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Pat Ritter. Books

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:34 pm

'The Drover' - Page 98:

‘So far so good,’ Harry told his wife after he unsaddled his horse and walked into camp. ‘I’m on the first watch.’ He told her.
‘Harry, have a seat over there on the log and I’ll bring your meal with your mug of black tea.’ Rose went about arranging Harry’s meal while he found a stump to sit on.
Claire came up beside him, ‘can I help - Daddy?’ She pleaded with her father, ‘I’ve bought Dusty along and I’ve got him going good.’ Her blue eyes beamed brightly direct into his own, Harry’s heart pounded with glee to know his daughter wanted to help.
‘What about helping your Mum – she’ll need your help here at the camp – won’t she?’ Harry explained.
‘I sure do – there’s plenty to do and I need help to look after the young boys and Annie.’ Her mother spoke in a commanding voice. Claire moved away and let her father eat his meal in peace.
After the men finished their meals they threw their swags on the ground and slept until they were required to do their watch with the cattle. At times their watch was a couple of hours depended on how the cattle settled. While on watch they rode the Nighthorse around the bedded down cattle softly singing a country song.
Harry returned from his watch and knew because he was Boss Drover he would complete the final watch before daylight. When he came to bed in the back of the truck Rose was awake, ‘how did our first day go Love?’ She asked him in a low voice not to awaken the children.
‘Great, the men are good – it was a wonderful meal you cooked, the cattle are settled and there’s another three hundred and sixty-four days to go. I don’t expect everyday to be like this one because for the next couple of days we’ve got to cross the Grey Range and head to the Wilson River.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:46 pm

'The Drover' - Page 99:

‘It’ll be alright Love; I have the utmost faith in your ability to know what you’re doing.’ She placed her arms around his neck to feel tension in the muscles. She softly rubbed the muscles and before long Harry was sound asleep in her arms.
Daylight broke through the scrub, Harry returned to the camp after his two hour watch. The night was as good as he could ever have imagined. The cattle moving off camp.
Before daylight Greg caught each horse and had them ready for the ringers. Each ringer finished their breakfast and made sufficient lunch before heading off for the day. Harry retired to bed for a couple of hours sleep before his day began.
It was another ten miles to the foot of the Grey Range before the cattle transcended the high cliffs to the top and walk to the other side.
After Harry slept for a couple of hours he awoke to find Rose moved the truck to a location ten miles from where they were, to a shady place at the foot of the Grey Range.
‘How did you know where to go?’ He asked climbing down from the back of the truck.
Rose handed him a hot mug of black tea and said, ‘I’m not silly – you know. I followed the track and found this spot. Isn’t it any good?’ She queried.
‘Yeah – no; it’s good. I’ll need to ride over the range to see where the next water hole is located for the cattle. They’ll be ready for a drink before we get over the top.’
‘I’m sure Les would have taken care to give the cattle enough water before he let them off camp. Have a yarn to him.’
‘Alright, I’ll see you when I return. It could be a bit late depends on where I find water.’ Harry finished his mug of tea, mounted his horse and rode up the high range to the top.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:52 pm

'The Drover' - Page 100:

‘Alright you kids, school’s in. All gather around.’ Rose summoned the children to a place under the shade of a huge box tree and there performed her daily chore of teaching the children school work.
Before she left Cunnamulla she visited the children’s school and requested from the Principal sufficient work for the children while they were on the road.
‘Do we have to do it Ma?’ questioned Claire, ‘I hate school. I’d rather be out there with Dad.’ She whined.

