Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Moans and Groans

I feel the need to open this little post for those that  do have a sense of the sometimes 'not nice humour' of the Australian ethic.  Of course, I am speaking of the old blokes like me who put things out there as humour; however those with a little amount of understandong will know that the comment is not the reason for the comment.

 There are some great things about marriage, isn't there? Well isn't there?

There is an epotomoptic joke that goes like this:

Hubby come home, sits down on the recliner in front of the TV, kicks his work boots off  adn puts his smelly sock covered feet up on the footstool.

He hears his 'darling wife' in the kitchen adn calls out, "Bring us a beer. will ya'  before it starts?"

Of course, as is the case in a male, against fremale story, the duitiful wife brings him his beer.

A few short minuites later, I mean he has not had a beer since he left the pub, so he is in dire need, he calls,  "Bring us a beer will ya' before it starts?"

Duitiful wife (As they should be)  brings in another can of beer, but this time, duitiful wilfe tries to demand some respect. (whatever for can never be decided).

"Who do you  think you are, you come home with your dirty work clothes, you put your smelly feet up on the footstool and you demand that I bring you beer at  your commend."

"Ow God, it's started."

Friday, December 27, 2013

All mod-cons

Learning the tricks of the trade as a young bloke, just arrived in the Outback, I soon devised a method  of clothes cleaning and supply.

All week I would wear RM williams' denim jeans, Undies, sox and a red or blue checked flannel shirt.  For  town clothes I had one drip dry shirt, and one pair of drip dry trousers, same sox, same undies, but washed, of course, adn one  pair of shorts fro wash day. I did have wet weather gear and a good coat for winter mornings, but that was about it.

I had seven of everything in the work clothes, but only the one set of town clothes. So, come Sunday it would be wash day, and it went like this.  we often worked all week, Sunday's too, and I would then have to do the wash late in the afternoon, or at night even.

I could usually get hold of a large galvanised tub, in which I would drop all the working gear, fill with water, a cup of powdered detergent and then 'switch on the washing machine'.  This consited of me, stamping in the tub of clothes, building up a nice sudsy foam.

As I tramped in the tub, wearing my shorts, I would be reading a Marchal Grover, Larry and Stretch western.

I remember one day, when the boss was passing my Sunday wash, he said "I'll bring you over some grapes."

Remember, I was still wet behind the ears, so I answered: "She's right, boss, I'll get some at lunch  time."

The boss couldn't be bothered explaining this, as was the case with a lot of comments that used to go over my ever filled head, that was always mulling over being a teenager and trying to be a man, and learning about the Outback all at the same time...I wasn't ready for grape jokes.

At the end of the middle of the book, sounds funny, at the end  of the middle, Oh! Well, I would close on a dog eared page and get the clothes out of the tub and hang them on the line, dripping suds and a dark brown water run off.  Pegging them out in order, seven pair of Jeans, Seven shirts, seven pair of undies and seven pair of sox.  If I wasn't going to town, I would wear Sunday's issue, so I often had a spare set of work clothes each week. The town stuff I did by hand, and in the Sunday afternoon's I wiould polish my RM Williams Sante Fe heel riding boots, so I was well organised, Hey? Considering that it wasn't that long ago that mum used to do all of this, only I don't think she read any Marshall Grover books.

After I got the stuff all hung out I would turn the hose on full blast, after starting up the petrol pump motor, and hose the suds, almost, all out of the washing.

After a few Sundays the laundry had made the clothes all the one colour, a dingy sort of grey, but at least they were matching outfits, but it always amused me that when I took the stuff off the line, dry in the summer sun, I could stand the jeans up against the wall, and there they would stand until they were crumpled into the washing pile at the end of a working day, I used to give the undies an extra rinse, as the suds made them stiff as well, and most uncomfortable  in places they shouldn't when you spent the day  in the saddle.  The once checked shirts were grey but a bit of a shake would soften them up enough to be comfortable.

Of course, one never washed wool blankets as it took a fair while to get enough dirt and body grease into them to be nice and warm, and to have it so that you didnlt need to carry a hulking big swag of clean balnkets with you.  These were the clever things I was learning in the Outback in those days.




Friday, December 20, 2013

There were some bad times

The way I usually speak about the Outback and the people that live there I tend to paint a picture of good times and nice people; however there were times that I was forced to take a different view of people, locals, graziers who  thought that any labour was to be considered equal to the first Afirican Americans that arrived in the deep south of the United States.

In my early days, working on properties, which was my favourite type of work, I was less than clued up on who were the good bosses and who should be avoided.

It was a situation that came upon me, I mean, I was not looking for work as I had not long finished a droving run and still had cash in my pocket, but the Grazier sounded so decent in his offers I succumbed and said I would try it out for a couple of weeks.

The property, out near Winton, was the typical sheep property of the day, and the homestead looked well looked after, so I was just a bit surprised when he said I could set up in the open fronted shed, next to the tractor and  the bales of hay that were stacked there.

"Don't you have any ringers quarters?" I asked.

"They got burned down a few days ago, and I haven't got around to rebuilding them, but that will come in time."

As I found  out, back in town, his ringers shed , not to be called quarters, was burned down by him for  some  insurance  money, almost five years ago.

At least there was a wire stretcher with a straw filled palliase on top,  which I flipped over and nearly choked on the dust rising.  On top of the hay bales I could see some indignant rats peering at me as though I was an unwelcome intruder.  'Well, ' I thought, ' If there are that many rats there can't be many snakes." some consolation, I  suppose.

"We have got enough time to exercise a couple of my thoroughbreds, " The boss said from behind me.

"A good time I suppose, at least the flies don't get around in the dark." I grumbled, I hadn't eaten since breakfast and was a tad hungry.

"We'll be right, the moon will be up in half an hour." he said.

"Look, Mr Bracken." he told me at the start he wanted to be called Mister at all times. " How about I have a bite to eat, and then we can spend a bit more time with the horses."

"Cooks already washed up, not much chance of getting a feed now."

"So you missed  out too?" I asked.

"Na! I had a bite when you were setting up your quarters...It won't be long and it will be breakfast time."  How thoughtful, I didn't think, what I did think was 'what time does the mail truck come through  in the morning...early I hoped, I could be back in Longreach by lunchtime.

The thouroughbred, Lemon Hart he called it, and as I found all his "Race Horses" were named after Rum brands.

Well, I can tell you, old Lemon lived up to her name in that fact that, like bad cars, she was definitley a lemon, put that with the fact that she was a rum horse in all aspects, I was not really looking forward to riding her on an empty stomach...Mine not hers.

MIster Bracken handed me a regulation jockey pad, a saddle about the  size of a postage stamp, with the following instruction.  "Don't get it damaged, it  cost me a mint in Brisbane..." and "Lemon Hart somethimes throws herself down, so hold her up so she wont roll on the  saddle."

I had never tried a horse in a jockey pad, so I reckoned, if nothing else it would be a new experience. So, I saddled her up, and she started to sweat the moment the pad, all four pounds of it, hit her back. A great stream of wet dung flew from her rear end and splashed down the back of the boss...."Good girl," I whispered.

