Monday, 31 October 2011

A Quick Update

Though we travelled home with a spare seat in the car and an empty chair now sits at the dining room table, the bulls still need feeding, the cow still needs milking, eggs need to be collected, dogs need to be run and preparations are underway for tomorrow's Melbourne Cup function our P&C is hosting. 
The world has continued to spin as normal.
 Though our little bit of 'normal' is momentarily somewhat unbalanced.
Two more sleeps.

Thanks everybody for your kind words.
{We left her with a smile on her face, heading for the pool with her new 'buddies'}.

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Times, they are a Changin'

This Sunday, my big girl leaves for boarding school.  As ever, the first-born is sent forth to test the waters, to pave the way for her siblings who will follow.

First day of a "residential transition" period, which continues through until Wednesday.  Excited as we all are, for it marks the beginning of what I'm sure will be an amazing experience for Sarah, there is of course a tinge of sadness for this mother, and perhaps one younger sister in particular.

Sadness that she's growing up and moving on.  Just as there was sadness the first day she was left at primary school, the beginning of a new life-stage inevitably involves the ending of another. 

I well remember driving home from school that first day, Jessie, Wallace and Sally all strapped in car seats along the back seat.  Having closed the gate and hopped back in the car, I looked back to see Jess with tears streaming down her face.  And I think perhaps that sister will again be a little lost as next year unfolds.

We are some of the very, very fortunate ones, close enough to town that Sarah will have the option to come home every weekend.  Of course, many don't.  Those further afield leave their babies at school at beginning of term, only to see them again next holidays.  So we count our blessings.

And Wednesday, Sarah will be home, to tell us all the tales of her first experience away.

And we will be happy.  And proud.  And grateful that every stage of this journey with Sarah has been an absolute delight.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Saddle on Up, and Mosey on Out

This past weekend saw us indulge in a little stay-at-home catch up.  For one day at least.  The girls saddled up Saturday morning and headed out to gather cows whose baby calves needed ear-tagging.

After the first half hour spent complaining about having to wear helmets, we settled into routine with Sally calling the shots.  Wallace (whose mare was out of action), chauffered me on the quad,

allowing me to survey the scenery, call directions to both dogs and children, and reprimand the boy for leaving the house in a short-sleeved shirt.

While Dad picked up round bales, we easily herded breeders, never far from the molasses troughs.  With Sal taking the lead,

the older girls kept the tail wagging.

At some point, as they started moving off, Sally who had been relegated to the lead, because nobody else's horses like being in the lead, ended up in the middle of the mob.

Not quite the desired position for the lead rider.  But a good giggle for Mum on the tail.  And fortunately these old darlins were most accommodating, moving aside, letting her make her way back to where she should have been.  Lucky Dad wasn't around.

This little bub was found in long grass not far from the mob, obviously planted there by her Mama.

We cut her Mama back from the mob, to leave her with her baby.

Unfortunately, she had other ideas and soon caught back up with us.  Cow and calf were re-united later in the day, baby calves knowing to stay exactly where Mama puts them.

Everybody enjoyed being back on home turf, if only for a day of working cattle.  Sunday we returned to Bottle Tree, put the remaining bulls out to work and were home very late, Sally lamenting the fact that we don't have real weekends. 

What's more real than this, I say?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Pictures I Didn't Know I Had

One of my birthday gifts was a small 'point and shoot' camera, small enough to slot into pocket or purse, perfect for those times when my big old camera is just a little on the cumbersome side.  Due to the children indicating to both Nanny and Dad that I may have been dropping this hint for some time, and a slight communication technicality between the two, I now have two such cameras!  We have since decided that one would be just perfect for Nanny.

And apparently my new Canon is just perfectly sized for small people.  Here are just a sample of photos downloaded, none taken by me.

The Pierre de Ronsard, slowly creeping over the verandah, has just started blooming.

This beautifully shaped pear, caused shrieks and giggles every time the children entered the kitchen and witnessed it resplendant in the fruit bowl.  We're big on 'bum humour' in this household!

A shot of Wallace's lunchbox, only half prepared.  A handy keepsake!  Possibly just proving to me that he did once take an apple to school.

Sal, surveying yet another of my hair-styles, a regular evening activity in these parts.

A blurry Jess, getting ready for school.  Obviously dancing a jig at the same time, she'll do anything to get out of packing a lunch.

Dad, doing his thing.  Please disregard dirty windows, an inadequate filing system and the stubby on desk. 

