Friday, 31 January 2014

TC Dylan

As a child, rain events would see us heading out in the paddock to check on creeks and dams and water courses, for no real reason other than to see the beauty of running water.

Our lives are so deeply entwined with the weather that no joy compares to that which comes with the wet.

With Tropical Cyclone Dylan crossing the coast several hundred kilometres to our north, we have been blessed to experience the gentle side-affect of rain that cyclones can bring.

With one hundred and forty millimetres having fallen in the past twenty-four hours, we were keen to get out and see how our newly repaired banks were holding up.  Created to 'pond' water, a series of banks will allow water to 'sit' for many months, allowing the planting of ponded pasture, some plant types that provide great nutrition for cattle and will turn otherwise nutritionally deficient paddocks into great fattening ones.

When the rain stops we will avail ourselves of some para grass and pangola runners to be planted on the water's edge.  These creeping grasses will follow the receding water and provide great feed year-round.

The kids were quick to abandon ship, far more interested in immersing themselves in the water than inspecting banks.

The pressure is certainly off for us now.  Though we haven't had a rainfall report from Bottle Tree yet, the radar indicates it has moved over there now.  We will head up for a closer inspection as soon as things dry out.  Our thoughts are with those who haven't been so lucky, a second system is hopefully moving down next week and we can only hope the gaps will start to close in.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

And Then There were Two

Only one pan of bacon to fry this morning, only two lunches to pack and only two school hats to find.

Wallace and Sally headed off to what will be Wallace's last year of primary school before joining his big sisters in town.  All going to plan this will also be Sally's last year at this wonderful school as we hopefully move to Bottle Tree at the end of the year.

Sarah and Jess were dropped at boarding school yesterday, an easy transition for Sarah into Year 10, already well practiced at unpacking suitcases, hanging laundry bags, making beds and though new for Jess, somewhat familiar having heard much from Sarah over the past two years.

We left her smiling and looking forward to all that lies ahead.

So much easier leaving two, knowing that they have each other and that Sarah will as always keep an eye out for her.

They will be home for the weekend in two short weeks, Jessie's thirteenth birthday falling the day before they come home.  Menu preparations have begun.

Though hot dogs aren't on it.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

School's Never looked so Good

In line with our master plan to ensure the children appreciate their education, we dragged them from their beds in the dark yesterday morning to pick up the hay Dad had baled the previous night.

Some climbed a rung on the child-labour ladder taking on Acco driving duty.

If she becomes as proficient with gear changes as she is with the air horn she'll be carting weaners in no time.

Dad's early enthusiasm waning as the morning progressed and the humidity rose at the same rate as the hay stack.

With hay in the shed before breakfast, we headed to Bottle Tree where meatworks cattle were to be drafted in line with the other master plan to keep the wolves from the door.

And though the two inches of rain received there earlier in the month has all but disappeared, it did provide relief in the form of improving condition of the dry cattle there.  It was a case of show no mercy as anything showing a decent level of cover was drafted off for the meatworks.

With an ETA on the wet season difficult to establish, it was a case of implementing plans to cope with this dry spell.

Cattle will continue to roll out every month if need be.

 On what was a stinking hot steamy day, the two water bottles taken were drained early.

With Dad and Wallace back today to truck cattle, the girls and I are enjoying a restful, last minute prep session before back to school tomorrow.

Happy Australia Day.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Nearly School-a-Go-Go

As Summer holidays come to a close,

we are readying ourselves for what next week will bring.  With Sarah and Jess both off to boarding school Monday, there's been much washing, name-tagging and packing.

We've really enjoyed the holidays, but I think perhaps we're nearly ready for what lies ahead.  Nearly.

It's pleasing to see the kids start the school year with such a sense of anticipation and excitement.  The world is really at their feet.

Sarah and Sally who are the only ones with horses at home, have found an old show schedule and have been putting their poor old horses through the 'Stockman's Challenge'  course with regular monotony.

I think perhaps Wahoo and Bob are eagerly anticipating the return to school as well.

With Christmas money in their wallets, they enjoyed a trip to town earlier in the week.  Wallace returned home with a new cap gun in his possession, the result of currently reading a huge book of 'western adventures'.

Last week it was Vikings, prior to that Robin Hood and of course the still much loved Harry Potter.

His phases very much in tune with the pile of reading matter next to his bed.

With hay to bale tomorrow evening and cattle from Bottle Tree to truck to the meatworks this weekend the next few days will fly by.

And I'll be okay.

Monday, 20 January 2014

A Close Call

Felling timber can be a dangerous task, one we take very seriously .  The kids are usually with us and thankfully are now old enough to better understand the dangers involved and know to stay together and always more than a tree length away from Dad when he's on the chainsaw.

Saturday morning we set about cutting some large trees, which would become split posts for yet another fencing project ahead of us.  Only second tree of the day and the chainsaw stuck, as can happen when a tree decides to come back on the bar, not falling the way predicted.  This particular tree, with a slight lean one way (obviously usually the way it will fall), had a number of branches almost counter-balancing it, combined with a slight breeze meant it tricky to predict accurately where it might fall.

Finally, with wedges and crowbars not budging the great monster, the big fella used a second saw to start cutting another wedge and down she fell.  A second tree close by though caught the first one, causing the butt of it to swing wildly back to not where it should have fallen.  In the process, the cut end of the tree fell straight on his foot.  And there they stayed.  Lucky and unlucky all in one.

To no avail I tried to lift the tree with a crowbar, then set about cutting the tree a couple of feet away from his foot.  Of course I managed to get that chainsaw stuck, then with kids assisting tried again with crowbars.  Eventually with digging, a car jack, the second chainsaw, much sweating, some swearing and about thirty minutes elapsing, we got it off him.  I had to sit with head between knees as I was immediately going to feint, Sally turned the colour of putty and had to have her head stuck between her knees as well.  At least we managed to all hold it together while we needed to.

It gave us all a fright.  The big fella's okay, wouldn't let me take him to town, his limp's subsiding except when he thinks you're looking.  Had it landed an inch further up his foot, untold damage could have been done to his foot, but it didn't.  And as the weekend progressed and his humour and cheek returned, I keep reminding him he's lucky I didn't leave him there.

(I took these photos on a lick-run later yesterday incase you thought I was happy-snapping at the time).

Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Belated 2013 Blog Header Wrap

The end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 passed in such a flurry of activity that it entirely slipped my mind to write my usual annual review, and though I think the time has passed to now catch up, I will for my own sake include the twelve headers of 2013.

I'm hopeful 2014 will not slide past at the rate of knots that 2013 seemed to.
A reminder to embrace every moment.


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