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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well below zero

A happy pig

We had a nice weekend; unfortunately I had to go into Cooma to do a couple of jobs on Saturday and the places I need to go where shut for the weekend, I don’t recall them shutting for previous long weekends. It was also the start of the snow season so the Police were every where. I was eventually pulled over twice for random breath tests. The first time was in Bredbo on the way home and the second time at Berridale – by the same Police officer.

On Sunday morning I was taking a shower, the window to the bathroom was open and I was looking out across the paddocks. I was amazed at how mild the winter had been. The first winter we had I would have frozen solid in ten minutes with the window open in June. Later I drove into Canberra to pick up the weekly pig feed. Unfortunately the feed guy took the day off also and I wasted a trip. I headed home and did some cleaning up instead – by 4:00pm it was dark and raining, cold and windy – winter had arrived.

Sunday Afternoon on the farm

Monday was the real highlight. The morning was bright and clear, I had to take a couple of pigs up to Jindabyne for a lady. I went out via East Cooma and through Dalgety to stay away from the snow traffic. Harry came with me and we had a nice time. Somewhere out on the plains we came across a drover pushing a mob of cattle across along the long paddock. He was ridding a stunning little buckskin mare which the Cook would have died for. I dropped of the pigs – there was no loading ramp so I backed the trailer up to a dirt mound, the pigs jumped off the trailer and we walked them up to their new home. It was surprisingly easy. They settled in very quickly and were reunited with a weaner the lady had taken from us when she came to look at the pigs earlier.

Some of you may remember an American magazine called “The Western Horseman” It was a magazine about life on the range land in the American West, full of Cowboys and Buckaroo’s and tails of hard horses and harder cattle. A lot of the magazine was made up of picture essays about the range lands. I remember as a kid I used to wait for the monthly magazine to arrive, and then wait until our father had read it so I could have a turn – it was probably the only thing I read for years apart from the required reading at school. I used to love the stories about the Rendezvous of Mountain Men that happened every autumn.

Anyway, Tuesday night I arrived home late. I needed to pick up the bread and had to get feed and straw as well. By the time we had unloaded the feed, fed the pigs and given them all straw for the cold evenings ahead it was 9:00pm. The Cook arrived home a little later after a long day shift and went strait for the heater. Just before we went off to bed it started to rain, just a little and only for a few minutes. The Cook had come in and cursed the cold but I was surprised it had rain because the sky was clear earlier.

Tuesday morning front the front gate looking back at the house

At about 3:30am the goat decided to seek shelter under the eaves of the house – right under our window. I put up with about an hour of her ringing her bell until I had to go outside and move her on. I jumped out of bed and the full moon was shining through the window so I ducked out the front door bare footed only in a t-shirt. I jumped down off the veranda ankle deep into fresh dry snow. That woke me up! I pushed the goat out of the yard and went straight back to bed, my feet freezing. I did wake the Cook and tell her it had snowed which I think she appreciated.
So After I had my shower this morning and while the moon was still up, I wandered around outside with my camera. I watched the sun come up, reminded me of many mornings in the Army freezing on the Pucka Range whilst on piquet duty. The snow was only an inch deep but the ground was frozen solid. As the sun rose and you could see more detail, it all reminded me of the photo’s I used to see in the Western Horseman Magazines all those years ago.

As a by the way, all the roads south and west of Cooma are still closed – it’s 2:00pm. We shouldn’t get anymore snow however – and all the piggies are fine.

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