Tag Archives: animals

Baling hay

I do find things on the farm that are interesting and though many people think having a big tractor can do anything (well I use to) but the tractor is only a tool to get things done, it lifts, pulls, drives, tows and lifts to name a few. But in order to get things done you need the attachments much like a mix master to have a complete system.

We don’t have a baler, we employ sub contractors in to do this. They work hard, sitting and driving for hours and hours while the moisture is good to bale the hay that was raked and is lying on the ground. They can do 20 hours days if the weather conditions are right and they have job after job to do.

He came all day and left after we went to bed, we helped him move his Ute so that when he finished he didn’t have a 10 kilometre walk back to his Ute to go home in when he moved paddocks after dark. we bale the hay so that we can keep it and feed it out to our stock to align with our farming practices, which is to keep everything as natural as possible.

Farming for us is a whole of life from birth to death for our animals, the farm has been developed to consider nature, the environment and the animals. This makes it a business enterprise that is sustainable, clean and green. Our meat reflects the care and planning the farmer does with all the decisions that he makes.

Today is brought to you by 3am and 4am slaughter hour

The farmer is an animal lover and as such has cats, dogs, cattle, sheep and anything else that comes along. One day he sent me a photo of two baby foxes he saw living in our cattle yards and I banned him from bringing them home. We have a property that has kangaroos and he won’t go out and kill them because they eat minimal crops, he will occasionally shoot predatory birds that peck at baby animals that are being born so other than that most animals are welcomed into our home. I am currently hand rearing 2 calves Rosie & Delila and a Lamb – Josie who now live in my vegetable garden

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We also have the 3 lovely shed cats (called this because he found them in the shed and they now don’t live there) rescued from a freezing winter in 2009, Gatsby (a ginger cat)was rescued 2 years ago this month. All of them are desexed as I didn’t want excess of litters all over the farm and in the cold months of winter (and the hot days of summer) they live inside.

Many a night we have had parades of mice: alive and dead, rabbits: alive and dead birds alive and dead, bats 99% alive, gecko’s mainly alive that we have put outside and frill neck Lizards alive that leave alive as the cats have not worked out how to get through their tough exterior and frill when they protest. Our motto is that if we catch any of these things alive we lock the cats inside and let the animals go free outside.

Many a night I have woken to the sound of crunching and am so none fussed about it now I roll over and go back to sleep. If we hear noises we will get out of bed to try to chase the cats outside with the animal intact. Other times there is a “look at me, look at me” flinging and rolling with the animal (dead) in the spa bath. Where the cat shows us the prey and then eventually the creature is left intact and we are left to clean up the mess.

We have watched as these cats over-estimate their abilities and their prey – the farmer has seen Frankie stalking a kangaroo (as if she was ever going to catch it) we have seen Gatsby jumping in the air to catch swooping birds as if they were going to fly into his mouth, Matilda has on a few occasions stalked the chooks when we use to let them out, the chooks are confined to their pen as the working dogs try to round them up and chase them till they die.

I don’t mind it during the day but in the middle of the night I could do with out it, you know when you have to get up early, you set your alarm and you wake almost hourly hoping you don’t miss it? That was last nigh t and I was back into sleeping when I could hear a growling, at first I asked the farmer to roll over as I thought he was snoring  loudly so he did but the noise got louder and I realized it was coming from his wardrobe.

Bloody Cats fighting in the wardrobe, so I spring out of bed, turn on the lounge room light so as not to blind myself or the farmer but to shine light on the area, open the door and see nothing, I move clothes around to see if I can catch them hiding but I see nothing, so I shut the doors, stoke the fire and as I go to turn off the light I see 3 cats casually walking around the lounge room, squinting at the light with the innocent look of no it wasn’t me, I glare at them as I go to back to bed, it’s 3am. I’m back sleeping when the slow and loud growling starts up again, this time I’m cross I jump out of bed, step on the remote control, stub my toe on a laundry basket I have left in the way, go out to the fire, pick up the poker and come back to the wardrobe and one by one open the doors and thrash it about (hoping I can collect one of these cats as I do it). I look to see Gatsby’s tail disappear out of the wardrobe and run around the corner to get away and Rita slowly slink out heading towards the door. I shut the wardrobe put the poker on the floor and go back to bed, I note it’s now 4am.

Gatsby the only male

Gatsby the only male

Both of these cats go outside and as I drift back to sleep I become aware Gatsby is back in, he has jumped on my foot, shaken himself off as he is as wet as anything and flops down on my bed at my feet. When I do get up at 5am I note Matilda is standing by the wardrobe door, sniffing and I begin to think perhaps the other two were fighting over a late night slaughter. I didn’t have time to check before I left the house and I bet whatever it is will still be there when I get home this evening.

