Sunday, October 31, 2010

Great Ocean Road

Following our stay in Melbourne for the World Simmental Congress we headed down to Geelong to visit with friends Cam & Carol Emerson.  I had met the Emerson family on my first visit to Australia in 1983.  Cam was very helpful getting us out of Melbourne and keeping us on the right side (I mean left side) of the road for our first crack at driving down under. 

Cam & Carol Emerson's beautiful home

We stopped for a quick visit at their home in Geelong before hitting the road along the Great Ocean Road.  This is rated as one of the Top 10 Roads to drive in the world. 

The scenery was beautiful and Rob thought he was a NASCAR driver taking all the curves in the road. 

Near the end of the drive are the Twelve Apostles. The Twelve Apostles are huge limestone rock formations separated from the cliff shore by the action of wind and waves. You won’t see 12 of these rock formations all at once, as they say some may be hidden from view from any of the vantage points. Some say as well that there are no longer 12 rock formations, because one or two (or as many as five) may have been eroded away. 
Twelve Apostles
 I hear that they are beautiful.  I say that because we never quite got there.  Our co-passenger Robert Lind of Timberlind Auctions, got a sever case of car sickness and pleaded with us to get off of the road.  We had made it as far as Apollo Bay. So we headed North and went through the area of Camperdown on route to Hamilton.  The timing was perfect as we were able to see some wonderful agriculture land and dairy farms.  We later learned that this is one of the largest dairy farming areas in Australia.  We were driving through the area as the cows were coming in for milking.
Throughout the area many of the farms had stone walls for their fences.
Although we didn't make it all the way along the Great Ocean Drive is was great to finally get out of the city and see some Australia Country side.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

World Simmental Congress Update

Visiting Australia was on our "bucket list". Our incentive to plan and make us take a trip to Australia was that they were hosting the World Simmental Congress.  Canada was honored to host the Congress in 2006.  We took a large string out to the show and were very pleased with the interest in our program.  Following the Congress we were able to sell some embryos ( more on that at a later time) to 2 studs in Australia.  That is when we decided to start planning to attend the Congress in Melbourne.  Due to the fact that we had several contacts in Australia and that Dee had lived over there a number of years ago, we didn't formally register with the congress but planned our trip to be there during the same time.  The show was hosted at the Royal Melbourne Show in September. The exhibitors did a great job displaying the cattle.  They showed 36 hours after arrival.  Some exhibitors had traveled over 20 hours.

The show was judged by John Young (no relation) from Scotland.  He had a very interesting way of describing his placings.  Was looking for a female with a "glint in her eye".  The classes are different than North American shows. Starting with heifers 9 - 12 months, then 12 to 15 months, 15 - 18 months, 18 to 20 months.  These are all considered Junior Females.  Heifers 20 to 24 months, 24 to 30 months and cows over 30 months all compete for the Senior Champion Cow.  Although some of them may not have calved yet.  They also only declare a Champion Female and Champion Bull, no Reserve Champions.  They also declare a Supreme Exhibit.  All exhibits must be shown with a nose clip, including the females.  This is for safety and enforced by the fair association.

The bull classes are divided by the same ages.  There were 24 entries in the 12 - 15 months heifer class.  All of them come in at the same time.  The judge selects 6 - 8 animals and those are placed and the rest are moved to the back row.  Instead of ribbons the exhibitors are awarded sashes.  Our daughter Crystal was able to work with the show team of Woonallee Simmentals.  The Bakers from South Australia.  Crystal showed several animals, including the Reserve Junior Bull. 

Many of the entries were traditional colored Simmentals, although there were a few Red and Black factor entries.  Congratulations to all of the exhibitors, you had a great display of cattle.  Here is the complete results are reported by The Land  publication. We'll chat more next time about some of the animals and the pedigrees.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Queen Victoria Market - Melbourne

Once we arrived in Melbourne, we met up with our daughter Crystal, Barry, Myrna,& Kerrie Bennet, Robert & Carol Lind and Dana & Gilles Lajoie (Hicks).We weren't officially registered with the World Simmental Congress as we wanted to do a few different things.  The Simmental Cattle were not at the showgrounds yet, so we spent a morning at the Queen Victoria Market. Now Rob is not really a shopper, but was being a good sport and went along.
The first Hall that we went into was the Meat Hall . Once we were inside, he was in his element.  Queen Victoria Market is Victoria's premier open-air market.

The friendly competition between stallholders, and their concern for customers, is what gives the Market its Old World charm and the addictive power to draw millions of visitors each year.
This vendor explained the Aussie Beef Market to us.  We had him wearing a I Love Alberta Beef Pin before we left.
The vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere of this historic site has endeared the Market to Melburnians for 130 years. The Market is probably best known for its huge variety of fresh produce. Almost 50% of the Market area is dedicated to the sale of fresh produce, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood and delicatessen products.

The remainder of the Market is used for variety and speciality goods, with Sundays being the most popular day for this category.

The Market is divided into a number of Market Precincts; the Deli Hall, Elizabeth Street Shops, F shed laneway, Vic Market Place Food Court, Fruit and Vegetables, The Meat Hall, Organics, General Merchandise, Victoria Street Shops and the Wine Market.

With 10 fishmongers, Queen Victoria Market seafood section offers the best range of quality fresh fish and seafood in Melbourne - it's a seafood hot spot. The range includes fresh whole fish, fillets (both fresh- and salt-water varieties) and myriad crustacean species. In 1995 a powerful air-conditioning system was installed, allowing the Hall to be used as a boning room outside of trading hours.

Many businesses in the Hall specialise in particular cuts and styles of meat, for example, in offal or sausages. Others are pork specialists (selling only female pork, which is sweeter). Still others sell meat cut to suit particular cuisines, such as Italian or Asian.

Some of the Waygu and Angus Beef for sale.

Monday, October 25, 2010

We're Back

Sorry for the long absence.  Between our 3 week adventure to the land Down Under and the fall work that was waiting for us at home, blogging has not been our first priority.  We apologize to those of you that kept checking our blog while we were away.  Our days were long and computer access short, along with the fact that you have to pay for WiFi services at all  of the hotels.  Over the next while we will share our adventures with you.  You can also check out our daughter Crystal's blog who was a bit better at blogging while traveling.
Sydney City Hall
We arrived in Sydney on a direct 15 hour flight from Vancouver, BC.  It was 8:00 am and day and a half from departure time.  Our long time friend Sean Trenowth picked us up and we headed out for an Aussie Breakfast.  Coffee was the first thing I was needing.  After learning how to order coffee - tall black, short black, tall white, flat white we enjoyed a great traditional Aussie breakfast of eggs, a rasher of bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes and baked beans along with Turkish bread (very good).  I soon learned that I would not be drinking the thick black coffee for the next three weeks and switched to tea.
We spent the next day and half touring the city of Sydney.  We stayed at the oldest hotel in Sydney - The Lord Nelson's Hotel and Brewery,
The Lord Nelson

Rob's cowboy hat got lots of attention
Our day included the Sydney Opera House,

An Aboriginal man playing the Didgeridoo,

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Once we had learned how to cross the street, which is more difficult than it seems with the traffic going the opposite direction than we were used to
we enjoyed our first night in Australia with Sean, Paul and Ann Trenowth.  Paul was on the Australian Simmental Council in the 1980's and was on the planning committee for the 1984 World Simmental Congress.
Rob and his new mates celebrating his birthday.
The next day we were back on a plane to Melbourne, to meet up with Crystal and the other Canadians that were attending the World Simmental Congress.  I promise their will be lots of cattle and agriculture blogs on this trip.