An Aussie Weekend

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!

Crikey, that’s a big one!

After feeding all the animals on the farm one afternoon recently, Jackaroo called me over to the pigeon cage. I looked inside and saw a big python curled up, with a suspiciously fat stomach. I quickly ran inside to get an old pillow case which we could use to put the snake in. Jackaroo could tell that it was a boy by the pattern on his scales. Since he was such a beautiful snake, and not overly poisonous, we decided to relocate it. It took a long time to get him out of the cage as he had barricaded himself between the roof and the chicken wire. He snapped at us as we tried to pull him out from his hiding spot. Since he had eaten one of our pigeons, though, he found it quite hard to get away – his stomach was just too round. Unfortunately, when snakes are stressed, their bowels are too… and therefore our noses. Man, snakes are putrid! I have attached a photo of me releasing the snake about 10 minutes down the road. You can see I’m trying to hold it away from my body so I didn’t get covered in his poo, as he was trying to wrap around my arm. He was about 6ft long, which is a fair size, but this species can grow over 10ft long! mms_20140102

Introducing – Kora!

After months of much anticipation, I’ve finally met my new pup! Her name is Kora, and she is a beautiful Border Collie. She came from a Border Collie stud called Mukkerdowns, which is located near Orange in New South Wales. Kora has so much personality. The more time I spend with her, the more I love her. She is around 5months old, I think, I’m yet to find out her birth date. Over the weekend, I took her for a walk down to the creek, which winds itself through the property. On the way down, we came across a small mob of cattle. Kora looked at them and within seconds was trying to run around behind them, before I called her back. We will start her on sheep or calves, so that she doesn’t get hurt for her first time herding. It is amazing how much the instinct is in these dogs, despite the majority of her brothers and sisters being city dogs. When we got to the creek, to my delight, she dove straight into the water. It seems she loves the water as much as I do! She hooned through the water, and mud, taking in every new scent and sight as she could. She rolled in the dirt and leaves on the side of the creeks and dams, each time falling into the water. She makes me laugh!

Then yesterday I took her for a drive down to the river. She swam after me as I floated through the slow-running water. Every time a leaf or stick floated past she would be after it, snapping her jaws as she swam. The funniest bit was when the leaf went underwater – she stuck her head underwater too! I was amazed that she knew to breathe out while underwater. Such a strange dog! Love her to bits! Anyway, I didn’t have long to write much of a story for you, apologies, but enjoy the photos πŸ™‚

Foaly Moley!

This year, we only have had 3 Australian Stock Horse foals born on the property. It’s definitely quality over quantity though, they are beautiful. First born was a flashy chestnut colt with a big baldy face (lots of white) and 3 white socks who we named Coolrdige Kidman – after a famous Australian cattle baron. Next, a lovely little bay filly with a bucket load of attitude named Coolridge Karijini – a beautiful desert in Western Australia. Finally, a leggy black filly called Coolridge Khaleesi – I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones!

In case anyone is interested in Australian Stock Horses, and follows their breeding, all three are by Kooloombah Confidence, a very handsome red dun stallion. Confidence, and all of the mares are bred to Campdraft, which is an Australian horse sport with cattle, where you must first cut out a beast in the ‘camp’, then take it out into the arena and bend it around two posts and through a gate. These foals all have great breeding and we are looking forward to seeing their natural ability under saddle. I’m currently in the process of building a website for our horses and will have it finished in the coming months. Once breeding season is over I’ll have more time to get things happening.

Have a look at the photos attached, aren’t they just beautiful? I love coming home and watching the foals playing in the cool twilight. Enjoy the photos – I’d be jealous if I were you…

Working Dog Fashion

Hi everyone! I am so sorry that it has been so long since I have last posted. Breeding season is always busy on the farm, before and after I go to my full time job, I’m breeding next year’s foals! Well, assisting – I don’t do much. Hah!

I will put up photos of our Western Australian adventures soon, but firstly I thought that I would show you photos that Jackaroo has sent me of some of his dogs in the high-vis jackets I made them. They look great, I am very proud of the effort. In one of my past posts, I wrote about how bad a lot of drivers are around working dogs and cattle. There’s no chance of not seeing these dogs now! I wonder what the cattle think? Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Gemma and Edge
Gemma and Edge
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Gemma

Bridge Over Untroubled Waters

All is well on the stock route, Jackaroo sent me these photos last night. They’re currently stuck in a stock reserve for a couple of days while, one again, mobs ahead sort themselves up. Normally you have to move 10kms per day along the stock route, so a stock reserve is a designated area where you can rest your cattle for a day or two. It has water there, but no cattle yards there. This one that they are in at the moment, is fenced on two sides, with a road and the river as a natural boundary.

