A quiet weekend

A quiet weekend … how lovely.

Owen (my son) asked if he could have a friend over for a sleepover, so I did need to go into Canberra on Saturday morning.  Then the boys kept themselves busy for the weekend.

Then there was a Permaculture Goulburn meeting.  We proposed such an organisation a year ago, and were thinking of holding a barbecue to kick it off.  Actually we wimped on that when we got too busy, but now there are two separate and rival Permaculture Goulburn groups!  So I went along to a garden tour and caught up with some of the permaculture community.

Halfway through that, I got a call from Allison to say that our friend Jan — and two sons — had found some time to come over and mark (castrate) our calf.

Longtime readers of this blog may remember Tasty the Calf, and our previous attempt to sort this matter out.  Anyway, he has been up to his middle in clover in the bottom paddock, and Tasty the Bull is getting ever bigger, so this surgery was becoming increasingly urgent.

So I raced home and hopped on Paulie the horse to help round Tasty up.  Actually Jan and Shane (and their horses) did most of this work, but having a third horse really did help.  Heather the cow did challenge Jan, but then backed down and headed along the fence line and into our new stockyards.

With some juggling, and some heroics from Jan and Craig, we did get the calf into the crush.  This is a moving wall that catches the neck and (somewhat) immobilises the animal.  Mum (with the huge swinging horns) was in the next section of the crush and letting us know that she was seriously unhappy.

The next stage was rather slower than planned.  It turns out that highland cattle with their winter coat are really, really hairy.  It was quite an operation just finding the testes, and the calf had an unusually small sac and an undescended testis.  Anyway, Jan was able to deal with all this as a fairly neat job, but it did involve quite a bit of fiddling about restraining the rather unimpressed calf.  He did get through it all OK and is happy enough now.

We then resaddled Paulie and wwoofer Joonas had a ride — he’s now trotting really well.  Our other wwoofers, John and Romain, had the option of riding too, but weren’t so keen.  Then I did some work on my cantering, and Allison went for a boundary ride.  It turned out to be a lovely sunny day, so again it was great riding weather.

After that, we gathered the kids and the wwoofers and headed off to the Parkesbourne Old-time Dance.  I’ve blogged about this before; it happens twice a year and we regard it as our cultural duty to inflict this relic of 1940s Australia on our wwoofers.  John and Joonas came along, but we couldn’t convince Romain.  We all had a great time, and caught up with lots of friends.

Sunday morning was domestic duties.  The last few weekends have been rainy, so our laundry was overflowing.  We’ve made good inroads into that, and we also tackled the kitchen and loungeroom.

Allison killed a couple of ducks and made a stew.  I made some very yummy mince and fruit and spinach tarts (broadly to a medieval recipe) and John made some stunning bread.  Which we took to…

The Canberra medieval club (www.sca.org.au/politarchopolis) had its monthly “pot luck” dinner.  This is a fairly informal gathering of about 20 people, in costume.  We (and wwoofers) had a good time there too.

And then home to bed.  Thank goodness for quiet weekends.

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