29th November, 2017

I am sitting in the shed as I write this as we are sorting through this years Merino ram lambs. We are hoping to shear them soon but before then we are measuring scrotal circumference and staple length. We are also taking a mid-side sample so then I don't have to worry about doing it on the board. Things can get a bit hectic when we have four shearers and we are fleece weighing so it is always good to get the side sample from the ram when they are upside down in the cradle. The only problem at the moment though is the heat! Yesterday the temperature outside was 35 but in the shed I measured it as 43. By mid afternoon it is swealtering and even if you stand in front of the fan you sweat! But, it is a job that needs doing and we are running out of days. And unfortunately for us today is supposed to be hotter!

Here is a photo of the poor dog Lou (and a new dog we have called Kate) resting in front of the industrial fan we purchased to ease the heat in the shed.

We have sold the last of our Poll Dorset Rams for this season. We are really encouraged by this as we had 128 to be sold and they have all gone! There are still a few Merinos to go so if you need any rams for joining this year please phone one of us. They have been shorn and I have a fleece weight on them.

We begin our AI program next week and will be inseminating on Friday the 8th of December. We have selected  50 of the best Poll Dorsets out of our 200 ewes and will be using semen from an Old Woombi ram.  All of the Merino ewes (and I mean all 2000 of them) were weighed through the Gallagher and then ran back through after sorting them with their ASBVs. They were also visually classed and we settled on 210 ewes for AI. This process took nearly two weeks as they were in their individual age groups. It is quite a good thing to do here because then I can do some database cleaning up and get rid of the ewes that don't come through. We do normally scan ewes off the property but we have sold quite a few different mobs at different times and I can sometimes lose track of certain sheep.

I will run them all back through again and draft them off for joining soon. Another run through the Gallagher! This will take a few days at least. We do a lot of recording here but it is all worth it as we believe that you need to use the data to maximise your genetic potential and it's useful to accelerate your genetic potential by using young rams that suit your breeding objectives. It is a very hands on approach but it seems to be working for us and we are happy!

We are expecting quite a bit of rain this weekend so will do an update on that. We are now shearing the rams on Friday so we don't have to keep them dry all weekend. Another big job done!!


 



14th August, 2017


So, it is the last day before the last multi-vendor sale and I thought I should really complete my post from Sheepvention (see sale results above). We stayed with the delightful Brown family in Hamilton who are long term family friends. Charlie was like a kid in a lolly shop exploring the house and yard the next day before we headed to Sheepvention! As is often the case with Sheepvention it was raining and it was cold. But this didn't deter Charlie! He got stuck in to feeding the rams and making sure they had clean water. We then needed a hot chocolate (strong coffee for me of course) and had a stroll around before we began tying them all up. Once the rams were ready for inspection we went and explored what Sheepvention had to offer. Charlie was in awe of all of the machinery and wanted to sit and play with the big tractors! Below are some photos of him having some fun:

 

The couple of days culminated in Charlie standing up on the Rostrum with Phil and Simon as each pen of 5 were sold. He filled the ram sale catalogue out from top to bottom which allowed us to have a good look on the way home! He declared that he will be back next year.
 


22nd June, 2017

Where is all of the rain??? It's nearly bone dry here and I have actually had to water the garden. I mean for god's sakes it is winter!! We are on the radar to get some rain this weekend which will be great. I will be furiously cooking up a storm for our Display Day on Monday so make sure you pop in for a cuppa and hot lunch.

We are on our last few weeks of lambing so hopefully the rain won't affect too many ewes that are still to lamb. The Dorsets are nearly finished with a handful of singles and twins still to have their babies! They are all doing very well and the earlier ones are certainly growing well. Good luck to Simon when he comes to mark them in the next couple of weeks!

I thought I would include some photos of what has been happening here lately. I am loving tagging the Dorset lambs everyday and here is how I do it. Excuse the bum shots!! The singles are quite easy as I grab the lamb, tag it in both ears (one tag is electronic) then give it a weigh. I spray its bum blue so I know that I have done it when I am driving around. The twins (and triplets) are a bit different as I only have two hands! I grab both lambs, chuck one straight in the bucket and tag them accordingly. As everything is done electronically now I don't even need a spreadsheet to write all the information down. I have done this year as I wanted to test the system before I fully trust it and do away with the written info! It's all very easy and takes less than 2 minutes to do. Anyway, below is a photo of me doing a single born dorset. The ewe was so quiet she came right up and tried to steal her baby back! Would love to hear how others do it so drop me an email if you do something differently!