The cattle moved really well over the bridges apparently. As you can see in the first photo, when working cattle, you push smaller sections at a time rather than try to push the whole mob at once. If you are trying to guide more than a handful of cattle into yards or over a bridge, pushing the whole mob won’t work as you don’t have control over the front. The front could head off to one side or plant themselves in one spot, sending the middle of the mob back around you. It’s hard to explain, but there really is an art to working cattle – it can be tough!

I’ve also attached a photo of ‘Kitty’, the cat that thinks he’s a horse, walking along the old cattle yards at home last night – since I have nothing too interesting to say haha!

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A horseman pushes cattle across a bridge.
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Cattle take a drink before they move on.
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And this is the best photo I can offer from my time at home. Lol!

Playing Possum

Jackaroo took me to one of the old sheds the other day for show and tell. There was a big grey possum with beautiful dark eyes looking up at me. I quickly ran inside to cut up some apple to feed it. I wonder if it is a boy or girl, I thought. I guess this answers it! Here is the latest addition to the farm, an adorable little joey holding tight onto it’s mother’s back. I wonder if it’s a boy or girl…

FYI – ‘Playing Possum’ is Aussie slang for ‘faking it’ or ‘pretending’.

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The grass might be greener, but it’s just as hard to mow!

What colour is that in the back of my photo? Is that grass? GREEN grass? For the past 8 months or so, the paddocks have been bare. Then in January the flooding rain came. The grass grew like the clappers! Day 2 of the rain and the grass was longer each time you walked outside. Now look at it! Tall, green, lush grass. Lucky I don’t have to mow the lawn. If I did, I’d just put a mob of horses in the yard. There’s much nicer things to do in this lovely part of the country than mow the grass.

The photos attached are of a property we were going to muster over the weekend. The rains interrupted our plans, unfortunately. Maybe next weekend πŸ™‚

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Avagogully (have a go gully), a nice boggy little spot we put cattle through when mustering this property.
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Mother and child. How sweet.

Best Co-Pilot Ever

[In my opinion] I am the best co-pilot ever. Is it my continual guide-like commentary of everything we pass? Is it the way I give directions 2 streets too late? Maybe my angelic voice, singing most of the way? Some may call this annoying. I call it a ‘youthful exuberance’. I just loooove driving! Just rattle the keys and I’ll jump in the ute.

The Thursday before easter, Jackaroo and I drove 11hrs from muggy Queensland to freezing Central Western New South Wales. We were heading down to pick up his prized new colt, who I like to call Big Pete. The trip down there was great. Despite having to leave in the early morning, we were both excited to get down to Dubbo, where we had planned to stay the night. It’s amazing how different most of the properties down there are. Most seemed to be sheep properties with long tree-lined driveways, just like you see in the movies. Unlike Queensland where the driveways are lined with rusty old Holdens and obsolete farm machinery! We even passed a property where the 50 or so head of sheep had rugs on! I assume they had fine wool, and the rugs kept it clean (feel free to correct me in the comments if you’re in the know). Apart from laughing while my brother got chased by a ram once, I’ve never had anything to do with sheep. It would be interesting to learn about the animals, and the methods they employ to manage a sheep property. Though I still think I’d prefer cattle! The old shearing sheds look beautiful set in the granite boulder studded countryside. Would be amazing to explore.

As a whole, the New South Wales countryside seems a whole lot neater than its Queensland counterpart. The paddocks are neater, the towns are cuter, the roads are smoother. New South Wales does, however, seem to have the most quirky and seemingly silly names for towns and properties! We passed Wee Waa, Binnaway, Goonoo Goonoo, and my personal favourite – Dunnedo, which is pronounced Dunny-Do (dunny being Aussie slang for the toilet). Childish of me, yes, but as I said earlier – ‘youthful exuberance’. Queensland does have it’s fair share of strange names too. Down the coast from us we have Mt Mee – a place where the locals cop a bit of slack from their choice of residence.

We stayed one night near Dubbo, packed up the new colt the next morning and headed to Tamworth to see some friends. Would’ve been great to be able to have more of a look through the town. Alas, early next morning we had to leave again for home.

After 24hrs of driving – a 2200km round trip – we were exhausted and keen to hop into our own bed and sleep. However, chose to go to the pub instead. Typical Queenslanders.

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