Thursday, 25 September 2014

... gone in a cloud of dust ...

by Simone McPherson
As the last of the brilliant yellows of the beautiful ...

... and dainty “Red leafed” wattles flower ...

... the land has become waterless and parched to say the least we have had six inches so far for the year.

We have been busy in these times cutting back the Cypress pines that have overrun many of the paddocks after years and years of neglect through over-clearing back in the 1930’s and then in the 1970’s followed by no upkeep of the paddocks over the many years.

Max and Lily-pup are always keen to help … “… just give the word” they said.

This year I thought I would try something a little different on the garden beds to keep in the moisture and to stop the gardens from drying out too much over the hot summer months – Eucalyptus leaf mulch?

I was told to put “leaf mulch” from the Eucalyptus trees onto my garden by daughter number one. She informed me that the leaf mulch from the Eucalyptus trees would be the ideal thing for my little gardens out here as there was so much of it scattered over the landscape  –“sure” I said … “but what about all the eucalyptus oils from the leaves? will they not kill my little gardens off?” “…. no they won’t” she told me “… as the Eucalyptus trees have a very unique trait.  Before they drop their leaves, they actually extract all the moisture including the oils from their leaves before releasing them in normal times and in times of stress”.  “… how wonderful” I thought.

So … with my little helper we set out on the way home from one of our jobs to fill a couple of bags with the “Eucalyptus leaf mulch”. 
Now this “leaf mulch” has the additional benefit of cow manure as the little spot that we stopped at  on the way home is a “cattle camp” meaning it is a place that the cattle like to rest, stoping  under the shade of the trees during the heat of the day and it is warm and safe during the evening though most times they are out and about foraging during the night-time.  

There were fragments of bark and pieces of twigs in the mulch. I thought they could all complement the leaf mixture for my little gardens besides I could always pick out the bits of bark and the pieces of twig that happened to be in the way see how we go?

We have also been out mustering up the Weannies in fact 160 of them.  We could not get the last 62 in as they all went bush and two days later a job that should have been two hours ended up being two very frustrating days for the dogs the horses and us! 
They do become a little naughty as they run in all directions with their tails in the air it’s all for their own amusement and fun.

Once at the yards Max does what he loves to do ...

.... and that is work cattle, he brought them all in.  The Weannies had all been sold a week or so before with the Stock Agent coming out to draft of the weaners that his buyer was requiring.

And right on the dot the trucks arrive to load the weaners.

Driving through the gates .... 

 ... the drivers position themselves and ...

... back up to the ramp from where the Weannies will be loaded up along the ‘race’.

Once one truck is complete the other then moves into position ready for its load.   

Due to the condition of our 12kms of dirt road into our property and the 90 or so kms of bitumen out here from our main town B-double trucks are not permitted to travel along these roads hence the two double deckers.

Max of course is an old hand at all of this and just relaxes on the back of the old Toyota Ute keeping an eye on things.

After a cup of Black tea and devouring all of my Orange cake that I baked that morning, filling in forms and telling a few stories the men are ready and refreshed for their four hour drive to their destination.

We say goodbye and off they go.  

The magnificent diesel engines begin to drone and purr as the drivers shift through the gears.   

Then they are gone in a cloud of dust and ...

... the hum of their engines gradually disappears as they make their way down our dusty, powdery dirt road, now I have some washing to do ...........