sans photos. As 25kms down the road after leaving home, after what might be best described as a border-line crappy day, I remembered it. Oh well.
We - as in the family, plus two dogs, and visiting older couple and their grand-daughter, went to the prickle farm for the weekend. The visitors wanted to "de-stress and get away" for the weekend - I am not sure how relaxing this was for them, for our intention was to muster and brand calves!
Seeing as there are no photos (and OH! the photographic moments I missed!) I will summarise the weekend's adventures:
- mustering the holding paddock with three kids on board the bike. Lucky they 1. hold on tight 2. think chasing any cow at speed is fun and 3. get off quickly and bring up the tail on foot whenever mum has to race to the lead unencumbered ... who needs a blue dog when they have energy and noise to burn?!
- drafting cows from the calves with kids climbing rails and fighting and squealing and getting in the way and being yelled at until finally they were sent to the branding pen to play away from the action. Stress levels all round returned to normal (cows included!)
- seeing a calf born in front of us in close detail in the yards; plus discovering two other fresh babies during the course of the day. Kids watched the development and progression of baby #1 with great interest as she was in a nearby yard. They also found and studied the "sac" of one of the other newborns, and squatted around it poking with sticks (another missed photo opportunity!) Patted whichever little and big calves they could find and get close to, despite dire warnings of cranky mother cows. No child was flattened I am pleased to report.
- branding calves. I partook for a short time, until I returned to the house to cook the hard workers some pikelets for smoko on the bbq. There I stayed after daughter #2 upchucked her breakfast and looked pale and interesting and unfit for the cattle yards. So she slept and clutched her sore tummy whileI washed up and read a book. Apparently they managed quite fine without me, and the children returned with tales of penning up calves, being stood on, being pooped on, and bearing, ahem, little bundles of meat that the dogs were pleased to devour.
- bringing home the newest addition to the menagerie - Billy-Bob-Henry (there is some dissent over his name!) the new poddy, who was most enthusiastic that someone finally gave him a feed (poor little fellow). Lord knows where his mother is. And back to having calf slobber on the back of my pyjama clad legs in the early morning.
- all slept very well last night.
And speaking of calves, best go and give young Billy-Bob-Henry a snack right now. He's very young, so for the first little bit he will get several smaller feeds a day, despite his protests that he WANTS MORE!
And I promise that I will remember to take my camera next time!