Tag Archives: Pete

Retiring Old Dogs

I come back to my blog after a long absence, I did not stop writing because I didn’t have anything to say, I left because I didn’t know how to express the last couple of months in writing. The last of the summer months were hard on the farm and upon me, losing my beautiful old Pete has been upsetting, his presence has provided 16 yrs + of comfort and assurance without him it was difficult. My mother in law did a painting of him and laminated an old shot which is now on the fridge and every time I open it I give it a pat.

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Moving into the drought and into winter certainly has us all feeling a little bit of relief and I openly (much to the farmers dislike) declare I won’t go through another drought. In fact I told a couple of friends in the supermarket on Saturday, I will move back to my house in the city. He didn’t comment till over 4 hours later and stated I shouldn’t be telling people as they will think I’m going to leave him … news is I will be for the summer. It’s a tough battle mentally watching the farmer and the farm going through drought, nothing looks fresh or green, we are lucky we have had more rain than some people we know.

With Pete gone, it has allowed us to take a breather from things, re-evaluate business and draw up another plan moving forward. I have always talked about moving to retire off the farm. It is something that we both need to agree on, I can see country communities are not great places for the elderly, especially if their families have moved away, the time to stop traveling or driving leaves many isolated and that is not how I want to be nor is here the place I wish to retire in.

I find it amazing when we talk about a plan with others, I get this comment “what will the farmer do if you retire or sell?” it offends me, when I gave up a career I loved, moved away from my daughter, friends etc  these same people never said to me “what will you do living on a farm, 50+kms away from anything, not knowing anybody” not one so as we come to moving our plan forward  I understand how difficult it may be for him, but he too can adjust like I had too.

With Pete gone we have also had time to re-evaluate our working dogs and have noticed Mandy our eldest one needs to retire, she limps on her front foot and looks sore in her back legs, many years ago she jumped in the sheep yards and dislocated her hips – we nursed her back to health and now that she is moving into being 14 or 15 it is time for her to become a house dog. I am sure it’s arthritis setting in and when she looks pained we give her medication to assist. She is transitioning to be an inside dog quite well, she comes in at night jumps on the couch and slept there quite happily for a while till she found her way into our bedroom and on the floor at night scratching for a blanket. This noise woke me up as I was worried she would be too cold and uncomfortable on the carpet, then in Bordertown I found this dog bed and purchased it. As of today Mandy is now the retired dog and today the farmer said she would have to stop traveling with him, it’s stressful  to have her sliding around the front of the Ute if he has to chase cattle, so she is now the inside dog.

Mandy in her bed

Mandy in her bed

Do we identify ourselves when it is time to retire, will we be able to look and see that retirement needs to be an option whilst we are fit, well and young enough to enjoy it? or will we be like Mandy – have that moment where you jump out of the Ute, get put inside and told that’s it, she doesn’t know she’s retired as she still wants to be with him, travel in the Ute and play the vital roll of a working dog.

Welcome to the office floor Mandy, I know I’ll enjoy your company and you can enjoy your retirement.

Today is brought to you by New Years First Day

It’s the beginning of the New Year for 2015 in Australia and we are going into the New Year, I am sitting at the beautiful home-made Kitchen table – made by my husband and an older friend of his (before my time) in my exercise gear (as I plan on doing a 5 km walk) now that my partially ruptured Achilles is better and thought I need to start the year committed to my farming blog. I’ll get to my walk later.

I sit in the kitchen often as that is where we get good internet, living rurally you have to sometimes chase the signal in order to get to use it. Mobiles are worse since they shut down the analogue system. The NBN satellite really isn’t as good as it should be, all that money for rural people who need it the most to get an inferior service despite having to pay as much as those that get fast speed broadband in the city.

It can drop out on a windy day as can satellite TV, I know sounds crazy doesn’t it, in fast speed times people who need it are the ones that have to put up with inferior service. When we had the fire last year, we lost our land line for over 6 weeks, we weren’t a priority I was told despite the fact we still had fire burning around us. It is nearly a year since that event and we are hoping it is not going to happen this year.

Kitchens in most farm houses are the main rooms, as they are in most family homes, it’s where you all eat together, share a coffee with stock agents, and generally entertain those that come to your home. My ‘new kitchen is now 4 years old and I still love it as compared to the 70’s style with open feet that the mice use to get in and out of. This is lovely though white doors need washing down lots do to spills and dirty finger prints.

