Posted by: nativeiowan | July 20, 2018

2018 v7.PasadenaTime

730pm Pasadena time. Grace is asleep on the sofa. I’m not far away.

We started travelling yesterday, with a 4am wake up. At the airport by 7am. Our flight left about 11. We landed in LA 7am this morn local time, 12 midnight Aussie time. Total travel time was over 20 hours. The flight was good. Both Grace and I slept a bit.

But we’re time-warped.

Tomorrow will be busy. And hot. We left QLD winter and enter Cali summer. We went out for a walk, a trip to the store a while ago. Didn’t walk far but worked up a good sweat.

And the beat goes on. Always interesting to come back to the land of plenty… There is so much I forget to remember… the portions served are huge. We ordered a couple of  toasted sandwiches and could have easily shared one. Ordered pretty unremarkable cups of latte and a cuppacino, forgetting that yanks prefer brewed coffee. Next time I’ll have a standard BUNN-brewed cup of “joe”.

I’ll get my bike out tomorrow. Cook some here at home. See how long it takes to sort things out, then head off to Iowa.

And the beat goes on…

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Posted by: nativeiowan | June 30, 2018

2018 v6.lastdayofJune

Another luvely morn here in Morosa Valley. We have just started weaning 9 calves. I think they average 3 to 400 pound/ 150-200kg each.

We ran the herd down to the yards yesterday. A gentle herd we have. They are pretty easy to move. Most times. I enjoy watching them; the stately matrons, floating like a maternal brig, navigating the pastures, complete with dangling udders. The frisky lil’uns; they scamper and play, watch you, heads lowered, prepared to dart-off. The larger calves, the weaners; much larger and much more greedy, they are big but demand much of their Dame. We need to take them away and allow the cow to build her strength, breed again.

Nine were cut aside from the others easy enough. 5 calves are still small so we ran them through the crush and checked their sexual preferences out. The heifers can run through. Two calves have testicles – mui-bad. The lil one was easy to get the bands on. The big’un put up a fight. I reckon we spent an hour-plus rassl’n with him and did not succeed to get both of his baby-nuts strangled by the band.

It was another fun, old fart on the farm experience… Joe, Angelo, Mendoza and I all running some aspect of the castration process. Joe is boss so he got the band on the spreader and is ready. Mendoza is holding the head, Angelo had the calf’s rear end held in the crush. Joe and I are in the proctologist position; I hold the tail high as Joe does the examination, both hands down between the lil’guy’s legs, feeling  around for both nuts.

The operative word is “both”. It did not happen. The lil’bastard would suck one or both up. We struggled, cursed, got shat on, knelt in the mire of piss and corruption as we fought and carried on.

Two ol farts; attempting to control, dictate terms to the cute lil calf, who argued, and kicked, and carried on. At one point I told the boys; “watch his hoof, he’ll kick me in the chest”, and sure as shit, quick as a calf, I got his right rear in my sternum. Nice to know I’m not such a wimp, it didnt stop me.

My shirt has a cute lil shitty hoop print in it.

We eventually gave up. Plan was to continue this morn.

For those of my faithful readers who have experience of cows know well how vocal a herd can be when weaning takes place. You end up with a mob of calves bellowing for their mamas. And the mamas at the gate hollering back and testing the integrity of the closures.

Its all great good fart fun n games.

big smiles

Posted by: nativeiowan | June 27, 2018

2018 v6.indeislansmon

In Honiara. I have a fool’s smile on my face.

8pm here. A nice tropical winter’s night. Been raining a bit. The air is clean and fresh. Temps are cooly pleasant. Connie and I sit and share a bottle of wine…

We have a lot of business to do and a short tome to do it in. But always have time for a bottle.

Drinking out of water glasses… we be high class… Got the coconut oil out. Mixed a mess of deet n citronella and oil to ward of the insectuals… it works well.

Listening to The Dead. The eve is still n cool. No night critter cacophony carrying on. No nocturnal howls or late night liaison noises.

Last night I slept well and deep. At one point I woke to the sound of dogs barking, did not know where I was, took me ages/ minutes to figure out where I be.

1030pm. Connie and I sit and waffle on. Nice bottle of wine is a dead-soldier. The Dead play Uncle John’s Band… how does the song go?

Come and listen to Uncle John’s Band…

JJCale n Clapton playing on the road to Escondido… when this war is over, it’ll be a better day…

And life is good. “It’s so easy… so easy” or so they say.

