I wasn’t born into a farming family. Rather in Brisbane – to a bank teller and a boilermaker. I’ve always loved horses though. In fact, I got banned from using the ‘H’ word from a young age. It’s only been the past 6 or so years that I’ve immersed myself into everything country. When I’m interested in something, it consumes every thought. I often plan what I will do when I get a property, what cattle and horses I’d stock, the dogs I’d use and how I’d manage the paddocks.
I know that I can’t do some things, that some farm tasks are beyond my experience or ability (since I have a dicky knee!). However, when it comes to effort and enthusiasm – there’s not too many who would surpass me. Making mistakes is not an option when I start out – however I often end up with a dirty backside! I am usually pretty capable though, and keen to prove myself. If that charging beast is to be blocked, send old Jess. She’s got cajones (apparently it’s Mexican for balls).
A few months ago I visited my parents in the Pilbara, Western Australia. To get home, I had to take 3 flights. The first from Karratha to Perth, the next from Perth to Melbourne, then from Melbourne to Brisbane. Because of problems with the plane, about 25 of us missed our connecting flight from Melbourne to Brisbane. We were put up at a hotel in Melbourne for the night. We were also given free meals at the hotel restaurant for our stay. During dinner I heard a couple of the ladies talking about this girl named Jess, from the same town I was from, and that she had been working on a station. I had been speaking to an Aboriginal ringer on the last flight and wondered if they had overheard. I thought they were talking about me! Turns out they weren’t… I was curious who they were talking about though, and decided to find out.
The next day, we all made our way for our rescheduled flight. I sat down, stuck my nose in a book and waited for the flight to be called. I could just about smell her before I saw her. A girl about the same age came and sat next to me. It was obvious she was the Jess they had been talking about the night before. I introduced myself and we got chatting. Turns out she was working on a sheep station out woop woop. We got talking about working dogs and the likes, until she asked what I do. At that stage, I was hoping my knee would hold up enough to go mustering full time. Her eyes widened when I told her what my plans were. She looked me up and down. From my painted toes, to my plucked eyebrows. Conversation died after that. Apparently the way I looked affected my working ability. Painting my nails made me too prissy, a wannabe, or a rooey bastard if you will (read older posts for definition). Maybe I should’ve walked outside, rolled in some dirt and then sat back down next to her. May have earned some respect then!
Really, the nail polish doesn’t stop me from working… It just hides the red dirt beneath them.
Dirt and blood from cutting calves on a station in Central Queensland. I wear gloves most of the time, but not while cutting!