Mister Bracken swore, and cursed, and swore some more, but would you know  it, the wet dung still clung to his back.

"Mount up, " He growled ,"and remember what I said  about the jockey pad."

Old Lemon was that full of oats, and working horse mix, without working, that she sprayed forth every fifty yards or so, and was so pent up that she could not walk, she had to jog, jog all the time.

"I  dont think this is gunna work, " Mister Bracken, I came out her with the idea of helping with the mustering."

"So you will be 'boy', an' this is what you'll be riding, her or one of the others, I need 'em rid ready for the Stonehenge picnic race day."

"Well, it's like this, I ain't no boy, and I aint no jockey, so I quit."

"Well now, Mr. tough bloke, if you ain't,  you ain't any use to me....Your sacked."

"I'll get me' gear and you can run me down to the mailbox."  The mail box was on the main road and I was hoping I could get a lift back to the 'Reach.

"Is that - bloody- so, I'll tell ya' what, get your gear and walk down to the bloody mail box, I'm finished with ya'."

There, hungry, alone, feeling sorry for my stupidity I sat for almost half the night when all of a sudden I saw the Lights on the Hill, which in the downs country, is a rare occurance.

Back in the pub, one  of the blokes asked where I had been, I had missed the darts game last night.

I took a job with Bracken, out near Winton.

After a half hour of putting up with their laughing and jibing, I got the  impression that Bracken was not a good bloke to work for  after all.




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Have ya' ever dun' a mistake


There was a time in the Outback that it was suspicioned that I had actually made a mistake, I can not remember any such mistake that would bring the outburst of criticism that came from the boss, and in front of the rest of the blokes as well.  Had it been these days I woulda' had him up for bloke discrimination, 'cause I was a bloke and not much less smart than the other blokes, wot he didn't discriminate against, ifn' ya' know what I mean.

'Tanyrate, he started: "Ya' have no idea on what ya' doing, ifn' ya knew what ya' was doin' ya' wouldn't be doin' it like you is doin' it...Ifn' Ida' wanted a bloody bloke that didn't know what he was doing I woulda'  got a sheila to do what is supposed to be done.

"A sheila aint' a bloke, I sed.

"Anyone wot makes bloody mistakes like you,  wouldn't bloody know what a sheila is anyhow."

"So wot mistake did I make, then,  you reckon ya' bloody know everthin', wot bloody mistake did I make, then?"

"Wot bloody mistake did ya' make, bloody 'ell, you make a bloody mistake an' ya' don't even know wot the mistake was."

"Tell me go on, wot bloody mistake did I make then...Com'on, don't jist stand there with that dumb look on ya' face, wot mistake did I make, then." I was bigger and tougher than  him, an' he knew he was dumb, and looked it.

"I give up, bloody 'ell, I jist give up.  No one can edicate a bloke like you wot makes bloody mistakes all the time."

"Okay, boss, i'll try a bit 'arder next time."

"Bloody good, now get back to wot ya' was doin'."   So we all sat down and had another cup of tea and a bite of damper.

It can be hard in the Outback sometimes.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Parasites in ruminants in Australia


The following information is presented as gained knowledge from years of dealing  with farm animals. I strongly advise that you use this information as a guideline to your own animal husbandry needs.

It should be noted that there is no advice on eradicating parasites, as this is not possible without killing the animal.  The following centers on parasite control.


From the time man was given dominion over all the animals of the earth, he took this gift but did not keep the other side of the bargain. The animal husbandry that should have been applied to the animals under his care was soon discarded in the face of profit.

Mankind became a meat eater, the earth's temperature had changed and warm clothes were required, both these items came from the animals. So began the profiteering, which brought the massive herds of animals to cater for the market as the worlds population grew and grew.

In the early days, when nomadic tribes herded goats and sheep around the arid countryside of the middle-east, foraging for sustenance for the stock, but not moving far from the wells and water holes, which were owned by various tribes, there seemed that there was no reason to fear intestinal parasites, either in man nor beast, as the country and the absence of the micro-climate of lush pasture,the breeding grounds of parasites, did not exist.

With all the treatments now for the parasites, nothing works better at their control than dry harsh conditions, such was encountered by the early herders.

Of all these domestic animals,the goat is the one that is most effected by internal parasites. Sheep have many parasites in them, cattle have another group of intruders; however the poor goat suffers from both cattle and sheep parasites, and is also the host to a few of its own. By the time a goat has been drenched clear of these pests, the goat itself is suffering to the point where it will die from the treatment.

The goat has the perfect intestinal habitat for parasites. The goat's stomachs are a forever working engine for the extractions of as much nutrient that is possible to extract from that dry climate from whence its species originally came.

Using commercial drenches is fraught with danger, in itself, if in the hands of someone that does not have a full understanding of the animal, the chemical and the parasite they are trying to get maintain control over.

Wide Spectrum drenches, as is Chemotherapy chemicals in humans, try and hit at all the worms, (cancer cells) and suspected worms in the goat, and other animals, The Shotgun effect is used to describe wide spectrum drenches and Chemo. Chemicals, however the drench also kills the good bacteria that is needed to keep the goat 'ruminating', just as Chemo Chemicals kill all body cells if taken in too big a dose.

Many ruminant animal owners of today think that it is better to give 'just a little more' than the recommended dose of drench, thus any parasite that survives the treatment is then developing an immunity to the toxic chemicals.

It should be taken into consideration that the Chemical Companies may add 'Just a little more' to the recommended dose so that they can stay competitive in the market place. We would like to think that these companies do not 'fiddle' with our animals life, but there is that possibility.

One should be more inclined to give “just a little less' than the recommended dose, or at least the exact dose as suggested on the packaging. Giving a little less contributes to the immunity problem with parasites. It is a catch 22.

The best way to treat an animal for parasites is to determine what parasite is in the animal and just use specific drenches. A vet check is required to determine the parasite and at what stage it is, and what effects it is having on the animal. Weighing the animal, not guessing the weight will also determine the dosage.

If a wide spectrum drench is then advised, at lest you are not over dosing.

To just assume that you animals have all the parasites available, and to use the broad spectrum drench is costing you more than you should pay, and is detrimental to the animal in the long term.

Naturally this close husbandry is not practical in the large sheep and cattle herds of this continent, but by the small land holder taking care not to add to the already immune parasites, they will be assisting all animal industries.

In the large, mostly arid properties, the worm problem  is known, adn less than in coastal areas.  The graziers of the Outback, drench according to well know worm problems.

The rumbling you hear in a goats stomach is a sign that the animal is functioning as it should. The cud chewing process keeps the bacterial content in a good and healthy environment. Some success in recovering an ill goat has been to take the cud from a healthy goat and feed it to the unhealthy goat, as this has had the effect of re-starting the bacteria.

The goat was the most successful animal for use by humans in the early times, as almost all of the animal was used to provide for mankind. Very low fat meat, milk, clothing, the stomach was use for water bags used by the herders, with other intestinal delicacies being available. It was said that the only part of the goat that was not used was the 'Bleat'.

Breeders of ruminants should understand a little of the goats health and husbandry requirements to help with parasitic problems with other animals.

