Saturday, 29 June 2013


Our front paddock during the drought.  Not a skerrick of grass left.  The blue buckets were our home made lickblocks. The bale of straw the sheep are eating were bales of sugar cane tops and the bathtubs were filled with our sheep porridge - sugar cane, corn and carrots that were put through the hammer mill first and then topped with a runny sauce of molasses and minerals and other additives.  My mate front and centre looking at the camera is Hitler with old Hornless off on his far left hand side and little Ramesis standing between them.  You can just see Midnight my black lamb behind them.

I have walked in these blokes shoes, it is heart breaking, soul destroying and bloody hard work, and when Mother Nature turns against you  it is completely out of your control.  A donation from as little as $5 helps so much.  A morning tea function with your workmates making a  gold coin donation can help out - imagine if the whole of Australia got behind that idea - wouldn' t that be wonderful.

Can your church group or social club organize a collection of toiletries and basic household commodities to be distributed?  Sometimes  the farm budget won't even stretch to the cost of shampoo and toothpaste .  When you are hand feeding stock every $ is needed to save a life.  Your breeders are the building blocks  needed to rebuild herds when the drought breaks, and farmers have to try to keep them going even if  they have sold off  the rest .And you can guarantee they have been sold at rock bottom prices as the market is flooded with sheep and cattle from others in the same boat.

It broke my heart to see our good sheep being sold off for less than $5 a head in the last big drought.  It barely covered the cost of getting them to the sale yards and then when the drought broke the price went through the roof to try and buy in breeding ewes - either way we were stuffed.

So believe me every little bit helps.  Please do what you can - our farmers won't ask for help but they need it.  Every lamb or calf that doesn't make it equates to standing in the paddock tearing up $50 notes.  Would you do that with your hard earned money?  Not bloody likely, but these farmers are powerless to stop their stock losses without access to stock feed and water and when Mother Nature turns her back on you you have to buy these in, and they aren't cheap.

 Every bale donated saves lives.

Why not organize a coffee morning amongst your group of workmates or friends to help our farmers out and buy a bale?

Buy a Bale

The Buy a Bale Fundraising Campaign Help us to raise money for Australian farmers who need our help to live through the current drought.

The rain is slow in coming; the grass now is all dying
The dams and creeks and rivers are all dry.
The pigs and dogs and foxes are adding to stock losses
There’s not a lot of hope left in his eye.

Wool prices kep on falling but still the country calls him,
he doesn't want to leave it all behind
He believes in the future that things will get much better,
but fears sometimes he's going to lose his mind.

So won't you spare a thought for country farmers?
The ones who raise the sheep and grow the grain.
The blokes who run the cattle and the ones who grow the crops.
All are desperate for the sound of falling rain.

And think on this all of you city dwellers
who use the water, never give a damn.
We take it all for granted never give a second thought
to the Aussie battler out there on the land.

Some say farmers are whingeing, their complaints are never ending.
Some say on Government handouts they depend
But each week you draw your pay for your hard work every day.
What would you do if this all came to an end?

Our farmers are hard workers none could say  they were shirkers .
Their hours aren’t fixed each day from nine to five.
They work 24/7, all the hours that God has given
just to keep their farms and families alive.

Some years no doubt are good ones and there might be a profit,
when prices rise on wool, beef, lambs or grain.
But they could lose it all tomorrow, causing much heartbreak and sorrow
though no doubt they'll face the challenge once again.

So take you hats off to the Farmers, they’re the ones who grow the produce.
The one who’s lamb and beef graces your table.
Please support them while you can, give the thumbs up to the man.
Buy Australian produce now, whilst you’re still able.

Maureen Clifford ©
The Scribbly Bark Poet

Saturday, 22 June 2013


So many things in life depend on that first step - without it nothing gets done, nothing gets started, nothing is ventured and nothing is gained.  Sometimes that first step is just the biggest hurdle we have to conquer.  Once we have taken it a completely new vista opens up before us.

Regardless of whether it be housework, relationships, writing, journeys, employment or the rest of your life - how to do anything depends on that first baby step.

Friday, 7 June 2013


Anyone who  is Australian or has visited here and gone outside of the big cities will be in no doubt as to the number of corrugations we have in this great Southern Land.  From the corrugated roofs on the old Queenslander and colonial styled homes and workers cottages, to the corrugations on the dirt roads that snake across this country, many little more than goat tracks.  Those lines and wrinkles that the harsh Aussie sun has branded into countless faces.  The dips and hollows one sees in our desert sand dunes, the waves one sees on our surfing beaches rolling in, line after line  in an endless expanse of sea green corrugations.

We are without a  doubt a corrugated nation - let me tell you a little more......

Corrugated shearing sheds

Corrugated Walls

Cattle with crepey necks

Corrugated roads

Thursday, 6 June 2013


This poem has used the audio tape of the old Blacksmiths shop by Thomas Cransky as the backing tape.   This was  originally set up as an ABC Pool collaboration.

 The story is true - set in Nambour Queensland  in the early part of the 60's.  It is my story.  I hope you enjoy it.  Just click the link below to go into the soundclouds.

            THE BLACKSMITH

When I was just a little girl, perhaps nine or ten years old,
every spare minute that I had was spent at Bens I’m told.
Old Ben he was the Blacksmith and he always seemed to me
to be quite old. In retrospect he was just thirty three.

His forge was hot and glowing, despite how warm the day
and the clanging of his hammer could be heard from far away.
I recall  water hissing as hot steel was plunged to cool
andthe ringing of the steel always held me in its thrall.

I think I always hoped to see a draught horse standing there.
But alas I never did. 'twas tractors he repaired,
along with combine harvesters and many other things.
So I drew horses on his wall , fulfilling childish whims.

For many years the forge was there. I grew up and moved on.
Many years passed ‘fore I returned, by then old Ben was gone.
The forge was now abandoned. Boarded up and bare.
I wonder if the horses that I drew are still in there.

This town was once a sugar town, but now the cane has gone
The swaying cane replaced with roofs in shades of red and brown
Suburban plots, suburban streets are now everywhere seen.
Though they don't have the beauty of the pink plume on the green.

The mill has closed; the rail line still. No fires ring the town.
The sleepy country pace replaced with haste and frazzled frowns
No neighbourly chat upon the street, and none who say G’day.
All around  rush and hurry. Stressed out people. Stressful days.

The ringing of the steel, alas its sound is heard no more
No need here for a Blacksmith now, not like there was before.
The country ways are ending, the childish dreams long gone
Except within my memories, for here they linger on.

Maureen Clifford ©
The Scribbly Bark Poet