Host: Koordarrie Station
Written by Kristie de Pledge – Owner, Koordarrie Station.
Sweat dripping down your back, your shirt sticks and its only 8 o’clock in the morning. Welcome to summer in the Pilbara!
Every station has its own rhythm and traditions over summer, some folk escape to the south or the beach for a period of time. Some hunker down and take on a ‘Survive not Thrive’ motto. I think for most people it really depends on whether Mother Nature has smiled upon you and blessed you with the wet stuff.
No one is going to complain if you get enough rain to limit your activities to the homestead, though of course there’s the other end of the scale in getting too much, like the Gascoyne (WA) area did in December 2010, taking them from drought to hiding on rooftops to escape swollen rivers in a matter of hours. Poor things haven’t had a decent drop since.
Anyway, this blog post is about what we do in summer and I will have a look at a few projects we have done. Nearly all the cattle handling occurs in the cooler months of the year, it’s much more pleasant for all involved. Of course sometimes it happens over summer, people still need to eat right?
Cows relaxing, while they wait for rain.
So this summer has involved some building, which included a carport to get cars out of the shed and a roof and verandah on our guest accommodation donga.
Rory and our son Joe – five, cleaning out post holes.
Two summers ago, we laid nine kilometres of pipeline from a bore called “Marion’s” to a new tank we had put in and named “King’s”. It was hot, really hot, that summer. We named it this for the family that managed Koordarrie for the McGrath’s who owned it for 30 years from 1920 to 1950. King’s tank is closer to the coast (the lease stops 40 metres landward of the high water mark) and opens up some fresh country that has previously been too far from water for cattle to use effectively. This spreads the grazing pressure out more evenly, resting country, grasses, and shrubs.
Pipe waiting to be welded to the next length.
Yard building is also a favourite summer job, there’s nothing like welding in 45 degree heat for weight loss! Rory and two helpers built our main yards last summer, completing the main bones of it in two weeks. Of course it’s an ongoing project, but it’s pretty much done now.
Race for processing cattle being prepared.
Posts ready to go.
Fencing also features strongly on our summer jobs list, with a steer paddock, trucking paddock, and boundary fence going up in the last couple of years.
Altogether this is approximately 70 kilometres of fencing completed . . . and it ain’t over yet!
The steer paddock helps us to be able to muster them as needed and they are on some of the best country on Koordarrie, the paddock taking an area of 15 x 8 kms.
The trucking paddock is a small paddock attached to the yards, so cattle due to be trucked out in a few days can be easily and quickly gathered, saving us feeding hay in the yards.
No story about summer would be complete without mentioning the dreaded dust storms. Even city people have experienced dust storms sometimes! They really can be impressive, though the clean up afterwards is rather not.
She’s rolling in.