Lipstick for goats

Lipstick for goats

Monday, 5 December 2016

The art of naming our farm animals

“A name is a powerful thing. It sets one apart and gives significance.” 
 (Jessica Khoury author.) 

Therein lies my down falling.

I really enjoy naming my goats although I desperately try not to name the boys because as soon as they even have a nickname, like Chunky Monkey, which was never meant to be a real name but has stuck, they have obviously wormed their way into my soft gooey heart, and have a safe haven on Somerset Farm forever.

Recently I sold some of my baby does. As their new family were choosing the does the children were giving them names. Mischief and Imp received the new names of Tani and Sniffles; Gemma, Nutmeg and Lola being assigned to the others.

This made me think about the art of naming our farm animals. 

Mischief and Imp look so angelic while asleep, but when awake they were all over the place exploring and up to naughtiness.

Personally I think the more unique, left of field, and unusual the name for our animals the better. Unlike naming our children we can be so creative without worrying about peer acceptance.  It is such a good chance to use the names you secretly think are cool but would never lump a child with like Zelig, Fitzwater, Thaddeus, Isolde, Morticia, Bathilda.

Mind you the name still has to fit the animals’ personality. I do have a “Psycho Bitch” and a “Crazy Pants”.

Sometimes I will be holding one of my kids and a name will just pop into my head, like the babe was giving off a name vibration. Xanthe and Otis were named this way. 

I also had a Muriel, because, well, she just looked like a Muriel.

The most boring “animal” name I have within my goat herd is William. My husband named him Billy without any real thought other than he was a male goat so Billy it must be, but I hate stereotype/cliché names so I changed it to William.

This particular goat is a bit of an alpha wether, giving the other goats a hard time, so I find myself yelling at him in my five acre voice “William you are a shithead; bugger off or you will be dead meat”, forgetting my immediate human neighbour is also a William.  Oooops, poor neighbour William must wonder why I have a low opinion of him, want him to move out and possibly have a hit man after him. Perhaps it would have been better to name our goat 'Billyitmustbe'.

This also brings to mind the awkwardness of calling out for Spunk Bubble, Wizbucket, Stud Muffin, or Hunk Heartbreaker for the bucks,

but hey, if the name fits..... Sex Pistol?

Coffee was my very first hand raised wether. My son named him for his colouring, explaining he was like milk coffee. To a passerby I must have sounded like a crazed caffeine addict calling out “Coffee, where are you my gorgeous Coffee!” 

Now I have a ‘Sugar’, to go with Coffee, she is sweet as!   

My neighbour up the road names her alpacas alphabetically. If she has two crias born and she is up to P in the alphabet then a name beginning with P will be chosen for one and a Q name for the second.

Themes are a way to conjure up names for our fur babies.
Some rock band or singer names would be great for the full males swaggering around the paddock; Axl, Bowie, Elvis, Hendrix, Jagger or  Nirvana, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Beastie Boy, Daddy Cool, Chisel, Red Hot Chilli, Spiderbait; Ok maybe not Spiderbait.

Then of course there are the classical musician names such as Wolfgang, Armadas, Ludwig and  Beethovan.  

My favourite theme – alcohol; Tia Maria, Schnapps, Dom Benedictine, Marsala, Vino, Champagne, Chardonnay, Bundy, Ouzo, Bacardi, Sherry, Kahlua, Merlot, Tequila, Smirnoff, I could go on and on but I think you have the idea. Can you imagine having a herd of goats all named after alcohol? The neighbours may wonder about your drinking habits, perhaps you should throw in a ‘Cola’ or ‘Soda’ as good measure.

Inspiration may come from film, stage, TV or literature.  Alpachino for the alpaca in your life.   Scarlet O’Hairy, Hollygoatlightly; yes they are a bit corny.   Spartacus, Apocalypse, Matrix, Bellatrix, Wookie, Atticus, Excalibur, Lady Chatterley, Shakespeare, Hemingway. 

If  I had pigs their names would definitely be Piggles Snortworth and Ophelia.

Weird Australian place names could be used –  Warialda, Mereeba, Kalli, Bouddi, Kooinda, Mooball all sound great for cattle names.

