit of bareback action (Red being well known for having any number of kids riding him bare back down to get in the milker, and also a wicked sense of humour in giving his young drivers some interesting rides from time to time.)

The middle photos below is of  his daughter Red Rose, who has inherited his temperament, although can get a tad more cranky than him. Although being a million months in foal, I can't say I blame her :)


  IMG_0827 the boys playing about, with Red's daughter Red Rose (from his younger glory days as a stallion)

Toby had some fun cantering around on old Red, who was feeling a bit frisky with all of the attention, his canter had a fair bit of spring and attitude about it.


Red was soon over all of this modelling photography malarky, and as soon as the bridle strap slipped over his ears, he took off back around the side of shed to see if, by chance, there was anymore breakfast in his tub. Red is also well known for his love of feed and his efforts in obtaining feed. Feed including that meant for other animals such as cats, dogs and pigs. He's non-discriminatory, old Red.

He will be missed.

See you, Red.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

mosey on by, cowgirl

IMG_0703Brought the old stalwart and the new boy back into town for the last few days of the school holidays...this one had to be removed from annoying them all day long, and was found out with them most mornings before breakfast. I know not how she got up there...

IMG_0700Old Benny not overly impressed about being harassed without the sweetener of bread or other delicacies. Thankfully cowgirl was smart enough (or was it the new pony smart enough to keep away from her?) not to play solo on the new pony.

 IMG_0705Old Ben is nearly unflappable, despite the feeling he might have a frog like child on his back....never has a horse stepped on a float with such enthusiasm when it was time to go back to the big paddock. (she has that affect on me too, Benno) The new boy too was keen to go, quite pleased to be rid of the heavier mum off his back and no longer asking him to do shocking things like be lunged  and stop, straight away (fancy). Thankfully, heavier mum means less inclination to get all frisky and pig-jumpy, an activity that mum is rather NOT impressed by.

School has been back a million years a week already, and the count down til the end of year celebrations has begun, and the long summer school holidays. Is it me, or do those summer holidays seem to feel shorter and shorter every year?

Monday, October 8, 2012

ahoy me hearties

Alternately titled "who needs a swimming pool anyhow?"

One afternoon in the last few days of the school holidays, The Husband built what he calls a Pirate Ship for the kids, which means he found some bits of junk bound for the rubbish dump stuff and placed just so on my vegetable garden troughs (currently sans vegetables of course).  The kids thought this was BRILLIANT, with planks to be walked, and holds and steering wheels,  and their favourite part, the old bathtub he added as the Pirate Ship Dingy. To which they said "NO! its our pirate ship POOL!!" Ok, so this pirate ship is sounding more FairStar than Pirate, but whatever, kept em happy and amused and not whining in their mother's ear.

IMG_0723(and yes, you might be forgiven if you thought it looked like the rubbish dump already, but Husband would be terribly offended at the slur on all of his Good Stuff: pallets from the pallet pile, lumps of very heavy and ridiculously expensive channel iron saved for a job yet to be decided, empty MIG wire spools, etc.)

They even added a flag, interpretive spelling and all.IMG_0724

IMG_0725IMG_0716 IMG_0720

IMG_0719yes indeed, who needs a swimming pool.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Adventure is out there!

  a phrase that #2 says often, which I thought came from Toy Story, but in fact today realised came from my favourite Up!.

Anyhoo, adventure indeed we have had and are still (well adults, probably not kids) recovering from the rigours and stress of said adventures.  The first Sunday of the school holidays we packed ourselves up, and headed to Townsville to catch a plane to Brisbane. Being super organised for once, we were down there three hours before we had to be, and with a spare kid in tow (long story) what else to do but take them to Castle Hill (along with every other person deciding to torture themselves by walking up it) for a drive.

The breeze and the view from the top was gorgeous.

IMG_1210and we even got one of those exceedingly rare photos, the only one for the whole trip:

IMG_1216He didn't look so happy after he climbed a set of steep stairs to another look out after the kids (and neither did I!) but it was good training for what was to come the next day!

