July 24, 2007

7 January 1807 by Elizabeth Macarthur

Merino ram

I must count the people working for us - it always seems someone new is appearing and so far as I can tell, no one is leaving. Mr. Marsden was mentioning the other day that, by luck and observation, very good servants are found and retained and I think him right. We have a few more than 40 people working on the farm here, with another dozen with various house duties - and any number on the farms. John pays for them all - the new grant will receive kept labourers, but one never knows if the type allowed us will be suitable. I need good shepherds and they prove hard to find - and those that are found have recently been moved to the Hawkesbury, by order. We have 5 rams that need to tup with about 1000 ewes, but we don't want to tire them out or see them reduced in value - by careful breeding, we may have more suitable rams in seven seasons, and too many mistakes now would put that program back dreadfully.
The weather remains very hot and smoke appeared above the ridge towards Toongabbie, so it appears more of the terrible fires that strike the forest here may have sprung up. Our wells - there are two house wells - would only yield buckets, so naturally I worry when that smoke appears.
Perhaps today would be a good day to reckon for whom this diary is written - I tell too much of my closest thoughts to pass it on to the children, and no-one wants to read the vague scribblings of an untutored girl at the end of the world, so perhaps it can remain my own personal sounding block. If the heat does not wilt me, perhaps I will write again tonight.

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