February 15, 2008

First Week as Jillaroo

Sunday

Arrived at Spring Creek for a quiet Sunday afternoon. (Needed Saturday to recover from Friday night!) Unfortunately a number of the cows had stepped over the fence into the neighbours. This meant an urgent repair job was required. Not a good start. However the intrusion into our leisure time was happily interrupted by the discovery of a cow with a calf born that morning. It was neat to watch the little fellow trying to stand up – all wobbly and cute – with the mother keeping a watchful eye at a comfortable distance.

Monday

Monday was a very profitable day as we managed to sell 40 steers from the paddock. This is a lucrative way to sell as it avoids the volatility of the fat sale and transport and yard fees. The steers were our best pick and in great health with very shiny coats. They fetched an average of $515 each and we got to experience our first negotiation process with the stock agent. They were transported out that day with the last truck arriving at 9:30 that night.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

I spent three days up the very back paddock (about 20 kms from the house) to progress the new boundary fence (3 kms long). This was a challenging few days learning new skills and trying to develop enough muscle to bang in star pickets with a sledgehammer! It rained all day Tuesday – only light drizzle but constant. We even sat and ate our lunch in the rain. We worked through until about 3 pm when I declared I had had enough, as I was drenched through. It then became apparent that all three of the men wanted to go too but were too stubborn to be the first to pull up! I’m glad I’m a woman!!!!
Thursday got off to a bad start with the brakes and wheel bearings failing on the Nissan on arriving at the work site. This meant to get home I had to either drive the tractor towing the trailer (fear and trepidation!) or drive a four-wheel drive vehicle with no brakes and a wobbly wheel through rough terrain across creeks and gullies. I would have much preferred to take neither! The trip back was further compounded by nightfall along an unfamiliar track.
I had known I needed to learn how to drive the tractor as it would be required in emergency situations but wasn’t expecting to be challenged to this level so early! I wanted to get off that tractor and give up quite a few times. Sigh – baptism of fire into being a grazier’s wife!

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