Barcoos Blog

Changes at Barcoos and on Barcoos Website

I’ve been Spring Cleaning Barcoos Farmstays Website, and there’s more to come once I learn how to edit the program! – Mostly updating photos, not game to try that yet!

The online booking page has been simplified & hopefully now working better. I have had quite a few comments that it is not displaying clearly, so if you find it’s still being hard to get along with please let me know.


Of course, you are still welcome to book direct with me as I know many folk prefer to do.

You will also note that linen is now included in your tariff – BUT –  if you wish to bring your own, (& I love that), you do get a $10.00 per person/per stay discount. – I was away at the weekend and as I traveled I was reflecting on the hassles of getting away! – and to have to have thought of taking linen would have been just one more hassle! – But it does give you the option of saving a bit on your holiday.

Barcoos now has a minimum 2 night stay policy – (except when there is a odd night stuck between two other bookings or maybe a mid week visit). If you wish a one night stay you need to contact me direct via email or phone.

We also have introduced a pay for 2 stay for 3 nights deal, and a stay for a week & pay for 5 nights special deals. The stay 3 nights deal can be booked online, but you will need to contact me direct for the the weekly special. Sorry, not available during school holidays.

Farmer Ken’s tractor rides/drives – Always a sore point with me that many kids reckon it is more impressive than my gorgeous Draft Horses & Little Cody – Sure 140 HP is pretty impressive and also pretty expensive! – For a while we were charging extra, but we have decided for the sake of simplicity to incorporate it the tariff for guests in accommodation. we do ask for understanding that the BIG tractor and Farmer Ken are fair dinkum farmers and may not always be available when serious farm work is on.

So I guess this all boils down to the big thing – Tariffs have increased. BUT,  it’s all now inclusive.

NOT ONLY BUT ALSO – We now have in stock for your convenience.

BBQ packs from our Local Butcher (Keppell Street Meats) and from local Farms – Always top quality & the best sausages and rissoles  in the west, not to mention awesome steaks.

And, Bacon & Pork sausages locally grown & processed – yummmmmm. Perfect for your breakfast with Barcoos Eggs from hens that you have fed & they have rewarded you with their special fresh eggs.

AND – I have mastered homemade bread – You can order a loaf of this plus Pumpkin Soup (made with our own organically grown pumpkins) if you are feeling like a easy meal that could be ready when you arrive, or just a easy meal at some stage of your visit. In the future this awesome menu might be expanded! – if you have some suggestions I’d love to hear about them.

Until next Time.

Elaine & Farmer Ken.





A Meditation Retreat - Vipassana - Blackheath.

A brief summary of my “failed” attempt at a Meditation Retreat.

Firstly – This is not a ridicule of the Retreat or of the philosophy of Vipassana Meditation. I’m sure for those able to persevere it can & is a life changing experience. – Just that it was not for me.

Why did I go? – Sometimes the mind just runs in silly circles & I had hoped to “train it” – or maybe that should be to tame it!

Why did I quit after 4 days & not stay for 10? –

– A day started at 4am being woken by the gong – I love that deep sounding gong! – by 4.30 am one had to be meditating for 2 hours with eyes closed & whole of mind focused on the incoming and outgoing breath as it passed through the nostrils! – this was broken into 1-2hr blocks for 12 hours a day for the 1st 3 days. The rest of the time was for eating/resting. One was not allowed any reading or writing materials at all – There was a 5 minute loop walk  – around & around one could take with downcast eyes.

Breakfast was at 6.30 am – much the same as what we eat at home – Rolled oats/fruit/ toast if you wanted/ tea.

Lunch was at 11am – Vegetarian stew/rice/noodles/salad leaves/Chinese style vegetable soup/tea.

The food was really quite nice, well prepared & nutritious.

Dinner was at 5pm – a cold apple & orange & a cup of tea.

It was cold, very cold – and a cold apple & orange for dinner on a very cold evening just was quite depressing for me – nice apples & oranges, yes, very fresh & crisp, even enjoyed a Delicious Apple, my least favorite variety of apple!!

SUPREME SILENCE also undid me – Not allowed to speak to anyone, look at anyone, acknowledge anyone in any way! – The lady that had a room next to mine wore the same type of walking boots as me – had she gone missing & the police wanted a description that is all I would have been able to tell them! Not being allowed to say “Thank you” if someone held a door for you, say to anyone, “by gosh it’s very cold”, “where do you come from” ect. – I think if I stayed the distance this may have been allowed on the last day

I missed my animals so much (and Ken & Catherine) – 2nd morning I had my self a pity party, so homesick it was crazy, you would have thought I was a kid away from home for the first time ever! Sobbed & sobbed!! – Missed just a few moments of focusing on my ingoing & outgoing breath in that 2 hours of meditating! I pulled myself to-gether & tried very hard for the remainder of the day to focus on my breath going in & out!

The philosophy of Vipassana aligns with all basic religions – love & respect of all living beings and the earth that we live on. But, when it came to no killing, that meant I could not be a farmer anymore, as if we sell stock to be slaughtered, then we are in essence killing – and what to do about the occasional animal that is suffering & needs to be “put down”? –

Of course my hearing deficit didn’t help matters! – That was eventually solved by putting me in the bi-lingual room with headphones on listing to the translation in English! – As this was just for a “sermon” of about a hour in the evening, and maybe a 5 minute lecture in the morning on “breathe in & out through the nostrils & feel the breath as it passing by your nostrils” I did save a lot on hearing aid batteries over those few days.!

