Thursday, 24 July 2014

... I just need to find somewhere ...



by Simone McPherson
We have been making a custom of late to taking a walk.  Not that we are sedentary during our daily routines of mustering the cattle on horseback or by walking up and down hills doing fence repairs and keeping the lines clear of suckers as they try and push through to reach the sun or any other such thing it’s all as a consequence, of needing to get our heart rates up ...

 ... and attempting to keep all our joints supple and moving in all directions as we trip and stumble over rocks, branch and tree debris, as we all look forward to these jaunts …

 … the mornings are still very dewy …


 … though on these country excursions we make it a point in having a mission, a quest  as “one can-not simply go on a walk to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of nature” … 

...“ one has to be mapping out more fence lines, cutting down more pines and visualising more alleyways for the cattle” ... 
 
 ... as well as … “finding places to make water-holes” … at times I do feel exhausted before I have even left the front door!

… these expeditions take us to all manner of places undiscovered and lost possibly for even decades …

… an old fence line that I am told by El Ranchero would be over eighty years old

 … and all built by hand with the help of Bullock teams …

 … and then we do find water …

After,  we eventually find our way through the maze, the labyrinth of pines which have colonized areas of land that were over cleared back in the 1930’s with lack of foresight as to what the consequence would be now in the year 2014 … 

 .... and yes, that is Max on three legs as he decided that Kangaroo hunting was part of the outing – El Ranchero reminded him that it was not by putting one of his paws through his collar, then he has to work a little harder to keep up and concentrate on what he is doing as well (they are quite funny to watch as they try and grapple what is going on) …


 … and this is the culmination of the clearing …

… then once we are out and into the clearing ...

 ... we find some wonderful waterways ...

... that must be a sight when the rains come.   


We make a note of where we are so as to return when the creeks are flowing … 

 … there are wonderful clusters of Callistemons that inhabit the creek beds with their vibrant display of red blossoms showing up against the grey tones of the rocky ground …
The shortest day has come and gone and now we can look forward to more daylight hours once again.   

The Pansies and the Violas show their smiley happy little teddy bear faces ..

 ... as they start to pop up in the little gardens … 

… and even some little Johnny Jump-ups have sprung up in around places that you would have thought nothing would be able to germinate in at all …

… I have even been able to create another garden from an additional old feeder bin that El Ranchero found in one of our paddocks and no longer needed …

… once I decided where it was going to go – at the new hitching rail that El Ranchero built for hosing the horses down after work, especially in the Summer months …

 … I start to fill the drum with stones and then some cardboard, which I also lined around the bin, to hold moisture and then I complete the fill with my hummus from the creek; clay from the dams, cow and some horse manure though I don’t use as much horse manure as I found that the cattle manure makes a better mixture a lot more lighter and airier, the horse manure seems to have a habit of being soggy … 

 … then once filled with my jumble mixture of soil … the little garden is planted out … this time I planted some blue salvia for the bees, some lovely petunias that I can hardly wait to flower as they are in tones of red and mauve with a white strip around the edge of each petal and of course our favourite – Basil though I may have jumped the gun a bit with the Basil as I don’t usually plant new seedlings till middle spring, though we have had a very mild Autumn - see how we go …


With the lovely weather of late I have been doing a bit of spring-cleaning not that it is spring by any means, and my cleaning has led to reorganising things around the house.  

The reorganising entailed coming to a decision to unpack my twelve wine cartoons of cookbooks … well in-fact I am rather embarrassed to say I have over two hundred and forty at last count, which I have not seen now for over nine years?   

I am now wondering what books I have actually collected in all those cartoons … right now I just need to find somewhere to house all those lovely books … perhaps a bookcase?




Saturday, 7 June 2014

... not in any particular order or method.



by Simone McPherson

Of late we have been awakening to find a cloud that has been quietly resting upon the landscape offering us a wonderful sense of tranquillity to the start of the day.

As the mist quietly rises and evaporates revealing the landscape that lies beneath which it had softly been embracing and the intensity of the blue skies above ...

… the vapor begins to melt away and the horses begin to materialise.

… there are other creatures too that are conspicuously hidden under the faint blanket of mist … a family of ‘Pretty-face’ Kangaroo’s …

… as the Horses wander out of the translucent soft lucent likeness of the Gums that stretch out into the gullies …

… they, however have one thing on their mind …


… and that is Breaky …

… which they come up for early each day … 

...one ...

 ...by one ...