Smiles

Posted by: nativeiowan | June 23, 2018

2018 v6.morning walk in the fog

A heavy layer of fog blankets the valley this morn. If it’d been a bit colder there would have been a flash frost. But instead we get the thick blanket of fog.

It all makes the world look softer, less distinct. Less rough.

I walk out back to where a couple of my cows are making unhappy noises. I cut a few from the herd last night, thinking they are dry. I was wrong on all counts. A calf is there to meet each cow I had segregated. So much for my skills in state-of-cow-recognition.

I walk back into the property, following the herd. The young-ones canter, jump, kick and show exuberance for life. The cows have a sedate manner about them. They move slow. Matriarchal ships on the paddock. Some allow me to walk near and pet them. The big-bull, Barney, acts like a Caesar, knowing that all he sees is his. He has no competition.

The boys stayed up late last night watching world-cup footie. They remain inside. They miss this walk through the sureal.

I walk through the crisp morning air, into the fog. The low-lying areas with water are thick with vapors. I stomp through the babbling brook, tap a mamma cow on the flank as I walk past her. She looks at me as though I have taken privileges with her.

A young steer gives me an evil eye. He is wanting to test himself. Even though he’s been knacked, he still has that male-butt-heads gene. I clap my hands and he jumps then trots off.

The birds are quiet this morn. I think the temps and the fog have kept them in bed. Or maybe they too watched footie last night.

Smiles

Posted by: nativeiowan | June 22, 2018

2018 v6.hobbyfarm’n

There has been a heavy dew. The ground is wet. As I walk through the mid-calf high grass my legs are wet through.

I wear shorts. 8” high boots, heavy socks, my old wool jumper, drizabone vest and seaotter hat.

Its not 7am and the valley is still dark. A dawn gloaming of sorts?

I trod over uneven terrain.

A babbling brook well muddied by the herd.

My grandpups, Angelo and Mendozza, are hanging back.

They are slightly frightened. Maybe apprehensive. They are not “farm-boys”. Yet.

 

The herd is happy. Barney-the-bull pushes the pregnant cows aside and sniffs after those of more promise.

I am after the pregnant cows. I want them close to home, in a good field, easily accessible.

I want the pregnant cows close. I want to be able to watch them from the kitchen window.

 

The Kookaburras are prolific. I count 4 couples in the back yard.

And why not? This is a bitch’n place.

Plenty of water.

Plenty of food.

Whats not to like.

 

It appears as though the calves put on a lot of weight here. Good grass.

Four calves have been born in the past week. They are all hale and hearty and growing fast.

We lost one calf in still-birth. And his Mamma to milk fever. Mui no gud.

 

I have walked back to the 2nd back-paddock.  I’m about a klick from the house.

The herd likes to congregate here. There is fresh grass in paddock 3. They stretch their necks through the barbed wire. The grass is always greener…

Even though the grass in #2 is good, and there is heaps of space and heaps of good water, #3 looks better.

 

The boys roll a bale of hay out to the herd.

I picked the boys up from school yesterday. This is day 1 on the farm. They are doing very well.

Its eve-time here. Sun gone behind the ridges. Temps are cool but good. The cattle are curious.

 

I open the gate and push the herd back. 2000kg stud-bull “Barney” snorts. He has the hay in his nose. He is not patient.

The boys roll the bale of hay out.

The young bulls show their impatience. The old cows push for position.

We unroll the bale and leave a 20-meter-long bed of hay on the ground. Barney the bull walks down the middle of it.

 

As we laid the hay out the pregnant cows in the herd stood to one side.

I managed to open a couple gates and shoo them into the back-paddock.

I’ll get them into the side paddock tomorrow, get them with the other dry-cows.

 

We just had a still-birth that resulted in the death of the mamma cow. Total financial loss about 1500 bucks. Plus 800 in vet fees. Plus many lessons learned.

Don’t want too many like that so I’ll manage the herd differently.

The previous owner ran the herd as a “mob”. Births happened in the herd setting. In what ever paddock the herd was in.

Me? I’ll set up a birthing yard. It outside the kitchen window so you can do dishes and watch the mammas.

Its kind nice. Very pleasing.

And safer for the mamas and the babies.

And life is good.

