Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Happy Birthday Grandi

Where are you Grandi???

We've been trying to ring all night to wish you Many Happy Returns, and Jessie's very frustrated by having to listen to the automated home messaging message. Unfortunately they all had to turn in. Big day of holiday antics.

Do hope you've had a lovely day. We've been thinking of you, and I'm sure Matthew reached you from wherever he may be this evening. Alpha? Blackall? Longreach. It's one of those.

We'll see you soon. Love and warm wishes.

A Face Not Even a Mother Could Love

This little fella's arrival was not too different from the many others who've been born this season. Not the soft, green surround that we would like for our babies, but instead a dry and dusty landscape that does little to provide a warm welcome to the world. And as he sat up, wrinkled his nose and enjoyed his first breaths of warm air, the dust stuck to his slimy coat and he looked around for his mum. His mother took a brief look, one sniff and turned and walked away.

She never looked back. Obviously had a different life plan.

And so baby got a ride on the four-wheeler that afternoon, slung rather unceremoniously across the seat, bouncing to the yards. His wicked loveless mother got chased to the yards and baby enjoyed his first drink, up the crush. We did this for four days so he could enjoy the benefits of mum's early milk.

Then we introduced him to Olga:

And he fell in love.

And Olga's a very sharing Mummy. And now he has a big sister and a mum who may not totally love him, but at least tolerates him.

...and next time you enjoy a Big Mac you can think of his real Mum.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Pigs, Dust and Spiders

The days seem to be turning into weeks which are turning into months far too quickly at the moment.

Frightening to think half of our school break is already behind us. We've enjoyed a two day town trip, some horse and cattle work, molasses runs (blah, blah, blah), more new calves, a passing dust-storm, some pig-butchering, the arrival of some new pigs, and of course the campdraft committee break-up party Saturday night featuring one of the pigs on a spit.

This little coot could find himself in just that position too if he doesn't stay out of my house-yard. His name is Spider. Your guess is as good as mine.

But he sure is cute when he's asleep.

And no, he's not a Berkshire purebred. He has a good dash of very inferior wild pig in him. A friend of Matthew's thought it a very funny joke to give him to the kids. Friend??
Because of course this little tyke is only about a week old and still needs lots of milk, weetbix, boiled barley and apparently a lot of cuddling.

Which is all very well while the kids are home, but I don't like his chances when they're back at school. Hopefully they'll have Sally sufficiently trained in his care by then.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Brighter Whites & Crisper Coloureds

Have you seen those ads when the Napisan guy knocks at your front door and asks if you have any stains you're having trouble with.

I need to talk to him!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Day 1

First day of school holidays done and dusted.

There were horses to be run in, caught, saddled, hooves trimmed. By which time half the day is spent, and you're left wondering why, why, why didn't we do this yesterday. But the paddock came in. Kids had a lot of fun. Horses were then treated to a shampoo, in a meagre attempt to remove some of the molasses residue coating them at the moment.

Then of course there's the maintenance - saddles to be greased.

But smiles all round.

Tomorrow there's another paddock to come in. Lots of over-protective mamas and baby calves to be tagged. Should be fun!

Friday, 18 September 2009

No More Sleeps

Before you ask, the above photo has absolutely no relevance to anything I'm about to write. I'm just particularly fond of this little fella, and even though he's now several years older, he's still a 'stop and smell the roses' kind of guy. And I'm gonna keep him.

So, 3 o'clock this arvo the bell will ring for the last time, well for a couple of weeks at least. Yee-hah, school holidays are upon us. My favourite part of the year. A pleasant break from:

  • Lost library books
  • Smelly lunch boxes
  • Haven't done my homework
  • Has anyone seen my left shoe
  • Mum, I can see the bus at the gate
  • I can't find my hat

So instead there'll be some horse riding, cow chasing, calf tagging, ending with some bull-selling. Maybe even a little town visiting and pool-swimming.

On a completely different tack, it would appear Glen the boar has hit his straps, with both Mama Pig and Socks showing definitely extended bellies. Who knows when those little tykes will join us, but there will undoubtedly be photos. My understanding of the porcine gestation period is that it is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. How scientific that observation is I'm not quite sure.

Roll on three o'clock.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Come Back Soon

Well, it's true what they say.

Find a little bit of gold, and the rellies turn up.

We've just farewelled Matthew's unashamedly favourite Uncle Ross and the indomitable Aunty Liz. And what a really lovely few days it's been. Unfortunately it didn't end well, with Ross' car not quite high enough off the ground to best handle our 'horrifically in need of repair' road. As they set off yesterday morning on the great southern journey towards their New South Wales home, a wayward rock managed to wreak havoc on the Yaris' underbelly.

So we spent a day hauling a rather bashed about little car into town on the back of a car-trailer we managed to beg/borrow/steal, to be gobsmacked by a $5000 repair quote, and the fact that it would take two weeks to be again roadworthy.

So with Plan Q now underway, Matthew has deposited Ross and Liz at the car-rental office, so they can continue their southbound trek, stopping off for a visit with Matthew's folks, before returning to the deep south. Only to turn around in a fortnight to collect their repaired vehicle.

On the bright side, at least we'll get another chance to catch up. Twice in ten years, all in two weeks!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Well there was no threat of ambush on the rounds yesterday, not with Mustang Sal riding shotgun. We found a dead dingo along the way. Neighbour Frank was baiting last week, obviously it's working. The kids headed off to investigate as soon as they were off the bus and Sally had spread the word.

The August winds have arrived, a little late, but just as unwelcome now as they would have been last month. Good for windmills and not much else. I foolishly washed some windows late in the afternoon, to have sheet after sheet of dust hit them. Enough to stop me trying any more of that foolery.

Father's Day was a relaxed day. As well as becoming our annual "Sale Bull-Semen testing" day, it's a nice chance to have a day with some friends. They came to visit with their three offspring. 7 youngsters in the house, what a mess. It's an added benefit that Susie is also a vet, so as well as a little chocolate cake, some of Jessie's special jamdrops, a couple of cold beers, some perfectly barbecued steak, an earthy potato salad, there was also a little scrotal measuring, some teeth-checking and some semen-testing. And they'll all make wonderful fathers - how fitting.

All roads now lead to Brahman Week.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Welcome Spring

"Mummy, did you kick at your belly like that when you were having a baby?"
"No Sally, but I wanted to kick Daddy".

Sally and I enjoyed being present for the birth of a bouncing baby bull today. He's the last of this round, with next flush due in a fortnight. We're so happy with these calves, all by a bull called JDH Riddell who we haven't used before. It's always with some trepidation you wait for calves by a bull you haven't used, but so far, so good.

Spring is upon us, and has brought with it a change in weather conditions, albeit a strange one. We farewelled Winter with record-breaking highs of 35 C, so are pleased to have conditions back to somewhat 'normal'. But, oh so dry. Made worse today by the terrible smoke haze surrounding us. Very worrying. But every day is a day closer to rain. September is notoriously dry for us, but we can often look forward to storms in October.

Bull-selling season has kicked off. Simmentals were this Monday, Brangus Tuesday. We made it out Monday afternoon for the pre-sale inspection of Brangus bulls and a catch-up with some fellow bull-breeders. We're looking to buy a bull at Brahman Week this year. A rather daunting task. It's easy enough picking the fellas that are going to make the big money, picking one that's still good but will fit within your budget is the challenge. Made all the more difficult as our bulls sell very late in the sale, so you're not sure just how far you should extend yourself before your own go under the hammer.

If it hasn't rained by then, we might just have to forget about the bull and bring home another load of lick...


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