Wednesday, December 30, 2009

According to Jack...

It's been a great year, and it finished off in top form.

There have been Christmas parties at day care, Father Christmas arriving on a mokobike with presents for everyone... (a ute, boat and trailer for me!)

There has been heaps of time to hang out with Unka Mikey, and play with his new toys.

And Grumpy got up early every Thursday to take me rubbish truck spotting.

And then there was Christmas Day:

Awesome new presents (my pinano is great),

More time with my favourite people in the world,

And a whole day at Matilda Bay.

Next year I'll get a haircut, a baby and a birthday party.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New season

It's really summer.
It's hot, there's cricket on the radio, flies and more flies, and I'm bucketing water from bathroom and laundry to keep my veggies going. Local bushfires cloud the horizon with smoke and turn the afternoons ominously pink.

Afternoon sun:

There's lots to do on the farm, with shearing and selling lambs and harvesting, simultaneously sometimes. And as of last week, I'm no longer working. No more early morning rush, no more on-call dread, no more RFDS drama or drivers' medical drudgery, no more pay cheques. No more excuses for the mountain of dishes in the sink or the unwashed laundry. The pigsty/office needs organising and the kids' room/junk depository can't wait any longer. Time to knuckle down to my domestic responsibilities. I sound like a housewife. Hey Chel, I think I'm a housewife.

Lots of the lambs have gone off in big trucks, much to BabyJ's delight, and the prices have been good, much to R's delight.

We've just finished shearing, after two weeks became three with intermittent showers and shearing team gastro. But it's all over now.

No photos of shearing this year, you'll have to refer back to 2008 for my favourite time of year on the farm (or the video version), but I have been looking at a bit of this:

This is a great time of year for dogs to get some work as we move sheep here and there for shearing or loading onto trucks or just rearranging the accommodation in various paddocks.

Ziggy waiting to cast around a little mob of lambs:


Fred and lambs:

Ziggy putting lambs through a gate:

Fred and Queani:

Cooling off- Queani:

Bill, wearing his oh-so-subtle "Me, pissing in the dam? Never!" expression:

The extra work is great for everyone, although we have to start organising our days so the sheepwork gets done early when it's cool. By mid-morning sheep just want to camp under any available shade and are difficult to move, and the dogs get knocked up quickly. Some of them (collies especially) have a tendency to get tenderfooted on the hard hot ground, and every year Fly tears off her pad skin in great blistery flaps, leading to dramatic limping and a week or so of enforced rest. Queani did the same thing last week- predictably, she hardly limped until we'd finished work, and then she could hardly walk. Less predictably, she then got off her chain overnight and managed, despite her skinless feet, to dig and chew almost through the weldmesh protecting the chicken coop, creating large enough gaps for her to rip chunks off my two chooks. One lost its head (literally) and my favourite friendly black chook succumbed to her injuries a few days later. Queani and I are still not speaking.

Fortunately I have some young dogs who appreciate the chance for some extra work while Queani is recovering/doing penance.

Finbar putting lambs in the race:

All the dogs wear muzzles for loading out lambs to the abattoir, even though most won't bite- but in Fin's case it's actually a good idea anyway.

Elvis, on the other hand, is an angel and the muzzle is purely ornamental:

Sulking in the dog box- Muddy and Gem:

And harvesting is underway- the canola's done (not a good year for anyone).

Uncle Dave on the header:

The wheat will be next.

Cool mornings and long summer evenings invite longer and more frequent walks with the dogs, and the camera. And that makes all of us happier.






Harvest sunset:

Long walk home:

Full moon and shorn sheep