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.
Sand dunes in Greenhead.
This is the quality of feed our pets get! Tess also mimics the sheep sometimes and eats with them. Weirdo!
The green in the distance is a reserve of perennial grass. It will be handy later this season.
Desperately trying to avoid a watery grave beneath.
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.