Tammie’s Day of Changes

Host: Yarrie Station
Written by – Tammie, Station Hand, Yarrie Station.

Before you read this blog I think it would do it justice to firstly introduce Tammi. She’s a great example that you don’t need to be big fiery eyed gun ‘ringer’ with ten years under your belt to become an important part of a team on a station. She joined Yarrie last year with no experience or background in station work. She has and still is working extremely hard to learn the diverse range of skills required on a station, they never end. As you may notice she is all about detail and is pretty hard on herself at times, which is probably why after a season of determination, a few tears, and I would say a fair load of frustration at times Tammie is a valuable part of the Yarrie team.

On this day in particular she has been left with the responsibility of loading over 220 cattle for the farm and then receive another 200 from the bush yards from where we were working about 100km out. With no communication with myself when things don’t go quite to plan she had to make decisions on her own and to her credit despite her view in the blog, everything did go smoothly. Most importantly the cattle were well handled and well cared for the whole time. Tammi also looked after, fed and cared for over 1000 head of cattle for the rest of the week while the crew were at camp mustering. This blog is important to show you that station life can be a challenge at times, especially if you really care about what you do and take it on as a career, the skills that you need take time, practice, patience. Determination and passion is everything and Tammi should be given a double pat on the back for that. Plus she’s a great laugh, a hard worker and cares deeply about all her team members around her which is very important in a small community. – A.C.

It’s just gone 5.30 pm and I still need to wash the float down of mud but I thought I would just try and get my blog started.

Hi I’m Tammie, Yarrie stations junior station hand. I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about, but after today I thought I would just write about my day, which didn’t go quite to plan, we need to be honest about a few of these days! I hope it isn’t too boring for you?

Today started at 4am. I’m a little slow in the mornings. So by the time I get up and get into the kitchen (my turn to cook breakfast), it’s time to start cooking for a 5am breaky.  This morning was a little different as we had our work experience girl, Lauren (aka Lozza), heading home after being with us for what turned out to be a very funny three months. Plus Kelsie one of our long time station hands heading off on her first overseas holiday to Mongolia.

So with a few sad hugs with Lozza and few excited hugs with Kels, the day had started. Big day down at the yards today, with a truck to load and cattle to process and let out. A long day but it should be easy, I thought.

This is where my day starts to get interesting!

Moya (the lovely lady, helping me in the yards today) and I, after getting lunch head over to grab the horses we are using for the day. Shar her marshmallow of a giant horse and Cloud my tiny station pony, who is more red mud then white are ready to let out a few head of cattle.

Now we are not to sure what happened . . . But my always quiet and well behaved pony had a “little moment” as the gate on his side of the float was being closed and went backwards and fast. Now myself, only having anything to do with horses since February this year, called out to Moya who was able to put a foot on his lead rope as he came off the float. All fine and well, just fast and unexpected, to just have a huff and a puff and go right back on with no worries. After today I might wear a glove when I put Cloud on a float again, rope burn on my fingers isn’t that nice. Cloud 3 vs My left hand 0!

Moya and I met Steve, the truck driver, down the yards with no further problems and started to get the cattle ready to load while Steve got his trailers ready. Which normally means he just pulls up to the ramp. However due to the 44mm of rain we just had, the truck had to be loaded in sections as we couldn’t drive around our boggy turn around. No big deal it will just take us a little longer to load!

The cattle loaded for the farm and everything was going swimmingly, perfect I thought. That was until Steve reversing out of the driveway to the yards (to transfer cattle into the last trailer, parked safe and dry on the road) got bogged!!

7.3 Steve and his bogged truckBogged!

Expletive, expletive, expletive!!! That is just what we were trying to avoid . . . No worries I’ll grab the tractor and we’ll be on our way again. Expletive, expletive, very loud, and annoyed expletive, the tractor won’t start. No worries I’ll grab some jumper leads and start it. That always works. Expletive the vehicle we used to tow the float down doesn’t have jumper leads in it. What do I do, who can help? Everyone is out at stock camp mustering and too far away to help. What to do? I know I’ll call the cook, Tich, he can help! About half an hour later Tich turned up with some jumper leads.

