Our Routine.

Yesterday Mike and I spent the morning driving around the property checking the water and the stock.  We do this every second day, due to the fact that sheep are in fact very fussy water drinkers and we need to keep an eye on the feed.

A lot of sheep will avoid drinking water if there is dust settled on top.  It’s been very dry, and sadly not much of the feed is left, so the sandy ground has become exposed and is blowing all over the place.

We also spent time laying down a line of oats for the merinos who are in desperate need of energy.  You’ll see a trail of yellow in the photo below, which is scary how obvious it is when there isn’t much else around.  Our pets are free to roam around our house, driveway and shearing shed yards.  It’s safe to say they are the fattest of the 12,000 here.  They have plenty of green grass.

We’ve learned a lot about what types of grass can endure a summer here in Western Australia (cooch is one, it’s an import, and perennials are also summer hardy).  Unfortunately both are very expensive.  And while we’ve got green feed to get us through the worst of summer, it’s been a bad season for the sheep prices and we’re feeding many mouths that should have already been sold to market.

Farming is a lot of gambling.  Brian once said to me, he doesn’t gamble at casinos.  I asked him “Why not?” and his answer was quite simple:  “I spend every day on the farm gambling, and taking risks!”  Fair enough.

I’d be up all night worrying if I had such monetary and life responsibilities on my shoulders.

On that note, I’ve recently finished reading “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Stienbeck.  If you’ve not read the American classic, I recommend picking up a copy.  The novel was written over 70 years ago, and details the plight of displaced farmers travelling to California, trying to get by.  Times were hard.  The story offers a lesson to stand as one voice and be heard when there is injustice.  It’s a scary thought to realise that nothing has changed since the story was written.

Lately there has been a movement toward sustainability, small farms, locally sourced food, free range, and ethical produce.  I hope this trend continues.

I’ve just knocked down my summer garden, and am getting it ready for our winter garden.  This morning I’ve been shovelling sheep manure and transporting it to my plot.  It’s now 2x larger and I’m bursting with ideas to improve my crop.

The sun is a killer here.  Nearly everything kicked the bucket early.  I’ve got to sort it out.

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Sand dunes in Greenhead.

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This is the quality of feed our pets get!  Tess also mimics the sheep sometimes and eats with them.  Weirdo!

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The green in the distance is a reserve of perennial grass.  It will be handy later this season.

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Desperately trying to avoid a watery grave beneath.

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This is Mike’s lovely eyeball.  I think it is anyway.  I kind of feel like I’m looking at the universe in these eyes.

71 thoughts on “Our Routine.

  1. Dear Hollly, You’ve been a very busy lady of late what with the farm, photography and that very sexy photo of you going on about wrinkles and botox!!! You look absolutely stunning in the photo and I love how you put everything together, especially the greenery.
    The sand dunes almost look like snow, which we will have within the next 24 hours, and lots of it.

    Love you lots and take care, and thank you for sharing your life with us, I so appreciate knowing what you are doing; it makes me feel part of it.

    Big hugs and say hi to Mike. John and Jane xoxo

    • I was a summer farmer. I went out to my Sister-in-law’s family’s farm. To run the farm it meant hard work for everyone in the family. However I was only there for the summer to help with what I perceived as fun to do. I was from the city and our school let out for the summer earlier. Just for one day I attended the One room school house. I sat in the back of the room and was amazed that a teacher could jump from first grade to the fifth grade lessons. When it came to the work one of the children did a Tom Sawyer on me and convinced me that crawling under the house looking for eggs that he chickens hid in the corners and feeding the chickens and hogs was fun. His entertainment was feeding the chickens Jell-O or riding the sow. He would climb a tree near the fence where the sow would feed the piglets and jump down on the sow, one time the sow seen him coming and moved leaving him vulnerable to attacked. by the sow. In a last minute change of plans he ended up on the barbwire fence. Band-Aids never cover that type of wound. The best time was the butchering a sow for the bacon and cracklings.

