Monday, April 28, 2014

Farmers Holiday (Mark II)

Husband was excited to tell me he was taking me on another holiday, as we finally gathered up the cattle to send on their own holiday Yaraka way. I did consider taking the kids with us as well, but saw reason when I considered 1. six hour drive 2. the swag and bag packing 3. the food quantities that would be needed and 4. the six hour drive. The kids, in their part, were pleased to instead spread themselves out having sleepovers at Grannies and Granmas for the duration.


Trucks were loaded in an orchestrated movement, two decks being collected from one place, before the remaining eight were loaded at the prickle farm. A very dusty endeavour, the back yards being quite powdered up from the bovine traffic, I am told I was quite a sight by the time we finished. My job was to keep feeding (and counting) the right amount of cattle towards the loading ramp. 17 to a pen or 34 to the full deck with the ramp (the top layer, the cattle are split up once the ramp on which they are standing is winched up)


We had smoko with the truckies, I showered off several layers of dust and made myself respectable and around midday we headed off behind the trucks. Didn’t take long for us to catch up to them, and then we drove and drove and drove (via Aramac this time) and drove some more. Seemed to take MUCH longer to get to Yaraka this trip, am sure they shifted it further away.


Our hosts had thankfully teed up the local watering hole that we would be there for dinner, although that must have confused them as Trevor had to take his away, they had forgotten his order. At around 11pm the trucks arrived at the loading ramp, and ever so neatly they all stepped off the truck.  Afterwards the truckies had to talk and talk and talk and talk, I was so tired I went and napped in the ute for this blokefest of tale retelling to be over. Rolled out our swags in the shearing quarters and asleep FINALLY around 1am. My swag was on a shearers stretcher, one that was quite defined in its shape and I woke in the morning wedged into the same position that I’d gone to sleep in!)


Daylight seemed to arrive far too soon, and having forgotten to pack the kettle for the gas stove, our breakfast was alfresco and coffee less then into the yards.


The country and the feed was beautiful. The steers and heifers did not take much controlling, I had to drive them along the laneway so we would get to their paddock at least sometime before dark!

I had time to study the rock formations in the area.




Finally, after around 6km of walking and eating….


and a small moment of adventure crossing some small steep creek channels, which one had to ride carefully through lest one disappeared into a small deep hole hidden in the long grass (I actually dismounted at one point and let husband get my bike across, beyond my skills or desires to try such feats. Our host, mounted on two wheeled bike, looked on cheerfully with interest, having crossed without incident, only to get himself in a tangled heap just metres away afterwards when he hit a big tussock of grass that lept out in front of him).

We arrived!!


Thirsty kiddies were pleased to see the dam, and check out their new digs. Remember TeaLeaf and Mabel the poddies? they are somewhere in this mob.

We settled them in at the dam, many quite happy to sit and camp after their trip of the day before, and big walk that morning. I almost felt a bit sad riding away from them…


Especially as they all stood on the bank (forlornly in my mind) and watched us ride away. Somewhat like leaving kids at boarding school, someone said!

And as we drove homewards that afternoon, somewhat weary and deciding five minutes after we’d left that staying in a motel in Longreach that night sounded AWESOME, I finally got to have a closer look at the post office in Illfracombe. On closer inspection it is indeed built on the same specs as our house but with slightly different building techniques being employed.


And I tell you, that motel in Longreach was indeed comfortable. As was the delicious meal that was delivered to our room (clothing fit for restaurant consumption not packed). Husband said, see I told you we were going on a little holiday…..

I hope the next “holiday” is a little more relaxing?!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Random snippets

Our days are still revolving around animal care mornings and evenings…. and cleaning up the evidence of their presence in between. IMG_9532

Visits to town to have small bumpy things removed and stitches applied were cause for deep breathing by this wuss. (three teeny tiny stitches – I am very much not brave, hence reluctance to visit dentist again)


Sunsets are still being enjoyed, with the change in seasons bringing different lighting to be enjoyed.


Smaller animals give great entertainment as well – the cat kept inching closer to the dog to touch him with his paw, the dog kept moving marginally away from the cat at each touch. HE’STOUCHING MEEEEEEE!


Long overdue visits to an ENT for the boy child were undertaken, with a resulting surgery date booked for adenoid and tonsil removal.


Trips to the city also included the collection of a second hand kitchen (donated by lovely people) for installation under our school for storage and lunch time use, and the newest addition to the work plant. Long discussed and pondered over, we finally chose a John Deere diesel Gator. (super low interest rates also helped in our decision).


Getting back to the animals – Georgie thought she could ride the quietest of the poddies, Hercules. He soon rid her of that misconception – dropped her on her guts on the dirt, luckily she wasn’t hurt in this endeavour as we were busy laughing at her to be of any use if she’d been hurt!


