Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday's Country Life

Today sees the beginning of what I hope will become a regular post - Thursday's Country Life. I owe the inspiration of this title to our local rural publication The Queensland Country Life, which is circulated (you guessed it!) on a Thursday.
The handsome fellow above is Louie...hard working Kelpie, whose job description includes keeping wayward weaners in the mob, hurrying up stragglers (of the bovine variety) and racing around to the front of a mob of cattle to 'block them up' (in other words, stop them from racing off like crazy things and teaching them some manners!) Isn't he gorgeous?

Louie has many colleagues...Tina,Dozer, Red, Spud, KO - so called because she got in much too close one day and scored a solid kick in the head, and was knocked out! Poor baby...but, she came to, and went looking for the demon creature who had clobbered her, and hasn't stopped since! (She's the little black one that the boys reckon looks like a piglet!)
The cattle dogs are important members of the workforce around here, especially so when we begin weaning: the calves that have grown big enough to be weaned off their Mamas get yarded up together in a small yard overnight, and they are let out into a bigger yard each day to learn all about the wonders of hay and feed supplements. Their movement in and out of the yards is achieved by a man or two on horseback, and a handful of dogs. In the course of repeating this movement morning and evening for a few weeks, the young cattle are 'educated', so when it's time to muster them from a big paddock later, they will have some manners and behave in a manner becoming to bovines. Also, in a manner conducive to the safety and well being of the horsemen working them.
Weaning will begin here very soon - oh joy! The dust drifts in on the cool breeze from the cattle yards, and settles on every horizontal surface in the vicinity! I have taken to asking people not to write the date when they sign their names in the dust on the furniture!
Another thing that will happen here soon is Farm Day. On the 29th or 30th May, we will be visited by a family from the city, who have registered their interest in visiting a farm on the Farm Day website. It's exciting to have the opportunity to share our love for our land and our lifestyle with a family from the 'big smoke'! Watch this space for a full report on our Farm Day fun in a few weeks!


merci33 said...

See, for me Tracey this is like a journey into another world. Once, while traveling out west by car, I stopped at a fenced pasture at dawn. I saw some cows grazing and the mist rising and it looked so tranguil I just had to walk over to lean on the fence to take it all in. JUST THEN...the cow began to birth her calf. I was beside myself as the huge purple membrane dropped onto the grassy field just a few feet away.

I hadn't remembered that until I read this episode of country living!!

The dogs are so cool...your first photo looks like a painting waiting to happen.

happy farm day!!!

Tracey said...

Iona...Thank you for leaving this lovely comment! I have to confess to a little apprehension about taking this aspect of the blog further than I have in the past...a bit "who really cares?" So you have no idea what a buzz I got from reading of your long forgotten experience! Witnessing births (whatever the animal) is one of the many blessings this life offers!

I've never really considered myself a painter...but, you're right - he does look like he's ready for translation onto canvas!

Meg Mitchell said...

What an interesting post! I had no idea how the dogs were used. I loved both of your pictures and your series concept is one I look forward to reading.

Tracey said...

Meg, I'm so pleased you found it interesting. Thanks for taking a minute to tell me!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing more satisfying than watching a dog at work! My uncle had a Sheltie named Pat that worked cattle AND sheep. My favorite part of the day, though, was when Uncle Rufus held out his arms, called to Pat, and then waited while Pat raced to him, did a turn in mid-air and landed backside to Uncle Rufus, looking out from his arms and SMILING.

Deb said...

I so enjoyed this post! When shall I come visit? :)

My groomer has two Kelpies. Until I met her I had never been around them. She works them with cattle & has a training-play area set up in her building ... so I have the pleasure of watching them every other week. One of them is a pup - I could spend hours watching her play with herself in the mirror. They are simply delightful!

I am throroughly enjoying your blog.

Take care, my Aussie/Cowgirl artist friend!

Tracey said...

Lyn, wow...he sounds like a really special dog! Isn't it great to see that "smile"? soon can you get here?! ;-) You just let me know and I'll wipe the dust off where people have signed their names, and be waiting for you!

The Kelpies are indeed fascinating - and the pups are a delight!

I can't begin to tell you what a kick I get out knowing you enjoyed this! Thanks for letting me know!