Monday, 8 September 2008


A Tribute to Bandit

When we picked up Bandit for the first time 17 years ago, she was a little ball of blue fluff with black eyes. She looked just like a bandit with that little mask on. Straight away she decided she liked us and we liked her. We bundled her up and took her home to Homelea, our property in Parkes where she was to live for the next 11 years before moving with us to Valla. Bandit became a part of our life, never leaving Jim's side as he moved around the farm. Whether it was on the tractor on the seat beside him or next to his left ankle whilst tending the pigs, cattle or sheep she was happy. Bandit loved to help bring the cattle in, nipping at their heels and dodging flying hooves. Sometimes the horses were a bit quick for her when she tried it on them, so she learned to stay clear very early in the piece. All the kids loved Bandit, and she taught many neighbour's kids to love dogs. Our grandchildren have all grown up with Bandit, she has always been there with Grandma and Grandpa. After 5 and a half years in Valla, Bandit grew very tired and decided to go to sleep. Her sleep has taken her to Doggy Heaven I am sure, because if ever a dog deserved to be in Doggy Heaven, it was Bandit. To our ever faithful, loving friend, we wish you a speedy trip to a place filled with food and love and lots of rubs and pats. We will miss you dearly and so will Savage, your little mate of 7 years. Goodbye Bandit


Nut harvesting at Valla in September 2007

On goes the cotton singlet, hat and rid, I grab the water bottle and buckets and load them into the little trailer on my quad bike.
Jim has run around on the harvester and my job is to pick up the rest of the nuts left behind around the base of the tree and in the grass. The day is hot and steamy in Valla and I was thinking how nice it would be to sit by the pool and read a book. The pool even winks at me as I walk past.

The trees are still heavy with nut and starting to flower already for next season. Some farms are finished, but ours is still productive. I strap on the knee guards and crawl around under the trees on the hard ground. I have learned to use cotton gloves to save the hands a bit and scoop up the nuts, hoping not to also scoop up rat droppings or the odd spider. The webs are glistening in the sun and trap you as you walk from tree to tree, sometimes slipping on the grass on the steep rows. I try not to think of what some other 58 year old women would be doing, maybe having their nails done or hair dyed, as I toss the chocolate brown shiny balls into the buckets. Of course it is a beautiful day and I forget about the stiff neck and back and the odd nut hitting me on the head as it falls and rolls down the hill laughing at me. My clothes are now sticking to me and the buckets are full, so time to unload at the shed. My socks are full of little prickly things and the two dogs are sitting by the bike crunching on nuts watching me remove the objects from my socks. Is that a smile on your face Bandit?

Jim climbs down off the tractor and takes a few minutes to straighten up and walks gingerly towards the house, arms scratched by the overhanging limbs and swearing to lop the trees 8 ft off the ground for next season.

Is this really retirement?? One has to question the sanity of the two of us and also ask how long the body takes this type of punishment.

Then we have a long hot bath and sit on our verandah overlooking the green rolling hills with a drink in hand and decide that at that moment, it is worth all the effort. We may even make some money next year!!!

Saturday, 31 May 2008


A Cat called Bundy

True Story
I am pushed into life by four sisters and one brother, rushing into the bright daylight with a raspy sandpaper tongue running down my back. I am to become a slothfull yet lovable ragdoll cat who worms his way into the lives of others with ease.

Playful weeks fill my life with my siblings; and mother keeping watch over us as we climb up curtains, scratch furniture and terrorise the fish in the bowl. Six pairs of eyes watching the bowl can’t have a great effect on a fish, but it was fun.

Life was fun until one day it was time for us to leave our nest and move to our new families. One by one we were chosen by huge humans as playthings for their children and one by one we left our mother to continue the next chapter in her life. I was chosen by a lady human who liked the funny pattern on my tail and as she picked me up and cuddled me I knew I would be able to manipulate her to give me what I wanted!

My new home was a macadamia farm in the beautiful valley near Nambucca Heads on the Mid north coast of NSW in Australia. For a while I wasn’t allowed to mix with the cattle dogs or go outside in the orchard, but I soon worked out how to dodge between legs once the door was open, or slink through a slightly open door or window. Out there was a magic world of exciting things to do.

