Fw: Delights of farm life at Te Opu

Sat 6 Jun 2020 06:46
Delights of Farm Life at Te Opu

Mind you it can be a big disadvantage to be born a BLACK Angus calf around here. Rob and I were on our way to Kojonup the other day when we saw a small, very young black calf all by itself while the rest of the herd was over the hill and far away. We decided to do our errands and see if he was still there on our return. He was. We knew the farmer was aware of him because he had a blue tag in his ear.

So we wandered gently towards him and when he spotted us he leapt up and started to run hell for leather in a direction we hoped would take him back to his mum. But I wondered why he had not stayed with his mum and vice versa? Well the answer made me laugh. The farmer sometimes moves his herd at night, so in the pitch of a moonless night the little chap had been overlooked.

Similarly on one of our perambulations around the farm we came across this newborn lamb, fast asleep beside the fence in the sunshine, the rest of the flock having vanished.

The lady farmer, Pam thanked us and the little one was returned to the flock soon afterwards. No good us doing it or we’d be forever chasing mum away. Malcolm told me that what often happens is the farmer drives into the field with a hopper full of grain for the sheep who all dash over to where it is, and then the mum may forget where her lamb is or if it is one of a twin then she might be happy with one lamb and ignore the other. That lamb was lucky; the one in the field behind us was boarded by two ravens this morning who like the eyes apparently. Life is red in tooth and claw…and beak.

Ants thrive in this part of Aussie. Many different types of all sizes and various colours. I can always tell if that tickle on my neck was an ant before I crushed it from the smell. Apparently they are incredibly clean and bug free, so a biscuit is likely to be safer to eat after they have tramped across it. We come across many on our walks, hop scotching across their busy mounds and the wood for our fire is now kept outside until we need it as I think that’s where they were coming from.

The little hole with the lid is from a witchetty grub crawling in to its souterre tunnel before closing the door for some peace and quiet.

We also get critters apart from ants indoors and the little lizard was most welcome, but not so the biggest huntsman we have yet come across that fell onto Rob from the kitchen towel hanging above the cooker. It was the size of the palm of my hand and was dashing around Rob’s back and shoulders so quickly I didn’t have time to take a pic. Rob dashed outside and I flicked it harmlessly off him and watched it run under the cottage, no doubt to make it back inside again when we weren’t looking. For the rest of the evening Rob was unravelling the silken thread it had wound all around him like a truss. Ambitious spider!

The paddocks are ready now for the next stage in the annual agricultural cycle; the white powder area in the photo is all that is left of the mighty fallen gum tree you have seen before, burning away to pure ash.

Locky Norrish is a descendant of the first Norrish family to arrive in Kojonup; Richard Norrish who was born in Chelsea, Middlesex and arrived in Albany aboard the ship Java in January 1847 with his wife and children, was a corporal in the 96th Regiment of Foot and he was ordered to take seven privates to Kojonup to relieve the 51st Regiment at the new barracks because they had to leave for service in India. His family has been farming in the area ever since.

Locky completed seeding the farm with barley two days ago and it was fun to watch him manoeuvre the big machinery around the small paddock behind us. But before he started we were able to pluck plenty of mushrooms from the paddocks and freeze lots down. I made Cranks Mushroom Stroganoff for supper when Christine and Malcolm came for a few hours of chat and games.

Their oldest daughter, Kylie and her three girls, Abby, Zoe and Izzy came from their farm for the weekend before the seeding along with Christine’s parents, Don and Betty and her sister, brother in law and niece, Kerry, Mark and Nakita. A full house.

We had some lovely times walking the farmwith them, collecting the biggest mushrooms we could find and grandad Malcolm provided fun entertainment by bringing out a motorized go-cart and the little tow along you see in the picture. Izzy’s screams of joy could be heard from far afield as she bounced along behind Grandad and her two sisters on the quad bike repeating the fun her mother and Aunty Tenille had had when they were children.

So we have seen the transformation of barren fields to a glowing green and now red/brown seeded soil. We have had about half the rain hoped for during a weekend of strong winds from Cyclone Mangga merging with a cold low pressure system in the south Indian Ocean, so that moistened the soil for planting and raised the level in the dams a few centimetres but more is needed if this year’s crop is to thrive.

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