There has been an immune Barbers Pole worm in the New England area of New South Wales since 1938.

The stock owner, on all holdings, should consider the fact that you will never completely clear the animal of Intestinal Parasites, and you should not aim for this, as those parasites remaining give the stock a chance to build an immunity to the parasite. The off side is that the Parasite will often develop an immunity to the drench, thus the sensible rotation of various drenches is often the best practice. You should ensure that an entirely different chemical is in the exchange drench. In practice, keep one general use drench, and intersperse with a complete, once a season drench/s. It is pointless interchanging with a drench that has the same chemicals as your general use drench.


http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/depts-vth/camelids/parasiteControl.aspx From American Specialists notably Camelids.

Where there is good rainfall, lush grasses, water laying on the ground in pools, and the gently running stream inhabited with the black snail that is needed to complete the life cycle of Liver Fluke. This is the perfect micro-climate for many of the intestinal parasites for all ruminants, and horses, dogs, bird life and etc. One must not forget that parasites, such as Liver Fluke is readily transferable to humans.

It is this type of climate that paddock rotation will be one of the greatest controllers of parasites, as all parasites have a term on the ground before they are ingested to go to the adult, egg laying cycle in the host animal.

Paddock rotation has been said to be useless for the control of parasites, however in all the rotation suggestions I have seen there is no mention of drenching onto a rested paddock, and it is presumed that you rest a paddock then at the end of six to eight weeks you let infected stock onto that paddock. This is a ridiculous as it sounds, you are just reinfecting the rested paddock with the eggs of the host's worm population.

Paddock rotation is to be treated seriously, and no like animal should be allowed to walk across the resting paddock, lock the gate if there is some temptation to lead the Llama, sheep or cow through 'Just this once'. As stock walk about infested paddocks, they not only ingest the larvae on the fodder, they pick larvae up on their legs, which can be dropped off onto the grass again somewhere else.

Investigation is of great assistance in parasite control.

The author is not a veterinarian, nor does he have a connection with worm treatment chemical companies. The above information that he has gathered over a long time with animals, and in agreement with some internet information is for consideration of the stock owner. This compilation of information is offered in good faith, and with no guarantees. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Goanna

There are twenty of the worlds monitor lizards in Australia.  They range, in  size, from about 150mm  in  length to the large 180mm Outback Lizard.  I took the average, as different sites give different numbers.

The habitat of the goanna is all over this continent, and are timid animals that will run up a tree, hollow log, or just away as fast as it can on the sight of a human or other predator.

The goanna will usually run on all fours, but if in a big hurry will get up on its hind legs and sprint off much faster than any human can run.

If you  happen to encounter a goanna in country that is devoid of trees or hollows the goanna is not beyond picking the highest point to scale, which of course, is the person that scares them.  Considering that the outback goanna will grow to more than two meters, has long sharp climbing claws, and a shockingly bad breath, it becomes more  than an experience to remove the beast.  The best way is to lie down on the ground, but you have probably accomplished this well before you think about it.

Monitors are also the Komodo Dragon, but it is only our crocodiles that grow to that size and larger.

I should mention we do not have Komodo Dragons here.  They are large, ugly, hungry, useless beings...Hang on, we do, but we call them politicians.

The colour and the sizes of the Goanna is varied, and apart from raiding the hen house for eggs, they do not pose much of a treat to humans.


http://www.questacon.edu.au/burarra-gathering/extra-information/goanna


Try this site.

There is something else I would like to share with you: Goannas are friendly creatures, especially if they think they are getting a free feed.  Many camp sites have the local goanna that allows the camper to set up, open food supplies, check out those food supplies and then invites itself to dinner.

The average camper, average, I say, should think that  the goanna's first approach is 'cute', they will then learn that cute has a different definition.

I used to go camping on the Nymboydia River, up near a place called Buccarumbie, with a few mates and a few slabs, and a tent and stuff.

The resident goanna came down shortly after we snapped the pull top out of the first tinnie, and hung around waiting for the campfire to be lit up.

We devised a game, which included our resident camp mate, which consisted of  holding a stick of celery in your mouth and get down on all fours, holding the celery stick towards to said Goanna.

The one that came out with the shortest bit of celery in their mouth, amongst the humans, was declared the winner Dan was given another tinnie.

I got down to two inches of celery left, but I didn't win.  Joe was declared the winner as he had no celery left, but he did have a rather ugly looking bite on his lip.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Movement at the Station

There was movement at the station for the word had got around
That the book from Old Pete had got a start
The sequel to Tiger Williams A fast and sprightly yarn' was out the gate again.
The editor has taken charge, with a beating in her heart.
And Old Pete is ever hopeful that there are those this book will entertain.....

With sincere apologies to "Banjo" and his Man from Snowy River, where the same excitement that his story evokes is in my rickety old bones again.

So far, the title will be from "Lotuses to Lignum", and an entirely new character is introduced. His journey takes him to Rosemore, the home of the Loveable Lindy (nee) Baker and "Tiger Williams.

Alan Baker, his childhood sweetheart, Becky, Mum and Dad Baker Lindy and Steve and "little Stevie" will be there to tell you their stories.

There lives entertwine,  loves are formed, and lost and Rosemore reaches another milestone in its Dynasty.


<<<<<<Longreach.   Rosemore Station>>>>>>>

Monday, October 14, 2013

Damper...Special

I just dug this recipe out of the bottom of an old loose file book I had kept from the old days.

It is a damper recipe, but not the average, everyday damper that you would cook for the drovers camp.  This one was for special occasions only.

There is a bit of ambiguity in this damper, but it tastes all right anyway.

1 cup Golden Syrup (warm)
1 cup butter (melted)  Not a lot of butter around the drover's camps I have been on.
1 cup of old beer.  Now I don't know if that is beer that is old or it is the beer they sell as old beer.
Pinch of salt.

SR Flour or plain flour with 2 teaspoons of baking powder, (The amount that fits in the cup of your hand and looks like 2 teaspoons)

Method: combine wet ingredients, which is all of the above except the flour which comes next, bringing the mixture to a dough that looks like the dough that would happen if you had done it all correctly.
This is where the highly techincal cooking  knowledge of the average bush cook comes in.

You should have sufficient flour to be sufficient to bring the wet ingredients to the dough as aforesaid. If you  haven't, then, depending on how fussy the drovers are, you could toss in a handfull of bull dust, but in my experinece it is better to have enough flour and baking powder on hand to complete the recipie.

Now comes the good part, if  there is any beer left, leave the mixture overnight, covering the basin with a cheese cloth, saddle blanket, or whatever is handy, and drink the remaining beer.

If blow flies should get into the mixture, just say that they are raisins.

Cook in a hot camp oven until the damper is a golden brown on the top.

Feed to drovers when the damper is still hot, accompanied by large drafts of Billy tea.

Clear the area to accomodated bloated Bellys.

Don't make this damper for the drovers all the time or they will want it all the time, Ifn' Ya' Know what I mean.

Try it and let me know how you went.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tiger Williams follow on Part 2.

