"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Self Sufficiency Pt. 4

Carting hay

" Tanderra" in reflected glory

We stuck fairly closely to our original plan, we would run Merino ewes with Border Lester rams for good wool and very saleable lambs, then the price of wool took a substantial dive so we went looking for an alternative.

We heard good reports about sheep that grew wool for use in carpet making, there were several breeds, we decided to give this a try as the wool prices were very stable, so we bought a flock of Tukidales.

These were the exact opposite to what we had been striving for in the past; they had very coarse wool which grew about 6 inches every 6 months, so they needed to be shorn twice a year instead of once.

Our winter shearing, when there was green grass was very good but the summer shearing dropped off in both quality and length, Tukidales are a “green grass” sheep!

So once more we bought Merinos, this time buying a new flock each year, we usually managed to make a profit when we sold them and we were getting the better wool again. (wool prices had picked up a bit too.)

This update is about half way mark, after we had been here for 7 years, our herd of cattle now had grown to about 25 so were also taking up a little more time, the hundreds of trees we had planted, mainly in the first couple of years, were all growing well, (I went back for a look this year when I was in Victoria, they are now quite substantial groves of trees)

Over the years we built several sheds and did substantial repairs to others, we extended the house and put a new roof on it, we upgraded our water system again, put in sprinkler systems to keep everything damped down if we were threatened by bush-fire, we had always kept about a dozen hens so always had fresh eggs, life was good.

We spent about 14 years at “Tanderra” (an aboriginal name meaning “place of rest” that was a joke!) for about 10 of those years we also took School photos.

Life on the Land

You’d reckon he would have known better

Than to settle for “life on the land”

With all of the cautions and warnings

But he just had to try his hand.

Where to settle’s the question

That starts uppermost in his mind

Australia’s a bloody big country

But most of the climate’s unkind.

Victoria’s rainfall is steady

No thought of droughts down there

But with two or three real dry seasons

The threat of his ruin is near.

His sheep just fall by the wayside

They simply don’t get enough feeds

The bit of rain that he’s getting

Won’t promote any growth but the weeds.

In the evenings the dark clouds gather

As though the heavens will burst

But each morning’s light shows

His land is still dying of thirst.

The hay that was stacked in the hayshed

Is nearly all used up now

There are only the scraps that the mice left

To show for the sweat from his brow.

The frosts have settled in earnest

The white landscape can look very nice

But it burns of any new grass shoots

Well at least it kills of the mice.

In between there have been times of plenty

Plenty of locusts and plenty of mites

To chew off the pasture he’s put in

And cause him more sleepless nights.

For all the setbacks and heartaches

He says, “The life’s not that bad”

But despite the brave front he puts on

He ain’t got the cash that he had.

Right now the farms looking pretty

There’s a tinge of green showing through

But it’s short, and now it’s stopped growing

And there’s not a dammed thing he can do.

The garden looks neat and tidy

The sheds all look straight and true

The fences are in good condition

There’s a crop in the ground, growing too.

Sounds like everything’s rosy

It’s just there’s no rain, or cash flow

To meet the bills as they come in

That’s dealing the crippling blow.

Who’s helped him through all of his hardships?

Was it Dalgety’s? Or Elder’s? The Bank?

No, the girl that he married

Is the one he really must thank.

These are the trials of farming

To be weathered and beaten in time

Have enough patience to hang on

And everything works out just fine.

Peter Holt

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