... they track up the hill … 

... even old Gabby is there ... 

… it can be a little unruly as they all jostle for position … 

… and then there are those individuals that ponder if there is any prospect of a morsel for them as well? … 

… Rocky however enjoys the extra attention from El Ranchero and …

 …I do believe El Ranchero delights in all the affection as well ….

… once they have had their Breakys … it’s time to saddle up ready for another day.

We have been bringing in the paddocks one at a time …


… there are fourteen paddocks and three of those paddocks are locked up for winter for then we shall need more feed.  Depending on the size of the paddock, we stock in the region of 48 cows and calves with one or two bulls to over 78 cows and calves and four bulls …

… its weaning time again …

Each herd  ...

... is brought into the yards …

… and of course along the way we have to make a pit stop …

… sometimes on the horse other times with the Toyota … and the stop always involves a well-earned swim by the loyal workers … Maxi Boy and Lily pup …

Once that is over it is on with business …

Firstly the Bulls are drafted off, drenched and put in a paddock all of their own for a well-earned rest till next joining which will be the 7th of December this year.  And they are more than happy to have a spell from chasing those cows all over the countryside ….

… then the cows and calves are brought back into the yards for drafting …

… more often than not there is a challenge at hand  

… though it is swiftly under control ...

... with our two workers who are on the ball … and the drafting continues …

… once all the drafting is over and the sunlight hours disappear it’s home time and the horses are let loose to forage and a relax after their hard toiling …

… Rocky and Luigi are let loose too, to join the others as they are not part of the labour force yet …

On another note we have had only a little rain here with that specific cloud burst being over there not here …

… though with the change in the season the paddocks are looking a treat at this time of year with the native Queensland Blue Grasses in particular looking exceptional. 

We have had friends come over for a stay, giving the both ‘Men’ time to unwind and become ‘Boys’ again … 

… and there they go on an adventure …

I have also been busy using up bits and pieces; actually mounds of fabric that I have hoarded over the many years.  Nothing too elaborate just useful, for instance some cushion covers, pillowcases.  I am also making an attempt to cover some old but sturdy kitchen stools, some table cloths and I have given myself a challenge to hand print a new Doona cover? Mmmm stay tuned for that one I estimate that I should have that completed in a year? Imaginably? …

We have also had a bit of a diet crisis, as we all do at this time in our lives … for us it has been ‘Acid’ in the form of consuming too much acid forming foods.  So I have had to take a crash course on Acid forming foods and Alkaline forming foods their benefits and how to combine them in our daily routine … 

Each morning we start with a green smoothie which we then have again either for lunch or dinner depending on whether we have our main meal at lunch or dinner … 

 ... the green smoothie consists of a good hand full of English spinach leaves, about 2cm of fresh ginger, continental parsley and about a cup or so of fresh pineapple and little water and some ice in the blender and then “… Waa -la ...” a beautiful green smoothie and the best thing of all is that El Ranchero loves them!  Much to my surprise and delight!

I have been making my own ghee or clarified butter – which is more Alkaline on the body -then turning into a garlic and chilli butter which I use for all sorts of things even frying an egg for breakfast in the morning!  


Now that was over a month ago since we changed things around and I must say that I feel so much better.  I have more energy and I have even lost a little weight that is a bonus in itself.  The change in our eating habits was because of El Ranchero.  He was suffering quite a bit of stress and the acid forming foods where adding to his distress, and now?  Well he is a different man bless him.

I have also been busy with my little gardens …

… with the little lettuces coming up fast before it gets too cold we are eating them just as swiftly …

… I have been exerting my brain considering ideas on what I can use for planters … in this case some old Olive Oil tins … not sure how long they will last but I think they look great for the moment ...

... plenty of room for roots with the added benefit that I can bring the Olive tins inside instead of cut flowers – not much opportunity for cut flowers out here - or move them out of the heat during our summer months …

In addition to the many things that I juggle I have paperwork.  Not predominantly one of my strong points, though of late I just have not had the moment in time to sit down and sort out, sort through.  And let me tell you, it’s escalating; I have beautiful almost feathery lightweight sculptural pieces of paper in all shapes and colours that have been imaginatively arranged and layered all over my desk not in any particular order or method.  Perhaps it’s time that I made a dent into the accounts and the correspondence that awaits me.  And yes, I have been putting it off for too long and now I have the added anxiety of where do I begin?  It’s like a blank canvas or writers block … just start … anywhere will do …