Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wedge-Tailed Eagles

Wedge-tailed eagles are the biggest birds of prey around here. They can often be seen feeding on carcases of dead animals, and they will sometimes take newborn lambs, which doesn't endear them to farmers...

Birds and Trees

Can you see the ducks in the tree in this photo?

The other morning after I dropped the girls at the school bus, Hugh and I had a slow trip home, stopping to look at the birds and trees.
Mountain ducks are pairing up, and preparing to nest in the holes in trees. There are lots of old trees around the farm with nesting holes for parrots, cockatoos and mountain ducks.
One of the trees we looked at had quite a colony of pardalotes or tree-creepers. They were high up in the trees and hard to see without binoculars, but we could hear them.

Maybe this could be a place for a nest...

Two maned geese or wood ducks on a dam bank.

More ducks on the dam bank.

Then they flew away...

Where we stopped, with some big lone Marri trees in the front paddock.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pregnancy Scanning Ewes

With a late start to the season it becomes important for farmers to manage their precious feed resources. One way to do this is to ensure only the most valuable ewes - those which are going to produce a lamb - receive the best nutrition. To this end we had our sheep pregnancy tested on Tuesday.
A team of workers and dogs push the sheep through a race into the scanning crate.
Pregnancy scanning is carried out by ultrasound, and the operator separates the non pregnant ewes through a drafting gate.

Nan filling the yards with sheep.

Yesterday Nan Lloyd (http://www.sheepdogs.com.au) came over with some of her dogs, to help Roger keep the ewes up to the guy who was doing the scanning. A couple of good dogs can make a big difference to the flow of the sheep. We also had a friend's son, a young school-leaver, helping get the ewes into the scanning crate (that's the sort of thing I used to do before children and before photography...), and everything went quite smoothly. Thanks Nan and Fraser!

Mike from Tim Stevenson's Sheep Services came to do the ultrasound scanning. He is from New Zealand (what we call a "Kiwi"), so he has had a lot of experience with a lot of sheep, and he worked really quickly. And he was quite photogenic, but he was a bit worried the photos were to go into a glossy women's magazine!! Sorry Mike, you're not that famous, but I'm sure the three followers of my blog will appreciate your photos.

P.S. Sorry about the quality of the photos. I have a new computer and I didn't transfer the presets for the photo editing from my old computer. Now that I see them here they are far too dark.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Trip to Perth

I used the time-lapse feature on the Canon G9 camera to film my trip to Perth on Thursday evening. The camera was jammed on the dashboard of the car, so there are a few smudges visible on the windscreen. You have here about 2 hours worth of travel in just under six minutes. What I noticed most in watching it was that the roads are tree-lined nearly all the way.
I left the farm at 4:50pm and the film finished at 6:50pm just before I reached the first traffic lights of the metropolitan area at Armadale.


I have been to Hollywood! OK Hollywood hospital is not so good as going to the real HOLLYWOOD!
The only bright lights shining on me were the operating theatre lights.
I had to have bilateral duct excisions (bits cut out of both breasts). I have been extremely stressed about going to have the operation done. It was basically the same thing that I had last March, but on both breasts. Last year I didn't worry at all - it was just a little inconvenience which delayed our departure for France.
Anyway, no use worrying! It has been done, and I have a follow-up with the surgeon on the 19th of May.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More School Holiday Fun

After our day at the zoo, we went to York to stay with my parents at their Hope Farm Guest House. The kids were keen to swim in the pool, even though the weather was not hot.

Granddad took the kids to the lolly shop while I helped my Mother do computer work. Matthew and Michael helped my Father do some paving and some digging in the garden. The kids sat in the little garden trailer behind the rid-on lawnmower and had fun. They collected the eggs. They dressed up in Nana's collection of costumes and clothes, and they put a lot of work into a play that they performed. Written and directed by Sophie of course.

Sophie being kidnapped by two "baddies"(Michael and Matthew).

Hugh and Odette dressed up for a dancing concert.

Then everyone got up to dance!

On Friday we all had lunch together at Café Bugatti before having one last swim in the pool.
Roger has stayed home, and no doubt he was pleased to have us all back again on Friday night.

Matthew and Hugh in York.

Bonnie choosing from the menu at Cafe Bugatti.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Williams Gateway Expo

The children have been on holidays for nearly three weeks. School went back on Wednesday this week. During the holidays we did a few fun things together, and Matthew was at the farm, which is always nice.
On the middle weekend of the holidays I took the kids, and Michael our French visitor, to the Williams Gateway Expo. It is really a country fair or show, but the official title sounds like it is much more.
The best thing about the expo was that there were lots of free activities for the children, like an baby animal farm where they could touch and feed the animal, the Scitech display (hands-on science), a bouncy castle, face painting and roller-blading.

Odette experimenting with magnets

Odette on the bouncy castle

Matthew playing laser games

Hugh in roller-blades about five sizes too big

Odette fitting all the protective gear

Hugh touching a piglet

Sophie trying to climb a rope ladder at the Gymbus

Bonnie trying the rope ladder climb - the goal was to hit a bell at the top to win $50.

Wild Animals

OK. Those last three were not so wild.
We had fun at the zoo last week.