I am very happy about the acceptance of my first attempt in the big bad world of publishing.  The figure for the US market reaching 138 for August is most encouraging.

I am editing the follow on now, but do not have an exact date of when it will reach Amazon.

I hope that the theme of the folow on, with many of the same characters, and a number of new ones, is as well accepted as the first.

“G'Day, I'm Rick Little, I have asked around, and was told that Rosemore was a good place to work.”

“G'Day, Rick, you don't remember me do you?” The tallish healthy looking bloke asked.

“You look familiar...But...”

“Steve Williams...droving together...seems a long time ago.”


“Yeah, now I remember, Steve, how' ya' going, Steve, mate?” Rick took the liberty of calling him mate. “You were heading for Isis Downs for work, last time I spoke to you, right?”

“Yeah! I was there for a while, and now I am here. Things are pretty good...been a lot of water under the bridge since those days, hey Rick?”

“You're not kidding...So, what do you reckon, any work on this place?”

“I reckon we could use another good stockman, and if you have improved from the droving days you would be a right bloke to have.” Steve said.

“Are you the boss here, Steve?”

“One of three, Rick, but you will see how it works in a short time.”

Rosemore was in the throws of weeding out a couple of the long timers that had taken to treat the place like a holiday camp. Steve and Alan, Alan Baker the big bosses son, had talked about this little problem for some time now.

There was no thought of sacking all these old fellas as a couple had put in many good years, in drought, flood, brushfires and good times. So, now that a handy stockman, young and fit was available, the old blokes could be given duties around the homestead, if that is what they wanted, or they could move on, the options were open.

“You can settle in over night, and go out with Alan and me tomorrow to muster the back paddock for drenching. Worms have been bad this year, what with the rain and the good growth.” Steve spoke like the true station owner, or at least manager.

“Thank's Steve, I reckon I'll fit in,” and then, “Bye the way you used to own Freda, didn't you?”

“Yeah, good old Freda, gone three years now. I have one of her pups, bright dog, clever with the sheep, just like her mum...I'll tell you what, come over to the house,” and Steve pointed to the home of he and his darling Lindy, “Meet the missus and the young bloke and have a feed and a bit of a chat, if you want to.”

Yeah, thanks, that will be great.”


Rick Little settles into the Rosemore Clan.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bugga Me, A bit more would ya' believe

“I got a staff problem, “The Mayor told Bugga Me Bronson, in the strictest of confidence, and true to his honesty and integrity, Bronson never disclosed the content of the Mayor's problem for five minuets after the Mayor left the pub.

“So what's the problem...Can't get any, or got to many?”

“Well its about Old 'Hang-about Harrison” Mayor Sam confided, “He should be retired but he hasn't got much to do at home, so it is a bit hard to put him off.”

“Well Bugga Me,” sez Bugga Me Bronson, “Old Hang-about still hanging about, hey? How old is he now?”

“Turned eighty-seven last week.”

“What's the normal retiring age on this council?”Bugga Me asks.

“Sixty-five.”

“So, he is a bit over his time then, “ Bugga Me makes the wonderful deduction, which surprises the mayor at the man's mathematical capabilities.

“You could say that.” Sam rejoined.

“I just did, “ Sez Bugga me Bronson, adding, “Does it cause any problems? ...I mean the potholes are still as many as usual, the gutter we have in the main street is always full of rubbish, and all the local signs are still full of bullet holes, so everything seems normal.”

“It is, nothing has changed, other than Gerry Atrick, the second in charge, is wanting to get Hang-about's job.”

“So what is Gerry offering you in cash for the position?” Bugga Me asks the obvious question.

“Shhh! Bugga Me! do you want everyone to know that jobs can be bought on this Shire Council?”

“Everyone knows anyhow, so what's the matter?” Bugga Me Bronson thinks that Sam is a little touchy about the due course of council business.

“Who's been spreading that about?” Sam pleaded.

“Me, “ Sed Bugga Me proudly, “The citizens have a right to know, and some of them even want to work.”

'Tanyrate!” Bugga Me sez,” I can see ya' problem; Hang-about is ya' big brother and Gerry is ya' brother-in-law, an' ifn' I remember rightly the other two blokes on the team are related somewhere...Funny thing how it is only your family that have the qualifications to stand around a pothole, hey!”

“Are ya' suggesting that there is something underhanded going on within council?” Sam reiterated, having many times iterated the same reply previously.

“Never!, not I...I know that the hand is well in view when there is some important business to conduct...But isn't the General Manager supposed to do the hiring and firing?”

“He hasn't got any relations here abouts.”

“Right!” Bugga Me expostulated, appreciating the reasoning, adding, “So ya' want a solution...simple, tell them you are looking into it, they will appreciate the political sound of that, and forget the whole thing for a while.”

“Bugga me,!” the Mayor said, “Why didn't I think of that?”

Bugga Me answered simply, “ 'cause you ain't me,”

It was several days later, could have been more, that Bugga Me was travelling along the corrugated road to see a widow in the next village that had a problem she wanted attended to, when there was the shire truck with four blokes standing around on the side of the road. They had seen Bugga Me's dust about half an hour ago, and as safety of the staff was most important tghe gang had stood aside awaiting the arrival of the said vehicle.

“G'day. Hang-about.”

“Yeah, G'day”

“G'day, Gerry”

“Yeah, G'day”

“G'day, Donkey.”

“Yeah, G'day.

“G'day Quartpot.”

“Bugga Me, ifn it ain't Bugga Me Bronson...G' day”

“Talkative bloke, ain'tcha?”

“So, what's happenin'?” Bugga Me asks, knowing full well that very little ever happens with this lot.

“Just about to put the billy on.” Sez Hang-about, who has that particular phrase as the particular answer to that very question.

“Truth is, “ Opined Gerry, the ambitious one, “We forget to bring the shovels.”

“Yeah! Bugga me, “ the master of quick thinking replied, adding “ Well, I'm goin' inta' town, so, I'll get someone to bring you some out to ya',”

“What'll we do in the meantime?” the quick answer seems to perplex Hang-about.

“Simple, mate, Just lean on each other until the shovels come.”

Bugga Me went into the shire depot, disturbing a good game of cards, but he only had to wait for twenty minutes until the game finished, which is pretty good for a Friday lunch time, a lunch time that started an hour ago and wont finish for at least another hour.

“Yeah! Joe” Bugga Me sed to the storeman, “Hang-about forget to tell the blokes to take shovels, and they are stuck for something to do, any chance of getting' some out to 'im?”

“Geeze, mate, It's only an hour and a half before they knock off...seems a bit of a waste of time, I reckon...an' ya' know what the GM is like about wastin' time?”

“I do, I certainly do..on his qualifications it stated that he was a time and motion man, he has all the time in the world, but very little motion...He fits in perfectly here, Hey?”

“Mate, Me old mate, seein' as ya' did the right thing tellin' me about the shovels, and ya' drove all that way in to tell me, I reckon the least we can do is let ya' fill the ute up, waddyareckon?”

“Goodonya',” Sed the Bugga me man.

“We'll book it out to Missus Lanious...She is always getting stuff of us.”

