Sunday 31 July 2011


The thing with travelling is that you never know what you will find around the bend or what you see in the distance along straight stretches of road. I travel this stretch of road headed for town pretty often and am rather familiar with its every turn and pot hole but it never ceases to amaze me how much it can change from week to week, season to season. All it takes is to travel it at a slightly different time of day and you see things in a whole new light.

I have seen many emus and a few with chicks however none have chosen to stay anywhere near as visible once traffic comes along. Usually you see them heading their chicks off the road and into the bushes before you can even pick up a camera.

The starkness of ant hills/ termite mounds jutting out of the ground only adds to the harsh beauty of the outback.

I love this time of year with the native flowers starting to bloom. The colours are amazing the sweet smell of wattle hits you when you get out of the car. The gums are also starting to flower as well as the gravilleas and the bottle brush isn't far off.

 On this trip I got to finally see the resident camels that I had heard were around but never seen. They were very quiet and quite happy to keep munching away while I stopped in the middle of their group.


Wednesday 27 July 2011

Just the Beginning

Winton Show Ball 2011 - a great night out
Well I dare say we will notice the silence tonight, the cattle are finally out of the yards. Out of 7 days we have only spent 1 and 3/4days in the school room. The rest of our time has been in the cattle yards, at cluster or it was the weekend ... which come to think of it part of that was in the cattle yards as well. I figured this was a good time to start a blog, to record the different sides of being a govie on a cattle station. If you want to you can have the best of all worlds by teaching the kids, taking part in station work and going out on weekends. Now after last term were I think I spent 1 full weekend on the property I wouldn't recommend going out every weekend, it is exhausting. Up to 8 hrs on the road every weekend takes its toll but on the other hand you get to meet lots of interesting people and have some great nights out.

I know when it comes round to mustering and yard work we will spend plenty of time out helping. The kids need to join in and it is a case of every hand on deck. No matter the job you do whether it be making sure cattle go into the dip, pushing up cattle in the yards or tallying every bit of help counts and speeds up the job to be done. After starting at lunch time yesterday by lunch time today we had finally finished dipping the last of the cows, calves and bulls as well as some of the neighbours cattle that have not long been picked up.

Yesterday afternoon when pushing the cattle through the yards we discovered that yet another calf had been born in the yard. The little cutie was still covered in afterbirth. The hard thing with calves born in the yards is that it is hard for their mums to find them. He managed to stay out of the way hiding beside the railings but as it cooled of he came over for some human company and coddling.

This morning it looked like he had been cleaned off but there was still no mum in sight. He ended up camping out near the crush moving closer and closer to us every time he woke up. By the end of the morning he was sleeping in a ball right where I was working so I had to step over him every time I pushed a bull through to the dip. In the end I think he got sick of being tripped over and headed off to find his mum. The last I saw he was trying to suck of any cow near enough, the hungry little beggar. I guess we will find out if it found its mum when they come back from turning out the cattle.

Being in the yards is extremely confusing for the cattle. All the sound and unfamiliar sights are certainly not what they are use to when plodding along, doing there own thing out in the bush. Even more confusing when you are blind. One of the cows has a blind calf nicknamed Dizzy by the kids, and just to show how good a mum she has she is one healthy looking calf. Today after going through the dip she lost her mum so spent a lot of time wondering around trying to find her and at one stage spinning round and round in circles trying to find her (hence the name Dizzy which she picked up when separated from mum for branding). She found mum later after heading back into the main mob of cows.

Dizzy running in circles