So after I last posted on the 10th here is what has happened…..
On the evening of the 10th Andy’s sister Lisa and her husband Phil decided that they were going to come over as their son Ted who is 15 was on school holidays and wanted to come over to help with mustering the sheep as shearing started the next day which means a lot of sheep need to be pushed through the shearing shed.
They live around 5 hours away but the dad is a pilot and has his own plane so they decided to fly over and land on the airstrip…..as you do!
So naturally I got quite excited and went down to watch them turn up and land, which was pretty cool to watch, and what I also found really cool was the fact that this little beauty came running off the plane! What a dog! Her name is Princess Grace and well obviously she is a princess, she has her own fucking plane!
So that night we sat around drinking wine and eating food, I tried to get Princess Grace to sleep in my room but she got rather upset as she gets a bit of separation anxiety from Lisa oh well hey!
For the rest of the week it was all pretty much the same, looking after Dan, hanging out the washing, burning the rubbish, feeding the chooks and also going over to the woolshed to help with drafting the sheep into different gates ready for the shearing.
Mustering the sheep was difficult at first but once you understand how they move it gets easier, plus I had one of the sheep dogs called Red helping me, although he does get a bit distracted looking at the little lambs and then just doesn’t listen to me. We use big paddles which you can shake to make noise and also give them a little pat of the bum to get them moving if they aren’t moving forward.
So what we had to do is move them from one gate into another and then it pushes them into a tiny gate called the crush which then goes into a single lane with different gates at the end which is where Andy stood and drafted them into different gates and he can count 3 ways which I don’t understand how he can do that but no one can speak to him when he is counting or he would obviously loose count!
So from there they then go into the shearing shed which again gets split into lots of different gates for the different shearers. At the bottom of this gate are a set of swinging doors where the shearers will come through and grab a sheep to bring through to the shearing station.
I watched them all shearing and they seem to go pretty fast, they seem to compete against each other for how many they can do and they also want to get paid a lot as they get paid per sheep, it’s really easy for the sheep to get cut while they are getting Shawn because they move around a lot, and I even saw one running around on a bent leg because one of them got the hamstring which I am told is really easy to do, poor things!
So after they have Shawn a sheep someone comes along and picks up the fleece pops in on a table in the middle and they then rip of the bit around the bum as its all stained, so that bit gets used in any black wool items. After that they take off all the edges as that’s the lower part and has more prickles in and that goes into one bin. Then they class the wool based on how far it stretches, the length and how much yellow is in the fleece, if there is a lot of yellow then it’s of lower quality as it’s some kind of impurity.
If any of the sheep that they shear have any black wool at all they have to shout out ‘black wool’ and someone will come along and pick up that wool and rip out the bit with the black wool in or if it’s got bits of black throughout the whole fleece they will put the whole fleece into a separate bin, the sheep itself gets blue chalk put on its nose so that when the drafting starts again afterwards Andy knows they have black wool and that means they need to be tagged with a certain tag so that when the ram sale begins they also know to sell the ram or the sheep with the black wool as they don’t want to continue to breed black wool.
After the wool has been classed someone else will grab big bunches of it and put it into a pressing machine which will compress the wool so they can wrap it up ready to be sold, I was told that one of these big packs would typically be sold for around $1000 depending on the quality of course.
I found it really interesting watching and learning about all of this as I never really thought that that much effort went into my woolly jumpers back home, and now I can understand why wool can be quite pricy, it takes a lot of people, a lot of dogs and a whole lot of sheep a lot of time and effort to get your woolly jumpers ready!
So for the next 2 weeks that’s pretty much what was going on, Andy and Ted would go out in the morning to muster the sheep and I would look after Dan and do all the household stuff while Tarsh got on and did her office work and then in the afternoon me Tarsh and Dan would drive over and help draft the sheep ready for the shearers the next day, while Dan would sit in his pram and watch and be happy and excited about the sheep or start to cry so I would have to try carry him and draft the sheep which was actually really difficult to do.
On the Friday of my second week here me, Tarsh and Dan drove over to the closest city called Swan Hill which is a good 1 ½ hour drive away, it was a very busy day of food shopping, going to a few different places to get everything. Then new clothes for Dan as he has grown out of most of his clothes now, seeing potential day care for Dan, servicing cars and sorting internet out, and then trying to fit lunch into all of that too.
On the way to swan hill we saw a few kangaroos on the roads dead and even saw on the side of the road alive but not able to move properly as looked like it had a broken hip, Tarsh called Andy and left him a message telling him about the kangaroo and asked if he could come out and shoot it to put it out of its misery, on the way home we called Andy and he said he hadn’t got time to go out so there I was thinking we were going to have to kill a kangaroo and feeling very upset and scared about this but when we arrived to where the kangaroo was I saw it was missing a head! What the fuck?? Someone chopped his head off!? Poor thing! I hope it was quick and at least it wasn’t in pain anymore!
