Adventures in and out the traprock

Surrounded by friends.

May was a full-on month, filled with the excitement of the Rare Breeds Auction. Also the joy of seeing the sun setting on a crop of ripe sorghum, a paddock full of fat bullocks in a field of lush oats glistening in the early morning sun, fluffy white cotton balls and multi coloured bales of wrapped cotton, green grass and brim full dams, all on my road trip to Gympie in the old Cruiser. The sadness of attending two funerals in two weeks and the gratefulness of being alive and well! A real bonus as well was meeting Penny from Pittsworth (Penny McKinley, the famous gardener on channel 7 news every Tuesday).

I myself would like to grow a paddock of oats, however, more than likely it would turn out to be small, spindly and rusty, unlike the lush green crops I had been seeing!

Penny invited me to stroll through her garden which was not only beautiful but invoked such a feeling of peacefulness and gratitude for the simple things in life. I bought a lovely red plant as a memory of my journey. Stopping for smoko at Kulpi, I pulled out my thermos and sat down at a picnic table. The sky was clear and blue but the wind had a winter chill. I was warmed by the hot coffee and the sun on my back. I had plenty of time to reflect on my departed friend.

The old LandCruiser ute I call “the Mighty Quinn” has 1.6 million km on the clock, no radio, no heater or AC, but rattled along happily as I travelled. I had taken the long way around – through Terrica, Gore, Leyburn, Pittsworth, Mt Tyson, Jondaryan, Kulpi, Cooyar, Yarraman, Nanango, Goomeri and then across to Gympie where I stayed with my old friends from Glenlyon, Hayley and Zeb. I did consider taking the shorter route through Brisbane but I was glad I hadn’t. The next day I returned home the same way and picked up on what I missed on the way there. I covered around 1100km in all.

The Auction

We had a great offering of goods and services donated and raised $3200, a fantastic result. More than this though, we raised a lot of awareness and have had some semen donated as a result. The donation of Berkshire pig semen was a first for the trust and although it did not sell at the auction, it attracted interest from from Heritage Livestock Canada and started the ball rolling towards exporting some semen to Canada. The Shetland cattle semen, from the only herd in Australia, was sold for $500 – an absolute steal for the lucky buyer who has in return joined the trust and is going to work in with the Australian breeder. So a great result!

As regards the farm – hmmm, perhaps I should say the money pit! After the rams got out of their paddock and in with the ewes causing me to become very disheartened at the whole farming gig, I got in a fencing contractor to replace some old internal fencing – which came in at nearly twice the budgeted amount and made a big dent in the redraw on the mortgage payments! Lesson to self – get an agreed price next time. I am now staring down the barrel of an early lambing whilst I am away overseas and am looking for an ex-farmer to look after the farm when I am away.

Those spoilt naughty cows, despite being in best grass paddock with plenty of feed, hatched an escape plan through a weak link in the corner of the dam fence and headed off to explore Glenlyon Dam, and perhaps to catch up with the three errant goats I hadn’t seen for several weeks. Luckily I spotted them and bribed them back with a bit of feed.

At great expense I purchased some semen from Malton Shorthorns (Peter Falls) and I’m getting ready to have them AI’d after their year off, also at great expense! The calf I kept is now 18 months old which means they have had 18 months off, I guess! It is well big enough to go into calf. The calves I hand raised are doing okay but not as well as I would have liked considering the amount of feed I have shovelled down their throats. As much as I love calf rearing, it just doesn’t pay unless you are milking cows.

The goats – what goats? Candy (the pedigree Saanen doe), Unihorn (her one horned daughter), and Sadie (the Toggenberg/Alpine/Saanen). I catch a glimpse of them occasionally and just a week ago saw the pedigree Saanen with a big hole in her udder, nearly healed up. She will never be able to kid again as it will leak.

Postscript – Dear Richie went off on a goat exploration and found the three of them with a wild billy goat, so I guess there will be kids if we are ever able to get them back!

The pigs are the only well behaved animals on the farm at the moment. The Wessex Saddleback sow, eating her head off for nothing as I don’t have a boar, is looking for a new home if anyone wants a pedigree registered quiet young sow. The pair of Large Blacks (Barrow and Gilt) are growing well and an absolute delight to be around. The barrow will be our Xmas Ham and the Gilt I will keep on I think.

Dear Richie has finished up at the wind farm, received a beautiful going away present from Acciona and is taking a well earned break, well, sort of. There is plenty to fix on the farm. Dear Richie is currently learning that what I have told him so many times before apparently is true. He has been bowled over twice now by the cows because he has tried to walk up the paddock carrying buckets of cow grain instead of locking them out until he has put the grain in their feed dishes. He has been lucky to escape unharmed but I think he is learning now. The one Speckle Park that was hand reared when we bought her has absolutely zero respect and one hoof out the gate.