Category Archives for "Life on Spring Creek"

Posts about my transition from city to remote rural life. I talk about the challenges of grazing, the frustration of primary production and your vulnerability when facing the elements.

April 25, 2013

A Motley Crew

When we first came to the Traprock, one experience I looked forward to was … the cattle sales yards! It was a new market and we had to learn how it worked. The first one we attended was in Goondiwindi and I have to say, what struck me most was … what a motley crew!

I was used to boardrooms, meeting rooms, white shirts, ties, suits and black polished shoes. Well the fashion code indulged by graziers, particularly at the sale yards … was rather hard to follow! Yes, there were the obvious blue jeans, checked shirt and boots but there was a whole range of other delights that made me wonder how on earth you could learn to conform, and, did I want to?

There were shorts and long pants, boots of all kinds. There were akubras and ten gallon hats of all colours. There were t-shirts, work shirts and flannels. There were beards, moustaches, grey hair, crazy hair … I even saw plaits! I didn’t really know what to make of it all.

I remember what I wore that day. My fashion choice had been quite deliberate, though no doubt many didn’t know what to make of me. I wore my work boots but with a short skirt. On reflection I don’t think it was quite the right environment to be showing off my legs, even if my sock protectors did match my skirt!

Thank God I wore the boots at least – so much mud, poo and wee!!!

2-Probably not the best look2

After many sales and many auctions both buying and selling, we’ve come a long way. Overall the experience was a little overwhelming and I could not imagine myself ever having the courage to raise a finger in an auction to actually make a bid for some stock.  The auctioneers talk so fast and things move along before you’ve had time to think. But we needed stock to get our enterprise off the ground so it was just as well that Chris was able to adapt more quickly than me.

Attending the Stanthorpe sale yards last week, we felt right at home – though now I’m sure to wear a pair of jeans with my boots, just to look a little less conspicuous.

Picked out our pen

They are all settled in now, tagged, drenched and loose in the paddock. I’m sure they are feeling right at home, just as we are these days … even if I haven’t completely conformed to the grazier’s sense of fashion!! We came home the proud owners of 34 beautiful Angus heifers, ready to see the bull. We have so much grass at the moment; it was time to take advantage and grow our breeding herd some more.

April 12, 2013

Living with the wild life

Living in the bush and especially running a cattle enterprise, changed my perspective. This might sound really basic, but it made me realise that humans rule this planet. We are at the top of the food chain. Yes, there are some species that still give us a run for our money (lions, sharks … etc.) but for the most part we keep the wild life at bay. We are in control.

This is harder to do when you live in the bush. Thankfully we don’t have many life threatening predators in Australia, though I have learned, of course, to be snake wary and am always conscious of foot placement when out in the paddock, particularly near water sources.

Unfortunately, some of our favourite Australian icons do get in the way. Even though we love them of course, the kangaroos can be a jolly nuisance at times.

The Garden Gate

The problem becomes exacerbated due to the proliferation of the ‘roo colonies, loving the conditions we create for our stock – open grazing lands, permanent water sources. They thrive, they propagate … and at times they plague the landscape. For example, they love to jump in front of the car when you are whizzing down the road, particularly at night. “We hate those kamikaze ones,” my neighbour said once. I know just what she means.  No matter how hard you look, how much care you take, you can always be taken off guard by a kamikaze wallaby or kangaroo determined to put themselves under your car.

I was woken around 4am the other morning to a strange sound. It took me a few moments in my sleep drugged state to realise it was two massive male kangaroos going for it … just outside the garden gate. I could hear them spitting and bashing the crap out of each other. It was a real contest and it went on for a long time. (Next time I’ll pull out the video, if I don’t scare them off.)

Another much loved icon is the goanna. I don’t mind them really, though of course I don’t want one to run up my leg so always approach with caution. But they make a ruckus when they get in the chook pen and can’t get out! The poor chooks get very upset and I don’t want to share the eggs with them … their mine!

Goanna holes

Keeping the wild life at bay can be challenging at times. But when all things are considered, I’d still rather listen to a couple of ‘roos in a street fight, than listen to the yells and fights of humans when the pub shuts.I can’t keep the goannas out of the garden. We are very diligent about keeping the garden gate shut to deter them but they can just as easily shimmy up the gate post. Why do I care do you ask? Because they dig great big holes in the garden beds and in the lawn! They have favourite spots where they will return again and again … such as under the rose bushes. I guess they dig for roots or something.

