2016 nearly done and dusted.

December 23, 2016

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Another year draws to an end, that means I have lived on Kilcowera for 36 years, I’m  another year older and looking forward to the Australian Open Tennis!  It’s the one sport that I really like to watch.  Last Christmas we had one daughter, her hubby and toddler here to help us celebrate all the great things about Christmas time.  It’s nice to have family with you at such times.  Makes it more meaningful.  This year we have invited our elderly neighbours to come and share the day and some lunch with us.  No doubt we will also appreciate the air conditioner as it is predicted to be 39 degrees ( ooh only 39! )  That’s not too bad!

We have had a mixed year.  It started off really dry, so we sold most of our cattle then it started to rain and kept it right up through most of the winter which spoilt our tourist season somewhat as visitors couldn’t get here.  Or couldn’t leave when they did get here.  Then we had the most spectacular display of wildflowers for months on end.  I have had some broken ribs, Greg has had a buster off the horse but we did have a break away from the place each so that was nice.  We also have a new grandchild.  Our little plane suffered a mishap when a birds, big, mud nest fell onto it and put a very large hole in the elevator.

Our Carbon farming project inches forward with all the speed of a glacier in Antarctica in the ice age.  We have been hooked up to the NBN via the Skymuster satellite – I will reserve my judgment on that for the time being, it too has it’s ups and downs!  My lawn is looking fantastic, the garden pretty good too.  But all in all not a bad year at all. Best wishes to you all and thank you so much for being our friends, family, visitors or just interested people in our way of life in the Outback.  Bless you all and Happy Christmas!

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These Turkey Bushes have been flowering for months! 

To date this year we have had 238 mls of rain, mostly in 3 good falls not too far apart.  The rain has fallen over winter so we have a carpet of green herbage over much of the place as well as stacks of wildflowers.  Some more rain right now would be very beneficial as some of the herbage is starting to wilt.  The weather is also warming up so if we had some rain soon the grass would start to grow too.  So far the response from the grass has been very slow due to the short days and cold nights.

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Lignum bush flowering Kilcowera Station.

Our average rainfall is 250 mls so we have received nearly that much to date.  But summer rain is needed to break the drought.

Daisies popping up all over Kilcowera!

Daisies popping up all over Kilcowera!

Hopbush at Rustlers Roost, Kilcowera Station.

Hopbush at Rustlers Roost.

I just love it when we find new plants!  We have seen this one at Rustlers Roost – but only a few very small ones and never flowering!

Daisies at Kilcowera.

Daisies at Kilcowera.

These beautiful daisies are spread throughout the Mulga country in my area.  Between them and the Turkey Bush vast areas are glowing with purpleness!

One solitary Poached Egg Daisy at Kilcowera Station!

One solitary Poached Egg Daisy!

This is the only one I have seen so far.  The big yellow Paper Daisies are starting to appear and there are going to be gazillions of the little white Paper Daisies.  But all the magnificence doesn’t last long.  Especially if there is no more rain.

Paddock names

June 13, 2016

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Kilcowera Station Herefords.

As you are driving through the Outback did you ever think that all that country you are driving through has a name?  It has it’s uses, it’s very own history and potential?  Some paddocks are quite small, these are holding paddocks or maybe the horse paddock or the one where the killers run. The names come from all over, some are named after people who have lived on the property, some are named after the person who may have done the fencing or who put the tank or bore down in that paddock.  Others are named after a particular feature in the paddock and some around here have African names for some strange reason.

Some paddocks are better suited to certain types of animals, so they are usually stocked with the same cows or steers year in year out.  But then the paddock also needs a spell every now and then so the cows or whatever have to be put into another paddock which suits them just as well.  When you put your animals into a new paddock for the first time you have to keep a very good watch over them for quite a while as the first thing they do is go for a walk right around the paddock to check it out.  So all the fences have to be in good order.  You have to check the corners every few days as sometimes the cows, steers or weaners will sulk and hang in a corner and die there.

We also have to make sure the watering points in the paddocks are adequate for the number of stock we put in there.  If there are natural waters there in creeks or perhaps dams you have to check them frequently  because if they dry up we will probably have to move the cattle back to the man made waters as they may just stay there wondering where the water went. So the water in the troughs needs to be clean and taste sweet or the cattle will head out to a corner and sulk some more.  The troughs need to be cleaned frequently too as they can get a build up of yucky stuff in them quite quickly.  There you go folks – that is a little about paddocks!

Cattle Kilcowera Station.

Cattle Kilcowera Station.