One day a Union bloke arrived in town. His union was falling short on funds, and it is well known that running Union can be very, I mean very, expensive.

Black Jack was well known out in the back country, his exploits in obtaining Union members was a notorious as another blokes efforts at gaining attention...Ned, Something, Ned Kelly, year, That's it.

Not that Black Jack used a gun in his pursuits, but he used the winner of all con tricks in an Outback pub...Yep! Old Black Jack used money to shout the locals a few beers. That will do it every time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bugga Me! Some more, even

“I got a staff problem, “The Mayor told Bugga Me Bronson, in the strictest of confidence, and true to his honesty and integrity, Bronson never disclosed the content of the Mayor's problem for five minuets after the Mayor left the pub.

“So what's the problem...Can't get any, or got to many?”

“Well its about Old 'Hang-about Harrison” Mayor Sam confided, “He should be retired but he hasn't got much to do at home, so it is a bit hard to put him off.”

“Well Bugga Me,” sez Bugga Me Bronson, “Old Hang-about still hanging about, hey? How old is he now?”

“Turned eighty-seven last week.”

“What's the normal retiring age on this council?”Bugga Me asks.

“Sixty-five.”

“So, he is a bit over his time then, “ Bugga Me makes the wonderful deduction, which surprises the mayor at the man's mathematical capabilities.

“You could say that.” Sam rejoined.

“I just did, “ Sez Bugga me Bronson, adding, “Does it cause any problems? ...I mean the potholes are still as many as usual, the gutter we have in the main street is always full of rubbish, and all the local signs are still full of bullet holes, so everything seems normal.”

“It is, nothing has changed, other than Gerry Atrick, the second in charge, is wanting to get Hang-about's job.”

“So what is Gerry offering you in cash for the position?” Bugga Me asks the obvious question.

“Shhh! Bugga Me! do you want everyone to know that jobs can be bought on this Shire Council?”

“Everyone knows anyhow, so what's the matter?” Bugga Me Bronson thinks that Sam is a little touchy about the due course of council business.

“Who's been spreading that about?” Sam pleaded.

“Me, “ Sed Bugga me proudly, “The citizens have a right to know, and some of them even want to work.”

'Tanyrate!” Bugga Me sez,” I can see ya' problem; Hang-about is ya' big brother and Gerry is ya' brother-in-law, an' ifn' I remember rightly the other two blokes on the team are related somewhere...Funny thing how it is only your family that have the qualifications to stand around a pothole, hey!”

“Are ya' suggesting that there is something underhanded going on within council?” Sam reiterated, having many times iterated the same reply previously.

“Never!, not I...I know that the hand is well in view when there is some important business to conduct...But isn't the General Manager supposed to do the hiring and firing?”

“He hasn't got any relations here abouts.”

“Right!” Bugga Me expostulated, appreciating the reasoning, adding, “So ya' want a solution...simple, tell them you are looking into it, they will appreciate the political sound of that, and forget the whole thing for a while.”

“Bugga Me,!” the Mayor said, “Why didn't I think of that?”

Bugga Me answered simply, “ 'cause you ain't me,”  

Friday, September 27, 2013

More from Bugga Me Bronson

All these local councils cover various villages and suburbs, all of whom are claiming that they are not looked after, and that the councils favour one part against another. Surely that couldn't be true, I mean the men and women on these councils, after trying to secure the position, notifying the major political parties that they are on the way up and making sure that the council job had plenty of expenses for various important council business, like study tours to the summer resorts to see how to put up beach umbrellas. Even if the Shire they represent is three or four hundred miles from any ocean. Once these important matters are attended to, they will look, at length, to spending ratepayers monies on a few lucky ratepayers.

Bugga Me Bronson reiterated in the pub, of course, that if he was on the council, he would be as concerned about these above matters as much as anyone.

“Ya' mean lookin' after the ratepayers?”

“Na' the other stuff. Ya' gotta have graft and corruption on these jobs so that y' will be well trained for when ya' enter politics.”

No one seemed to argue with that concept, and just accepted Bugga Me Bronson's superior intellect on things in the 'Them' department, because it has always been Them and Us and that isn't going to change.

“The best and only way to stop the suburbs and villages complaining about not getting' nuffin'” Sed Bugga Me Bronson, “Is don't give anyone anything, then they can't complain about someone else is getting' more than them, Hey?”

“So what do ya' do with the money ya' save?”

“Build a bigger, better Shire Office to make it look like the council is doing good, money wise...Simple.” Advised the great adviser, Bugga me Bronson.

One of the biggest arguments in the Shire meetings is the one about who is going to be the mayor. This job, especially in the Outback is not like that of those on the coastal strips, where it is a matter of prestige to be the leader of the pack. The Outback Mayor is most often barred from most pubs because of the fights between him and someone that disagrees with him, which is almost everyone, as far as the average pub patron is concerned.

At the particular council meeting where the election for the mayor is likely to come up, the absenteeism is at a peak, with the fellow councillors being left to decide amongst two or three who had forgotten what that nights agenda was to be.

“I nominate Norm,” Sez one.

“I second that” sez another

“I decline.” Sez Norm, “But I nominate Bluey Jagger.”

“Blue's not here tonight, he is playing darts in the finals at the pub.”

“Looks like your it, Sam.” Sez Bill Bottemly.

“But I wuz mayor last year.” Sez Sam.

“So you are again this year....All in favour say aye, passed, Sam is the mayor.”

“We will meet again in a couple of months to consider our agenda for the meeting after that.” Sez Sam.

“That's it, meeting over...See ya' at the Pub to discuss business, I want an opinion on sumthin' from Bugga Me Bronson.” The mayor knows the ropes and usually wont do anything, if anything should be done, unless he consults with Bugga Me Bronson.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Introducing 'Bugga Me Bronson'

All the problems of the world, and all the problems of this country are fully solved in the many bars, between many drinking men who know about the problems of the world and the country, but never really had anything other than opinions on how to solve such problems adn woes.

This is a fact, it is not the aberration of the mind of someone that has spent many hours solving the woes of the world, not only solving the problems and woes, but trying to get those that are paid copious amounts of money provided by those that think that the problem solvers are there to do just that, solve the problems of the world, that is, to think about what they are there for.

Bugga Me Bronson, a very genuine, yet not terribly educated bloke, could solve any problem, be it world wide, or on the local scene. He proved that many times with local council elections when he expressed his brilliance on why someone should be, or not be elected to the local council, and if those that he thought shouldn't be elected, got elected, he would praise their efforts until such times that they opened their mouths on any subject at a council meeting...Such was the brilliance of Bugga Me Bronson, who had the ability to say what people wanted to hear, be it, right or wrong in amongst the actual facts of the time.

“Bugga Me, Bronson!! why don't ya' put ya' hand up for council yersef'?” many would say.

“Ya' gotta be jokin', me amongst all them deadheads would only confuse 'em more than they are already.”

There was one time, at least, that Bugga Me Bronson hit the nail on the head, or hit in the general direction of the nails head, which most would agree is far from the point that most councils hit, if they are having a hit or not.

