With today being the first day of Spring it's particularly nice living out in the country. We live in a small town at the moment but my parents and my in-laws both have farms and I am out there all the time. My horses, sheep and cattle all reside at my in-laws farm, which is why my husband spends the majority of his time there, and I'm out there most weekends.
Nature is everywhere and being rather lovely at the moment. Spring is popping out all around and it is very satisfying to see all our new lambs.
Yesterday I even got to have some fluffy bunny cuddles. This is probably the most friendly rabbit I have ever encountered.
Everywhere you go it's a gorgeous drive through the county side, and there's plenty of fresh air, lots to do and if you're an animal lover there is never a shortage of dogs, chooks, cats, horses, cows and sheep. At the moment there are quite a few orphaned lambs to feed too, which is always fun.
Horse Riding and Mustering
I usually ride my horse on the weekend. I don't get a lot of time because of the kids, (someone has to watch them while I nick off for a while), but I try to go every Sunday. Sometimes I miss a weekend because my husband has to go away north shearing, or he's too busy with sheep to watch the kids. Last week I got to go out on Tuesday as well as yesterday as my best friend came down and she took out my husband's horse while I rode out on mine. Although this was a little bit of a disaster because my horse hadn't been ridden in three weeks, it was windy and she was grumpy, so she decided that bucking was more fun than cantering, so a little bit of rodeo action occurred and I got thrown off.
But this weekend my husband took his horse out with me and we moved some sheep to a different part of the farm.
Amazingly both the horse and my husband (they are both male!), are multi-tasking.
Yes, Sabre was having a poop and walking....and my husband is on the phone. Actually, he's on the phone a lot so he has got used to doing most things while being on the phone.
Another great reason to live in the country is that you can own livestock! If you're into that sort of thing. Our sheep and cattle are another source of income for us, the sheep particularly, as well as my husband's shearing. We sell the wool (which we don't have to pay a shearer as he does it himself), and then when the lambs are ready we send those off to market.
They also have the cutest babies! Lambs are everywhere at the moment.
Work is Fun
There are quite a few jobs that you need to do on the farm that are a bit dirty and mucky, and sometimes a bit nasty, but some of them are fun. For example I took my eleven year old out on the four-wheel motorbike yesterday to check the sheep, which is necessary to do several times a day while they are lambing. It isn't that rare to have a ewe in trouble and you have to pull a lamb, so you need to watch out for it. It was a gorgeous day and these were just some of the lambs playing in the sun.
Of course then we kind of got bogged. Which was kind of fun too. We got really muddy.
But it was nice to stop and enjoy the scenery while we wanted for my husband to come and un-bog us.
Expect the Unexpected
Here's the thing about farming and livestock. One minute you're cruising along all fine and dandy and then suddenly it all goes pear shaped. Like yesterday. Apart from getting bogged, we also then ran into lambing disasters.
We were going to dinner at my friends place, (my friend who came down for a horse ride on Tuesday) which is an hour and a half drive away, and we had it timed pretty close. I had gone out to check sheep with my son, knowing that I would be back in time to change my clothes and then get going, but of course we got bogged. Then, when my husband came to rescue us, he went off and finished checking the ewes, while I took the kids and the ute back to the farm. I had just got changed when he shows up on the bike, (covered in blood as he had just had to pull a lamb), saying he needed my help, so suddenly I'm back into my dirty, mud splattered clothes (thank you bogginess) and back out in the ute to go catch a ewe and a couple of lambs and bring them back to the shed.
So...it resulted in wrestling and lifting two ewes and four lambs into the ute, (sheep weigh a tonne) bringing them back to the shed, bottle feeding a couple of the lambs and trying to put an orphan lamb onto one of the mothers. It was quite a saga, and by the time we had finished it was dark and seven o'clock. Dinner was meant to start at five. Right. Needless to say we didn't get there.
We did, however, get to give this ewe a wheelbarrow ride. My husband figured it was a lot easier to slip her off the back of the ute directly into this and wheel her over to the shed....rather than drag her. She was very good. I held her around her shoulders so she wouldn't wiggle and offered words of encouragement, but she seemed quite happy and somewhat enjoyed her ride.
In the end I didn't get the yummy paella for dinner that my friend's husband made (he's a chef), nor did I get a night out at my bestie's house, but I did have a change of clothes. Can you work out which stains are mud and which are afterbirth?!
This morning my husband went out to the farm early to check on all our little ones and to see who had survived through the night. One big lamb was a bit touch and go (the one my husband had to pull), as he had broken ribs, but he was still alive, and better still was up and about. The ewe didn't take the orphan lamb unfortunately but he's still alive and kicking too. He will be bottle fed until we can try and wean him onto another ewe.
Even though we missed our dinner it was a worthwhile exercise, as each rescued lamb will sell for hopefully more than $100 in about eight months.
Farming is hard work and always unexpected, but definitely my favourite reason to live in the country.