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Sunday, 3 August 2014
So since April I’ve been working off farm as a relief utility for ESS, the company that provides catering and cleaning to a lot of the mines. Up until today I’m on my fourth site. I’ve been to Karratha, near Onslow at Wheatstone, way out whoop-whoop at Telfer playing with dingos (that’s a WHOLE new post in itself) and now I’m at Mooka, near Port Hedland.
Being relief means you get dropped in to help out the permanents at each site, either covering someone who’s sick, on holidays, or providing a temporary boost in numbers during busy times like shutdowns. As a result you meet so many people, all from different backgrounds, cultures, ages and religions. It’s great. And being new, the general first conversations go something like this.
Them: ‘So, where you from?’
Them ‘What goo?’
Me: ‘Yalgoo. Couple hundred clicks in from Geraldton. Out in the scrub, in sheep station country.’
Them: ‘Oh. You live out there?’
Me: ‘Yeah, on our sheep station, Gabyon with my wife Gemma and her parents.’
Them: ‘You own a sheep station? How big? How many sheep do you have?’
Me: ‘Well, the bank owns it at the moment, but it’s 670 000 acres. It’s a big place. And about eight to ten thousand sheep.’
It’s at this point they usually take a minute to recover, especially the people of Asian background. To many of them, any one who owns land is extremely wealthy, so to own that much means I’m obviously a squillionare who is slumming it, bank mortgage or not. Then the inevitable question follows.
‘What are you doing here?’
Saturday, 2 August 2014
Goats are bastards. Mad as cut snakes, they can make the most experienced mustering team look like a mob of amatuers. One minute they'll be trotting along happily, then the next second it's like someone's lobbed a hand grenade at them and fifty race off in fifty different directions, leaving the five motorbike and two dogs to try and halt the flood.
On Gabyon sits Courin Hill, a large granite outcrop that a mob of around two hundred call home. Each morning driving past we see them trotting down for a drink and a feed, and each evening driving back we see them again, trotting up once more for the night.
They are cunning sods. As soons as they hear the bikes or plane they refuse to come down of the hill. The following is based on a few attempts to muster them, with mixed results.
Apologies to Slim.
Rounding up goats is much harder than sheep.
But the feral little buggers need to pay for their keep,
Cos the bank’s back on the phone and a callin’ me.
A few new hands are astride the two wheels.
Racing through the sand as the plane above peels.
But the goats on top o’ the hill are avoiding me.
Saturday, 28 June 2014
Sunday, 19 January 2014
This blog has been neglected of late, and for that I apologise.
The second Hadagutful rally was a great success. It’s very rare the sequel tops the original and this was no exception, but we did ourselves proud and once I finish downloading the emails with some footage from others I’ll get another video together. With Gabyon’s net speed it should only a few more months.
I’m sad to say the sale of our Geraldton farms hasn’t made much difference to our business position except the numbers are just are little smaller. Hopefully we can get out of the hole we find ourselves in, but it’s going to be very hard from here. So I find it difficult to write something cheery and funny while worrying what lays ahead.
However, this is not the only reason I’ve written very little for this page in the last few months.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
This is a tale of Ronnie, a kelpie pure bred
This is the tale of Ronnie, who wasn’t quite right in the head
His siblings became sheepdogs, their regard always held high
But this is the tale of Ronnie, who seemed to have far too much eye.
While the litter scrapped and ran, Ronnie would stop and stand
Watching the cat snooze on a garden seat
He’d sit there all day while the other pups played
Edging closer to that cats out stretched feet.
Learn he never did, what secrets those feet hid
But he still bears the scar that shows
Just one little lick, make a cats feet strike quick
He’s lucky to have kept his nose
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
It’s on again, the Stop Live Exports Human Chain across the Stirling Bridge in Fremantle.
They’re a persistent bunch, but then so are we. Last year we gate crashed their little party and it was BRILLIANT!
If you weren’t there, words can’t describe how the day felt. The huge BBQ in the morning. The inspirational speakers (we have a bigger PA system this year, so you can actually hear them this time), the mass of people pouring down the hill to line the foreshore, and then the trucks. God bless those trucks.
Saturday, 26 October 2013
Work can be bloody hard out here, in amongst the dust
Heat is high, the days are long and strong fortitude’s a must.
But when things are going wrong and you’ve almost had enough
Something reminds you that those before had been made from sterner stuff.
As we drill away at the dirt, to replace some ancient yard
The air powered rock drill jams, and the bit is stuck in hard
We swear and curse and heave and strain, till finally it comes free
But blokes who dug those holes without one, are from sterner stuff than me
Steel pipe cut to length with an electric powered saw
Replaces the wooden strainer posts that once were there before
One old jam log still stands, hand cut with nothing ‘cept an axe
Made from sterner stuff were those guys, and also, their backs