Planning a wedding during mustering season

Host: Yarrie Station
Written by Annabelle Coppin, Owner.

This blog continues on from Annabelle’s last post in 2017, which you can read by clicking this link.

Mother nature certainly dealt us a challenge, however we conquered the muster in late August. Amongst that we also managed to build a set of cattle yards and complete around 60km of new holding paddocks with equipped with new bores and water system, it was a great sense of achievement seeing it all coming together.

Yarrie muster morning stretches.

The failed wet season on Yarrie meant we halved our numbers on the station to ensure the cattle survived and the country was cared for. A round of dry seasons are not only tough on your mind they also cost a lot of money; it’s more fuel, more labour, more freight, more pellets, hay and lick, plus the big one – far less breeders for the years to come. This causes a huge strain on the business direction.

The benefits of having a southern farming property were certainly highlighted with these conditions in the north. With the help of farmer Cols ‘narly’ fodder crop program and an excellent season in this region we were not forced to sell light skinny cattle direct form Yarrie; instead we were able to send most of them to the farm to greener pastures. After a belly full of this and a few months, we sold valuable, heavy cattle. This was not only good for our soul, it importantly assisted us to push through this challenging time with far more financial resilience. Another advantage was also being able to keep our better future breeding heifers on the farm and joining them with bulls in this time. They were then sent back north in calf in March 2017 after it finally rained. Again, an expensive process (there’s nothing good about no rain!) but far cheaper than dumping them cheap or worse still having them die in the dry season, a scary but very realistic consequence.

Laying in the green grass therapy on our farm.

These dry times do slowly overtake your spirits. Our whole team felt the full effects of it, I am very grateful for their extra hard work in 2016 and the extra care and physical hard work they took to look after the more vulnerable weak animals. It’s cumulative, every day dealing with it is another that goes into that small but growing stress bank. No matter how hard you try to keep your spirits up, it was slowly pulling us all down.

Loading out in our new yards built in the 2016 mustering season.

In between the 2016 muster, the ever so popular question was thrown at me every other day: “how’s our wedding planning going?”. My response was (with gritted teeth!), “we will deal with that when the musters done”. When the muster did finish in late August, we had a month until the wedding – plenty of time! I then made a quick trip to the farm with some of the team to help Colin and Corina out to sell some cattle to service the rather stretched overdraft.

It was a magic down there, spring time, good weather, I rolled in green grass most days and watched many fat contented cattle, which certainly released some of the dry time stress. When that was over, we then had a week until the wedding and the question seemed to be increasing “how’s our wedding planning going?”

Laying in the green grass therapy on our farm.

Thomas had by this time organised two chefs and a super ‘pop up kitchen’ was organised by our mate Shane, he also found a celebrant willing to travel, our local bidgudanga ‘Seaside Drifters’ band and I importantly head hunted our very own ‘dressmaker’. One of my Bridemaids Tiffany was super organised and apparently had the decorations all sorted.

It was like organising a mustering camp, just far less organised and many would agree, far more chaotic! We filled the white board with jobs, moved the portable panels to the front lawn, filled the troughs with ice, the bridemaids fixed the flat tyres and hunted down 70 camping spots in the river, equipped with some hot portable showers and toilets. And just like that, the wedding planning was done.

The dressmaker arrived 3 days before the wedding with a bag full of white beautiful material and a sewing machine. It made that week so special with her and her husband (my cousin) there. She set herself up in the homestead in a room where many of my ancestors were born and pretty much sewed all night and day to produce this incredible dress the night before the wedding. I was going to have to wear it or not, however she could not have created something more special, such talent and all added to the wedding preparations condensed to one week! For any Dressmaker movie fans out there she didn’t manage to burn Marble Bar down when she left, but the church did burn down about a month later so our joke may have slightly jinxed us!

The amazing dressmaker at work.