Tuesday, October 11, 2005

sheep, sheep, sheep shearer!


Today was one hec of an adventure. we booked a cattle muster - one day adventure and we were picked up at 8.30am and driven about 30 mins outsifde of townsville (woodstock). soon as we arrived, we had morning tea(to tan's delight) and damper bread which is a lot like scones.

then it was horsey time. now, i have been carrying a fear of horses for some years, just dont like their mouths. trust me, to end up with the biggest beast there - Clarence...

anyway, we were told the basics, and then headed off to round up some cattle. the onlu bad thing about riding here is the flies.100's of them all round the face and hitching a ride on your clothes.

we also did a bit of trotting as well, and it takes a while to get into the rythm, in tune with the horse. not sure if tanya mastered it, but i felt i gace it a good go. we actually saw some wild wallabies and kangaroos as well...unbeliveable..

once we found the cattle (there was 9000 acres to search), we had a 3 pronged attack to force them back to the ranch. some of the cows thought they were being clever by hiding in the trees but once you shout and hiss at them, they kinda move on.

the hardest part of this was to convince the horse to change direction. you have to be forcefull with them, but i was a little nervous and didnt want to annoy him - and he sensed that!

we probably rode for about 3 hours (that will hurt in the morning). then it was lunch.good spread but probably ate about 4 flies as the food was covered in them.

after lunch, it was cracking the whip. not as easy as it looks. managed to get a whimper out of it, tanya did quite well.

then it got interesting, sheep shearing! it wasnt the shearing that was fun. it was hard work in fact, but catching the darn thing. spent 5 mins running round like a lunatic and sweating like crazy.

after the shearing, it was cattle branding. after separating the big and little cows, we coaxed one into the branding area. red hot metal was used to scortch letters and numbers in to the cow. he didnt even flinch. then we had to take a corner out of his ear. me and tan had a go in each ear. its quite like a hole punch, you squeeze and then pull. the calf definately felt that one. then the pinnacle of pain....removing the horns! we left that to the expert this time. he got these massive shear type scissors and snipped away at the root of the horn, at this point, the calf was foaming at the mouth. there was plenty of blood too. we felt so sorry for the bugger, but all of them go through it.

its used to prevent cattle rustling etc, once he was set free, he looked very sorry for himself. certainly made me and tanya feel guilty! we did get to keep his pieces of ear though.

as the day was ending, we sat at the ranch and downed a cool beer watching the sun set. a perfect ending. it was a great day out and the couple that owned it (fran and peter) were real good hosts. plus, it was only me and tanya there the whole day. if you ever get to townsville then this is a definate must!


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