7. Working with cattle

Outcome of previous mustering,

Outcome of previous mustering,

This morning, much to Roger’s disappointment, we weren’t included in the cattle mustering team. So we stayed behind to sort out the horses, feed, water, change rugs/blankets and muck out! The latter is actually one of the better jobs! It can’t be all bad if you are shovelling sh*t in the sunshine but also being kept entertained by the producers of said substance. We also reached a breakthrough today when both our little princess and ‘legs’ took some hay out of Roger’s hand.IMAG3683 I was too slow and excited to get the photo of the former and just a little slow for the latter, as the picture shows Remmey pinching the hay out of his mouth, despite her having full access to the trough! We can’t be annoyed with her as we are using her previous handling experience to try to show the wild ones that we humans are quite nice and not dangerous, so are giving her much more fuss and attention than she should probably receive.
IMAG3697After our animal husbandry was complete we continued with the handyman jobs. Roger is replacing a load of door handles and I’m painting the outside wall of the new/old accommodation unit. Whilst these tasks were under way we somehow managed to miss the ‘whirlywind’ which came through the yard distributing feed buckets into all the corners and, unnoticed until the evening, depositing a spare horse rug, which had been neatly draped over the railings, rather high up in a tree! Not sure how that’s going to be retrieved.
IMAG3684During the early afternoon the dogs and horses started to become unsettled and soon we could see a huge dust cloud emerging out of the creek at the back. 350-400 head of cattle trotted into the pen along the driveway followed by the motorbikes, quads and ‘dune-buggies’, which were probably the real cause of the horses’ disquiet as they hadn’t heard these engines since their own mustering.

Brahmin bull

Brahman bull

Josh suggested we come on down to the yards to see what was going on so without hesitation we downed tools and jumped on to the spare quad. The yard was a mass of dust hanging about 8-10 foot in the air above this throng. We were soon in the thick of it, literally, struggling to see and breathe. The sorted cattle were being sent down a crush to be inoculated against botulism, others were being sent to market and some needed branding (the following day’s job).IMAG3688 I ended up with a syringe and needle linked to a pouch of botulinum to administer to the poor souls in my race, who were having their tails cut at the same time to indicate their status. This was easier said than done to rather large animals, including bulls, who were trapped against their will and then having their tails pulled and cut (just the hair, supposedly!) Anyway I did improve my technique but think that most of the the serum found its mark. That which didn’t squirted back on me and we will see in the morning if botox can be absorbed through the skin, if I wake up looking like a teenager again!
IMAG3696This is dusty dirty work here in the outback, despite using water to dampen down the ground. This is the photo of a station worker! Its dirt, my suntan hasn’t improved to such an extent!

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