MYRTLE FORD….Communal Living, Farming versus Animal Husbandry…..and the Horror of Ineptitude!!!
Three couples, one house, 36 acres of gods own country, a spread of well fenced paddocks set low beneath a range of rolling hills.
Most of the animals were mine, and I felt fiercely protective of them….despite discussions and arguments, I wasn’t willing to share….the original idea being that we should share EVERYTHING, including ourselves!!!
I was subversive from the beginning….my sheep were raised for wool, spinning and weaving, the goats for milking, the Angoras for their amazing silky fleeces (they had suddenly become the latest thing in farming), and the cattle….well, I’ve written about the heartache of raising and selling calves, but they were a “proper” farming investment, so I agreed to one young steer being selected to stock the freezer for our extended “family”.
Inverted commas because there was unrest, dissent and chaos from the beginning.
If we’d all had the wits to seek group counselling with a psychologist first….it would never have happened, yet more often than not, disasters make for interesting reading.
Michael, who had organised the killing, decided at the last moment to spend the weekend in Melbourne, so, the rest of us, including the four children were left to it. We hadn’t met the “professional” who had agreed to arrive in the early afternoon, so, we all spent the few hours beforehand, spreading out across the farm, and calmly herding the small group of cows, calves and Big Business (our Bull) into the sheep fold…..a beautifully constructed round yard, made of timber.
Once in, the gate was partially opened, the selected steer separated from the herd, then left quietly chewing on a biscuit of prime lucerne hay. He was quite calm as the herd stayed, grazing nearby.
The original intent, was a swift bullet to the head, as the young calf ate peacefully….a quick, humane death……
MA© Autumn 2018
to be continued
# a cowboy swaggers in
# blood and gore
# murderous emotions
Bow legged, wearing high leather cowboy boots and hat, jeans with a massive ornate buckled belt…rifle over his shoulder.
Oh god!!! I was expecting an experienced farmer.
From the moment he leaned in against the round yard, squinting along the rifle….we should have known what was coming…… he looked like a second rate actor in a b-grade western.
The first shot ….into a calm animal, back turned to him, less than 10 feet away, went wide….entered the calf, hurting it badly and causing it to panic. Now all was pain, horror (me, beginning to feel stomach cramps coming on), but once hit, there was nothing any of us could do, but allow this nightmare to continue (to put the poor young calf out of it’s pain AND terror)
Nineteen shots later, the inside walls of the round yard splattered with blood, the calf lay dead.
A meat hook had been made, the men hoisted the carcass up onto it, to drain….covered it with a cloth bag.
Walking back to the killing ground…..there lay the calf’s severed head, eyes glazed over, staring sightlessly at the sky, resting in a spreading pool of blood, flies already feasting.
Michael arrived back from Melbourne to a wall of silence, as everyone packed the meat, he had butchered into sections….into the freezer.
What did I do…..I ran.
I fled with a Marijuana dealing Motorcyclist , a tall, rangy, Ieatherclad blonde bushman I fell in lust with….and kept running (actually riding), all the way to Nimbin….Rainbow Country…..smoking weed, eating brown rice and tofu, living the “Peace, Love and Good Vibes” lifestyle.
What else could I possibly do???
MA© Autumn 2018