I am also very proud of the maiden ewes and how quiet some are. When I steal their lambs they stay not far away and cry madly (and I cry back to keep them standing there) while I deal with the lamb. Here is a photo of a maiden single that was very maternal and stayed right with me as I tagged and weighed her lamb.



Here is a maiden with her fresh 5kg twins! So fresh that Matilda and I got all wet and squidgy with after birth.



We have been involved in a mothering trial with Murdoch University in WA. Last week we put a collar on all the AI ewes and their lambs. They came off Friday morning and I hope to get a look at the data soon! They were tagged at birth and recorded against their mother so we know who their mothers are. It will be interesting to see which ones are wrong! Here are a few photos of the ewes and lambs with their collars!





After doing a lamb run and checking all the ewes I came across this girl with her 3 Merino lambs. It is quite a rare sight to see them all alive and thriving!

 31st May, 2017


It is the end of Autumn and the start of Winter. Well it certainly feels like that here on the farm! It is bloody cold in the mornings but absolutely glorious during the day. Perfect weather for lambing that is for sure. We have had 240.5mm of rain for the year. Up until the same time last year we had 288 so we are not far behind. The weather experts are talking of a drier and slightly warmer winter which I would believe after the last few mornings! It has certainly been a bit cold getting out of bed.

The Dorsets are half way through lambing and we have some great lambs on the ground. The ewes are healthy and happy with me riding around them daily and pinching their babies briefly whilst I weigh and tag them. Some even come up for a good sniff and lick while I am doing it! Below is an example. Matilda took the photo which she is very proud of!



There aren't many of the first join ewes to lamb (2 twins and 10 singles if the scanner is right!) so I expect a bit of a lull over the next few days then straight back into it on the weekend! I hope they cross their legs a bit as we are heading down to see Richmond vs North Melbourne at Etihad. As you know Charlie is a mad keen Richmond supporter and Simon and Matilda go for the Roos. I am going in support of Richmond I think! It will be nice to get off farm for the arvo anyway.....

I had a bit of a win yesterday afternoon that I must boast about. I went to scan some ewes in the AI mob that had lost their visual tags but noticed a Merino ewe in trouble. Dad and Simon were off farm so I couldn't ask for their assistance and I decided that I just had to catch her and pull the lamb out. Well, aren't I glad I didn't wait! The lamb was still alive and an absolute whopper of a ram lamb! I reckon he was close to 7 kilos. I know this because I have been weighing Dorset lambs every day and they are huge in comparison to Merinos! So... I went back a bit later and he was OK and even the mother was still with it. Happy days!! I went back to check today to see how he was going and snapped these shots. A very happy Merino producer that is for sure.



17th May, 2017

We have certainly dried off over here at Violet Town and would love some rain please! I did look it up before and we have actually had more rain this year up until the same point last year (we did have 1000mm last year!). There is rain on the horizon though without about an inch predicted over the weekend. This does not help me weigh and tag the Dorset lambs that are dropping at the moment!! To get the Dorset ewes ready for lambing they need to be side branded so I can easily identify the ewe when I mother the lamb up at birth. This was done late one afternoon and it took a little longer than planned!

The photo below shows our setup over at the block where the ewes run and lamb down. I have to wear gloves when I brand the ewes as blue paint goes EVERYWHERE! And I mean everywhere.... Can you see the numbers on the grid? They were made by Simon's dad Wayne and they are the perfect size....


 
Here are some of the twin bearing ewes branded. The sun was getting very low very quickly.



Here is the mob out in the paddock post branding!

 

 

Mothers Day with Dad! And Brig and family...

As Georgina is away in Madagascar on holdiay we spent Mothers Day with Dad! My twin sister Brigid and her family were here and we headed up to Rutherglen for lunch. Neil (Brig's husband) was also lucky enough to have his mum Gina out from the UK! We had a very enjoyable lunch at The Pickled Sisters and were spoilt as soon as we sat down. They handed all the mums a glass of sparkling on arrival and we proceeded to tuck in to the three course meal... Here are some fun shots from the day!

Phil, Anna and Charlotte. It was hard to get a good shot without everyone wrecking it!

Brig, Charlotte and I!

Charlie did a drawing of me for mothers day. He thinks it is very accurate!