The question arose in council chambers as to where they could put the local brothel, which for years had been operating out the back of the town pub, but only on Saturday nights, and never on Sundays, unless the Bishop was drunk and had cancelled church, on which days he would probably be the first Sunday morning customer anyway.

The question was bandied about, and nothing was decided; however, Bugga Me Bronson had no problem with the location, if it had to be changed.

“Bugga Me,” Bugga Me Bronson burst forth in the bar on the night after the council meeting, where no matters, which had been considered in council meetings, were to be discussed in the local public arena, had been released to all and sundry immediately after the said meeting.

“Bugga Me, “ He said, The only place for the brothel is in the industrial area, after all it is a wholesale business, ain't it?”

Of course, the local publican was a bit miffed with Bugga Me Bronson's simple solution when he said, “What am I gunna' do with the rooms out the back...I jist had 'em all painted.”

Bugga Me Bronson was never stuck for an answer and came up with the advice, “Mate, put in for 'condensation' from the council on the grounds of loss of income relating to the income that you are related to and about to lose out on.”

“Yeah! I could do that.” the publican said.

“Didn't he mean compensation?” one of the drinkers asked.

“He could have, but it has been hot and steamy out there lately.” Councillor Norm Cleverly advised.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hard Luck Harry

Me' old mate, Hard Luck Harry, was always trying to make a quid, somehow or other, and somehow or other he never quite made the grade.

Take for instance his breeding of chickens that tasted like Black Snake, he did this so that he could sell the cut meat of the chickens, which he found some that were not venomous, to use as genuine Fair Dinkum, cusine for the flash Cafe market in the Big Smoke.  He had no luck of course, as Black Snake tastes like chicken to start with.

So, off he goes into another bit of an attempt to break into this lucritive market  of Black Snake for the gormet trade and other supermarkets, he starts to set up a Black Snake farm, breeding the fatter variety of Snake than the common bush dwelling  critter that tastes a bit gamey, more like an old rooster than a chicken, and a bit more difficult to handle straight out the their feralness.

He ended up with ten good breeding females, but only one male, I mean a male Black Snake does not like it very much if you try to look at its nether parts for too long, and a black snake objection is often quite painful.  The girls don't seem to  mind so much.

Twelve months went by and not one wriggler from the ten sheilas, so having tamed the male a bit over that time, Hard Luck Harry takes the critter off to the vet, who takes the snake into the examination room, which is set up with anti-venom and other such stuff, like a loaded shot gun, and has a bit of a check on Harry's breeding buck.

"Harry, Old mate, I have to tell ya' that although the snake is healthy, he suffers from reptile dysfunction, and nuffin' can be done."

"Gees," Harry sez "That's darn right hard luck, I reckon."

Which is why we call  him Hard Luck Harry, and becasue his name is Harry, of course.

PS: To explain to those that love Black Snakes, alive, the shotgun is to shoot the Vet if the anti-venom  has run low.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Frogs

There are many frogs in Australia, not as many as in France, but we do have our share.  I don't know why it is, but our frogs seem to have many aberations of character that leave  one's mind boggling.

Before I go on, Let me say that the following is Fair Dinkum, straight from book of wonderful science in Nature, which is about to be writ.

One frog that has drawn my attention is a species of Tree Frog, of which there are many.  This particular Tree Frog has one habit that may seem peculiar to some, you see, It wont climb trees and spends its life on the ground  going "Nope, Nope Nope" or a sound very much like "Nope".

I am told that its mother will say, "get up the tree" and the little frog will say, "Nope, Nope."  In a Frog croaking type of lyric, ifn' ya' know what I mean?

The above is basically correct, and I think I know why this Tree frog will not climb trees.  There is another Tree Frog that will climb trees, and it is called the Maniacle Cackle Frog.  Would you, If you were a Tree Frog, with some hang ups about climbing trees, climb a tree if you thought that you would come across the frog of the later descriprion.

I don't care if the Maniacle Cackle Frog is also called the Perons Tree Frog, I ain't going up there....Nope, Nope No way."

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Amphibians-Reptiles-and-Fish/Tree-Frogs.aspx

http://frogs.org.au/frogs/species/Litoria/peroni/

You will note that  these sites do not use Fair Dunkum, so it is reasonably safe to take what is said as being somewhere near true.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A real change of direction

My dear Publisher ... I say dear as I have spoken to her husband, John, who cannot put his credit cards back in his pocket until the plastic cools down, that kind of dear ... but I  digress, which is rare for me, but it is done, the digression, that is; so I will get back on track ...  My dear Publisher, who I was friends with before she read this, asked me to write a story for teenagers.

Ha! I said, Ha! Said I, me ... teenagers ... write ... story ... etc ... Well mates and matesses, I cannot even get the same grunt tone that exists in the modern teenager's vocabluary, I use vocalbury very loosely!

However, being very intimidated by the 'one who must be obeyed' I put myself to the task of doin' as I wuz told, without hearing the "Or else".

So, in a cupla'  months, you should be able to get Bogan's Heroes, which is most suitable to kids, and the old fuddy duddies that cant stand a bit of kissin' and stuff.

I enjoyed the exercise, it gave me a differnet approach on life.  It is not placed in the Outback ... Hang on, it is in a sort of sense, as a matter of fact the sense is that it is that far Outback that it has returned to be in front, ifn'ya' know wot I mean.


So, keep your peepers glued to the pages. No. No. Not your nose, that is harmful, Look at me! Sniff.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Top dog


Yep, it's official. Old Pete Rake is top dog. See the screenshot below? That shows 'The Outback Story - The Loves and Adventures of 'Tiger' Williams' sitting pretty at #1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Australian & Oceanian on Amazon.


Friday, August 9, 2013

The Red Steer

Of all the devastating and frightening occurrences of the Outback, the worst would be the fire. Even on the plains, the “Red Steer” rampages across the land with no favour. It can jump fire breaks, water courses, main roads and any other barrier put in its way.

In full fury, the grass fires create their own wind. It rises in swirls of fierce heat that sends embers floating on to areas that were thought protected.


Fire, one of the greatest discoveries by man, can and will turn on him in a frenzy of destruction causing death, to stock and humans alike, to fences, homes, or any combustible matter that is in its path. Fire has no conscience.

In the coastal Tee Tree areas I have seen the blue haze of gas build up ahead of a fire, and then the tops of these trees just explode some hundred meters ahead of the flame.

Floods and drought are at natures whim but fires can, and sometimes are, in the hands of some arsonist, who after the death count is taken into consideration, in the more urban areas of cities, should be charged with murder with a lethal weapon, one single flick of a cigarette out the window of a moving vehicle. One flick of a cigarette lighter or match. And that is the usual emotional thoughts of those that have been the victim of a rampaging fire.

The grass fire of the plains country is, most times, easier to control if it is caught in time, or if properties had carried out fire prevention methods before the fire season arrived. The fire season is usually after good rains, strong grass growth and a hot dry summer has filled the earth with tussocks of grass and leafed up the few trees and scrubs. It is these times that one looks to the sky for the thunder storm, lightening being one arsonist that cannot be caught.

