Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Farewell to a comrade on Muckleford Creek

Posted on 19 October, 2015 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country Works Crew Member, Ned Brook, shares a moment from out on the job on the Muckleford Creek…

The Connecting Country Works Crew are out fencing along Muckleford Creek. The nearby cows are restless, they’ve been restless all morning. They’re young cows, perhaps they are just a little jittery. But these cows have been on this property for a while now, something is up.

Ned's cows

Ned’s cows

“Do you know what’s wrong?”

We say to one another.

“No, but they seem really uneasy.”

“I know, they’ve been like this all morning.”

“Yeah, I think something’s wrong, I just don’t know what.”

I continue with my work, fencing off these very cows from the creek bank that they use. Cows are lovely creatures but they are not selective; they will eat anything that’s green. The grass on the creek banks is usually greener, and stays greener for longer. So the cows will continuously graze until the grass, using all its energy to grow and stay alive, has had enough.

All of a sudden, the cows move through a gap in the fence where they can cross the creek. Their hard hooves and immense weight pass over the now bare soil on the creek bank. They push it further down, compacting it, and at times collapsing whole sections. If the situation persists the soil will slowly degrade and become weak and vulnerable.

The cows pass through the unhappy creek. You can tell it is unhappy because it hasn’t seen water for a long time, aside from the floods that carve whole sections off the vulnerable bank. Now the trees seem upset too with their gnarled roots exposed. This is why we are fencing this creek off, to give it a chance to rehabilitate and be happy again.

The cows move further away into the property, then take a sweeping left turn and move back toward the creek and stop. They all stop at once. I also stop, and stare.

In groups of two or three the cows move slowly forward, stare a long time at something on the ground, sniff some, then return to the group. It takes a while for me to realise what they are doing. One of their friends, their comrades, has fallen, passing away in the night due to some ailment. The cows have come to farewell a friend.

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