As I sneaked through the garden I came face to face with two large eyes and a wet black nose just inches from my face. I felt my fur stand up and a hiss came out of my mouth as I spat at the fearsome creature. I had met Bandit, one of the resident cattle dogs. She sniffed at me, licked my face and kept walking past me; well, if that is the farm watchdog I will also be able to manipulate her!!

Wait, what is that moving in the grass; a lizard, very small, I should be able to catch it. So off I went racing through the orchard after the imaginary lizard. After some time running, I didn’t know where I was, I was lost in amongst trees, long grass and prickles. I was very frightened . I called out for help but nobody heard me. My long beautiful silky fur was tangled in burrs and I was hungry and thirsty, I wanted my human to cuddle me. It was getting dark, I had never been out at night, I kept moving around hoping to find a familiar path, but to no avail.

All night I lay in the grass and when the sun came up I found myself next to a road. I heard a loud noise and footsteps coming towards me and all of a sudden I was lifted up and put into a car. It wasn’t my human lady, I didn’t know what was happening. By this time I was 4 months old and quite attached to my human, she was very nice to me. I was taken to another house and kept there by two humans who never let me go outside. I longed to explore outside again, and one day 4 months after being found near the road, the door was left open for just a moment.

I sneaked through the opening and found myself in a place with lots of houses and footpaths, nothing like my beautiful macadamia orchard. Where will I go now? Oh, there are a couple of children walking past, I will follow them and see if I can get into some mischief. One of them picks me up and takes me home and asks Mum if he can keep me. NO said the human called Mum, no way, you will have to take that cat to the pound!

Well off we went to the pound. I wasn’t sure what the pound was, but maybe it was where my first human owner was. I am sure I would remember her. I am sure I would remember my favourite chair, my spot on the side of the bath whilst watching the bathers, my yummy biscuits and the soft brush caressing my fur. Oh, I hope I am off to that place!

A very big human man took me from the boy and said thankyou and that he would try and find me a good home. I didn’t want a good home. I wanted my first home; please find my first human. A couple of weeks later I was taken to the animal doctors, I was very scared by the smell of the place, but the humans were very nice to me. I heard one of them talking and saw through the door she was talking into something next to her ear.

In an hour or so I was taken out the front and couldn’t believe my eyes when my favourite human walked into the room with a cat basket in her arms. She cuddled me close and said how much I had grown in 4 months since I went missing and her tears fell on my fur as she held me.

When we arrived home I took up the position on my favourite chair, purring very loudly whilst looking lovingly at my human. I was fed my favourite biscuits and groomed until I felt like silk. She kept asking me where I had been, how I had got 15 km away and what I had been doing for 4 months. If only I could tell her. I know one thing, I will be very careful where I go adventuring from now on!!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


We lost Ted on the 8th May, 2008 to Motor Neurone disease. What a great loss. Jim usually has a wonderful time with Ted on the State of Origin night in Sydney every year. This year he was organised to fly down and spend the night with Ted, but it wasn't meant to be. Jim and Craig have gone together and I am sure Ted is there with them cheering on Maroons. We love you Ted.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Helen and Phil's 40th

Phil and Helen : 40 and Sporty

Phil came to Parkes in 89
To work as a Vet, he was ready and primed.
A typical redhead he set us afire,
Knowledge abounding to unleash on this shire.

We share fond memories of Turkeys in boots
Doing jigs on the roof of the farmhouse in Parkes
Of parties and drinking and football grand finals,
All part of the fun, we joined in on the larks.

Rugby was the love of his life and he played it with
Gusto and loved a good fight
80 kg wringing wet did not phase this slim figure
Bleeding wounds on a Monday testament to this vigour.

Helen came on the scene
A couple of years down the track
All of a sudden Rugby was second,
Phil started wooing this city girl back.

Of course Helen and Phil went to Uni together
And had a short romance whilst hitting the books
Both young and excited they chose to part ways
To pursue other interests and explore other nooks

Phil and Helen are good friends of ours,
We’ve had some great times, even sharing our cows!
Just part of our family we hold them so dear,
That’s the reason we travelled so bloody far to be here!

The little people they have produced,
Harry, Julia and Alex are so very cute,
Chips off the old block red hair and freckles
Intelligence and looks thrown in to boot.

