Sunday, 11 September 2011

Yard Work

Yet again this week the smell of seared hair, flesh and woodsmoke filled our nostrils while dust and smoke gritted up our eyes and mouths.

Branding irons in the fire.
The men found about 100 head of cows and 60+ calves in a paddock that was cleared out last muster so we had some impromptu yard work to do.

Calves all ready to go.
All I can say is those cows must be good at hiding as it was done by chopper that muster. Our light aircraft whiz found them though and the Bosses brought them in by bike (very unusual as they normally do it all on horse).

The flying machine whiz.
On Thursday morning we did school as per usual, although there were many on airs missing from our day as teachers were out on home visits.

Mr T, sorry Captain T sailing his ship while waiting to go to the yards.
After lunch the kids and I armed with waddies headed down to the yards to help out with branding. Miss S and Miss E helped Boss Lady H push the calves into the race.

There is plenty to keep a young boy entertained at the cattle yards.
I kept them going up the race and into the calf cradle. Mr R lifted the gate that stops the first calf going backwards to let them through. Then Mr E helped Boss Lady R to put tags onto the tagger while Bosses H and R tagged, branded, castrated and dipped.

Branding and tagging.

Boss Lady H giving branding a go once the pen was empty.
We had four escape artists. One that was determined to go back through the fence to get back in with its mates. It had us all up the rails fending it off with our feet, trying to encourage it to turn around ... friendly encouragement of cause. There were a couple of calves that got themselves into interesting positions in the calf cradle, they weren't at all eager to have their turn.

Castrating and tagging, now that's a bit awkward.

Silly calf
We had one that had to be put up the crush to be branded which then means the brand needs to be run from one end of the yards to the other. Steer clear or you could find yourself marked.

Pushing the calves into the next yard.

Calves going back to their mummies.
The fellas also found the missing bulls who had been hiding out. They obviously thought they were getting too much of a good thing so decided to stay put. Most were quiet, we were walking in and out of the yard they were in and they didn't blink an eye. One however was not such a happy chappy.

Fred's bull, a longhorn
Fred's Bull belongs to a relative of the family and the last time they brought him into the yards he had to be dipped. Being too big to fit up the plunge dip he had to be sprayed. One minute Boss H was spraying him and the next he was flying through the air. Turns out he didn't like his shower.

Attitude problem.
Fred's Bull then rammed through the gate into the drafting circle and proceeded to use a calf as a battering ram to get through another gate. So basically he is a really nice piece of work. This meant that this time he got to go into a yard by himself. See if you can't play nice you don't get to play at all. I don't think he stopped watching us the whole time and whenever someone so much as looked at him down went his head while he kicked up dust.

Kicking up dust.

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