Festival on the Hill (part 1) – Cocktails at Sunset

A couple of weeks ago we held a little gathering at the farm to say a big thank you to all our friends and family who have made our first two years at Binalong such an amazing experience for us.

It has been the adventure of a lifetime and we are so glad you have been able to share it with us.


We were very lucky to have talented local musician, Bec Willis, make an appearance. Bec kept the great and the good entertained, whilst cocktails and a few cold beers were partaken on the hill.

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 001

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 021 Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 015

Fortunately, the weather was spot on and, as usual, the view did not disappoint.

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 006

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 019                 Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 024

We even managed to get Rowdy in a tie…


And whilst our photographer went for the open necked look, he eventually smartened up (sort of). Great snaps Norton. You are a good man.


Our jackaroo, Nick and his lovely wife, Teresa


The prettiest waitress in Berrico!

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 010

Half of the Kessler-Dowd clan.


The Berrico ladies. Outstanding!

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 032   Justin's iphone (Jan  Feb 2015) 050

My gorgeous wife, who pulled it all together. Love you, honey.

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 012

The men folk. The pants may be a little tighter but a handsome bunch nonetheless…

Justin's iphone (Jan  Feb 2015) 005           Justin's iphone (Jan  Feb 2015) 048

Big Rich (or should that be Elvis?). Love your work mate.

Festival on the Hill (Jan 2015) 030

Friends forever…

Justin's iphone (Jan  Feb 2015) 058

For Whom The Bell Tolls…

So, for the last six weeks, we have been busy getting our Black Angus steers ready for sale.

Justin's iphone (Jan 2015) 077

This has meant making sure that the cattle have plenty of feed and putting them through the yards to check their weight and teeth, as young cattle of around 400 – 450 kilos, with only two teeth, fetch a higher market price.

Now, checking an unwilling steer’s teeth is not as simple as it sounds, particularly when it weighs half a tonne. It involves putting the beast into the cattle crush, levering its head upward with your shoulder and prising open its mouth to check the molars. Rest assured, it was much more painful for me than it was for them!

Justin's iphone (Dec 2014) 096Justin's iphone (Dec 2014) 099

We have also been checking ear tags and NLIS numbers (basically, cow registration numbers) to make sure that when the steers are sold, the authorities know where they have come from and who they are going to. This means completing a bunch of forms in triplicate and electronically transferring the cattle on the NLIS database. You gotta love bureaucracy.

Unfortunately for the steers, however, “sale” in this instance does not mean the boys will be heading off to another farm to frolic in the fields. It entails a one way trip to Wingham abattoir where they will ultimately end up on someone’s plate in Asia. At the same time, our old bull, Daz, will also be leaving us as our breeders will join with a new bull in the not too distant future.

Justin's iphone (15 Dec 2014) 088

I guess this brings home the nature of raising cattle. As much as we have grown fond of the Angus steers and Daz, when it is all said and done, they are not pets. They are farm animals and their journey is near its end.

Hot, Too Damn Hot

Our sizzling Spring weather has continued unabated, with Berrico recording 43 degrees in the shade the other weekend.

Lieske's iphone (Dec 2014) 241

This has meant trips to the river for the kids and a slowdown in getting stuff done as, well, it is just too hot for a soft city boy like me.

Justin's iphone (Dec 2014) 061

Lieske's iphone (Dec 2014) 291

That said, water management is a big issue for us as we run the farm off tank water and spring water for the beasts. Usually, at this time of year, the hills are green and Berrico Creek is flowing. Alas, not this year.

Nat and I found one of the last deep pools left on the creek, which I immediately jumped into. My brother reckoned it was on the nose and was full of mosquito larvae. I reckon any port in a storm.

Justin's iphone (Dec 2014) 088

P.S. I posted a couple of weeks ago that our cows has unfortunately picked up acidosis from, quite frankly, my mismanagement. Happy to report that all beasts are well and we now have three beautiful little heifer calves.

Lieske's iphone (Dec 2014) 047

I am too old for a baby….

Except if it is a newborn calf, that is.

Meet our first born. A baby heifer calf, daughter of Daz and proud Brangus mum.

Justin's iphone (August 2014) 080

Justin's iphone (August 2014) 083 (3)

As we were not expecting calves until early October, imagine our surprise when we drove into the farm on Saturday to see the little lady running around.
Justin's iphone (August 2014) 062

Cue much excitement and girly squeals, at least from me anyway.

Justin's iphone (August 2014) 079 (2)<
Of course, this meant sitting around on the hill, with the neighbours wetting the baby's head.

Justin's iphone (August 2014) 074

Life is good.

Justin's iphone (August 2014) 072

From Little Things Big Things Grow….

We (actually my wife and her mate Lynette, with a little help from the kids) planted 3 small, veggie patches a while ago.

Lieske's Iphone (July Aug 2013) 237>OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lieskes iphone (May 2014) 694Lieskes iphone (May 2014) 696

I admit I was sceptical, humouring their efforts as they turned the soil and planted a scraggly array of lettuce, chillies, herbs, carrots and beetroots.

“If the rabbits don’t eat them, the wallabies will!” I thought.

2 months later though I am reaped the rewards of the workers efforts, when on Sunday night I brought home fresh chillies, tomatoes, rocket and parsley which I cooked, with a little olive oil and spaghetti.


A message to my William: I would have saved you a tomato mate but they went to a better home….

New Family Additions

Our family is expanding rapidly!

After sending our misbehaving ‘mickey’ Galloway bulls (steers that had not been properly castrated) back to the orphanage, we took possession of 5 Brangus cows in calf yesterday.
Justin's iphone (May 2014) 103

Brangus are Brahman Angus cross cattle, with big frames that condition well on hilly country like ours.

Justin's iphone (May 2014) 107

Daz, our bull, is extremely pleased although slightly disappointed that is harem is not larger. I think he should be thankful for what he has….

Justin's iphone (May 2014) 114