Trafs and Magic Wands

When my sisters and I were growing up naturally there were certain naughty words in our burgeoning vocabulary which were frowned upon. One particular word usually used to describe flatulence was included in the disallowed list.  As a compromise we were permitted to use this certain word spelt backwards so the new word was “traf”. We accepted this because it was somewhat descriptive and has remained in the family language ever since.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s because when we came home from the dog show in Perth, Margot and Daphne came down with an awful tummy bug presumably caught from the other dogs at the show.  Included in their symptoms was a large amount of traffing. Long after lights out in our caravan an audible burble followed by the most incredible stench had the Kiwi and I take cover under the duvet screaming protestations and lots of once banned words. Only trouble was we can’t breathe under the covers for long before the oxygen runs out. The Kiwi says it’s like trying to breathe barbed wire. The girls are oblivious to our discomfort and only to repeatedly let rip as soon as the air becomes breathable again. A friend suggested lighting a match but quite honestly with the amount of methane gas in the air I think the caravan might explode. (Are we insured?) There’s been no alternative but to banish the girls to the tented annexe at night. Unfortunately we’re still not safe as the noxious, toxic fumes still waft their way into the caravan. We’ve changed their diet and they’re now on an appropriately named dog meat called “Barf”. I kid you not! Apparently it’s Australia’s No1 selling dog food.

The Appropriately named dog food…

I think the “Traf Tax” should be applied to it! I wonder if breathing all this methane gas is detrimental to ones health? Is it contributing to climate change? Suggestions please!

Margot in one of her less flatulent moments watching David Attenborough

Last Tuesday for the first time my life, I was in the sheep yards helping the Kiwi and Mr Farmer draft off the lambs from their mums. Through the deafening din of the frantic baaing we put several hundred ewes through the race where the Kiwi jetted them with anti-fly and then their lambs were vaccinated for worms. It was my job to chase the sheep from their collecting pen into the race. As a complete novice to this new sport I made a bit fool of myself flapping my arms and whoop whooping to them but gradually and with the aid of a “magic wand” I began to get the hang of it. What form does a “magic wand” take? Well it’s a bit a rigid plastic pipe with an old grain sack taped to the end. You wave it at the sheep and they think it’s the scariest thing known to sheepdom and they might, just might then move in the direction you require.

A Magic Wand for Sheep

Joe the sheep dog was a brilliant and assisted me herding them down the race and when I told him to sit and stay he stopped the sheep from escaping backwards. It was a long hot and dusty day but nevertheless hugely enjoyable to be part of the life that is Australian sheep farming.

The Kiwi jetting a ewe

I blooming hate reptiles! When fetching Tripod’s bucket of clover from the garage one day last week I heard hiss from behind the black bucket. Wrapped around it was the most enormous blue tongue lizard (about 45cm long). I don’t know who got more of a fright, him or me. He opened his mouth as wide as possible and stuck his hideous blue tongue out at me hissing ferociously. I lept a mile backwards and slammed the garage door firmly shut. I took a moment to collect myself and thought, well this is ridiculous. I live in Australia now and I’ve just got to get over myself with the reptile thing. Very, very bravely I slowly opened the garage door again and the reptile was still there sticking his blue tongue out at me. My heart racing, I grabbed Tripod’s bucket from the lizards’ clutches and slammed the door shut again. Phew. I now knock loudly on the garage door before entering in the hope that it might scare off whatever nasty things are lurking.

A more benign version of the Blue Tongue that was lurking in the garage…

Well actually the traf problem might be having an effect on climate change because this week we’ve seen the temperatures go from a hot and sunny 28c during the week to a cold wet and rainy weekend of 13c. We were supposed to be attending the Moora races on Saturday but the telly and our cozy, smelly caravan seemed more inviting.

Comparing the size of our dear little Tripod to the huge fat lambs which came into the sheepyards last week was a bit concerning. I took myself off to the farm shop in Moora and bought her a sack of some high protein lamb pellets. I tipped a small amount into an old oven dish and put them in her shelter where she sniffed them a bit suspiciously but eventually greed got the better of her and she scoffed the lot. You have to be a bit a careful changing a lambikins diet otherwise they get the bloat (a tummy full of traffs which can be lethal). So slowly, slowly is the order of the day. Once we get her fully onto her new nosh she’ll hopefully gain some weight. Tripod or “Tripodium” as the Kiwi calls her is gradually using her poorly leg a little more which is great. She also looks very fetching in her new pink collar with matching lead.

Here’s a photo of my shadow with the farm and a huge angry sky…


2 thoughts on “Trafs and Magic Wands

  1. Love your blogs – you should write a book! Well done for embracing Ozzie life so wholeheartedly! Uncle A & Aunt C xx


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