Friday 28 October 2011

Hawaiian Fun Friday

Our classroom totem pole

It has been a long time coming but we finally got around to having our first fun Friday of the term and our classroom went to Hawaii.

We made mini fruit skewers for smoko
We had volcanic beverages with our Hawaiian pizza scrolls for lunch - all made by the kids.
We all wrote our names in Hawaiian
We hulaed our afternoon away after learning a bit about the dance and its history.
The kids played in fresh and salt water
as well as making an ocean using the shells and coral I had collected for them.
We also played a traditional Hawaiian throwing game that is a lot like horseshoes, did the very unhawaiian limbo and had a look at some information about the Hawaiian islands.
When asked the kids said that they had FUN ... yay I achieved my goal.
It was a nice day and a fabulous break from the thoughts of fires.

Now for the next Fun Friday ... any ideas?

Wednesday 19 October 2011

A 'normal' day

Today has been one of those pretty normal days.
A special moment between horse and rider.
Get up and go through the routine. No interruptions nothing out of the ordinary.

So I thought it was high time I informed everyone about what it is I do each day. So here is a brief version of our daily timetable.
6:30/ 7:00 (ish) Breakfast usually cooked and either made by Boss Lady R or myself.

After breakfast is when I get organised for the day make sure resources are where I want them, cut out etc. Sometimes I do it before just depends.

8:00 Start school
8:00 - 8:30 Spelling Mastery, maths
8:30 - 9:00 Mr Preppy is on air and everyone else is doing maths

9:00 - 9:15 1st Smoko
9:15 - 10:00 Miss S On Air, Mr R and Miss E maths, Mr E 1st session of prep work

Mr E's pattern making.

10:00 - 10:45 Miss E On Air, Mr R English, Miss S Maths, Mr E session 2 and 3

Miss S working in her 'bomb site'.

10:45 - 11:00 2nd Smoko
11:00 - 11:30 Mr R and Miss E On Air reading and handwriting some days reading overlaps, Miss S LAC (English etc combined), Mr E session 4

Talking to Mr E on his phone.

11:30 - 11:45 short thinking game, times tables, silly song or story
11:45 - 12:30 Mr R On Air, Miss E english, Miss S LAC, Mr E free play

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch mostly prepared by me, Mr E is finished for the day
1:30 - 2:30 Mr R and Miss E CLC (science, art, music etc combined), Miss S LAC

2:30 - 3:00 Computer time if finished, Miss S LAC
3:00 - 3:30 Art or games if the kids want but quiet often Miss S is still working.

3:30 School is finished but on a long day Miss S has been know to still be working at 4:30 but she hasn't done that for a while. The kids then go and play. I make sure the schoolroom is tidied up and do anything that might need to be done for the next day and fill out feedback sheets.
4:30 Job time I usually call the kids up from where ever they have disappeared so they can do the chooks, goats, pigs and dogs.

7:00 (ish) Dinner - depending on what has been happening I may or may not have cooked or helped cook it. Then I help clean up after it.

And that is it ... our school day.
However more often than not it doesn't run anything like this in fact I think tomorrow we will be in the yards so I better live up the 'normal' while I can.

Monday 17 October 2011


Dry storms are the bane of peoples lives out here, especially at this time of year when the grass is as dry as hay and will go up with the slightest spark. So while half the state is complaining about rain and possible flooding I really wish they would shove a cork in it because right now we need rain in any way it will come.

We have had about a week of mostly dry storms building up and coming across but on Friday afternoon we copped a doozy. We drove through it on the way back from cluster. There was lightning, thunder and hail but very little in the way of rain.

Several more storms came across in the course of the evening. Lightning hit its target in many places started the biggest fire many have seen in these parts. By Saturday night just one fire stretched approximately 60km from across the neighbours boundary up to and across the boundary adjoining the property I am on. With a bit of luck (because the wind held) and some back burning we managed to save the neighbours house but the rest of the property didn't fair so well.


 We then moved back onto this place to fix the broken down grader which was supposed to be grading fire breaks. At about 1 o'clock in the morning we started back burning here. With the grader still broken it was the only chance to stop the fire or at least slow it down. So with the neighbours help out came the fire bugs and off we went setting fire to along the already graded track. Watching out for fire jumping the line.  All went as planned and we were able to head back to the house to crawl into our beds at around 3:30am.

