Monday, December 28, 2009

We had a Lovely Christmas

Our Christmas started with a church service in Darkan on Christmas eve. When we got there I thought there was a great turn-out for the 8:30pm service as the street was lined with cars. But it turned out the young people across the road from the church were having a party! So it was just the usual few faithful who turned up. And us.
Before bed on Christmas eve we allowed the children to open one of their presents, so the girls all slept in their new pyjamas. During the night something magical happened, and Santa made a trampoline appear on the lawn.
Pretty in pink...
The girls jumping on the trampoline.
 
There were plenty more presents to unwrap before breakfast. Lots of excitement as a skateboard, watch, computer game, earrings, toy cars, books, chocolates and more appeared from the pile of presents.
Then we had to leave them all behind when we got in the car to head to York for a Solly family Christmas.
The long table for 26
The kids with their nine cousins on the Solly side
The kids love dressing up in Nanna's clothes and putting on a play.
We took the obligatory family snap
Then worked it for the camera... 

Later in the afternoon the pool was the most popular place

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Wishes

We wish all our friends in blogland all the very best for a happy Christmas time. We will be with the extended Solly family on Christmas Day, and the Telfers on Boxing Day. We hope you experience the true Joy of Christmas, while enjoying the proverbial good cheer.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Four Years Old


Hugh turned four years old today.
I was woken rather early this morning by one very excited little boy. He was excited because Dad told him he had to get up early because they were going to Busselton to pick up Matthew, and they were going to go to the motorbike shop.
It also happened to be his birthday, so he had to wake the rest of the household before he could open his presents. He didn't have to open Pompon, his puppy, which was his early birthday present.
I wish his Nanna could have seen his face when he opened the present she and Granddad posted to him. His face looked puzzled, and then his eyes grew wide and his face beamed as he removed the remote-controlled car from the packaging. Luckily Nanna had told me the gift needed batteries, so I had charged up four batteries in preparation. (She had tried to post the batteries with the car, but they were lithium and not allowed to be posted.)
Hugh also unwrapped a toy motorbike, a toothbrush and a few other things, and a cricket bat and ball. I was required to run around outside in my nightgown (well my knickers and singlet, but nightgown sounds much more respectable, don't you think?) playing cricket to Hugh's rules, which involved him doing most of the batting and me doing most of the fetching balls.
After breakfast Roger and Hugh left, and they are staying the night at Busselton. For his birthday dinner Hugh chose fish and chips to be eaten in a park. I hope they enjoyed it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Preg Testing Cows


Today the vet visited to test the cows to see if they are pregnant. She does it the old-fashioned way, none of this ultra-sound technology here. Maybe you can see in the photos what the technique is. It involves a very long glove, and some lubricant.

Here you can see which side of the race has been painted...


  
Roger with his dog Bobby

Can you spot me? I'm the cow wearing the red hat!!
The end result is that we should expect about 40 calves next year...

P.S. Photos today are from our helpXchange visitors Enya and Eliza.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

School Presentations

School will finish on Thursday, and today the Darkan District High School held a final assembly and concert at the town hall. This will be the last DDHS assembly, as the high school part of the school has been closed. From next year it will be the Darkan Primary School.
The book awards were presented, and Sophie won the academic achievement award for year 6. No surprise really as she has won it every year she has been in primary school. It will be interesting to see how she goes at school at BCGS next year when she is in a different environment, with more classmates. I hope she will thrive in the new environment.
Bonnie and Sophie also won awards for their achievements in French (Odette's class doesn't do French - they start in year 3.)

 
Sophie receiving the Year 6 Academic Achievement Award

After the awards each class presented an item on the Christmas theme that they had prepared, starting with the kindy and pre-primary class with a nativity play. Odette's class performed an Australian "Twelve Days of Christmas" and Odette was a kangaroo and a possum.


Odette's class presentation - she was a kangaroo

Bonnie's class dressed up in warm coats for a cold Northern Hemisphere Christmas carols performance. We could hardly see Bonnie as she was in the back row.


Bonnie was hidden at the back of her class group

Sophie's class also had a snowy theme for their items, and they danced and sang several songs, interspersed with lively rehearsed banter.


Sophie singing with her class

 And dancing...
 
We saw Sophie very well as, being one of the shortest in the class, she was in the front row. They finished by throwing shredded paper out into the audience as "snow"!



The "snow" that was left after the room 4 performance.

After the performances there was shared afternoon tea, and the opportunity to view displays of students' work.