I’m a hobby-farmer and I’m all right…

 

Smiles

 

Posted by: nativeiowan | June 20, 2018

Diary of a hobby-farmer charter1, verse1:

640am. I am up and awake and have walked about a kilometer over rough ground. I am a hobby-farmer.ms1

C1,V2: Have one cow down on her side. For those that know anything about bovines, a cow on her side is not a good thing. In Iowa a cow on her side is considered Mui-Bad.

C1,V3: #30 still-birthed on Saturday. On Sunday she was down on here side. We helped her as much as we could but could not get her up. So I called the vets. They did their magic and probably saved her life, then, but she is still down. Vets came out again Monday and did more magic, but she is still down today, Wednesday. I have named this one “PainintheArse”.

C1,V4: So the last few days has seen us move in as New Owners, deal immediately with a dying cow, get to know the herd and the land, and settle into the leisurely life of a Hobby-Farmer. MS2.jpeg

C1,V5: Yesterday we cut what we thought were the pregnant cows from the herd and moved them into a paddock next to the house. One lied to us and we let here go back to the herd. She was lying, the bitch. We let the wrong one out and ended up last night with one  next to the house bellowing and receiving a responding bellow from the back field where the herd was.

C1,V6: So I was outside early. Let the bellowing mama out and walked her back to be with her calf. Both were happy.

C1,V7: Its 8c outside. No wind this morn and am thankful of that. I am wearing a pair of “Musto” sailing shorts, a cotton tshirt and my drizabone vest with my bamboo-tube-scarf. And my seaotter hat. Would be dying without my hat.gvcH+xepQYuvqnvCUGXOIg

C1,V8: The fields are standard thick paddocks. Lovely green grass, covered in cow pies. Small hand-sized stones litter the ground. It makes for not too difficult but not too easy traveling. I find a loose-jointed gait is best to traverse the fields. I employ all my shock absorbers in each step. Much like a walk on the deck of a rolling ship covered in grass and shit.

C1,C9: It’s about 100 meters to the “back gate. So you open the gate and let the bellowing one out, walk with her to the back fence and let here out then walk the 100 meters from the hay shed to where the down cow is. Water for the down-cow is in the hay shed. A couple of trips from fence to fence to shed to down cow and you’ve done an easy half a klick. It’s easy to walk a klick and not really get very far.

C1,V10: Its 708am and the temp is dropping. We are inside having a coffee and waiting for the sun to come up a bit. We are in a valley and the sun don’t spend too much of its time on us. But the wind is down and the kookaburras are telling the world they are happy (or horny?). In a bit we’ll be out walking into the back-40 to see what the rest of the herd is doing. Check and see if there may have been a birth overnight. Make sure all is well in cattle-land… and walk another couple klicks.

And life is good.

Posted by: nativeiowan | May 13, 2018

2018 v5.0.bloodsportsunday

Another Sunday coming down. Watching the prelims of UFC 224. Won’t buy the main card but will watch the free-fights and write an update…

Golly, half of the 5th month of 2018 behind us. Damn, almost half the year gone. What have I been doing? Another month slips past. I must have been snoozing!

Not really. Been real, real busy. Been having way, way too much fun… Some visuals of this past month…

On Friday 4 May my buddy Big G and I took off from Pasadena, CA for a bit of a bike ride. G keeps his BMW R1200RT in my parking spot in Pasadena. He’d been planning a trip so I chose to jump in and tag along for a couple days. Here we are loaded and ready to ride… Image-9

Image-10

We pointed north heading for Monterey. Only about a 7 hour trip. The road was friendly. We made good time. Rode right into the city and found a friendly hotel.Image-12

The guy at the hotel gave us directions to a good place to eat. Here I am trying to decipher the map. We did not find THE Place, but we found a good meal then headed out to explore Monterey.Image-13

We walked past a basement “English Pub” and had to stop in for a couple good IPAs. Image-3

We were up early and off northwards by 8am. Of course this route means you drive through SanFran, always a drama, but the view from the north side of the bridge always worth while… IMG_9966

Image-5

Image-4

We next took hwy 1 north… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNh1z3mS2Qs&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

We were heading to Occidental to pay Willis and Suellen Eschenbach a visit. Here we are taking a break at Point Reyes… Image-6

By end day we were ensconced in Casa Eschenbach… Image-7

Image-8

IMG_9972

It was great to back for a visit. Been ages and ages. Many thanks to MissEllen for her fine hospitality. And of course, big Bro Willis, always worth the time and discussion.

The next morn we rode south but split up a ways after SanFran. G continued his ride and I headed home.

