There’s not too many more Australian pastimes than exploring our beautiful country by 4wd. Every weekend, there is a trail fourbies (as we call them in Aus!) heading off into the parks and beaches in my region. This weekend it was Bean (of Adventures Of A Bean) and I, in ‘Heidi’, my blue Holden Rodeo – heading for Conondale National Park. Conondale National Park is 35,500 hectares, which is over 87,700 acres, and near Kenilworth Qld. I would definitely recommend you visit there if you are in the area!
Specifically, we were heading for Booloumba Falls, which is an amazing set of waterfalls and gorgeous gorges winding their way through the park. Despite the drought, the falls were still flowing well and the water was clear and cold. I have tried several times to get to the falls, but the track can be cut when it rains due to landslides. The track is for 4wd’s only as it steep and very rough in spots. Driving through the park is great fun though, and you can see and hear the wildlife as we go. The place was filled with the songs of Bell Birds, and you’d often see a Goanna or Lace Monitor scuttle through the leaf litter.
Bean and I spent hours out there, exploring and swimming in the different falls. We took lots of photos – enjoy!
Conondale National Park.
Our new home.
The ‘Bread Knife’ rock formation, and the pool we climbed down to.
One of MANY waterfalls.
It was a careful climb down.
Bean peruses our swimming hole.
At the top of the largest waterfall. I would guess it was 20-30m high.
Although very clear, the pool was too deep to see the bottom.
From the other side of the pool
We used this waterfall as a slide, was great fun!
Jillaroo Jess at the top of the biggest waterfall.
I was reading through a few of my old posts and remembered the promise of a photo of some of the ant hills down here. I am yet to organise the many photos from our recent Western Australia trip, but here is one of them. This is an anthill I walked past in Karijini National Park. I’m 5ft 10inches, so that is one big mound! It is interesting how the shapes and colours of the anthills change depending on where we are. We have some anthills on the farm, but they generally don’t get any higher than a metre – which makes them dangerous when the grass is long!
Yesterday was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect. A friend and I, her name is Jess too, went for a swim with a couple of horses in the river. It was great fun swimming with the horses and jumping from their backs. I’m a lucky girl to live in an area with such a beautiful natural environment. After we went for a swim we prepared lunch. We had brought a small bbq down to the river with the intention of cooking up a nice bit of steak for lunch. However, since we forgot a lighter and cannot start a fire with sticks, that didn’t quite work out! We ended up just eating ‘rabbit food’ and a couple of neenish tarts yum yum! This is the perfect time of year!
I received some more photos from Jackaroo last night. Am hoping to have them up today or tomorrow – stay tuned!
Weekends normally mean more work for me. More enjoyable work, mind you, I’d much rather be outside than in the office. Last weekend, however, was different – well one of the days anyway! Since it’s been getting warmer, and the days longer, I have been itching to get down to the river. In summer that’s where I (would) like to spend my days, relaxing by the cool water, watching whichever dogs I brought with me running around and playing. This time I brought Dodge, and Sid with me. Dodge is over a year old, and Sid is around 8-9 months old. I took some photos of our adventure to share with my favourite bloggers.
Flowers line the road.
Dodge looking for his next adventure.
Dodge and Sid playing.
My favourite summer pastime.
The next day we were to muster Jackaroo’s Pa’s property to send some cattle to the sales. In the ‘mountain paddock’ we had some trouble with the cattle who decided they didn’t want to obey the dogs or horses. There were only about 50 head of cattle, so we had 2 dogs and both Jackaroo and myself on our trusty steeds. Well, mine was trusty – my sweet sweet Perseverance. Jackaroo was riding a green mare. For the city folk – not green green. A green horse means it hasn’t had much work and is very fresh, ie – on the good feed all day, so green poop. Due to Jackaroo being on an inexperienced horse and having difficult cattle, I stayed behind the mob with the dogs to make sure everything kept following him. Anyway, the cattle were pushing past the dogs and we often had to gallop to the lead of the mob to turn them around. At one stage, when I was cantering up the hill, we came across a crop of granite boulders. One was straight in our path, Percy and I disagreed which way we were going to go round it, so we flew over it! Our horses certainly learn to get good footing when mustering. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes to a horse. If I was riding a horse that had only ever lived in a small flat paddock instead, both of us would’ve surely hit the dirt. Mustering horses are strong and tough and have to think for themselves when we’ve got our eyes on the cattle going flat strap. When we finally got the cattle to the yards, we drafted and tagged a small group to send to the sales. The next day we then went to the cattle sales to see how they sold. They were mainly some older cows and some cranky ones. There was one calf that I couldn’t resist taking a photo with as he was very cute! I thought you guys might appreciate it.
Enjoy the photos, and keep an eye out in the next couple of days for my stories from the 2013 Gympie Muster where I was media once again. I got to interview some great artists.
Riding along the old carrige-way looking for cattle.
My trusty steed, Percy.