Silly, silly me was awake again at 6am and it was light so no more sleep for me ... grrr!

We got everything ready to go again food, water, first aid kit etc. After one false start we had to head off after lunch to another property who had fire heading for their house. In the end a grader was organised to clear around their house, sheds and tanks the rest was left to luck which has held so far.

Next we headed off to yet another fire on another neighbours property. This time we were able to be of more assistance. We helped back burn along a fence line once it was dark and the wind had died down. Boss ladies H and R, Miss K (from the property we were on) and myself were the crew behind the front of the burn who had to put out anything that jumped the line. The fire of cause did jump it about three times but was stopped every time and the paddock they wanted saved is still there.

We got back here at about 9:30 last night and after a medicinal beverage to help us sleep, not that anyone needed the help, we crawled into bed for an early one as did many on the properties around us using the reprieve in the weather to their advantage.

So far there is nothing new on the fire front around us but now is when it will flare up again. Most of the work is done in the evening and at night because the fire is easier to see, it is cooler to work and the wind dies down so the fire slows down. We spend a lot of time checking out the North Australian Fire Information website ( and although it seems to be a bit behind on fire outbreaks at least you can see what is happening.

Mustering October

It is mustering time again. A bit late but better late than never.

Mustering here mainly happens on horses.

Getting ready to go.
Last week mustering started. All the cows need to be brought into the yards be given their needles and have their calves/ weaners taken off them.

Nothing like a good dust bath.
I think they happened to choose the hottest week so far with storms brewing and on occasions dropping some much needed rain.  I don't believe however that working cattle on horse back in the rain would be the most comfortable experience however at least it is cooler once it does.

Ready and waiting.
Only two days of work have been done so far but when finished what should be around 500 weaners will then be tailed along the fence lines for around two weeks so that they learn how to go into a mob and stay together for when they are mustered in the future.

Putting on spurs.

Off they go.

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Back to School Term 4

Wow, I can't believe how fast the year is flying by, term 4 already. Now as you probably already know I was lucky enough to head to the coast for the holidays. After that my family and I headed north up the coast for a couple of days and then they got to come see my stomping ground :) Almost 3000km and a week and a half later I returned to the property with my family in tow.

My bosses pulled out all the stops for them, bringing out the golden carriage (clunky old toyota) and taking them on a partial grand tour of the property.

They were even lucky enough to take part in a bit of pig chasing

and the pulling a bore, something that even I hadn't done. Speaking of which they themselves hadn't pulled a bore in a few years and as of the end of this week have pulled three (two of which were the same bore, painful).

Now we are only a week into school and already I have run away to the coast again for the weekend. It has been such a hard week too (sarcasm intended). We had the children's teachers come out on Monday afternoon and leave on Tuesday afternoon.

On the Monday afternoon after the normal smoko routine with visitors the grand tour began again. However this time the boys had taken the toyota out with them to pull a bore (the one that had to be done again). We took the teachers out to the Gorge Dam which is the best swimming place because of its clear water. The kids after much begging were allowed to swim :) On the way to the Gorge dam we stopped in at the bore the fellas were working on to tell them where we were headed so yet again visitors got the witness the pulling of a bore. It seems to be turning into quite a tour point.

On the Tuesday morning we wrangled a very reluctant Boss H into taking us up to the mazes that are right on the edge of the great divide. So out came the golden chariot to cart us all up there. Of 'cause we couldn't just go for fun, we did the lick / molasses run at the same time. So the old toyota truck came along for part of the trip too, with its molasses tank on the back.

Until this week I hadn't seen the mazes and undoubtedly being directionally challenged as I am would never find them again myself but I would love to go up there again. The mazes are rock formations on the property where the rock has cracked and nearly pealed away from the hill leaving huge deep cracks in the rock. You can walk around through them exploring passages and crevices in the rock. The kids loved exploring as did the teachers. In that area there is also a lot of ant hills which  are fascinating creations.

We headed back down to the house for smoko. Then the kids finally got to spend some time with their teachers in the schoolroom completing reading tests, spelling tests or just plain having fun like Mr Preppy and Mr T. Unfortunately the teachers had to head back early afternoon so that they would make it back to the school before dark. Their company was enjoyed by all and the emails coming back are reporting that they also had an amazing time