We have been here at our final ranch for 5 days and are just chilling out in preparation for 4 consecutive, potentially long days in the saddle mustering cattle, up hill and down dale! Fortunately the horses have been trained to walk fast which is refreshing change for me as my lack of confidence usually puts me on a safe but slow plodder (sorry guys). We arrived as another helper was just leaving and were joined the following day by a young couple from…..Dewsbury, barely 10 miles away from home! They are both much more experienced riders than we are, having competed in show jumping but she made the mistake of extolling her ability which John quickly challenged on a demanding ride for anyone not used to stock horses/saddles and rough riding which is most of my experience now. He is a pretty good all round rider but may need some more padding on his bottom for the long hours mustering. They have both become quite excited at being able to collect tobacco leaves to dry for their roll ups. They were going to give up smoking at the end of their current pouch due to the cost and lack of availability as a result of our isolation; 44km south of Miriam Vale and 11km along a very rough track.
The four of us occupy a separate house whilst John lives in the main house where we join him for all meals. He is Gary and Sue’s tenant here and then we travel to an adjacent property to work the land where he is a manager for Ray, although he does his horse-work (mostly other people’s) back at the homestead. Is that clear? It took us most of this time to get it straight.
The house is not bad at all and could be really nice if it was done up, the only slight problem is all the squatters. Spiders aplenty, but no serious ones. I wanted to get rid of all the cobwebs but they do collect the flies and mossies very effectively. The toads come out in the evening but are fairly quiet and don’t tend to come in the house so we just have to make sure that we don’t stand on them in the dark. I don’t think that they are the narcotic type that Murphy, the jack Russell at Bodalla, enjoyed so much. We have had a resident frog in the toilet who almost looked unreal, particularly as he matched the bin but Jamie had to evict him as Shauna couldn’t use the toilet when he was there. We have had a couple of ant invasions in the bedroom but only between the hours of 2 – 4pm. Normally we wouldn’t see these at this time but as the weather has heated up we have started early in the mornings, 5.30 and had a siesta after lunch, ant-time! The final resident has, fortunately, been quite elusive as he is poisonous; a brown snake lives under the bath. It does have a side panel so that should eliminate the problem, however, there is a 12-14 inch gap along the end where you can peer down through the floor boards into the basement. As if it wasn’t bad enough to view all the rotting wood, which is supposed to be supporting the over bath shower, I now find out that there is a venomous resident. Heyho, Australia.
We have a lovely little buckskin filly to train, Pip, a 2 year old, so quite mature compared to our little princess Frankie. She has been handled, mostly by children, poor thing, so we are having to start from scratch to assess her level of training and experience using quite different methods to those we learnt with Genine. We haven’t had to use a stock-whip (purely for sound) yet and do hope that we can inveigle some of her techniques to eliminate the necessity.
We have enjoyed a relaxing afternoon today and took to the kayak on the creek. It is just a little bit too reedy and still for my liking however the little cruise, with Roger on the paddle was very pleasant. The other 2 had taken it down the banking at the back of our house the previous day when we just observed. Jamie was brave enough to have a swim but Shauna struggled to fish and row at the same time but at least they were able to lay the crayfish pot/trap, not that they will be big enough to eat but are in a huge, rather dirty (don’t look Theresa) tank. We could eat the eggs that are laid by the half dozen chooks but something is beating us to them! Possibly legless, i.e. snake, or could be a goana, name for iguanas in these parts. John said that they’d stopped laying but I found one egg the other day so collected it with glee. The following day there were 3 so I collected 2 and left one to remind them what they were meant to do. This morning there were none and no debris, so something is definitely taking them whole!!
Anyway, another early night tonight, bed by 9pm for an early start tomorrow and then some very sore bottoms for the foreseeable future!