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.
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.
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;