Nor did my arthritic hips help – I was kindly given a plastic picnic chair with the legs cut off so I didn’t have to sit on the floor, but still very close to it! I have never been good at sitting or standing still! – I probably have learnt to sit still for 10 minutes or so now – maybe even more! A couple of other elderly women were also allowed this luxury –

All this “deprivation” (whoops, wrong word) focus  is to heighten ones awareness of ones senses!. I reckon I would have been a “real crazy bird” had I lasted the 10 days – As I was driving home I was listening to the radio & laughed out aloud – WOW, I nearly stopped the car & rang Ken just to tell him how good it sounded!

Would I do another meditation retreat? – yes, I probably would, but only if I could talk sometimes, communicate sometimes, take a book to read, sometimes, and be able to go for a decent walk without being locked in by invisible guard rails. And have something more for dinner that a bit of cold fruit on a very cold evening

I did learn lots – perhaps not what I expected to learn!! It is so awesomely wonderful to be at home, and to be loved by husband,  family & animals (well, they act is if they love me!), and full of plans to get the “Wardell Farmhouse at Barcoos” up & running by the September School Holidays. To be home today to welcome back one the very special families to visit, to share the joy of seeing this special little person loving every moment with our animals and how much she has progressed in the last 12 months. – No, I don’t feel as if I failed at all, I sucked & what I tasted didn’t suit me, that’s all.

Having lunch tomorrow with a special very old friend – nooo, she’s not old, just been around me a long time – we are going to laugh lots about my “meditation experience” –   Yes, stuff that I would not be game to write here!!



From Barcoos Barn to Newman. WA

During the last 3 weeks Farmer Ken & Elaine have been taking a drive across some of Australia’s more remote areas. With the trusty farm ute (that is protesting!) and our Trayon Camper on the back we have covered 5249klms, much of it on gravel/sand roads. So far wonderful scenery, weather & company. Our Ute made a protest yesterday and we had to head for civilisation at Newman to get a fuel leak fixed and hopefully find a welder to attach the tray securely back onto the chassis. A bit hard to take a caravan park after the awesome bush camps we have enjoyed, but also wonderful to have a shower and get the washing done.



Preparations to drive across the Centre of Oz.

Time for Elaine & Ken to take a break driving across some of Australia’s more remote desert tracks, explore part of the Canning Stock Route & the Pilbara Region, Ningaloo Reef, Karajini National Park, plus lots of other waterholes, gorges & outback communities, & if we haven’t had enough corrugations & red dust back home via The Gunbarrell Highway, Uluru -(Ayres Rock) and back along the Black Top – I’m certain by then we will have enough of red dust & corrugations!.

Most important in our preparations, our pet/house sitter is here & getting familiar with all my special animals, their feeding regimes & comfort requirements. Big sigh of relief although I’m going to find it very hard not to have my daily animal “fix”.

Permits to transit Aboriginal Lands applied for. Long range Fuel Tank installed on vehichle, extra spare installed & lots of other vehicle stuff seen to. Emergency beacon ordered – Spot Connect, hope it gets here on time, although our travelling companions are also carrying a Emergency Beacon.  I have learnt how to load photos onto new computer (many thanks to guests with IT skills). Trayon Camper on ute. So much to get ready.

Hopefully I’m going to keep a irregular but frequent BLOG happenning of our adventures so feel free if you are interested to follow along. There is a RSS feed button on the website to keep you up to date.

Big Nellie

Big Nellie astounds me!!!

Grandaughter Izzy has problems with her pony Zara when it comes to water jumps, so today Gary rides Nellie to show Zara that it’s OK to walk through water.

I have owned Nellie (Australian Draught Mare),  about 2 years and havn’t achieved much with her. 2 weeks ago Gary decided to see what would happen if he rode her! – Absolutley nothing – amazing. Nellie is probably about 12 yrs old, would have been ridden briefly as part of being “broken in”, as perhaps a 2 year old and has done nothing to speak of since, except to have some major fright that makes her very nervous & jittery whilst pulling a implement. Problem is – she is toooo high for me to get up into the saddle – 17.5 hands!!

Natural Horsemanship

Time to start working on the “Blogs” for Barcoos Farmstay webpage. Raining cats & dogs at the moment so shut up inside.

Last week I spent 5 magic days at Leconfield Cattle Drives in the hills above Tamworth. I took Wirraway along as I was having a few challenges in handling her & figured that if I was going to ride a horse for 5 days it may as well be mine so we could get the best out of one another.

Jillian Sullivan runs these 5 day “cattle drives” along with her husband Steve, & her daughter Sarah was our cook & sometimes “Tail End Charlie” on our rides.

Jillian trained our awesome Barcoo, and I bought him from her around 7 years ago. I have always said I wanted to go back there & learn some more “Natural Horsemanship Skills”.

A 500klm drive to get there, camping overnight at Coolah & arriving at 10am Monday. After lunch it was saddle up & head off for the hills for a 3 hour ride for Jillian to observe our riding skills. Wirraway started out wanting to be at the front & being impatient, took just 2 brief lessons from Jillian for Wirraway to decide life was far more peaceful to just walk along peacefully.

Over the next few days we did a bit of cattle & sheep mustering, took a awesome 4 hour ride to the top of the local mountain, wonderful views & phone reception! Learnt a range of “ground games” to do with our horses which teaches them to trust us & be happy to around us, not to be threatened or to be feared. Wirraway was chosen as the demonstration horse for “join up” So lots of learing for her & I, and yes I have been on her since coming home & she is just such a different horse to ride, very gentle & responsive.

She was such a willing, quick learner that Jillian wants to have first offer if I ever should decide to sell her!