Gathering, sorting, branding, mothering…
While it may seem things have been a little quite here at Granite Glen (at least if you follow this blog), in reality things couldn’t really have been more hectic.
This time of year is ALWAYS full on. While most enjoy the last few weeks of school holidays post New Year, we gear up for one of our busiest times of the year.
I have been like a blue-tailed fly… feeding seven people (our immediate family, 2 jackaroos and one niece who always spends branding with us) including smokos and lunches for our ‘picnics’ at the yards, washing for seven people (smelllll-eeee after long sweaty days), moving vehicles…. oh hang on. Why don’t I just SHOW you what we get up to on a typical day branding?
We climb aboard our horses (not me though this year, being the only available vehicle shifter) and get READY for action…
Dash and Lachy pushing the mob over a rise, half a paddock away from the yards. Both these jackaroos are what we might call great metabolisers. I (as chief cook and fattener-upper) have trouble getting some kilos onto either of them. You should see what these two put away between them? Crazy…
Triple J’s Hottest 100? The Stock Market? Who wants to stir up the boss by wearing the Charolais shirt tonight?
It’s a bit of a dusty task at present – we are nowhere near as drought-stricken as many out west, but we ARE ready for rain.
And if any of those cheeky cows think a little dust is going to distract Dash and Chimmy from the task at hand…
We then set up for branding – which really consists of several jobs completed in the one handling.
An electronic tag is ‘read’ into our little specially-designed (dust resistant!) computer before being attached.
The calf is also branded, earmarked, vaccinated and (where assessed necessary in male calves) desexed.
The yards go from very noisy to the dulcet tones of furious suckling within a few minutes, as calves find their mothers.
It’s one of my all-time favourite jobs, but one which cannot be rushed. It’s important I get every single calf with their right ‘dam’ for our stud records.
The trip home is always smoother than the one in… everyone keen to get back to familiar pastures.
Probably didn’t really need more than one rider behind them – but the truck was waiting for horses and humans over the hill, so they all tagged along!
And within minutes the sounds of munching and bovine kids’ snoozing fill the air.
And the yards fall silent. Til tomorrow anyway…