Well needless to say my husband is glad he had a say in the names of our children!

Get those creative unique juices flowing.  Let me know of the unique names you have used. I promise not to use them (my fingers are crossed behind my back) ....

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Welcome Swallow?

They’re back!  Where do they go during winter?  I know Spring is upon us when the Welcome Swallows swoop back in.  As these birds zoom in under our house veranda they remind me of jet fighter planes on manoeuvres with their aerobatic flying skills, changing direction at the absolute last minute to swoop back out after drooping a poo bomb!

The name ‘Welcome” swallow comes from sailors who knew that the sight of a swallow meant that land was not far away. I am not sure how welcoming I feel towards them but I love watching their acrobatics in the air as they catch insects on the wing.

The swallows build a cup shaped mud nest lined with feathers and fur on any vertical wall; no protected spot out of direct sunlight is out of bounds as far as they are concerned.  Even above a door.

There were four in the bed and the little one said "Roll over! Roll over!", so they all rolled over and one fell out.

Well I am sorry this year the battle line has been drawn, this chicky is donning armour and meeting the determined little enemy head on.  Nests under construction will be knocked down. All means to get the swallows to build elsewhere will be employed!

Yeah, I know it’s a bit rough to call these cuties enemies but before you decide I am a mean, ungrateful woman and should be jumping for joy to be living with all this beautiful nature I must tell you swallows make a huge unhealthy mess wherever they nest and come back year after year to the same spot, bringing their extended family with them. Mud nest after mud nest start appearing under the veranda ceiling, breezeway and over doors and windows.

The mud stains the wall surface but that is not the worst of it, they poo! They poo unlike any other wild bird I have had the pleasure to share my living space with, they are filthy! Heaps and heaps of poo beneath where they roost. They are pooing machines.

      Yes that is a huge pile of poop below the nest, the floor below is not much better

This nest was between two buildings in a small enclosed breezeway that makes up our little farm house. This in itself is a huge problem. The smell from the excreta is strong and simply breathing in the dust spores from it can make a human very ill.  In swallow’s (and other birds) excreta, there are various kinds of bacteria and parasites causing very severe diseases for humans, such as histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, and toxoplasmosis.  The health risks are as great as if having a colony of rats living in your roof. 

I tried hanging compact discs in an effort to scare them away to no avail. This pair happily sat right next to one obviously deciding the shiny spinning object would keep their babies amused while they were off hunting insects. You can see the beginnings of the mud nest under the bird at the top.  

Last year I allowed two nests to stay as one already had eggs laid in it and the other had baby birds; see I’m not so mean!   

Three to five eggs are usually laid.  There are four babies in this nest.

My  arsenal this year started off with toy snakes. The swallows simply landed on top of them, so like the compact discs, snakes were a massive fail. This has been followed up with bird netting. They are so determined to build nests they began to attach their mud to the net.  

I try to embrace all country nature, fur, feathers and scales, as I am the intruder, but I am sorry swallows, as cute as you are with your zoro mask, your mud nests and mess  are not welcome around my living space.  By all means come swooping in to visit, just build your homes  in any of the hundreds of trees we have.

On second thoughts I won’t be embracing brown snakes, they are still not welcome nor are ravens but ravens are another story.     

Monday, 15 August 2016

Holden graveyard

When we bought Somerset Farm there was definitely the beginnings of an automobile cemetery in the home paddock. Once the pride of their owners these dead modes of transportation had been abandoned and forgotten to be swallowed up by the grass where they stood.  The dead car count was three HQ Holdens, one HR Holden, one TD Cortina. 

Rust in Peace.

They were were probably a haven for snakes, I was not going anywhere near them but one little bird couldn't keep away. The bird adored its reflection in a side mirror where it spent hours making loved up eyes at itself.  

The cars were in varying states of metal decay and undress. Body parts were hanging off them, others strewn around the ground.  It appears they had been offered up as sacrifices, assorted parts used for critically important car transplants.  

Photo quality isn't the greatest because these stills were taken off a video as I only had video footage of the dearly departed. 

A friend helped my husband drag them out to the front gate. They were lined up nose to bum like a car road train along the verge ready to be picked up by a scrap metal merchant. 