Before we went to lunch Brig came with me to tag and weigh the Dorset lambs (refer to Latest News for full blog post). We saw this little guy on the road and I tried to get a selfie!!!


 Rams in the Shed 2017!

G'day! My. Where has the year gone?! We currently have 50 rams in the shed getting ready for the Multi-vendor sales which kick off in July. Some are already super friendly and come up for a scratch! They are looking good and we are pretty happy with them so far. It takes a bit of time for them to look "mature" and ready for the sales but they are on track! They seem to have massive swingers this year! That must be a good sign of their fertility! Ha ha.


Give me a scratch please!!!


Pen 1 having some dinner. Ahem. Notice the swingers?!

12th April, 2017
 

Well it's Autumn and the weather is absolutely perfect! We had a slow half an inch of rain on the weekend and the dust has finalyl settled. A follow up next week would be good but we can't have everything!

We had over 1,000mm of rain last year and because of this we have not been feeding all mobs of sheep. There has been a lot of dry feed around and the ewes have done well over summer to maintain their condition. We preg scanned a week and a half ago and the results were very promising. The Dorsets were down a bit but we have put this down to the Maiden group of ewes who maybe cycled a little bit later! We have one of our best rams in with them at the moment to hopefully get a few spring lambs from them. Overall there was only 8% dry, 58% single pregnancies and 34% multiples for the Merinos. The Dorsets had an overall pregnancy rate of 82%.

As we had over 2,000 ewes to scan all in one day we were up early and got to watch the sunrise... a must do in Autumn!

 


We went on a little trip to Brisbane on the long weekend for Simon's birthday. We visited his Aunt and Uncle up in Poona for a few days then headed to the big smoke for a good look around. What a beautiful city! We were all very impressed with what Brisbane has to offer and wished we could spend more time there. Here is a shot of us all in the Botanical Gardens on an early morning walk...

 

When we got home from Brisbane we had been away for a few days so Simon thought he would give the dogs a run and move some sheep. He took all of them and had Lou, 5 years old, ready to move the rogue ewe out on her own. As Lou was a bit over excited at the thrill of the chase she flew off the ute to move the ewe. Little did Simon know but she actually didn't land correctly and spread eagled on the ground before getting up and chasing the sheep! She jumped in the back of the ute no worries and returned home with the others.

We had just recently acquired another pup which needed vaccinating so I rang the vet to book little Beau in. Simon said that Lou wasn't looking too well and instead of running in front of the ute, when she was let out in the morning, she ambled along behind and didn't want to run. When I went to check on her she ambled towards me and I knew something wasn't right! We took her to the vet with Beau and x-rays were taken. Simon had no idea that she hadn't landed the flight off the ute the day before so he was totally unaware of what the problem could be! It turns out she had punctured her left lung and she was running on 80% of her good lung. Here is what the wonderful vets in Benalla had to say about Lou and the damage she did to herself...

01 Case of the Month - Superdog Lou's Unlucky Leap
 
Lou Toland
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Lou proudly doing her job after her recent accident.

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Rib retractors hold Lou’s ribs apart as Dr Steph investigates her lungs.

Several weeks ago, Lou the super Kelpie sheep dog, had been doing the rounds of the farm on the back of the ute. Being super smart, Lou normally dives off the slow moving ute in order to help her owner move a mob of sheep. On this day she did exactly that again, however unbeknownst to her owner, she had a bad landing and must have hit the dirt with her chest instead of her legs!  A typically brave Kelpie, she continued to work all day, but next day was observed to be a little slower than normal. 

After a few Xrays the next day at the Euroa vets it became apparent that Lou had a deflated lung on her left side and a string of abrasions along the front aspect of her teats and a suspected diaphragmatic hernia (damage to the diaphram between her chest and her abdomen).  She was then referred up to Dr Stephan Miechel the following day for surgery. 

Lou was anaesthetised and taken to theatre for an initial 'keyhole' thoracoscopic examination using a 5mm telescope (thoracoscope) whereby the severe nature of her injuries quickly became apparent. She had suffered total collapse of her left lung, some marginal areas of the right lung were also deflated, as well as extensive bruising around her heart and of the ribs at the front of her chest. See our keyhole surgery video.  Her diaphragm was intact so the rest of the surgery involved an open thorocotomy incision for accessing the left side of her chest and determining if she still had leaking lungs.

