Saturday, 30 April 2016

... take in what was left of the day ...

by Simone McPherson

For the last couple of weeks we have been hearing the ‘roaring’ in the early mornings and in the late afternoons of the Fallow Deer – Dama dama, for they are coming into season and that ‘roaring’ that we hear is the Bucks wanting a fight and calling in the Doe’s. These wonderfully quiet and shy creatures are a native to Iran and Iraq, however they were introduced to Europe back in the Roman times. 
I believe they have now become common park animals throughout England and they were the first deer to become established here in Australia.  Unfortunately or fortunately the deer where successfully released at Westbrook and Warwick on the Darling Downs here in Queensland between 1870 and 1872. 

The Pikedale population – (represents an ‘area’ here in this district) ‘Pikedale Station’ was once a very prosperous 20,200 hectare Sheep Station, though now all divided up was established back 1843.  

DONALD GUNN managed PIKEDALE STATION in 1874, was a famous Wool grower of the Distirict & a Queensland Politician in his time
The old place has had a number of owners over those years until 1919 then being sold to James A Rogerson who had a substantial impact on the Station’s development.  The Rogerson family remained on the property with his son taking over, until 1959.  

Administrators Office & School @ PIKEDALE STATION 1920's - Qld State Archives
Pikedale Station also played an important part during the Second World War too, when a small school was built to accommodate the evacuation of the  ...

ST HILDA'S ANGLICAN GIRLS SCHOOL @ Southport - Queensland State Library
.... St Hilda’s Anglican Girls School from Southport in Brisbane.  

PIKEDALE STATION - outbuildings around 1870's - Queensland State Library
 However in 1957 Mr H Vahl Rubin bought South Pikedale, along with 6500ha of freehold land, which was Pikedale Station and on Sunday the 3rd of August 1963 the majestic old Pikedale Homestead was burnt to the ground, under “mysterious” circumstances, the most obvious being a disgruntled Shearer or worker at the time.

PIKEDALE STATION today - image by Len Knoxx
The outbuildings, shearing sheds, stockyards, meat building, sheds and other building are all but a ghostly memory now of that pioneering spirit of the Australia of long ago.

Image found on Google - no author
Now after that little bit of Local History, back to the Fallow deer, the Pikedale population has now reached herds of over 8,000 with the major population reaching 30,000 and extending into parts of New South Wales and as a consequence have become an epidemic in some areas and management options range from shooting, trapping to fencing of grid-lock over eight feet high.
Image found on Google search - no author
We do not view these creatures as a bother in reality they are good markers for how well your country is managing pasture wise.  With the numbers that we have on our property they are not in plague proportions and are not in competition for feed with the cattle at present, fortunately for them.  Nonetheless we do enjoy Venison on many occasions with family and friends and we regularly have friends down, harvesting the deer for venison for their own consumption along with Goat meat and this helps with the control of the feral population.

 A couple of weeks ago the woodcutter stopped by to say hello and I was given a whole box of locally produced tomatoes which I devoured, luckly for me El Ranchero can not eat tomatoes.  So each morning I would have a couple on my toast, in salads or just as a fruit until I had to roast the other half of the box for they were ripening at a speed that I could not keep up with.  So I halved all the tomatoes that were left, placed them on a couple of cookie sheets, drizzling them with olive oil, some pepper and lots of salt, some pieces of garlic and a good amount of Balsamic vinegar.  Then into a slow oven for a couple of hours, let them cool and into some jars which I kept in the fridge, the end result was delicious and I did not waste a single tomato as I squashed them into my morning toast.

With another visit of some friends I was also given a lovely little ornament for the garden which I made use of strait away for the little finches that visit the garden.

And I also found some mint which I rescued from the supermarket as it sat there dying of thirst.  I brought it home replanted it and now there is no looking back as it sends out its runners.  I love and use the mint daily in my salads and on special occasions in ‘wet’ salads like the middle-eastern style of salads.

I’ve also been slowly building up the lawn area with what I clean out daily from the stables thanks to our wonderful horses.

 The lemons are really starting to look a picture now against the sparseness of our garden.

And the dogs are starting to enjoy the warmth of the sun now that the seasons are changing …

… and Lily Pup is still in recovery from the damage to her hip that she did whilst at work a number of months ago, and she said she is now feeling a lot better, though she still has her ‘off’ days, poor little pet ….

We have taken the last of the Bulls out from the cow herds now and they have all had a good drench and I’m sure they are looking forward to taking their well-earned breaks as they get moved into their own paddock.

And as El Ranchero goes out to feed the Cows …  

… they are really enjoying their new feeding regime now that the Bulls have departed … 

However on one of those feeding trips in the middle of a ‘clean’ part of the paddock …

 … we got a flat …

… and when we investigated what it was that gave us the puncture, we just stared in amazement … “how on Earth … ?

Then a few days later after returning from town with a tonne and half of feed in the float … yes that is the horse float …

 … this time we were more astounded for what was removed from that tyre made no sense.  “… what is that ?” I asked “… and how did a shape like that get into the tyre …?” I asked.  El Ranchero enlightened me by telling me that it was a clip that they use on Tractors and that he had absolutely no idea how something that shape would penetrate a steel belted tyre, “ … just bad luck … “ is the reply he gave me.

However we did make it home after an hour of repairs as the Landcruiser was weighted down by the float and El Ranchero had major dramas in lifting the vehicle up enough to remove the punctured tyre and to add to the complications we had to stop on a hill, but where there is a ‘will’ there is a ‘way’.

I was just glad to get home and take in what was left of the day and my two companions where more than happy to enjoy the end of the day with me …