Boulia Rodeo was in town, and we couldn't resist doing the slog back into town for it. It was an awesome drive though. We were stoked to see 60 - 100 brolgas with a few babies thrown in, feeding in the cracked earth grassland, along with some wild pigs (bugger!), and a fierce snake which I still see when I shut my eyes... Despite the rodeo being a lot quieter than when we went a few years ago, it was still awesome. Those men and woman (she appeared to get ribs broken after being stamped on), were incredible in their courage or stupidity, (I'm not sure which.) Big hats were the go and the cowboys did wear all the gear, fringed pants, spurs, waistcoats. The bulls were massive, I don't know how people weren't killed. One big black bull threw off its charge like a fly, then turned to charge the steel fence where I was standing . Not once but three times he rammed the fence. I was hoping they had put it up well, so was Zavier. The kids were watching goggle eyed from up top on the stand, where they could see the Bulls being loaded and the cowboys perched on them as they were released.
The drive home was good as we pulled in to a couple of stations to say hello. From one we found our mail bag which hadn't quite made it out to us. The other had 3 kids the same ages as ours. At both places we've been to with kids, they are so excited. The kids race out the door waving to us furiously and come right up to the car, bouncing around until our kids get out. Kids are like gold around here, and they sure are a good excuse to meet people in the area. The women seem to have the same issues as back home, never enough time in the day, always want better for their kids, tantrums.... but thrown into that is homeschooling. Not a couple of hours a day out here, but the curriculum is set, it makes for a normal length day. If they don't have the set work back after a fortnight, they get 2 or 3 calls, then are expelled. It's a serious enterprise, if people are lucky they can afford a governess. 'What do you do?' said one woman, 'it makes you cry but you've just got to do it, it's your kids.' Then they have to help run stations, just the food itself is massive. Killing your own meat makes for a huge job of cutting it up, freezing it, hanging it. All food has to be sorted through every few days, fruit and veg must be individually rewrapped in paper every few days or week. Dry goods are all in bulk and must be stored away from rodents and the heat. We did a $1000 shop before we got here. That was just dry goods, no fruit or veg or meat. Everything gets caked in dust, so to keep a clean house is a slog. Before going anywhere, you need to refuel on the property, check air pressure in the tyres, check radios, get the satellite phone. The vehicles all have emergency gear on them, including water. There aren't second chances out here. People don't drive past. Everyone has to be prepared to get themselves out of trouble. On that note, the sun is still shining and I haven't seen a cloud for a week.