Another storm cloud that didn't deliver.Another storm cloud that didn’t deliver.

While there has been some terrific rain in Queensland not all places have received any in early January 2016.  There was a major rain event predicted for our area which is called the Channel Country.  Now from top to bottom this forecast area is around 1000 km long and 600 or 700 km wide in places.  How on earth anyone can say that an area that size can expect 75 to 150 mls of rain all over it?  And yet we are being actively encouraged by government and banks to base our management decisions on such outlandish predictions.  Thank God we didn’t come down in the last shower!

Our 2 places are nearly 200,000 acres and the highest rainfall that we recorded in 8 rain gauges was 21 ml – in places there was no rain at all.  It seems like  there has been some great rain in places lets just hope that it continues and also that it starts to fill in the gaps throughout Queensland.  And a huge thank you to all the wonderful people who have been thinking of us – -all of us spread throughout the Outback waiting and  praying for rain.  We are still waiting and praying. The SW corner is still very, very dry.Tiny plant.Tiny little plant won’t last long without another drink.

Keep following your nose!

Keep following your nose!

The Dowling Track was named after Vincent James Dowling an explorer and pastoralist who traced the sources of the Paroo and Bulloo Rivers and mapped the river and creek systems as well as the ranges and plains surrounding them.  The track stretches from Bourke NSW to Quilpie in QLD and is 567 km in length.  Along the way you’ll find the historic townships of Bourke, Fords Bridge, Yantabulla, Hungerford, Thargomindah, Toompine and Quilpie.  And of course Kilcowera – the best spot to pull up for a week or so and have a really good look around!

In 1859 Dowling also established Fort Bourke Station on the Darling River as well as Caiwaroo and Eulo Stations on the Paroo River around 1861.  He settled for a time at Thargomindah Station in 1864.

There is something for everyone along the track with historic pubs, old Cob and Co pubs, opal mining, paddle steamers and fishing in any of the four rivers that you will cross.  The bird watching in this part of the outback is fantastic as well.  There is a variety of unique accommodation to be found along the way or plenty of camping spots to choose from.

Then there are the National Parks and Station Stays like ours that offer a great insight into life on the land in this arid environment. The track is mainly dirt but there are occasional stretches of bitumen.  The local councils do a good job on the upkeep of the gravel parts but it’s wise to stay off the road for a few days after rain so as not to wreck the road and upset the locals!

The Bulloo Shire, established in 1880,  is one of the largest in Queensland covering an area of 73,807 ² Kms.  It has a  population of around 377 souls and 220 of them live and work in Thargomindah, the hub of the shire. The main industries in the shire are wool, beef, opals, oil and gas, and of course working for the local council.  In 1961 there were 772 people in the shire, back then there were many more people employed on stations and lots more shearers around than there are now.

Other towns and localities in the shire include Hungerford right on the Paroo River and famous for its old pub, bi – annual field day and for being on the NSW – QLD border.  Don’t forget to ask the publican if you can check out the monstrous big cellar underneath the pub!

Then there is Noccundra on the Wilson River, famous for its gymkhana, beautiful waterhole and its ancient pub.  And yes you can fly into Noccundra and taxi right up to the pubs back door.

There is the ghost town of Oontoo over near the SA Border, sort of famous for not being there anymore.  But lots of people try to find it and its even on google.

Cameron Corner is where 3 states meet and there you will find The Corner Store stocked up with lots of goodies for the weary traveller.  This is a great spot to celebrate New Years Eve.  Just don’t ask the bloke behind the counter what sort of pies he’s got.  He’ll tell you he’s got round ones.

The Burke and Wills dig tree is just up the road a couple of hundred kilometres, a great camping spot right on Cooper Creek, steeped in history.  You can fly into all these places and it’s a great way to get around but of course you really get the feel of the outback by driving and driving and driving!  A lot of the roads are bitumen but there is still plenty of dirt ones around too.

The channel country of Cooper Creek and the Bulloo River overflow are magical places to see in good seasons, the variety of birds, small marsupials, lizards, frogs and snakes is astounding, as well as the assortment of bushes, grasses and forbs that just appear after floods.

And lastly Thargomindah has just about everything the discerning traveller needs including a Toyota dealer ( anything else take it to Turnouts ) an RACQ service, a pub ( home of Surly Shirley ), historic buildings, a new coffee shop, caravan parks, motels, fishing in the river and a visitor info centre.

The mailman coming in our front driveway - Kilcowera Station

The mailman coming in our front driveway – Kilcowera Station