Host: Blina Station
Written by – Connie Gray, Station Hand, Blina Station.
Blina Station has been on fire!! Yesterday afternoon, we were drafting up this year’s weaner steers and we had a bit of a storm . . . and with storms . . . comes lightning! We had a number of separate fires across the property, with some very close to the homestead – our house is on a hill, so I had a very good view of the goings on. Apologies for the yucky photos – my little ‘point and shoot’ camera isn’t too flash at taking speccy shots!!!
Our main method of fire-fighting is back burning – where someone sits on the back or in the Toyota and using a road or graded track as a fire break – we light up a low intensity fire to eat up any potential ‘fuel’ (grass/fodder) for the fire to run in. We use a fire bug and a mixture of diesel and petrol fuel.
Normally, I am the fire-bug balancing off the edge of the Toyota, while Matt side-swipes me off on trees and sends me running through the scrub . . . I swear he takes great enjoyment in making me rabbit-run through the bundle-bundle, awkward fire-bug in hand . . . but last night I got to get my own back and I was in the comfy seat in the Toyota while Matt played fire bug!! I must admit that the temptation was a little too much, and I ran awfully close to a few trees!!
This year at Blina we have had a heap of fires, both natural and man-made so Matt and the crew have been busy lighting the place up. We use fire as a pasture management tool as well. The old, rank grass has little nutritional value for the cattle, once it is burnt off and cops a bit of rain, it re-shoots and provides sweet green pick which is high in protein = fat cattle and horses. Usually we light up twice a year – once at the beginning of the dry and then lightning usually takes care of rank grass during the build up to the wet. Matt isn’t too worried about letting a couple of these recent fires run, as they have been started in paddocks which have already burnt and they will hit previously burnt country and run out of grass to burn. At times, you have to burn a little bit of country to save a lot – and you have to be careful, as once a paddock is burnt out – there will be no feed for the stock until it rains – so it is a careful balancing act and important decisions have to be made very quickly.
We are quite exhausted here at the big house as well as across the station, as Matt and I headed out to check the fire and do some more back burning at about 10.30pm and got to bed about 12.30, and up at 3am to check it again! The crew have been fighting fires across the station, at times this can be a 24 hour job when you get a big fire, and sometimes we have to take shifts back burning and monitoring. All fires are under control after a hectic 24 hours at Blina.
We also mustered our weaner steers removed from Mum during the second round yesterday. We weighed them into three separate weight ranges for different times of delivery next year. We carted two lines to Kimberley Downs, where they will grow out over the wet.
This morning, four of us walked away our heavier line of weaner steers to their wet season paddock while the others paddock carted cattle and fought fires!! I had quite a speccy sight, watching the smoke in the distance while in the lead of the mob. Unfortunately I didn’t take my trusty camera!!
At Blina we butcher our own beef, and one of our jobs this arvo was to cut up the meat. Here is a snap of some of us cutting up the beef ready to be frozen.
After a busy busy day at Blina, I will sign off and encourage you to read on tomorrow as you may read all about the Hallen family situated at Ellendale outstation!!