For Whom The Bell Tolls…

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tough Weekend At The Farm…

But luckily I had my champion nephew, Samson, there to help me out.

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It was hot, real hot at Berrico. Despite a few threatening clouds, we only received a couple of spots of rain. Bad news for our little veggie patches so Samson rigged up a shade house for the baby tomatoes.

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On Sunday, the cows came down with acidosis (essentially an overdose of protein delivered by yours truly). This meant a trip to the vet, putting the girls through the yards and giving them an antibiotic injection. Now, dealing with a bunch of stroppy Brangus cows is not easy at the best of times. Throw in a touch of sickness and the job becomes too big for one man. Luckily, Samson was there to help out.

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Whilst the injection I am sure was for the cows benefit, the three inch needle brought a tear to my eye (although that may have been the antibiotic I sprayed all over my face).

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Another learning experience.

P.S. Good job Samson and congrats again on becoming KYC’s newest employee!

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Make Hay While The Sun Shines….

Well, we were not actually making hay. With the assistance of our neighbour, Joe, and his offsider, Nick (aka Rowdy), we took in a load of hay over the weekend.

Maitland hay.

Maitland hay.

Each bale is around 700 kilos and had to be stacked into the shed, sparking much debate between Joe, Rowdy and Nat (I just nodded my head). We will use the hay to supplement the feed for our beasts, particularly, as rain has been in short supply.

Now what?

Now what?

No, no! Move it there.

No, no! Move it there.

So, with a combination of truck, tractor and chains (and luck), the hay ended up in the shed, just in time for an afternoon refreshment.

Where there is a will there is a way...

Where there is a will there is a way…

Hopefully, this is the last load for a while but with the rain staying away, you can never say never!

Job done.

Job done.

Thanks Joe and Rowdy. And to Jazz for her terrific photographic skills!

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Berrico on Sunday morning.

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.

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

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Of course, this meant sitting around on the hill, with the neighbours wetting the baby's head.

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Life is good.

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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.

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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.
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Delicious!

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