Except when they were collected the HQ Holden Ute was left, not sure what the merchant had against that one, a bit of Ute prejudice?  

Much to my dismay the Ute sat at the gate for another year. A shrub or weed of some description was struggling to grow out of the well back among the leaf litter and other bits of car rubbish in there. I had considered turning it into a huge flower pot but really nothing was going change that HQ sows ear into a silk purse. 

I was surprised to find it became a land mark – “Oh you are the farm with the old Holden Ute at the gate” ...hmm yep. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Kayak adventure gone wrong

I had not intended to tell this story but my hubby asked if I was going to do a blog about it.

I sort of squinted at him, furrowed my brow and raised an eyebrow, “Really you want me to write about your harebrained mis- adventure?” 

Him:  “It wasn’t harebrained  or a mis- adventure, we had a great time”.  We being hubby and son. 

Well that is where men and women have differing opinions of what a fun adventure consists of, and I guess it depends whose side of the story is being told.

This is my side, his side differs greatly.    

The weekend before the ‘mis- adventure’ hubby had studied the maps and decided to kayak down a small part of the Mongarlowe River.  Apart from a few narrow spots with overhanging vegetation it was an easy paddle. 

The Mongarlowe River

One river conquered, the big one waiting.  Again the maps were consulted. If it took one hour to go from A to B on the Mongarlowe River then it looked twice the distance for the Shoalhaven River on the map. 

Against my better judgment I dropped major man and minor man off at the water hole at Bombay Bridge.  It was just before 5pm, dusk was around 8pm, plenty of time declared major man, armed with a snap lock bag of sultanas and snacks plus mobile phone and nothing else; no shoes, no torch, no jumpers.  I was to collect them at the Warri Bridge two hours later.

 At Bombay Bridge.  It looked like a pleasant start.

Warri Bridge over the Shoalhaven River

Tia Maria and I waited at the bridge. Tia Maria being my dog not the alcohol, although if I had known how the evening was to turn out I may have started drinking about now.  

The problem with the Warri bridge area was I had very little mobile service.  It was getting on for the estimated time of arrival but no sign of them floating down the river. Tia and I had been sitting on the beach, me reading, her swimming.  I went for a walk along the sand to see if I could detect them around the bend.  Nothing. 

Back at the car I had mobile reception. There was a message from major man “We are fine but it is taking longer than we anticipated.” 

Okay.  Waited another half hour.  Back down to the beach, nope no sign of them, back to the car, beach, car, beach, car to get mobile reception to try him on his phone for the 6th time.  Why is his mobile turned off?   Dusk was approaching and my anxiety building. 

I was in and out of the car like a jack in the box.  The Warri rest area on the Shoalhaven River is a popular spot for free camping.  Some young guys were watching what must have appeared my rather odd behaviour, agitatedly walking up and down, in and out of the car, with the mobile clamped to my ear. Eventually they came over to say Hi.  I am sure they either thought I was a drug dealer or was waiting for my dealer!!

It was now dark, I didn’t have a torch, neither Tia nor I had eaten, major man’s phone was off or had no reception, they were nowhere in sight. I decided to get the number for Braidwood police but held off calling just in case my boys turned up over the next 10 minutes.

One last time down to the beach to see if I could see them coming. Then I would call the police.  

At the end of the beach on the bend Derek was camping for the weekend.  He had also observed my treks up and down the sand. He was in a happy mood having had quite a bit to drink. He asked me if all was OK. 
I explained what was going on.  His slurred, extremely ozzie statement to the situation was “Dickheads!  Here have a beer”.  

I declined the beer.  I thought I would try yelling down the river to see if I got a reply. I have a good five acre voice.  (Ask my neighbours!) No reply.  Okay, that’s it, I will call the police.  I was headed back to the car when Derek called after me “Hey is your name Kerrie? I can hear someone calling from the other side of the river.”  Pure relief flooded over me.  

The yelling to and fro was frustrating. Major man and minor man could hear me but the wind was carrying their voices away.   Eventually Derek and I worked out they had abandoned their kayak and surf ski over a kilometre further up the river and were on foot, they were safe but stranded somewhere on the other side of the river.  Major man’s phone had gone for a swim and no form of resuscitation was bringing it back to life.  

