For those of us that have had the joy of cattle yards, sheep yards, pig yards any sort of yard where animals get weighed, tagged, drafted, cleaned out and marked you will know what I mean. There’s always a farmer, and in the words of a girl friend yesterday who had to change things around as ‘slave labour’ was required. Those in the know, know this is family, children and friends that can come and work under extreme conditions regardless of winter, summer, spring or autumn, working with a farmer can be hair-raising.
Picture this 100+ 4 legged animals that need to be put through the yards one by one, they run back, they run at you, they don’t walk in an orderly line like school children do, this then coupled with barking dogs, if they are required, sets the farmer off into the stratosphere of high blood pressure which boils over into a verbal yelling and screaming attack. (at everyone and everything)
No one is spared which is why it is reserved for either paid employees or family members, in our case me and my beautiful cousins husband (at lamb marking time) but mainly down to me. The trick here is not to take it personally, to ignore, follow instructions regardless of whether or not they make sense . There are a couple of self-defense lines “you told me to do it this way” “sorry I couldn’t hear you screaming over the noise of the cattle/sheep/lambs/pigs etc . which most of the time you can’t and lastly “I thought you were yelling at the dog”. I say “if you can’t teach me then I won’t know for next time.” Any or all of the above doesn’t stop the yelling or the swearing but it can slow the rate down at which it is hurled.
We were out the other night doing some cattle work and there was poly pipe involved to give the stubborn ones a tap on the bum if they aren’t behaving, they can see it coming and most of them run so the poly pipe lands on nothing, can get thrown in all directions and can end up on the ground being stomped on (as it didn’t do what it was required to do).
During this one such procedure I am at the gate, separating the cows from the weaners and I turn to see him doubled over clutching his chest. I look at him and this flashes through my mind, “oh god, he’s going to have a heart attack & die, then I can sell the cattle and sell the farm” I yell “are you alright?” I can’t go to him as I have to close the gate to stop the cows I let out coming back in or the weaners getting out, he can’t hear me as they are bellowing. By now I organizing how I going to drag him out from the risk of being trampled on by 200 cattle, do CPR, call an ambulance and generally save his life. (You do know I am a nurse and we ALWAYS go from a scratch to requiring major surgery long before we see the wound). I go to walk towards him and he stands up, clutching his chest picks up the piece of poly pipe and continues to open gates, close gates, yell and we are back to doing cattle work, all the while he is clutching his chest.
I figure he must be ok, he yelled at me to get back to the gate. This all being done and when over, we are both covered in dirt / dust and climbing into the Ute I ask “are you ok? I thought you were having a heart attack.” he looks at me “no but I have torn a muscle in my chest”. Quite matter of fact like, we drive home and all is back to normal.
In my defense of saying I had my husband buried, cattle & farm sold that thought (as he reads my blog) was probably only about 5 seconds in time. I would never wish that upon him nor myself (other than selling cattle) 🙂 He is a good kind man and I would like to travel with him some more before anything awful happens to us. He always states at least you have good life insurance on me, and he’s right we do. Here he is fixing the cattle yard gates – quiet with no cattle in sight.