Glass is another fire lighter, the careless bottle or container left around yards, and along side roads, acts as a hot house underneath where it lays, when the time is right it will cause ignition and the “Red Steer” runs again.

Fire breaks are an expense but it was, in my time, only an expense calculated against what the expense was in losses. If it was felt that losing one or two paddocks to fire was not a big problem, then little or no fire prevention or protection took place.

One property where I worked, they had experienced a fire that ran for two weeks, and covered an eighty-mile front at one stage, this was out from Aramac in Queensland. The next year prevention or protection was applied vigorously.

The fire break, in the plains country, if given the full treatment, consists of two tracks around the fence line in a paddock. The tracks had the scarifier plough dragged over them maybe twice. The tracks would then be dragged with metal wagon tyres, tied together and weighted down with logs, or forty-four gallon drums with Gidgee stones in them.

The cleared tracks, which would be about eight feet apart have an strip of grass between them, which is burnt off if fire is threatening. There is no point in burning good grass when unnecessary.
This allows a twenty-four foot fire break from which to back burn from, in the face of an oncoming fire; however with the unpredictable wind created by the fire, even these fire breaks can be jumped by the grass fires.

Man has little control over floods, rain, or drought. He cannot even predict the heat of summer to come, but fires, being a tool of man is often used foolishly.

Sheep will run around in a circle if they are frightened, and fires frightens all beasts. If these poor dumb animals cannot escape, they will run into the fire and perish.

There are stories of men and women being off fighting fires on a neighbours property only the hear that their own home has been burnt to the ground.

Of all the harshness of the Outback, the “Red Steer” is the worst. In times gone by it was used as a threat by some disgruntled traveller or station worker, who would rattle a box of matches in the face of the one he was threatening. No word had to be said, the threat was well indicated.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Up close and personal with Pete

The Outback Story - The Loves and Adventures of 'Tiger' Williams has been hovering in the top 10 eBooks on Amazon in the Books > Literature & Fiction > Drama > Australian & Oceanian list, sliding up and down between spot 3 and 8 for the last month. Author Peter Rake has obviously done something right for his first novel to be doing so well. Perhaps this interview by Sylv Jenkins will shed some light on why Peter wrote the novel and how he went about it.


A really Nice Bloke

Because of the floods, just after the bush fires, and the shearers strike, and me' old truck breaking down, I was holed up in a little town on the outskirts of the Barcoo River.

The fires were put out by the floods and the floods had gone down ,the sandflies had all gone somewhere else and a bloke fixed me' truck, but I rather liked the place, so I stayed for a bit.

There wern't much to do during the day, and less during the night, but ifn ya' want a quiet holiday, this place is the place to place yer sef.


One thing that did keep the local population a bit on their toes, was the mass of killings. They called them serial killings, which I think this was because every time a serial come on the radio, there would be more killings.

In a small place like this, there weren't much selection in who was doing the doings. I was a suspect, but I  didn't think they had enough evidence. I would'a owned up just to break the monotony, but they wouldn't let me. The local Butcher, an expert in dealing with dead flesh, was a dead cert, until the police finally arrived in the place from down in the city somewhere. The word wuz that they couldn't find the place for some time, as the place had not been placed on any map any place.

Well they searched high and low, which is hard to do on the flat black soil plains, but they did search. Eventually they put Old Bill Williams in custody which stuck to his feet until he could hose it orf'.

No one could believe that Old Bill could ever possibly hurt anyone. I won't go so far as to say he wouldn't hurt a fly, 'casue we wuz all guilty of Blowie Homicide in some form or other.

We wuz all sitting on the verandah of the Pub, come Post office, come general sore, come Chinese laundry, come Black Smith, come Baker, come Pool Room Dance hall and Recreation centre and of course the prime suspect the Butcher, who used to sell heaps of his snags until the killings started.

The cops come up and interrupted our general conversations, without so much as one iota of concern for the intellectual discussions wot where taking place, in the place.

"Do any of youse  sheilas and blokes know Bill Williams or his AKA name Old Bill Williams?"

"Jist as well you cleared that up, or none of us would have known who you waz talkin' about."

"Well do ya?"

Mary McGillacudy, the owner of the haberdashery store, wot I forgot to mention, spoke up.

"Old Bill Williams could not have anything to do with these dastardly deeds, and anyway, the deaduns' were only tourists so what's all the fuss about...But not Old Bill, he was a kind hearted bloke, he worked hard, helped people, was always ready to tell a story and help an old lady across the street even tho' there ain't nothing on the 'tuther side of the street, in this place, So I reckon ya' got the wrong bloke, and, as most of the single women in this here place know, was a good bed warmer in the colder moment of winter, but don't say nuffin' about that or every one will want to get some...warmth, that is."

"Anyone else got an opinion?"

"Yeah! Me" I sez. "Ifn' we dont' get rid of this government we will all be broke before too long."

"About the killings..." and the copper mumbled summit that I missed hearing.

"Look," sed the publican, who wuz owed a fair bit of cash at the pub by Old Bill Williams the bloke in question, who wuz being questioned, "Ya' got the wrong bloke, I can tell ya' Old bill was as gentle as a lamb in a good stew...I must admit  that his visitors used to scream and carry on a bit, but apart from that, nuthin', he never disturbed no one."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Floods

I have spoken about the trials and tribulations of the Outback. My version of the unbroken horizon in the story Outback Awakening, and  in my blog article Silence is Golden. So I will continue on my impressions of the other encounters in the Outback, encounters that I have faced, along with everyone else in the area at the time.

If I had to define the worst, I would have a hard time selecting the “Red Steer” from the “Brown Death”, admittedly, neither sound very nice, and believe me they ain't.

I will deal with the floods: I was on a property bordering Cooper's Creek, which is one of the biggest water courses in the west.

It had not rained in the local area, which was a bit of a blessing in the fact that the ground was not saturated with rain, making the black soil a sodden, un-trafficable bog hole; however the rising waters stirred up the dreaded sand l flies. Creatures that seem to be able to lay dormant for a long time, to rise as the flood waters rose. They were not your 'biting midge, or the “no-see-em” of the coast, no Sir! These critters were like bush bees with football jumpers on, grey like the mossies with tiger type stripes on their abdomen.

Just through the sheer anxiety of the itch, and the pain of rubbing sore eyes against the bark of the Gidgee trees would kill a horse. The horses would go out on the dry clay pans and walk around and around in circles, head to swishing tail, trying to get some respite from these most miserable of afflictions. Hunger and pain would was not an easy life for a working horse, adn many suffered death, or ill thrift.

We would get fourty-four gallon drums and open up one end, make a fire and put cow manure on top of the flame to bury it to a strong, smouldering smoke. It is not too bad, really, I have smelt pipe tobacco with a greater stench, and the horses would come and stand with their heads in the smoke and stay there until it died down.

We had one little horse on a droving trip one time, that couldn't stand the sand flies any longer. During the night it came to the camp fire and rolled in the ashes, which disturbed the coals beneath,. We had to put the poor beast down because of the massive burns, and the horse's obvious pain .

So, you will stand there watching the brown water rise, and as it rose it would come to the cracks in the clay and trickle down these cracks for up to ten minutes before it rose and went on to the next crack. The cracking was like flag stone, and the cracks were deep.