“Just swim over to us” was my exasperated yell to them. Derek in his drunken helpful way was waving an emergency fluorescent tube in the air with an almost mesmerising chant of “Follow the light, come to the light”, like they were a pair of moths.   No, the blackberry vegetation along the steep bank of the river was too dense and they couldn’t find their way through it in the dark to the river edge, even with Derek’s glowing stick and chanting! 

The next plan was to drive the car to the river under the bridge and use the driving lights to help them find their way to me through the bush.  I kept calling to them until I was almost hoarse but wasn’t hearing an answer.  So I waited 20 minutes there, lights illuminating the river and bush in an amazing display of blinding halogen.  Even Derek up the other end of the river commented on how “bloody amazing” the lights were. 

Eventually I gave up and went back to my now good mate Derek.  My greeting from him was “Nah, they are still stuck over there....... Dickheads.”

Major man could see a farm house lit up in the distance behind him.  They were going to try to make their way to the house. I was to meet them there or try to drive from the house down to the river.

By this time it was getting close to 9.30 pm. It was a very dark night. 

View from the Warri Bridge

I arrived at the house, now in tears. Can you imagine opening your front door at night to a distressed woman in tears, with a very strange story about her husband and son stranded at the river and asking them for help to find them?

Fortunately they believed me and were willing to help. But it turned out these people were only leasing the house, not the land, and had only lived there a week with no idea how to get down to the river!!

After opening and closing numerous gates my farm house saviours, Mark and Linda, found a track down towards the river where we called and called for major and minor with no luck.  I was now becoming really panicked. 

Mark wanted to call the SES. (State Emergency Services) to rescue my major and minor men. We decided we would go back over the river where we last heard from them and give it a final try to locate the boys before involving a heap of people.  

Back down the 2 kilometre driveway, over the bridge and back down to Derek, who at least could substantiate my story.  “They’re still there” said Derek with a shake of his head and a swig of beer followed by his usual refrain, “.....Dickheads”  

Mark had an idea where they were and called over to them to find the fence line, follow it towards the house lights, he would do the same from the other end until we met up.  

Bye Derek. Back over the bridge, along the two kilometre driveway and off into the most treacherous paddock I have ever seen.  The thistles were as high as the bonnet of the 4 wheel drive car and thick as a forest. Deep wombat holes were liberally dotted through the thistles and to the left was an erosion cliff.  

I have to say Mark had no idea what he may find over the next hillock in that dark paddock but not once did he baulk at continuing.

Hubby had already attempted to transverse the paddock but on a moonless night, without a torch, after stumbling into a concealed wombat hole and struggling their way bare foot through blackberry and thistle bushes he deemed it too dangerous to keep going with our son. Following the fence line still meant fighting through the thistles.

Then in the headlights we could see them coming up the paddock through the thistles.  I hugged minor man to within an inch of his life.  Major man got a push and sound telling off with a few choice swear words flying around, he was in deeeep cow poo and I told him, umm, yelled at him, “he was never taking minor man on another of his harebrained adventures”, but my son had the biggest grin on his face and said it was the best time he had ever had. He simply did not appreciate the danger they had been in on the river. 

We finally arrived back at our farm at midnight. Major and minor were none the worse for their adventure down the Shoalhaven River except hungry, damp and cold with a few thistle spikes in their feet and blackberry scratches over their arms and legs.

My husband’s side of the saga is this - 

He stresses at no point were they lost, he knew exactly where they were. They just couldn’t get through the blackberry and dense bush to the edge of the river or head through the paddock safely without a torch. Mark’s car headlights gave them a point of direction and helped light the way.

The reason the foray took them so long was because there were numerous cascades along the river, ranging in size from small to slightly steep, where they had to get out and carry their kayak and surf ski on land down and past the cascades.  The river was running fast and quite swollen from recent heavy rain which had also swept logs and tree branches as well as swallowing up vegetation which had been growing on small isles within the river. As darkness approached it was too dangerous to continue to navigate past these obstacles.

