Tag Archives: Ute

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.

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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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.

Welcome to the ‘Caloundra’ Menagerie

Following from yesterday everyday on the farm is different, brings many new experiences and things to do, some of them good and some of them bad. Late yesterday afternoon I was sitting doing book work (there is always book work) when I hear the Beeeeeeeeeeeep beeeeeeeeeeeeeep of the Ute. It roars around the back of the house and I realize he is looking to get my attention, which he got, so by the time he is out of the Ute I am out of the back door. I have not got to pull my work boots on (we leave work shoes out of the house to lessen the dirt being walked in) when he yells “I have a calf for you to feed”. I stop what I am doing and head back into the kitchen, pull over the chair and get into the top cupboard to reach for bottles, get to the plastics drawer (always a shambles) and shuffle through to find the teats and the screw tops that hold the teats down. I then get the powdered formula read the instructions and run the water till it’s warm (they drink warm milk like they would from their mum – they don’t like cold milk and mix up enough for about 4 feeds. I have no idea how old it is but am guessing it may be 1 to 4 days old.

All of the dogs get interested when they see the bottle, they know it contains milk, I sometimes in the freezing of winter give them warm milk on their dog nuts in order to boost their weight and give them energy for the work they do during the day.  So they know what the bottle contains, Pete the Golden retriever follows me to the specially made secure arena Chris built years ago to protect them from dogs and other wild life, confine them, so we know where they are and it’s easier to feed them and to give them security, they have a wind break and it can hold up to 4 or 5 without an issue.

He is a tiny one, I know it’s a baby bull as the pizzle is evident, this is the small tuff of hair that hangs in the middle of the abdomen where the penis comes out when it’s older. Cows don’t have this for obvious reasons. He arrives mooing loudly, with a blue-collar on him which indicates the farmer had identified him earlier as being solo in the paddocks, so he would have placed him with cows that looked like they had calved and hoped that he re mothered up, so bringing him here is a last resort. They can do well-being hand reared or they sometimes die. Cattle are herd animals and as such form bonds of friendship and love, so having them solo always makes it a struggle to survive especially in this weather. he also has a cord attached to the collar where the farmer would have been able to lead him (much like a dog on a leash) to the Ute and then into the pen.

I feel his stomach it is full, so that is good he probably has had some colostrum from his mum and started building up his immune system, this is similar in colour (yellowish) and consistency (think) much like a human mum. It’s also important for the calf to have had it, though they can do as well if they do not get it. I take the lead off him and leave the collar on, he makes very loud noises at me and I walk slowly to him and place my finger in his mouth, this is to see if he has a suckling mechanism happening. If they are hungry they latch on and suck if they are tiny and not quite initiated to their mothers teats they try to push your finger away with their tongue. He had a small suckling reflex so I rub my finger on his upper palate and he starts to do the motion, I get about 50 mils into him.

He follows me as I walk out and then goes to sit down, having a mooing calf in the yards brings a tribe of onlookers – mainly the cats and Pete the Retriever, they do not see these beautiful animals up close often so when they do they are curious. They circle the cage and climb trees to look at what is going on. He is a very gentle calf, sometimes they bunt you and chase you for food but he did not. I then sent out a request for a name to nieces and nephews, I like to name them as I get to spend much time with them feeding them.

We have lots of great options for his name but on face book the one that got the most ticks was from my niece Naomi, he shall be now known as “Jack”

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