Cabin Fever

Rambling right along…

30th June 2007

G’Day Mob,

It is still bloody raining.

OK, the first day of rain is exciting – I get a day off, and get to do not a lot by the fire. The second day we appreciate the rain but the bookwork is up to date and we are getting a bit restless. By day three Cabin Fever has set in. The novelty of being stuck in wet weather is wearing off. We can’t walk anywhere, can’t ride anywhere, can’t drive anywhere, can’t do the shopping, can’t shoot a pig, can’t get to the mailbox, can’t get to the pub, can’t get to hockey training, can’t dry the clothes and the home brew wont brew. Pep snoozes by the fire, Bonnie and Clyde cuddle up together, Wag and Jean appreciate the back of their kennels and Bo sits in the rain. The horses crowd into the stable, the cows plod through the mud and Brian only wants to play Scabble ‘cause he gets a flogging in Trivial Pursuit.

But I’m not really complaining – after all, my house hasn’t floated off down a river like some poor bloke’s in Bairnsdale this morning. And we finished getting our oats in last week so the rain will be good for them, and when the sun comes out it is still warm enough to grow grass for the cattle, and two of the dams have some water in them and the creek is flowing and it is snowing near Tenterfield and I’m not there!

Yep, as mentioned, all the oats are in the ground. It took us a couple of weeks, in between rain and subsequent drying times, but our very first oats crop is out of the ground and is growing and it is quite exciting. Brian and I are like expectant parents. Every day (when it’s not wet) we go over to the first oats paddock and check on the progress. Brian reckons he has pulled more seed out of the ground than the galahs as he checks each plot.

The sowing of the oats was/is another learning curve. I had never towed anything with the tractor until a few weeks ago, when after dark, I went to check on Brian. He figured it was time for his dinner, so did a lap of the paddock with me on the tractor, with the seeder trailing behind, and then left me to it. His instructions were quite simple – “make sure the seed is coming out, make sure the tubes aren’t blocked, make sure the cogs are going round, keep the seeding depth constant, don’t overlap any sowing, don’t miss any ground on the corners, keep the tractor at 18 revs, keep a hand on the lever, don’t run out of seed, lift the loader above the lights of the tractor, don’t lift the loader so high that the tractor is unstable, watch where you are going, don’t go over any big rocks, keep out of the gullies – see you in two hours”. Yeah right. I don’t think I drew breath for the first few rounds, and when I did it rained.

Since that drizzly, dark initiation I have had quite a few more hours on the tractor and actually enjoy it. It is sort of like mowing the lawn – instant satisfaction in that you can see where you have been. The black soil smells great and even the castor oil plants have an aroma that I will always associate with sowing from now on. And some days I beat Brian out to the oats paddock to see how high they have grown.

To celebrate our new venture here at Rocky Springs we went to a clearing sale and bought a couple of toys. Brian now has a motorbike which, along with everything else, is useless in the mud, but when not wet he is racing around everywhere. I call him Hoon Boy. I have a quad bike and I am a bit more cautious than Brian. He calls me Driving Miss Daisy.

Clyde took to the quad instantly and is now chief bike dog. Bo remains cattle dog and happily runs everywhere after the quad, and Bonnie (who only wants to be on the bike if she is tucked down someones shirt) still has aspirations of being a house dog.

Our real house dog, Pep, is finding old age catching up with him. He is having problems with his spine which in turn is affecting his back legs. He has been to the vet and is on anti-inflamatories but still is bright enough to want to beat up the big dogs. That is fine, he reckons, as long as the big dogs can’t see him when he goes to bed – he sleeps in his kennel on the verandah and has red and blue pyjamas.

Anyway, enough of these ramblings – I am off to check the rain gauge, mix up some warm milk for the dogs, throw another log on the fire and see if I can think up some fancy words to beat Brian in Scrabble.

The reason we’re stuck – black mud from the paddocks, yellow clay from the road.

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