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Published: July 15th 2012
This Poll Hereford is trying to tell me that she is watching me.
Whilst Andy is off on a little adventure of his own, I am left to my own devices, hmmm this is a bit of a tricky one for me because my motivation is now in Western Australia, I have to keep focussed and keep occupied.
I am trying very hard to keep up my recent good work by continuing to get out of bed early and go for my walk around Lake Burley Griffin. So far so good, but the day after Andy left I called Helen and asked if it was still ok for me to come over to Woodstock for a weekend, “of course that would be fine, you can come whenever you like and stay for as long as you like.”
Once my chores were done on Friday morning, I had some lunch, picked out a playlist on my Ipod and hit the road, a perfect afternoon for a long drive, the sun was shining, the traffic was easy and the music was so great I sang most of the way (of sorts anyway). I did have my customary stop at Macca’s in Yass for a skinny chai latte though.
It was roughly 4.00 by
I am watching you!
the time I arrived, the homestead was lovely and warm on the inside with the wood fire smouldering away. It had been a lovely sunny and warm afternoon, but of course once the sun disappears behind the landscape so too does any warmth. A cloudless sky undoubtedly means that a frosty morning will follow.
I come in with my case and made myself at home, this time I was in a different room because Helen and Robert had other visitors coming for the weekend and they had someone working there on a work experience during University holidays.
Saturday morning sure enough brought a frost with it, the ground was stark white, it was a really cold morning, somewhere in the minus figures, I couldn’t get a photo because when I got out of bed it was early and I made a quick cup of tea to take back to bed with me as I had to skype my girlfriends back in England on their usual get together, the house was very quiet with everyone still in bed.
Once the day got started, I needed to drive into Gundagai to pick up a few things from the shops,
I enjoyed the drive out there, the sun was up and the sky was blue, there was not a cloud in sight and the landscape was a joy to drive through. When I arrived in Gundagai and parked Andy called me to report how hot it is in Derby where he is currently staying.
That afternoon Helen’s additional visitors arrived from the coast, it was not long before we broke into the wine and were chattering away around the kitchen table, a reminder of how small (ha ha) this country is but we find out that Helen’s friends know friends of ours in Canberra, it seems that no matter where we are in this country, we always know someone who knows someone else.
That evening dinner was for 12 people including a couple of their neighbours, a good time was had by all but the time soon went and everyone gradually dispersed home or to bed.
Sunday was a day for chores, so I helped Helen around the house where I could and of course had to go and fuss all the farm dogs, they would never forgive me for driving all that way and not fussing
This ancient little machine can be found in Crookwell.
them. The newest addition, Hoover, is growing into a big dog, I wonder if he will be bigger than Toby. Whilst trying to open Toby’s compound (a complex series of locks and latches because Toby keeps getting out!) Helen has already released Hoover, who decides that he will run up behind me and jump up my back, his paws reach my shoulders!!
One thing that I had been promising to do was to get up early with Helen and go on a walk, which she very often does with her friend Pip, unless of course it is raining. So at 6.00am on Monday morning I am first up, tracksuit and pumps on we head off down the road, it is still dark when we reach the lane, Pip arrives and off we set.
The walk is about 6k’s, it is a cold morning but we are all prepared and well wrapped up, the sun rises whilst we walk, the strange thing is that as we walk we seem to walk into small pockets of air that is much colder, we are not sure why and there are patches of frost.
After our walk, I drop Helen off
to help Robert draft some sheep and I head back to the homestead for breakfast and to pack as I needed to return to Canberra for some scheduled appointments.
Another mini adventure beckons a couple of days later, this time I am heading back out of Canberra but to the North and to small village called Laggan just outside of Crookwell. Heading up through the countryside through Sutton, Gundaroo (Dick Smith lives there) and on to Gunning, I take a break in Gunning at the Old Hume Café for a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I am shocked when the sandwich arrives because it is a doorstep. The bread is beautifully thick and fresh and my ham sandwich is stuffed with salad, it went down well, but after a short break I hit the road again.
Following directions earlier emailed to me, I eventually arrive at my destination on the outskirts of Laggan, Chris and Jan, whom we know from the 4wd club have many times invited me and Andy up to see them on their property, but for some reason we could never quite get the weekends to work in either of our favours so it
never happened. But of course I have time on my hands so a midweek visit works.
The homestead is high up on a hill and looks magnificent from the road, I cross a couple of creeks and soon arrive at the front door, the views over the countryside from so high up are stunning, it is 900 metres above sea level up here (not that you can see the sea from here!) I am told it gets cold, so I have plenty of warm clothing.
Another welcoming homestead with a wood burner in the kitchen area, it is lovely and cosy.
After a cup of tea and a quick tour of the homestead Jan takes me out to see the cows, we are on the quad bike trailing through the paddocks, the ground here is very hilly and it makes for an exciting ride!
We arrive at a paddock that contains 30 or so Poll Herefords, these cows are huge and they have their winter coats on (very wise!). The cows all come over, partly because they are nosey and partly because they think we have food for them, not that they don’t have plenty of
The sun casts is golden glow over Laggan to herald the oncoming evening.
lush green glass in the paddock already!
