Saturday, June 23, 2018

Back at Mooloolah Valley

The humans and the animals welcomed us back for our last 10 days here.  The humans flew off yesterday and here we are again.

Just before we left for our two days away, Maxi and Cino had started playing together but Oakley was quite jealous.  Maxi now regards herself as part of this pack and every time the dogs run off and investigate and bark at something, she joins in with great zest.  The two big dogs,Oakley and Nellie take no notice of her and she and Cino play together in a limited fashion when Oakley is not paying attention.  The game is usually at Maxi's instigation and on her terms.  Cino is used to more rough play and he continues to do this with Oakley in preference.  This suits Maxi fine as she is only interested in a small amount of dog frolic.

Oakley is a big boy.  He is 75% Labrador and 25% Golden Retriever and he is a big Lab.

And like all Labs, he loves food.  And he steals it.  We were warned but we had to experience it the hard way for ourselves.  First a loaf of sliced bread in its packet disappeared from the kitchen.  Next a half a tub of margarine, container and all.  This morning, I grated some cheese for the omelettes I was making and I stepped out into the garden to cut some parsley.  On my return I found almost all the grated cheese from the bench had disappeared.

Here he is, a little while later, snacking on small stick from the garden.  Obviously the cheese was insufficient and he is on to morning tea.  He is a lovely, good natured, affectionate dog and well trained.  But he cannot resist food.  From now on we will be forever vigilant.  Anything vaguely within reach and slightly tempting for him to eat is a temptation that he cannot resist.

A couple of kookaburras in the tree as we sit outside.

Having a cup of coffee and doing the crosswords and puzzles at the Mooloolobah civic centre.  While we don't do this every day, we go quite often, sometimes riding the bikes.  It is a 15 minute bike ride away from the house.  A quiet change from the hustle and bustle of dogs, horses and cows.  But we will miss all that hustle and bustle when we leave here.

This calf (no 7) was born yesterday in the teeming rain.  It had difficulty standing and Andrew rubbed it down with a towel and it then stood up.

But the drama began this morning when Andrew could count only six calves instead of seven.  We had no idea which of the seven calves born in the last week or so were  missing. A search party ensued and after an hour of searching the calf, the newborn one, turned up in a nearby paddock where the horse Henry is fed each day.  We think the mother, a first time mum may have been a little sore after giving birth maybe not let the calf nurse so it wandered off looking for food.  Mother and calf are shown here reunited and the calf is suckling.  So, all is well that ends well.

So much for the cows being no trouble, Or that no more calves will be born while we are on our own.  I say that with a smile however.  We are still enjoying it all, in spite of all the hard work.  Andrew loves wondering around the paddocks looking for calves and being busy.  He will not know what to do with himself once we leave here :-)

And, after all the rain we have been having there are more mushrooms...................................

Bovine playschool.  Some of the cows and calves came to graze near the house.  The calves are generally quite playful and bold.

Andrew washing the horse feeding buckets.  They get very muddy and sticky.  Oakley generally likes to lick the buckets if he gets a chance after the horses have finished their feed.  Labs never forget a meal.  I think he has stolen my new beeswax cheesecloth with some cheese in it.  It has disappeared completely like the half loaf of bread had.  I think it is likely that he will have eaten the cheesecloth as well as the cheese, the greedy guts.

On a walk with all four dogs.  The two little ones off lead on this deserted forest path but the big ones are not trustworthy enough to be allowed off.  They are confident and and if they see something that takes their fancy they would be off like a shot.

Maxi and Cino playing together.  Maxi is a changed dog - relaxed and playful, some of the time.  Cino being used to playing rough with Oakley is no pushover and he is quite assertive in their play.  Here is Maxi is lying down on her back in the submissive position which is not her usual stance.

Mist over the paddock.  Nothing too out of the ordinary but it is nice and we want to capture it for our bank of memories of this place.  It has been nice and relaxing, in spite of the hard work.  Sitting out on the covered verendah soaking up the morning sun over breakfast will stay in our memory.  Surrounded by dogs too.  A heaven for dog lovers like us.