I think the real wake-up call was when husband was snagged under a partly submerged tree and the kayak took on water.  He could have been drowned.   He decided it was safer to abandon the vessels and walk the rest of the way to the bridge but the dense vegetation prevented them from following the edge of the river causing them to walk inland until they were near-ish to Werri.

I will not say if they had left hours earlier there would have been no drama. This part of the Shoalhaven River is not easily navigable.....(and husband had wondered why he had not seen kayakers on it! That is telling within itself!)   

Moral of story ask local knowledge first and listen to wife when she says it is too late in the afternoon to start an adventure.    

The next day we went back to Mark and Linda bearing thank you gifts. Derek had pulled up camp.  We then went off through the paddocks to collect the kayak and surf ski.  Husband drove pretty much straight to them.  As he said he knew exactly where he and minor were all the time. 

When we looked in the kayak the snap lock bag with husband’s drowned mobile phone nestled amongst sultanas was not where he left it when they set off on foot.  We figured the sultanas attracted an animal but thought we would find the phone discarded nearby.   A search of the general vicinity did not uncover it.  

I have this funny image in my mind of a possum munching on sultanas with the latest accessory in her pouch.  Ring, ring.  “Hello Pos here, nope don’t know who Major is.”  

Original photo & alteration with permission from xesce / possum tv

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

My sexy little old man.

We had owned our patch for quite a number of years before I discovered the wonder of the ride on mower. 

When I was a young teenager I must have lost my mind temporarily. I asked my father if I could mow our backyard lawn, it looked like fun......

Our backyard was huuuge, it was summer, stinking hot and it was ridiculously hard work to have to do again only a week later, such madness.....never again! 

That was until I saw husband on an old ride on mower he had bought for the farm. 

Oooooh that looks like fun.... 

I mowed the yard around the house, both sides of the long driveway, along the road verge, another 300 metre driveway and then started on the paddock around the house. All with a 42 inch cut.  I was obsessed.   Hubby kept flagging me down so he could refuel the mower, then he told me I had to come in from playing as it was getting dark; such a fun crusher.  

Then I discovered the tractor with slasher attachment.

Why has my husband selfishly kept this secret to himself and not enlightened me much earlier about the miracle of our little old tractor and slasher?   The ride on mower paled into insignificance when compared to the tractor that does it bigger and better!

I finally convinced my husband to teach me to drive the tractor.  Easy peasy, but I wasn't allowed to take it out of first gear! The man watched for awhile to make sure I was not going to kill myself. I guess he has a point; tractors are the number one cause of injury and death on farms, and I already had a track record of throwing myself into a deep ditch while on the quad. (See my blog post Death by quad does not become me! )

Once he was happy I wasn't going to turn the thing over on the flat area I was slashing he then disappeared to do his jobs.  Woohoo second gear here I come!  Oh I'm such a speed demon! 

Soon I will be singing Kenny Chesney's song that my son plays and it cracks me up, 'She thinks my tractor’s sexy' (but he instead of course.)  Actually that would be a laugh if I started to sing country songs as I am not in the least partial to country music and my son tortures me with the wailing, woeful, nasal genre. Anyway, it would take a long stretch of the imagination for anyone to think our little ancient tractor 'David' is sexy. I'm told if David was the red version he would be a collector’s item.

Now my sexy little ol’ man is so old he does not conform to any type of OH and S. My whole welfare depends upon me being totally aware to not do anything stupid on him. 

While I am very happy to have David, I really, really covert a tractor with a climate controlled enclosed cabin, complete with GPS, a radio and extra attachments, like fork lift tines, post hole digger, aerator, grader, plough, and that is just to name a few....I have a long wish list... a woman can dream! 

For my birthday I didn’t get high heels or handbags, my husband bought me radio ear muffs with an ipod/iphone socket for use with the tractor and ride on mower. 

Who would have known such a gift would make me so blissfully happy.  Off I go on the tractor, plugged into my music, singing at the top of my voice, while I attack the woody weed that has taken over our property. 

My singing worries my husband. It seems when I hit a high note it sounds to him like I am screaming, as if I may have had an accident on the tractor, causing him to come running! Ah well, I never said I was a good singer, just a joyful slasher.  
I have to say slashing, especially slashing that rotten pasture invading Kunzea, is as satisfying as waxing legs!!!!!  

