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.