Climbing Dog: We couldn’t work out how the black masking tape (cheap drag stripe) on the blue 4WD bonnet ( covering the time our son ran into a temporary sign, destroying it and rearranged the car!) was coming off and what the large paw prints were on the roof. Possum, feral cat?.. no idea and far too large they seemed. Then while the 4WD was parked behind the trees we noticed Nugget up there.. got a pic of him in the act one day. He would sneak up when no one was around and lie up on the roof and checking out the scene, his little bit of unassailable territory, it seems.
No problems really given that the 4WD was already reflecting its role as a tractor, stock transport, feed truck, mobile working platform for those high jobs &c &c and so we left him at it until one day our son’s then girlfriend burst into the lounge in tears and after a brief exchange he raced out armed with a bucket and cloth. She had a lovely new ‘chick mobile’ as a present from her dad and had fitted it out with a whole lot of new (professional) drag stripes. There up her bonnet and along the ‘spiffy’ stripes were scratches and giant paw prints from Nugget’s most recent climbing event.
We realised it had to stop…………
So we made him a new eerie from which to gaze into the distance. He and Finn love it and the car climbing stopped.
Turkey Troubles: ‘Looks like snow out there’….. or how our daughter became a successful business woman… in fact she owes it all to us!
None of the kids got regular pocket money… living so far out of town, they didn’t really need much anyway and we were quite prepared to transport them to and fro, and pay for events whenever they needed it.. as it turned out often their mates generally wanted to come here. What they did get was the proceeds from selling what they grew…. our youngest son (the eldest was overseas) had the chooks, youngest daughter the geese and the eldest and most successful in a business sense, the turkeys..we bought the animals for them, provided the feeds and with their help built a feed shed, the yards &c &c…. for years the kids looked after them and sold whatever was surplus….it all went well until they got older and with horses and other distractions looming large, the upkeep and attention to chores began to slow a tad.
So one afternoon after watching the slow decline in standards it was suggested by the sage senior male member (Dad of course) that ‘turkey owner’ should consider selling them back to us. A tidy profit would be made given they were all fat and productive, potentially fetching far more on the market than earlier. Turkey owner said ‘Let me think about it’….Dad choked on his meal, such wisdom from one so young!… words he had never considered or uttered in his entire life, then close to 5 decades in progress. Pride welled up in his paternal breast and being very tired went to bed early that evening.
Next morning senior male sage was out doing the pre-breakfast rounds, letting out the animals, checking the waters, feeding the dogs &c…. and in passing the stable wall was amazed to see what looked like snow on the ground in the horse paddock. It was a bed of turkey feathers!! Around the next bend and every one of them was dead, indescribably despatched by a fox who while taking little of them, seemingly delighted in the process of killing them all.
In back to the house and sadly through to the breakfast table, where all were hopping in to the cereal…. how’s the animals Dad?..Not good, a glance at mum, finger runs across the throat behind the kid’s backs.. better tell the news.. don’t hold it back was the glance in reply….deep breath… ‘OK chooks, fine, geese good, but you should have sold those turkeys to me last night when I made the offer for they are all dead… a fox got the lot…that’s life and business, and a real financial loss for you there too I’m afraid’… you’ve lost the lot, turkeys, money and all..a tough lesson, but one we all have to accept’ … was the sad observation…
Turkey owner was upset at the deaths of course, but not visibly moved financially as she glanced up from the cereal bowl…’sold ’em’ to mum last night after you went to bed’ she said…. her coffers secure. Dad, having taken the financial ‘hit’ and the task of cleaning up the mess, sighed as she returned to her cereal.. Nutrigrain.. ‘iron man food’ was on the open box… and Turkey Owner’s take on that sexist label is further reflection of what was to become a very successful future foray into business.
Flushed with financial success she then decided to take on the big corporations writing to the makers of ‘iron man food’ complaining that she was an ‘iron woman’ and required Uncle Toby or who-ever to rectify the situation. In the mail arrived an abject letter of apology (which we have kept of course) and a box of samples of their products…. another win for the former turkey owner…though Uncle Toby never changed the label!!
Dad…….can I have a horse??? Daughter number one soon realized the possibilities when we moved here, and didn’t take long with her request. Little did we know that this would end up being three horses….and therefore stables and a horse truck to get to the pony club meets, one day events, lessons, friends farms and such. Even more of a surprise was the extra costs (on top of the farrier and occasional vet visit we had prepared for) . “A what?” was the reaction when told by the vet that he couldn’t fix the lameness but a chiropractor might!! (He did too, in about five minutes, after several vet visits and treatments didn’t resolve the issue). Then there was the horse dentist…….”but I don’t go to the dentist that often myself” was the cry.
It was fun, really, but certainly costly and at times a lot of effort – not just in building suitable stables and yards (because of course they developed laminitis if they stayed on the grass all the time!), but also the preparation to get three kids and three horses organized. Imagine trying to wash two white horses and keep them clean in a sand yard overnight, then spend hours re-cleaning legs, plaiting manes and brushing tails! As with all the other animals, our children (and us) learnt a great deal and had some very memorable times……like seeing the very long line of traffic behind us as the truck struggled up Greenmount Hill towards the Perth hills for a one day event!
