Monday, 3 June 2013

This past weekend...

... was one like many others, spent at Bottle Tree working cattle.

In the process of becoming both EU and PCAS accredited, we have started 'reading' all NLIS tags on property, and will then reconcile these tags with the national database, ensuring all tags currently linked to our property are either in an animal or in a box waiting to go in the next round of branded calves.

With three PICS (Property Identification Codes) under our control, there just may have been the odd occasion where cattle were moved between properties without the database being notified of said movement.  Highly unlikely, but just perhaps on the odd occasion.  "Did you scan those cattle when you loaded/unloaded them"?  "No, I thought you did".  "Was I driving the truck"?  "No, but that was your job".  Or words to that effect.  

We also started preg-testing.

Check out that double-plaited photo-bombing devil.

My favourite old girl 'Dapples' didn't let me down, she'll mother another come end of year.

The early morning fog drifted in and out Sunday morning, highlighting cobwebs and dampening jeans hems.

The littlest cowgirl donned spurs for the first time in an effort to awaken her old pony.

An action that proved most successful, and I've a feeling she won't be taking them off any time soon.

It seems such a short time ago, the running of horses, catching kids' ponies, saddling them, hoisting small children into saddles, leading some, heart in mouth as you let others go it alone, cajoling, calling, issuing instructions, urging them on, wondering if it will ever become easier, until one day it does.  

There is so much joy riding out with the kids.  Animated discussions ensue on everything from our current dismal performance with footy tipping, through to assignments due, and planning for school holidays, only a few short weeks away.  Without instruction, kids displayed some great cattle handling skills this weekend.  They have become aware of the 'hot spots' whilst mustering, those places where pesky cows and cheeky weaners might like to show some non-conforming tendencies.  Hurrying to place myself at a creek where trouble might ensue, I was delighted to find Sarah already in position and turning some adventurous cows back to where they should have been.

In the past fortnight, all four have mastered mounting unassisted.  Bravo.  Sarah's big black Bob standing statue-like as she drags herself up his side.  He would dance around me like a three year old as I tried to mount, yet has become angelic for Sarah.

My ugly old brute Warrior and I are bonding more with every ride.  Quite the character, he sees the need to have a little crow-hop on the first occasion every day when kicked into a canter.  The kids find it rather amusing.  I'm starting to see the funny side.

Saddles were greased by the child labour force while Dad and I drafted.

A full weekend proving nearly too much for some.  Next weekend we're fortunate enough to enjoy a four day weekend, show holiday Friday, Queen's Birthday Monday.  Looking forward to a weekend at home.


  1. or in our house: what are these cattle on the reader? where did they come from?!! where did they go?!!! oh bugger it. (the man doing the reading is meant to fill in my book with the relevant details...even if it does take me...ummm...months?! to get around to doing it!)

    So pleased to see that it does pay off eventually, the pain of dragging the kids along. (and I noticed not only the photo bomber but how long her hair is getting AND herself as well!)

    Someone at your place has the same saddle as me, although mine not getting nearly as much use. I fear my old Simpson is much like your warrior however with less predictability! I need to find a shorter horse, I never had much spring so these days I am back to finding a mounting block, he's a bit like climbing a leaning (inwards) brick wall.

  2. Love those double plaits. I'm guessing those gorgeous girls of yours are old enough to do their own hair as well!
    Imagine all that will be done on a four day week-end ;)

  3. Busy, busy. It's a wonderful time when all the learning and cajoling pays off and you have a good family team but sadly, it seems that just as they master it all, they leave home for uni and then when they come back, they think they know more than their parents!

  4. Such another world for me and it is such a pleasure to visit you and be educated on life where you are. As ever, the photos are stunning. Her plaits are lovely - does she do them herself? Riding with your kids sounds very bonding and they are clearly very capable young people :).



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