Tag Archives: love

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.

new-life

 

Ode to my Farmer

I passed away in the early hours of this morning, (19/3/2016) outside when the sun came up and in a place I knew was home. It was where we sat having drinks in summer, near your chair where one of you would reach down and pet me. The outside erection built by you, I wasn’t well and have been slowly letting you know I was going to pass over a week ago. I started to not want my food.

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I remember you coming and selecting me, you picked me up held me to your chest and I felt your heart beat and you brought me to the farm. I was little and it was big, there were other dogs that looked like me and white 4 legged wooly animals as well as big black 4 legged creatures. All of this was frightening but you carried me around until you felt I was ready to join the mob. You spent weeks touching me, encouraging me, training me to obey, sit on the back of the ute, run after sheep and cattle whilst growing up.

I loved the space, I loved working, you would drive the ute and whistle, I would know what to do, I was your right or left hand depending upon where you sent me. These cattle and sheep were never frightening after you took the time to teach me, I could get them where you wanted them. You would lift me up into the ute, pat me and tell me all the time what a good dog I was, sometimes if I was hot I would run to the trough, jump in and lie down whilst moving my body from one end to the other to cool off.

I loved the farm and I loved you, you would pat me, feed me and put me in my kennel at night for protection. I was never chained except on the back of a ute to protect me and as I grew and became the oldest working dog I earnt the right to sit in the ute with you whilst the other younger ones got to ride in the back. This was great in summer with the air conditioner on and in winter with the heater. I would stand with my head resting on the dash board looking out. You would reach over and pat me often, I loved working with you. I loved summer when we would go to the dam and swim whilst chasing a ball it was what I was bred to be.

I learnt your voice, your whistle and your touch, you were who I wanted to be with. I learnt the good words and the bad words. Sometimes (when working in sheep & cattle yards) there would be swearing and I would look for a way of running off. It was here in the sheep yards that we had our serious accident. I jumped, missed and dislocated my hips. You picked me up and took me into the vet, I then had to spend weeks getting better, I never really recovered to my best but you never seemed to mind. You would come and get me, sit on the step and hold me like I was a puppy again, I would place my head on your shoulder and breath the love between us

During my growing years, I had a coat given to me in winter, I had a bed I was always happy to go to, it didn’t even become crowded when the new puppy came along and she dug under our joined fence and started to sleep with me. We were fed, we were allowed to swim and we were a family. When I was really sore I was given the best health care going, I even was allowed trips to town, the bank teller still remembers when you brought me in and placed me on the counter (where I was a little scared and I peed) no one told me off you picked me up and patted me. I also had many people that I loved and they loved me. People came and went but you were always there.

Then last year I became sore in the hips, slowed down and found it difficult to keep my balance in the front of the ute (I had turned 15) I suffered if I had to work so we decided I could move inside at night. I was given the couch, no one told me to get off and when the other dogs came inside I didn’t even have to look up when you shouted for them to get out. I was safe and warm again in your care.

Then I had to retire from the day trips, that was initially difficult, I would bark as you drove away but could easily find my couch, then when I stopped being able to get up on the couch the padded bed was bought. This was also lovely, it was taken to the office daily and returned at night so I could sleep at your feet. I still barked when you drove off, but from the comfort of my bed, either from the bedroom or the office. I was warmed protected and loved.

I had begun to get sick and I noticed no one told me off, in fact yesterday I was found lying in it, instead of being put outside, I watched as my bed was moved to the darkest corner of the room, my blanket was freshened up and she lifted me up, bathed me with a warm hot towel and laid in my bed all the while she was telling me what a good, beautiful and wonderful dog I was. She laid on the floor for a while petting me, telling me how much I was loved and how hard I had worked for 15+ years and it was ok to join the others.

You came home and came straight into see me yesterday, you didn’t mention the vomit to me, I know you loved me as much as I loved you. I loved the fact you would pat me and make me feel safe and loved, I knew this as I passed. I know that when you buried me you carried me close to your chest, holding me gently like when I was a puppy and as a last act of love you patted me one last time.

 

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Old Broads and Farming

The farmer didn’t like my post yesterday, he thinks I have no understanding of what we do here on the farm, when it comes to drought management and animal husbandry. Having been with him for 13 years (I know a long time) I have marveled at how he manages the farm, the cattle, the sheep and the crops. I have long stated I won’t have time to learn what he has forgotten when it comes to farming, business planning and management of animals.

Why did he take offense? because he’s thinks the work he does I don’t see and when I comment it’s a criticism of his abilities and it’s not. It is far from it, he doesn’t see that I worry about the animals that I can’t help with, other than the odd assistance or (slavery as I call it) I can help with lamb marking, putting rings on tails & testicles, whilst vaccinating them, I am no good at crutching or shearing. We rely on our great mate Ronnie to come and help pick up, put up and as a team we can do over 300 in a day. It’s hard yakka, bending, lifting, drafting (I can do this as well) we manage to work together and enjoy each others company (thanks Ronnie).

I can help with ear tagging the cattle, mustering and weighing, I can’t do the ringing of testicles as the size of these animals scare me and he gets to them young enough they are only about 200 kilo so it’s not so hard. When we ear tag them we have to put them in the race, head bale them (hold their heads with metal doors) whilst I grab their right ear and pierce it and put the legislated ear tag in it. Boy they can make a large noise as they bellow in protest, it’s the same as having ones ear pierced.

I have watched over the summer months as he has gone outside to check waters in troughs and dams, if they are out of water he has to locate the problem and fix it. We spent the best part of one Christmas day – missing lunch with my family to dig up water pipes clear them and wait for the troughs to fill over the farm in 40 degree heat (104 fahrenheit). Cattle and sheep can die without water in one day in this sort of heat.

I have watched him go out and feed hay to animals when our feed has declined, I see him jumping on and off a hay trailer whilst the ute is moving slowly so as to spread out the hay to keep animals fed. He does this every day maintaining the quality of our animals and their food source. I have watched him and gone with him checking things over our 5000 acres, I have taken him drinks and lunch whilst he is sowing, reaping, raking and fencing. We have spent weekends planting up to 3000 trees per year to give animals shelter belts and to re-vegetate tops of hills that blow with sand.

I have adapted to farming and I do have a deep love of what it is I don’t see and I don’t have the passion nor the drive for all of it like he does. I rarely criticise anything he does as I am aware he drives heavy machinery, he can build a shearing shed from plans drawn up with Ronnie on a scrap piece of paper,  he can swear like a farmer (as only they can) at anything and everything, he can care deeply for small animals which is why I am hand rearing 2 calves & a lamb currently.

How to shut me up – sorry Chris it won’t happen.

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