Sunday, 7 July 2013

..a little bit ahead ...

by Simone McPherson
The days have been pretty cold of late and we have been feeding the last of the ‘Copra Meal’ – coconut meal – out to the girls in one of our back paddocks.

The feed bins have been moved around to accommodate the winter feeding routine with the Molasses .....

....... and on our way through to picking up and placing the new feeder bins I noticed that the – Mugga Ironbark – eucalyptus tricarpa – is still flowering as the chatter of all the honey birds – White-eared Honeyeaters – Lichenostomus leucotis, Yellow-tuffed Honeyeaters – Lichenostomus melanops, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters – Lichenostomus chrysops, Blue-faced Honeyeaters – Entomyzon cyanotis and a collection of Noisy Friarbirds – Philemon corniculatus – fill the air with their squabbling over all the wonderful honey nectar that I can smell as it fills my senses.

The horses have been out of work for the past week but that does not mean that they – get out of work.   

They have been kept occupied by being lunged ……. 

....First Porky Girl..

Then it’s Pedro turn …. 

......They actually enjoy it and it keeps them in shape for working.

We have also been out Bush looking for – ‘Scrubbers’ – these are rouge cattle that get it in their head to – split - from the Mob and go and live and be independent on their own – not a good thing!

Usually it will only be maybe two to three cows and their babies, but these cattle though, have a tendency to teach the rest of the Mob bad habits and we don’t want that, especially in this type of country.  

It can get quite rugged and difficult to muster in some areas.  It also makes it very difficult to bring these cattle in to be marked, tagged, vaccinated and weaned of their mothers not a good thing.

So it’s a job that has to be tackled by ‘foot’ and I am not talking the horse’s feet in this instant ....

 ....... this is us by foot and usually Maxi the black dog leading the way.  Lily is still a bit too young and inexperienced and she thinks that we are on a leisurely walk in the countryside and not out to work and hunt out rouge cattle – bless her.

When you go by foot you really get a ‘reality check’ as to what this country is really like – ‘Rugged’ – hard, steep and rocky to say the least. 

And as for the men that came out here to open up this country? 

......Ring barking the trees ...

.......and setting the fence lines ....
..... it’s quite an achievement considering it was all by horse and by cart.  They did not go home at the end of the day but camped out under a blanket of stars at night for weeks on end till the job was done.

You also come across others that co-habitually live here with us, the Goats. 

They are wonderfully agile and nimble footed creatures the way they move with ease through this rocky, steep hilly country and once caught are very happy to live as a domesticated herd animal becoming very tame and friendly.  Of course they were once domesticated but many were left to roam free and were never controlled and they became wild and now tagged as – ‘feral’ – animals.  They are quite handy in other ways though as the largest percentage of their fodder is actually the woody foliage and some weeds that is unpalatable to the cattle so we don’t destroy them and let them do their thing.

And then as the day comes to another end?  Well we did not catch those rouge cattle though it was a lovely day and it was wonderful to be at ground level to experience the beauty of the ruggedness of the country .....

 .....but Maxi did pick up their tracks as we did follow them for two or three hours though they were just always that little bit ahead of us – with the advantage of being able to travel across the country a lot quicker than what we were able to.  So it’s to another day that we will meet up with them again!  The little ‘Blighters’ …………