I guess that’s why I’m still here, ‘roos and goannas despite.

March 25, 2013

The Candle Party

Folks in the bush sure know how to party!

I’ve been here full time for five years now and we are really starting to feel like we belong (as much as you can for a new comer).

When you live on an isolated property you gain lots of benefits – privacy, peaceful bush setting, sense of autonomy … the list goes on. But one thing you lose is company. Of course there is always hubby to talk to but, lively stimulating conversation not withstanding, sometimes we just need more … being the fundamentally social beings that we are!

So when an opportunity presents to socialise, graziers are usually quick to respond … even if it maybe a fairly traditionally feminine-ish type occasion.

I had the opportunity to organise such a fortuitous event on Saturday night – a PartyLite Candle Party.

Sound possibly a little Ho Hum? No way, not in the bush and ESPECIALLY not in the Traprock!

About twenty graziers (husbands and wives) graced our verandah last night for a serious shin ding!

Elaine our gracious CandleLite hostess (who drove all the way from Toowoomba) presented the product range and facilitated the more formal part of the evening – though it was a bit hard to hear her at times due to the ruckus on the verandah as the boys downed a few drinks in apparent quite quick succession.

The girls held their own in the lounge room though, I might add, enjoying a few vinos. Unfortunately they may have been a little less fortunate in sharing the hot snacks circulating as they pondered their purchases. The meat balls didn’t seem to get very far from the kitchen!

The presentation concluded, orders secured … it was time to party.

The lights were dimmed, the candles burning, it was time to up the playlist tempo.

Shaz and I took to the dance floor first but it wasn’t long before others followed and things heated up.

The party was raging and so it did for hours until exhausted, hot, spent but glowing, we emerged for a quick cool down on the verandah.

Then just a few more golden oldies were played and it was on again.

The last guest left about 3am and Chris and I lingered a bit longer for that one last drink, chatting and musing as we reflected on the evening – great company, great conversation, great fun.

Who would have ever thought from a simple Candle Party!

Can’t wait for the next Traprock social opportunity … whatever it may be.

January 14, 2013

You just never know what will happen next

Michelle and Matt’s unexpected visit to Spring Creek was most welcomed. Having to attend a funeral in Gatton, they took the opportunity to come and visit us. As they are living in Mackay at the moment they borrowed a friend’s Mini Cooper S. A cute little car but with some major design defects that we were about to identify …

On the way out to take a look around on Day 2, they noticed a flat tyre. But, to their dismay, they discovered the Mini Cooper S does not have a spare!! Instead it is supplied with a tin of tyre seal which is intended to get you to the nearest fix-it-up place within 10ks. Not an appropriate solution for Spring Creek! As the tear in the tyre was not repairable, this left us in a serious dilemma.

Switching to problem solving mode, we eventually decided on a course of action. As all the tyres on the mini were dangerously bald, we decided to plug the hole as best we could and limp the little car out to the Gore shop before replacing the ripped tyre – in case we needed to repair any others.

Cautiously, we made it to the Gore store without incident, parked the vehicle around the back of the shop for safety (ha ha) and removed the wrecked tyre. As we prepared to set off to Stanthorpe, where we knew (unusually) of a tyre shop open on Saturday afternoon, that’s when the unexpected happened!

A large box gum nearby the parked cars, decided to take that second to throw a huge branch. It crashed down on top of the two vehicles!!!! Michelle was standing near the Navara but it luckily missed her. I was sitting in the back of the Navara with the door open.

The force of one branch pushed the door shut. I sat in the vehicle stunned and rather shocked. The windscreen was smashed.

Matt could do nothing but laugh as he watched, amused that this could happen after all the care we had taken to this point. It took Shell and myself a bit to stop trembling and regain our normal levels of adrenalin.

No one was hurt but the back window of the mini and our windscreen were smashed and both vehicles had sustained numerous dints and scratches.

What a day.

Time to go home for a few Magaritas and a nice cold beer!!

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