“We’ll we were drinking one day and…”

We only just found out that Martyn and his mate Fordie owned camels.

They’ve had them for about 8 years and have raced them at places like Winton and Tara with some success.

Why camels? This was the question we asked over coffee the other day in Goondiwindi.

The story started with ” Well we were havin’ a drink one day and…”

How many times does that sentence start adventures that normally wouldn’t happen? The story of the acquisition of a private herd of camels had us in fits of laughter.

Unfortunately we came in at the end of this adventure as Martyn and Fordie sold them all at the last race meet in Tara. We got to see them being loaded ready for shipping to their new home in Newcastle where their new owners will use them for racing and for camel riding. They have over 50 on their camel ranch.

The camels are keeping a close eye on things.

The camels are keeping a close eye on things.

 

The camels had been kept at a farm just out of Goondiwindi. The owner of the farm also owned two camels and was able to get the buyer to take these off his hands as well.

These animals aren’t like cattle or horse’s, needing constant care, they look after themselves and with their large soft hooves they cause no damage to the environment.

Martyn, his friend Boydie and the new owner of the camels.

Martyn, his friend Fordie and the new owner of the camels.

Martyn had us in fits of laughter regaling us with stories of these animals. How they can spit, bite and send you flying with a hit from their hooves and how they can remember tricks on how to handle humans very well.

He had one that didn’t like to be lead around and would lie on his lead so you couldn’t get to it, or he’d put his leg over your arm so it would knock the lead from your hand.

One of the camels that Martyn and Fordie owned was the biggest camel around, even the new owner who has vast experience with them said he’d never seen such a large one.

Now try and get that camel into a truck!

it was funny to watch as the camel placed his head over the top of the truck as if to say, “I’m this big and you want me to go in there?”

Luckily the camels travel sitting down and can move around commando style so once they were in they were quite comfortable.

Always something different happening out here!

I'm this big and you want me to fit in there.

I’m this big and you want me to fit in there.

The camels sit down to travel so they all fit in.

The camels sit down to travel so they all fit in.

Barry and Christine visit:

Last weekend Barry and Christine came out to see us.

Barry had been out to the farm before but this was Christine’s first visit.

The weather was perfect and the visit coincided with a weekend off for the back packers which was great for us because we don’t need to get up at 4.30am to cook breakfast as everyone sleeps in.

Barry and Christine arrived Friday night and after dinner we sat around a campfire.

Why don’t we do this more often? The stars were beautiful, the fire hypnotic and with the addition of good company and it was a wonderful evening.

Nothing beats a good camp fire.

Nothing beats a good camp fire.

Barry cooked us breakfast over the open fire next morning and after sorting out the residents we took Christine and Barry around the farm.

At the moment not much is happening. Pre irrigation will be starting at the beginning of September so all the head ditches and tail drains are having last minute finishing touches in readiness to receive the water that will be poured on to the cotton. The dispatching of pipes that will syphon the water from the head ditches onto the rows of cotton has started and there’s a feeling of anticipation as planting for another year has draws closer.

Shannon and Steve are servicing all 24 pumps around the farm in preparation for the huge workload they’ll be under moving mega litres of water around the farm over the next few months..

 

The best view is from the reservoirs

The best view is from the reservoirs.

 

We stopped by the weighbridge to see if we could take Barry and Christine for a tour of the gin. After a phone call and donning our regulation safety gear it was over to the gin. The gin will be finished processing by the beginning of September until the next harvest around March next year. This will enable Shannon and Steve to start the massive gin maintenance program that’s necessary to get ready for next year.

We were given a informative tour of the Gin with Duncan

We were given a informative tour of the Gin with Duncan.

This was our second visit and we still learnt more.

This was our second visit and we still learnt more.

After the gin tour we headed down to Boomi for a late lunch then back home to prepare dinner for the residents.

The weekend was finished off around the camp fire again, with Renee (a contractor) joining us.

We hope Barry and Christine enjoyed their visit as much as we loved having them here.

Another way of life:

We witnessed another aspect of country life the other day – how to survive when your property is drought declared!

Meet Murray and his workers.