Throughout her surgery our vet nurse Peta Kelly continually ventillated her lungs as Lou could not breath once her chest had been opened.  Luckily her lungs were not found to be leaking and had in fact healed during the three days before the surgery. So after filling her chest with warmed saline there was no evidence of air leakage.  Gradually her left lung lobes were sucessfully re-expanded and the saline was removed with suction. Dr Miechel placed an indwelling chest drain before repairing the large chest incision. Finally he introduced the thoracoscope back into the chest again to check on her lung function - which was now normal.

Lou remained in our hospital for a further 3 days - having her chest cavity continually drained. After a week the chest drain was removed because the fluid leakage had resolved, and she continued her recovery back at home for the next week, feeling very frustrated when she heard the farm noises outside around her!  A final check up at the 2 week mark saw Lou cleared for a return to light duties, and the very next day she was up and at those sheep again, as if nothing had ever happened.  Watch her in this amazing video showing Lou in action just 2 weeks after the surgery - not quite what her doctor considered light duties! A true hero of the sheepyards.


One happy dog coming home from the vets after getting her sutures removed from the drainage tube. No more cone!! Not at all a "travel inside of the car" dog. Kept trying to come over to me and snuggling in for cuddles..

 

 

Matilda very happy that Lou has made a full recovery.



Well Easter is a couple of days away and we are headed away camping with friends up near Jamieson. It will be the calm before the storm really as everything will be crutched in the next couple of weeks! Rams will be shorn and the Dorsets will start lambing. And the AI ewes! Phew! We will certainly enjoy the couple of days away and be ready for a big few months.

Anna has something massive in the pipeline for the next coming months and can't wait to reveal more soon. Have a safe and happy Easter!
 




July, 2016
 

It's the 12th of July and Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show is almost here. Scary!!! It looks like it is shaping up to be a big show with over 3,000 sheep entrants! Wow.

We have had two inches of rain in the last twelve days. That is on top of the 4 inches we received for June! So it is safe to say that we are floating here. After the 20mm received two nights ago the Honeysuckle creek is running a banker! I took these photos yesterday of it flowing down near the house. The paddock that has a creek in it (third picture) is not normally like that!! It acts as a drain from the big dam across the road that then flows into the creek but there is such a backlog of water it is not going anywhere in a hurry. I just wish the sun would shine for a few days! The sheep must be very over it. Snow is predicted this afternoon for areas below 400m. The ranges are not far from us and I think it will be freezing this afternoon!!!
Enjoy the flood photos and I will write on return from Bendigo.





 

There is normally a ridge running through here not a creek!!!!



June, 2016


Hmmmmmm. It seems a year has escaped me!!! We are already up to June and the year is flying. We have been madly getting the rams in the shed prepped and ready for the Multi-Vendor sales that are coming up in July. We kick off with Bendigo on the 18th of July. Lambing has commenced and we have some wonderful lambs already on the ground. The rain gods delievered the rain, albeit a little bit late, and it's wet underfoot! Things are going well here on the farm.

Charlie entered grade 4 this year and Matilda hit grade 1. They both love attending school which is awesome! Here the devils are back on the first day of the school year..

 

During the holidays though they are great helpers. Shearing coincided with holidays in March and I was made redundant! Charlie, who is massively into IT and all things electronic, took over my job of scanning EIDs in the sheep and making sure the right fleece was weighed under the right shearer. Pop taught Matilda how to skirt the fleeces on the table and she was a great help jumping in the wool butts to stomp the wool down. Maybe next year I could go on holiday while those two work?!!! The following shows just how hard they worked..

   

After shearing Pop decided one day to take some Poo samples from rams and show the kids how to count worm eggs in the sample. Where did they do it? Yep, on the kitchen bench..... It was pretty cool watching the kids play with the microscope and actually learn something!!!
 
 
 
Charlie (who is 9) started playing football for Euroa this year. He has played 5 games and kicked 8 goals so he is pretty chuffed. He also instigated a family footy tipping competition and guess who is winning? Pop. By a long way. Simon is not far behind and Char and I are in the middle somewhere. Poor Matilda is coming last. Oh well. At least no money has changed hands yet! We have been to quite a few games at the MCG as Charlie is a Richmond member and I am now a MCC member! It's been a lot of fun so far. Charlie even played on the G as part of Auskick! All of his fathers side of the family were there and it was so nice to catch up with them. I can't seem to find a photo though! Here is Charlie though playing a game for Euroa. He may become famous one day so I had better keep this one!


