As offered by the boss, I decide to stay at the park today and work at the farm with the backpackers.
First thing in the morning we hop on the minibus and go to a paddock where a few dozen goats are. Some people are waiting to buy them. The buyers choose the one they want and we have the task to catch them. Once caught, the buyers cut their throats to empty them from their blood before taking them away. It’s quite gross and difficult to watch right after breakfast. The goats make horrible noises when they feel death is coming. One of them manage to jump over the very high fence and run away for her life.
After that episode, we prepare some sandwiches as we might not come back for lunch. We then go for a long drive on bumpy dirt roads. A few people ride on horses to gather the cattle to the paddocks to be vaccinated. We then move the cattle, in small groups, then one by one. Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes they panic and step on each other.
Once they are trapped, one person injects the vaccine while the other attaches a tag to their ear. I get to have a go at tagging with more or less success.
We then come back to the camp. I wait there, go for walks and wait again. When I’m about to chill, there is another task coming. We leave again for the same road. This time two trucks are coming and they are buying the cattle. So we have to help them load the cattle in the truck and keep count. I assume the cattle will be slaughtered but I can’t be sure. We then follow the truck for a while with our Jeep to make sure things go well. Unfortunately not so well. A few cattle are not standing anymore and the other ones are stepping on it. They eventually manage to get the situation sorted. Cattle tend to step on each other in a stressful situation.
In the evening everybody is getting ready to go to a party. Backpackers, family, farmer, absurdly everybody is going and excited to party hard. I tell them I’m not going because I prefer to rest and leave early the next day.
As soon as everybody is gone, it’s very lonely out there. It’s amazing how my mood changes. Being alone does not suit me well anymore and that is probably the reason why I instinctively try to camp in town rather than the bush. Although I like the bush better. This Kroombit park was perfect for that. It looked like a permanent Scout camp in the forest by the river. I really liked the setup.