    • Hi Segmation, there are days that are a lot of fun and others that I wish would go by a little quicker. Some of the jobs can be pretty foul! I enjoy the variety of each day, and I really love the animals…I enjoy making sure they are well looked after. Thanks for reading!

  2. Thank you for sharing this life with us. We all need to know about it. I’m grateful you guys are out there, really doing it, not just talking about doing it. I believe we were all meant to work the land, but then, a lot of things we were meant to do have fallen away.
    Love the beautiful photography as well!

  3. Great pics! My dad is a small cattle and crop farmer in the U.S. I’ll have to share your post with him. I, like you, hope small family farms can survive. However, it seems the large, inhumane factory farms have pretty much taken over here. Hopefully, if people insist on quality organic products, the tide will turn. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Melissa. I hope your dad likes the post! I whole heartedly agree, the world will be a better place with less wasteful, thoughtless consumption. Have a great day!

    • Thanks for taking a look Anna. I just read on your blog that you’re Swedish (my great grandparents were) and it’s a country I’ve always wanted to see. Hope to see you around here again!

  4. Agricultural adaptation can be successful. Learn to grow what is capable of growing with the changing times or trends. It may sound obvious but as far as gambling goes, might as try push all your luck!
    -Yvonne

    • If you can afford it I suppose…a lot of people in this region aren’t making any money farming and are having to sell their land (we’re in the hottest part of Western Australia). We only work on this property, but will be taking all of our knowledge with us when we do end up running our own property. Thanks for commenting!

      • Your welcome! Yes all your knowledge will be very useful when you restart. Even in terms of livestock, more are more sustainable than others. Even if it means saving a little at first. Stay hydrated!

  5. Reading your blog and looking and your pictures gave my an eerie feeling of space, horizon, unlimitedness (if this is a word).
    For somebody who spent all their life in cities, confined to my few square metres of space, this seems both scary and exhilarating.
    Have you ever lived in a city? How do you think you’d cope with life in the concrete jungle:)?

    • I actually lived in Toronto for 3 years before moving to Australia, and I fared ok! I enjoy quiet peaceful places… Alternately I enjoy the buzz of a city, I guess you could say I am pretty adaptable!

    • I agree. The photos did capture the apparent absence of horizon you find in some Australian landscapes. I learnt about the achieve-ability of horizon after Dad pointed across the paddocks at a gap in the line of hills and said that’s where we were headed. After a bit of driving, he suddenly announced we were in The Gap. It was actually called The Gap. The landscape had certainly changed. We were now physically in that spot that had previously seemed so far away to a child’s eye. The heavily wooded sides of the hill rose steeply on either side of the road. I’ve wondered if people who grew up on the coast would have the same sense of being able to achieve goals given that the ocean’s horizon is so unachievable. I had to leave Sydney. I couldn’t cope with the cityscape. Perhaps it has something to do with where you spend your childhood??

      • Hmmm interesting, I grew up in a pretty average sized town in Canada. I enjoy wide open spaces, the ocean and the mountains. The city can be gruelling at times. I think…because it can feel inhumane. I hope wherever you are now, you’re enjoying the Australian geography.

  6. I understand when you mentioned the gambling part. My entire family farms about 3,000 acres of Cotton, Peanuts and Soybeans. Farming can be rewarding when you have a good harvest. But, it’s definitely hard to get through the year.

    Best wishes to both of you!
    Beautiful pictures!

    • Hi Mja92, Thanks for reading!

      Where does your family farm? Are you in America? Do you help the family? I can imagine all kind of emotional stress that hang around if a lot is on the line. I hope your family has a successful harvest this upcoming season!