The new workhorse was pressed into service straight away, with a leisurely morning mustering. Kids were quite concerned about driving up the “big hill” but the view was great on a lovely clear day.


And at the end of the day, its all about the animals (again).



And the sunsets Smile

Friday, April 11, 2014

Summary of a month in photos

Such a wonderful thing, the humble little app. There are a few about that will do this, one being Collect and the other that  I use, Project 365. I’ve been so good this year so far. And I LOVE it.

jan 14




So much seems to have happened but its only been three short months already! I do love this little photographic summary of events and am making a conscious effort to make sure I put photos into the app  every few days. Am thinking they will be a great addition to any blog or photo book I make for this year. Speaking of…must crack on …

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Farmers Holiday

Let me preface this post by telling you about the phone call from a most indignant friend, wondering why she was waiting and waiting and waiting for a new post to appear. What else can I say other than I am a slack@rse? That the drought is not only sapping the life out of the land, it appears to have taken my brain and any creative capacity along with it?! (I’m only half joking!)

Anyhow, a few weeks back,The Husband and I went on what he fondly likes to call a “farmers holiday”. A 24 hour trip that had us spend most of it in the front of a landcruiser ute (albeit the new shiny one that goes fast/er and allowed me to plug in my iphone via USB for charging and musical entertainment).


With both road map book and the well thumbed Terrance Alick property map book in hand, we headed into the deep south (well, Central west?) of the state, to view a paddock for agistment. Some of the country we coverered was somewhat familiar, The Husband had been around this area QUITE some years ago in his youth at Ag College, but for me it was entirely new, bringing names only ever seen on paper into reality.

We stopped in Muttaburra briefly to get a coffee, served up by a terribly hung-over and of-little-words cafe proprietor. I only knew of her delicate state as it was gleefully told to me by two cheerfully cheeky local old timers parked up in the cafe. Turns out The Husband went to ag college with the cafe lady.

I missed seeing the wonderful wire sculpture that I know is at Muttaburra and will be checking out properly on the next trip through. Like all little towns, it has history and a story…


Reality is, as discovered with our own eyes, the rain has been indeed been patchy.


We cut from Muttaburra through to Ilfracombe. Finding it rather apt that the topic of recent geography lessons came across our path most unexpectedly not far north of Ilfracombe.



Ilfracombe’s main tourist attraction is the “mile of machinery” – made up of all sorts of vintage machinery all lined up along the main street. The fact that some of these machines are in far better condition that much of our current working plant at our place was not lost on The Husband.


I was quite looking forward to having lunch at the quaint General Store but being 12:15 on a Saturday afternoon it was firmly closed. Not being overly underfed or starving to death, we continued on our journey. And found very quickly were it had indeed rained.


Pressing on, we cruised the main street of Isisford, where I was surprised to see not one but TWO rather well kept pubs, and a small, airconditioned museum and cafe. (where the friendly lady served up a pretty good feed). We had taken our own food, but the flies were atrocious and made the thought of making a ham sandwhich with their help and unattractive prospect.


Again, quite an old town, Isisford contained many old buildings, with informative signage out the front telling of its history. Want more time to wander the street, as as we were leaving I immediately noticed THIS building!


Does it look slightly familiar?!! (down to the pickets along the front edge AND the cement posts? although the awnings are different, or are now at least)

Anyhow, onwards we marched, continually southward to a small little blip on the map called Emmet, which used to be a railway siding back in the day when large mobs of bullocks were loaded on trains out of the Channel Country at Yaraka, which was the end of the line. We turned west at Emmett, and continued onwards towards our final destination, which was not far from Yaraka.

There we found a congenial host and a paddock full of grass just waiting for our hungry little weaners. And surprisingly, “mountains”. Very much like our “jump ups” and escarpments around Winton but twice as high. Deeper part of the old Inland Sea I suppose = higher “edges”?!




As we drove about our host watched some showers to the south and worried that they might reach us before we got back to the house. We laughed. So wrong, goes to show local knowledge is best! And we drove straight through that rainbow. Did not see any barrels of gold though.


We were given the scenic tour home to the homestead away from the storm, touring down town Yaraka, and visiting the one of those mountain outcrops, called Mt Slowcombe. Engineering feat putting a road up the side of this never ending hill, the view from the top spectacular.




Dark by the time we finished the paddock tour, we declined the invitation to dine at the Yaraka Pub and stay the night. We headed back to Ilfracombe where we arrived by 9pm, to find the owner  of the great little caravan park was a former neighbour of The Husbands. (remember > cafe owner above… and now the lady owner of the caravan park?! Much hilarity on my part about The Husband having old girlfriends in every town…) We arrived home, collecting the children from their sleepover on the way, by midday the next day.

So relaxing and restful, the Farmers Holiday.

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