Tag Archives: farmer

Turnbull

Living on the farm we have many animals (mainly calves and lambs) to rescue and raise. Most times we are successful other times we are not. There are reasons why some animals do not mother with their children, they must know they are born unable to survive. If we find them we take them into the animals Nursery.

No such problem with the bull “turn”as he was named came in September and took to drinking from the bottle quickly and confidently, he was soon joined by Johnny and Coco the merino lambs from the city. They bonded together and became a clan. Turnbull drinking in August, joined with the lambs in September watched by our Goldie.

The lambs have moved into a mob of sheep and I couldn’t cope with the constant pooh at the door and the flies they were bringing into the house every time a back door opened so they are living well together in the shearing shed in the next paddock behind the house.

Turnbull is a very quiet Angus calf, except when he hears the shower turn on so he comes to the window and bellows for his food (milk) and boy has he grown. He waits for me at the end of the carport and comes up for a face rub with or without a bucket of milk. I am still wary of him – he will grow to be approx 1000 kilos or more and he is now at underarm height and I laugh as he walks besides me on the way to his milk feeder. I think how ridiculous it must look to strangers to see this middle aged woman carrying a silver bucket of milk in one hand with a Golden retriever walking along and on the other side Turnbull is trotting and pushing into me, so I have to direct him with my hand.

I still don’t trust him enough to walk behind him I am now at good knee capping height as that will be where he would kick back, straight into my knee cap. No thanks. Having the sunshine back has been great for everyone, including the farmer and animals.

 

 

Hay raking whilst the sun shines

When growing up I knew where eggs, meat and produce came from, my parents gave us a very rounded education. I knew hens laid eggs, lamb, beef, chicken were producers of the meat that we eat and farmers grew crop so that we could have food. My grandfather on my mothers side was a fisherman and we use to travel into the ocean in South Australia and fish with him, fillet them and cook them to eat.

Until I married a farmer I never knew how much they had to know to bring this food to the supermarket shelves and to our tables. They have to consider animals first and foremost if they produce meat for human consumption, their care and welfare are never far from farmers minds. In producing crop to sell and people to eat they need to know soil types, rainfall and what will and won’t grow to a saleable quantity. They also need to know how to drive really big tractors, trailers and trucks so that they are safe and they can and do use these as tools of trade.

The first time I was bogged (by the farmer) on the property I asked to be taught how to drive a tractor so that if one day I was needed to rescue someone, him or pull equipment I could do it safely and thus have gone on to learn most of the tractors on the farm. I have also been taught how to mix formula for baby lambs and calves so that I can feed them and raise them when they are orphaned. Nothing scientific but like humans too much bring stomach issues and too little brings starvation.

The farmer tells me most days and did before I moved here what he’s up to, not because I am interested (which I am) but for work health and safety and also if I ever feel like driving out to him I know where to look, find him and or bring him a coffee if I feel like being nice. I have taken him, coffee, morning and afternoon tea and sandwiches for the days he is out for hours at a time.

This year he got the crop in when we had good rain, the last 3 have been below average rainfall and things have been difficult. The paddocks have been dry and we have had to purchase feed stuff for the cattle and sheep. But the farmer likes to grow our own feed stuffs for the animals and at one stage last year when it was very dry (it was a drought actually) all he wanted to do was get out on the tractor and plough the soil, plant seed and watch it grow to reap it, bale it and feed it out.

We have had good rains this year and I went out to film him raking, I knew raking was not about your garden style rake but something bigger even before I did see one as he told me it needed the tractor to pull the rake. But one could be forgiven for thinking there were tools made like the garden variety rake that were attached to a big stick and then pulled along by a tractor , but alas, no here it is.

Why do we rake hay? I ask these questions even though I think I’m supposed to know but it is to take any moisture out of hay, especially as it has rained since it was cut. When baling hay they work on moisture content, if too high they stop. packing approx 600kilos of hay into a bale when wet or too green is a recipe for disaster. They can cook from the inside out and combust. I fed last year while the farmer had a break off the farm, when hay is baled it is done in brick sections in the baler and I pushed my bare arm through the brick and it was burned. I then realised the bales were too hot. After feeding out I took the tractor and took the bales one by one and placed them on the ground away from each other so that if they did catch fire we wouldn’t lose much and it wouldn’t spread very far.

It’s a great day in the Upper South east, firstly I have internet proper been about 8 weeks and the farmer is out working hard whilst I do book work. Have a great season.

hay-raking

Coco, Johnny & Turnbull

I collected these two very cared for lambs on Saturday and drove them back to the farm with me, they had been very much looked after. They were twins and their mothers rejected them so the place that was breeding them took them in and gave them to families that didn’t want to see them die. Three feeds a day and warmth and company is what they got until it became too much and the beauty of caring for things is also knowing that you have reached a point where someone else needs take over and they get to move to a farm.

