The pho­to­graph of three-year-old Mitchell Dick­ens help­ing his dad feed their cat­tle grabs my heart. You can see the in­tense con­cen­tra­tion on his face as he shov­els cot­ton­seed off the side of the truck.

Country Style - - A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR - Vic­to­ria Carey

His par­ents, Justin and Amy Dick­ens, bought their 1020-hectare prop­erty near Yeo­val in the NSW Cen­tral West six years ago and this is the first pro­longed pe­riod of dry that they have had. The an­nual av­er­age rain­fall is 650 mil­lime­tres, and so far they’ve had 102 mil­lime­tres this year. De­spite this, the cou­ple is so happy that they have achieved their dream of own­ing a prop­erty. “This dry time has not been easy, but it’s a bump in the road. We take mea­sures in good years to set our­selves up a lit­tle bit bet­ter,” says Justin. Turn to page 82 to learn more about this in­spir­ing cou­ple’s ap­proach to one of the many chal­lenges cli­mate throws at our farm­ers. Twelve-year-old Shep Tay­lor’s dog, Flash, was his “best present yet” two Christ­mases ago, as you’ll dis­cover on page 26. The black-and-tan kelpie loves to work and she found it hard to sit still for pho­tog­ra­pher Clancy Paine — which is one of the rea­sons Shep’s palomino, Timmy, has the star role on this month’s cover. Shep has al­ways loved dogs. “He’d come out with me when he was lit­tle and ask if he could take my dogs and work them. It’s some­thing he’s dreamed of, to have his own to work,” says his dad, Hugh. I’m al­ways fas­ci­nated by sto­ries of peo­ple liv­ing in par­tic­u­larly remote ar­eas of our coun­try. Zanna and Matt Gale of Pin­cally Sta­tion are a great ex­am­ple of that — and also one of the most pop­u­lar sto­ries we have ever put up on our web­site, so we de­cided to catch up with them again. The long-planned ren­o­va­tion to open up the back of their house to the gar­den is now done and their home is an oa­sis to es­cape to at the end of a long day. Cur­rently they have de­stocked to an ex­tent and have some cat­tle on ag­ist­ment chas­ing the feed. I loved what Matt had to say about that. “It doesn’t have to rain here, as long as it rains some­where,” he said. En­joy the is­sue.

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