Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pony update

Well, young Ruby has been playing and working with Elara a few times, and we've achieved quite a lot in the process:

Elara has learned:
- to have a rug placed on and pulled off
- to accept having clothes thrown on, over and under her
- to accept having clothes dragged between her legs
- to accept people jumping up and down suddenly all around her
- to wear a saddle with girth and surcingle
- to enter and exit a small shed with flapping walls without being scared
- how to use a feed bag
- to carry a rider around the garden
- to climb up and down a concrete step

Ruby has learned:
- how to place and tie a rope halter on the horse
- how to remove a rug (it's a bit heavy for her to put it on at the moment as it is sopping wet)
- how to do 'join up' (a natural horsemanship technique for leadership)
- how to lead with confidence and firm assertiveness

Grazing in the rain :-)

On the horse for the first time!
The next steps are to get Elara's teeth done by the equine dentist and then off to the trainer for some specialised training. We want Elara to become a super reliable, 'bomb proof' child's mount, so in the end Ruby could (if she wanted) attend pony club with her or enter her in some gymkhanas, or ride around the village. It will take time and patience but I think Ruby and Elara have the potential to make a great team. It's a 'win-win' situation I believe.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Beautiful Briony ... on John's birthday (at the Eltham "Not Quite Folk" evening)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A buckskin brumby cross is not quite a racehorse

We need a photo of Elara. Yes we do. 'Cos she's such a lovely mare :-)

Elara is Rascal's half-sister. I'm arranging to send her to a trainer to further her education. Then, I'm aiming for a local lassie, ten-year-old Ruby, to be riding her regularly and enjoying her good nature and lovely paces.

As John said, tongue-in-cheek, it's a bit like owning a racehorse: after all, racehorse owners have a trainer, a jockey and a racehorse ... So far, we simply have a potential trainer, a village lassie and a pony...

Nearly racehorse owners!!  But not quite.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More horse photos and shenanigans

By popular request :-) some more photos of the steeds.

On Sunday John and I went for a ride to Booyong nature reserve / village green (not much village left in Booyong, though, sadly). There, we met up with Hans (riding Emu) and Niki (riding Duchess). I had wanted to do some gallivanting about on the horses together but alas: upon remounting Rascal I found I had not tightened the girth properly; the saddle slipped round; Rascal plunged forward and I crashed to the ground.

Gravity sucks :-(

It was very painful. But John looked after me and later on Rascal carried me carefully home, just walking, on a loose rein ... what a good boy he is. Eh, these things happen.

John moseys down the road, bareback on Saturn
Rascal sees his Mama, the brumby Duchess for the first time in three years. He's amazed! (So is she) :-D
The glorious and gorgeous Saturn enjoying a bit of liberty.

Hans with his good steed Emu (who previously belonged to John). They get on very well together!
It was a great place to ride and I can't wait for my ribs to heal so I can go back there with John and the horses...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Some recent flood photos

It's that time of year again (apparently). With the cyclone (see earlier post) came the rain, and with the rain came the rising of the river. Wilson's River peaked at just under 10 metres, cutting us off from nearby towns and villages. The wind hurled several trees to the ground, narrowly (and in some cases not) missing sheds and houses. We lost power for three days, which also meant no pumped water ... But hey, it poured from the sky so that was not really an issue ...

Between Sunday and Tuesday the river rose sharply

A fig tree fell on our neighbour Rick's shed (photo by Grace Westera)
And another one just skimmed his house (photo Grace Westera). Rick was OK though.

Boatharbour Road could well be ... just Boatharbour?
50: no, no ...

All in all it took about five days for relative normality to return. No real harm done here other than perished food in the freezer ("Happy Days!" sang the dogs ... Om nom nom!!!) and two of our horses became ill with some sort of mud fever, perhaps stress related. But they're a lot better now.

John and I were fine and used our camping stove to cook, candles and solar to provide light ... we relaxed and read books, and since there was no internet we even did a jigsaw puzzle  ... :-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This morning's walk

Just some random photos taken this morning while walking the dogs...

Taken from the old pig paddock, looking East to the distant horizon over the hills

Romany Ruby Smudge is now a two-year old. And limber :-). Standing near the western side of the farm which borders the village.

Mama Nova glowing in the early morning sun. She's a sweet and kind mare.

The deciduous fig, a lovely landmark ...

No-dig veggie patch

Each year after the young chicks are reared and gone I use the patch where the chook tractor stood to make a new veggie patch. This year I've decided to make a more permanent patch in the form of a "no-dig vegetable garden". Seeing as our old water tank had collapsed, we sawed it into pieces (creating big O rings). One half we gave to Hans and Niki for their garden, the other half I sawed in half again to make the start of ours.

As you can see the chooks got straight in to lend a willing "hand" in turning over the mulch at the bottom. No dig indeed. Who needs a spade?

Chook farming

Seeing as this year our motley crew of hens managed to hatch 34 chicks between them, I decided to advertise and sell the chicks using the online community classifieds forum, Gumtree. And what a success it was! All the chooks are now sold and I made a profit of $315 ... (OK, I won't give up my day job).

Plymouth rocks, Wyandotte, Bantam and Australorp crosses in this colourful lot

I think I got the pricing right: it's very hard to determine gender, but people don't want roosters (most people can't bear to kill them), so I charged the following:
- $5 for a rooster,
- $10 for an unsexed chook (gender being a gamble),
- $15 for "probably a hen" with the guarantee that they could return it if it started to crow and receive a $10 refund. I offered to despatch the chook if so and the owner could take it home for the pot.

This seemed to reassure people. I've taken the ad down now but am still receiving queries of "when are you breeding more?" so that's a good sign for next year.

All in all a satisfying enterprise.

Note: a huge thanks to Teun, Annamiranda, Leaha and Briony for helping look after them during the various extreme weather events we've experienced these past months.