So we’ll have a drink with Phil, He doesn’t mind a beer,
We’ll have a wine with Helen, and wish her good cheer.
They have a new home and we wish them the best
Hard work and the weather will take care of the rest.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


This poem Jim and I wrote together. Ted, a wonderful friend of ours has developed Motor Neurone disease. We just wanted Ted to know how much we love him and support him in this new challenge of his, so Jim armed me with the information and I put the words together and we sent it off to him.


In 1990 the heavens opened wide
Nyngan had no chance to stem that heavy tide
We packed up our gear and headed out west
To lend a hand to those poor buggers being put to the test.

It was here I met Ted, larger than life
Organizing work and sorting out the strife,
When there’s people to help, I was to find out
This man was the master, of this there’s no doubt.

The memories of Robbie with goannas and snakes
And Bryce and Ted and the friends you make
Bring a smile to my face as I think of that stay
There is nothing like helping to humble your way.

Now my mate Ted is not just a good friend,
The best rep in the business, he looked after my end,
Price was important, but service the key,
He gave that in spades, and looked after me.

Burrawang Station, Friskies, schools and quotes
How could I forget the hours and plethora of notes,
Over a port with Jan, a cigar with me,
We made many a decision in that office at Homelea.

We enjoy great times both in work and play,
A drink or two might even come our way,
Our yearly Footy trip is a cherished bond
My mate and I together, maroon colours we both don.

Teds interest are varied and spread across the great land
Lions Club, Howqua’s pilgrimage and antiques on one hand
Then the Goods Shed at Neville is a treat to behold,
Railway Memorabilia and Aubrey unfold.

The Mayor of Blayney is a hat worn proud,
You will never see Ted shy away from a crowd,
Public office suits him right down to the ground,
A man so full of passion, I never have found.

That now brings me to Betty,
You are a treasure, nothing less,
Beside my mate working day and night
Often cleaning up the mess.
Two sons were produced to share in their life
And now Mark and Rex
have added a wife.

Now my mate Ted is not calm or quiet,
His bluster and gusto well known,
But now little people coming in to his life
A softness about him is shown.

Ted, its no secret that Jan and I love you dearly,
And God throws us challenges to help us see clearly,
But, Mate, you’ll meet this one in the way you know best,
With determination and grit, you will rise to the test.

Just stay happy, just stay proud,
Remember your friends are always near
If not in body, then in spirit, we send a hearty cheer,
Keep that stubborn chin up, I’ll have a beer for you
Mate you are a legend at everything you do.

Love from Jim and Jan Nov 2007


This little poem is about our daughter-in-law turning 40 yrs. of age on 13.10.07

Rebekah is 40

Our early memories of this headstrong young girl
Craig said I am learning French and will travel the world
He was teaching guitar in return for this session
What we didn’t know was the depth of this lesson.

Rebekah arrived in Parkes, a bit shocked by the heat,
The bikini did help, certainly with Jim worked a treat
After having three boys the girls were always welcome
Especially Rebekah who fitted in and then some.

She took over the collecting of vegies , eggs and the rest
And look out whoever beat her to collect from the nests
She kept up with the boys and rode horses and bikes
And then lined up for a beer or a wine in the night.

Parkes was a bit of a shock to her system
We were rough round the edges, farming our life
Craig was our much loved son so Rebekah persisted,
To love and accept us and become this boys wife.

Now Rebekah has been spoilt
By family and Craig,
It is her way or no way,
So if you disagree; keep out of the way.

This said, I must add Jim and I love her dearly
And would not wish to change her for another
Something to do with grandchildren comes clearly
To those three , she is a wonderful mother.

It hasn’t been easy to pursue their new life,
For Rebekah a lot harder, worker, mother and wife,
No Cecilia to rely on, husband often away,
She has made us both proud to this very day.

So happy birthday dear girl,
We wish you the best
You have won a special place in our hearts
And have passed all the tests.

Jim's 60th

This is a little story I wrote to celebrate Jim's Life before 60!

Life before 60

60 years, where has it all gone!!!
A Short Story on Jims Life as told by Jan.

The youngest of Seven into the world rushed Jim
The apple of his mothers eye, she wasn’t expecting him!
Lots of happiness growing up with so many,
Times of sadness and loss mixed to hasten lifes journey.

