Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A visit to a farm in the Hunter Valley

Our hosts own a beef cattle farm near Singleton in the Hunter Valley and they took us up there to take a look at it.

The red teardrop is the approximate location of the farm and it takes about 3 hours to drive from their house in Woolwich.

Our bedroom where we stayed the night. I haven't shown a photo of the front of the house for security reasons. It is beautiful old house built in the 1890's.

Back when it was built the family had seven sons and there are quite a few bedrooms.

The house lies in a valley surrounded by hills. The property is about six square miles and includes some of the surrounding hills.

Wide verandas.

Center hallway. The walls are thick and it was quite cold in the center of the house. Our hosts lit a fire to warm the house up a bit.

All the rooms have fireplaces. It gets quite cold in winter and an electric blanket is very welcome at night.

I love this style of eucalyptus tree.

Side veranda that faces the afternoon sun. The black object is a barbecue.

They have a bird feeder.

Lounge room.

Dining room.

The shed where they park their car and a couple of small Honda motor bikes.

Old rain tank and an old horse called Cody.

Cody is 34 years old and for a while they thought he was not doing too well.

Then they added a supplement to his food which apparently helped immensely. Perhaps they should enter him in the Melbourne Cup later this year. Some horse has to come last.

Kitchen. The night before our hosts had cooked corned beef for dinner and when I mentioned that I made corned beef fritters, it was suggested I make them for lunch using the left over corned beef. I duly made them and they turned out quite well since the quality of corned beef in Australia is much superior to the US brisket variety. They use silver-side and topside in Oz.

Old fashioned electricity fittings.

Lovely old tub.

The front gate. The fence is made of steel since the termites eat wooden fences.

The left tank is no longer used, but the other tanks hold diesel and petrol. Farmers in Australia get a discount on the diesel but not the petrol.

Our hosts have a manager who looks after the farm and the cattle. He and his wife live in the house a few hundred yards away.

One of the chimneys. The device to the right is used to extract hot air from the attic in summer.

Metal ceiling. These were very popular in Australian houses of that era.

Lunch in the afternoon sun. Most pleasant. You might notice the rolls which were delicious. Bread in Australia is often very good.

Galah at the feeder. They have a reputation for not having too many brains and 'you stupid galah' is a well used derogatory phrase.

A sulphur-crested cockatoo joined the happy throng. Our host was surprised that the cockatoo did not immediately push the galahs out of the feeder since they are a much bigger bird.

Their cattle are in superb condition.

Mother and calf.

Our hosts drove us around the property in their Toyota Landcruiser.

Steak and sausages for dinner. The meat came from the property and was absolutely superb. Australian grass fed meat is slightly tougher than US grain fed meat but much tastier. We washed it down with a bottle of Hunter Valley red wine.

Morning mist.

Sunrise over the nearby hills.

Stained glass on the front door.

The door on the shed must have been left slightly open and a cow got in. It left some evidence that needed to be removed.

Cody was glad to see us.

Early morning night.

I had my first ride on a motorbike where I was not a passenger.  This Honda model was used by the Post Office for delivery of letters. It was easy to ride and I didn't get above 20 kph.

Filling the tank on the bike. We rode all over the property through paddocks and gullies. Somehow I managed not to fall off. It was all great fun and I was very pleased to have had the experience.

It was fascinating to listen to and watch Ian as he inspected the cattle and the property. Farming is much more complicated than most of us realize and it requires great attention to detail and lots of planning. We are planning to return there some time before we leave Sydney an we are really looking forward to it.