Sunday, August 24, 2014

Look Out Mama

We (finally) weaned the calves yesterday, 30 in total, and they're not impressed; 16 wagyu males and 13 wagyu females plus 1 charolais female.

However, the only mother to keep breaking out and coming down to search for her baby is the charolais. Three times she came down today which tested Gibbo's patience a little. The wagyu mothers couldn't care less! Understandable though; we've let them go a bit too long and a few of them are self weaned anyway. We put them through the race yesterday to introduce them to it; I did a lot of running back and forward between the calf and the cow gate whilst scribing as well. In the rain and wind. Nothing like being out in the rain and wind to make you feel alive! Coming inside for a wine and a bowl of steaming pea and ham soup makes it worthwhile.

She's a lovely old cow this one and a good mother. She's also the leader of the pack (although the wagyu mums didn't follow her down to the yards in search of their babies).

The Kids are Home

No, not those ones - the other ones, Rusty and Rosie - and they've grown.

 Jude made them a hutch. They're going to live up in the pig enclosure soon.

Look at the size of the lambs! Their tails still haven't fallen off.

This Weekend Just Gone

I saw this on Friday morning, looking through the kitchen window.

I haven't made these for ages. Now we've got some for work lunches.

Pea and ham soup, always better the next day.

Four peaches off the tree! Don't think I'll be making any peach wine just yet. When I cut them they were brown inside, stung by a greedy insect. The little taste that we did get proved that they are very sweet and tasty.

Last Week

G went way up north last week for a meeting and a fly around to look at farming and cattle. He found this.

This is what happens when the plane you're in cracks a windscreen at 24,000 feet. You turn around and go back to where you started to be met by 3 fire engines, 2 ambulances and the police. It's good to have faith in your pilot and for him to be cool under pressure.

RTCC 2014

We did it! 230km round trip over two days on a bicycle! $12,000 raised between us; $177,000 raised by the company we work for.

We got back from the western trip on the Thursday afternoon and Leona picked us up. I ended up at her house (our old one), sorting through sleeping bags and extra riding clothes - the forecast was for rain. She also gave me two camp stretchers that bagged up into small packs which turned out to be a masterstroke.

Friday - the first thing to go in the car was the cardboard box that you can see - it's got a rooster in it, that we dropped off on our way to Bris. Priorities.

Packed and ready to go.

We dropped our bikes and luggage off at the start on Friday afternoon. Unlike the 2 CQ rides I've done, there was no baggage limit. We could have brought swags if we'd realised. Maybe next year.

The team riding jersey.

Riding in memory of our friend and colleague.

We found our accommodation in the city and went in search of a raincoat and food. Kathmandu was open late and I picked up a hooded rain jacket. We went to a Singaporean eatery for dinner.

We were up early on the Saturday morning and drove over to the Uni, had brekky, found our teammates, grabbed our bikes and made it to the start line. We had planned on being up the back of the pack but because the team was the highest fundraiser we were all at the very front! In the rain. After the opening ceremony concluded we were off, riding through the streets of Brisbane then eventually out on to the old Twba highway and numerous other back roads for 115km. At each stop we fuelled up on muesli bars, bananas, red frogs, nuts and Shotz (electrolyte tablets in our water bottles) and sucked on a gel energy pack (I swear by those things). Lunch was a chicken and salad wrap and chocolate bars and fruit. We didn't stop for long - it was wet and cold and we needed to keep moving.

Gibbo arriving at camp. I got a flat tyre 8km out from camp and waited for the man in the van to come along and change it for me.

We had hot showers and a hot coffee, then a 10 minute leg massage each. Then we set up the camp stretchers and went and had an early dinner and talked to the other 30 team riders for a while (there was 1124 riders in total). Back in the tent it was getting dark, it was raining outside; in the end we just got into the sleeping bags and fell asleep by 7pm. Gibbo didn't even want to watch the Bledisloe! We woke up at 1.30am to the sound of rain pouring on the tent roof. I laid there for ages and listened to it, wondering what dawn would bring!

The view from our tent. There were pelicans on the dam, but not in this photo.

Warm and dry.

As it turned out, Sunday was a dry day. We were up at 5, had brekky, packed up the tent and were on the bikes by 6.30. Four more stops along the way and we were back at the Uni around 1.30pm with another 115km under our belts.

At lunch on Day 2.

At the finish! Looking happy!

Free photos at the end.

I went back and got a second photo - I wanted one of me holding my bike above my head - but first I went behind a tent and practised to make sure I had the strength to actually lift it past my shoulders!

We waited for the last of our team riders to come in and made a guard of honour for her to ride through; then headed for home, where we unpacked all the wet gear, did two loads of washing then fell into bed. Gibbo was leaving again early the next morning for a week in the NT.

Reflections - in no particular order but random things that come to mind:
-the fundraising was easier than I had anticipated and I raised much more than I thought I could
-should have trained more :)
-buying the rain jacket was a great idea
-the hills were tough but muscle burn feels good
-riding a bike in the pouring rain, absolutely busting for a wee makes you cast off your inhibitions; finding suitable tree cover was the hardest part
-getting a flat tyre 8km from camp was a bummer
-the sign on the door said "please limit your shower to 4 minutes" - it took me that long to peel the wet riding clothes off
-hot coffee and a timtam!
-10 minute massage on hamstrings and quads
-being warm again after being wet all day
-facebooking photos for the kids and friends; texting photos to my mum and brothers
-getting into the sleeping bag with my green minky blanket; being dry and very warm in there
-waking up in the middle of the night to a) pouring rain and b) having to go out to the toilets
-it's possible to get down to 5.2km/hour on an uphill climb and still be moving (just)
-the roundabout incident
-enjoying the ride
-remembering why I like to ride (freedom)
-coming across the finish line - great feeling to be met my smiling, laughing, cheering teammates
-soaking up the post ride atmosphere
-lifting my bike above my head!
-awesome effort, awesome, ride, awesome team
-2015? I think so!

Way Out West

Our trip to the west went well. Three and a half days of meetings and travel slipped by in a blur. We started early, workshopped all day, went on property tours and ate like kings and queens. N is a station cook to be treasured. We all left heavier than when we arrived.

Huge solar panels at Windorah.