  

Matilda loves to help me with the Dorsets on the motor bike whenever she can. So much so that she felt she had to write something for me at school for Mothers Day. I was so chuffed and it's something else to keep. She's a great help catching the lambs and even writing down the information in her best handwriting! Not bad for a kid of six. Below is the gorgeous letter she wrote for me.



  Well I think that is enough for today. There are always things going on here so will write again next month.




March 2015

Where on earth has the first two months of the year gone? We are already in March and quite a few things have happened! The rams went in with the ewes, the rams came out of the ewes. First join was over. Then the rams went in with the ewes again and they came out again, very reluctantly, and that was the second join! We articifially inseminated 220 specially selected ewes back in December and we have preg scanned already! We went on a holiday to South Australia to visit old friends of ours in Tumby Bay and it rained the whole time! It was nice to get away though. Phil and Georgina escaped to Argentina for a couple of weeks, more on that later with some photos and a report, and we are here in March! Matilda started Prep this year while Charlie is in Grade 3. The term only has 3 weeks of school left and then it is Easter!!! AAGGHHH. Before we know it the ewes will start lambing and we will be at Bendigo in no time.


All the ewes have been crutched already and they are ready to go in their joining mobs for lambing. We start shearing all the young sheep in a couple of weeks with Greasy Fleece Weights taken and a Side Sample grabbed for micron analysis and staple length measurement. This is a big task with close to 1600 sheep shorn over 5 days or so. I will be glad when that is over!!!

Below are some photos taken from the last couple of months. We have a backside shot of crutched ewes....


Matilda and Charlie on their first day at school for 2015....



Simon and Matilda bringing up the ram lambs to weigh on New Years Eve!!!



And a photo of me with my older sister Liz and my twin sister Brig. We caught up in Melbourne one weekend without the children! It was a lot of fun....

December 2014


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! The grass has dried off, Advent Calendars are being opened and ewes are being sorted!!! And Dad is still alive after narrowly missing a lightning strike only metres away from him. He was driving down a short lane to bring in a mob of sheep and a bolt of lightning hit a tree not far from where he had just driven. It made an almighty noise, I saw the whole thing as I was outside letting the chooks out, and started a fire!! He was so lucky it was unbelievable!!

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy 2015. We put the Christmas tree up on the weekend and below are the kids and their decorated tree. Simon and I are NOT in any way responsible for the decorating!!!!
 






1st of August, 2014
 

 The sale season has kicked off and it looks to be another cracking ram selling year. Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show has been and gone and we are half way through the multi-vendor rams sales. This year we had 145 entrants in the All Purpose Section at Bendigo. It was another great year of judging and all participants were very cooperative with our new system! Each year this class gets better and bigger I think! Congratulations to Southrose who came first with their Fine two-tooth ram. Second place getter was Poll Boonoke with a strong two-tooth ram followed by a Coddington Poll from the Fine two-tooth class. Below is a photo of the final judging that took place on the Saturday afternoon at Bendigo.



 
It is still quite wet around the farm but I am unable to capture vehicles getting bogged this year as we have a four wheeler Polaris and a Polaris Ranger that can't be bogged. Dougal managed to get bogged twice in the laneway, yes, in the laneway, but I wasn't there to snap him!!! The roses around the house are blooming (see pic below) and the garden is ready for the Spring burst. Yesterday we had a 16 degree day but today it is hovering around the 8 degree mark! It certainly will be snowing up on the mountains today.



I have been having fun posting selfies on Facebook this year with all the different animals we have on the farm. Whilst lamb marking yesterday I managed to get this big polled ram! He is a beauty and I will certainly be following his progress throughout the year. All lambs are marked and are looking fabulous. Check out the sales page up the top for the latest sale results.







June 2014 - An Article featuring Toland Poll Sheep

 

Phil and Jackie Muecke from Penola in South Australia reap rewards of early wool sale

Cut above: Phil and Jackie Muecke from Penola in South Australia sold 84 bales of Merino

Cut above: Phil and Jackie Muecke from Penola in South Australia sold 84 bales of Merino fleece wool in Melbourne last week. Source: WeeklyTimesNow

THE Muecke family were hoping to take advantage of the improved wool market by selling a month earlier than normal.

Phil and Jackie Muecke from Penola in South Australia offered 84 bales of Merino fleece in Melbourne last week, from the main March shearing of their Toland-blood Poll Merino flock.