Kamikaze Goose: We loved our geese…….often with the sea breeze in early, as soon as they were let out for the day, they would rush over to and take off from the elevated part of the horse paddock, do a circuit over our neighbours and then return to our paddock. It was a real sight with their huge wings outstretched like swans on the wing and you you could hear them beating rhythmically.
On the return leg, occasionally one or two would misjudge their landing and crash land next door or just clip the fence and fall back. After picking themselves up they would then loudly honk to join the others. We would have to go and get them, sometimes having to sneak up and grab them if they resisted being driven down to the gate.
Watching this a fox must have got the idea and waited days for a goose to crash. Then one day, a goose that tended to do it quite regularly landed next door loudly honking…then fox was straight out of its hide and latched onto ‘Kamikazi’s’ long neck, trying to drag it back to the hideout! There was loud honking as fox and goose struggled ……teeth latched onto neck….. wings beating wildly… then more noise followed in the sudden expletive driven rush to the fence with arms waving and a leap (of sorts) into next door’s paddock and then off after the fox/goose combination. Only a foot or so away, foxy let go and raced off. Goose was still standing though its neck was at right angles, totally disoriented. Easily caught it was picked up and put back on our side… slowly its neck returned to near vertical (well not quite).
Bursting bubble: Faced with an unmissable bargain going at the local rubbish dump shop, the great ‘chick-bubble’ ( the 4WD was temporarily indisposed) is pressed into service.
Makeshift modifications: This bargain was grabbed for a chook-roost at our daughter’s place… $15 from the dump shop. Buuut….drove under the patio at the local nursery on the way home, forgetting it was on top and rearranged it somewhat. Still…. it does the job, but no right angles remain!
Randy rabbits: This was found hanging on a wall somewhere…couldn’t resist it knowing how randy the rabbit males are and our male stud ‘Eiger’ is a white ‘giant’ like this one…Haven’t had any hybrids ( as in this pic), but the rabbits sure are prolific breeders!
Arnold’s demise: Arnold, as in Arnold Schwarzeneggar (the then muscle man!) was a beautiful big Black Australorp rooster. Like all roosters he also tried to dominate all who entered ‘his’ domain. After much aggressive strutting, he was beginning to peck and no amount of shoo-ing him off seemed to work, attacking whatever was poked at him. This went on for a few weeks and essentially bullied out of the place ‘brain’ and the kids all elected to remain outside while ‘brawn’ did the collecting, topping up the hopper, cleaning the water &c &c, for he was ‘tough’ a clear match for Arnie. ‘If you show weakness, then they have got you beaten’ all were sternly advised. Arnie had met his match, but continued his harrassment. One day it all came to a head as Arnie flew across the pen and attacked ‘brawn’ who had wandered into the pen with a small saucepan full of wheat for the evening ‘feed’ deftly removing a perfectly triangular piece of flesh from above the knee, before retreating back across the pen. ‘Score…Rooster one Human nil’! he clucked. As he fled, amidst much cursing and blood, the saucepan was flung at him intended to bounce nearby and with its clattering and banging on the ground adding further reinforcement to the need to avoid ‘brawn’. …Unfortunately he flew up and left and the pan hit him square on the head and Arnie fell back, immobile.
Totally embarrassed and hoping no one saw, Brawn hurried over just in time to catch Arnie’s last breath. On turning round and looking up he saw ‘Brain’ and the kids outside the wire, intently watching this ‘lesson’ in Chook management. No amount of explaining would suffice.
Mad Dotty: Or should that be mad owners???? A milking goat seemed SUCH a good idea……in our ignorance! It probably would have been great if we had been able to afford a good milking goat, but we couldn’t, so Dotty was was we got! She was expecting when we got her, and it was very exciting when she had a beautiful kid, Asher.
But….then the fun and games started….we didnt know how to milk a goat (it is different to milking a cow) and Dotty wouldn’t stand still to be milked! After many, many spilt buckets and kicked arms, we decided that milking a goat before work and school wasn’t such a clever idea after all!
Dotty’s moment of fame: Just before she was sent to market for another set of ‘hopefuls’ to try their hand, the Endeavour replica folk sent out a call for a goat to come on board and provide milk for Lt James Cook’s celebration breakfast. Led on board ahead of the assembled spectators, there with Ted Bull of the ABC calling the event, she was duly milked (though as usual with difficulty) and the great man had his goat’s milk. Fame did not persuade us to keep her however.
“There’s a WHAT in the car?” Or “happy fathers day dad!!” : Well, we were living on a farm, and our neighbour had cattle, so it seemed right for us to ‘get into cattle’ too…and maybe milking a cow would be easier than Dotty! What better timing than to buy one for the sage male for Fathers Day coming up soon! So, a great excursion was had by the woman of the house and all four kids to buy a black heifer for sale nearby. Trouble was, the only way of getting it without dad knowing was to put it in the back of the van (Toyota Liteace)……and yes, it did poo…….and then our neighbour told us she probably had worms, lice, and anything else she could think of and insisted on coming to sort it out. Sigh….another learning curve!