Friday, January 31, 2014

Weather Report

Ah, Cyclone Dylan...we had such high hopes for you. Us, and the greater part of NW Qld (and the rest of the state no doubt!). Of course if you have been watching the news, you would be aware that a small cyclone bore down on and crossed the North Qld coast this morning. As cyclones go this one was a fizzer.

Anyhow, its been the closest thing to a rainy day in close to 2 years here, being overcast and mizzly all day (misty stuff you could optimistically call drizzle!), and apparently we have measured around 7mm. LC, being closer to the firing line, has measured around 19mm at the remote monitoring point although who knows how far that has extended. Not a drought breaker, just enough to keep things j u s t ticking along.

But in other news....

IMG_7850 IMG_7853We continued to tail out the poddies, including an afternoon session along the edge of the railway tracks which whilst provided some great fresh green pick, didn't go so well when a sneaky train came along (damn those new fangled quiet engines) and on time to boot (NEVER happens). No danger, no injury but a VERY cranky mum. (idiot children felt the need to get out rain coat during a 3 minute shower of rain that didn't even rate measuring)

IMG_7911We juggled some cattle around, (robbing Peter to pay Paul) in a fairly expensive move, taking cattle from one place (the in laws', half of which we lease) to LC. Not because its still not dry and short of feed there, but because its got a smidge more feed than the other place.

The girls were totally fascinated....I didn't realise it but they have rarely seen a double deck truck load (always at school)  and particularly had never seen one UNLOAD. Normally double deck trailers are carting stock to sale and we don't see them once they leave home either!

IMG_7959 IMG_7962 IMG_7971 IMG_7990We trucked away 8 loose decks of cows and calves, plus a four bulls. One of which didn't want to come off the truck (don't blame him really, I would have been hanging on for that beach holiday myself too mate!)

IMG_8032Australia Day was spent in dropping off hay and collecting horses....and then enjoying a brief afternoon shower of rain (it keeps trying so hard, and just not delivering?!) as we introduced the Lucky Eleven to some electric fence tape. (with great success and much hilarity).

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IMG_8057Unfortunately, Wally the Wonderdog's little wet nose also made contact with the electric fence tape. He took umbrage to this and took quite some coaxing to come back to us, blaming us for the whole thing. He has since also refused to go back anywhere near the paddock, fearing another attack by electric fence tape perhaps? Or was it that we all laughed hysterically at him that he has taken such offence to? Small dog, big ego?

And that wraps up the Summer School Holidays of 2013/14.  We're an optimistic bunch aren't we? are now looking to the next weather influence to break the season. Living on hope.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Walking with poddies

I'd love to be writing here and say its all sunshine and roses, but sadly it isn't. Its looking like it might again forget to rain this wet season. There are people worser off than us, but then we are all getting to where things are only going to get grimmer from now on in. Luckily, we have been fortunate to get under some good showers at the prickle farm (and in the same area) which has taken the pressure off a tiny bit. Currently planning to move MORE cattle there from inlaws place, as its received little to bugger all rain thus far.

Anyhow. Poddies. The lucky eleven that are residing at our house are getting it pretty good. Molasses on tap and a bale of hay to chomp through (or sleep on, the stinkers) and hand mixed feed every evening. Grass however is in short supply apart from my short lawn. So nearly every afternoon the kids and I have been taking them walking. "Tailing them out" around town, where the grass is a bit longer on road side verges and along side rail way tracks. Just to fill their hungry little bellies with some fibre and dry matter.

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IMG_7650IMG_7739I think you get the drift. Its not all hardship, we go out armed with books and magazines, water, iphones, ipods and a selection of matchbox cars, and manage to keep ourselves happily occupied and the poddies in check. They are getting very quiet and well handled, although a couple of exciting skips and bucks towards home were a little bit uncontrolled. Thank goodness for understanding general public driving by!

The kids aren't overly excited about the daily outings to be honest. But it really making them pay attention to the reaction of what the calves do to what they do and how they position themselves. The need for Mum to yell and her desire to throw her hat on the ground and sticks at the kids has lessened dramatically! (if YOU run THEY will run!! GO WIDE (very hard one for them to grasp). Don't push them when they are eating! And and important one, Keep them together when crossing the road! )

We'll be out again this arvo, going slightly further afield (ie across the road!) in our quest for grass, with our hopes skywards for rain filled clouds and eyes watching for cheeky wayward calves (there's always one in every mob, and we are all well aware of the clown in our little herd!).

Before I go: The messages of support you leave are very much appreciated and its heart warming to know that those of us that are going through this drought are being thought of. Thank you.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

School Holidays Thus Far - the Scorching Hot Version

Holy sizzling sausages. We were whining slightly before Christmas that it was warm...but didn't that turn around and slap us up the side of the head with a big ol' "you think THAT"S hot?"...And we aren't even in the truly hot part of the state, by about 3 degrees (and I am not complaining about that!)