Finally on the plane without loosing any kids, and at 9:40 and a bit we arrived in Brisbane, with scant time to make it to the connecting train to the gold coast. It was a most dignified and stress free (snort) gallop through the airport trying to find our way to the AirConnect terminal but we made it with four minutes and time to pee spare.  At 11:30 we arrived in Nerang, met by a nice driver (worth every cent, the AirConnect door to door service) and by 12:15 all kiddies were tucked into bed, husband snoring and me cleaning my teeth and winding down. No idea why I was stressed ;-)

Day One on the Gold Coast was for Wet and Wild, and we caught up with the rest of our group (including mother of spare kid) who collected us in their hired coaster bus. Best idea ever. And highly entertaining, maybe not so much for the driver nor the rest of the Gold Coastians, with a bus load of bushies on the road!



not so many photos from wet n wild, as a parent had to go with the kids on most of the rides.  We were lucky and were able to go on most of them at least once...and OMG. THE STAIRS. Oh, the stairs. Torture oneself climbing to MtbloodyEverest for 40 seconds of wweeeee down the other side. Whose silly idea was this anyhow?

IMG_1223 All of the mums went on this rather tame ride, which probably would have gone a lot faster of there weren't so many mum sized bums in the boat. ;-)  We took great delight in watching the men go on some of the more "exciting" rides (ie plain silly) and then all went on The Black Hole, which is as about much fun as it sounds, especially if you have a slight issue with closed in dark spaces. I didn't really think I did until after that wretched thing, and I don't think my boy (who I had my legs tightly wrapped around, sitting in front of me on the tube thing) was too excited about it either. Luckily for me, who was about over it by this stage, a stormed rolled in and we excited in the pouring rain and headed home.

With sore calf muscles ;-)

Off to Seaworld the next day.It was OK. Gazillions of people. Saw the seal show, the kids loved it. Clever critters.



Went on the mono rail, bit ho hum. Went and saw the dolphin show.

IMG_0565which was pretty cool.  Took lots of dodgy dolphin photos.

There were so many people there at Seaworld, the line ups for the few rides was ridiculous, and Angus couldn't go on many. He had to watch the rollercoaster (girls loved it, mum thought it ok but had to close her eyes when upside down, Georgie though said later she was worried she was going to SPLAT) and the jet ski thing, which was akin to a very very very very  fast four wheeler ride but wasn't worth the 40 minute wait to do so. Gus got to go on the Viking ship thing which seemed pretty tame but got a smile out of him! The kids liked the Dinosaur Walk...and the fairy penguins were very cute, and we did see, at a distance, a polar bear. And some more dolphins. And a whole lot more people.



We went home via an invigorating (ie COLD) walk on the beach near our unit.

 IMG_0659  IMG_0653

IMG_0663and the braver big kids and their dads hit the water. We don't get surf or waves like this in FNQ! This mother did not allow her kids in the water, fearful of a rip that the lifeguard mentioned!

Wednesday was our "day off" and the mums went shopping to Harbourtown and Trevor in his wisdom took my kids hiking down the road to Pacific Fair in search of a milkshake. They tell me they did not enjoy that adventure. A sleep time was enforced for the afternoon and I tackled the monster that is Pacific Fair myself to get some groceries.

Thursday was Movie World, which would have been pretty good apart from ALL OF THE PEOPLE!  Angus finally got a rollercoaster ride (the little kids one) and a "freaky" ride at the Scooby Doo ride. And after an hour and 15 minutes in line (they are clever and HIDE the length of the line behind walls and bends and the like) we went on the Wild West ride which is a ride in a boat in a canal that takes one through an old west town and ended with a steep fast descent and a big splash.

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Husband and mates and big boys went on some redunkulous roller coasters and came back a little pale looking. By 3pm we were all weary of the place and headed home to pack up.

Bright and early the next morning we were waiting at the front of our units to be collected, and a white stretch limo pulls up across the road. We looked at with interest, wondering if someone important was staying across the road, but the driver very cheerfully called out to us that indeed, he was there to collect US. We have now sat our bums on the same leather that Hugh Jackman has.

We journeyed by train with little event back to the airport, and after checking in (and shuffling of baggage around, god knows how my carefully packed bags gained weight, even though I sent stuff home with the others that were driving!) we had time for breakfast and toilets on three DIFFERENT occasions, and did not have long to wait for our plane. Taking the slower, cheaper flight home meant we stopped in Rockhampton (off loaded everything, sat in Rocky airport for 20 minutes then got back into our same seats) but got great views out the window. And the kids got a bonus "blast off" (as Gus calls it) take off and landing, the most exciting part.

And so these not so seasoned travellers finally got home sweet home by around 9pm that night, by the time they breathed in fresh air, had something to eat, replenished supplies to take home and relished the carefree driving in Townsville. I'm not sure one could term this as a refreshing holiday, more of an adventure. One that I feel we have no need to repeat any time soon ;-)

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