Meanwhile, Moya the trooper, has been organising the yards and moving cattle around so we can keep going while Steve and Tich get the truck moving again.

So back with Moya the cattle came up the race and we start giving them their injection and bang tailing them, ready to get let out. Half way through the mob, the needle breaks . . . I had to go on a hunt to find that one this morning. There is no spare needle. Bugger now what do I do? Decisions, decisions. What if I make to wrong one? After a chat with Moya and a move of cattle and a little bit of confusion on my part, a quick call to Kelsie (who had just landed in Perth, for her holidays) a decision was made. Time to move some more cattle again.

What a morning. There was morning tea in there and the horses got saddled somewhere a long the way as well.

The last of the cattle went on well and Tich hung about just in case the tractor was needed again.  With the truck loaded we said a very thankful “see you later” to Steve for his help and patience as he finally got on his way. About two hours later than normal but none the less loaded with “ugly cattle up the top and pretty cattle down the bottom”.

From here on my day calms down a little. Or it felt like that for me anyway. Moya and I got the cattle from the cooler paddock to the next one easily enough no big worries at all. And we left then with a big drink of water in their bellies from their new trough and heads down having a good old feed.

Time now to get the horse home. The yards are empty! What a morning!

Not even a 1/3 the way home, our truck, bringing cattle/weaners in from stock camp to be processed calls “I’m on my way be there by 2pm”. No worries, I thought, get home jump in my ute (thankfully my ute starts, it got a dodgy battery at the moment) and I’ll shoot back down the yards ready to receive some cattle in heaps of time.
Over the river crossing, up the hill, around the corner and what do I see above the trees parked at the yards? Our stock crate. Damn I’m late!! No worries though Alic, our driver has just stopped to check out the drive way to make sure he won’t get bogged. Sigh. That was close.

7.1Snapchat anyone?

We decide it’s still too wet to take our two trailers in so we disconnect the trailer and dolly and get to it. Bottom deck came off well, first top pen come off ok. Second top pen however argh I thought bulls didn’t like to be close to each other? They just wouldn’t go down the ramp. At Yarrie we use a thing called a flapper or cattle talker to flap at the cattle to help get them moving off the truck from time to time and no amount of flapping seamed to be working. But then finally Alic flapped at the right bull at the right moment and bees to a honey pot they (the bulls) were off the truck. Now drop the first crate off, hook up the second and do it all over again. The second crate is much easier though being a single deck. The cattle flow off that trailer very well.

By now it’s starting to kick on in the afternoon. I still need to feed out, move the bulls, and get home.

Feeding out isn’t too much of a deal. But then when you only weigh about 50kgs and try and push over a bale of hay that weighs around 600kgs, so you can roll it out . . . Let’s just say I’m glad there weren’t any video cameras around to capture all the huffing and puffing I need to do to actually get the damn things over and started! And gladly there weren’t any cameras around and the bale got rolled out and the bulls got thrown a few big bale biscuits.

Only thing left to do was to check all the gates, safety chains and water and head home. Glad to see the end of the day.

For one minute I would not swap any part of today for any other job now. I’m only a junior and I have A HEAP to learn and I make A LOT OF MISTAKES! But I have a wonderful boss in Annabelle. And I know that as long as I keep having a go and wanting to learn, Annabelle will give me that chance to learn or apologise with a carton of beer.

And really at the end of the day with help from Moya, Steve, and Tich I got the cattle on the truck and sent, cattle out of the yards and the new cattle fed and watered. That’s all that was asked and I did it and now sitting back thinking about everything from today, I can only laugh and smile about it all! Damn is that the time? I haven’t lit the fire for the shower yet . . . !!

7.2 Myself looking after the weaners for the week