In the wider channels, the sheep would try to go in to feed, but would find themselves with their leg down a crack and no way to push themselves out. They would die there, or if they didn't they would be too hard to get out once the clay backed hard like cement around the limb or limbs that were down the crack.

If rain was in your area, you were grounded as far as driving, riding or walking anywhere. Mud build up would soon stop a vehicle as the grass and mud made an adobe mixture that dragged the vehicle to a stop as the mixture clogged up to the mudguards. Horses would tire quickly with the same mud and grass build up on their hooves, and the poor bloody human that has to walk was overtaken with exhaustion after an hour struggling along. It made no difference if you took your boots off, the mud was that sticky it would cling to your skin like that stuff that sticks to a blanket.

Floods without rain is really testing, it causes a lot of anguish without much gain for the graziers stock or property. But that's the Outback Hey!!!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pete sees his name on Amazon again

Another short story of Peter Rake has made its way to Amazon. Actually this one is in the 'Fair Dinkum Yarns From the Australian View' but if you're too cheap to fork over $2.99 for the collection you can sample this one for $0.99. It's about Arthur. Some fictional conception of Pete's mind.

Poor old Arthur laments his life every day at the bar and dances with death in a bitter comedy farce which ultimately changes the course of his life. This is an original great Australian yarn told by best selling Amazon author, Peter Rake - as you might have guessed, since this is his blog!

Word count: 2900
Themes: Outback Australia, right of passage, comedy
What to expect: A ripper of a yarn, straight out of a 1960s Outback Queensland pub.
Setting: Outback Queensland pub
Published: 21 July 2013

 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Silence is Golden


Have you ever been in places that become so quiet that you can hear yourself thinking?

The Outback is like that. You don't notice it much through the day when your eyes are taking in activity, and your brain is interpreting what you have seen, but when night falls, and you have finished with the chores of say, feeding yourself, hobbling out the horse, rolling out your swag and rolling your last cigarette for the night, then the silence descends upon you.


No matter how hard you listen, and I do not think that a man can listen hard or soft, regardless of what his wife may think. No matter what you do, you do not hear anything. It is confusing to say you hear nothing, as that means that you hear something, but I am telling you that you do not hear anything at all in the Outback, nuffin'.

This only happens in certain places. It won't happen near a busy highway, it won't happen near a river or a creek, it won't happen if a pocket of trees are near, and it won't happen if you have the 'trannie' turned on. It will only happen in the middle of a vast paddock that has nothing but a sparse covering of grass, and the black soil plains to try to catch your attention, and the catch is that if it catches your attention, you need some help.

The silence is such that you will be drawn to putting your finger in your ear to try to remove the “plug” that has stopped you from hearing. You will hear the squish, squish of the finger as you rattle it around in your lug, and that will only confuse you, as you now consider how you can hear the finger but nothing else.

Married men can understand this phenomenon, as they relate it to the “Silent Treatment” often encountered in the marital home; however that is a pleasant occurrence, whereas the silence of the plains is a little strange, or should I say, stranger.

This massive silence, if silence has size, will be the overriding thought of the night. You will see a shadow, you think, and then you will realise that to see a shadow you have to have light, so whilst you are discounting that one a light will appear, or seem to appear, on what you would consider the horizon, or seem to be the horizon.


“Ah! Company,” you will say and frighten the dickens out of your self at the loudness in this dead silence, so you whisper “ah! Comapny

However, it is not company, you know what it is but you will not admit it to yourself, so your mind takes over and admits it for you, "It is the Min-Min my scary little friend.” Only your own mind can insult you like this and get away with it.

You open the secondary part of your mind, the contradictory side, some say the female side – why, I don't know, but this side says, "Don't be silly, I do not believe in the Min-Min."

"Well why is it getting closer?"

"I don't know, I don't believe in the Min-Min."

"Why is it getting bigger?"

"I told you, I don't know."

Another part of your mind says, no wonder they call it the female side, but has to admit that the light is getting bigger and coming closer.

Then the Min-Min is gone, and you do what any sensible, well controlled and well balanced male would do, you jump to your feet and let out a roar and go running up to catch the horse so the two of you can go and stick your heads in some noise.

“Silence is Golden,” some fool said. All I can say is that whoever that was never sat out on the black soil plains in the dark of night and listened to........

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More from the Haughty Kulturist

I was working on a place that was just above the Black Soil Plains. Well actually, most places out there are ABOVE, the plains, but this place had very fertile soil. However, as the case usually is, it lacked water.

We had a big wet season soon after I arrived there and we couldn't do much stock work as the black soil plains is very friendly and sticks to you like that stuff that sticks to blankets. If you should walk a few hundred yards, the mud, mixed with dry grass, would end up making you several inches taller before the weight became too heavy to drag along.

Yanyrate, the water was available in copious amounts, and in tanks as well so, I being an enterprising sort of bloke, I suggested that maybe I could grow a crop of watermelons on the slope below the dam. No not under the dam, below it on the slope.


There were a few bags of Q5 fertiliser in the shed which, when mixed with Diesel and plugged with half a stick of geli', could lift almost anything out of the ground, after you lit the wick, ifn' ya' know what I mean. It's also good bait for Yellow Belly.

I went into the 'Reach (Longreach) and bought a couple of packets of Queensland melons and headed back to the patch.

The soil was kind to me and it was just at the right moisture content to plant, so being a fairly clever sort of bloke, I planted.

A few months later I could look out from the verandah of the Ringer's quarters and see this lush green growth, with large round things scattered amongst it all, up on the slope. The melons were big, huge is more the description, and I was in the process of  hiring a back-hoe and a semi-trailer to get them to town, when the boss came over with a serious look on his face.

"Pete," he said, Pete was me name ya' see, that's why he said Pete.

"Wot's the problem?" sez I.

"Look, mate, I know ya' spent a lot of time on them melons, but I have to tell ya' that they have to be gotten rid of, soon."

"Gotten rid off?" sez I  incredulously, "Soon?" sez I, not giving any credit on this either.

"Yeah! It's like this ... Yesterdy' arvo' just on sunset, the cook was going over to get a bucket of milk from the cowboy, well, from the cows that the cowboy milked, when one of your  bloody melons broke away from the vine and rolled down the slope. It flattened the dairy, the cook and the bucket, and the cowboy as it went on to flatten the wife's Mercedies in the shed. So, I reckon that we better get the rest of them out of the place, hey?"

I could understand why the  boss had a serious look on his face. Seriously, I mean I was no dummie in the costs involved in running a property, and a good stainless steel milk bucket is not cheap.

Well, I sold one melon to a bloke down the road at a garage, who put it out the back, put in a few cots and a window or two and rented it out to the Truckies!

A few were scooped out and used in Longreach for in-ground swimming pools and the rest we rounded up and pushed out to the back paddock. As it turned out this was a good idea as tourists thought they were looking at the Olgas in the Territory and paid money to see the melon coloured rocks and wrote their graffitti all over 'em.

Fair Dinkum!  We got pictures ...  I think.