Despite prices across the board dropping and a high pass-in rate, the Muecke’s were happy with their price as overall they were better than last year.

All of the Muecke’s bales sold to a top price of 872c/kg for a line of 18.6-micron wool.

With a fibre diameter between 17 and 18.5-micron, Mr Muecke said the vegetable matter in the clip was slightly high due to the time of year they shear, but their tensile strength improved.

He said after selling their clip in June last year they were expecting prices to be a bit better this year.

“Prices are acceptable at the moment,” he said.

May 2014

 

The roof is on! And the massive rain water tank has been ordered.... I am hoping to have green lawn throughout the summer. That is of course if it continues to rain this year! Things are certainly green and the grass is growing. The ewes aren't far off lambing and are enjoying the green pick. Simon and I have shot 8 foxes so far which is better than none! It's drizzling as we speak (not to mention freezing cold) so I think winter is almost here. It's time to start thinking of ram auctions again. Where has twelve months gone?? Dad and Georgina are away in South Africa at the moment. They have attended the world Merino Conference and are now holidaying in Zimbabwe before returning home this weekend. I hope to get some words and pictures on their adventure and will post them on here soon.



We were lucky enough to preg test under the roof this year. Matt was very happy as he didn't have to erect his umbrella!

 

 

The rams have been in the shed for a little while now and are certainly friendly! I have several that come up for a pat when I'm feeding them and even a few that have nipped me on the bum! Cheeky buggers. It's amazing how quiet and friendly they are since they have never been pets. Below is a photo of some of the friendlier ones......



April 17th 2014


We have had some exciting things happen here at Toland Merino in the last couple of weeks. Last week we had 90mm of rain and during this lovely weather event we hosted more than 50 farmers at an EID field day run by Andrew Donohue from Practical Systems. It was a success and we even had Libby Price come from the ABC Victorian Country hour to broadcast. Here is a link to the podcast of the country hour if you would like to hear what was said.

mpegmedia.abc.net.au/news/audio/201404/rural-vch-podcast10414.mp3

We were lucky to have had the roof over the yards as we went out and showed the guests how we run the autodrafter here at Toland Merino. At times we struggled to hear the guest presenters because the rain was so loud!!!
Andrew Donohue from Practical Systems gives the crowd some facts on Electronic Identification



April 3rd 2014

Last week we were asked to provide some week old lambs for AWI to showcase some new products presented by the Dutch pram company Bugaboo. Woolmark have teamed up with Bugaboo and they have released a woolen pram insert, woolen blanket and woolen mattress protector. The event was held at Lal Lal Estate over near Ballarat and was run by AWI. A heap of media attended the launch and the stars of the show really were the lambs! The co-founder of Bugaboo, Eduard, was so taken with the lambs he couldn't put them down! He was very lovely and we had a great chat about all things sheep. Madeleen, the chief marketing officer of the company from Holland, was also keen on the lambs. She even took one to hold for morning tea! 



Catriona Rowntree was also there as the wool ambassador. I had a lovely chat with her also. She is from a property close to Geelong but she was still taken with the lambs. She held one for a very long time and had some great photos taken with them! Little Maddy (named after Madeleen) was the star of the show and behaved very well in the photo shoots. We had her on top of a ladder with the rugs cascading down the rungs, in a pram with her hooves over the foot bar, and even in a box of spun wool. She was such a good girl! Eddy, named after Eduard, enjoyed her shots as well with the gang. 






March, 2014

It is the middle of March already! Time is absolutely flying... Things have been ticking along here at Toland Merino. The current project at the moment is getting the roof over the yards! It has been a big job and thankfully we have had some good help to get it erected. Thanks Phil O, James, Simon and Dad (and Charlie on the spirit level). Here are the before shots:


 



It is nearly finished so come back to check out the difference it has made to the look of the place!

Charlie started Grade 2 at school this year while Matilda has almost completed her first term of four year old kinder. That means she is at school next year!! Oh my. Look out world and good luck to the school!!! Below is a photo of them on their first day....



We were also lucky enough to borrow a little pony for Matilda to ride on. Her name is Morgan and she is so cute! Till loves to ride her around the house and the garden and up and down the driveway. She is such a natural with any animal so of course her and Morgan have bonded! It will be sad to give her back in April that's for sure.



