The joys and tears of farming.

I grew up until I went to primary school during WW11 on a farm. And I spent some time there during my primary school years but I could never claim to have been trained in the administrative aspects of farming. I loved dipping sheep and having the occasional pet lamb. I kept the sheep up to the shearers and helped take them to different paddocks. I’d hold them while their tails were docked and the ram lambs were made into wethers but I never learnt about rotating paddocks and my grandfather had many paddocks spread around the district. It was a good way to grow up but I couldn’t say that I was an educated sheep farmer.

Some years ago I bought a bit of land as an investment (I didn’t have much superannuation), with the plan of later subdividing it. This was a reasonable aim as it was gazetted by the local government to be able to be sub-divided as soon as town water was brought to the area. But as the water came the local government decided to stop one small block away from my property and changed the gazetting so that it was no longer able to be subdivided.

When I retired from my chosen profession and returned from missionary type work in Ethiopia we moved to our small 100 acre block and decided to start a small flock of Dorper sheep, to use the land and give us a bit to do. Why Dorpers – because they shed their wool and don’t need to be shorn. They breed about every 8 months and produce many twins and triplets and have high quality meat.

And as you can see in this picture we are getting a good crop of lambs. White, black, spots of brown but they are mainly white. One set of twins have black tips to their noses and black short socks, etc. New life is wonderful! Seeing them playing chasey (or however you spell it!) and frolicking joyously is grand!

BUT….. But there are dingoes (or maybe it was a pack of wild dogs) which killed two ewes and a lamb a couple of weeks ago. So we have been keeping them locked up at night. The neighbour, who had lost many more sheep, put out, with council authority, baits and we have no more losses to canines. But last night a dingo was howling nearby. So we must still be careful. And in one day we lost 4 lambs – two still born and two killed by eagles. Well one of the still born ones was very small and still alive when I let them out in the morning. I initially though it was dead but saw a small flicker of breath, gave it some mouth to nose resuscitation, and brought it home to warm it and try to feed it – but it died a few hours later. The second eagle attack was on a much bigger lamb but there were talon marks near its shoulder which I think had gone into its lung and another deep injury over its hind quarter. Again we brought it home and tried to care for it, but it died shortly afterwards.

The first little one mentioned above. At least she died warm, and cared for. Wasn’t she lovely?

Even the death of a little lamb claws at my emotions. I hate and I cannot understand the abortion industry.

Some may call me a hypocrite as I still am a carnivore. But I insist that animals be killed ‘humanely’. And I shudder with the word humane as I think of abortions and the cruelty of wars and domestic violence and the like.

Dominic Cartier

A son of whom to be proud…

I open my iPhone by facial recognition. My son can open my phone by looking at it, so you can understand that we look pretty much the same. In fact very much the same! His fingerprints are different and he is much more broadly talented than I am! I will list a few things which he does now around our place and hint at some of how these things have been acted out in the past.

He has set me up, me, who knew virtually nothing about IT so that I can blog and email etc. He was in charge of the IT equipment at Canberra University years ago, and still manages our church program for sending throughout the world, etc, etc.

He prepares the signs which we put out at the entrance of our small property to celebrate the seasons of the church.

He designs and builds sheds and fences to make us, hopefully, successful hobby sheep farmers. And in addition built a strong skillion onto our already present shed. He has organized an ngo to help build a trade college in Arba Minch where, for about two years, he taught English and instructed in other things.

This allows his youngest brother to work on our vehicles and the older helps out the younger with experiential knowledge and extra hands.

He constructs and repairs all sorts of things in wood and metal. He spent two years working on equipment around a hospital in Ethiopia and has done work overseas in war ravaged Congo and helped rebuild a school after an earthquake in Nepal.

He pastors a small church from which the messages are sent on internet around the world. He has been pastor of a church in Australia and pastored a church in Ethiopia.

He’s also a good cook.

Dominic Cartier.