A brother lost tragically, how did they cope,
Such faith did they have, and no time to mope
Never forgotten though life carries on
Max was someone special, his memory not gone.

Jim loved his football and played with Wenty
He played and he played and he played until twenty
The few years before then he had married his girl
A bit before they were ready, but they’d give it a whirl.

So young, so strongwilled and incredibly handsome,
He forged a life for his growing young brood
Cleared some land, built a house, determination and then some
He turned nothing into something, we even had food!!

Always complaining the days weren’t long enough
To build, to improve and to grow vegies and stuff
His energy was boundless, his achievements unreal
I bet he wished he could have harnessed that feel.

The next project was to clear 5 acres of land,
But he did that with a mower and family at hand,
Many times that mower ended up in the dam,
As it caught on fire being punished by this man.

He put us all in a tent whilst the house was being built
And for months we bathed in dishes and ate on a table with a tilt
The boys ran free, aged 7, 4 and two,
Nothing was impossible, just some things took time to do.

A lovely home he helped build to house his three sons,
Motor bikes, horses, swimming pool and lots to have fun
His parents were there to support us always
From the day he was born, till the day they slipped away.

There he worked from daylight till dark,
Three little shadows not far from his mark,
They watched him and helped him and learned along the way,
How to be a man with a big heart and be proud every day.

When the challenge ran out, Jim said Lets move!
So with trust in our hearts, we followed his groove.
Back into a paddock to live in a van ,
In the middle of winter, no one needed a fan.

We soon moved to Parkes where Jim took on a farm
The shearing shed was always a place for a yarn,
The pig shed was full, the days were busy
The work that was done would make anyone dizzy!

Nan and Pa were often around
They loved the life of a bit of ground,
They adored the boys and enjoyed their stay
And backed their son, come what may.

Now Jim and Pa liked a beer,
And many a tale was told over that cheer,
Male bonding at its best, nothing could compete,
With Father and Son , stories no one could beat.

Jim loves his football and all three boys took part,
When he gave up the playing, coaching was then to start,
Refereeing came next, into his forties he came,
A way to keep fit and be part of the game.

Not so fast is Jim in his daily work now,
I doubt if he could still run down a cow,
But if asked for help, by a neighbour , friend or son,
Don’t get in his way, there’s a job to be done.

As loyal as ever, no one questions his strength
To get the job done, chair a meeting or ten,
Run committees and workers and lead teams of men,
Good mate to many, and has many a friend.

Some special come to mind,
Peter, Bernie, Ray and Chris,
Tom, Daryl, Ted and Dave,
Too many to list.

With boys all left home to pursue their careers,
Jim was ready to move, he had no fears,
The next chapter was ready for adventure to seek
No point in staying in Parkes in the heat.

By now a few more had crept into his heart,
Three girls for his boys to help life play its part
How proud was he when he walked one down the aisle,
It took more than a month to get rid of that smile!

New farm in Valla, a coastal surprise,
How refreshing it is no dust and no flies,
Eight golf courses within a few miles,
Helps Jim to produce a lot of his smiles.

Life hasn’t been all easy for this stubborn proud man
Worked hard, played hard and always lent a hand,
He has just done his best with what he has had,
And at 60 still going albeit slowed down a tad.

Some favourite old lines he has quite a few,
I believe is one and character building is two
Swearing is allowed to be done with your mates,
But not around women, that’s not the place.

There is a new softness come into his life,
Seven special little people creating some strife,
His love for these children well it really does thrill,
The joy they bring him as he shares his own skill.

Now life isn’t perfect and has never been,
Ups and downs in families of course are seen,
Jim and I have seen good and bad together,
Now two oldies, we need each other more than ever.

Jim Knight, you are certainly no saint
And some things you have done would make a grown man faint,
But if I had my life to live over once more,
I’d choose you for a partner if you walked through that door.

So, friends, raise your glasses, have a drink for Jim
Of course he’ll have one with you, an old beer for him,
I loved you when I was 16 and I still love you now,
Happy Birthday you bloody larrikin, now please take a bow.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

James our Firstborn

One of my hobbies to to write a poem or two and have a go at short stories.
My first poem was about James, our eldest son, who was having a 40th birthday. I put a few words down on paper for him had so much fun doing it, I kept going..........