Harry rode all through the day to find a suitable trail for the cattle to follow. Cattle are grazing beasts and when they’ve had their fill will walk a track to seek water. Otherwise they eat, sleep and rest and a contented animal is a good animal.
The Grey Range is tough country, rough with rocks and little feed for the stock. If Harry was to push this mob over the range without feed or water for a couple of days he would have a struggle on his hands. His intentions were to find a path up through the range; walk the cattle over the top to find the Wilson River on the other side.
He walked his trusted horse steady along the side of the range; a drop of about thirty feet straight down slowed him. His calculation or risk to injuring an animal was high; if he didn’t go this way his only other trail was an extra couple of weeks by going around the range to meet the Wilson River on the other side.
His thoughts calculated the danger and how he was going to carry out the task. There were sufficient ringers to guide the cattle through and over the range. It would be a slow trek but taking care and going steady was his idea. No rushing only steady as they go.
With Les in front; line the bullocks out in one line to follow him; they should be able to complete their task with little risk to either beast or man.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:00 pm

'The Drover' - Page 101:

When he returned to camp Les was waiting. Before he dismounted from his horse Les bellowed, ‘are you mad, Rose told me what you’re about to do. It’s stupid Harry.’
‘Are you finished?’ Harry expressed to Les.
‘Well, it’s a bloody stupid idea Harry – I’ve never heard of anything more ridiculous. You could get us all killed and the cattle killed.’
‘Les, if I don’t do this; I’ve got to go around the range and it’ll take another couple of weeks, which is too long. Yeah, it’ll be tough but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t know we could make it.’ Harry exploded. He was the Boss Drover after all and it was his decision to make - not Les’s.
That night the camp was quiet; Les informed the other ringers of Harry’s idea. In mass the five aboriginal ringers spoke to Harry.
‘Boss, we not go tomorra over range.’ A spokesman told Harry.
‘Why bloody not?’ Harry exploded in a voice which almost shook the earth. He was furious to have his men talk to him that way and also tell him what they were doing.
‘Ancestors Boss – they buried in the range and it’s too spooky for us to go. We scared Boss. We go with missus and meet you on the other side Boss.’ The spokesman’s voice shook - the words whimpered from his mouth.
Harry thought about the spokesman’s request and in his decision he never considered any of the mystical beliefs the aboriginals may have had. If they didn’t want to cross the range because of their beliefs than it was their choice.
He needed to work around this issue. His determination caused him to believe he could still cross the range with the cattle and save at least a couple of weeks on the trip.
‘Alright then, you go with the missus, Claire, Rachael, Dorothy and Hector you come with me tomorrow and these fellows can travel in the truck. Louise you stay with your mother to help her with the twins and Annie.’ Harry commanded.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:28 pm

'The Drover' - Page 102:

‘I’ll go with you – you mad bastard.’ Les told Harry, ‘you can depend on both Greg and I to help you get the mob over the range. It’s a bloody stupid idea – I only hope you know what you’re doing.’
‘What about it you kids, you want to help instead of doing school work.’ Harry asked the children. Claire was now nine years old; the elder by a month; the other three were only a year apart. Hector was a true horseman although he was only seven years old. He never learned to ride a pony only big horses which he rode bareback until his father bought him his own saddle.
In unison the children screamed they wanted to go. Claire moved close to her father, ‘I’ll be with you all of the way Dad.’ She placed her arms around his neck and lightly kissed him on the cheek. She loved every bone in her father’s body.
‘I hope you know what you’re doing?’ Rose quietly told Harry later that night after they retired to bed.
‘I do Love – I wouldn’t put the kids in danger and it’ll get Claire off my back about working with me. After they take these cattle across the range they’ll be pleased to get into their school work. I can guarantee.’ He fell off to sleep. Tomorrow would be a turning point in the trip.
Before daybreak the following morning Harry took Greg aside and said, ‘Greg, I need you to do more than being the horse tailer. Young Hector will need to be kept an eye on. I know he’ll be okay if we keep him at the tail of the mob.’
‘It’s okay uncle – I don’t mind doing extra work. I’m used to it.’ Greg admonished.
‘Would you saddle one of the horses with a packsaddle? We’ll need to take extra food and water. I want to get the cattle up on the top plateau tonight and tomorrow we should reach the Wilson River.’ Harry shared with Greg.
‘I’ll do it right away – I’ll stay at the rear of the mob with the packhorse and young Hector, if you like. I can keep an eye on him.’ Greg told his uncle.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:21 pm

