Monday, 14 September 2015

... my heart begins to gladden ...



by Simone McPherson
A number of weeks ago whilst out checking cattle in one of our back paddocks we lost our drive shaft, that is to say that the drive shaft on the old Toyota Ute just fell off, apparently a circlip had worked its way loose becoming undone?

As a result, we were locked in forward motion and with the diffs locked we were only able to go in reverse … interesting concept, the other options? Well there was only one to walk? We estimated the walk to be at least four hours cross country – not an option as far as I was concerned. 

So we opted for option number two, drive in reverse gear for over an hour to reach home … they say that things happen in “Threes” … I’m sure they do …
 
 So we had to make a race into Warwick to pick up a car trailer …

 … then go back in the next day to drop the Ute off, now because the Ute was only able to go in reverse we had to load the old Ute in reverse … not a good thing when you are pulling a loaded car trailer as the centre of gravity changes and all the weight of the Ute was at the back of the trailer and giving us only about 20cm clearance … and if you start fish tailing with that loaded trailer, look out! So we drove to Warwick at no more than 80kms an hour arriving two and half hours later …

 … we were told that it would be a week or so before the Ute would be ready to be picked up again …

… mmmm so what jobs to you give a man, 

El Ranchero – who is always using the old Ute to do all sorts of jobs around the Property? …

Well that was quite easy … you see in those days spent driving back and forth to Warwick another enigmatic phenomenon was happening at home, in the beginning I/we did not detect anything different …

… it was not until I went out to water my little gardens a few days later that I noticed that all my plants  were all … GONE !! yes! gone as in not there, vanished as in eaten by somebody or bodies ? … 

 … all my lovely lettuces – gone …

 … all that lovely Italian and Afro Parsley - gone

… all my lovely violas and pansies – gone …

 … the lobelias? – gone – I searched the ground for any evidence and I found prints in the sandy soil.  

I found confirmation that, not one but two 'shod' horses had been in my little gardens … they had very quietly walked through the garage into the veranda and then out into the garden to enjoy the Smorgasbord of beautiful Greens and edible flowers on offer – they had tried the little Citrus trees and then decided against that choice … not palatable enough, I do believe.  I was so dismayed as everything was just looking its finest all in full magnificence.  What do you do?

In my case you vent your frustration and disappointment quite vocally, you resolve to … “what’s the point” – if it’s not the heat and the hot winds, it’s a drought with a  lack of water.  Well at that point you a have a lovely cup of Lapsang Souchong and then begin to calm down and start to organise what would be nice to plant at this time of year ...

In the mean time I can hear El Ranchero putting in some Steel posts with a hot wire  – I thank El Ranchero for putting up the wire … then he announces that since he has a bit of time around the house it might be a good time to put in a ‘Garden Fence’ – I am speechless … and so we begin …

That was over three weeks ago now and as time has moved on and in-between moving gates …

 … Making new gateways …


… Stock work...

 … Feeding cattle …

… relaxing for some? as the days are slowing getting warmer …

 … We have been busy creating a garden ‘Space’ .,.

 … With given objects …

… Found objects …

 And making use of materials that we already have in the form of all the beautiful timber, which El Ranchero farms very sparingly …

… a million and one ‘rocks’ that I now pick up and add to my new garden bed and now …

 … access to lots and lots of horse manure … things are slowly taking place …

… the little gardens are coming back … with lettuce & spinach 

… of course the pansies …

 … and the lobelias …

… and I have made some modifications for summer with the thought of putting up some old shade cloth that I found in the crutching shed.  Standing back now my heart begins to gladden as I can see that things are looking up …

 By the time we made it back home with the old Ute that day it was very late and as always things do not continually run on schedule ...

... however the next morning the old Ute was unloaded off the trailer and we were all glad to jump back in and off to another day we all went ...


Saturday, 5 September 2015

... it goes something like this ...



by Simone McPherson


The wattles have been rather late this year … in-fact over three weeks late … should I be taking this detail in panic? … Well from what I can gather it appears the world as a whole is going through a new weather pattern not yet recorded …
 So how has this new phase in the weather affected us here, on this small slice of Eastern Australia in the Southern Hemisphere? … let me reminisce and share the past months or so with you …

 We have had a great many Frosts here which is very unusual for this region … 

 … however I do remember having conversations with some ‘Old Timers’ about the country back in the 50’s and 60’s and they gave me images of a Landscape where it was not unusual to wake up each morning and to have all the dogs water bowls frozen over even the Creek that runs as one of our Boundaries was frozen over …


… and this year we did have one of those unusual times … SNOW … yes three inches of snow …in the hills that we could view from our house through binoculars  about 10kms or so away … we got sent this image from some friends who live over an hour away, how exciting …

The snow was followed by bitterly cold days and then that was followed by rain 

 … the rain is always welcome here … though at this time of year, the rain is appreciated for another reason, we start burning off any old debris …


… old wind rows that the dozer pushed over twenty years ago and which can become a fire hazard over our Summer months, ignited by the turbulent lightning that sweeps through the country with the  Thunderstorms that form over those months 

… we have done some travelling … we drove to a large town three hours South of where we live to purchase ...

