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The spellbinding true story of a young woman's adventure in the Australian outback as she joins a small crew on an abandoned cattle station and drags feral cattle in from the wild.
One thousand square miles of coastal scrubinundated by monsoon floods in summer, baked dry in winter, and filled with the most deadly animals in the worldStilwater seems an unlikely home for a cattle operation. But in the countless miles beyond the station compound roam tens of thousands of cows, many entirely feral from a long period of neglect. Rafael has been hired, along with a ragged crew of ringers and stockmen, to bring them in for drafting. Over a season they use helicopters, motorcycles, bullcatcher jeeps, horses, ropes, and knives to win Stilwater Station back from the wild.
A deeply poetic inquiry into our desire to make order where we find wildness, Stilwater: Finding Mercy in the Outback suffuses us with salt and scrub and blood, blurring the line between domestic and feral in wondrous, unsettling ways. This is a whirlwind of men, women, cattle, horses, machines and landscape in collaborative evolution, all becoming different manifestations of the same entitythe Australian Wild.
Rafael de Grenade grew up on a rural farm in the foothills of the Santa Maria Mountains outside of Prescott, AZ. She began working for the rugged Cross U Ranch in north central Arizona at age 13 riding, branding, shoeing horses, and gathering cows. Her diverse and place-based education helped her to develop a deep understanding of the farm and the Southwest and her place as a land steward, artist, scientist, and writer. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental studies from Prescott College, plus a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona. She has traveled in many countries, seeking to understand the complexities of the people-place relationship in the context of a globalizing world. Rafael divides her time with her husband, Jaime, and daughter, Soraya, between the Southwest of the United States and Chile.