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’.