From memory, this was dinner one late Sunday evening, having returned from Bottle Tree, tired cranky kids in tow.

This is where Sarah can usually be found, head in book.

When not fleeing the paparazzi.


Wallace has just started the sixth Harry Potter book.  If I hear another 'imperio', 'accio' or 'avada kedavra', tales of death-eaters and dementors, or be explained the rules of quidditch one more time, I may not be responsible for my actions.

And finally, the GPS.  I would never have thought to capture this memory. 

Stay tuned for more kid-caught moments.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

And So they are Here

The kids have worn a path to Mama Pig's paddock these past few days.  With Mama set to burst, the race was on to see which child would be first to raise the flag, tell the tale, spill the beans, or simply race huffing and puffing back to the house, blurting the news of the pig-a-lets.

At 5:17 this morning, Jess headed off.  I watched her journey from the kitchen window whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.  Two crossed arms raised in the air, in typical 'no deal' fashion, facing in my direction, indicated a no-show.    At 6 o'clock, Sarah, for whatever reason headed off for a double-check.  The pounding of her gumbooted feet could be heard thundering down the hill,  the shrieking "there's a piglet, there's a piglet", signal for all kids to abandon breakfast and be gone.

Kicking and screaming, children finally were dropped at school, and over the course of the day Mama provided us with nine shiny new playthings.

Far more exciting than the lastest Wii accessory, I am hoping to re-claim my children sometime closer to Christmas.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Another Weekend Wrap

With humidity levels soaring and temperatures much the same, we joyfully headed to our local swimming pool this past Friday afternoon, swelling numbers on the first open day of the season.

The high humidity has brought with it afternoon thunder storms, unfortunately only 10 mm falling at home, but much more at Chabo and Bottle Tree.

The pool was absolutely beautiful, and as always happens, nobody wanted to get out.

Stern warnings ensued, threats of 'never, ever, ever, ever' returning to the pool again followed,

until finally bribery by way of jelly-tip ice-creams meant they all came clambering for their towels.

This weekend, instead of harassing our own cattle, we drove hundreds of kilometres to bother somebody else's.

A 'fixed-time-AI program', saw us artificially inseminate 130 droughtmaster heifers Saturday afternoon.  Our seven children toiled in the back-yards, keeping cattle up to us at the coalface.

I was given the cleanest task of keeping 'guns' loaded.  These two lads helped, retrieving frozen straws from the liquid nitrogen tank.

Cattle and kids worked beautifully,

and in only a few hours we'd hopefully turned these maiden heifers into expectant mamas.  We'll return in 35 days to preg-test, when all will be revealed.

Sunday we headed to Bottle Tree and Chabo,

where 40 mm of storm rain has helped push some green pick through.

Kids explored gullies that have been running all year,

tasting the very minerally water

and searching for living creatures.

This lone emu the most exciting sighting for the weekend.

With a La Nina weather pattern returning to the Southern Hemisphere, these babies should have a good headstart.

The kids have christened this Bottle Tree dam Swan Lake,

with black swans having been sighted here on our past couple of visits.

For a pleasant change, we made it home in daylight, though not everybody fully enjoying the scenic drive,

Mama Pig, who we'd thought may have provided us with a new round of play-things in our absence, provided nothing but great disappointment for the troops.

And so now the race is on each morning to see who will be first to discover when Mama does have her babies.

Dad's flown to Melbourne this morning to assist with some embryo work and kids are home due to a student-free day.  There is mowing to be done and room tidying.  Everybody's thrilled.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Good Day

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of my 21st birthday.

Just look at that blonde flicked hair.  Farrah who?

I returned from my run this morning to the sight of four sleepy, smiling faces lined up on the verandah, shouting gleeful birthday messages.  Dad had left at four, but did wish me a happy day upon departure, leaving only four to spoil me.  Sarah made coffee, Jessie scrambled eggs.  There was a card from my big girls:

Sally presented me with this hand-made neck-a-lace

that I'm going to wear out tonight with this little number pulled from the far recesses of the wardrobe.

Just the thing for an ICPA Dinner tonight.  Purple's the new black.  At least it was seven years ago when I bought it.  Wallace in tears, explained he yet again hadn't made me anything.  His sisters explained he had all day to make amends, with that he disappeared to return some short time later with this strikingly life-like miniature replica of myself, complete with string to hang from the rear-vision mirror of my car. 

I'm just hopeful they don't start spearing pins into her when they're told they aren't coming out with us tonight.


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