Sunday, 21 April 2013

consequences from the past .....

by Simone McPherson
A while ago I took it upon myself to catalogue the forest trees that we have growing on our property.  Well at the time I thought that it would only be a matter of days perhaps weeks and I would have all of the trees named?  What a foolish idea that was to say the least on my behalf!

We have a woodcutter that has been cutting in this area for years.  He only takes the old dead trees that had been ring barked back in the 1930’s.  I have on occasions when we have come across him, asked him as to the types of Gums that are found here.  

BROAD LEAVED IRONBARK - Eucalyptus fibrosa
NARROW LEAVED IRONBARK - Eucalyptus crebra

GREY BOX - Eucalyptus microcarpa?
Well he can only tell me of the three species that he keeps an eye out for which he cut’s for fire wood and .......

 ........it still mystifies me as to how he does that, as all the dead trees that have been ringbarked all look the same to me.  I cannot work out how he knows what they are.  Even after numerous times in asking him to show me how he can tell as far as I am concerned he has X-Ray vision – I really cannot see the differences in the old trees.   The others that are living, he refers to in his old “slang” which really does not account for Species types at all, for example the – old cabbage tree? – The one with the shiny leaves? Mmmm you get the picture.
TUMBLE GUM
 So it was on one of these occasions over two years ago that I took it upon myself to find out what these trees where?  I did mention - that was two years ago, right? .....

TUMBLE GUM
...... I am still attempting to classify these trees, you see the problem is that they all look very, very similar ....... 

.......though with only very slight differences that, then put them into another category all together and this is where my frustration began and still continues to this day …. 

And El Ranchero does not appreciate the continual “STOP” – I want to look at that tree to see what it is?” – Well he really does not appreciate this demand when we are out working – and as you can see this is a further setback for me? …… well not really, he just gets a little “Short” to say the least?

 I must say, I do have the help of a book that was published back in 1957 then republished in 1984.  It is a wonderful source book for this region – if not terribly dry and very academic with descriptions and jargon.  The book is called – Forest Trees of Australia by Bolard, Brooker, Chippendale, Hall, Hyland, Johnston, Kleinig and Turner – yes they are all Scientist that are associated with the CSIRO...... 

MY PHOTOCOPY OF THE BLACK & WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS  
complete with my scribble
  ....... And the images are all black and white which has been a real challenge for me as well – though I must say that the Scientist have really taken the time to go out in the field and catalogue these trees at different stages of their lives and........

 ....... it has been invaluable with my interpretation of … my understanding to what Species are found here ......

....... as we have a wide variety of different forest regions and terrain classifications on this property which has made the whole project rather interesting for me.

 Already the Department of Land Management and Conservation has classified areas that are not to be cleared as they are old Forest Growth areas or areas that have become very “sensitive” as they were over cleared a long time before we came upon this piece of land – Sheep you see, Marino Sheep that were breed for their Wool. Though no longer of value in this District and I guess, times have changed too; there is no War to support the industry in the form of wool for blankets and clothing for the Soldiers.

 So now we have become Guardians of sorts to the land that we now have and we take this role very seriously......

STORM APPROACHING & MAXI
 .......... as the consequences from the past are still here with us now and we want to rectify them as much as we can with what we do for a living....

........Breeding Cattle for the Cattle Industry here in Australia – we all live together here on this piece of land and we want that to continue into the future for the country at least and it’s native inhabitants.  It can be a fine line to walk at times though ... 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

....something to think about?

by Simone McPherson
After a lot of mucking about – dozing, pulling up an old fence line complete with barb wire and then searching over 8,000 acres for five old gates that we could recycle ........ 

"YEAH - THE MISSUS, SHE DOES THE WASHING"?
 ........the last gate was finally hung making Cobb’s Holding paddock a completed mission, thank goodness.

 So the next day we were up early......

............I packed a picnic lunch and off to Inglewood we went.  Inglewood is a little town nearly two hours’ drive SW of where we live....  

 .... I am off to get my hand gun licence, the course is held at the Inglewood Gun Club.

The Club is set in country that you need a compass and a packed lunch to get to............ 

