Host: Noreena Downs Station
Written by: Kate Paull – Owner/Manager, Noreena Downs Station.
The main house (kit home) that my mum lives in was built by my Dad with the help of Mum and us four children who worked out how well gyprock broke when you rammed into it. I bet we were an awesome help.
The spectacular gardens and lawns were started off by my Mum and are still manicured/done by her to date. If you were to ask me how many pot plants? A lot – maybe 100, nah not really I’m exaggerating.
Video: A bit of the homestead area, workshop, and some equipment – so nervous when making this video so apologies for any repeated words, um’s and ah’s.
I still feel rather naked showing everyone the above video as it represents that we live very basic and unflashy but my family wouldn’t have it any other way we would rather spend the money on our cattle than live spoilt and keeping up with society but we very much appreciate the little things that make up the difference.
We have one workshop, three vehicle sheds, one old falling down woolshed (still can store bits and bobs in it), hay and all sorts of other things shed, windmill room (at mine and Nathan’s place) and a lot of stuff about to do our station things like fencing gear, assorted metals and steels galore, poly pipe, tanks, and just in general just everything you need to fix and make things.
Some of our plant equipment includes:
The merc – Mercedes truck with trailer to cart cattle and horses (we don’t use horses at current but will again one day)
Champion grader (the apricot)
Hitachi loader (Archie)
John Deere tractor
A decent number of work vehicles with names like The Bitches Box, 8XE, Grandad, Harold, Big Al, V8, Green machine, Gerty, Dual cab, Tex’s buggy, single hilux, and dual cab. PS this is not all of them.
Bikes galore: 2 x Honda XR25o, 8 x Honda CRF230, Yamaha TTR250, 3 x Polaris magnum 330 (old), 1 x Can Am 400 and I have my own personal Can Am 500 given to me as a gift from Nathan – very lucky girl.
A few intriguing old machines we have are a CAT 12 grader (Dad’s beast), Toyota D truck with old style crate, Bedford truck and Countryman 6 tractor that one day if I ever get enough money put aside Dave (mechanic friend of the family) hopefully and I can get them going up to scratch and restore them.
For staff quarters we have six single man dongas, two double room dongas, a laundry, toilet and shower block, and a small but cosy TV room with Foxtel and heaps of old DVDs to watch and a beer fridge of course.
Near the staff quarters is a fire drum where staff and family sit/stand around at the end of a day in winter and tell yarns or drink a well earned beer. Joe built the new big Fort Knox chook house extended on from the old one.
For our poultry collection we have Barry and Bella the turkeys, Trevor the male drake (man duck), Sadie the young drake, two unnamed female ducks, one of which is laying more eggs – more ducklings, Mama duck and her brood of six, one guineafowl, three chooks, two roosters one called speedy Gonzales, six geese, and some strange little bantam chooks but real tiny and feral.
Mum has a mini sausage (fine hair dash hound) dog called Matches, who is soooo cute and tail wagglingly funny but by god so naughty. If you have a lizard and goanna problem (we like our lizards) no problem he’s your man, the little twerp kills them – not cool. He hates snakes though and barks and growls to alert us and points in the direction with his long nose.
Matches will spend all day out in the garden even on the hottest days just stalking the lizards, wagging his tail constantly. Mum reckons he goes to sleep each night and dreams of food and wakes up pudgier, I wonder if he is trying to hide the evidence and eat the lizards.
My brother Joe has this lovely big dog called Tex (named after my Dad), he is a Johnson American bulldog. For a big dog his nature is beyond soft and docile, it would take a light-year to rile this dog up. Tex generally slinks at his pace no faster than a turtle, he LOVES people and being with them so he’s generally in the shed watching Joe, suffocating sprinklers on the lawn not far from Mum, on the flat near homestead battering his eyelids at everyone to see if they will take him dwivees (drive), sleeping in the shade with the poddies, at mine and Nathan’s place when I’m preparing food ogling it, or feeding the poddy calves waiting to lick their poo – disgusting. Tex’s biggest aim of the day when it’s warm is to get into the house where Mum might have an aircon going, climb up on one of the reclining chairs or couch and SLOTH IT OUT till the late evening when it cools down.
A couple of days ago Joe took Tex to the vet about a rash he had, when the vet decided it would be good for him to have an x-ray on one of his back legs that he was sore on, it had been sore for a couple of weeks we thought he must have just dinged it, so x-ray happened and end result was Tex had buggered his crucial ligament (not good), cause he is such a big dog if the leg gets left unfixed the other leg will probably go from trying to support the injured, so poor Joe has to take his big boof headed dog Tex all the way to Perth to have an operation that will cost too many thousands, which is a storm in a teacup if you love your dog so much as my brother does, Tex and Joe are like peas and corn, Joe would be lost without his drooler.
Nathan and I live down in the old shearer’s quarters (many many years ago Noreena use to be a sheep station). We have several pets, lots of poddy calves, and one female duck called yeah wait for it ‘DUCKY’ . . . how original! That was given to us as a one day old duckling as an engagement present by Bella and Barry from Ethel creek station, Ducky has already raised two broods of ducklings and is a psycho little mother (she is extremely over protective), for a little duck she has no fear and can be very scary and irritating but when she’s got no littlees she’s quite fun, loves a chat and scratch, digging up the shower drain and adores caught frogs from Nathan (prefers Nathan) and likes to sleep next to us outside.
Video: Mine and Nathan’s place
We don’t have a kitchen yet so we do our cooking on the barbeque and in the slow cooker outside and when the generator is off boil the kettle on the barbeque, we wash the dishes in a tub on a trestle table outside, the hot water for our dishes we get out of our hot water system relief valve. Nathan and I are living like Kings in the outside world and as the old saying goes home is where the heart is.
The generator goes off every night approx 9.10 pm, so everyone on Noreena in summer (inside during winter) sleeps outside in our swags on an old shearers bed or bed frame. Has anyone reading this slept outside and looked up to this shimmery sparkly crystal display (stars) clear as? If you haven’t do it one day in a nice quiet place, you won’t regret it.
For me it’s such an indulgement to sleep under the stars and listen to the crickets or curlews or neither, such serenity and peace. I have tried taking a good picture of stars for you but was highly unsuccessful.
The generator goes back on in the morning, sevenish during summer and 4.00 to 5.00 am during mustering, first thing in the morning for me is usually checking something, cleaning my quaint house, or preparation for the day, second pit stop is coffee. My Mum does exactly the same, mother and daughter alike and proud of it.
Tomorrow’s blog – Jenny Jones form the UK will give her experience at Noreena Downs and in the Pilbara, what is it really like to rock up at a cattle station to work.