Sunday, 31 July 2016

... some other work done ...



by Simone McPherson
 A number of mornings ago whilst out on one of my walks through the Bush I noticed that the Knife-leaf Wattles - Acacia cultriformis - are just about to bloom though traditionally their blooming is right in the first week of August to the point that you can set your calendar to almost the very day they start.

And it is at this time of year that I can hardly wait for all that magnificent brilliance of the yellow blooms that start to envelop the landscape like a patchwork quilt …

… the Tumble Gums too, are shedding their old bark …

… to reveal their lovely smooth new trunks …
… in addition, at this time of the year the Yellow Ironbarks – Eucalyptus melliodora – have started flowering, 

... bringing in the cackle and squabbling of the many native Honey Birds that live in this region …

… as they search through all those tiny little flowers for that delicious nectar that those miniature blossoms hold …

… I even came across some watercress in one of the many winter flowing creeks that meander across the landscape much to my delight as it is one of my favourite salad greens lovely and peppery as I popped some leaves into my mouth.

I also found a large patch of Stinging Nettle - Urtica dioica - at an old ‘Sheep Camp’ which I have seen the cattle devour whilst the plant is still young and they don’t seem to be too concerned about being stung by all those Nettle leaves.

We have been very busy with Feeding out the cattle especially at this time of the year as the cows need to get their weight back up after being weaned from their babies.  

… And at these times when our delivery arrives I too am roped into helping with the unloading of the Feed …

… which is a good workout once I get into the swing of things, especially in these cooler months …

As soon as the delivery has been unloaded all 5 tonnes, yes that is five tonnes by hand …

It’s out to the paddocks to feed the “girls”, although we stop for a well-earned cup of coffee with a piece or two of my ‘Orange and Walnut’ cake baked the night before as well as a good catch up  with the driver before bidding him a “goodbye” … ofcourse the feeding schedule can be a time of absolute bedlam to say the least …

As the Cows come trotting up from all directions to all that Tasty grain along with added minerals and vitamins that they all need … then they all start jostling for position …

… some dive in to make sure they get a good mouth and nose full …

… whilst others just look on with Lily pup making sure that they are behaving themselves …

… by giving the cows that ‘flat ear’ look – which means “just give me the word and I will let them know where their place is” as she stands there like a statue staring them down. 

Lily pup has told me that she particularly likes this position on the back of the Ute as she can keep a good eye on them, now being at their height too ...
We also employed the help of a very pleasant young Fellow to help us in flushing out some cattle that had ‘gone bush’, meaning that they had decided to hide in the bushland down at one of the Creeks. El Ranchero has been unable to get on the horse for a number of weeks now as he had a tooth removed which entailed a little more work than was anticipated in fact two hours of trying to pull one tooth which ended up being ‘hooked’ … not pleasant at all.

So “D” arrived one bleak, icy morning along with his nine dogs and his very trusty stead as we later found out …

… once all organised … we guided him in our Ute, over to the area where these cattle had been last sighted …

… we crossed a number of hills, gullies and creek crossings before  

… we came to the paddock in question …

… El Ranchero then described to “D” the terrain of the paddock and where we had last sighted the mob …

… then once we were on the Creek floor we watched …

… as “D” and his pack of  six dogs, as he left three ‘fresh’ dogs at the house in case they were needed, well he just dissolved into the landscape … we waited and did some maintenance on the electric fencing there …

… then a couple of hours later we could hear the clatter of hooves as “D”s horse emerged out of the bushland followed by the sound of splashing as some of the dogs waded through the creek quenching their thirst as they all crossed over the creek … however there was no sight whatsoever of that small elusive mob much to our frustration … “Ah! well it looks as though it will have to be next time … “ is all El Ranchero said …

… Slowly we all emerged back out of that creek country … and onto the next small job that we had for “D” as we slowly all headed back up to the house.  It was three o’clock before we got back for a lovely big bowl of steaming hot Ham and Sweet-corn soup with veggies with some Kale and Parsley too, from the garden … some hot bread from the oven with lashings of cheese melted over the top, which was delicious and comforting after that cold, bleak icy day … 

… and “D”s trusty stead? Well he got a lovely big bucket of Lucerne, some oats, pollard, and some salt along with his blanket as he was covered with sweat after doing all that hard work walking through that very hilly, steep and rocky country searching for those rouge cattle.  

All in all it was a good day even though we did not get that small mob down at the creek, we did get some other work done with “D”s help and we made a wonderful new friend in “D” and it was a pleasure to work with a young man along with his dogs and his mount who had the ideals, principals and ethics of a ‘True Stockman’.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

... the many, many stories ...



By Simone McPherson  
A number of weeks ago when we were down at the Creek with the old Ute I had a number of questions in relation to the chain that is hanging below the bumper bar on the old Ute, and so I thought that I would share with you as to why that chain is there.

