Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Holiday at Bremer Bay

What a lovely relaxing and fun family time we had during our week of holiday at Bremer Bay. It was a real proper holiday so I didn't take my camera or my laptop computer. Of course without a camera I have no photos (although Sophie and Bonnie both took cameras they didn't use them.) But there are pictures. Not pictures of fishing on the beach, swimming to the pontoon, having pizza on the beach, playing at the playground, building sandcastles, climbing sand hills, or Hugh "surfing" on a broken boogie board. Not even boring landscapes of the turquoise ocean, white sand and crystal clear waters. Odette didn't have her sketch book with her then. So instead we have pictures of Sophie reading the newspaper, Bonnie lying on the sofa watching a movie, and me reading a book in bed. There is Roger watching cooking shows wearing his hat on the sofa, a view of the kitchen, the TV, and Sophie answering the door to imaginary visitors. But somehow I have lost the one of Hugh sitting on my lap in a round chair.
I hope you enjoy these insights into our holiday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Contract Harvester

Harvest used to be a very big affair. Roger used to do it all himself, which involved weeks of work in preparation, servicing machinery, harvesting, carting the grain and cleaning up afterwards. It was always a challenge to try to have harvest finished before Christmas, or at least before shearing started. But the harvester was getting very old and worn out. It wasn't worth buying a new one for the small amount of grain we grow - we only grow grain to feed the livestock. We're not big croppers like some farmers further east and north, so it didn't make sense to spend big money on a new machine. So it made sense to relegate the header to the scrap heap and call in the professionals.
Allan Marsh is a neighbour at our other farm Wattle Creek. He and his son Terry both own headers and harvest for farmers around the area. We are way down their list of jobs to do, so we have waited patiently and hopefully, looking at the skies on the odd occasion when thunderstorms have been forecast.
Yesterday was the big day! They started carting machinery in on Sunday night. With two big headers with 30 foot fronts, three field bins and two trucks (ours and the neighbour Dave's) the grain was fairly pouring into the silos yesterday. There was a hiccup at about six o'clock yesterday evening when one of the headers broke down. A shaft broke, and it was not one that could be sent overnight from the suppliers, so the header has been taken home to be repaired. So today the pace will not be so hectic, with only one header working. But still it will all be over by tonight. What used to take Roger more than two weeks will be all done and dusted in two days!! Oh the wonders of modern machinery!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mulberry Tree

There are quite a few old fruit trees over at the old house. There are peach, plum, nectarine, apple, pear and apricot trees. However we get not a single piece of fruit from these trees. The birds get everything first. Of course we could work on them, prune them, cover them with netting and try to get some fruit but we never do.
The two trees which do supply us are the lemon tree and the mulberry tree. And now is the beginning of mulberry time.

The Cut-out

Sitting around outside, with quite a few beers.

When shearing is over for another year it is traditional for the shearers to have a "cut-out". It's a bit of a celebration on finishing the shed, and an opportunity for the boss to thank the team for their hard work. And it keeps them in the shed while the paper work is done. Our cut-outs are legendary, because instead of just sending a carton of beer up to the shed when they have finished we have a barbecue. We hold it down at the house, and some of the guys usually bring a guitar for a sing-along.
Bob has been shearing at our shed for quite a few years. Four years ago when he had his 60th birthday we made him a cake and took it up to the shearing shed and sang happy birthday to him. Unfortunately he wasn't shearing this year because he has recently had surgery, but he still came out for the cut-out. He entertained us with his singing.
There is usually a substantial amount of beer drunk. I guess those shearers work up a big thirst in the shed. But it is important that there is a "skipper" to safely drive everyone home afterwards.

Friday, January 8, 2010

2 0 1 0

Is it too late to say HAPPY NEW YEAR?
Already a week has gone of 2010 and this is the first time I have been onto the blog.
I have been spending a lot of time at the swimming pool in Darkan. Not actually swimming, but watching the swimming lessons. Matthew, Sophie, Bonnie and Odette were all taking part in the vacswim (vacation swimming) lessons. Bonnie started at 9:00, Sophie at 9:55, Odette and Matt at 11:00. That means three hours each morning were tied up. But I did actually manage to slip away a few times and go to my studio to download photos. This morning was the last day and I didn't need to get into town until the 11:00 lesson, because all three girls slept over at their friend Kirtsy's house last night. So I slept in!!
Kirsty's brother Jake has spent three nights here this week. He is mates with Matthew and has been a good help to Roger with sheep work on the farm. Last night I thought the swap of three girls for one boy was well and truly stacked in my favour!

Matthew had to swim in his clothes to pass stage 12 - he's just taken them off.

Floating in the water with discarded shoes...

Matthew and Jake on the farm

Shearing started on Monday, and will finish this afternoon. We didn't have a long shearing this January because we shore a lot of sheep in November. That means we should have time to take a holiday! I have booked my parents' house at Bremer Bay for ten days (15 - 25th of January).

Here is a before and after shot of some sheep.