The Team and the Work
This time of year is particularly hectic around Granite Glen. Over a four-week period, we muster in all of our breeding cows (more than a dozen paddocks), wean their big calves, walk out each lot of calves to their new paddocks (where they will ‘grow out’) and then re-muster all the cows for preg-testing. Then I work with our stud weaner bulls and heifers, hand-feeding them and ensuring they are calm enough to relax with me in close quarters.
And as it’s also the start of bull selling season, we often have buyers here wanting to inspect our bulls. It’s a huge juggling act, during which we usually hope for rain to hold off (nice for the pasture, but makes those yards a bit uncomfortable for our weaners) and for no major break-outs from the yards to occur.
This year is the first time we have done it all without my dad – who if you recall, is off gallivanting around Europe. We REALLY wanted it to go smoothly and I suspect every gate was triple checked throughout the weaning. And with all weaners now safely in their new paddocks, we are breathing a quiet sigh of relief. They all behaved beautifully and we are delighted with our new crop of young cattle.
The workers, of course, who helped make it all happen, are highly valued here. Want to meet them?
We have Cal (the 18-year-old bull rider), Dash (the 11-year-old fisherman), Salina (the almost 14-year-old interior designer wanna-be), Violet (the future farmer or vet) and Mr Incredible (currently married to moi and living up to his nickname!).
And while it IS school holidays here, all have been very busy (sometimes on horseback, sometimes in the yards) helping get the Mt Everest of cattle chores done. I love being part of the action (despite my aching knees) and seeing my kids learn the satisfying value of working and caring for our animals. I also love seeing my niece revel in the lifestyle here during her holiday visits, and become the dependable, capable and delightful young woman I know she can be.
Here are some glimpses from just one day of our hectic school holidays.
I shouldn’t forget the dogs – who have been (on the whole) pretty handy this season. Jet and Patch love being ‘lead dogs’. If you follow me on Facebook, you will also know that Patch has ambitions to be a pig dog. (It’s lucky she’s so quick, or she’d be pig food!)
Cal is being the wing-man on the right, Cruel the wing-dog on the left!
Violet is often lead-rider. She likes to be amongst the action…
Actually, she likes to orchestrate the action…
Much to the chagrin of her brother and her big cousin. None of them are really what you’d call ‘followers’. I acknowledge that despite this, Dash doesn’t really mind being behind the mob, as long as he can daydream. EIther that or canter flat-out – all or nothing, baby.
Among the important tools for jillaroos and jackroos to have on hand for long rides are snacks. And water bottles left at crucial points along the way. It’s also very important to have one’s chapstick at the ready. Salina can be depended on to remember this item!
Meanwhile Violet is handing out directions…
And her father is patiently listening to them, amending them, and handing them back to her. It’s like watching a tennis match. You watch… this girl could well be managing direction one day!
Later on the same day, after these cows were walked about 5km back to their paddock, Cal and Mr I did a little extra rounding up in paddocks to the north. Then I got a phonecall at home to say some cows we had sold were going to be trucked the very next morning. Yikes!
So I packed date muffins, poured coffee into travel mugs and drove out to find the musterers.
If you look very closely you will note they are both riding one-handed in this photo. Muffins have already been devoured and coffee is being had whilst riding. Who said boys cannot multitask?
And then I was as busy as a one-legged bloke in a butt-kicking contest (sorry to those one-legged blokes out there!) and had time to capture just one more scene with the Nikon as we scanned and tagged 78 cows.
A cold winter sunset over the yards… a visual treat as we worked into the dark.
It was all worth it though – Salina proved her worth as a babysitter (and no Violet I am NOT calling you a baby!) and we got all cows safely off (and to their new home and happy new owners) the next day. And in case you are wondering… no, none of us have ANY trouble hauling our weary selves to bed and dropping off to sleep at nights.
Hoping your June is letting you enjoy your work and sunsets too.