Anyhow, its been a low key school holidays thus far for the kids. Thank goodness for my iphone, otherwise I would have no photos of the past few weeks. My camera is away at the camera dr....

We've tailed out weaners, following all of the OHS precautions of course....

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We've swum in the dam topped up by the heavy little storm received there (now quite some weeks ago). My goodness it was...refreshing. The top two feet of water was delicious and warm, the rest....icy. There is a nice little bar of rock extending from the bank into the water, making it a great way to get in and out with a minimum of mud on feet.

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We've caught one of the thousands and thousands of tiny little sand frogs living on the bank of the dam, around the overflow pipe of the tank. They were SO small and so prolific!

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We've spent much time wrangling poddies (current count 12) and building poddy containment centres. They get locked up and fed goodies each evening; as soon as I get up each morning I let them out to forage for what little pick there is in my back paddock and on the lawn. Whipper snippering isn't something I need worry about for a little while. IMG_6853 We took a great number of photos to get the "right" Christmas photo to send to family and friends, whilst feeding weaners (and adventure by itself, dad allowing mum to drive the tractor with the spear into the hay shed. Good news, shed is still standing, as is the tractor. And bonus, no kid were run over either!  He of little faith!!)

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We put up fairy lights. I am yet to find the same enthusiasm to take them down....

We sent kids to work and set kids to work. We baked pav's.

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We waved bye to Dad as he went off to deliver some troughs.

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We wrapped gifts for special people.We (without Dad, who couldn't get away)  rather crazily and adventurously took a flying trip to the City and did some Christmas Shopping. We (or the kids rather) took a dip in the Rockpool and then we had fish and chips for tea on the seafront, followed by gelato on the way back to our motel. (we are now broke from feeding children in the city) 

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We got a new door mat, of which I am inordinately fond of. Also supersized my favourite photo for my room. And started stacking pressies under the ginormous Christmas tree.

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We (ahem, I) decided rashly to oil the kitchen floor two days before Christmas. One of those bright moves. It currently needs two more coats applying.   But it worked really well. Tung oil.

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We've celebrated very, very quietly a birthday of unmentionable age; swum in the pool, chased poddies about, watched movies, gone to town, sweltered in the heat. Helped dad with lick runs and molasses run, helped him snore on the floor in the aircon on a rare day off. We've had dinner late nearly every night as we linger out on the lawn or in the pool in the relative cool of evening.

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And we've also just welcomed a new little niece to the family. Born to my brother and his lovely wife, Violet May arrived on the 2nd of January and appears quite the little cherub. We won't get to meet her until she comes home, as with livestock to care for coming out of our ears, and supremely hot weather, its hard to get away.

Now of course all we need to make it a true summer holiday is some long wet rainy days and mud.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year

Firstly I want to preface this post by saying this: I am not sharing the following images (nor any others before or afterwards) for sympathy. I do as I have nothing to hide;  for sharing with you our life, our trials and tribulations and celebrations and good times. I do it for knowledge - for education is key and if a little glimpse into our part in agriculture helps you understand its not all McLeods Daughters, and that we do whilst is full of joy and a great life, is also hard, dusty and dirty, I'm happy.  And that we all lead the same lives - kids, family, food, even though we are hours from the shops and lovely conveniences. And I also do it for me, cause I'm half sure I am going batty and forgetting stuff. And we need to remember the good AND the bad. Anyhow. Just so you know that. Onwards. I wrote the most of this post below on New Years Day.

I shed a few tears this morning. We got up before daylight (no parties for us last night) to walk some poor cows to the yards, to shift them to where there is a bit more grass on our other place. Two cows never left the paddock though (with sadly a few gone before them); four poddies came home. 

The sunrise, enhanced by smoke from a fire in the district, was special. Count your blessings sort of sunrise. 

My job was to drive the ute, with a fresh bale of hay on board, to encourage the hungry cows to follow me along. It worked. They marched on home in the "cool" of the morning (cool being a relative term in the current conditions throughout QLD!!) like troopers.


I made this short little video after getting home from the yards.

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These were the words I wrote to go with that video, shared on Instagram.

I debated with myself over posting these images, but I've always been about keeping it real. And this IS real. It hasn't rained. Our New Year's Day has in lived a before daylight start, do we could move some weak cows in the "cool" of morning to the yards. We are moving them to our other place, where whilst it's had bugger all rain, there's been some, hopefully the fresher feed will pick them up. And I'll admit, I shed some tears this morning, as two of those cows didn't get up and walk in with their mates. The kids went with grandad to put them out of their misery. Country kids learn about life and death pretty quick. My job was to drive was in the lead with a bale of hay in the back to entice them to walk out. #happynewyear #wishitwouldrain

All we need is rain. (is that a song?) What was that Manilli Vanilli song about the rain...dear lord am I showing my age now?  Anyhow.

 Bring it on.

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