Today was another big farming day. Breakfast and then out the door to the bus and a ride down to Nundle from Tamworth. The man who owns the Quality Hotel that we stayed in last night also owns a cattle station. We went to see his cattle feeding operation.
The setting was beautiful. The manager of the station, Ian, and his crew had just brought up new cattle to stock a feed lot. He said that he didn’t really like feed lots because they are cruel for the animals, but that he felt it was a necessity for food production. I have to say for myself that I also wish they were not a necessity either.
The cattle in this feedlot were not yet familiar with being off the pasture and into this confined space. When the bus drove over to the feeding lot, they all came running, presumably for food. They must have been disappointed in a load of tourists instead of food. Not too long afterwards, however, the real feed rig came along, and the cattle shoved and pushed to get their feed–all at one end! The other end was open for eating. Finally the cattle figured this out and moved down.
For lunch, we headed out to a cropping farm owned by David and Gordon Brownhill in Spring Field, New South Wales. Their operation is Merrilong Pastorale Company. It took us several hours to go from Nundle to the Brownhills farm. When we turned into the farm, Dave boarded the bus and took us on in to his country house. What a lovely place! His wife and a friend had prepared a barbecued steak and sausage lunch for the group. Gary said that it was the tenderest steak he had ever eaten, so you know that the quality of the meat was high. Dave and his wife had a beautiful home with a big veranda and sweeping views of the countryside from the well-appointed house, but can you imagine inviting 41 people into your house for lunch!
The Brownhills started with a 1,500 acre plot many years ago; today it has been expanded to 16,000 acres. They grow grain, milo (sorghum), and dry land cotton, just to name a few of the crops. I was thrilled to see some cotton and touch it. It is super soft. This is also about the time that I learned that Lesley, the tour guide, is a spinner, too. Dave explained that this crop in his paddock (field) would be sold to the Chinese.
Apparently, the Chinese buy most of the cotton around the world in order to make fabric. They have a virtual monopoly. Judy and I were speculating about when the fabrics are dyed and how that process goes. Dave said that his cotton field, the one we were standing in, could produce about 44 million pairs of women’s undies.
Out of this whole day-No koalas and no kangaroos. Dave Brownhill tried to find both of them for us on his farm, but he had no luck. What are we in Australia for? It maybe this. One of the farmers on the bus at the Brownhills farm said, “This is what heaven looks like.” His wife said, “Maybe to you.”
We are in Mudgee tonight and headed back for Sydney tomorrow via the Blue Mountains. We have a 7:30 am departure time because Brent is determined to find some kangaroos for us. They are out early in the morning apparently. We’ll see.
The internet is terrible at this motel, but I finally got a few uploaded.