Pushing cattle towards the gate to the other side of the road.
On the home stretch to the yards.
Some cattle in the yards
Gemma, Molly and Charlotte.
Charlotte and Perserverance having a rest while we work the yards.
Every second Sunday we cart cattle for the sales. In case you don’t understand the slang – it means Jackaroo and I hop in a cattle truck, pick peoples cattle up and bring them back to the saleyards for the sales the next day.
We often have to deal with some snotty cattle, and it’s a long day generally, but we get to see some beautiful properties and areas. I love going trucking! Running around yards, climbing up the sides of the truck… It’s all fun and games until someone gets sloppy cow poo flung into their eyeball. I’m not a prissy lady, I judge how hard I’ve worked by how dirty I am. Poo in the eyeball is where I draw the line though.
Last time we trucked cattle, there was one lot who were particularly stirry (cranky). I was positioned at the back door so that when the cattle flew up the ramp I could shut them in quickly. When on the back door, you have to make sure that the cattle don’t try to run back down the ramp, so you keep an eye on them through the gap between the bottom of the crate. I generally wear sunglasses, but it had started getting dark so I took them off. BIG MISTAKE. When I was looking through the gap, a cow ran up into the truck, kicking a big bit of slop straight into my eyes! When I say kicking, I mean it was enough to leave a bruise and scratches. When I say slop, I mean 8hrs of cattle poo, pee and dirt from their feet all mixed up into a sloppy goodness. I did have a photo of my face, with the scratches and puffy eye, but I decided it was most unattractive and I would limit who saw me in that state.
The worst bit of the ordeal? Explaining to people what happened to my face for the following week…
Good morning fellow Jillaroos and Jackaroos. I’ve been rather quiet on here the past few days, as I’ve had 4 days off work (aka the day job). Thursday was the public holiday for ANZAC Day. If you’re not from around these parts, ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It’s a day to remember the fallen soldiers and appreciate what they’ve done for us. Since Thursday was the public holiday, I took Friday off too so I could have a 4 day weekend. Not that I ever seem to get a day to relax though. I was busy as ever on the farm and around the countryside.
I’ve only just brought my filly, Perseverance, back into work. Last year she went out west mustering with Jackaroo for a few months. Then, due to the drought and flooding, she lost a fair bit of weight, so I’ve been trying to feed her up for the past few months. She’s still got some weight to put on but is looking a lot better! So on Thursday, I took her down to the campdraft ground to work her. A campdraft is an Australian sport where riders cut out a cow and then push it around a course – it’s what I plan to do once Percy is old enough and strong enough to do it. She is only a baby, at 3yrs old. She is the horse I’m laying on in a previous post. When I was walking her around the arena, she stumbled and ended up on her knees. She then took a few bites of grass, and laid down while I was on her. Was very funny! That will show me for teaching a lazy horse to lay down! So I worked her for a while and then went and picked up hay from a property further out.
On Friday I went to the Widgee Mini Music Muster with the Australian Institute of Country Music crew. We interviewed a few artists such as Travis Collins, The Webb Brothers and Graeme Jensen for a podcast that will soon be put together. I am hoping to post the podcast on my blog as well. Country music festivals have the best atmosphere. I fell in love with the atmosphere long before I started liking country music. The people are friendly, and it’s easy to get interviews with the artists. I’ve previously been to festivals to interview artists for the radio show a friend and I used to host. One day I’ll be on stage.. Until then, you’ll have to put up with my ramblings on here. Oh who am I kidding, you guys will be some of the first to hear of my adventures!
On Saturday and Sunday I took Percy mustering on a property not far from us. Jackaroo rode his stallion, Confidence, the first day and then another 3yr old filly, Sardonyx, the next day. We mustered the cattle from the mountain, across the road into another paddock and finally into the old cattle yards there. They haven’t been used for a while, I kept getting my spurs tangled in the chest-high grass and stumbling. Classic gumby Jess (slang for uncoordinated). It can be real rough riding through the bush looking for cattle. Some bits are really densely treed, and you are continually ducking and diving from branches and big fat spider webs. In Australia we call this ‘scrubby country’ or ‘the scrub’ – where all there is are forms of eucalypt trees and weeds like lantana bushes etc. I dodged one spider web yesterday which stretched 2-3m, and had a massive fat-bodied spider in the middle of it. I’m not sure what type of spider it was but they are common in the bush, their webs are actually bright yellow in colour. At least it makes it easier to see them! We certainly are one badass country.
When you spray cattle for buffalo fly, all the flies end up on you! This is only a few compared to what it has been before.
The joys of having good dogs. They keep the cattle following you.
Perserverance and Sardonyx.
The old dairy on the property.
“Bogey!” The dogs cool themselves down in a waterhole.
Jackaroo and his dogs.
In the bush, you rarely have anything other than a barbed wire fence to tie your horse to. These aren’t high-strung show ponies, they know what to do.