.... are they camels? ....

.... an old homestead from a time long gone now, and with a lot of dog legs and non-existent signage – signs that have eroded away or just don’t exist at all.

It is very sandy country and flat to where we live, making it great country for Wattles, which there are plenty of. 

Once there – it’s definitely a real “Boys Place” - the course runs for about three hours or so, and covers such things as; making sure that you as a firearms licence holder are a responsible person in charge of a firearm. 

A lot of the rules are very strait forward considering you are handling a firearm … for example – always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction? – Treat every gun as if it were loaded? – Only load or cock a gun when you are shooting? – check your target and beyond your target? – Never climb or jump with a loaded gun? – avoid ricochet? – Guns not in use should always be unloaded? …… well you get the idea, if you didn’t perhaps you should not be here?  There is no second chance where guns are concerned – and El Ranchero, being brought up with firearms is very “Strict” with “Gun Safety”.  I had already done this particular course over a year ago for my Longarm Licence - so I was already a steep ahead .........


So once all that was over and done with I took El Ranchero for a picnic lunch at the Inglewood Aerodrome.  It’s just a tiny little place, it’s an aerodrome that the small community of Inglewood are very proud of as the community contributed to have the tarmac done. 

I AM UP AND OVER THE FENCE - I'M SURE IT NEVER USED TO BE THIS HARD TO GET OVER A SMALL FENCE?
This is a wonderful achievement for a small community.  My connection to the Aerodrome is my Father, who was a Bush pilot here in this district and he and two of his “Mates” started the aerodrome back in the early 1950’s.

Then we went into town to pay our respects to the “Fallen” ....

 ....... the ANZAC’s who had lost their lives in the wars – 1939 to 1945 from this district, my Uncle and my Grandfather being two of the many. 

Then it was the drive back home again .......

........and of always being so grateful for where we live here on this little bit of dirt on this lovely Blue Planet spinning through Space – now that is something to think about?  …………… Really!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

let's go home for smoko? ....

by Simone McPherson

 The other morning we were up early to receive a delivery of Molasses, with a base supplement for the cattle.  I am glad that I got up early as it was a glorious morning ….

 The Molasses comes all the way from the Sugar Mills in Bundaberg which is a good four hours north of Brisbane and then it is another five hours down to us.  Our delivery however comes from one of our nearest towns which is in New South Wales called Tenterfield, an hour and a half away.

The Molasses has an additive suppliment of minerals and vitamins for the deficiency that this country has for the cattle to remain healthy and well...... the tubs are filled up .......


 ........ we use the molasses to keep the cattle in good condition when the cows are calving and for after calving, so that they can continue to look after their calves.  And at other times of the year it encourages the cattle to go out and forage for the rougher feed that they would normally not bother about.
 
When the truck arrives it is usually quite a bit of a rush as the driver wastes no time at all as he is on a tight schedule having a very big area that he supplies the molasses to.

 ...............so El Ranchero set's of..... in moving the tubs around.  The heifers wonder what it is that he is doing? .."What are you doing?"

...and there are more to move around ...... 

 .....some leave these lovely patterns on the ground when they are moved almost a UFO marking .... don't you think?

.... instructions are given and off we go, as each paddock has a variation in the molasses percentage of "Sweet-ness" - depending on what type of cattle are in each paddock ... for example, the Bulls have a different percentage to the cows, to the heifers, to the weaners and so on .....

.... I however, am the official "gate opener" and "gate closer" and ..... 


..... also the number one assistant in the lifting and transporting to another area of the tubs ....... it's a VIP job you know?

.... then after the filling of the last tub .... which there was only six to fill this time up, as we have a good coverage of feed and the cattle are looking very well from it ..... I think we usually get twelve filled in the winter months ....

... then we leave "B" to continue on his way and we get ready for another day, finishing hanging gates at the new holding paddock that we have been building .... but first things first .... let's go home for "smoko", a nice cup of coffee that is .... sounds good ...........