Odette read out her story to me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Smoke, but no Fire




The fire was not near here - it was probably one hundred kilometres away (somewhere just north of Harvey I heard). One thousand hectares of forest was burnt yesterday, and the smoke made its way to our place.
At this time of year, when everything is dry, fire is a constant threat. Harvesting operations, or any use of machinery in paddocks increases the risk, so a fire ban is called when the conditions become dangerous. Yesterday it was very hot and dry, with a strong wind. So we were not able to go out in the paddocks. What a good excuse to stay inside in the airconditioning?? And then after five o'clock when the sun was not so hot we took the kids into town and went to the swimming pool.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Christmas Tree

Tonight Father Christmas came to Darkan to visit all the good little girls and boys. As usual he arrived on the fire truck, with the siren blaring and the lights flashing. "He's here! He's here!" could be heard echoing around with excitement and expectation in the air. Father Christmas threw handfuls of lollies out to the waiting crowd. Some of the younger more timid ones had to be carried into the throng by parents eager for their little angels to participate in the excitement.

Once Father Christmas was seated in his chair near the Christmas Tree, all the children sat quietly waiting on the floor. Waiting for their name to be called out so they could go up and receive their present. The more children who received their presents, the noisier it became. The noise of the children ripping open their presents and excitedly showing everyone what they got. And the parents oohed and aahed and exclaimed enthusiastically about how clever Father Christmas was to choose such a brilliant present.




He must have been hot in his Santa suit - it is warmer here than the North Pole. But I am sure Father Christmas would have had a nice beverage to cool him down after all his hard work - the Pre-Primary committee would see to that! And that deep voice of his had a somewhat familiar ring to it...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sheep Truck Accident


We sent some sheep off on a truck today. I hope ours got safely to their destination. Some other sheep were on a truck that rolled over not far from here. I went and took some photos (sent some off to the local paper) and I was pretty horrified by the damage to the sheep. Thankfully the driver (from Esperance) was OK. He managed to climb out of the truck before any passers-by arrived on the scene.
The four-deck road train (8 decks in total) was carting 977 sheep from Esperance to Bunbury when it rolled over after a series of bends in the Coalfields Highway near Boolading, ten kilometres west of Darkan.
Many of the sheep were dead instantly but many others suffered horrific injuries and had to be destroyed. Neighbouring farmers were quickly on the scene with dogs and motorbikes to round up escaped sheep, and to shoot those that could not be saved. The police arrived as soon as they could to direct traffic and to assess the accident. The local volunteer fire brigade also sent people to help with the emergency situation. Local truck owners were bringing their trucks to load up any sheep that had survived. A crane came from Collie not long after I left to get the truck upright. There were lots of sheep still trapped inside.
As horrific as the accident was I was glad that it was only sheep involved, and not people.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Seniors' Luncheon

 
 
This morning both Sophie's class and Odette's class performed for the older members of our community at the annual Seniors' Luncheon. They sang Christmas songs. Not Carols, but songs like "Christmas Boogie", "Aussie Jingle  Bells", Susie Snowflake" and "Frosty The Snowman".

After the performance the children gave gifts (which they had made) to the seniors.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dirty Boys



Yannick spent the day in the sheep yards. Hugh spent the day playing. They both ended up with filthy faces!


Did you notice Yannick has less hair than he did on the weekend? That's because I gave him a complimentary hair cut!


There was quite an audience...


Monday, November 23, 2009

Saturday Night French Restaurant


Oscar managed to get a picture of Yannick in the kitchen 

Yannick is French and he is a cook and he has been staying with us for what seems like ages (actually it is eight weeks - he originally intended to stay two weeks so he must feel at home!)  He met the local cafe owners and was invited to prepare a French meal for the locals. He did a Sunday lunch first, and then on Saturday night there was a French dinner at Rarebits on Burrowes. So I booked a table for three and took Candy and Oscar, our other helpXchangers out to dinner.

 
Me with Candy and Oscar.

We had a lovely meal and a fun night, finishing off with some fun photos in the Anita Jean Photography studio (which is next door to Rarebits).


Who do you think enjoyed this photo the most??


The cook!

Shearing at Wattle Creek


The shearers started shearing at our other farm today. The shed at Wattle Creek is pretty good for taking photos, because it is open on the east side.

 
 

I noticed some new fashion trends in the shearing shed today. There were some staff I hadn't met before, and I'm not sure how informed they are about workplace health and safety. A couple of them were wearing bare feet, and one shed hand had that teenage boy look with the jeans hanging down past his underwear. It is a wonder he could work and keep them up at the same time. All the shearers wear elastic belts, but this guy obviously doesn't even own a belt.



The traditional shearer's moccasin 
 
 The bare foot approach...
You may remember that in August we transported the house from Wattle Creek and it has become Wattle Cottage, our guest accommodation at home. And because there is now no house at Wattle Creek, there was no toilet there either. So Roger had to build a "dunny" and put it up on what was the veranda so that it could be plumbed into the existing septic tank.