Saturday 1 December 2012

Sonny the farm dog

Over the past few months I have come to totally rely on my boy Sonny, with Ziggy being to young and Nell out of action this left Sonny to do everything. Not only has he been doing stock work he also thinks sitting in air conditions truck and tractors is a pretty good way to spend the hot part of the day.

In is heavy work load he has also had time to sire a litter of 10 pups to a outside bitch who is owned by a good of ours Bianca Godson. Ace had 7 girls and 3 boys pretty good effort I think.

Sonny and I have been chopping and changing what stock we work, on any one day we can start with cows and calves, go onto young ewes, then rams and to even confuse him more freshly marked lambs. All I can say he tries his hardest to every single time, even if its at the end of the day.

Sonny has always a very natural dog with a great feel for his stock, I was very lucky with his cast I never had to teach him. He always went wide and now has he gets older his scope is getting bigger and bigger, Jamie and I where playing around one day and seeing who's dog could cast the furthest. I set Sonny up to go left around the top of the ridges, he left my side on a good angle he went out along the top of the first ridge behind the big tank on the hill out of sight for a little bit, a second over whistle was given and he just went wider and longer looking all the while to see where the ewes and lambs where. By this stage he would have been about 700 meters from me then he went out of sight my god they where a very tense couple of minutes which felt like hours, then we could see a slight movement in the top far corner the sheep had started to move still couldn't see Sonny. At this point I thought I had better start making my way down the Hill, by the time I made my way down a nice easy 3 min walk down hill he had 800 ewes and there lambs coming towards me and he was quite committed to bring them back up the Hill but I was more than happy with his efforts and called him off now all we had to do was walk back up the hill this was easier to do going down, must say had my little chest puffed out the way home.

Sonny at top of hill he picked up the sheep on the far tree line and down to the right. We measured how far he went and it was just over 900 meters :)

Sonny is also quite happy to help with the farming he loves nothing more than to sit up in the tractor and truck. He is also a very good overseer of all farm going ons and is quite happy to give his thoughts to Farmer James.

I think we need to spray that paddock today Farmer James

I hope you have your truck licence

I give my tick of approval Farmer James on your first crop of wheat

A very good herd of replacement Heifers Farmer James

The girls are doing a very good job raising the poddies Farmer James

Sonny is also a very good mentor for up and coming dogs, he helps the young pups just starting off by keeping the sheep together and calm for them. He loves showing them how he cast around stock and just loves to back them up when they start on cattle.

Sonny giving Gooch some advise for when he starts on sheep

Giving Mist some tips on how to work cattle

Helping Mist with the sale steers

We also have a two new additions to our family, two little Sweep sons have made our place home cant wait to see how they go, stay tuned for an update on Cap and Gooch.

Hope you all enjoyed reading about our new friend Sonny.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Farm Change

Some people do the Sea change, some people do the tree change well not us we have done a FARM CHANGE. Not long after my last blog we made a huge life changing decision, we have downsized, moved states from sunny Queensland to New South Wales and are now on a small Sheep,cattle and cropping farm.

 The little house on the hill

We arrived at Dunedoo mid April with the knowledge that weaning, shearing and planting NEEDED to done. The thought of this made me jump out of my skin and Jamie a little a sad. While he learnt about combines, spray rigs, groupers, arguers and repairing all the forementioned farming equipment. I got to do the stock work with my trusty dogs at my side Sonny and Nell, who up until this stage had only worked cows and calves and had only trained on a handful of sheep. We managed to do all the mustering and get all the sheep into the shed for shearing. Dipping, drenching and needling were also on the cards. At this point I found out that Sonny is a underdog not a backing dog, however after a few lessons he soon learned to back and is now a handy yard dog.   

All the while Farmer James was going round and round in circles.

 After we caught up on planting and stock work we finally got a chance to play with our youngsters Minnie, Tina and Ziggy all I can say we were happy. It had been a long wait to finally have these pups up and going from our Imported dogs Mist and Rees. All the work and expense has payed off and we couldn't be happier with the three young pups. Tina has gone to her new home leaving Minnie and Ziggy and at 10 months old both are working really well. They are starting to do small jobs around the farm, anything from moving small mobs of 300/400 sheep by themselves with little to no command too working in the yards.

Bauers Minnie
Bauers Ziggy

For a small farm we have a good variety of country from the bald hill in the middle of the farm to the flat farming country surrounded by undulating hills, to the scrubby hills along the northern boundary. Having the smaller sized paddocks means we are able to nearly stand at the gate and send the dogs around what ever stock is in that paddock, the hill is a different story it can be a little hairy riding the four wheeler up there.
I found this peaceful spot while checking the boundary fence.

Looking out from the shearing shed with oats and canola in the background.

The sea of yellow

The bird life is also very exciting with pairs of King Parrots enjoying the grain.

Our girls have enjoyed the move, with both of them training 7 days a weeks for cross country running and athletics. This hard work has paid off Jayde made it to state cross country and only just missing out making the NSW team by hundredths of a second. Both Jayde and Chris are off to the State Athletics carnival in October, they are both competing in the 800 meters.
Jayde at the NSW State Cross Country

Chris fighting hard to win the 800 meters at Regional she only just missed out.

I am sorry to all my readers that it has been so long between blogs however from now on I will be able to keep it more up to date.

