Written by – Kylie Savidge, Owner, Southampton Station.
Whilst many things are the same day in day out, every day is different with the challenges it brings. Sometimes these can be a real curve ball and you have to think on the run and make split second calls on what will happen. There is no set routine as such but there are jobs that must be done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
I will start with the small things. Every day the working dogs must be fed and their waters checked twice a day. My mother has milking goats who think it hilarious to make the dogs bark and to also drink their water. In summer this can kill a dog if it’s water is drunk in the early part of the day and the dog goes without water in high temperatures. It doesn’t happen often but it can happen.
Then the horses need feeding, those that are in the horse paddock and are rostered on job wise 😉 Also the mare and foal need to be fed and have their waters checked. Legionnaire is the latest addition to our (Brian protested vocally here and says I need to say it is Kylie’s horse herd!) horse herd and is about one month old. He and his dam are locked up in our weaner yard which is about five or so acres. They are getting better fed locked up then if they were outside. The horses who are bushed are checked and fed twice weekly on copra meal. I have 13 horses.
The small calves that were “weaned” at about 12 weeks old are in the house cattle yards and require checking every day and feeding every second day hay and cotton seed.
Water runs need to be done and troughs checked every time you drive past to make sure there is nothing dead or otherwise in them. Dams that are drying up need to be checked for bogged wild life and livestock.
Mineral supplement runs (also known as ‘lick’ runs) are done every ten days and are extremely important to the health of our cattle.
Dozers have a maintenance schedule that sees them greased, fuelled, and air filters blown out on a weekly basis with general maintenance fitted in when possible. Each tractor is working every second day for up to seven hours pushing scrub to feed cattle.
Chainsaws are serviced as needed which mostly means about every 2nd or 3rd tank of fuel that goes through them.
Bikes and work vehicles get a monthly check over.
Things can go wrong and you just have to deal with them the best you can. For example the dozer getting stuck on a log or my bike breaking down.
Water is our highest priority right now as without water everything stops. We recently set up another tank at the house to store bore water in and unfortunately nobody checked the tap at the bottom of the 2nd tank, the tank was hooked up and water pumped in and it happily flowed straight out the other side, somewhere in the vicinity of 80,000 litres was lost. I wasn’t out there but even 110km away I felt the devastation of this as water is so very precious right now. It was everyone’s and no one’s fault if that makes any sense. I’d like to think if we were out there when this happened we would have thought to check that tap. As the pumping was done overnight it wasn’t seen til the next day. We pump water through at night so the bore tanks can catch up before cattle start watering during the day. Water is pumped about six or so kilometres to the house.
Again with water. On the September holidays a joiner had pulled in one of our poly lines and emptied nearly a tank of water on to the ground. Jack was sent to check the line and found the leak, thinking quickly he turned around a raced back to the tank that feeds that line and turned the outlet off thus saving some of the water. He came and got me and we went a fixed the pipe. There was one great puddle of water sitting in the middle of nowhere and I mentioned to him to be careful when driving past as he might get bogged.
Well someone did get bogged there but not Jack! Brian went out to check that water was flowing into the No 4 trough and forgot about the wet patch, drove straight in, bogged himself to the diff and door on the driver’s side and had to radio for help! Now Ricky was a recovery mechanic in the British Army and he found this absolutely hilarious that a “reccy mac” was required and that his hard earned skills were put to good use! Sadly for the sake of pride no photos were taken but a carton was on the cards! Since that incident we have had a few circumstances that required Ricky the “reccy mac” to be called in for.
We had a fire in a shed a few weekends ago; fortunately we were all at Southampton when this happened. Brian and I awoke to a very loud explosion and a large orange glow reflecting in our bedroom windows and doorway at around 12:30am on Sunday. Upon throwing a few clothes on and running outside (we thought Dad and Mum’s house was on fire) we discovered one of the work utes well alight. This shed is near our old pine house and right next to a power pole. It was action stations and in a bloody hurry!
I woke Ricky and Rheanna. Brian started putting out the fire that was coming in to our house yard and wetting down the power pole, we had very little water to fight it with and no pressure at all. Mum started filling buckets in the laundry until I could hook a hose up to the pressure pump. Ricky and Rheanna were taking buckets from the rain water tank, I grabbed a chain and hooked up the Holden (the ute on fire) to another ute and Dad towed it out of the shed and onto a bare patch of ground.
Brian by this time had shifted two motor bikes, a pump, and a ute out of harm’s way. We couldn’t save Meghan’s little TTR 90 as it was just too hot to get close to. Brian then took the time to get some boots on and the bucket brigade had shifted to the end of the hose about 15 metres from the burning vehicle where Mum had about 38 buckets filling ( I have not yet laid eyes on these buckets in the daylight when I need one) we dumped bucket after bucket of water on the ute and eventually got the cab out. I went and got boots then as I had been barefoot and was not taking time to put boots on first up whilst all hands were needed. The fire was out by about 2am and we all went back to bed about 3am satisfied that all was cold and nothing more would happen.
Dad had burnt his hand grabbing a PVC tool bag but apart from being sore and tired none of us were injured and we only lost the ute and the bike, not our house which could have been the case.
Meghan was shattered when she found out about her motorbike and cried when she saw the shell of the bike. She was just starting to learn to ride it and loved it that she could go for a bike ride with Dad as well as horse rides with Mum.
We are not sure what started the fire in the ute but it has been blamed on the electric fuel pump. Brian had been working on the ute on Saturday afternoon and was not happy with the way the fuel pump had been behaving and he had said as much to me. He also told me he had taken out the keys and put them on the dash if I needed to find them as he wanted the circuit closed.