Dad has entered the world of istuff!!! He now has an iphone and an ipad!! I have been showing him a few things on both devices and that includes how to take a selfie!! Here is a photo of his first ever selfie. I took mine on the motorbike just a couple of days ago...



 
We have managed to get away a few times this summer. We went down to Melbourne and caught up with both of my sisters, Liz and Brig, and had a ride on the Melbourne Star. It was a great way to the city and all of the cousins enjoyed themselves! On the long weekend we went up to a cattle station up near Tumut and camped for three days right on the river with some friends. It was a fabulous spot and so of course Charlie and Simon tried their best to catch a fish but all Charlie really caught was a stump about fifty times!!! Below is a photo of the boys fishing, the kids on the Melbourne Star and a pretty photo of Tilda.















August 8th 2013

 



As I sit and write this I am staring out of the window looking at cape weed and marshmallows. The garden has loved the couple of inches of rain we have received lately but the mower has not. It is too wet to mow and every time I head out to spray it rains!!! We received another 29mm of rain last night (in the space of about 6 hours) on top of the 19mm or so from the weekend. Great! Thus, the Honeysuckle Creek is well and truly flowing! It has not been this high for a while and we are happy to see it running over its banks. The rain has also bought pelicans to the farm! I saw some land on the big dam before and rushed over to take some photos.......


 


On the Friday before Sheepvention Simon had a few things to do. He went around to the other block to move some sheep and got bogged. He called dad for help and this is what happened......
 
Dad assessing the best way to pull Simon out



 
Dad finally making a decision on where to put the chain...



They had to call for backup. Gary, who lives across the road from the block, was happy to help them out!!!


 
 It was the first serious bogging of the year so I had a good chuckle.

Early in July we took Charlie (6 and a half) and Matilda (3 and a half) down to Melbourne to watch Charlie's AFL team (Richmond) play Simon's team (North Melbourne). It was so much fun to go to Etihad and the kids had a great time!!
 


Unfortunately for Charlie North Melbourne won! Simon has begun endoctrinating Matilda on who she should barrack for.....





June 5th 2013
 

It is that time of year again! We have started lambing and there are quite a few of them on the ground. We have been out shooting a couple of times to keep the foxes at bay and managed to shoot 5 last night with the help of a friend of ours James. We shot another 2 a few weeks ago, thanks again to James, and I was very happy to pick them both up the next day. We had spent over half an hour trying to get one of the buggers so it was made even better when I came home with it. Below is a photo for proof!!!


 
My twin sister Brigid's husband Neil, and Matilda our 3 year old, picked up the second dead fox.



The rams have been in the shed for quite a while now and are getting ready for their first sale in July (Bendigo on the 22nd). My older sister Liz came up a few weeks ago with her family and she was keen to help feed the rams one night. She was given the job of cleaning out the troughs and I just couldn't resist taking this photo of one of the rams trying to get up close and personal! They are all very friendly rams and love to come up to you and have a good scratch.



We will be having a ram display day on the 9th of July for those buyers wishing to view the rams before their alloted sale. Lunch will be provided so please join us at Feltrim from 10am. The rams are looking good!




Gallagher Video - 2012






Latest News - 7th November 2012

There are 47 days, 14 hours, 2 minutes and 30 seconds (as I write this) until Christmas. I know this as my kids downloaded the "Santa" app on my phone. They regurarly check to see "how many sleeps" there are until Santa comes. This year has flown given that there are less than 50!!

It has been quite a hectic year! Simon and I and the kids moved out to the farm whilst dad and George moved into town. It's been great so far and the kids love it. The pool has already had a work out which will no doubt be a lifes
aver in Summer!

Simon and I recently took our Gallagher prize and headed to New Zealand. I will provide an update on that soon.

All of the ewes have been shorn and it is now just the 1200 hoggetts remaining. Thank god. Shearing can be such a long and drawn out process! We have had 11mm of rain overnight and it is quite humid here so it's lucky they don't have any wool on them. The flies no doubt will be bad this year so it was certainly completed at the right time. 

After some serious consideration it has been decided that there will be no North East Merino Group expo or ram sale next Feb. Instead, we will be holding a specially selected stud ram and stud ewe sale here on Monday 4th of Feb 2013. At this stage there will be 40 Rams and 100 Ewes for sale. All of the rams will have at least one ASBV trait in the top 10% of Australia so keep an eye out for upcoming information. 

Until next time.....

