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Friday, August 5, 2016

Goats and rocks

Mustering feral goats is absolutely nothing new for my husband or his team of offsiders.  But mustering in remote, rocky hills with a helicopter working overhead is something that only happens once a year.

The rough terrain and distances travelled mean that the crew are on the move from sunrise until the job is finished late in the afternoon with very little time to stop in between.



On a day like this every piece of prior experience counts. Handling unpredictable animals, knowing the environment, handling a motorbike, team work, patience, leadership, communication, resilience and a sense of humour are all skills and attributes that are required and tested.


As the unofficial photographer my skills were also tested.  The landscape meant that I was unable to get close to the action until right at the end of the job.  The end of the job also happens to be the most hectic part of the day.  The goats come down out of the hills and onto the flatter ground at a cracking pace.  At the base of the hills they are pushed through a fence and then through an enormous dry creek bed before they finally head towards the trucking yards.


This year I managed to get closer than in the previous muster.  Although I was closer I still deliberated over the best place to be.  The helicopter buzzed back and forth, the goats swarmed, the motorbikes and dogs swarmed behind the goats, the UHF radios crackled with instructions and I darted around that rocky hill with my camera in my hand and my heart in my mouth.


The kids and I could have easily stayed home and cleaned the bathroom, baked bread or weeded the garden.  Instead we chose to spend the weekend supporting this family venture while tackling a photography challenge.


Next year I might find a better position to be in, the light might be easier to work with or I might hold my nerve for a little longer.  I have twelve months to plan it out, all over again.


If you have recently set yourself a challenge I hope you nailed it.  

Happy Friday, friends. 

20 comments :

  1. who'd want to clean the bathroom when you could do this?! what an extraordinary experience for you all. I especially love the anticipation in the first photo, of the silhouetted men - modern day warriors before the hunt, strategizing in the calm and quiet before the chaos.

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    1. You have a lovely way with words e! Thank you.

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  2. Congratulations Jane - I think you did a cracking job. Both of capturing the moment as well as pushing yourself to give it the best you have.

    ps. also beats cleaning the bathroom - hands down.

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    1. Thanks Sue. The bathroom will wait...as they do!

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  3. What a day. Beautiful shots Jane.

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  4. Bonjour from France, I follow you with a great pleasure and curiosity :0)
    "see" you soon,
    Hélène

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  5. Fabulous Jane. Next year can we have video too?
    How many feral goats are there? And if you do this every year whatever would the population be if you didn't?
    I'm in awe of the landscape - it's vast.

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    1. I would love to be more skilled and savvy in the video department Anne! On this day the men surrounded about 2000 goats. The population would be enormous if we didn't constantly work on keeping the numbers down.

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  6. Incredible! There are so many feral goats. They must cause a lot of damage I'm assuming. Are they any use once they are disposed of? Can humans eat them?

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    1. Thank you Zena. The goat meat is processed and exported for human consumption. It really is no different to eating lamb.

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  7. Love the photos and can fully understand why you and the young'uns could not stay at home with such excitement going on. How many in this mob? Was appalled at the numbers of feral goats on my brother's property last year. They are becoming such an awful problem for farmers.

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    1. Thank you Joanne. On this day the men surrounded about 2000 goats. They are a problem but they also provide farmers in our area with a substantial income. So it is a problem but also a benefit in some ways.

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  8. I love how so damn different our lives are Jane :-)

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    1. So different yet so similar too, my friend. x

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  9. I love your photos Jane and the words you've put with them!

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  10. Love the Hi-vis on the kids Jane, what a great way to keep track of them.
    I've been experimenting with time lapse photography of late, with some really interesting results. It's been a great way to show what happens in a day, all in a couple of minutes. I've strapped the camera to bikes and people, and put it up on posts in the yards and strategic positions in the sheds (shearing and cattle prep barn).

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    1. Those time lapse cameras would be interesting Kate x

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane