Monday, 7 October 2013

...and there you go

by Simone McPherson

The days have become warmer now and we had some rain only a few days ago and with that rain came the time that the ‘Matrons’ – that is the cows, start to ready themselves for calving.  You see I am told by El Ranchero that it is an instinct that goes back eons – as the rain will mask the smell of the cow as she is giving birth to her new Bub-ba from all those wild predators out there.  

Well really that does not exist out here anymore, to a degree.  We do have a lot of problems here with ‘Wild Dogs’ and there are millions invested each year by Government bodies to try and control the problem as they have become quite dangerous and fearless.

With the summer approaching I have started to get my ‘little gardens’ in shape for the coming season.  So at the first opportunity I managed to talk El Ranchero into going down to Front paddock to check on the electric fence line that crosses the creek.  Of course I had an ulterior motif to go down there – soil.  

So I loaded the Landrover up with all my necessary tools, old chaff bags, and my trusty shovel 
and ....

 ....Lily-pup too, she loves to explore and swim.  Once down there I looked around to see where the wild pigs had been digging for grubs and roots – as they are wonderful indicators as to where the best hummus soil is to be found.  It wasn’t long before Lily and I found some marks.  

So while El Ranchero was adjusting the fence line – phew just as well as it had washed away in the last down fall.  

I set to work filling up the eight bags I had brought down Lily on the other hand decided a swim was a better idea so she was off and in the Creek.

On our way back from the creek we made a pit stop at one of the cattle troughs where the cattle get their sugar fix so that I could gather another three bags of cow poo too! 

And we also stopped at one of our dams on the way back to collect some more clay to hold the moisture in the steel drums.  I have come to the conclusion that my ‘Great Thought’ of building the gardens out of old ‘Steel’ containers was not as good idea as I first imagined it to have been.  You see they heat up! Pretty obvious I guess, so I have had to do some ‘tweaking’ so as not to make them such an oven over summer for the roots of my lovely plants.

So now to clean out my little garden beds, my new hoard of soil, cow poo and clay was combined along with Lucerne hay that was swept up from the horse shed to make this wonderful earth that smelt like the rain forest floor, I’m sure all my new little seedlings would be very happy in their new abode. 

Then planting begins; first the layout the tallest in the middle and then to the front the smallest once grown.  This year I did not vary much to the year before.

There is Rocket, a collection of lettuce’s, English Spinach, Italian parsley, Basil and I got in early another collection of Pansies just before it became too hot and some white Salvia along with Marigolds and a mixed punnet of Lobelia for colour over those hot days.

A decision was also made that we now need another paddock close to the yards.  Firstly we need to finish reading the Stock reports without interruptions, not so much from me but my selection of music in the mornings.  I love to listen to something uplifting being the start of another day, perhaps some Cesaria Evora? or some Flamenco music, though not the choice of El Ranchero at that time of day? 

There are a few things to consider when creating another paddock in this sort of country.  The most vital – Water – the life giver for without it in this landscape you are doomed.  

Then there are weeks and weeks of watching the cattle seeing were they like to travel, where they like to camp, where they like to ‘Escape’ too and following their cattle tracks through the Bush.

Then El Ranchero and I hop into the Landrover with Lily pup on an Expedition into the Scrub, into one of the paddocks that are close to the yards that we will be dividing, to create another Holding paddock – ‘Little Horse’ – as the paddock is already called –‘Horse’ – so the division will be named -‘Little Horse’ – logic on my behalf.

Though it is not so much a driving Expedition, it is more of a walking Expedition looking for areas that are reasonably cleared and not part of the “Vegie Map” – areas that we cannot touch as they have ‘Old’ growth seed trees in them – as we do not want to bring in the Dozer at this stage not viable for a Holding paddock of this size, though it does depend on the availability of Water.

All the water that we come across in the washouts and creek holes is winter water, for when hot summer months set in, all that ground water evaporates and what is left travels underground at about three to four feet which is not of much use to our Stock, we need surface water.  

The other issue in this part of the property is the ‘Rock’ there is plenty of it and you cannot shift it.  So we keep walking, and walking, and walking ……

Lily pup has a wonderful time exploring every nook and cranny, swimming and in general having fun skipping over all the rocks and putting her nose in all the holes she can find.

And then all of a sudden, after five days or so El Ranchero decides on an appropriate place and paces out some star pickets .....

 ....and we get on our way and before you know it, there’s our new paddock – ‘Little Horse’ waiting to be fenced ….. we have another fence line to build ...

...a few gates to hang ...

....and then hook the whole lot up to the electricity and there you go another paddock called ‘Little Horse’ ……..