UNTIL I AGREED to farming cattle, everything went smoothly. I was in Heaven, loving almost every small daily detail. The small flock of Black, White and Multicolored Sheep flourished with their Ram working enthusiastically to ensure lambs of many colours joined the flock….held safe within their nightly fold, and released each morning out onto hilly pastures, they all thrived. Animal Husbandry came easily to me, they were given the best of care, shepherding them up the hill from the creek each night made easy, by the promise of oats. They would hear my call, and rattling a small container I carried with me, they would come running, bleating with joy at the promised evening feed. The big gate closed, sheep folded, goats milked and shut inside their shed, chooks perched and locked in, safe from foxes….all was well.
As for professional farming….I failed on many levels. Castration of young lambs (necessary on many levels), one Ram is more than enough, Wethers produce the very best fleece….. I now had both a Loom for Weaving and a Wheel for Spinning. David, being far less emotional in these matters, bent to the task of applying the thick, tight, castration rings on the small lambs I held still for him, who only moments before had been racing round their mothers, chasing each other, jumping high into the air with the simple joy of being alive. Moments later, in shock and terrible pain, they cried out, staggered towards their anxious mothers, fell over and repeated this all again, until flesh around their tender testicles, numbed, and finally all circulation cut off, would wither, die and drop off. My recovery took longer, agonized by their cries of terror and pain sent me reeling into the house, bent double with stomach cramps to lie down clutching a hot water bottle…..blocking my ears to the bleating of Ewes and the crying of their babies…

AND THEN THERE WAS the daily terror of the Bull……he was the size of a small car…….

MA© Summer 2018
To be continued


BIG BUSINESS….A slight delay!!!

Day dawned, bright, sunshiny and dew laden
Birds twittered cheerfully in the treetops. My boys still sleeping, I greeted the dogs, let the chickens out, then with milk pail in one hand, I headed out of the garden, down the small sloping paddock, to the sheepfold gate….wide enough to drive a car or tractor through.
Well, I meant to …..there, lolling on his side, soaking up the sun, was BIG BUSINESS ….vast back leaning on the entire length of the gate. His small harem of cows, grazing peacefully nearby. He terrified me, head lowered, face completely unreadable…..his massive bulk as impassive as a small hill.
What does a novice say to a big, belligerent Bull….”shooo”, “piss off you big bugger”, he stretched a little, the red muscles rippling along his spine, and tossed his head (it could have just been an annoying fly), how the hell do you read a Bull’s emotions (they’re expressive and readable as rocks) , but legs dissolving to water, I retreated walking away backwards, eyeing him with loathing….the sheep flock the other side of him, were bahhing to be free. Goats with full udders, bleated from the shed, and BIG BUSINESS shifted, stretched again, lay his head down and went to sleep.
TIME PASSED…..this monstrous creature had me completely bluffed…..a desperate call to the stock and station agent didn’t yield much….just walk up to him, and shoo him off, don’t worry about it…..but I did!!!

MA© Summer 2018
To be continued……