We have a spot I call slaughter corner, where some mornings we can wake up to find no evidence of the animal except a blood stained wall. We occasionally have a kidney or the bottom half of a mouse, if it’s a rabbit sometimes I get the entire gastrointestinal tract with pooh intact. Feathers of a bird are common and is the foot or tail of a rabbit. These can also be found out by the cat flap if they can’t carry it in or in the spa bath if we don’t hear them. Anything and everything is foul and I wish they would stop, once I asked the farmer “what’s with the green feathers in the corner?” without missing a beat he said “I didn’t like that grass parrot anyway!”

I occasionally say to birds, “You all need to live 1km away from the house as these cats will get you if you are closer. I feel exhausted before I even left the farm, getting home tonight will be a bit of a struggle, it is about 220km’s away.

3 cats on the car

3 cats on the car Rita on roof, Matilda in front of steering wheel & Frankie other side

For Peta’s sake buy Australian Wool and support the Industry

It had to happen didn’t it? Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) finding another campaign to or group of people to attack, this time they openly say that the lamb depicted in the photo isn’t real, how can they use such scare mongering tactics? It’s appalling and offensive to farmers, shearers and those that work and rely on the wool industry for a living, I also wonder if Jona Weinhofen (also an Adelaide boy) has ever been in a shed before he agreed to do the campaign?

Most farmers I know have no issue with ethical treatment of animals they do it themselves. The farmers are out there day and night checking stock when they are ready to give birth, to assist cattle, ewes, horses well all animals under their care to birth without much complications as the rest of a terrible birth is the same as for with humans, things die and it’s awful. I myself have assisted in pulling a calf when required. So in most cases farmers are the true representation of Peta, without the scare tactics and money to photograph ‘famous people’ holding fake animals to prove a point.

The Shearing Contractors Association of Australia has acknowledge that poor treatment of animals is not tolerated nor is it endemic of their association. the footage that Peta run is from last year and they took that to the Association and it has been dealt with – each shed and Shearer has been notified and educated. That should have been the end of that, but no nearly 12 months on it become a topic to run in the media and to try to garnish a response, what did they want? do they want to shut the shearing industry like what happened with the Live Export ban? Do they want sheep to be left unshorn and suffer from this practice? or are they looking to up their membership base? One can only guess.

I am launching a campaign today and have written to many stores, wool producers and Associations asking for their support to assist the industry and get you all to buy a piece of Australian Wool, be that clothing to wear, like jackets, coats jumpers etc. or accessories to display i.e. scarfs and or Australian wool to knit with. If we don’t support the retailer, the whole industry will suffer, that is, farmers getting our of sheep, thus reducing the wool supply and putting our experienced shearers out of work. It is hard enough to get experienced teams to come and shear lets not erode the industry by supporting the fabricated campaign of Peta.

If you are a producer, or retailer or stockist of wool products and want to have a plug, please contact me of jump on my Facebook page or contact me direct robyn@bullysbeef.com.au. I want it to be full of positive things about the industry and promote Australian Made. Here is a lamb being shorn, lifted onto an old tyre, for comfort and to ease the strain on shearers

Shearing sheep - no cuts here

Shearing sheep – no cuts here

Meat for Meals

We are looking today for the ‘fast food’ the quick meal option to feed our families. In most households the end of the day is not welcome relief from work, it is sometimes fuller than a days work. There are children, homework, study, book work, housework to name but a few ‘work’ things ones does when they come home from ‘work’. For most people it doesn’t stop, no longer are families depicted by a male figure with his feet up, paper in hand and with a pipe in his mouth, the ‘lady’ of the house dressed in refinery, lipstick on and smiling and no sign of children those days (thankfully) are gone.

There is always something to do and food choices to make, nights are about sustenance given to families by way of the evening meal and in most cases lunches the next day. Here is where all this running around and getting home from work doesn’t mean stopping, it means someone in the house needs to make a meal decision.

What does one cook when they are busy, sometimes it is much easier to pull in and purchase ready cooked meals but are they really satisfying? Over my time being married to a farmer I have come to appreciate a good cut of meat and well cooked meal. Our meat is pasture fed so it is lean, tasty and delicious, but even with my freezer full of meat I do sometimes ask, what do you feel like for dinner? The response I get is “anything as long as I am with you” a reference back to our courting days where I made a comment that he never commented on my meals. To be honest though I did tell him “I don’t cook” which he took as “I can’t cook” so when I would arrive at the farm (300km drive) I would be greeted with a drink and a meal. Which was great he is a good chef, but then like everything else it becomes the same so I started to cook.

Now it is 85% my responsibility and he can tell when I have had enough as I won’t cook, but going back to simple easy meals for families and busy evenings has become the monotonous decisions of what to cook in the evening. I have started a program where I am cooking with the contents of the pantry and not replacing it as I go. We have a big pantry and I can never find anything in it.

