2016 nearly done and dusted.

December 23, 2016

dscn0085

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!

relaxing-by-cardenyabba-lagoon-copy

Advertisements

Paddock names

June 13, 2016

Copy of IMG_0421

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.

Squash and corn relish, homemade at Kilcowera Station.

Squash and corn relish, homemade at Kilcowera Station.

Once upon a time we populated the west with Guinea Pigs!  Yes – we had 2 as pets when our girls were small.  Blackie and Blossom.  Whenever we attended any function we would take a little box with a guinea pig or two in it to give away.  The other parents tried to avoid us – but we were cunning – we made our move directly through the kids!  They were lovely little pets.

My vegetable garden is also producing very well these days. At the moment its zucchinis and button squash.  We have been giving away as many as possible but this is difficult when we don’t go anywhere much and they just keep piling up in the cold room.  I have made mention in a previous post about what to do with the zuchs now it’s the squash that are really multiplying!  And do you know – not too long ago I paid $4.99 for 4 little yellow squash at my local store!  Now I have about a hundred of them lurking in bags in the coldroom.

I also had a few ears of corn that didn’t look like it was going to be eaten any time soon so decided to make some corn relish.  Well, really, it’s squash relish with corn – my only hurdle was not enough corn to really justify using stacks of the squash.  But I managed to use about 15 of them, along with home grown capsicum, chillies and okra.  So all up, I am very pleased with the result.  Just as well that we both like hot and spicy food – cause those chillies have a bite to them!

From the bounty of my little veggie garden I now have numerous bottles of the following: Tomato Relish, bread and butter cucumbers, bread and butter zucchinis, pickled chillies, gooseberry and mulberry jam and now corn and squash relish.  Won’t be needing to buy any condiments for awhile!  🙂

The former athletic gate on Kilcowera Station

The former athletic gate on Kilcowera Station

I always have a bit of a giggle to myself when the odd visitor whinges about the gates on the drive into Kilcowera.  All three of them.  There has been many a suggestion about putting ramps or grids in to make the experience more user friendly.  Hard luck!  The middle gate on the way in was a real doozy – unless you knew just how to treat it, it would give the unwary a pretty good workout.  You bring one side to the middle, head over to the other half and by the time you have it in the middle the first half has swung open again.  We in the bush call these athletic gates. Rest easy – it is perfectly balanced now and operates in a perfectly boring and mundane manner. One chap commented it was worth the camping fee just to watch his wife doing battle with it!

Back in the eighties there were 14 gates on the road to town.  But being young and enthusiastic this didn’t deter us one iota.  After all the bloke always drove and the missus and the kids did the gates!  The only exception was if the missus was getting a bit long in the tooth or was done up in her finery and had high heels on.  But this was a rarity.  The other exception was when the missus had to both, drive home in the dark and do the gates because himself had a load on and was snoring in the seat next to her!

We had one gate not too far from the house at the back of the horse paddock, made of wire and logs.  I swear it was the heaviest and most cumbersome gate ever invented.  Only a few years ago Greg replaced it with a swinging gate so our visitors had an easier time with it.  But I know the ulterior motive was so the bloody thing would be shut properly, not in some half baked way because they couldn’t work out what to do with it!

This is something we have noticed over the years – people can undo a gate, but getting it back together the correct way is much more challenging!  I suppose we all have our fields of expertise.

Dingo Barrier Fence workers, Outback accommodation, Kilcowera Station

Dingo Barrier Fence workers, Outback accommodation, Kilcowera Station

Doing a water run on the place also entails opening and shutting lots of them – sometimes up to  twenty ! The Dingo Barrier Fence boys have perfected the art of not going through anymore gates than they have to on their inspections of the fence.  After all they don’t have to pay for the fuel and it’s not their car they are driving.  They will drive 10 times the distance to get somewhere and to get out of opening and shutting a gate.  And there are always two of them, so it’s not like it’s one bloke has to open the gate, get back in the car, drive through and shut the gate.

We just live with them, they don’t bother us too much, the gates are there, they need to be open and shut and that’s all there is to it.

Hay to be unloaded at the cattleyards.

Hay to be unloaded at the cattleyards.

Well, it’s mustering time again and that means buying some hay to feed them as we move them through the yards and into new paddocks.  The newly weaned weaners stay in the yard for a week or so and get taken through the yards 3 or 4 times to educate them and get to eat some yummy hay every evening.  The cattle that we will be selling also get fed in the yards for a few days until we have enough of them to fill the truck.  We usually buy our hay from St George which is 600 km away so the freight is super expensive as is the hay.

P1030945

We had a bit of a quandary this time – the trailer was bigger than usual and so there was a third layer of hay stacked up.  How to unload it????  The poor old Fordson was not up to the challenge – the hay was just too high and too heavy at 600 kg per bale.  Soo, it was all shoulders to the hay ( except little old me ) J  Apparently I’m a bit of a light weight……..

Feeding the hay out for the weaners at Kilcowera Station.

Feeding the hay out for the weaners at Kilcowera Station.

……..  Anyway the job took most of the day, rolling the hay off and the using the old tractor to stack it up, then an electric fence around it to keep the passing trade out.