New friends, long adventures

Second year vet students Alice and Alina with Summer, Dora and Crystal.

I had been through the house like a hurricane, but tidying, not doing damage. It was far from perfect, a hell of a lot better then before I started, but was it good enough? I had three vet students arriving the next day, Chinese girls studying at Gatton University, and I suspected their house keeping standards would be a fair bit higher than mine! I decided it would have to do and I was glad to step into the shower at the end of a long day.

The drench gun was still sitting in the shower from three weeks ago, where it had been cleaned out after it’s last use. Well, the tap in the bath is the easiest way to clean it! I somehow doubted that you would find a sheep drenching gun in the shower of any Chinese home. After my shower I put on my warmest dressing gown and tied it with the piece of baling twine I had used since Wilma the pup ran off with the belt after sneaking into the house one day.

I wondered if three 20 year old girls would understand the concept of water conservation, as the tanks were down to less than half. As I put another log in the Everhot combustion stove (which also heats our hot water) I realised that when I had mentioned to the girls they would have to help with the cooking they probably didn’t have any experience with a wood stove!

Dear Richie has finished working for Acciona as his part of the project is complete. They were a fantastic company to work for and he was given a beautiful hamper of local goodies and a lovely card from everyone on his last day. It was good to have him home, especially so at this time of year when he would always have the fire going when I got home from work, and he is the one that would get up in the night to keep the old Everhot going.

I decided to take a day off to go to FarmFest in the Mighty Quinn. Unfortunately, the Quinn was getting a bit tired, and the battery decided to give up the ghost at 5am as we were trying to depart. Perhaps it was a warning, but we gave it a jump start and headed on our way. Dear Richie had a truck he was dropping off in Stanthorpe so I drove the Quinn and could feel the clutch was nearly on the floor as I went over Pikes Creek in the dark and fog. I thought it was strange as there had been no indication of anything wrong before now. As we got into Stanthorpe to drop off the truck I turned into the industrial estate but the clutch was no more.

I pulled up and Dear Richie peered under the bonnet. “It needs a new seal,” he proclaimed. I suggested we drop the truck off and go back home to try again the next day in his ute. No, he said, we can make it last! So we swapped places, he doubled clutched and off we went. It was a warning sign, I think. It was 10am before we finally doubled clutched our way into FarmFest. A few good seasons makes for plenty of farmers with money to spend and I was astonished and the number of new vehicles. We had fun just looking at all the late model fancy utes I would like, on our way up to the gate.

First stop was the Red Devon cattle, and they were true blue, hardy, economical beasts telling the story of why we need to look after our old breeds. Not like the big European breeds, or even the modern composite breeds that need good feed to produce a good result. A cow and calf were on display. The cow wasn’t big or flash but it was doing a great job on the calf, straight from the paddock and holding her own as well. I was so excited to see such good cattle, of good type.

I could have stayed there all day but Dear Richie was eyeing the machinery and suggested we needed to move on if we were to see everything. I commented that we should book a motel and come back the next day. We moved through the cattle until about lunchtime and I was thrilled to see Red Poll, Native Angus, a few lovely Shorthorns, but I was a bit taken aback to see the South Devons masquerading as Black Devons. What a shame I thought, a good South Devon is a lovely beast but why make a black one?

I should get off the subject perhaps before I offend anyone, not targeting the Black South Devons. I saw Black Limos as well, but in my eyes stick to the breeds and just call it a crossbred. Then again, perhaps it’s me stuck in a time warp! I just want to go to an Agricultural Show and be able to recognise, or at least, be amazed and excited by all the different breeds, and not wonder if it is a Red Friesian, Illawarra, Aussie Red or an Ayrshire.

Eventually we got through the cattle, which I believe are a very important part of Farmfest, and was also delighted to see a few sheep breeds represented and even some great Kalahari Red Goats. We started the long journey through the machinery section and after wasting an hour waiting for someone to sell us a battery for the Mighty Quinn and carting it back, I knew we wouldn’t get to see everything. Dear Richie had thought I was only joking about staying the night but he needn’t have worried – there was not a single motel available before Stanthorpe, can you believe. There were a still a few things to see and things I would have liked to buy but in the end, as the sites were starting to shut down, my feet were weary and I was starting to pout a bit that I hadn’t seen what I wanted, we headed back to the Quinn having purchased only a battery and a carton of grease!

I thought we might need the motel when Dear Richie wanted me to take over the driving from Cambooya. It was dark and raining, despite the BOM predictions of a fine and sunny day, and when we swapped over for me to practice my double clutching, I had only driven a few km when I curtly asked Dear Richie if he had taken any notice of the temperature gauge. I am not sure of his reply but it was obvious that he had not so I suggested that I needed to pull over and check the radiator. It wasn’t safe to do so at that point so I backed off the throttle and cruised into Allora to discover an almost empty, leaking radiator. That was the third vehicle setback but the Mighty Quinn was revived after a good drink at the servo and kept going with the 24 bottles of water we bought, all the way home by 10pm that night! A long day alright!

Next month: Shetland Cattle Plan, Vet Report, A.I. woes and Shearing.