Friday, 28 June 2013

School Holidays One Week In

The word 'busy' is on my list of detestable words, right alongside 'awesome', 'epic' and '24-7'.  And so I prefer to think of our lives this past week as being rather 'full' instead.

Saturday, first day of our school holidays saw the three younger children and myself at a local clearing sale, our school's P&C catering for the crowd estimated to be somewhere between 600 and 1000.

Many sandwiches were cut, cakes baked, snags rolled and steaks flipped on what was a wonderful fundraising opportunity for our small school.  Matthew headed to Bottle Tree, dropping Sarah at the river enroute.

Sunday we all accompanied Sarah to her rowing regatta enjoying an early, cool start.

Dad couldn't wait around for Sarah's race, again heading to Bottle Tree.

Monday afternoon, after a morning spent preparing, packing, cleaning

and list checking,

we loaded the truck with cattle, kids and enough clothing and food to support a trek through the Kathmandu Valley and headed to town for the annual 'holiday camp' that is Junior Beef.

Sarah and Jessie's second visit, first time for the two youngest.

Home today to work through the mountainous pile of denim currently smothering the laundry, tomorrow we head back to Bottle Tree to commence weaning.  With a fully beefed-up team, overflowing with new found beef knowledge, there'll undoubtedly be plenty of opinions thrown around the yards in coming days.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Bring on Holidays

We were invited into school this afternoon, on this last day of Term 2, to enjoy some short plays produced, directed and starred in by our young students.

Slapstick seemed most popular, and tears rolled down mum's faces at the antics of these amazing kids who make up our school.


pesky teenagers,

and crazy scientists, cum masked robbers

all taking centre stage.

While the more mature amongst us independently and capably completed the tasks at hand at home.

My Big Girl is Home

The three youngsters and I drove in after school Wednesday afternoon to collect her.  And a few groceries.  Having reached the northern outskirts of town headed in a homeward direction, she remembered she'd left her rowing gear behind.  We re-crossed the bridge while I sighed audibly and she apologised profusely.

We got home late and ate chinese on the floor of the lounge room in front of the heater.  Mongolian Lamb makes everything better.

We've been sneaking in a little cattle work in between baking cakes, boiling corned beef and slicing fillet steak in preparation for a P & C catering job at a local clearing sale this Saturday.  Catering for  600 to 1000 people is a fairly big job for our little crew.

Sarah has a rowing regatta in town, Dad will drop her off on his way to Bottle Tree, and we'll all head in to see her compete in the singles on Sunday.  Exciting times.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Bottle Tree Birthdays

There's nothing like a Sunday that starts with the blast of a husband's phone alarm at 4:30am, particularly after a Saturday spent trackside.  "What, prey tell, are we doing today", I murmured half asleep, "that requires a two hour pre-dawn awakening"? or something to that affect.

After a long and joyful day at the races Saturday with my local 'gang', I was actually pleased to lace up the work boots Sunday.  And back to Bottle Tree we went on a cool Winter's morn.

Only two more weeks with Mummy for these fat babes.

We had a birthday girl in our midst.


She travelled home in the truck with Dad.  The other three and I making it home just before dark, time to run in all directions feeding animals and filling waters.  The broken-winged angel (Dad's term) headed for the kitchen to whip up a birthday cake.  With crumbed steak ordered for tea, and nothing but fillet in the cold room, it was rather schmancy crumbed steak on the menu, almost sacrilegious, but good.

Apparently fourteen year olds are too cool for photos.

But we mothers are persistent creatures.

Which made me think of this:

Friday, 14 June 2013

"Spread your arms and hold your breath
and always trust your cape".      Guy Clarke

Jessie's cape failed her this past Tuesday evening.

Fourteen years, four children, first break.

A tumble from a hay trailer.  

With Dad on the tractor baling, Wallace driving the vehicle pulling the hay trailer, Jess and Sally stacking while I threw hay on, all we were missing was Sarah.  
And an OH & S officer.

After what had been a particularly long day, Matthew and I out of bed before 4 to travel to Rolleston for a sale and information session on Certified Pasturefed Beef, we picked the kids up from our lovely neighbour on dark, racing home to bale hay before the forecast rain arrived.