They have settled in well with Turnbull, so we are happy to announce the arrival of Johnny and Coco (in the coat). Turnbull would be 4 weeks old the same as Johnny but Coco (originally named chops) is only about 2 weeks old and as it’s cold, I noticed her shivering the other day so she gets to wear a designer old dog coat, till she gets bigger.

This is the animal nursery yard – which was my vegetable garden and they have a shelter which was built by the farmer which they curl up together and sleep in at night and can get out of the rain during the day. Coco baas a lot and I can imagine it would have driven neighbours mad, any sound of human means food, they are far enough away from the house that it isn’t a bothering noise, but close enough to assist should they be in danger. They will be living together for always now and they will be bottle fed till they are about 3 months old, I have changed them from 3 feeds a day to 2, which is easier to manage whilst doing everything else.

When an animal dies or mis-mothered, like in a twin birth, the mother may only accept one,the farmer will bring me the baby calf or lamb to hand rear, most people find this fun. Tt is not fun when they are hungry and they kick you, cattle are known to kick behind when scared. I have had some good leg bruises and the farmer probably has more than he could count. They get scared and kick out. Teaching a young calf to suckle can start with getting them to suck your fingers and them introducing a bottle then moving them onto a fixed feeding bin so that you can limit touch so they can be re-introduced to the mob once they are over 3 months old.

Lambs are a bit more difficult, they are beautiful when they are a couple of days old, much like puppies where they will bond immediately with you, but after about a week, they then baa whenever they see you, not only because they think they are hungry but because they like company. Rearing lambs in the city is difficult, they make a lot of noise and they are smelly (they wee and pooh a lot). Dogs will also eat their droppings and it’s awful, but mostly it’s a commitment that many are prepared for but are unable to commit to due to work and home pressures.

We welcome Johnny & Coco to the every growing, changing and challenging Caloundra Farm here in the Upper South East. You bring with you the gift of life given to you by the families that cared for you both. We thank them very much for thinking of us and asking us if we could have them. Yes, standing in the rain feeding them for me isn’t an issue, it’s called farming.

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Grass fed Lamb

We love our animals here and we love what we do, it is a pleasure to spend time with our animals making sure they are well cared for and looked after. Should we have to get our animals treated by a vet (it is very rare) and we have to administer antibiotics they are re tagged to identify that we in-fact can not sell those animals. They will spend their days here on the farm until such time as they pass over.

The farmer does not believe in shooting things for no reason or for sport. Tell me where is the sport in shooting a helpless animal? we even leave our kangaroos alone, it really isn’t much food they can eat and take away from our animals. We leave our animals to roam the paddocks and we substitute feeding with hay, not grain.

We are known to hand rear animals as do most farmers should they become orphaned, they they normally get to stay on the property to become part of the mob of breeders or become a ram. We ensure that our animals are ethically treated and slaughtered in the best possible manner and practice. I myself have been to watch and have assessed our abattoirs to ensure they receive the best possible care at death as they do at life.

We work hard to do what we need to, to provide the best quality meat for human consumption and we want to supply it at an affordable price to all. if you are looking for home delivery in Adelaide, South Australia please email us admin@bullysbeef.com.au

Jump over to our facebook page like us and keep informed with our comings and going.

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Farmer Blaming

We love our animals here at Caloundra Station and we work 365 days of the year to ensure they are well cared for and happy. We have both cattle and lamb which we grow from birth to finish for meat production and I know some of you are turning your noses up at the thought. How can the animals we live with, respect and care for be sent off the farm to end up on plates around the world and it is difficult for us it truly is. I don’t know any farmer who is cruel to their animals, whether they are for meat production, dairy products, egg production and any of the other specialty area I have not chosen to name.

I note today there is Australia wide protest to ban live export (again) I can not see how for the life of us can people keep blaming the farmer. No farmer I know is an advocate of cruelty which is why many have changed practices over the years and work hard to give the animal the best life and death possible and within their scope of best practice. Whilst protesting is a right and a great way to get your views across where is the happy medium or balance in the argument. Some of you may even ask or say that we were not affected by the ban brought on by the 2011 reaction to cruelty, but we were.

Where did all of those animals go that were bred to go overseas? they came in to the local markets and dropped the prices and contracts that were in place for those that did not export live animals. were you aware that everyday farmers were affected? Companies held farmers off contract sales so they could make twice as much money on the cattle that were being shifted from up north to the south. Whilst people were congratulating themselves on stopping the export of live animals it did nothing to endear the industry to the public nor the farmers.

