Week-end, Not Work-end.

Good morning fellow Jillaroos and Jackaroos. I’ve been rather quiet on here the past few days, as I’ve had 4 days off work (aka the day job). Thursday was the public holiday for ANZAC Day. If you’re not from around these parts, ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It’s a day to remember the fallen soldiers and appreciate what they’ve done for us. Since Thursday was the public holiday, I took Friday off too so I could have a 4 day weekend. Not that I ever seem to get a day to relax though. I was busy as ever on the farm and around the countryside.

I’ve only just brought my filly, Perseverance, back into work. Last year she went out west mustering with Jackaroo for a few months. Then, due to the drought and flooding, she lost a fair bit of weight, so I’ve been trying to feed her up for the past few months. She’s still got some weight to put on but is looking a lot better! So on Thursday, I took her down to the campdraft ground to work her. A campdraft is an Australian sport where riders cut out a cow and then push it around a course – it’s what I plan to do once Percy is old enough and strong enough to do it. She is only a baby, at 3yrs old. She is the horse I’m laying on in a previous post. When I was walking her around the arena, she stumbled and ended up on her knees. She then took a few bites of grass, and laid down while I was on her. Was very funny! That will show me for teaching a lazy horse to lay down! So I worked her for a while and then went and picked up hay from a property further out.

On Friday I went to the Widgee Mini Music Muster with the Australian Institute of Country Music crew. We interviewed a few artists such as Travis Collins, The Webb Brothers and Graeme Jensen for a podcast that will soon be put together. I am hoping to post the podcast on my blog as well. Country music festivals have the best atmosphere. I fell in love with the atmosphere long before I started liking country music. The people are friendly, and it’s easy to get interviews with the artists. I’ve previously been to festivals to interview artists for the radio show a friend and I used to host. One day I’ll be on stage.. Until then, you’ll have to put up with my ramblings on here. Oh who am I kidding, you guys will be some of the first to hear of my adventures!

On Saturday and Sunday I took Percy mustering on a property not far from us. Jackaroo rode his stallion, Confidence, the first day and then another 3yr old filly, Sardonyx, the next day. We mustered the cattle from the mountain, across the road into another paddock and finally into the old cattle yards there. They haven’t been used for a while, I kept getting my spurs tangled in the chest-high grass and stumbling. Classic gumby Jess (slang for uncoordinated). It can be real rough riding through the bush looking for cattle. Some bits are really densely treed, and you are continually ducking and diving from branches and big fat spider webs. In Australia we call this ‘scrubby country’ or ‘the scrub’ – where all there is are forms of eucalypt trees and weeds like lantana bushes etc. I dodged one spider web yesterday which stretched 2-3m, and had a massive fat-bodied spider in the middle of it. I’m not sure what type of spider it was but they are common in the bush, their webs are actually bright yellow in colour. At least it makes it easier to see them! We certainly are one badass country.

From Harry-High-Pants to… (An Article I Wrote for The Noise Magazine)

When Google-Imaging ‘country and western pop culture’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there is none. I found a picture of a person made to look like roast chicken, a close-up of Homer Simpson’s eye, a unicorn and other non-related images. It is at this point I realise that writing about the changes in country pop culture is going to be more difficult than I thought. I’ll break it down for you (wikka wikka wo-OWW).

If you look at old black and white photos of cowgirls and cowboys, you will notice a few differences. Yes, they still wore button up shirts and jeans, but the jeans were pulled up to their armpits. Even today, many people in the country community – even young people – choose to wear high-waisted jeans. This is generally how you siphon the legit country people from the rest. If you have ever tried riding a horse in hipster jeans you would understand. So it seems that changes in country and western wear are more subtle than other styles. There’s nothing dramatic like going from baggy pants with chains to jeggings (eww) in a decade. However, if you look at old photos of barrel racers (a horse sport) you will notice a huge change. From normal looking station women, to ones that look like their wardrobe has thrown up on them. There’s ‘bling’ everywhere- shirts that you need sunglasses to look at and buckles which were bought, not earned, that could double as dinner plates.

Country music now has a broader range of styles than it used to as well. Though it may have a little less of a tinny twang these days, they often still seem to sing about losing everything to their ex-wives. Yet you still can’t beat some of the older artists like Johnny Cash or Kenny Rogers. Even though Kenny is trying his best not to look like an ‘older artist’… Or maybe the wind just changed when he was doing an impression of a wax model, of himself. I don’t know. All I do know is that he should’ve played The Gambler at least 17 times more at the Gympie Muster last year.

Unlike the movies, country people don’t generally chew tobacco or sunflower seeds and then spit them a tin. Nor are they as dim-witted as often portrayed. Chances are they can out-math you – try counting hundreds of cattle at a time rushing through a gate, or planning materials for kilometres of fencing. So even though their culture may seem a little different to you, at the end of the day, country people are just normal people like you.

Myself and Bean (of ponderingsofabean.wordpress.com) being chased by 'The Gibbon'
Myself and Bean (of ponderingsofabean.wordpress.com) being chased by ‘The Gibbon’