... two new Yearling Bulls for our Herd, they were happy to be loaded into the horse float … 

 …. On one day, on our way back from visiting the Farriers in Warwick ...

 … another major town about two hour’s drive north east of where we live, 

… we made a pit-stop to help out some friends with a fence that they were building …


… Rocky and Blondie could not believe all that wonderful grass everywhere though the Chooks were a bit of a worry … as neither horse had ever seen a Chook, I would hear Blondie snorting every now and then, giving warning … 

 … Of-course there has been fencing still being done or in this case undone...

 … another paddock for the cattle going to Market ...

 … we finished ...

 ... the holding paddock ….

 … for the horses up at the shed and it has been very useful …

 The Cattle have been going well on their feeding regime over the winter months …


… and by the looks of things some more than others …


Back in mid-July we were lucky enough to have Daughter number one come and stay for a number of weeks …


… we did have a little rain; though over all …


… the days were just glorious for her visit…

… and ‘K’ made perfect use of all that lovely weather grooming down all her horses – the whole four of them …

 … and then taking each one of them; on different days ofcourse - for a “leisurely rides in the countryside” …

Though it was Naranja – the Spanish word for ‘Orange’ as she is of Spanish decent and she was that colour when she was born … Well Naranja was the one chosen to go out and do stock work with and …

 …here in this country we need the horses to be shod … or the next best thing – “Booties” – God she was hilarious when she first put them on … 

 … she was not sure what was going on; though once she got used to them …

 … she did look very smart … like those lovely Police Horses …

 … and this is me with Blondie, the other reason for “K” coming to visit us was to help me get back onto a horse … six months ago I had a very bad fall and I was very fortunate as my riding Helmet – saved my life – and as a consequence I just could not face getting back onto a horse, they made me feel very anxious and I could not stand being close to them …

 … however on her first day here “K” had me grooming her horses with her and then she saddled up Blondie and after taking her for a short ride she came back and she said … “C’mon Simone, we are going for a short ride … Blondie is very kind and she will look after you ….. “ and that as they say is history … I have a lot to thank Miss “K” for as she is a wonderful teacher, she too is very unruffled in her nature which helps a lot.  Blondie was happy to wander through the countryside with me on her back and we have been great buddies ever since, I am even cantering now with her …

 And off we would – all – go; to work … along with …

 … Tags too … who came to stay as well and ofcourse could not …

 … be left behind even with all his Arthritis … Bless him … he was there helping El Ranchero with putting up the ‘railings’ for the new holding paddock for the horses …

It was so lovely to have another girl in the household too, doing girls “Stuff” … instead of all the boys “Stuff” … we chattered, we rode together and we cooked orange and poppy-seed muffins ..


… I marinated - in some warm olive oil, garlic, peppercorns and rosemary; a home-made sheep cheese that we were given - delicious.

 … I caught up …

… on a sewing project that I gave myself …

 … and I was even given a new present for my yet to be created garden … 


… Lilly-Pup and Maxi Boy where very keen to give me a helping hand in the garden …

 In the past month too, we even had the dirt road that runs through the …

… Property – Graded – and that was absolute luxury; to what it was like … an eroded and corrugated ‘Track’ I wonder how long it will stay like this? …

 And that is where we have been for the last three months or so since my last post.  Don’t get me wrong at times it can be very hard work ...

 ... physically and being out in the Elements for one like my-self who is not quite so accustomed to working outdoors, fair skinned and no longer a ‘spring chicken’ - doing manual labour and at most endeavouring to keep up with El Ranchero is challenging … 



However I do feel like I have achieved something at the end of each day … and at times, most of the time now; there seems not to be enough hours in the day …

I remember reading somewhere; I’m not entirely sure of or as to whether the phraseology is as how I originally read it ... nonetheless, it goes something like this … 

“… the only way to do great work is to love what you do …”

And on that note may your day bring delight to your Heart and those around you …