Painful fall as Ball Face ousted as king of the bulls

The farm’s most aggressive bull has reigned for about two years as no other bull, even those who stood several inches taller, were as mean as Ball Face.

Wayne put him in the bull paddock last night. This morning Ball Face was missing. We discovered snapped wires along the laneway and figured the grader had clipped the fence, shorting out the power, so after the afternoon rounding up, it fell to me and the kids to restore the circuit and find the errant king while Wayne milked.

I fixed the laneway and found Ball Face and Fernando in the newly planted-out wetland. Aargh! Not my precious revegetation!!! The pair of them had left a trail of sagging wires and were busily roughing up some melaleucas. Can you spot them?

BullsInWetland

I sallied forth armed with a pigtail post and a long piece of poly pipe, leaving strict instructions for Zoe to stay on top of the Bobcat. I tried to look big and summoned my growliest voice. Magically, the two of them hopped out quite obediently. All that was left was to strain the three wires and turn the fence back on. Until this.

BallFaceChase

No one bull may have been game to take Ball Face on but a pack of them wanted him dead. Shrieking but quick, Zoe snapped this pic as the group charged towards us and I scrambled back onto the Bobcat. They thundered right around us and pursued Ball Face, literally pushing him through the fence (again) a hundred metres further up the paddock.

The fence strainer got a workout and then it was off, again, with pigtail post and poly pipe to remove Ball Face from his refuge. The gang stayed close to the fence and it was painfully obvious they would give him the medicine all over again, so I put him on the far side of the wetland, nine strands of hotwire away.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a king deposed by a gang. Normally, it happens when an upstart matures, challenging the patriarch to a one-on-one duel with the rest watching. But then, Ball Face is something extraordinary. Maybe it really is time for him to go.

Kicking back on the farm

By far the coolest animals on our dairy farm are the 2 year olds.

Just kicking back

With the fearlessness and carefree existence of youth, these girls really know how to relax!

“Cool” is also the understatement of the month for Spring 2012. The area set aside for revegetation is earning its sexy NRM-funding title of ‘ephemeral wetland’ with more regularity than I would like.

Does this count as the fifth flood of 2012?

On the other hand, the grass is growing in between inundations. If it would just stop raining for a couple of weeks, we might get some silage tucked away for summer!

Mother duck speeds her charges away from the cow track as the herd passes by.

Finding pleasure in the small stuff

Gully reflections

Smile at the small stuff

The silver lining to the devastation of the flood is that I’m enjoying some of the farm’s special secret spots. The relentless hunt for shorts in the fence bring me to lovely quiet places like this where time seems to stand still and there is no mobile reception.

I’ve been impressed to see how well the trees planted last summer with the Victorian Mobile Landcare Group fellows have not only coped but thrived in the wet conditions.

9 month old trees

Only nine months after planting, these trees are firing on all cylinders

Even trees that I gave up for dead are emerging. The wetland was planted out with 800 blackwoods, melaleucas and swamp gums two years ago. The hardy melaleucas are staging a comeback after months of at least partial submersion!

New trees in the wetland

Swamp paperbarks emerge from the morass

The favoured maxim might be “don’t sweat the small stuff” but I must admit to savouring the small stuff, especially when it’s such an important part of the big picture.