'The Drover' - Page 103:

‘I appreciate that. It’s not going to be easy with your father up front and the rest of us to keep the mob moving.’
‘We’ll make it uncle.’ Greg’s smile told the story how he had the utmost confidence in the man he held in such high esteem and would do anything for him.
It was time to speak with Les who’d returned from the night watch to have breakfast. Sitting on a log near the fire Les munched on his breakfast of corn meat fritters prepared by Rose. In his right hand held a hot mug of black tea with three lumps of sugar stirred enough to dissolve the sugar.
‘You still think I’m mad, Les?’ Harry asked sitting down beside his brother-in-law.
‘Na – I understand. I probably would’ve done the same if I was Boss Drover. You’ve got to make these decisions and stick with them otherwise we’d never get to the end of the trip.’ Les admonished in his deep country drawl.
‘You know you’re my right hand man, don’t you? I rely on you more than anyone else in camp.’ Harry expressed sincerely.
‘Yeah, I know. I’ll do whatever you want Harry. I know you wouldn’t risk too much or want to injure the animals or our family.’ Les commented.
‘I’m a little worried about Hector. Do you think he’s too young for this?’
‘Na. He’s seven years old. You were droving with your old man when you were his age. You can depend on him to do his best.’
‘I’ve spoken to Greg; he’s saddling a packhorse to carry food and water for tonight. I thought he could stay at the rear of the mob with Hector and keep an eye on him.’
‘Yeah – that’ll be okay. It’s a great idea.’
‘I’ve been over the range and tonight I want to reach the top of the plateau and rest the cattle. There’s no water up there so they’ll be without water for a couple of days. Down the other side is steep going. I went along the edge yesterday and if we go slow; we’ll make it fine.’
‘What do you want me to do?’
‘If you can hold the front and lead the bullocks up the range and onto the plateau would be great. I’ll keep the mob going from behind with the help of the others. It’s not going to be easy with the kids but they’ve been around enough to know what to do.’
‘Well, let’s get this mob on the road then. I’ll see you at the top tonight.’
‘Good on ya mate. I knew I could depend on you.’
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:54 pm

Thank you dub: here is the page for today:
'The Drover' - Page 104:

Chapter 13

Harry ate his breakfast quicker than he’d done before. He was anxious to get the drove started and said to Rose, ‘I’ll leave you with the dogs. If I take them they’ll only bark at the wrong time and all hell could break lose. I’ll see you on the other side late tomorrow evening.’ He leaned across and kissed her tenderly on the lips. Because of Rose he felt he was the richest man in the world, not the wealthiest, only the richest.
‘Be careful Harry – I don’t want anything to happen to you’.
‘It won’t.’ He said, mounted his horse and rode away.
Rose broke camp and the last Harry saw of Rose was dust bellowing from the rear truck tyres.
‘Alright let’s move em off camp’, Harry bellowed.
Claire was in her element riding her horse Dusty. She summed up the situation and rode on the wing to steer the cattle toward her uncle Les who rode in front for the cattle to follow.
In front of them was a huge range. It must be almost half a mile at the peak to the plateau where they would camp for the night. The going was easy at first because Harry knew the trail after riding it the previous day. His only concern being the drop down the other side. That would be tomorrow’s problem, first to get the cattle up the steep range and settled them for the night on the plateau.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:12 pm

'The Drover' - Page 105:

