Go West

I am sorry it has been so long since I have written. I have been given an opportunity to work in the mines in Western Australia – 6000km (or 3700miles) from home!

In such a resource rich country, mining is one of our biggest industries, and definitely pays the most! I plan to be driving trucks very soon.

I am currently in the Pilbara. A desert filled with red rocks and spinifex grass. There are very few trees here, but I think that the contrast between the desert colours is beautiful. This is the closest I have lived to the beach before, and once you get out onto the islands the water is crystal clear and the marine life is amazing. Once when I was snorkelling on one of the islands here, I came across a long pole or stick in the sand. I hovered over it, baffled, as there are no trees or development on the islands. My brother quickly tapped me on the shoulder and pointed a few metres to my right. I see two tennis ball sized eyes sticking up out of the sand. It was a massive stingray! It must’ve been 3m long (9ft10in). I was only in about 2-3m deep water, so I swam away as quickly and calmly as possible – heart racing! I’ve also swam with big sea turtles, and have seen sharks, dolphins and whales. This part of the world is very untouched, as the climate can be unbearable. In Summer, not far away from where I’m based can reach temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius (122 Farenheit), compared to a balmy late 40’s here.

There are a lot of natural adventures to be had in this area, so for the time being I will be writing about them, unless Jackaroo sends me something interesting from the east coast of course!

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!

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…

I got a day off!

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.

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.

Jillaroo out.