You see at times we need to go off our road tracks that we have meandering through the paddocks for one reason or …

… another and it is at these times, especially when the grass is rather high that we need to take care or else we will become marooned on a large rock, a tree stump, a felled tree, a termite mound or anything else that may be hidden under that long grass.  

And these obstacles that we collect actually do, do a lot of damage not only to the old Ute to us as well as we all come to a very sudden stop.

 You see the chain is there to be collected first as we become hitched on whatsoever the object may be and in doing so the chain will essentially stretch a little bit which gives El Ranchero, who is more times than not the driver enough warning to be aware that we have collected something.

On another note the Feeder that we had invested in a little while back …

… has proved to be a hit with the cattle and they were very quick at the uptake to work out how to get the grains out, so much so that El Ranchero decided to invest in another …

 … this one however is  a little bigger than the last and it too has proved to be very popular with another Mob of cattle in another part of the property and being a ‘self-feeder’ the cattle can only get a certain amount of feed which is dictated by adjusting a leaver within the feeder its self. 

After a number of years I too have been fortunate to have been able to replace my little KODAK camera that I take everywhere with me; in truth however the little KODAK does find its way still, into my coat jacket when I am off some-place or another though.

This wonderful new acquisition is a Digital camera ofcourse; a LUMIX FZ70 and with a ‘view-finder’ as I am blind as a bat without my glasses when taking a picture and I cannot see these screens at all that all the new cameras have, and I still refuse to wear my glasses when I am out working, well just for a little while longer … mmm who am I  trying to kid?

The other wonderful thing about my new purchase is that I have finally got a ZOOM and my goodness ‘what a ZOOM it is’!!!

 So as you can imagine I have been practician on everyone, everything and anything in-between.  I have also gone from 4 pixels – yes that is not a spelling mistake 4 pixels can you believe it? to … are you ready for it … 60 pixels; well one could say that one does not know one’s self at all.


However to get my feet firmly planted on the ground again, I have been working hard in organising the top gardens especially now that the days are cooler  

 … collecting more rocks for the rock-garden …

 … spreading all the manure from the Stables and …

… I have even dug a hole with the help of the crowbar for a couple of Orange trees that I have waiting to be planted in this lovely cool, well it is actually cold weather here at the moment.

 The other Citrus’s the ‘Villa Franca’ lemons are doing wonderfully, however …

 … we have had a ‘mystery dinner’ on all the Italian Parsley as well as the Petunias that I had planted around the base of the Lemon trees, so I have created a little barrier made of the mesh that they put under concrete when you are making a concrete floor, which I have used as a fence in the top garden …

The ‘mystery dinner’ is visiting in the small hours of the morning and has left some tell-tail signs of who they were … either a Wallaroo or a Pretty-face Wallaby.

And I think that the ‘Rio’ rings, the steel that the mesh is made from is called ‘rio’ look rather rustic with the rocks and such in this type of garden.

The little Kumquats too, are doing wonderfully at this time of year still fruiting with more blossoms coming through even now at this cold time of year?

… and the Thai Basil has proved its self as well …

 … loving their position so I am considering planting more this coming Spring …

 … as has the Kale which we all love at any-time of the year this Leafy plant I find invaluable to our garden and in the kitchen as well as the …

… lovely little lettuces that we enjoy at this cold time of the year … this little fellow is ofcourse the little Mignoette lettuce …

… even this succulent, which I know as “chicken in a basket” not sure on its real name and I have no idea as to why it is called “chicken in a basket” perhaps you do?  Well this little succulent is, just doing wonderfully in a rather shady spot of the garden at this time of year.

I have also been very faithfully saving all my eggshells, which I have dried out in the sun and will crush into a fine grain, for that extra bit of Calcium for the garden over the Summer months and with the anticipation of planting out some Tomatoes that that I am hoping will not get infested with some sort of worm, nothing worse than taking a lovely bite out of your very own home grown tomatoes to see this ‘thing’ wriggling at you, it’s terribly off putting!

 And on that note I will leave you with some ‘Practice’ shots that you may enjoy.

… the interior of the house which has not changed much, still waiting for those lovely terracotta tiles and window furnishings one day soon …

 … And these are some absolutely beautiful ‘Leggings’ that El Ranchero, well I had them posted all the way from Spain, for his work on the horse and as a surprise, however they are so beautifully made; all by hand that they hang on the wall in our Lounge with an old collection of Horse Memorabilia of times long gone now, so we had to order another pair for work and even this new pair is now treated with ‘Kid gloves’, hilarious really … 

… and this shot is an image of a bit more of the collection that hangs in the Lounge too.  This close-up is of some beautifully handmade horse hair ropes, reigns and a Hackamore that El Ranchero picked up many, many years ago when he was a Young Man without a care in the world as he travelled through The United States working for a travelling ‘Horse Show’ all the way from Australia for over three years and of which he has very, very  fond memories of and the many, many stories that he still recites to me on a regular basis and of which in truth I do not tire from, Bless him.