  7. I love and respect what you do. As a little girl I had dreamed of working a farm, life never took me that way but I’ve always coveted the lifestyle. ( though I do enjoy the buzz and energy that Toronto and NYC offer too! )
    You are correct in that more and more people are buying local. It makes so much sense to not only support our “neighbors” but also to reduce the burden on the environment having things shipped from all over the country/world. If I have the choice I will buy local every time.

    • Mountain Gypsy, If you’re looking for a way of merging country and city, perhaps start your own backyard garden! I sometimes miss the city, mostly for it’s social aspects. Great job on buying local!

  8. How cool! We farm in the US; it was great to read about your farm on the other side of the world! We’re in the midst of a drought as well. Heartbreaking to see your poor fields. Here’s to gambling everyday!

  9. I really like it. we have to know that this earthly life has been created for work. we have some rest and fun on weekends and hobdays but we go back to work onwords . so it is like chain . Paradise has been created to have everlasting joy. But as we work for this life we have to work for Paradise.
    Doha- Qatar

    • Hi Jesse, we have a pair of old “Ute’s” that we drive, the must be like 40 years old? They are the property owners trucks. Not sure of the year and make…I’m not really a car person. Anyway we need 4 wheel drive often it’s very sandy!

    • Abby you are the first person (literally) to say that! Thank you! Most people say she looks strange, and they can’t get over her long nose. But we love her, she’s a silly girl! I think she’s very handsome.

  10. Beautiful photos! Cute dog! You should let me paint it! Oh. Wait. I’d have to ship it from Texas to Australia…….muy expensive!

    My brother is in a punk band and toured Australia last year or the year before. He said that Australians were just like Texans, but with different accents. Cracked me up. :-)

  11. Hi Holly – all the very best with your farming efforts. It’s a tough gig. I taught agriculture (quite a few years ago) and was always a bit dismayed that my classes didn’t have that many young women in them. Of course there are lots of women farming – they just tend to be referred to as the ‘farmer’s wife’. I hope more girls and young women might read your blog and meet you and seriously consider studying agriculture and farming as an option for their future career – hopefully then the next agricultural revolution would be pretty exciting.

    • It can be hard as a female facing the reality of death, birth, drought, hail, fires….but there is an immense satisfaction I get from being outside and connected to the animals. It may sound rather dorky but I really feel connected to the sheep and cattle. I sometimes feel like I can understand them. I do hope more people in general get back to the root of living, by foraging, and cultivating land on small scales. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

  12. You have a wonderful place and nice photographs. I enjoyed them very much. You’re right living in a farm is very rewarding. You are surely living a wonderful lifestyle. It’s a great post indeed! Congratulation for being on Freshly Pressed!

  13. totaly different from our small farm, need to send you a little of our wet weather, send us some dry!!!

    • haha the wet weather right now would be even worse as nothing would really grow, as the sun would shrivel it all up again! : ( Eneabba is a bit of an anomaly in terms of searing heat from the sun! It’s the hottest place in WA!

  14. Making a living off the land is no easy task. We are starting into what appears to be a third year of drought in Arkansas. My wife and I live on land bought by my grandfather in the early’50’s when drought drove them out of Texas. Oh well, if it were easy, everyone would be out here doing it. Enjoyed your post a great deal. Best wishes; it will rain someday.

  15. I grew up on a family farm in the Midwest (USA). It is a lot of hard, hard work. I especially remember the weather – either it doesn’t rain, or it rains too much. I enjoyed your photographs.

  16. I love this post. First of all to make references to such a wonderful example of sprawling narratives that serve as frames for a wonderful novel about the Dust Bowl Days, but also to talk about routines on a farm. Yay! I think that one of the most wonderful memories that I have with my son was a day that we spent on a colleague’s farm feeding sheep and trucking around on an ATV. Thank for sharing this post!

  17. Fascinating! I live on the other side of the globe and found your account and photos gripping. (I hope that means the same thing in your English as it does in mine…) I have always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand. Some day, maybe… Here in Oregon, we are also trying to purchase local, sustainably grown food.

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