Plans for the new year

Two birds on a branch.

I had a visit from some Stanthorpe friends, keen birdwatchers, last week. It was the first time they had been out to the farm. It was such a joy to see someone incredibly passionate about birds and Tina’s passion was infectious and it motivated me to look at the environs with fresh eyes.

Tina identified about 37 species of birds in a few hours on a dull windy day including a couple not much seen in this locale, the spotted bower bird and the red kneed dotterel. Speaking of birds, I thought I would share a couple of photos that a guest took a while back. They are not rare birds but the photos are amazing!

With the reasonably widespread rainfalls I decided to it was time to sell Tom and Jerry the two yearling steers still on their mum, Delilah (you may remember Jerry from January when I purchased him at the Pig and Calf Sale and took him down to the Highfields Pioneer Village for Australia Day). I also sold Marnie, one of the Hereford Heifers I bought about 15 months ago as a calf, also from the sale. She just didn’t make the grade for a breeder, in my opinion. I found it really hard and I chickened out when loading day came, I went to work and left the job to Richie and the carrier.

I was also very lucky to find a buyer who recently started an English Leicester Stud in Armidale and sent off 16 ewes and lambs to add to their bloodlines. All up as of 26 November, we’ve had 106 mm of rain so we now have plenty of feed. It is a blessing on our bank balance and time to stop feeding out.

Plans for 2024

Speaking of inspirational and passionate people, I was talking to my sheep vet from Goondiwindi, Mike Rival, last week and he told me he was not long back from the UK where he and his wife had attended a sheep fair. Mike sent me some photos so now I have decided to plan a trip to the UK. I had always intended to go as Dad was born in Derbyshire and I told him one day I would go over. I would like to visit some of his relatives if I can find them (the Gunn family) and also catch up with Tom and Lottie’s family, as well as the amazing Alice who provided help through the difficult days of the drought. I will plan the trip around agricultural shows and also visit the Rare Breeds HQ Farm. I can’t help thinking it would be great to slip across to Switzerland and Germany to catch up with Greta and Julia but I am not sure the budget will stretch that far.

Also on the list for 2024 is to publish a bird book. This was always on the cards as Doug Walker had written a book listing all the birds his family had sighted at Glenlyon, but it didn’t get published as he didn’t have the photos. For some time now I have been photographing birds for this purpose. With Tina onboard now, in addition to photos given to me by bird-watching guests, I think we should be able to do this.

The last thing on the list is to take more lessons with Dora the dog and enter a novice trial. This is a tricky one as Dora has the ability but I am not sure that I will be trainable!

I was working at the Stanthorpe Waste Facility on Saturday. It was quieter than usual so I had a bit of time to do some cleaning up in my favourite place, the library section of the recycle shop. I came across a swag of recipe books, most of which I put in the free book section as we had so many. I picked up the Womens Weekly Christmas Recipe Book and briefly flicked through. Images of cooking up a storm of Christmas treats for the arrival of Dear Richie’s family on the 18th (a few days after I get back from Kiwiland) flashed through my mind before the reality set in of mowing lawns, feeding animals, ten hours of work and travel off farm set in and I realised I would be flat out to come home from work, feed the hounds, get the sprinklers going and cook a half decent meal for ten people (which always sends me into a panic if I haven’t prearranged the menu), never mind contemplating the hors d’oeuvres and sweets from this book. It would most likely take me a couple of glasses of wine to arrive at the “ready to go in the oven” stage and too late I would remember I had left out a vital ingredient. I’m definitely not the hostess with the mostest type of gal. My good friend Nikki takes the cake for that role. Nikki always manages to look beautiful and produces a fantastic healthy tasty spread at the drop of a hat. Oh well, it was a nice thought! Richie’s ex always cooks plenty of sweet treats before they arrive which keep us going for a few days.

My Atlantic giant pumpkins are suffering from powdery mildew with all the humid weather so I don’t think they will grow large enough to enter in the show, but there is one the size of a beach ball! Everything has taken off with the rain and we are now getting a decent feed out of the garden. At least we will have home grown vegetables as well as our own meat when Dear Richie’s family arrives for Christmas!

The waste facility recycle shop is a fantastic place to buy Christmas presents. It ticks so many boxes – supporting the Endeavour Foundation, helping your budget, and prevents the creation of more rubbish in a world already full of it. We are donated new things as well as some beautiful second hand goods. At Stanthorpe we currently have some beautiful Bendigo and locally made pottery, a fantastic selection of books, collectable English china and much more, and the price is right!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Lots of Love