This morning we drove down the paddock, as usual, on our way to put the cattle out on the road – the only place there’s any tucker left for ’em. We do it every day, and as an added “drought management” we walk down the road with knives to the grotto and mow a tarp full of green grass, to distribute to the cows on the far side of the property. Why don’t we let them at all that green grass in the grotto, when it would be ever so much more efficient to let them “mow” it themselves? Because especially with the water hole there, we would never be able to convince them to come back! Gotta work with the cattle.
On our way down to the road, Carolyn’s sharp eyes are scanning, scanning, scanning the property, to the ridge lines, on the far hills, amidst the copses of trees; to the limits of her vision.
“What’s happening there!?” she exclaims, and as I am squinting at where she’s pointing, she yells, “Its dingoes after the calves!!!”
Carolyn, does not take kindly to dogs trying to kill her babies.
To put it mildly.
She accelerated maniacally, no matter the buckets of molasses in the back, bumping and jostling over the rough terrain, honking the horn, and yelling, saying things I have never heard come out of her normally very respectful mouth. (She had the urge to say the F word the other day in the kitchen when the sprouts had gone rotten, and instead she used “fun loving.”)
“Fucking goddamn dingoes! FUCK YOU Aaaaaargh!!!!” …and this is apparently for my benefit, since the window is still up.
We drove to the fence and she slammed it in park. I took a second to grab a grass-mowing machete out of the back seat, and Carolyn was gone, screaming her head off, racing across the field toward the commotion. Two white and brown feral dogs had been stalking the “cattle kindergarten.” Often a single mother will look after numerous calves while the other mothers go in search of food for the day; it’s quite an interesting part of cow society, actually. And this momma was pissed off! And frightened. The dogs were of the kill-for-fun variety, runaway herding dogs or second generation from a dingo-dog match. A regular yellow dingo will only kill for food, and often only eats calf poop, actually, not whole calves, but these feral mutts are what Carolyn calls “killing machines.”
We drove them off and the kindergarten kow took her babies back to the pond. Carolyn was fuming. It was still another five minutes before she noticed I had the machete and said, “Oh, good on ya, you brought the bush knife.” Not that we got close enough to use it… even though I can throw it if I want to; those dingoes lit out when momma Carolyn came ragin’ at ’em!
And she tells a bonus story after times like these. It was a similar situation, where she saw the dingo after a calf and drove after it, except this time she was able to chase it with the truck for quite a ways, around the paddock and past another group of cows. (Now is this the “sport” or the “utility” of the “SUV”?)
Then the terrain became too rough for the vehicle, but that didn’t stop her fury – she jumped out and continued the chase on foot. Sound familiar? Yelling and screaming as only a mother defending her babies can, she would’ve pursued this killer to his very lair if she could have. Then the dingo finally ran down a ravine where Carolyn couldn’t follow. As her stride slowed, she could hear behind her the distinctive gaddump gaddump gaddump! of thousand-pound galloping beasts. She turned, wary of a stampede, only to witness, now pulling up to a stop in front of her, with the same mothers’ fury reflected in their eyes, the frightful picture of a whole herd of cows come to back her up!