My trusty Trumpet… what a machine!IMG_9973

Here are a couple of shots from G…Image-1Image-2

Once home (got back Thursday eve) I started catching up here. Went yesterday to watch Mendoza and Angelo play soccer. Brought Mr M home. AAA was heading out with friends. Of course, once home M needed feeding… Angus rump steak and eggplant were on the menu. He ate two of these…IMG_9993

And life is guuuud

More later

 

 

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 27, 2018

2018 v4.lostamonth

A brilliant Saturday morning here in QLD. Been over 3 weeks since I’ve got anything written.

I am packing for another trip to the US. Been a number of months, almost a year. Originally I was heading back for my Mother’s 91st birthday. But weather in the midwest has not been cooperative this year. Last week it was still snowing, so I am passing on an Iowa trip. I’ll go hang in Sunny So-Cal instead of visiting snow country.

I head to So-Cal, to Pasadena, with the task of packing up our apartment there. After five years we will be moving out of our great transit-pad on Cordova Ave. Its been a very useful asset. Pasadena has become a home to us, and in a funny way, the LA area has become less of a foe and much more of a friend.

So, as I procrastinate the day away – it is 920am – watching the daily blewz, drinking fresh black coffee my partner in crime and mother of my children smilingly serves me, I think about the word we live in…

Politics, wars, subjugation, terror, mass killings, social disobedience, foolishness, and basic bullshit… Hawks n Doves and boarders and refugees…

I dig the fact that the Koreas have met in the South. This is big. This is good.

I have visited Korea a couple of times for business. I enjoyed the hell out of each of my trips. So-Korea is a kick ass country filled with smiling hard-working honest open loving people. I can’t imagine the North is much different, other than they are subjugated by a dynastic family and have been terrorized and starved for over 5 decades.

One can only be optimistic for the Peoples of that lovely land.

Gracie walks around with her wireless headphones on. She is listening to SIBC radio. Perhaps, after 35 years of marriage, bliss is fresh coffee, daily newz and a set of wireless headphones?

So… I need to make a move. Have seen enough Newz. It do become redundant after a certain point.

And the beat goez on…

more later

 

Posted by: nativeiowan | April 3, 2018

2018 v4.1sundaycomingdown

So, another Sunday coming down post.

Only its Monday afternoon.

But it feels like Sunday.

Easterweekend. It’s one word. Like Hehasrisen. Or Gawdamnsumbitch.

Have had 8yr old Dylan and his 6yr old brother Max staying with us. It is boarding school holidays so both Angelo (AAA) and Mendoza (M) here too.

So two teens and two boys hanging. Like four pups, working out the pecking order.

Of course M and AAA are at home here. Dylan and Max have settled in pretty well. The big room we call “the dorm” has a four beds and a very sleep-able sofa. The Xbox n cable TV n AV bells n whistles are there.

On school holidays the boys are free to decompress, use bandwidth and manage their interests. I learned with my sons that some times all they want is to be left alone.

I can’t really say if I was that way when I was a teenager. I know I was surly to a degree. But I never had a choice in NOT WORKING. I always had a job or chores or some daily drudgery that I had no say in, I had to do it.

Daily, without fail or prevarication. I learned to enjoy the tasks at hand and the solitude many tasks allows. As a teenager, if I was busy no one fucked with me. No one told me what to do. I come from  a huge family. I am the middle of 9 natural-born. So I had elders n youngers n frustrated parents. Mowing the lawn was a blessing. I got to be alone.

Tho both AAA and M do a lot of work when they are here. Everything from laundry to dishes to lawns, and often babies. They do have heaps of freedom.

Dylan and Max (Terry’s sons) are both here for a visit. Its their first time.  Both are happy to hang with the bigger pups. They like netflicks. So much good viewing is like sugar, but its real good. The pool is busy a couple of hours a day. The bikes n quads n toys are out. It is still raining twice a day so not always conducive to use of the machines.

But we are doing pretty good. Look at the donut tracks in the grass.2018-03-26 17.37.23-1

What they all prefer is to do is what kids have done for a couple of generations… watch the tube… The dorm has two big screens so TV and Xbox running side by side.

I have now reared my sons (Thanks mostly to Gracie) and added two grandsons. So I think I am kinda good with the raising pups.

Like dogs, like pups, all you gotta do is have fun and learn the rules. Learn who is the boss, who you listen to. Learn to follow instructions. Learn to fetch.

