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"I would rather attempt something great and fail. Than to do nothing at all and succeed"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Another Day in the Outback

As the sun rises over the horizon ,another day starts. For many people this means  a quick shower, breakfast grab your briefcase and join the hustle and bustle  along  the freeway to your office.
However at Suplejack Downs the day is well underway, the gyros and choppers  are in the air and the  mustering on the western end of the station  has started. 
This particular  muster holds great sentimental value to me and my family as it was the same area that went terribly wrong in 2008, leaving me in this wheelchair.        

Excitement builds as quickly as the dust rises, while the helicopter's coach the last of the cattle into portable yards.

Bill Cook with his grandson Braxton has got the station semi ready to start trucking the sale cattle home market

I would like to pretend Brad and Cam were seeking advice from their older (wiser) brother, but they were actually just checking if I was okay.

It was only a couple of seasons prior while mustering the exact same cattle out of the South East corner of Suplejack that the chopper went down breaking my neck, and even though I was observing from a wheelchair, I felt a sense of achievement to watch the same cattle that had taken so much from me, being processed and trucked.

I might look like I am sitting there doing nothing but I'm actually conjuring up a poem about some of the exciting situations the ringers found themselves in that day, so enjoy.
Lilly's Larrikins
Now wooka tooks, both big and small
All shorthorn, polled and horny
Keeps the ringers on their toes
After an early moon lit morning
They take a drink of water
And have a well earned break
They blow the white dust from their nose
That's found on Lilly's Lake
A single crack of the stockman's whip
As they yard up from the back
A yodel from their comrade
Let's them know ones on attack 
The clanking of the draft gate
The whisper of the slide
The quick catch of the head bail
With an unmarked beast inside
The slow and steady drafting
On the men it takes it's toll
All the stopping and the starting
Struggling to keep them on a roll
The mickey bulls blow snot and swing ivory
As they hone in on their prey
The ringers fake left, step right
And clamber out of their way
Now Kendall mans the note pad
And keeps the brand iron hot
While feeding cattle to the crush
There's nothing she's forgot
Dingy's back to reclaim glory
As he slams the headbail closed
Bang tail, needles, earmark
Keeps him lively on his toes
Brado attempts the job of three men
Working headbail to the force
He has to cover ground quickly
To make it back to chop off horns
Experience shows in Gav's approach
While keeping scrubbers on the go
Sometimes to move the wild cattle
You've got to crouch down real low
And then there's holy awesomeness
Young Lukey in his prime
Regardless of his position
He's having one hell of a time
Cambo barks out orders
As he drafts them two by two
Cleanskin, trucker, bush gate
Let the baby calves go through
Young Elliot swings the weaner gate
As he scurries up the rail
He dares not put a foot wrong
With those young mickeys on his tail
And just like a ghost in darkness
Sambo covers here and there
From the back yards to the bush gate
He could pop up anywhere
One things to yard the cattle up
But getting them home's another deal
The mercedes broadslides to the ramp
With Boss man Billy at the wheel
With hard work comes the hunger
And someone has to feed the crew
Cookie won't serve a basic sanga
He creates one hell of a stew
With Aunty Jude by his side
They cook over flame and coal
The result of this is splendid
Or so the stories told
Now your probably wondering
Who has time to sit and view
And write as these events unfold
It's the cripple with his chew!
Nothing beats the smell of branded hides
And those aged bulls are a sight to see
And even though he can not lend a hand
There's no place he'd rather be
Rob Cook 4/7/12 @ Suplejack Station











  1. Great post Rob! I missed it when you posted it up - is my nagging working? I love seeing all it through your eyes - more, more!!

  2. The last line brought a tear to my eye. I'm glad that you are nowhere but the place you'd rather be.

  3. Hello Rob, Just halfway through your book - many a tear. My own husband broke his neck at work aged 32 in 1982...we like you had two little kids. The hardest for me was reading about how you felt but couldn't express just after the accident. But what struck me is your attitude - very close to my husband. We had 25 good years and Don was the best Dad our girls could have wished for - he was involved in anything, everything and nothing sometimes - I have a newspaper photo of don being thrown off what he called a bull, I thought it was a poddy calf - he was under the weather when he got on though. A risk taker who was lucky to not be killed a hundred times - like you he was working when it happened... I enjoyed your poem and as with Debby the last verse got to me. I have a poem I wrote to Don and luckily read it to him before he sadly died in 2007 and its how I felt about him and the love and life we shared. No doubt your lovely wife feels exactly the same. It was written after Don had aquired Quadriplegia for 24 years - sure we had bad times, plenty of arguements till we both learned it didn't matter who was right or wrong...
    The Man and Me
    Sleeping at night my palm opened flat on his chest,
    Warmth feeding warmth, I know we are blessed.
    No matter the day’s misunderstandings and blues;
    No matter points made and lost;
    No matter who thinks who’s the boss;
    Sleeping always next to him is the life I would choose.

    Re arranging pillows, blankets and such;
    Both easy to fire off, yet both easy to touch.
    Each unwilling to give way, equal to the end.
    The Celt in us both, a marvellous brew,
    Stirred and stirring, a wondrous stew.
    Sleeping hand to chest our rousing battles mend.

    Ah! And give me that fire, pure and unpolished,
    And give me the spirit, no argument undemolished,
    And give me the wickedness and its play,
    Give me the empathy and knowing
    Give me the common sense for our growing.
    And let us wake hand to chest at the start of the day.

    How dear to me is the man who breathes beside me at night?
    How dear is the spirit, which gives his eyes their light?
    How dear to me is the world we share?
    There is no measure I can explain
    But that his pain gives me also pain
    And that our love is sometimes more than we can bear.

    For me he stands, young, fair and clear-eyed as in youth.
    For me, the things he feels I know, they are truth.
    And I will hold these truths like rare and precious treasure,
    For in a shifting sea of easy useless lies
    The values of such truths are cherished ties
    To the love which lives within the heart which is without measure.

    So let me lie for hours, my hand upon his chest,
    Thinking on the treasures with which we are blessed.
    Such as our children treading out into the world to be,
    Carrying the dreams of all our life;
    Treasures as sacred as the man and wife
    And as sacred as the love which binds the man to me.