From my kitchen I can see out side where one of working dogs is sleeping under his Ute, waiting for him to come back out and jump into it. Pete the dog is sleeping on the sliding door, as that is where I put him after he made a smell that indicated there was going to be poop that followed (as he is arthritic he can not get up quick enough to go outside these days) one of the other working dogs is sleeping under the grape-vine facing the Ute & the other is out the back sleeping in the sand in the car port.

It’s a quiet day at the farm, he has gone around and checked everything, it is warming up and maintaining troughs, water, food and stock is a full-time job. he takes his breaks when he can and watches either the cricket or news channel. He has finalized his rain records for the year and we hope this year the rain falls a lot more than last year. He has records that go back over 50 years for this area, created first by his father and continued on by him, I will be printing them up later.

We wish for all of  you is good rains, great  crops, increased stock sales, no fires and all the joys of a successful year. Here are some Christmas biscuits I made with Australian Made Cutters, bought at a field day, no gingerbread men in our house, cattle, rabbits, kangaroos, Koalas and of course the Golden Retriever.

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Valentine’s Hit or Miss

Well don’t all the best laid plans go astray?? There I was so proud of my pre planning and purchasing of condiments and all things for dinner, I even bought nice smelling candle and outdoor candle holder (lucky that was) All I needed to do about 6pm was defrost the rump steak, it was all going well till 4pm when we had a 40 mils or 1.5 inches of rain which was desperately needed to replenish the rain water tanks that had been drained at the property fire in December – but what it did do as well was cut the power from 6pm..

What to do, complete the prep in daylight, prepare all the candles in the house and ready the table so by nightfall nothing to do other than defrost the meat. I go to the freezer pull out the rump – it is dark so torches and candle light are what I am using to see things light the BBQ. We have one of the modern ones which have a rack above the plate and the hood closes – great place to defrost meat in a blackout.

But how to cook the oysters, I abandoned the idea of natural with lime and wasabi so I go the cooked option of Kilpatrick and I have horseradish dip, wasabi and parmesan cheese. I place all of the oysters on the rack and close the lid, the plate is warm so I place the steak which is now scotch fillet (didn’t pick rump in the dark) and the cut bacon (for oysters on the plate to cook slowly). I cover 6 with Kilpatrick sauce and the other six with horseradish dip, a dob of wasabi & parmesan cheese close the lid and let cook for 5 minutes. I take the scotch fillet off and place in al foil in the BBQ on the unlit plate and put all the oysters combined onto another plate and serve.

We have candle light every where but it is hot, humid and dark. There are bugs falling into the candle and all the cats (we have 3 cats) come out to join us. The dogs (we have 3 working dogs) are placed in their kennels and Pete the Golden retriever lies on the ground panting. The Oysters with a glass of ‘sparkling’ are beautiful and we enjoy them together. We pull the salad bowl close and he cuts the mouth-watering meat places it into the salad and I add the dressing (check recipes for details) We argue as he wants to keep the thin layer of fat on the meat and add it to the salad I want to feed it to Pete, I win, Pete gets a treat and I pour the juice from the meat into the Thai sauce I made before pouring it onto the salad, More bubbles and food to be followed up by strawberries & dipping chocolate.

Sadly earlier that day I realised I had left the strawberries in a fridge in town and it being a 300 km one way trip I hope they enjoyed them, I have peaches and nectarines so I cut them and we eat them. Perfect outdoor picnic by candle light and great company for valentine’s day.

For my American friends who are now asking what is Scotch Fillet? In Australia & New Zealand it is known as Scotch Fillet out of these countries it is known as Rib Eye or ribeye steak obviously from the rib section. A rib steak is a beef steak sliced from the rib primal of a beef animal, with rib bone attached. In the United States, the term rib eye steak is used for a rib steak with the bone removed; however in some areas, and outside the U.S., the terms are often used interchangeably. The rib eye or “ribeye” was originally, as the name implies, the center best portion of the rib steak, without the bone.

In Australia, “ribeye” is used when this cut is served with the bone in. With the bone removed, it is called a “Scotch fillet” instead.

It is one of the more flavorful cuts of beef, due to the muscle getting a lot of exercise during its life, unlike the tenderloin. Its marbling of fat makes this very good for slow roasting and it also goes well on a grill cooked to any degree. The meat when fresh is pinkish red and very tender, it is hard to ‘ruin’ this cut but over cooking can make it tough and tasteless, the trick is to grill each side for 5 minutes or more cover in aluminium foil to let it rest for up to 5 minutes, there should be juices in the aluminium foil when opened even if you like it well done.

scotch fillet