Stopped while we chatted to Sarah on Dad's speaker-phone, Wallace's foot slipped off the clutch, causing a lurch forward resulting in Jess coming off the tail.

Reading the "cry-o-scale", I knew this one had hurt.
Installed in the front seat next to Wallace (who was possibly more upset than Jess), we finished the task at hand, home for a late tea at 9.

Off to bed with a panadol and the treat of no bath, Matthew's and my expert medical opinions suggested all would be better in the morning.

A trip to town proved a different result.

She's now plotting how she can still hold an animal in one hand, a show-cane in the other and not miss any of the Junior Beef action coming up these holidays.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Queensland Style

As un-Australian as it seems, we tend to not take professional sport very seriously in this house.  The actions of many of our elite athletes leaving much to be desired when it comes to role-model type behavior.  Rather than idolise those people lucky enough to be born with the genetic advantage of athleticism, I prefer to encourage the children to notice the everyday heroes amongst us.  The paramedics, nurses, teachers, firefighters, mums, dads, everyday people whose everyday work makes a real difference to others.

Having said that, there is always some excitement around State of Origin night.  Jess headed off to school in her maroon scarf, mainly to antagonise her NSW-born teacher and Wallace planned the evening's menu.  Sally refused to put her coat on, despite the chill of the morning, as it's coloured blue.

So I'm thinking these aptly coloured patty cakes will go over a treat for afternoon smoko.

Monday, 3 June 2013

This past weekend...

... was one like many others, spent at Bottle Tree working cattle.

In the process of becoming both EU and PCAS accredited, we have started 'reading' all NLIS tags on property, and will then reconcile these tags with the national database, ensuring all tags currently linked to our property are either in an animal or in a box waiting to go in the next round of branded calves.

With three PICS (Property Identification Codes) under our control, there just may have been the odd occasion where cattle were moved between properties without the database being notified of said movement.  Highly unlikely, but just perhaps on the odd occasion.  "Did you scan those cattle when you loaded/unloaded them"?  "No, I thought you did".  "Was I driving the truck"?  "No, but that was your job".  Or words to that effect.  

We also started preg-testing.

Check out that double-plaited photo-bombing devil.

My favourite old girl 'Dapples' didn't let me down, she'll mother another come end of year.

The early morning fog drifted in and out Sunday morning, highlighting cobwebs and dampening jeans hems.

The littlest cowgirl donned spurs for the first time in an effort to awaken her old pony.

An action that proved most successful, and I've a feeling she won't be taking them off any time soon.

It seems such a short time ago, the running of horses, catching kids' ponies, saddling them, hoisting small children into saddles, leading some, heart in mouth as you let others go it alone, cajoling, calling, issuing instructions, urging them on, wondering if it will ever become easier, until one day it does.  

There is so much joy riding out with the kids.  Animated discussions ensue on everything from our current dismal performance with footy tipping, through to assignments due, and planning for school holidays, only a few short weeks away.  Without instruction, kids displayed some great cattle handling skills this weekend.  They have become aware of the 'hot spots' whilst mustering, those places where pesky cows and cheeky weaners might like to show some non-conforming tendencies.  Hurrying to place myself at a creek where trouble might ensue, I was delighted to find Sarah already in position and turning some adventurous cows back to where they should have been.

In the past fortnight, all four have mastered mounting unassisted.  Bravo.  Sarah's big black Bob standing statue-like as she drags herself up his side.  He would dance around me like a three year old as I tried to mount, yet has become angelic for Sarah.

My ugly old brute Warrior and I are bonding more with every ride.  Quite the character, he sees the need to have a little crow-hop on the first occasion every day when kicked into a canter.  The kids find it rather amusing.  I'm starting to see the funny side.

Saddles were greased by the child labour force while Dad and I drafted.

A full weekend proving nearly too much for some.  Next weekend we're fortunate enough to enjoy a four day weekend, show holiday Friday, Queen's Birthday Monday.  Looking forward to a weekend at home.


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