The cows eye me with suspicion and they don’t come near me, I stay near the quad bike until they get used to me and come to me, only the calves seem to get that brave, but that is probably more to do with the fact that they want to fuss the quad bike and give it a lick. Jan had warned me that the key must come out of the ignition otherwise the calves have a tendency to take the key out and drop it on the ground.
A small jaunt around the rest of the paddock and we are soon back in the warmth of the kitchen.
The following day Jan has to go out for a few hours, so Chris has to entertain me. But before Jan goes, she tells Chris not to scare me on the quad bike (famous last words).
Today we have to feed the cows with some molasses, which are mixed with other kinds of nutrients that the cows don’t get from the grass. This is seemingly what the cows were hoping for when we went to the visit them in the
Enjoying a fuss with the Woodstock doggies
Chris teaches me how to ride the quad (yikes!) and we then head off (stop, start, stop, start) into the paddocks and do our first drop. Again the cows saunter over for a look see and when they realise they have the molasses mixture they tuck in. Chris has explained that this is like chocolate for cows. Ok, I can relate to that!
Our second drop is in another paddock that has more cows (bigger ones), Chris has to do a little supervision on this one as there is a pecking order in the field, i.e. the bigger and more bolshy cows don’t let the others get a look in. I stand and watch the politics of the paddock.
Chris also advised me to be careful where to stand just in case the cows get fractious with each other, they can weigh in excess of 700kilo’s and you really don’t want one standing on your foot. I think about my small (cough).2 kilo’s in comparison and agree.
Chris now shows me around the rest of the property, he makes light work of directing the quad through the paddock and the few boggy areas, otherwise if I was driving it might take all day! Chris explains the lie of the land, the boundaries and talks about the nearby copse which is a travelling stock route (TSR), and provides an overnight rest area for cattle and sheep being transported by road to markets and has been used in times of drought when local farmers drive their sheep or cattle down the road to eat the grass on the verges. I understand that rams, stallions or bulls are not allowed in the TSR because of the likelihood that they can become aggressive and run down fences to get to stock on the other side.
A few drops of rain appear and it is time to head back to the house again.
That night I am awoken by a storm, the wind has come up, the rain is lashing down and thunder rumbles in the distance.
Friday morning brings a drive into Crookwell, Jan tells me of a good shoe shop that we have to visit, unfortunately for me and fortunately for my bank balance, they do not have any shoes that I like in my size “Fairy Feet” as described by Jo, the shoe shop owner.
Crookwell is a lovely little country town, we wander up and down the street, looking at all the local wares, stop for a good cup of coffee (as opposed to a bad one?) and finally we end up at the sock makers.
Lindners are a 4th
generation sock maker and sell socks worldwide, from this tiny little town of Crookwell in New South Wales, Jan and I head into the shop and I can see nothing but socks of every size, colour and blend, not long after I am shown into a back room where a young man (the son) explains how they make socks and shows me the machine that they used to use, which happened to be made in England, from this one machine I look around the workshop and there are several slightly more modern machines all beavering away, making socks and so I am to understand that they are so busy it is a 24 hour operation!
Back in the car Jan drives me around to show me the sights of Crookwell. I like what I see, traditional Australian houses in amongst some more modern buildings to cope with expansion of the town. Some of these houses have the most amazing views over the Upper Lachlan Shire.
The 2006 census recorded Crookwell with a population of 1,993; the 2011 census recorded a population of 2,507.
20 minutes later we headed home for some lunch and a leisurely afternoon sitting in the sun room with a good book and of course in my case the laptop so that I can tap out a blog (yes my conscience still nags me from a few thousand kilometres away. Which incidentally if you wanted to drive there from Canberra it would take a nonstop journey of 2 days and 6 hours, 4,120km via the Stuart Highway, or take a slightly longer route via Highway 1 at 2 days and 10 hours, 5,040km.)
In other words it would be quicker to get to Moscow from London, depending on which route you took could take you 1 day and 9 hours, 1,810 miles.
It was a beautiful afternoon, despite the wind outside, but we were so warm and comfortable indoors watching the outside world, it was hard to move, but Jan had baked roast lamb for dinner so there was a distinct advantage to shifting into the kitchen.
That evening a family from over the road popped around, and when I say over the road I mean a neighbouring property which means that they still had a few kilometres to drive, we all sat around the kitchen table chatting and soon the evening turned into the night and it was time to head off to bed.
Just before everyone dispersed I mentioned last nights storm, but it seems that I was the only one that heard it, I am sure that I never dreamt it.
Saturday morning after breakfast I headed back to Canberra, things to do and more people to see next week, however I do have to unpack and pack again this time for a bigger trip. I am off to a nice little island in the South Pacific Ocean, which has been organised by Jan for the 4 wheel drive club, but it is a girls trip and there won’t be a lot of 4 wheel driving, in fact probably no driving at all (only to the airport)!
Until the next time
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