Sunday morning and Brian is about to set out to do some fencing but there is a bull awaiting pick-up on a nearby property. “You don’t need me. You and Judy will be right” he says as he throws the strainers onto the ute and is gone.
“She’ll be right”. Why do I always fall for that line? Continue reading
It’s 8am and I’m not in the cattle yards, nor in a cattle truck, nor even chasing paperwork for cattle. In fact I didn’t even get out of bed until 30 minutes ago. We are having a rare quiet morning and to be able to just sit and write is cathartic; a wonderful contrast to the last six weeks or so when I have been flat out like a lizard drinking. Continue reading
Here you all are, reading about life on an Australian cattle farm – except today. Today you have the opportunity to experience cattle work on the other side of the planet. Continue reading
G’Day Mob, here’s an old story from the Braeside vault…………………….
It started out as a routine muster. I was aboard Desley and Brian was riding Cobey, with Jean and Wag tagging along to provide some bark. We were moving a mob of cattle
(photo John Bowden)
when a calf got separated and was left behind. Continue reading
Too often in the media we hear only about the whingeing farmer. It is too dry or too wet; the winds have fanned the fires and the market has crashed. El Nino is coming or La Nina has left. The supermarkets are screwing down the prices and the government is burying the whole show in red tape.
So it was an utter delight to meet with 24 proactive, passionate and positive farmers in Queensland last week. The group, all graduates of the KLR Marketing school (www.klrmarketing.com.au) and members of the associated Mastermind network, converged on Landsborough Downs south of Hughenden and the home of Jim and Terri Lindsay.
From all across Australia they came – from the far southwest of WA, to the Atherton Tablelands in QLD; from seaside VIC to the chilly climes of central NSW. Some were born into agricultural dynasties, others have not long been in the game, but all are family farmers running their own businesses with a sweat equity investment in their grass, money and livestock.
An environment of trust and sharing was established from the moment each business gave a five-minute introduction and from there the talking never ceased. Not that all stories were joyous, indeed some were particularly harrowing, for farming does pose its challenges. However the difference between this group and the media-portrayed whinger was their attitude, their acceptance of the responsibility for their own future, and their belief in a system that promotes harmony between business profit, animal welfare and environmental stewardship.
We heard talks on decision making and succession planning, did property tours looking at cell and rotational grazing of trade and breeding stock, got lessons in race drafting large mobs, were inspired by the younger generation of farmers, and ate like kings and queens. But the strength of the group was its willingness to share: to stand in front of peers and admit weaknesses, to offer suggestions, to question pre-conceived ideas, to challenge and be challenged.
It was a mighty few days and made me proud to be an Aussie Farmer. Whingers need not apply.
12th October 2007
Jean is on heat and this place has turned into a circus.
We haven’t seen Pep for two days. He has taken up residence next to Jean’s lock-up and as far as we know has not taken food nor drink in that time. Clyde has turned into a monster called “Harry Hormone” and barks continuously while on the chain, and growls continuously at Pep when off the chain. Bo is still a bit too immature to appreciate the finer points of it all and Wag is just biding his time. Continue reading
Rocky Springs used to be a sheep property and as such we have a lovely old shearing shed. As Rocky Springs is now purely a cattle property the old shed is used for storage. I snapped this grainy shot on the mobile phone at day’s end today. And what did today’s work involve?
1. Back-up computer to avoid internet doomsday – check.
2. Fix electric fence – check.
3. Drive cattle truck to neighbours to pick up escapee cow and calf – check.
4. Draft cows and calves in our yards – check.
5. Cook lunch – check
6. Quick lap of farm in the ute to make sure water medicator was working – check.
7. Clean trough – check
8. Test electric fence with backside – ouch
9. Move mob of cattle under starlight with Bo – check
10. Join teleconference for girls trading cattle – check
11. Find warm bed – yes please………….
Rambling right along…
30th June 2007
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. Continue reading
4th June 2007
Brian and I have been at Rocky Springs for just over a month now so I figured it was time for an update. Both of us are really happy here and excited about all the challenges and opportunities that are presenting themselves. We are quite popular in the district as the locals reckon we have bought the rain – a temporary relief from the enduring drought. There have been over four inches in a month and it is the best rain they have seen in over a year. We are finding that rain on black soil is a whole different kettle of fish to rain on the traprock of Braeside. For starters, the road into the property only has to sniff a storm cloud and it falls to pieces. We were away from the place for our first storm and Brian warned me that we had better get home quick. I thought to myself that it had only been raining for five minutes and that he was over-reacting just a little, but no, I had to get the ute in 4WD and I skidded and slipped up the hill to the house. Since then I have had several lessons in fishtailing at speed, which tends to get the adrenalin pumping. So I thought if I couldn’t drive around the place after rain, I should just walk. And that is another joke. This black soil sticks to your boots like nothing I have seen. You literally end up walking on wobbly high heels, until the high heel falls off and then you fall back to earth with a thud. Even poor old Bo didn’t know what to do with all the mud building up on his paws – I nearly bogged a huntaway!