I have mastered the tractor and slasher the chainsaw may be next. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Graffiti Rock

Our country town has a Well Wish Boulder as opposed to a city overhead bridge where signs are hung from, wishing Jane bon voyage or Wade happy 21st birthday.  The signs draw your eye and out of human curiosity you wonder as you nearly drive up the bum of the car in front “Will Emma marry Nathan?  How does Emma know it is her Nathan asking this monumental question?   I hope he follows through by proposing in a more intimate manner. I sure as hell wouldn't be impressed with a proposal like that.”  

I was not aware the rock had an official name so I asked when I was in the produce store in town. The answer, 'Don't know, don't think it has a name....Birthday Rock?".
I figured it was a Well Wish Rock as it used for more than just birthday messages but as I wrote this the local newspaper also did a short story on it calling it the Birthday Rock, so Birthday Rock it is. 

It sits ten kilometres from town on the north approach and has a perfect flat side facing the highway for the messages to be artfully displayed.

During the 10 years we have been passing the boulder the well wishes regularly change.  This got me thinking about the etiquette of using said rock for scrawling graffiti wishes on.  Is there a secret book to enter your reservation for the upcoming event you want to announce to all passing motorists?  

How annoyed would you be if you spent a fortune on spray paint plus the time and effort to decorate it with all the lovely colours relaying how important it is that Jim is turning 50, only to have someone spray it over the following day to welcome Sarah home? 

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines graffiti as “an inscription or drawing made on some public surface…a message or slogan…”  

I rather like our Birthday Rock, even though the messages are considered graffiti, it has a good community feel about it, the ever changing messages are confined to the rock and private property is not being defaced.  If it were used for senseless tagging I may feel differently. 

Normally I get pretty upset with graffiti having owned a building constantly vandalised by witless adolescents scrawling their moronic tags on the walls, thinking we should be so pleased with their non artistic efforts that turn a pleasant neighbourhood into a slum and costing us a fortune to eliminate the truly ugly unwanted  sight. 

If we wanted to display tags all over the walls we would use our own gorgeous signatures instead of some random's monkier.  

I appreciate the art of calligraphy; this tag is lovely and well executed but on paper please, not defacing someone's wall!

I found out there is a code and hierarchy among graffiti artists as well as a whole graffiti language, this doesn't surprise me.   Tag is the writer’s signature.  Master taggers are called kings, novices are toys.  The ultimate offence is painting, ‘going over’, someone else’s work.  Throw-ups are usually very basic bubble letters. Bombing is hitting an area hard with graffiti.

A vomit, oh sorry, I mean a 'throw up' surrounded by tags.

I have never seen what I consider as mindless graffiti tagging on the rock; although recently someone only known by their name initials was declaring their love for another individual with no identifying name but initials. In my mind this is nearly as bad as tagging. Looking at it each time I drove past for the last month reminded me of being a silly pubescent teenager or reading the back of public toilet doors.  I was quite glad when the newest birthday wish replaced it.  

I imagine the lack of tagging may have something to do with the turn around of messages. Any attention craving tagger wanting to throw-up over the boulder would be well aware their art would be momentary as the next message is added to the rock by the toys of our town.  (I do mean toys in the nicest way).

Unlike the initialed loved up couple Bella only got a week of birthday advertising before the message was changed to 'Happy 18th Toby'. 

Do the good towns people realise they are graffitists who don’t follow any of the rules?  They are guilty of going over each other’s messages, they know their artistic abilities will be bombed at a close point in the future to give way for the next well wish and they are perfectly OK with that.  

A born and bred Braidwoodian told me the rock has been employed as a sign carrier for over 20  years!!!!!!! Can you imagine how many layers of paint it is dressed in if a sentiment changes on an average of every 3 weeks?  Like a Sara Lee pastry, layer upon layer upon layer. 

I am waiting for our Birthday Boulder to shimmy out of its paint layers like a snake sheds its skin. 

Meanwhile, for anyone interested my birthday is September............

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Braidwood Rodeo - Ride 'em Cowboy!

