Preparing for the bull:Trog and other Animals

IMG_0031It was time to sell the male calves and Darrell organised his son to help him round them up. They arrived early in the morning on their horses with several kelpies at their heels. From the house verandah we watched them work. Whistling commands to the dogs they surrounded the cows into a bunch and with more whistles the dogs somehow knew which beast they were to cut from the mob. Once separated, the steers walked,  guided by the dogs, up the road to the yards at Darrell’s daughter’s place. Here they were yarded and waited, with a mob of other cattle, for the truck to transport them to market.

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Despite not having named them, I hated to think of them going to market for butchering. Darrell assured me that they would be bought by someone who would fatten them for the Japanese market. This made me feel a little better to think that they had a bit more time to enjoy the blue sky and chewing the cud.

“Yuse got to build yerselves yards.”

“Why?” I asked Darrell innocently.

“Now yers got cows you gotta drench ’em, inject ’em and it’ll make it easy to get ’em on and off the truck when it’s time to sell ’em ‘n’ it’s easier than walkin’ em up the road.”

“What do you have to drench and inject them for?” I was starting to dread my involvement in the process I knew absolutely nothing about.

“ Worms. All kinds of worms. You got hair worms. They attack the small intestine. Then youse got the brown stomach worm, and the barbers pole worm and another couple as well. Yuse know cows ain’t like us. They got 4 stomachs. Grass is too hard to digest so they vomit it and chew it and swallow it and do it over again ’til eventually it gets to the fourth stomach which is like our stomach and from there to the bowel.”

“ What do we have to do to build yards?” Rod  brought the subject back to its starting point in one of Darrell’s long breaks in conversation.

“You should buy a crush and we’ll build the yards and the race ourselves. I’ll help youse.”

“Why do we need a crush?” Rod asked.

“Cause youse got to do things to the cows, and youse got to look at them regular like and if youse got to get the vet to come he won’t look at ’em unless youse got them in a crush.”

We started looking for a reasonably priced crush. In Gloucester they were all expensive and we were finding our farm was walking money out the gate and not bringing anything in. We finally located a steel one in Tamworth that delivered it to us for considerably less than we could buy one for in Taree. We paid the money and awaited its delivery.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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3 Responses to Preparing for the bull:Trog and other Animals

  1. As always enjoy the continuing saga 🙂 Thanks fer sharin IW!

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  2. Glynis Jolly says:

    I had a cousin (passed on now) who had a ranch in the mountains of Colorado. From what I was told, the type of cattle he had were called Heifers. They were the kind with the flat faces. I’m curious… What type of cattle do you have?

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    • Heifers are female cattle that have not yet had a calf. When they do they become a cow. A steer is a male beast that has been neutered and a bull is an intact male. Being from the city we didn’t know this and it caused much mirth when my husband called the steers that were on adjustment cows.
      Your cousin’s cattle probably were heifers but would have had a beed name as well. We had black angus but they were mixed in with our neighbours cattle that you see in the picture and I think they were herefords. The other breed that was common in our area were Murray Greys and brahmins.

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