Monday 5 March 2012

Times Flies when your having fun

I cant believe it has been so long since my last post, a lot has happened since my last Blog.
Branding is finished for another year, bulls are out of the cows and back in there winter paddock which I don't think they are very happy about, the puppies and dogs are going great and we have had a well earned holiday.
With all the calves branded and taken back to there paddock, saw us pack the car and boat for a well earned holiday at the beach. Now it wouldn't be normal for us to travel any where without some dogs. With the kids and our luggage in the car, it was time to squeeze 7 dogs in the wagon. Mist was going to enjoy a holiday with Rees at Jamies house, Don was going on the plane to his new owners down in Tasmaina that left us with 5. Our 3 little pups where going to have a holiday in a lovely puppie run at a friends house where they would safe and sound and very well looked after.

With the numbers down to just Sweep and Nell we left for Stradbroke Island. We should have twigged on what the weather was going to be like after it rained the whole way to Straddie. Little did we know that there was a low pressure system develping right above North Stradbroke Island. Out of the 2 weeks I think there may have 2 days without rain.

All the rain did not dampen our holiday. We all had a ball on the beach with daily walks with the kids and dogs, surf, sand and it was so relaxing. Oh and I nearly forgot daily visits to the yummy icecream shop. This was the first time we have taken our work dogs on holiday with us and it will be normal thing from now on, it was so good to have them around. Normally both Jamie and I are missing the dogs after about 3 days but having Sweep and Nell with us made it  a lot better.

Sweep chilling at the beach

A girl and her dog

View from Amity Point

Our trip home was also a wet one, just after leaving town we could see a inocent looking cloud towards home it didnt look to bad but has soon as we hit the dirt road down came the rain. Dumping 30mm in 15 minutes, towing a boat over a muddy road is very interesting to say the least. We arrived home safely a little wet but very happy to be home. The rain however did stop for one day (long enough to get the girls to town for school) then down again it came. Our girls where marooned in town for four days until we where able to pick them up. They where not very happy at all about coming home, way too much fun in town.

We where luckly with the all the rain that fell in January and February, we only had some minor fence damage. I feel for the towns, properties and the people who live in areas that where inudated with record flood levels.

To think only a few months before hand we where fighting fires and then to turn around to have water going through  homes is very sad. I keep thinking of the poem written by Dorthea Mackell "My Country" with its famous verus.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

I think it very fitting at the moment with parts of Austrlia coming out of many years of drought then fires and now the flooding rain which is hitting large parts of the country.

 The inocnet looking cloud.
First sunset in a week.

Our lastest puppies are growing up and getting into all kinds of trouble. We can not go out into the training paddock without locking them up or they come out to help. They are all very keen little workers it is wonderful to see the last few years of planning paying off with this litter. We hope these three girls are the buiding blocks to even better things with our dogs. The girls are a pleasure to have around always wanting a pat or a belly rub, but look out if you leave any socks within view of them.



It is the time of year which the bulls hate. After being in with the cows for three months, its time for them to leave the cows and go back to there winter paddock. So it was back on the bikes with dogs in tow, I can never seem to get any good photos of the dogs working because when ever they are working we need to be working as well. Our young dogs are really stepping up with work, it is very hard for them working the cows and calves but they are handling themselves very well. Weaning time which is only a couple of months away will do wonders for them, they wont have to worry cranky old cows.
Sonny & Nell just keeping an eye on the cows

Very long grass, hidden logs and motorbikes not a good combonation

I think its time for this fella to be weaned he is nearly as big as his mum.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Bringing in the Mob

Branding is in full swing lots of cows and their calves to muster and bring to the yards for a bit of work. Each calf gets a brand, ear tags, ear mark and the boys lose there testicles, I have not taken any photos of this as it is not a nice job.

Bringing in the mob starts off with a very early start, three motorbikes, five dogs and 400 cows plus there calves. We ride around the paddock which is 5000 acres in size pushing the cows towards water which at times is easier said than done. Since most of the sheep have left our district the dingos have grown in numbers and are always putting pressure on our cows trying to get at there calf's so when we go to muster them with our work dogs they don't quite see the difference. We can have any where from 1- 10 cows at any one time  coming out of the mob to attack the dogs, it takes a pretty brave dog to keep working in this situation. The cows are then placed in our lane way which goes all the way to the cattle yards which can be a 12 km walk.
Once in the lane way it is lovely stroll until the cows decide it is time to stop, I have found there are two places in the lane which this happens both are where there is a water point. It can be very hard to convince 400 cows to start walking again this is where the dogs come in very handy. The following photos are of Nell, Lucy, Lass and Rusty helping me get the cows moving again.
This cow meant business
The dogs won

However she just needed reminding from Lucy

Lyster Lucy may be on the small side but that does not stop her, she has a big heart and will do anything to stop a cow.

Stand off between a cow and Rusty

Nell and Lucy just keeping an eye on things.

This is what I like to see when the cows stop the dogs stop.

Once the cows start walking nicely again it is time for the dogs to hope back on the bike for a well earned rest until the cows stop again. Walking the cows into the yards can take up to 5 hours in this time you have a lot of time to ponder on the happenings of the time or you sing silly songs to your self. While walking this mob in I got a funny kids song in my head but I changed a couple of words

The cows  go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The cows  go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The cows  go marching one by one;
The little one stops to suck his thumb,
And they all go marching down into the yards
To get away from the dogs.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

Once reaching the yards they are drafted cows in one yard and calves in the other, neither cow or calf like this idea at all. Once branded the next day the calves are put back with there mums and are then walked back to there paddock.
Looking back towards the drafting pen

The calves waiting

Leaving there mums

She has such a soft eye

She looks cranky

The twins

You Looking at me

Team work

Well that's all folks hope you enjoyed it.