Farmers all over Australia lost income and were left carrying more stock over a summer than they wanted, this was not their fault and where was the reporters and Governments during this time. They were busy showing the same acts in another country rather than showing the desperation of farmers who were only doing their jobs losing property and income. Where was the pictures or statistics of the farmers who lost everything during this time, including the suicides that occured as this may have been their only option to earn an income and it was without warning taken from them and they were left with no where to go. There are big industries over Australia like the car industry that have announced closures, the money and education being given to these employees was never offered to the farmers or workers by Governments.

Our out cry at the time was not only about the acts, but also about the lack of education and as producers every animal on anyone’s property has to be tagged, and on that tag is a PIC number (property identification number) beef, goat and  lamb for traceability and not only do we have to pay for these ear tags, spend time putting them in without much stress to the animal and we also pay a levy to peak education bodies, why were they not involved before this incident? What have they done since? People have worked hard internationally to stamp it out by way of education and providing tools and equipment but to ask them to stamp it out will be a long drawn process.

We don’t want to see any animal treated badly but i would like to see the same passion put into stamping out domestic violence as there is to stop live export. if you would like to ban something come up with a solution for the farmer, we don’t grow and sell our animals ever with the intent that they will travel overseas and end up in the hands of others they may treat them badly. The supply chain may be 6 times more since leaving the farmer, yet the calls to stop the farming selling animals is loud and clear.

Not everyone wants to be vegetarian either, eating meat is a choice we are lucky to have in Australia and we know we can buy Australian meat that is humanely dealt with from start to finish. The ethical treatment of animals is a given in our lucky country so lets support those countries that need education to ensure all animals from Australia can be sent over the world and we know they will be treated in the same manner as they are here.

eating hay

No time like the present

If you farm you know how much time it takes up in your daily work life, from the minute you get up and get out of the house there is always something to do. We are not dairy farmers so there is no getting up at the crack of dawn unless insomnia has set in. Sometimes I am aware he is up and reading at this time and due to many different reasons. I see him worry in winter and summer about his animals, which is why he creates shelter belts, plants natives every year and checks every paddock for animals, water in trough and anyone who needs assistance with birthing.

He checks the weather on internet every morning and plans his day accordingly, there is normally a comment based on the weather map, some days it’s how can the BOM Bureau of Meterology get the weather so wrong, he comments like this when it’s summer and they predict rain and we don’t get any when we need it. He loves to show me the map, which I look at sometimes with dread, I never took note of weather until I became entangled with the farmer, now I appreciate it’s place in our daily lives. It’s like the naughty child, argumentative one day dark rain clouds threatening, positively bursting with excitement the next sunshine bursting through clouds, to the rainbow like a child sleeping and then rain happiness when you least expect it.

When I work off farm, I can leave before dawn and back after dark I can ask him what he did for the day and he’ll tell me not much , like yesterday. I wasn’t off farm working I was nursing a sore back which is better today. He spent a good part of 4 hours emptying one of the septic tanks, he discovered our pump was not working so he took it to the shed, and came back with another pump set it all up and then spent the next 3 hours digging up the outlet pipes and making sure it was ok before moving on to the next job. I watched him for a while and as he parked his Ute next to the animal nursery I could see him leaning in and patting the calves and the lamb. They of course thought he was bringing them milk but they are tame now, it warms my heart to see his gentle side.

Then he finishes that and off he goes into the paddocks and returns when he has finished. He comes in late afternoon and is doing stretches and I ask if he’s ok, he tells me he was out checking cattle when he saw a cow with a calf that appeared stuck partially out so he (on foot) chased it down and grabbed a leg (of the baby) and as the cow was walking away he managed to get a rope around it and get it’s head out, cleared the sack from the calves mouth and continued to pull until the calf was half out and the cow was still trying to run away and as the calf hit the ground – the cow ran and the calf started breathing. He then had to get into the Ute and turn the cow around so she would go back to bond with her calf, he got her within a couple of feet of the calf and she sniffed and identified immediately it was hers. He then said that the calf had attempted to get up a couple of times and he drove off, as he said he didn’t have time to hang around and assist. I don’t know what he calls that but that is impressive.

For a farmer to tell you he hasn’t done much is like saying the Doctor only saw 15 patients today instead of the 30 or more he probably did. I go back to a saying I have read many times on face book where they show a fantastic picture of a farm and small child leaning on a fence and it says “what’s a day off? I don’t know we’re farmers” which is true there really is not much opportunity to rest. As he says to me “weekends and public holidays are for the general public not farmers” .

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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