I raise good kids and good dogs.

It is fun but it’s also challenging – again – to be having children around. See, these guys are not babies. They are lil-dudes. I had forgotten that lil-dudes are kinda fragile.

I think of my son Paul in the back seat of my mother’s car… between my elder brother Jim and my younger brother Rooster… Both the older hounds where being rough with the pup. When it got a bit rough – noting Paul has always been big and strong so I suspect Paul put an elbow into old-hound Jim’s ribs n Jim struck back and caused pain. The pup thought crying was appropriate.

Jim said “If you can’t hang with the hounds, get off the porch”.

We all laughed and the tears ended.

But it is true…

Dylan is dude-ish enough to hold his own with the big pups. When we first got to the pool I asked if he could swim. He said yes and did a nice dive into the deep end. His soccer skills are good enough to keep pace with both AAA and M, noting both are playing for the A grade soccer team at school. Soccer is one of their “things”.

Max is not yet a dude but ain’t a baby. Tho he still thinks he can get his way by breaking into tears. I just take him into the house. He can be there if things get too rough. Whats the family motto?

Wimps Need Not Apply.

And it is good. Check out the visuals…

Almost perfect. The fragrance insane!2018-03-28 13.13.27

A pot of beans n corn. I prefer to feed the boys really good meals. And I like to cook. So far no complaints or leftovers.2018-03-28 15.24.40

A mess of lasagna. Always make enough for a coupel days of reheating. 2018-04-02 15.26.46

Kuma taking Max for a walk2018-03-28 16.36.35 HDR2018-03-28 16.36.48 HDR

Splitting wood as a past time. My shoulder feeling much better so swinging the big splitting maul is fun.2018-03-31 12.44.18

The first full-log split the old skool way. Mendoza is getting right into it. It is very rewarding when you crack a big log in half with a couple wedegs. 2018-03-31 13.32.40

Old style quartering. End result are long “rails” of unfinished heart-wood. 2018-03-31 13.44.38

M whittling away on a piece heart-wood. Grobably get two nice long sticks out of this one. First step after splitting is trimming with the machete. 2018-04-01 16.42.53 HDR

End result of all this madness will be heart-wood sticks like Don’sdv

Which was a lot of fun to make.IMG_6145IMG_6146IMG_6159

Max at the Australian Zoo.2018-04-03 10.54.31

More later

Posted by: nativeiowan | March 31, 2018

2018 v3.lastday

March is ending.

A blazing bright bigassed moon lights the night’s sky. An impressive display… It is cloudy out but the moon breaks through the clouds and turns night into day. Pretty impressive blue worm moon.

Like they say, “once in a blue moon”. In fact, for 2018, this is twice in the blue moon, in 3 months… pretty impressive.

I’m sitting with the boys watching old movies.

It’s a lazy day for me. I am still recovering from Sheena’s elbows of doom… https://fbmt.simplybook.me/index/about

So I slept late, did a lil-bit of yard work in the midmorn then hung with the boys, watched TV, ate leftovers n achieved little. Gracie went out so it was rather male oriented, meaning we did little other than watch the tube n eat.

I got a bit productive this afternoon and tried out a new idea for physical training. With my shoulder getting better I am going to start working out again. Rather than pumping iron I have decided I am going to start splitting wood.

I am sure you have heard about the 7min high intensity workout, and the upside down brazilian workout… but not the splitting wood workout????

You start with a big arsed log of hard word and start whacking steel wedges into it… 3.18a

We use a couple different hammers n sledges and mauls. Swinging a big maul is good for my shoulder… so you use the big one and the little one and even a smaller hatchet and three small wedges. It’s kinda cool.

If you whack it right, and enough you split the log…2.18b

It’s rather fulfilling to use basic mechanics to split a several hundred kilo log in half. Mendoza came out and played with me. He thought it was cool… So we split another “rail” off the log. As we go we’ll reduce the log to a number of rails.

3.18d

Why you may ask… why not is my reply.

And I’ll turn this luvely dense hardwood log into  few handmade canes… this is one I mae last year… IMG_6146

I sent this one to my odl friend mr DV… he likes it a lot… dv

Pumping iron or splitting wood… it’s all good fun and great exercise and for my shoulder.And I end up with a big arsed log all split up. Makes sense to me.

Been raining a lot. The garden is gorgeous… I reckon this to be as close to perfection as you can get…3.18

and life is good…

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