Meat is a great form of protein and is gluten-free, fat-free and abides by the heart foundation requirements for low GI. These are all the things we are looking for in our diets, if we eat a 150g lean piece of meat in our main meal then we have ticked all of the boxes. I always do green things steamed, potato of some kind, gravy or a mustard condiment to add taste. This  sounds so simple doesn’t it but some days it is far from it, it is an effort to defrost, cook to the right temperature, boil without burning the bottom of the saucepan – we currently have 4 dogs with 6 saucepans dog food bowls from attempts at rice and forgotten ‘mashed potatoes’.

Rump is a good cut for a family meal, just don’t over cook it otherwise it can be too tough, fillet is the steak to eat but can expensive when looking to feed the family but nice for a romantic meal for two, blade steak is also a fantastic cut and good for BBQ, BBQ meat is only for BBQ, it may be tough upon arrival to the butcher, supermarket and needs to be grilled to make it tender and edible. But in buying for BBQ buy good meats if you can as they will taste better and be tender.

We as agriculturalists who provide meat for human consumption are highly concentrated on sustainability and nutrition. We provide our animals with natural grasses to eat and limit any exposure to unnecessary humans and grow our crops to feed the stock. Our farming practices are humane, anti-biotic and growth hormone free. Meat science can demonstrate that beef from such grass-fed systems compared to intensive feedlots production systems contain elevated concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin E, increased levels of omega-3, a more desirable omega-3:omega-6 ratio, and increased levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), all with favorable biological effects on human health.

Meals are about sustenance, togetherness, comfort and time. Eating a piece of meat will provide children and adults with energy, alertness and satisfaction for longer periods of time, over something which can be shop bought and ‘fast’. Our foods standards are arguably the ‘golden standard’ of the world and are envied and copied by others. In reaching for that chocolate bar, think of the quick fix versus a slice of ham from the deli, the hunger pains will arrive sooner if you eat the chocolate along with the additional calories. Try a small skewer of lamb with a tzatziki dressing

moroccan lamb

Snacks with 100 Calories or less

Meats & Other Protein Foods

  • 2 ounces or 56 grams of lean roast beef or boiled ham
  • 4 ounces or 113 grams or turkey breast
  • 4 ounces or 113 grams smoked salmon
  • 3 ounces or 85 grams tuna (packed in water)
  • 2 ounces or 56 grams  tuna (packed in water) with 1 teaspoon low-fat mayonnaise added
  • 3 sardines packed in water
  • 3 thin slices of lunch meat 50 grams
  • 7 small shrimp
  • 1 chicken or turkey hot dog without the bun
  • 2 tofu dogs without the bun
  • 1 ounce or 28 grams beef jerky
  • 1 ounce or 28 grams  turkey pepperoni
  • 1 egg (hard-cooked, scrambled or fried)
  • ¾ cup egg substitute
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter – no biscuit or slice of bread
  • 4 tablespoons humus (chickpeas) – no biscuit or bread

Chocolates – check out the limitations –

  • ½ cup fat-free chocolate pudding
  • 15 chocolate covered raisins
  • 1 snack size candy bar
  • 4 Hershey® Kisses
  • 5 Ghirardelli® Milk Chocolate Drops
  • 2 Mrs. Fields® Decadent Chocolates
  • 2 slices Terry’s® Chocolate Orange
  • 4 Andes® Mints
  • 3 Nestle® After Eight Mints
  • 25 milk chocolate M&M’s®
  • 9 peanut M&M’s®
  • 1/5 Toblerone® bar
  • 9 Tootsie Roll Midgets®
  • 2 chocolate chip cookies (2-inch diameter)
  • 2 reduced-fat Oreo® cookies
  • 5 chocolate graham crackers
  • 1 Skinny Cow® Fat Free Fudge Bar
  • 1 Nestle Butterfinger® Stixx
  • 1 Whole Foods Market Two-Bite Brownie
  • 1 Healthy Choice® Mocha Fudge Swirl Bar

 

Today is brought to you the letter A

Today is brought to you by the letter A

I have decided to do my life on the farm in Sesame Street style, and give credit where credit is due. It has come from yesterday where I spent the better part of my day making phone calls, taking phone calls, feeding baby Jack (Black the Angus bull), helping to move Angus cattle, freezing (as we had no fire wood) and sitting in my car on the road watching our lovely boys ‘steers’ with a ring in sheep who thinks he’s a steer walk up the road with no stress and little noise. It was I may say warmer in my car than in my house, opening and closing the gates, opening and closing the car door, opening and closing the house doors I have decided I need to laugh at some of the things I do and participate in and observe everyday in the country so today is brought to you by the letter A.