Below are some photos of the maidens being brought in for shearing and kids playing in the pool.








Matilda with her "gobbles" on


Charlie and Matilda ready to go







Latest News - July 2012


How quickly the year comes around! It's ram selling time again starting with Bendigo at the end of this week. Then it's a pretty hectic couple of months selling at Ballarat, Hamilton, Benalla and finally at the on property auction on the last Monday of September. Simon and I won the Gallagher Video Promotion which entitles us to 5 days away in New Zealand. We are looking forward to being able to take the trip in October after the months of selling rams. We will leave the kids home with Pop!

The crops have welcomed the nearly three inches of rain this month! It is quite wet here and lamb marking has slowed down considerably. We have managed to mark nearly all of the first join lambs and the early lambs (a total of nearly 1000). We are well ahead of schedule this year! We just need a few sunny days to start drying the paddocks out a little bit. Simon got bogged yesterday for the first time but dad actually got bogged last month! Was too slow with the camera so no photos I'm afraid!



See you all at Bendigo........



Latest News - May 2012


We are still quite busy with the day to day activities on the farm. The first group of ewes have lambed and they are looking good. Rams are in the shed getting ready for the sales and the remainder of the ewes are nearly ready to lamb. Dad has luckily shot seven foxes to date but I'm hoping for more before the main lambing begins. I am so glad we don't have any wild dog troubles.

It has turned cold at night but we are waiting for rain. It has been a couple of weeks since a decent downpour and Simon and I have put a couple of crops in on our block. We are hoping for an inch or so! It is fire time again and so collecting wood is another job to add to the list. 


North East Merino Breeders Ram Sale and Expo Results - Feb 7th


We had a fantastic day on Tuesday for the ram sale and expo day. It would have been nice to see some more people there! We were fortunate enough to have Paton Industries generously supply three prizes for just showing up. The first sheep feeder went to Judy Paulet who had travelled over from Gippsland to look at the rams with her husband Alan. She was shocked and delighted to win! They also went home with two Toland Merino rams. Thanks to Mark Scott from Paton Industries for providing such fantastic support and equipment for the day!

Below is a photo of Judy Paulet who won first prize (an SF 24 stock feeder)



 This is how the displays were set up on the lawn



The rams set up outside



The trade displays were also set up inside and looked fantastic.

Judging of the grand champion ram for the sale was conducted by Errol Hay from Kamarooka Merino Stud. The ribbon went to Toland Merino Lot 5 (see picture below).

Grand Champion Ram




The ram sale was a success for Toland Merino. Lot 1 sold for $3,000 which was the top price for the sale. 12 Polls averaged $1642.

The results for Toland Merino are shown in the photo below.











Latest News - Late September 2011


We have recently bought the auto drafter and weigher from Gallagher and are really happy with it so far. There have been some issues of course with getting to know the system and working out how to use it but so far so good! We managed to draft up the auction rams into their lots without a drama and this was certainly easier than searching through the big lot to work out who went where. The seven pens of five out the back were also drafted using the Gallager drafter and this took one person instead of at least two! It has become one of the features of the yards and has been used quite a lot since we had it installed in August.

The new weigher and auto drafter:



 

Charlie decided to have a bit of fun in the yards the other day when we bought the older rams in for a look. He saw Esky (from Mernowie Stud) and thought he would try and ride him!! Esky was quite OK with having someone on his back...




With all the ram sales over for the year it is time to start thinking about shearing all of the ewes, weaning and weighing the lambs and getting ready for next years joining. It doesn't stop!



Latest News - September 2011
 


Our final lot of ewes have had their lambs. They were artificially inseminated in March using semen from various rams. They managed to pick a couple of glorious weeks to lamb after the last downpour in August.

All the other lambs have been marked and scored for breech wrinkle and cover. It was a big job and I am thankful to see the end of it! Now all the animals have to be added to Stockbook so we can see how they are performing compared to the rest of the drop in Australia.

Here are a couple of photos that highlights the bareness in our lambs this year





Dad is very pleased with his modified de-tailer. Below is a photo that shows off his "excellent work".

 

 

Funny photos


I have had a couple of phone calls from the boys asking to "bring the tractor out, I'm bogged again". Here are a couple of funny shots from these times!!!

 



 

The next photo  is of me getting the Nissan bogged on the block that Simon and I just purchased. It was pretty bad!!! It took Simon 2 hours to dig it out!!! Whoops.....