Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cattle Feed

The cattle get fed hay regularly, but last week Roger started feeding some grain mix in these troughs in their paddock.

Naughty Ram

Roger took the Poll Dorset rams out of the ewe mobs last week. The usual paddock that he keeps the rams in wasn't available, but he found a paddock for them. But one naughty ram didn't like to stay in the paddock. He wandered around wherever he pleased, and was very difficult to coax back into the paddock.

Here is the naughty ram near the house.

I think he liked the look of the green grass on our lawn! The lawn, which is watered regularly, is the only bit of green around at this stage of the year. The green grass is also popular with kangaroos. If we wake up early enough, or get home late enough, we catch a couple of roos on the lawn. Otherwise we just see the evidence that they leave behind...

New Bikes

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apple Fun Park, Donnybrook

The girls at the top of what they called the "eiffel tower"

A few weeks ago we were heading to a birthday party at Bridgetown, but we didn't make it (sorry Sonia, looks like you had a good time). In the morning I'd had a very sore throat and by the afternoon a fever had developed, and I knew I had tonsillitis for the second time since being home. But we were half-way there, and I thought that if I just took some paracetamol I might get better enough to go to the party. Of course I didn't, but while I lay alternatively sweating and shivering on a picnic blanket on the ground, the kids had great fun at the best playground around. By the time we decided that we wouldn't be going to the party it was getting late, so we bought fish and chips and ate them at the playground. That is why the photos are taken in the dark...

The Apple Fun Park at night: a kids' paradise...

Locked Out

Everybody knows that you should never leave a baby unattended in a car. But what about a baby lamb?
On Friday evening I was witness to a baby lamb, wearing a disposable nappy (you need to cut a hole for the tail), and left unattended in a car outside the roadhouse. The moral of this story is most definitely that a lamb should never be left unattended in a car.
A local lady (we’ll call her Mrs F) had just ducked in to pick up some take-away food for a quick Friday night dinner. She took her car keys from the ignition and threw them on the front seat as she jumped out of the car to pick up and pay for her dinner. The lamb drew attention to itself when it activated the car’s hazard lights. We joked about the old-fashioned cars with door locks that pushed down into the door, and reminisced about a puppy locking his owner out of the ute. Mrs F’s car is much more modern and sophisticated, with door locks on the side of the door near the door handle, so that could never happen...
So why couldn’t she open the door? Because her car’s sophisticated central locking system had been operated by her cute little lamb as it trod on the car keys left on the driver’s seat! If only the lamb was clever enough to press the “unlock” button to reverse the action. Coaxing the lamb onto the driver’s seat only succeeded in having the keys flip over so that the button was now out of reach. The car was well and truly locked.
The saga continued on for more than an hour outside Deb’s Diner as various local yokels tried to break into the car with the tried-and-true method of a bit of hooked wire squeezed through the door seals. Then the professional was called and our local RAC man brought his gear to try to make the job easier. The final solution was to activate the boot opening lever on the floor of the car, and entering the car through the boot, which presented it’s own problems.
So locals take heart. If your late model car is left unattended but locked, it is unlikely that anybody local will break into it in a hurry. And never leave a nappy-wearing lamb unattended in your car!

Swimming Carnivals

It is the time of year for school swimming carnivals. At Darkan this year the year threes (Bonnie's year) were able to compete in the faction swimming carnival for the first time. They only swam half of the 25 metre pool, and it was the shallow end so they could touch the bottom if they needed to (and yes, some of them did!).

Bonnie in the pool.

Bonnie surfacing...

Sophie as usual got plenty of ribbons for her races in the faction swimming carnival. There are only three girls in her school year, so she has to come either first, second, or third! She also raced in the inter-school carnival last week, and after a disastrous freestyle race she came up to get second in the breast-stroke, in second division. She swam in the first division for the backstroke.

Sophie: backstroke

Sophie: freestyle

Sophie: breaststroke

Matthew performed well in his school (MacKillop Catholic College in Busselton) faction carnival, and was in the team to go to Perth for the ACC Catholic Colleges interschool carnival at Beatty Park last Wednesday. He swam the second leg of the 4 x 50m relay, and swam strongly.

Matthew diving in.

Matthew surging through the water in his relay.

The outdoor pool at Beatty Park.

Although the year ones and twos don't actually compete in the Darkan school faction carnival, they were able to have some novelty races. They went to the pool just before lunch and had some fun in the little pool. They stayed for lunch and then watched the bigger kids do some novelty races.

Odette swimming through the hoops.

Odette in the "noodle" relay.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Yammi, from Hong Kong, came to stay with us for a week; and then came back for another week to help out some more. She contacted us through the website which we are members of. She is leaving tomorrow, and I'm sure we will all miss her cheerfulness, and her cooking.
Here are some of the photos Yammi has taken (and others have taken of her) with her camera while she has been with us...

Sideshow at the Wagin Woolorama

Odette and Bonnie with friend, at the Wagin Woolorama.

Ram judging at Woolorama

Roger loading grain (oats and lupins) to feed to sheep.

A ram and his harem...

Sophie jumping on the beach at Busselton on the weekend.

High 5! Yammi and Matthew on the beach at Busselton.

Pizza stop at Collie on the way home from Busselton.

Cattle in the paddock.

Hugh kicking the footy.

Yammi helping in the sheepyards.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Selling Sheep

The truck coming to load sale sheep

We have sold some sheep lately: the ewes went to the local abattoir, lambs to the sale yards and wethers for export.
They all have to be identified with the farm of origin code, usually by a brand on the ear tags. Imagine our surprise when we were informed that some of our sheep have the wrong code on their ear tags. In 2007, all the blue ear tags we got and put into our lambs' ears had lazy D S 7, instead of lazy D 5 T. Obviously somebody's handwriting was not neat enough!! Roger is sure(!) that it is not his fault (his handwriting is renowned for its illegibility) but what is more astonishing is that nobody noticed. On the small tag, with black ink burned into the plastic tag, it really is hard to tell. But the worst thing is that we are now going to have put extra tags in before we on-sell any of these blue-tag sheep.

Reversing up to the loading ramp

The truck driver penning sheep on the truck

Old ewes ready to go

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Local Link

I haven't had time to do much blogging, but I don't want you to stop looking here for updates. I have got some great photos to put up, but as they are not on this hard-drive it takes a bit of coordinating. I promise there will be more soon, now that Roger has finished his assignment. Which means I have had two late nights typing up 15 pages of answers. Why me? Well if it was left to Roger we'd still be waiting, and the due date looms. I have been his secretary, helping him check his answers as he dictates them to me while I type. He has to dictate them because I can't read his handwriting or decipher his shorthand.
In the absence of lovely photos I give you today a link to our local shire website For those readers who are not familiar with our part of the world, this will give you a bit of an introduction to our town of Darkan and the Shire of West Arthur. I'll also add a permanent link in the sidebar.