Lilli took care of the chickens; she was the one who looked after any animal or bird that had fallen on hard times and needed looking after. She was the sensitive go between her two older sisters which did not always see eye to eye, as they are as different as chalk and cheese. She has been as a child and now the best of the best daughter one can wish for. Always helpful, always smiling, always matter of fact, no shenanigans with Lilli.
One of her letters to her grandma in Switzerland, the girls called her Mamma, 1976
Here with Susi, a Wallaby Joe found along the road, the mother was killed by a car.
The Joe slept in her bed until it was grown up and left on its own account to join its tribe in the bush.
Lilli loved to go to explore on the property. It was fine as long as she did not go over the road. I was a bit worried, because it was a 1000 acre property and there were snakes and spiders and who knows what else! Luckily one of the dogs would go with her. She came home with stone tools which were used by Aboriginal people who lived in this area. She collected seeds and plants to propagate.
One day she came back very upset. She said she found a skeleton. When I heard her mention a skeleton I was very disturbed and asked her if she remembered the place where she saw it. Lilli said yes come and have a look. Peter was still out with his tractor and not around to hear the grisly news. We went together to the place, and there it was, the skeleton of a small dog its collar still around its neck on a leash attached to the branch of a tree. I said it’s the skeleton of a little dog why didn't you say so. Lilli said you didn't ask. We both thought it was a very sad sight and wondered what had happened to the unlucky dog.
Living on a farm one has to get used to see animals in distress. Especially at calving time were certain incidents when it was necessary to interfere and help a cow who was in trouble, because the calf was to big or was laying the wrong way. Animals had to be sold which was never easy. The children were much more matter of fact. I was a coward, always hiding when the steers had to be shifted to the marked, or one had to be killed for meat.
The place looked always so serene, beautiful and perfect, the Herefords grazing peacefully under a wide open sky.The calves free to run and frolic full of life and happiness.
Nature sometimes has dark moments in store; when the rain does not come. Everyday one scans the sky for the smallest cloud. The sky remains blue, a glorious blue, the sun a glaring ball of fire to burn the pasture until no fresh grass is left for the cattle. Armee worms make their appearance and eat up whats left.
No wonder people turned to deities to ask for forgiveness and favours!
There were many beautiful moments when watching the animals taking care of the calves. They were usually families like mothers, daughters, aunties and babies, they would go together. One can only observe this when the cattle are free to graze and never put into a shed or tied up. The mothers would give birth and hide the calves in the bush; there were always other cows looking after the tiny ones when the mothers went grazing.
In Australia, anyone who operates and owns a cattle or sheep property is called a Grazier.