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A day with the cows:

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Shannon and Topsy
Shannon brings Topsy the orphaned calf home and gives her to us

We always seem to be writing about something Shannon has invited us along to, well this morning was no different.   We’d gone out to check on Stretch and Kim’s place late yesterday evening as they are away on holiday.

Coming back we noticed about a dozen head of cattle eating the winter crop of Barley.
We managed to chase them out and Chris informed Shannon first thing this morning.
Chris and Shannon jumped into the Ute to have a look and again found even more cattle eating the precious crop. Continuing to drive over the almost vertical retaining walls they found another herd of about 30 cows. They needed to be rounded up!

Now, these cattle belong to an adjoining property and we’ve had considerable damage caused to crops for a while now.
The cattle took off into a more densely wooded area and the boys would need the quad bikes to get them rounded up.   Like we’ve said before, life for us can change at any moment so when Chris walked in the door I thought it was to have breakfast. It turned out quite differently with the words,
“Come on Shannon’s getting the bikes to muster cattle and we’re taking the Ute to help!”
We really need a grab bag because I’ve learnt to wear boots (you never know where you will end up), get the camera (something I do forget and miss some amazing sights) and we never seem to grab a hat, of which we have several, but we never think to grab one if we end up in one of Shannon’s escapades.

Jason, one of the farm workers had turned up at the workshop so both quad bikes went on the trailer and we grabbed another Ute.
The plan was to pen them in the stockyards at Stretch’s place. This was where one of the three stockmen lived when Koramba ran cattle before the last drought.
The boys took off on the bikes and Chris and I went to open the gates of the stockyard.   Well, I have never seen such cranky cows. They didn’t want to go in the pens. Two got away from the others and took off in opposite directions. Shannon ended up shutting those gates and bringing them in from the other side.
They chased after one of the cows who thought she was a bull and charged the boys on the quad bikes. She broke off the front guard on Shannon’s and luckily Jason rammed into the toolbox on the front of his bike. Shannon came back and took off with Chris in the Ute as he said, “The land cruiser’s bull bar is tougher than the bike.”
They finally got this cranky girl into the holding pen and when they tried to move her into the other pen with the rest of the herd she charged at the boys.
Now no one was hurt but it was the funniest thing to watch!

Chris had gone into the holding pen to help Shannon shoo the cow into the other enclosure but when she refused to cooperate and turned to charge, the boys ran for it. I had just turned off the video and failed to capture the next scene. Shannon was, of course, up the fence in no time at all. Having lived with cattle all his life he was more adept at avoiding their antics and has done this numerous times before.
Chris on the other hand is another matter. I so wish I had captured his facial expression as he ran for the fence, put one foot up onto the first rung and knew he would never be able to hoist his body over the fence in time. The look on his face as he realised this… omg hours later and I’m still in tears of laughter over this.
Luckily for Chris, the cow must have thought it funny too and she stopped charging and walked into the other pen quietly with the rest, seemingly having a laugh to herself.

The other cow was not to be found but Shannon said she would wander back towards the pen later looking for her calf. We’ll come back this afternoon to try and pen her then. This one is even crankier than the other so maybe Chris will stay on the other side of the fence this time!

When we were finished Shannon took us back to a nest of Emu eggs he nearly ran over while looking for the cow. These eggs are just in the middle of the paddock, not very protected.

Well, Shannon picked us up late afternoon to head back down to the stockyard. On the way, we came across this Turtle looking very sorry for itself and in need of water. As it was a couple of kilometres to the river we put him in one of the reservoirs.
… Now back to the cows.

Unfortunately, the cranky cow was nowhere to be seen so off we drove in the Ute while Shannon searched the area on the quad bike.
Shannon did find quite a few more cows in a herd but chased them back through the fence onto their own property.
We then all hopped into the Ute for another quick search around the area and came across another herd with a variety of owners. You can tell this by their ear tags.

So Shannon rounded them up using the Ute. Thankfully most of this group was quiet but we did manage to pick up the cranky cow and add her to the herd.
He then sorted them all out in the stockyard.
The stockyard is made so that you can place the cows into the middle enclosure and then divide them up using different gates.

Shannon did this like a pro. It was quite funny watching as he sat up on the fence rails and asked the cows very nicely. “Herefords in here please, other strays over here!”
The funny part was they seemed to know what he was saying and did what he asked! Well, at least that’s what it looked like to us amateurs.
Now it’s just a matter of getting the owners to come and collect their cattle.

When we arrived home, Jack (Shannon’s new Cattle dog) had a few cows baled up on the wrong side of the fence near our caravan. It was dark by this time and we could just see them. Oh no!
They were Shannon’s cows, including Topsy, they’d escaped from their paddock.
So it was back in the Ute for Shannon, us in our Ute and Jimmy, a friend of Shannon’s on his motorbike.
They took off heading towards the main road.
Cows aren’t easy to spot in the dark. But lucky for us, Jimmy tracked them down across the road and they were herded back home.
By the time everything was back in order it was 8.30 pm
We were cold, hungry and over cows by now.
But when we thought about it after a drink and dinner, sitting in a nice warm caravan would we want to give up our lifestyle?
The answer is NO way!
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

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