Well another Chrissie has come and gone. A rather nice and peaceful one this time. We were blessed with lovely cool weather, some rain and misty evenings as the cloud rolled in. We had most of our meals out on the verandah with the birdsong and afternoon breezes, just the three of us and I think it was possibly the most serene Christmas I have ever had.
The littlest cloud farmer is getting the hang of the event and has cottoned on to the idea of "presents". He had been wondering aloud what the wrapped boxes under the tree were. Being a farm kid he very much liked his toy chainsaw, just like Dads. He also unwrapped a toy circular saw which he has been using to cut up the coffee table, the fridge and the cat every few minutes. The cats are not too impressed I must say. In addition to a large stocking of assorted toys he received a beautiful pop up story book from his Aunt Dani and Uncle Lyle. They seem to have the knack of buying his favourite each time and it is now the only book of choice at bedtime.
The Child Bride and I gave each other fruit trees and we had a ceremonial planting in the orchard on Christmas day. I bored a deep hole for each one and then packed compost -a rather nice mixture of well decomposed cow manure, pig manure, charcoal and a good handful of "number one lucky special recipe good fortune mineral mix". I tamped this down as there would be some settling and then placed a couple of inches of plain soil over it before planting the tree on top. Top dress with a little more compost and mulch thickly. Water well. This is the method I usually use when planting trees. It allows the tree to settle in without too much shock. The questing roots then hit the compost and the tree shoots for the sky.
I borrowed the idea from a farmer I once met near Dalby. His wife had commanded that there be a tree lined drive way to the farmhouse. So he bored a series of deep holes where the trees were to be planted. These holes were large enough to fall down and about six feet deep. A couple of nights later we went out and shot enough kangaroos to dump several in each hole. They were in plague numbers around there that year. The holes were then covered and ignored for a week or two before being filled. A small blue gum seedling was planted on each one and given a watering. Apparently the trees sulked for about a year until their roots hit the 'roos. You could tell when they did because the tree then almost grew over night. Five years later you would have sworn those trees were all over twenty years old.
In other news, Anna came into heat on boxing day and began bulling- that is to say, standing in the middle of the paddock and bellowing like hell. So after a call to our most excellent neighbours we took Anna to "see the Bull". Now most years this simply involves chivvying Anna down he drive way and along the road to the next paddock on the neighbours place where she meets Francis-the-bull. But for some reason she just did not want to play the game this year. We would get her almost to the gate when she would balk and try to turn back. In the end it took four people and much bad language to herd her over along with her calf. Not happy Anna!
Francis-the-bull is a Dexter. Dexter's are a fairly small breed although they yield a very good carcasse. Consequently Francis-the-bull is a fair bit shorter that Anna and I used to wonder how he could possibly reach high enough to do his job. My theory is that he gets Anna to stand facing down the slope and this gives him the height he needs, or else he has a step ladder hidden somewhere. Either way he almost always gets the job done first time and Anna drops another chocolate coloured Jersey-Dexter calf later in the year.