At different times over the years, when the rain did not come , and at other times, purely caring for our surrounds, and reducing fire hazards, we had to mind the cattle outside of their paddocks.
We had a large triangle shaped paddock opposite our house. This paddock was surrounded by wide lanes, which in the future would become roads. We had to take the cattle out into these lanes, to allow them to graze on the grass, which at times became quite high without regular grazing.
Sometimes in the summer months we came home from school and took the cattle down to one of the lanes. One child would be stationed at each end of the lane to keep the cattle within the confines of the lane. We rode our horses of course, and each had their own working dogs.
The cattle were very quiet, domesticated animals and unlikely to cause any trouble. My parents would, not have put us in any danger, and we were within eye sight of the home at one of the lanes. It would have been an unusual situation that may have created a problem. Sometimes when we were down the bottom lane, and not in sight of the house, we would be sent in pairs. If anything untoward did occur, one child would be available to ride home and get help. At other times, we might be sent out for most of the day, or sometimes several days until the cattle had eaten all the grass in the lane.
It was during these times, with nothing to do, except sit on the horse with the dog, to watch the cattle that I turned to drawing them. I literally spent hours watching and getting to know each animal and how they interacted with each other.
Grooming my horse and the dog, and watching anything that moved made the time seem to go faster. Eventually I took some pencils and paper and sat there drawing everything. I drew the horses in all different actions, the cattle too, the dog and the grasses.
I loved the old gum trees with their gnarled branches, and the different light and shade that came in the morning sun, then the very different view in the afternoon sun.
Nothing escaped my drawing. I practiced on anything that I could see. The Willy Wag Tails that sat on the cattle, or mudlarks, plovers and magpies, that called our land their home.
My art was my way of passing what would otherwise be a very boring time. Otherwise we took a book to read.
We were kept busy on the farm, there was always something we had to do, and we were responsible for. Learning all the ins and outs of farm life, kept our little brains fully charged and alert. Our parents were great mentors, they spent the time to show us how to correctly perform the chores, and then supervised our learning, training and progress. We were taught at an early age, to take responsibility for what we did.