I’ve said before that Dad didn’t think about gender when he delegated jobs. One year I helped him crutch sheep. I was strong as an ox back then – wish I had some of that now! He told me to go steady on the sheep. I’d dragged one out of the holding pen that didn’t want to be there, quite understandable really! I slammed the poor thing onto the floor, stunning it for a bit so I could get the right hold and clean up the wool from it’s face and rear end. This is called “crutching” and is done to minimise them being fly blown – another disgusting job to deal with – maggoty sheep bums! Dad was crutching the rams at the same time – now they were feisty! The first time Dad ever heard me swear was when he visited me at boarding school, where I learned to swear, amongst other things. He walked up the pathway at school with an enormous dressing over a wound on his chin – worse than a nasty shaving accident! A ram had kicked the shearing piece into his face and in the split second that the shear took to stop it managed to rearrange his chin somewhat. I said “shit” and his expression was that of a father who was clearly wasting his money on a private education. Sorry Dad. Normally he would have contracted shearers to do this job but some years he did it himself to save the money for something for the family. One year it was a colour television for Christmas.
The colour telly….
Dad set it all up on Christmas morning – probably around 1975 given I was old enough to be in the shed helping crutch. Well, you wouldn’t believe it! We all sat down to watch the midday movie, in black and white! Didn’t often see Dad get mad but he was furious! Stamping around saying “why put a black and white movie on, on Christmas Day! They have to know people have bought colour telly’s for Christmas”! In hindsight, it was very comical. Actually, it was funny at the time!
Dad built the shearing shed himself. Master welder and fixer-of-anything-that was-broken. Farmers tend to be fixing things a lot – that part hasn’t changed much either. I had a teddy at the time who I bathed, often, in the concrete mix and used as a trowel (apparently). I blame Mum for the grief of losing him, I expect in one of the foundation footings for the shed. I think she was at her wits end trying to keep him and us clean! Anne would have been 3 and I’m sure we made fine little “forewomen”!
We girls were always out “helping” dad! I think this puppies name was “Gyp”… might have to confirm that.