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Now you're talking....

by Simone McPherson

THE LAST OF THE BASIL AS IT GOES TO SEED
Today as I looked outside through the kitchen window I thought “I need to pull out the last of the Basil before it all goes to seed”.   
 
ONE TUB DONE ANOTHER THREE TO GO
So the morning was filled with cleaning out the planters – and getting them ready for the winter months ahead.
 
ALL THE LEAVES PULLED OFF AND READY FOR THE FOOD PROCESSOR

The making of “Pesto” was on the agenda for the afternoon.  The Basil plants have been such a wonderful addition to the garden......

........ with the amount of pesto that I have made since originally planting six little seedlings way back in September 2012 it's amazing!

JARS READY TO GO
 I have since made six batches – with one batch = 4x500gm jars.....  

THE SILVER BEET AND THE ITALIAN PARSLEY
.............I have also mixed a percentage of both the Italian Parsley and the Silver-beet that was planted at the same time, into my original Pesto mixture – with Extra Virgin Olive oil, cloves of garlic, a pinch of chilli flakes and of course the Parmesan cheese and the outcome – though a little varied each time has been a sensation...... 

I use Pesto in just about everything that we eat for example have you tried....?
  • Pesto mixed in with some Greek style yogurt for a lovely salad dressing or a dip with vegetables
  • Pesto mixed with some new steamed potatoes? ...Yum
  • On toast with a lovely sliced tomato?
  • Tossed through your favourite pasta "al dente"? ..... delicious
  • or what about an ordinary toasted chicken, cheese and pesto sandwich? now how could you go wrong with that?
  • then there is the way El Ranchero enjoys it, strait out of the jar with celery and lots of it!
So as you can see the variations are many and I am sure you would have some ideas up your sleeve too ............
 
IN THE BACK OF THE QUAD

.......I took a jar over to our neighbour along with some Silver-beet from our little salad garden ...

THAT'S "THE BLACK DOG" WITH "G" OUR NEIGHBOUR

KELLY'S PUPPIES .... SO TINY .... SO ADORABLE

…….. and to view the new tiny little puppies that his pet dog - "Kelly" - had.  The puppies were so adorable and so small too..... Jack-russell cross he tells me.

That afternoon I also made some of my cream cheese out of some extra yogurt I had in the fridge. It's very easy to make and very delicious too, especially if you enjoy the tangy-ness of yogurt as I do.  I thought I would share the procedure with you and it starts something like this ..............

 
Start  with your favourite plain yogurt - low fat or full cream it's your choice ....

 ....you will need a muslin cloth or something similar, a bowl to sit the cloth in, another large bowl to collect the whey ......

..... scoop as much as you want of the yogurt into the muslin lined bowl .....

 ..... I always go a little over what ever size bowl I am using as the yogurt will shrink in size ....... looking something like this

...then tie up your muslin onto something that you can hang the yogurt filled muslin from .... I've used a wooden spoon and two empty milk bottles .... you can now discard the bowl that you had the muslin and yogurt in and get your other bowl ready to catch the whey .... and I have this draining overnight ..... with a temperature of between .... 24 & 14 degrees Celsius .... if you have a warmer overnight temperature I would recommend half the draining time .... as you may spoil the yogurt ....... then the next day ......

....... you should end up with something half the size to what you originally started with and looking something like this ..... and "wha laa" ..... there is your yogurt cream cheese! ....... now the fun begins ..... how to eat this beautiful morsel? 

Now don't forget that; all that whey that you have collected is full of - "goodness plus" - don't discard it ... I use it in stews, soups and even a tablespoon in a glass of water will do wonders for your body and your skin each morning - the whey will keep in the fridge in a jar for a month or so .......

 ......and as for the cream cheese?  well where would you like me to start? ...... 

.....how about dribbling some of your locally produced honey, over the cream cheese in a bowl - divine! - or what about on toast with your favourite jam or marmalade? delicious-ness! - made into your favourite cream cheese dip - have it plainly with a hard boiled egg, lots of pepper and salt with the cream cheese on the side just lovely! - or what about mixing it with that lovely pesto that you made the other day? Now your talking! .... 

.........I'm off to have some right now! ..... Yummm!