Our Firstborn

We were so young when you were born
We had no idea what was in store
Until you’re a parent you don’t really know
What love is unleashed at that first ‘hello’
You charmed all around you and filled us with joy
Our own little man, our own little boy.

At Valley Heights five years on
It was time to start school, a sad day for Mum
Cobber went with us to catch the bus
To make sure you were safe and make a big fuss.
Two brothers were added to the troop
This made an awesome family group
Character building was the flavour of the time
With a pretty tough father you mostly towed the line.

By ten you excelled both in school and in sport
Living then at Mulgoa, also farming was taught.
Milking cows, riding horses, having fun in the sun
The life of a ten year old was pretty good fun.
Four legged friends, Rex, Creamy and Bess
All helped to add to the life that was blessed.

At fifteen motorbikes were a passion by now
You knew you could frighten your mother, and how
Mixed with the ploughing, pig feeding and chores
Didn’t lend a lot of time to be absent or bored.

By 20 you had found chemistry was for you
Pride was just bursting from your parents too
You lived a while with your Pa and Nan
You could do no wrong, the perfect man!

At 25 you settled with your lovely wife
And by 30 your wonderful daughter came into your life
At 35 two boys made three
A family of five, so happy and free.

Everything in between these years,
The challenges, the laughter and the tears
Have made you the person you are to date
Son, husband, father, brother and mate

We’ve already forgotten the dents in the cars,
The explosions at funeral wakes and camping at McGraths
Son You have given us such love and joy,
And at 40 you are still our own little boy.

Happy 40th birthday

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


My husband's name is Jim and we were married in 1965 in our teens. We had three sons James Craig and Richard. Built our first home in the Blue Mountains. After a huge fire raged through our district at Valley Heights we started looking for somewhere else to bring up our family. We purchased a 5 acre block at Mulgoa near Penrith and built our home. We were there 7 years and then moved to Parkes in the west of NSW where our children finished their education at Red Bend Catholic College in Forbes. Jim was a systems operater with Prospect County Council before moving to Parkes and we arrived in Parkes with a truckload horses, then a return trip to fill the truck up with 1 dozen young gilts in pig - our big start to farming!! We had bought an old farmhouse on a few hundred acres of red dirt. We had a 23 years in Parkes where Jim ran his own contracting business alonside farming wheat, sheep, cattle and pigs. I ran the office of the local vet clinic for 18 of those years. Before that I managed the local HCF office for four years. We were busy little vegemites and had no family support system. We moved my mum and aunt up to Parkes in 1981 as they were on their own in Wentworthville. Unfortunately mum died in 1983 so we didn't have her for long. Auntie Al died in 1990 and we sent her out with a huge bang. On the day of her funeral James showed us his skills handling explosives and blew up an old shed for his father; certainly was a great show.

Our three sons are all married and we have 7 grandchildren to show for it. They are all in the science field and we are very proud of them. We now live in Valla and have a lovely seachange farm. This is just a short story of some of our life - there is so much more!!!!

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Beginning of the Nuthouse

The nuthouse began for us in February 2003 when we moved all our goods and chatels, loaded up the dogs and set off for a life on the mid north coast. We had purchased a 13 acre, 1000 macadamia tree orchard in Valla, approx 10km from Nambucca Heads in a beautiful green valley. When we woke up on our first morning in Valla with the sun streaming through the window of our large bedroom we thought we had died and gone to heaven. The rolling green hills and fresh clean air was a stark contrast to the red dry dust we had left behind in Parkes. When the hammer went down on the last of our collection at the clearance sale in Parkes we felt a bit empty and lost. After all, this had been our home for 23 years. We had bought up our three boys, run a successful electrical business and managed a small farm for all those years. We had a big tie to Parkes with me working at the local vet clinic for 18 of those 23 years, and lots of friends to leave behind.
We have now been here for 5 years and have loved every minute of it. The work is pretty constant, but a labour of love. I will portray a shortened life story in my blog over the next few pages. Hopefully a few photos too. Also I want to include a few of my short stories I have written and poetry I have penned for family and friends on special occasions.