Lots less wheels

We’ve been a 4-car family for a while now.  A work car (Calais), a 4WD farm car (X-trail), the old ute as well as the old work car (Camry).

The old ute has been on death row for a while, but it’s got us out of many scrapes.  It’s been useful around the farm, and we might have kept it just for that, but now it has blown the starter motor.

I’m no mechanic, and it’s not worth enough to justify having professionals fix it.  So it will go to the wrecker.

The X-trail has been a comfortable and very useful car, but it’s done a head gasket and has been in for repairs for the last week.  Apparently they are prone to this.  Grrr.

We bought the Calais because the Camry was on its last legs.  The Calais runs on gas or petrol, so it’s good for the regular run into Canberra.

The Camry has mostly been driven by wwoofers, mostly for short trips into Goulburn though Pat did drive it to the medieval festival north of Sydney.   The motor was sounding increasingly dreadful, and again it wasn’t worth the cost of repairs.  It was due to go to the wreckers in 4 weeks when its registration expired.

With the X-trail out of commission, we’ve been back to the Camry as our second vehicle and for towing.  It’s still a very comfortable car, and really good for fuel economy.  We’ve been driving it with our fingers crossed, hoping the engine would get us back each time.  But now its starter motor has given out too, and again there’s no point in fixing it.

I think we do need one backup car that we’re happy for wwoofers to drive, and able to tow a trailer.  When the bank balance recovers from these recent repairs, I might look out for something suitable.

The horses

(posted a week later, sorry)

As I’ve mentioned before, this was a bad summer for riding horses.  Lets of rain, including a month of almost continuous wet.

My young Clydesdale Gawaine played a trick on wwoofers Lulu and Michelle one day, spinning his body around to nearly knock them over.  Worked really well, so he kept on doing it.  As he’s nearly a tonne of horsemeat, they found this a bit disturbing and refused to work with him.

He tried the same with me, and ran into my steady fist with a pointed knuckle.  Ouch!  No fun any more.

We moved him back in with the charming gelding Chad, and since then Gawaine has returned to his traditional good manners.

Last weekend, I took Gawaine for a ride — his first for a long time.  Michelle was going to ride Paulie, but he’s decided he doesn’t want to be caught, and worked out that if stays in the muddy corner I can’t come and get him.  So she rode brat-boy Doc, who was also well out of work but shouts “pick me” when you come into the paddock.

And both of them were great.  Back to their best – a lovely ride.

Here’s a quick update on the other horses:

* Gawaine’s mum Domino is being a paddock ornament — she was going to be in foal to a Gypsy Cob stallion, but she’s hard to handle and couldn’t meet the stud requirements.  She might go back to Gawaine’s dad in spring.

* Rocky the very tall thoroughbred had a foot injury last year, and we rode him a couple of times carefully.  Great to ride but starting to get old.

* Chad is looking great, and is always a pleasure to have around.

* Paulie is friendly if go to him in the paddock, but he runs off if you come with a lead rope.  Have to work on him.

* Bonnie the old mare we fed to the lions.  She was having real trouble with arthritis on colder days, her hind legs had withered to nothing, and she was having trouble eating and drinking.  She would not have lasted another winter.  We could have got a neighbour to shoot her, but what do you do with the carcass?  If she had been trucked away, she would have collapsed in the truck. So we had the zoo come and put her down humanely, and they took away the body.  The end result is what would have happened in the wild, so it completed a natural cycle.  Looking into this for slower wwoofers too.

* Jasmine the miniature horse was overweight with too much grass, so she’s locked in the orchard behind the houses.  During a recent big storm she climbed onto the back verandah and made plaintive faces at the back door to be allowed in the house.  Bad luck Jasmine.