Friday, June 22, 2018

A short break from horses and the farm

We had a two day break from the farm/house sit while the family are all at home.  They leave again on Saturday and we return to the house for another week of bucolic activities.

We went back into the Sunshine Coast hinterland which is lovely but quite cold compared to the lower coastal region.  We spent the day driving around Montville and Kenilworth and the night at the Little Yabba rest stop.

An early morning shot of the Mary River at the rest stop.  It is a lovely tranquil spot.  We also spent a night there last year on our way north.

A couple of wrought iron sculptures along the way.

Stopped off at North Beach the local dogs off leash beach with Maroochydore in the background. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Animals galore

Things seem to have quietened down with the cows.  We now have six calves.  Here are two of the latest ones.

There have been no dramas with any of the births except for the one cow who developed a bit of an infection and she seems fine now.  All cows and calves are well.  The horses are thriving under Andrew's hand feeding and taking their coats on and off morning and night.  As well as being a dog whisperer, he is now practicing to be a horse whisperer as well :-)

Here is a photo of me, Mrs Farmer Bloggs, in Marnee's wellies.  We were checking on the calves as one seemed to be missing but he/she was just hiding behind its mother.

The rest of our time is taken up with the 4 canines.  They are a delight, all very nice dogs.  I am going to miss them tremendously when we leave here.  Oakley and Cino play together all the time.  I try to capture their frolics but they move so fast it is very difficult.  Lately, Maxi showed a little spark of  interest in playing with Cino but Oakley seems to be a bit jealous. Nellie shows little interest in the puppy.

Walking them takes some time.  I walk the puppy Cino and Maxi and Andrew takes the big dogs for a long walk each day.

Then it is time for a little afternoon nap.

And after another exhausting day, a nice rest in front of the television at night.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

We are now in charge

Marnee left this morning and Nick is at work during the day, Millie at school, so Andrew and I are now in charge.  Nick and Millie also fly off in two days time and then we will really officially be in charge.

Andrew is putting Henry's coat on for the night and feeding him.  Thoroughbreds are provided with a specialised diet.  Henry is a gentle horse, used to being handled.

Shylo and Pepper the pony do not belong to the household.  They are here on agistment and their owners come and tend to them weekly.  They just graze on grass and come up to the gate for the occasional carrot I give them.

Wednesday is the gardening course being held here and Gary and Paula who run Kookaburra Organics bring their stuff to discuss and sell.  Marnee is writing the book they are planning to publish on Kitchen Organics.

It is a paid 5 week course but we were invited to attend.  I learned a great deal about worm farms and tubers and root vegetables such a turmeric, galangal and some others, the names of which I forget.  Paula also talked about their bees, because they keep those as well.  It was all extremely and for me surprisingly fascinating even though I am not a gardener.  I was thinking how much some of my friends who are into plants and gardening would have appreciated it.

This is mushroom compost.  The mushrooms keep popping up each day, yielding a lot of edible mushrooms among the other plants.

The result.  Andrew found these mushrooms less tasty than field mushrooms or the button mushrooms you buy.  I liked them much more and I am going to make mushroom soup.

A photo of some of the people and the dogs too.  It was a nice, mildly chaotic morning with ten pupils, two teachers and Andrew and me.  There was morning tea provided by Paula but Marnee provides the utensils and the venue.  Thankfully the house is tiled as muddy shoes traipsing through to kitchen, bathroom, etc were much in evidence.

The sixth calf was born this morning.  That is five new calves since we have been here.  Provided all goes well, there is nothing to do except watch the calf from time to time to make sure it is standing and suckling from the mother.

New batch of mushrooms.  They are growing like, well ............ mushrooms.  I did make a batch of soup and it was delicious.  Much more tasty than just plain and Andrew was happy after all.  We both like mushrooms and they are selling here for $18.99 kg so having them free on tap is wonderful.

Oakley and Cino at rest.  They normally tussle and play.  This angle does not really show the difference in their size.  Oakley is a big boy and Cino is a 13 week old Jack Russell puppy with sharp teeth and claws.  Oakley plays quite rough but for a big dog he is remarkably gentle with the pup.  Cino occasionally yelps but generally hangs in there.  They are quite delightful to see together.  Cino also wants to play with Maxi but she won't have a bar of it.  Nellie too is disdainful.  Perhaps the girls are too dainty :-)

These are the mushrooms from three days.