Greg and Hector bought up the rear, Hector filled his saddle with his small size and looked as if he’d ridden his horse most of his life. He was born to be a drover with the blood-line he contained. His huge akubra hat covered most of his head flattening both ears with only the rim pushed high enough for him see where he was going.
Everything was going to plan. Harry kept to the centre of the mob to see far enough ahead to follow Les up the steep incline.
After a time the sun was moving to its zenith which indicated it was time to stop for a break.
With Les in sight, Harry galloped around the mob and soon came abreast, ‘we’ll give them a rest for awhile and have a bite to eat, what’d you reckon?’
‘Okay, there’s a small valley up ahead, I’ll stop them there.’ Les replied and headed the herd toward the valley. With the pull of a rein on his horse he rang the cattle to settle them down on camp for lunch.
Whilst Greg unsaddled the packhorse, Hector unsaddled his horse and Greg’s and placed dinner-camp hobbles on them to graze.
In the small valley was grass but sparse.
Greg had the billy boiling by the time Harry and Les rode into camp. Rose provided Greg with corned beef sandwiches enough for everyone for lunch.
‘Claire and the others are holding the cattle while we have lunch and a rest,’ he told the others, ‘we’ll move them on in a couple of hours. By the time we reach the plateau – I want to be there by late afternoon. They won’t be able to have a drink until tomorrow so the sooner we camp them down for the night the easier it will be.’
Droving is lonely at times and without Rose, Harry felt he wanted to speak to his best mate to be reassured he was doing the right thing. So far everything had gone to plan but tomorrow would be the jewel in the crown of success and hopefully everything would work.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:47 pm

'The Drover' - Page 106:

After an hour’s break Les saddled his horse and rode out to relieve Claire and the others so they could return to the camp for lunch.
‘How’s everything going?’ Harry asked his daughter when she rode into camp.
‘It’s better than doing school work Dad – I love riding Dusty and droving,’ she informed her father, ‘it’s the best job in the whole wide world.’ Claire’s face flashed with pride.
Harry was proud of his daughter and the other children who helped. They didn’t worry about aboriginal ancestors in the range. It could have been an old wives tale as far as they were concerned, but one thing was for certain, he could depend on his daughter and the others.
By late afternoon Les reached the plateau on top of the range. One by one the cattle followed and settled on the sweet grasses spread across the top. When the last of the cattle settled, Greg set up camp and boiled the billy.
From the top of the plateau Harry and Les stood looking west. In the distance flowed the Wilson River winding its way down from the north.
‘Tomorrow we’ll be down there Les.’ Harry pointed in the direction of the river. He saw a reflection of glass flicking from the bank of the river and looked closer to see it was Rose with the truck. He felt relaxed knowing she’d arrived.
‘The track down is a little dangerous. When I rode the trail yesterday - the edge is safe, but if the cattle don’t keep moving, the fall is straight over the edge. How do you want to do it?’ Harry asked Les.
‘Same as today – I’ll take the lead. I’ll take it slow and easy. Hopefully they don’t rush because that’s when we can have trouble. I’m sure after today – we’ll make it.’ Les admitted to Harry.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:23 pm

'The Drover' - Page 107:

Each took turns with the Nighthorse – soothing the resting cattle with their low country style singing.
Before the sun had time to rise above the broken sky all hands were on deck. Each had had their breakfast of a mug of tea and Johnny cakes.
Les took the lead and started the steep decent down the range.
It was dangerous at first because Les needed to be certain the cattle walked slow – one behind the other – and important not rush. If anything disturbed them there would be a catastrophe and there is nothing worse for a drover when cattle rush and in this case force one another over the edge to their death.
‘Easy does it,’ Les muttered when he let his horse guide himself down the side of the mountain. The ledge was wide enough for six cattle to walk along. A distance of about a quarter of a mile and they would be home and hose.
Whilst Les walked his horse at a steady pace the cattle followed in single file; the others kept a distance in the rear. Cattle are like sheep, if you have a leader than the others follow.
Harry and the others were at the rear end of the mob, he saw Les walking his horse making his way down the steep incline; a lump formed in his throat, if I didn’t have Les, I wouldn’t have taken the chance with going this way, the thought past through his mind.
With steady going Les finally reached the base of the range. It was open plain and he let the cattle walk at their own leisure waiting for the remainder to follow. Les felt a smile spring across his face, took a deep breath, he said to himself, ‘we made it – Harry was right - we did it.’ He felt like punching the air he felt great about the achievement.
By the time the remainder of the cattle stretched out across the plain, Harry galloped around to Les and said, ‘good on ya mate – I knew you could do it.’
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