They ‘re from 100km west of Mitchell and out there the country is declared “drought stricken”.

Murray has about 1800 head of cattle and to keep his property going he’s taken 800 of them “on the road”.

 

Murray and his workers lead 800+ head of cattle around looking for grass.

Murray and his workers lead 800+ head of cattle around looking for grass.

He drives his cattle along the roads so they can access the grass and survive.

Under council laws they are supposed to walk the cattle 10km a day but it’s not strictly enforced, so long as they’re moving and not settling in one spot.

It’s is not a new thing around here, Martyn and his father did it for years with both sheep and cattle. When the sheep needed to be shorn they would use someone’s shearing shed along the way and it wasn’t uncommon to be droving likes this for many months on end.

Murray has been on the road for about three months already. That’s three months away from his wife and two small children. Three months away from fixing his fences, looking after his other 1000 head of cattle and sleeping in his own bed, and, if it doesn’t rain soon he’ll continue to be on the road until it does.

 

Murray’s wife is at home attending to the myriad of jobs necessary to keep the property going. It’s how you survive.

What struck us was the attitude.

In spite of this struggle to survive there was no whining, no whinging, no blaming others, no feeling sorry for yourself – and this young Cocky never lost his smile and his utter politeness.

The cattle get used to this way of life quite quickly and where one goes the others easily follow.

At times while traveling on the road we’ve stopped over night along side cattle trucks.

The noise the cattle make often turn people off from staying around them and it’s easy to think that they’re distressed at being in the truck, however, they make just us much noise happily standing in a paddock eating grass.

I suppose they’re communicating between themselves, calling their calves or having a good old chin wag because all of a sudden, for no apparent reason, they all start to move to another spot following one another as if a secret word has spread that a better patch of grass is down the road.

Murray stayed around the area for about a month but has now moved on, but we’ve noticed another large herd of cattle and a huge mob of sheep in the area.

These guys belong to yet another group of folk out here that have earned our respect and given us inspiration.

Not sure if Murray picked up the pig on the way or it's his version of "Takeaway meal".

Not sure if Murray picked up the pig on the way or it’s his version of “Takeaway meal”.

 

The caravan shelter:

In one of our blogs we mentioned we,d bought a carport for the caravan. Well it’s up and we’re very happy with it.

Toby let us use some of the back packers on a wet day to help put it up, so with the help of Lauri, Kristjan and John it only took us 4 hrs.

Putting the cover on.

Putting the cover on.

We chose our new site because, being 8m x 6m in dimensions,  we would have stuck out too far into the camp’s parking area for other cars to maneuver around and now our view is over the peaceful bushland that surrounds the camp.

The shelter also protects the van from the sun so hopefully the van will be a lot cooler during the summer months.

The main reason for getting the thing though, is to protect the car and the Aussie Wide from the elements, (which can be quite harsh out here), for the coming year that we’ll be here.

Securing the roof.

Securing the roof.

Hammering in the ground pegs was the hardest part.

Hammering in the ground pegs was the hardest part.

The only down side of relocating is it’s further to walk to work, we now have to leave 3 sec earlier, haha.

We had the structure shipped out to Goondiwindi, and borrowed Martyn’s ute (flat tray) to bring it out to Koramba.

We then used the fork lift to remove it from the ute – how easy things are with the proper tools around!

The parts all fit together beautifully and the only hard part came when the large pegs needed to be sledge hammered into the ground. These anchor the whole structure to stop it sailing off to Moree in the next storm.

Luckily John used to work on the railroads and had his “eye in” laying railway sleepers. He made it look easy, which it definitely was NOT.

The new cover for the van.

The new cover for the van.

Chris laid the pallets back down leaving room at one end for the car to be driven under cover. Since it has gone up we have had rain and westerly winds to test the cover and it has come out with flying colours. It’s pleasant to sit out on our veranda with a coffee over looking the bush.

Pallets down in the front with plenty of room to get most of the car undercover.

Pallets down in the front with plenty of room to get most of the car undercover.

 

An extra 3 sec to walk to work now. Hope theres no traffic jams.

An extra 3 sec to walk to work now. Hope there’s no traffic jams.