I am making mushroom soup using what I think is a 5 litre pot.  I am also planning to make a separate pot full for Marnee using non dairy almond milk.

Well, I made all the above and I did not succeed in using up all the mushrooms.  I froze quite a lot of the soup and we are eating mushroom soup until we are blue in the face.  I just hope I don't lose my love of mushrooms by overkill.

Came across this stall at the Saturday Mooloolah Valley Market.  No, I did not buy a bandana for any of the dogs.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Our Mooloolah Valley house sit on a 13 acre farm

This house sit came up very unexpectedly due to a sudden death in the family.  We are now on the farm where we will be looking after three delightful dogs; two Labrador/ Golden retrievers Oakley and Nellie as well as the 13 week old Jack Russell puppy Cino; 6 horses and 14 cows, 2 steers and three calves, with 8 more cows in calf but most not due for some months.  But a couple may give birth while the owners are away and they asked us for photos of calf with mother if possible.  They promised that there will be no work involved with the cows. But if a cow looks to be in difficulties calving we have been given the name of a woman to call who is a cow expert.

The dogs are eagerly waiting for a morsel of cheese from Millie, the teenage daughter of the house.

Cino (as in capuccino) sitting on top of Oakley.  The two boys play rough games together with Oakley the big Lab sometimes being a bit rough but Cino loves it.  Growing up with two adult dogs has made Cino a very well behaved, composed little puppy.

Cino having a little nap on Marnee's lap.

and on her shoe.

The actual house sit does not start for a couple of days but we are already here, getting acquainted with all the tasks and spending a few days with the owners Marnee and Nick and their adopted daughter Millie.

The horses are in the background.  Four need to be fed by us and two just graze on the grass available.

The house which is east facing, getting the morning sun, with a nice shady verendah.

Here is Andrew helping Nick with a fencing repair.  Action man is in his element.

Andrew wearing his new wellies.  Not his actually, Marnee went out and bought a new pair for Nick as his wellies had worn out and, when we leave, Nick will retain them.  It can get pretty muddy out there where the horses and cows graze.

Andrew being shown the ropes with Henry the thoroughbred.  Henry is an ex-dressage horse and he is the biggest of them all.

The new calf - born the night before last.

After all the promises about the calving cows being no problem, the cow that gave birth had half its placenta hanging out the next day.  On the advice of the vet, Marnee tied a rope around the placenta and tied a bottle filled with water to weigh the troublesome after-birth down to pull it out.

It was out by this morning but it was really smelly and Marnee thinks the cow may have an infection so the vet is coming this afternoon.  He will probably stick an antibiotic pessary up the cows behind.

You guys reading this blog didn't know how knowledgeable I am about cows and calving did you?  😉😊

Well, the vet came and it turned out the cow needed an injection rather than a pessary.  A shot of a four day antibiotic.

Maleny stopover

We arrived on the Sunshine Coast and after a quick meeting with our prospective house owner and dogs in Caloundra at Golden Beach where we will be spending July/August  - we made our way to the Sunshine Coast hinterland.  Maleny is up in the hills and it is a delightful little town to visit and spend time at.

As often, we stayed overnight at the Showgrounds where there was a gardening market on the Saturday.

These are artistic creations on sale and I was very tempted by one or two of them but I resisted.

The husband of the woman who made the wooden creations makes these garden washing tubs which hook on to the water outlet and the water can be recycled in the garden.

These iron flowers were too tempting not to buy, so one is joining my existing one in the garden at home.

The colourful golf buggy was used to ferry people up an ddown the grassy bank which was reasonably steep.

A lovely woodworking shop full of beautiful smelling and looking wooden art pieces in the town centre.  Another too tempting a place to resist a purchase.

Not far out of Maleny we visited Gardner Falls.

Andrew took this photo of a leech on a walk.  They are horrible little creatures but this makes a nice photograph against the yellow post.