Tuesday, 15 October 2013

..they are there early each morning ....


by Simone McPherson

It has been terribly, terribly dry, now that the summer months are setting upon us.  And the wind from the West has been abysmal; 


I may as well turn on my hairdryer and stand in front of it as it would be a lot cooler than the wind outside.  We seemed to have missed out on spring? not sure where it went?
So we have been keeping an eye on the cattle, making sure that they have enough feed at these times.  And the other morning we were out by 7am to.... 

 ..... walk the creek-bed of a paddock called ‘Little Up’s’ as the majority of the water had dried up, we were on a mission to find  some water holes further up the creek.  So off we went with Maxi boy.
We walked and walked, I took the ‘high road’ well cattle track ... 

 ..... and El Ranchero took the ‘low road’ my goodness it was dry, and to think that a couple of weeks ago it was flowing.   

 Then after half an hour or so we finally come across some water holes and thank goodness, the 84 Heifers should be right for the moment.

For the past couple of days we have started building – laneways – I, for one was under the impression that fencing had come to a finish, silly me what was I thinking?  You see it is only El Ranchero and I, the horses and the dogs that is the sum of us all, taking care of over 500 cows and 26 Bulls and we are not quite as ‘springy’ as we used to be so the easier it is to get the cattle from A to B the better.

 I started to think, as one does while waiting for El Ranchero to break the hard ground with the crowbar ... Oh! by the way that fence line is switched OFF! otherwise we would be in terrible trouble 10,000 Kva are passing through those wire lines!

 ... then I will clear the hole with my shovel.  Well I did start to think how many Kilometres of fence had we done to date? 

I asked El Ranchero this pondering question, with a little hesitation he came upon the figure of ‘seventy’?  ‘Gee’ I thought that is pretty good going for a man and his offsider, that’s me.   


And there is an art to fence building, there is definitely an art to fence building.
Let’s see – firstly you have to clear the old fence line ... 

 ... which too is an art in its self, El Ranchero even creates these beautiful ...

 ... Sculptural pieces with the old barb, wire, and posts and anything else that is entangled into the mess.

There are the star pickets – steel posts - hundreds upon hundreds of them.  


In sections we use barb that too consists of miles and miles of the stuff as we do a five wire in the barb.

On the electric lines we only use a three to four wire.  

Then there are the porcelain insulators which are fixed to the steel posts with two clips, a nut and a screw … 


... thousands upon thousands of them, which I may add have to be threaded before you fix them to the post and as you tie them off at each end .... 


.... with more insulators though these are called - end insulators for obvious reasons, I am to presume ...... though I do know that if you did not have these insulators the consequences would be that upon one unlucky person who was to touch a gate to undo it would be sent flying - in my case to Hospital ....


There is the insulating cables that pass under the gates to carry the electricity from one paddock to the other all the way.  


There are the clamps used to hold the cables onto the wires.
You will also need assemblies and corner posts too – these are made from timber that we have on the property, we only use the Narrow-leaf Ironbark trees as they are not only hard but wonderfully strait.   



El Ranchero cuts and trims these trees down to posts, rails and braces, I debark them with a crowbar … 


... on occasion when we have left the bark on the termites move in or even the little local Orchid will move in …

Finally the gates are hung and that too is a wonderful thing to watch being done as it is an art as well.  You have to make sure that the gate will swing but just enough … 



... too much and you may end up in trouble and stiff as a board well when you are on the horse it is no fun trying to open a stiff gate especially when you are in a hurry!

 We have also taken to giving out some “Wild Parrot Mix” for the Pretty-face and the Wallaroos that visit us at the house, which they appreciate at this time of year – it puts a bit of fat and protein into their diets which they are searching out.  They are there early every morning waiting for El Ranchero along with the finches, the wood pigeons, the beautiful grass parrots, warblers and the odd galah ……. 


 Which reminds me, I had better go outside and give those lovely little marigolds a drink of water before the heat of the day approaches ........