On the Saturday I drove up to one of the dams with one of the dogs to watch the sunset which was incredible, I have never seen anything like it, across the flat land that just goes for hundreds of miles I could see the sun completely disappear and wow to the colours in the sky! They were insane! Pinks, oranges and reds! It was so pretty.
After the sunset we had food and lots of wine and I ended up being rather drunk by the end of the night, which meant I spent most of the next day trying not to die in bed as I am now getting on a bit and clearly getting useless at handling my booze! Oh the shame!
After this I decided that I was going to stop drinking every night and have a bit of a detox, that lasted all of 2 days until the Tuesday (19th) Princess grace flew in on her private plane again and we all sat around the table eating curry and drinking wine! Then after that night it seemed to go back to normal, drinking wine in the evenings around the table! Well I’m not going to complain about that haha.
The next few days were back to looking after the dogs, and chooks, and Dan until the Friday which was the last day of shearing and we needed to do inject the rams with a little bit of sedative so they were easier to shear and I also ended up shearing my first sheep. (Well 2 of them but not the whole thing) It’s a lot harder than it looks and you need to be really careful not to end up cutting them, I was scared to do it because I didn’t want to hurt it, especially around the hamstring. The guy helping me was really nice and had to move me around to get in the right position, he was also quite tasty too which is always a good thing to have a hot teacher! I did end up getting kicked a few times by the sheep but it didn’t actually hurt that much so that was good! So it was definitely an experience and I’m glad I gave it a go!
After the sheep shearing happened me, Tarsh and Dan drove to Moulamein, Tarsh drove with Dan and I followed in the Ute which is the first time I have drove on the actual roads here (apart from the Barbie car on magnetic island but that doesn’t really count now does it) and on the way there 2 Emu’s ran out in front of Tarsh’s car but luckily she didn’t hit them, that was the first time I’ve seen Emu’s in the wild.
So we went and dropped the car off at the garage and then next door is the coffee shop/art gallery where we had a coffee and I felt like I was getting investigated by the police officer about how I was going to get my second year visa signed off, I just pretended not to hear most of the questions, then Tarsh went with Dan to see someone while I went over the road to the shop to get some food in for the week and then to the place next door to that to grab the meat and beer.
Moulamein is tiny, there is one pub, one small and expensive supermarket, one garage, one coffee shop and one takeaway food place where we got 2 pizzas from and headed on back home, on the way Tarsh’s Cousin Charlie came up behind us and followed us back home too.
He was nice but omg doesn’t he talk a lot, he just went on and on and on, I don’t understand how he gets anything done or how he manages to breath when he speaks so much about just anything and everything. I just zoned out most of the time but then he would say ‘Sami, Sami, I’m trying to tell you something’ or ‘I haven’t finished my story yet’
Tarsh walked down the corridor out of the kitchen to go to the toilet and we all must heard her scream at the top of her voice and then shout ‘SNAKE!!!’ we all ran to her rescue and Charlie managed to get the snake and kill it, when we saw the colour of it, it was brown which is one of the deadliest snakes in the world and even though it wasn’t a big one it would still be big enough to kill you! And that was the first snake I have seen since being in Australia! Remind me why I’m here again?
After we had calmed down from the snake situation Me and Tarsh kept drinking and drinking just to get over the near death experience and as Charlie was telling us more and more stories and he brought in a hat made from a cat and then a briefcase full of posters and whips telling us stories about them, and eventually me and Tarsh were pretty drunk I ended up smoking to chill me out and finally got to bed around 1am.
We woke up the next day which was the Saturday and just had a bit of a chill day as we were feeling slightly hungover, I wonder why? And later on that night a guy called Henry turned up and they call him rocket and omg he is bloody beautiful! He’s my age, tall, dark and extremely good looking! Which is all well and good for me to have a bit of eye candy but also a bit annoying when I am making sure I stay away from all men at the moment due to my track record with the dickheads I seem to go for!
He stayed for a few nights and helped them out around the place putting lights in as he’s an electrician, I tried my best not to talk to him too much so that I didn’t end up doing anything stupid haha, but still continued to look at his beautiful face! Yummy, yummy, yummy!!!
So he left on Tuesday and I spent the day looking after Dan and trying to get all this updated and then pack ready for Melbourne, as they are going away for a couple of days so I am going to Melbourne and getting a lift down with Andy. We are actually meeting sexy man rocket there and going for food and a couple of drinks before they go off to watch a show and I will go and see the beautiful Christy again.
They have also got me and her tickets to see Aussie rules football so I am looking forward to going to see that! Should be a good night