We headed over to big creek on the tuesday morning, after fixing a flat tyre and jump starting our ute (!) just as they were finishing the first bit of mustering. Because the land is so big out here they use a plane who grids the paddocks from the air, then they radio down to the guys on the motorbikes and send them in the right direction round the paddock to group all the cattle together. It takes a long time and there are always stray cattle wandering round or who get missed. Then once all the cattle are in a group they get walked to where they need to be, this is finally where I got to be involved in the fun part! I got to drive the quad bike and heard the cattle into the holding paddocks which was so much fun, you have to chase them back into line when they run off and there are so many cute calves there at the minute so they are really fun! Once we’d got them into the last field myself Drew and Harry went to draft the sheep that they’d mustered earlier, something else I was really looking forward too! Basically you heard all the sheep into a big pen and then send them into smaller pens, on the way to the race which is a metal tunnel with a gate at the end, that’s where you open the gate various directions to get the sheep into separate pens. So basically I spent a couple of hours chasing sheep round which was awesome! I also got to work the gate too, we were separating woolies and shorn sheep so every time a woolie came down the race I had to slam the gate in front of it to get it into the right pen, then slam it straight back so the shorn sheep couldn’t get through as well! Stressful as we had a carton of beer bet on that I would mess up! Luckily I didn’t and now quite fancy myself as a sheep drafter as a new career choice, ha!
Once that was done we went back to the cattle yards where the cows had arrived and were in their different pens, all the tiny calves needed branding and their ears tagging before they could be let go to be with their mums again, they were still too small to be taken off mum so they won’t be getting transported to a different property. The branding and tagging process seemed pretty brutal the first time I saw it as they trap the calf in a big metal cradle then drop it to the ground, brand them, tag both ears and then if it’s a bull they unfortunately get their bits chopped off as well! Then they let them out and the little calf goes running off to hide in a corner! I did have a go at everything but one go was enough for me so I just went and played with the calves after that. We somehow managed to fit all that into one day and as soon as we’d eaten back at Cowley I went straight to bed, my eyes hurt they were so tired, but probably also so full of dust!
cattle in the pen.
The next day we went back down to Big Creek to tag the slightly older calves who are being separated from their mums so they can be sent to a different property and fed a bit more, as both the mums and calves are under weight at the minute. There was one cow that was in with the calves and once I’d spent a fair while in the pen with her Drew then decided to tell me she was with them because she’s mad and charges at people whenever she can, just what I needed to hear! I had to jump onto the fences a couple of times to avoid her as she came towards me, crazy cow! We got that done pretty quickly then went to load the sheep into a small truck and take them to a paddock near the sheering sheds ready to be shorn in a month or so. We had to get them up the race which was a tiny little wooden track about 20 years old, some of them were so fat with wool they wouldn’t even fit up! We loaded the two pens we had drafter the day before and then unloaded them into their new paddock, Drew showed me round the sheering sheds which still have loads of old machinery and tools so that was really interesting! By the time we’d done that the big road train had arrived to load the cattle on to, Elle’s dad owns a transport company and her older brother has his own truck with them so he came down to do the job, keeping it in the family! All the calves went up the race pretty quickly and easy, but the mad cow wasn’t having any of it so it took us ages to get her on. Once they were loaded we all headed back down to Cowley to load the calves there as well, then got back on the quad and motorbikes and walked the cows out of the cattle yards and back into their new paddock. It takes so long as the cows walk so slowly but it’s so much fun on the quad I wasn’t complaining. Finally though we were finished and once again I was so excited to be going to bed, but we ended up going to Toompine for dinner so it was another pretty late night!
woolies waiting to be loaded.
The day after that I was asked to clean the entire house that Drew and Ellie stay in… not really my idea of working on a farm but cleaning does seem to be my fortay so it wasn’t so bad. I hoovered, swept, cleaned, dusted, polished, did washing and just generally tidied the whole place up. It looked so much better by the time I’d finished, it must have been so long since the last time the place was cleaned! Our saturday was one of the bad days that we have now and then where we get given rubbish jobs, this time it was gardening. Anyone who knows me will know that I really do not like gardening, in particular weeding, but that’s what we spent the entire day doing! I was so glad to finish at the end of the day! The next day we spent all morning driving round the property dropping off lick and supplement food for the cows. Drew took us to see a huge rock hole with a little cave full of water, as well as some aboriginal stone circles that are still in tact in one of the outer paddocks which was pretty awesome. We spent the last few hours of the day not really doing much which was sort of nice, but there’s also nothing to really do so it’s sort of a bit boring! It gets a bit tiresome working every single day of the week every week, now that we’re just over half way through our time here it’s really starting to take it’s toll on us both and we really do want a day off, but one where we can actually go off and do something interesting!