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Catching up with the Blog

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Busy little bees we are!

So much has been happening out on the farm that we’ve let the blog fall behind.
We apologise for this and will try not to let it happen again.
So, where to begin?

The planting was completed in September with 8000 acres sown this year..
This is down on last year’s crop of 13,000 acres, but the farmers are constantly trying to second guess the weather to ensure the available water is enough to see the crop through to harvest.
This year has been hot and dry, so dry in fact that we need at least 4 inches of rain just to complete this year’s crop cycle. If we don’t receive rain Toby will stop irrigation early and bring on the cotton ahead of schedule. Modern chemicals are a blessing to the farming industry. They can manipulate the growing cycle of the plant to be able to at least get a crop off.

Years ago if it didn’t rain they lost the lot. But sometimes even bringing on the cotton bulbs early doesn’t help. We’ve heard of a farm that has 700 mega litres of water allocated from the dam 15km away that will not be able to receive it. The rich black soil that can grow anything is also a curse when it is dry, it shrinks  and opens into great crevasses that even 700 mega litres of water will just disappear down the holes and never make it to it’s destination. That farm will have to wait until other farms along the river require water. Unfortunately that farmers crop won’t wait that long.
Our hat goes off to the families who make a living from the land.
From the first ones who came out here and carved out a future that never knew the luxury of certainty, to the tough individuals that carry on the tradition today amidst other challenges that those who preceded them could never have foreseen.
There were enormous risks associated with the changing of ideas from grazing sheep and cattle to spending the money and effort to introduce cotton cropping, all the time not knowing if their effort would pay off.

Remember we told you the story of Murray and his cattle, having to lead his herd along the Stockman’s route to keep them alive, well a lot more farms are having to do this now. It’s a common site to head in to Gundy passing herds along the way.

October came and the Barley was harvested. We had 2 header driver/contractors, both Kiwi’s.
One had been in Australia for over 30 years and the other comes over for the harvest season. Both really great guys. John, who had a wheat farm at Copper Creek has since  retired, sold off the farm and bought 120acres at Beenleigh.
He works a couple of months a year with his own combine harvester and was a wealth of knowledge.
Dave , the other one, only comes over to Australia for the harvest and spends the rest of his time hunting and fishing in NewZealand. He owned a programming business which he sold some time ago.
Chris and Dave could talk programming which was something he doesn’t get to do much.

The farm utilises as much of the unused area with Wheat, Barley or such, which keeps the weeds down and hopefully brings in some income. We heard they needed about 100 tons to break even and they ended up with 450 tons so everyone was happy.

The Workshop:
I’ve now finished sorting the Workshop, Hydraulic Shed and Picker Container.
Apart from the dust, cobwebs, grease, oil and wasps I have thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt heaps. I’ve no idea where most of the parts fit on machinery or even what they do, but I know how to read Hydraulic codes on fittings, or if a belt is A, B or C width, Cogged or a V belt. I can even point backpackers to where they can find the part they’re after.
Chris has now finished the workshop program and Shannon wants to implement it in to the workshop. It is an on-line program that will track every part, asset, services, maintenance and more.

So our next job is entering all the stock into the program.

Christmas 2013:
Christmas again came to Koramba and as usual it was hot.
They managed to get Christmas and Boxing Day off this year between irrigation. The local workers went home, some took off extra days and had the pleasure of family visiting. We ended up with 13 for dinner and the menu was Antipasto Plater,  Prawns, Ham, Turkey, Hassel back potato’s, Roast Pumpkin, Minted Peas, Honey Carrots, Plum Pudding and Pavlova.
Chris and I bought the residents a Christmas stocking that included a water pistol. As expected Kristjan started off the water fight shooting me. That boy loves to tease me but this is what we had hoped for as this lot of backpackers are very quiet. The others quickly stepped in and hearing the laughter was what we had wished for.

The Fordson Major
Remember the tractor (that was suppose to be for my Christmas present) that Shannon got? Well it really is a beauty. Chris has used it to slash the rougher areas around the camp but often Shannon uses it to move the large JD Tractors that are in for maintenance. I really must get a photo of this little tractor towing the bigger tractors while Shannon is talking on his mobile. The technology scenario tickles my funny bone.

Family Catch ups:
We have, on occasions, been back home to catch up with family.
October took us home for Emily’s 21st. That was a flying visit, no rest for the wicked, but well worth it. Can’t believe she has reached 21 already.
David, Lacey, Elliana, little Chris and Doug dropped by the farm on their way home from their Tassie trip in November.
They loved Tasmania as much as we did and want to go back.
Shannon and Stretch took David and little Chris out pig shooting while Doug, Lacey and I stayed at home and played Cue and Can 500 (card game). This brought back a lot of memories and laughs of our family caravanning trips away when the kids were younger, Doug coming on most of them.

David and Chris had a lot of fun. They have gone pigging before with their own mates but the thing they commented on the most was the wild life.
We’ve often told them of the abundance of kangaroos, emus, foxes and pigs out here but unless you actually see 100’s and I mean 100’s running and jumping before your own eyes you don’t believe it.
Backpackers have often said they have seen more wildlife on the farm in 3 months than all their own wildlife in 20+ years at home.

We went home again in January, this time for Elliana’s 1st Birthday party and Baptism.
She has grown up so fast.
Following is a video of Elliana, Nanna and Grandpa swinging. I’ll let you guess which one had all boys and which one had a girl growing up. Seriously Grandpa how boring is that?

We also caught up with Ashley, Lish and the kids, but I’m afraid they saw Chris at his lowest immune time. He had to have a colonoscopy so he had been off all vitamins for a week and no food for 2 days and Lish and the kids were just getting over the flu, of course Chris caught it and ended up in the Goondiwindi Hospital but I’ll let him tell you that story.


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