This is a country lettering system so there are LOTS and LOTS of expletives, and I mean lots and lots, it seems in talking with my country girlfriends it is standard to hear language that would make my father and mothers ears curl. me I now find it all boring and have asked him to stop swearing at inanimate objects, but I will preface each letter blog with a warning.

“warning this blog contains words that may offend and make your ears bleed (if you could hear it) and make you laugh out loud. that can’t be helped as it would mean you would have worked out the word and the code associated with it or can envisage the action”

Today is brought to you by the letter A

You can imagine how many A**holes there on the farm, they come in all shapes and sizes, we have over 2000 Animals and apparently people whom we have never met can be one of them. I find some off putting, especially when tagging cattle there seems to be at the end of the day much pooh on my face from their asses as they shake to get away from you and there are lots of holes one can fall  into (like the one that ruptured my Achilles) but one I find slightly off putting is the Auger. It is an essential tool in transferring grain from one implement to another. It can be a really dangerous tool of trade and farmers have been known to lose limbs, hair etc from lack of safety shields that do not even exist with this necessary tool.

The “grain auger” is used to move grain from trucks and grain carts into grain storage bins or for putting seed into the air-seeder to sew the seed into the ground. A grain auger may be powered by an electric motor, a tractor, through a power take off, or sometimes and internal combustion engine mounted on the auger. In less modern augers by rope pull diesel driven engines (they are at our place). One end has a hole that things come out of the other has a rotating helical ‘screw’ that turns and moves the grain up into the shaft and out of the hole, where there is no cover and can run until the engine is stopped rather than with an obstruction.

So you can see here the letter A is apt to this farmers tool, I have heard of men being lifted or pulled into the auger when clothing has caught – I can imagine something as tame as A**hole will no longer apply it would be far more serious. I am lucky we do not use this A**hole on a daily basis only at seeding, to inoculate the vetch and sewing so it is a 3 to 6 monthly tool. It then lives in ones eye shot near the machinery shed waiting till the next time the rip cord is pulled and everything goes awry.

But I know those of you who are in the business would say you have forgotten the obvious use of the letter A in Agriculture, Animals, Agri-food, Agri-business etc  and I could list many more things but the next one near and dear to the farmer and his wife is the Antacid.  Antacid doesn’t stop the swearing but it does reduce the reflux and bile rising from the anger of the auger or being sworn at whilst you help with the transfer of grain and allows one to drink more wine. Then I will give it to the farmer at meal times so he can sleep without sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night with reflux from stress

I would love to read about your day in the life of a letter A.

Winter on the Farm

Winter is a time where we all think about food and warmth and sunshine (let’s be honest here) when winter hits most people say “I can’t wait for summer” not me I do like winter, I avoid heat as much as I can. I love lying in bed listening to the rain on the rooftop, smelling the freshness of the air after the rain has stopped and love looking at the pastures go green. It is a time when we care a little bit more about each other and our animals. We have 4 cats that love the combustion heater, they have their special spots where they go to get warmth and should the fire go out at night I find the cats on the bed all trying to fit in. It can be annoying, our beautiful black / tan kelpi cattle / sheep dogs have warm coats and warm beds where at night they are secure and sleep.

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So we look out for the cattle and the sheep for cattle thanks to their thick skin, hair and natural insulation, cattle actually prefer temperatures between 40 and 65 degrees fahrenheit,  7 – 15 degrees Celsius. So being in winter in Australia suits them well, So long as the cows are well fed, healthy, and have dry bedding, they don’t mind the cold.. That said, it’s important to keep cows dry and out of the wind to keep them comfortable, this is why we have planted banks of trees fenced them off to allow them to grow and opened them up. Cattle and sheep use them in summer and winter for shelter from the elements, be that rain. cold, or heat. Every year we plant more trees, grown by volunteers from Trees for Life” and only ones native to our area, no introduced species here. These trees can be used for rubbing on and animals can also get good fibre from eating them if they wish, nothing planted here can be seen as dangerous to our animals.

Chris the farmer spends long hours out in the cold, I admire this fact, he is always out checking on them, making sure they are ok and at the moment some of them are calving so he is diligently making sure the process is easy, quiet and minimal interference from humans as possible. He will take them into the yards and help deliver if he needs to but he will go out and check them up to three times per day. This is in between all of his other work, weighing, weaning and tagging cattle as well as ensuring they get enough feed. Here he is with some of our boys, not bothered by his presence – nor mine.

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He also collects tree stumps for our combustion heaters, I am still suffering from a ruptured Achilles that I did on 14 may, running away from an escaped steer. I have been in a moon boot but it is still sore most days and I am not that much of a help to him at the moment. He did take me out to show me this tree from a storm we had early July where the thunder and lightning was really loud, here is the aftermath: a blasted tree;

 

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