On the weekend I attended the annual Braidwood Rodeo.  In my walk between two lives, city and country, I have had to adjust many of my city perceptions about certain aspects of country life. 

I understand so many people believe rodeos to be a cruel form of sport and entertainment; whereas country people look at the rodeo as a way to express and hone their stockmanship with horses and cattle; after careful consideration and attending a number of rodeos this is also the view I have adopted.  
The rodeo is a demonstration of all necessary skills used on stations, although I am certain there is not a situation where a station hand would need to ride a bull! The rodeo bulls toss those cowboys around like rag dolls, I figure it’s the bull’s due revenge for unnecessary human machoism.

Hello, just passing!

Most sports hold a degree of personal danger; being a participant in a rodeo would have to be the ultimate in physical danger that I can think of, why would anyone put themselves on the back of a 900 kg bull hell bent on grinding you into the dust! When those boys get bucked off they can’t choose how they’re going to land, mostly meeting the ground head-first or shoulder-first and trying to avoid stamping hooves.

Be gone flea on my back!

For those handsome young cowboy dudes punishing their bodies beyond normal endurance. I wonder if they think about how crippled their bods will be by the time they reach 40 years old. The song line comes to mind ‘Mama don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys.’

Very nice stock indeed!

There's something quite manly about a guy in a cowboy shirt, jeans with a big belt buckle, and the cowboy hat...mmm, very easy on the eyes.

There are actually rodeo events for juniors aged under 8 to 15 years old!  Why would a mother allow her child under 8 years old to ride a bucking calf?  Is she totally mad, devoid of common sense?   

I present it to you this way, the answer to that is the same as why I allowed my son to have a peewee motorbike at 4 years of age or another mother allowing her young son to play rugby league; it is a lifestyle the parents are accustomed to.

Any child under 8 is held on by an adult and lifted off before they fall, so it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I watched one little boy cry with disappointment because he didn’t get a long enough ride.

As a mother my heart was in my mouth for this little cowboy in the making. He was competing in the under 11 steer riding. I think he wrapped the rope around his hand and couldn't loosen it. Happy to report he was fine thanks to to bullfighers.

The Professional Australian Rodeo Association state amazingly low animal injury statistics, by law they have to record the slightest injury.  It is the competitors who are overwhelmingly the ones hurt. 

I overheard two bulls talking, they are thinking of forming a committee called Animals against cruelty to humans with little regard for their own safety or aacth for short.....

On the day there were five injuries in the arena, all of these had two legs, fortunately four of these were not seriously hurt.  This bronco rider ended his day with two compressed vertebrae in his back, he reckons 'after a bit of a rest he will be back bustin' broncs'. Not one four legger was hurt.

Rodeo livestock are respected as athletes just the same as the riders. A good rodeo horse is worth $10,000. Many of today’s rodeo stock providers have developed sophisticated breeding programs to allow them to breed horses and bulls specifically to buck. Many horses are utilised that already have an inclination to be incorrigible buckers therefore not able to be used in other situations and would have been sent for slaughter. 

Rick Wilson of Tumut Rodeo Contractors told me his horses do up to fifteen rodeos a year, and buck out for eight seconds at a time, no more than three times during the day; putting this into perspective that is less than 6 minutes a year. The bulls have a similar schedule. 

These animals are considered elite athletes, they’re very well looked after being fed the very best food everyday to keep them in peak physical condition, eventually retiring as pasture or stud animals.

The horse whisperer wranglers.

Barrel racing is a timed event. The goal is to circle three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern
without knocking over a barrel, then sprinting back to the start as fast as possible. The sport requires supreme agility of both horse and rider. 

These guys are the bullfighters. They are either paid handsomely to expose themselves to great danger or they are completely crazy. I'm opting for crazy! Their job is to distract the cranky bull from the human he just chucked unceremoniously into the sand by giving him an alternate target. They do a great job of keeping the competitors safe. 

Just sitting up here, safe and sound while the bullfighters distract the bull.
Team steer roping.

Bronco Riders.

Strapping up old injuries before participating in his event. 

Un-decorating the steer of its pretty pink ribbon. Wow, these girls have amazing riding skills!

Steer wrestling.

Such magnificent creatures, and yes, for once I do mean the horses!