8th November 2008
We crashed into bed last night, worn out and ready for sleep. We stayed awake long enough to reflect on the past week and then it was time for some serious snoring under the fan. For those of you who wonder what we actually do here, take my hand and I will lead you through a somewhat typical week.
Fed Animals – Spring is supposed to be a time of plentiful rain and abundant feed however this drought refuses to relinquish its hold. We are giving supplements (gypsum and salt) to all the cows and feeding copra (dried/crushed coconut meal) to the weaners. This involves lugging 20kg bags from the woolshed to the ute and then into tubs in the paddock. Desley and Bandit are also looking a bit on the skinny side so more copra is fed to them but Cobey is, as always, fat and shiny.
Socialised – Exactly seven days prior to the serious snoring we were socialising at a late night BBQ. There were about eight of us, and one bored teenager, sitting out on the lawn, looking hopefully at a cloudy sky and besotted with bugs drawn to the light and dogs drawn to the scraps. A few nights later I was at a girl’s night with some of the locals, which ended when I picked up Brian from the pub.
Pumped Water – Our pumps are working just about every day at the moment. Firstly we pump from the artesian bore to a holding tank and then another pump pushes the water to one of two header tanks. The water then gravity feeds to the troughs. Part of our daily routine is to check pumps, tanks and troughs.
Followed up Marketing – In January we sold a lot of our weaner calves to a bloke named Col. On Saturday we went to inspect the weaners before I left to feed this year’s calves (which we also hope to flog to him). Brian and Col continued fostering client relations (see socialised).
Fenced – We started putting up new fences again this week after a fair lay off. Brian realised how soft his hands were because after hitting in plenty of star pickets he was left with plenty of blisters. I fenced around Telstra and the Spring Carnival.
Chased Telstra (our beloved phone company) – Why would a phone go out in the morning and then come on again at night? Buggered if I know, nor did Telstra even though it had been happening for nearly two weeks and I made sure they were aware of the problem. I wasted a good deal of Thursday awaiting a technician who didn’t turn up so I was fairly steaming by the time the phone was fixed on Friday afternoon. For the record, it was the hot temperatures causing the problem.
Studied –I am doing a beef production course, starting at the dumb level and working my way up. At the moment it is OH&S and environmental matters with the good cow stuff coming later.
Played Sport – Brian refuses to go to tennis since he was booked for not wearing a seatbelt by the only policeman to drive through Coolatai in two years – so I go on my own. Sunday I was particularly frustrated with my “squash” shots which see the ball regularly go into the net or over the back fence. After complaining that there must be a better way, a bloke on the opposing team showed me how to hold a racquet. What a difference! This tennis could have some potential yet. The bloke is not sure what he has unleashed.
Checked cows – The weaners are in one paddock – most of the time. They enjoy testing old fences and so when they come back for their feed it is time to fix old fences behind them. The dry cows are in another paddock and I wish they would hurry up and get fat so we can sell them. The trading cows and calves are in another paddock and I wish they would hurry up and get fat so we can sell them too. The beautiful Brahmans are not too worried about the drought and are busy having calves and seducing the Charolais bull. The spare bulls are in the Front Paddock when they are not in the house yard eating parsley.
Watched the Spring Carnival – Ah Spring. It might not rain enough but the ponies still go around each October and November. I’ve watched a lot of the carnival, barracked for some winners and sacked some losers. Tuesday was National Bart Day and Brian and I fenced in the morning and saw Viewed beat everything else home in the Melbourne Cup in the arvo.
Chased Pigs – there is always a constant stream of feral pigs, so my pig-dogs (Bonnie and Clyde) are employed for a laugh. It is hard to get the little beggars to come back though. Bo is banned from pig-chasing: he is supposed to be a cattle dog.
Attended Training Day – Wednesday was spent in Warialda at an information day that included topics such as managing drought pastures, changes in beef production and mental well-being, which saw all the blokes standing and holding their balls. Guess you had to be there.
Read a Book – Still had time to read a book – “Head Over Heals” written by Sam & Jenny Bailey who live over the hill. Sam was a farmer who was left a quadriplegic after a car accident. Inspiring read.
Went to Abattoir – The weaners that we sold to Col (see Marketing) were amongst some that he sent to the works and as breeders we were invited along on Friday. I was glad I went to see for myself how it all happens (and therefore dispel the hysterics that you can read about) but I will not be rushing back. I will not go into details, suffice to say that an abattoir is what it is.
Sowed Lab Lab – Lab Lab is a legume which is apparently good for putting nitrogen into the soil as well as providing cattle feed. We sowed some last month but it is struggling to germinate with the dry. After some rain on Monday we were back on the tractor to try another lot. Fingers crossed.
Ran Out of Beer – No bloody rainwater means the beer production ceased and for the first time in four years we ran out of home-brew. Of all the rotten luck………………..
This ramble was written in November 2008 when Rocky Springs was in the grip of a bloody, great drought. I am thrilled to report that in February 2013 Rocky Springs is green, wet and drought free. So one week of work in 2008 is quite different to one week now. If you want an update let me know!