It is Sunday evening. I am sitting in my little corner in my office with my leg stretched on a chair in front of me and my food nicely covered with ice. It looks like
visiting the emergency department became my new hobby – I got bitten by a red-back spider. Yesterday morning I went as usual to let the cattle out from the small paddock.
I used to always shake my boots to make sure that “nobody is living there” and always everything was OK – nobody came out. Yesterday... I just put my boots on.
I could feel a sting, looked at my foot – ah, looks like an ant bit me. I put the boot back on and a second sting. I took the boot off again but this time I shook it. I
could not see anything fall out (except for plenty of lucerne). I continued my walk to the cattle. It did not take long and my leg was very sore – especially the foot and
the top of my leg. I did not give it much thought, I believed the pain in the top of my leg had nothing to do with the ant bite and it is coincidental that my leg got so
sore. I did not feel well that day, most of the day I spent at home as walking was quite difficult. In the afternoon I had to lock up the cattle. Of course they ran
into the bush and were spread all over the place. I walked a bit through the bush and found 11 of them and they got locked in the small paddock and the other two -
Monsieur Bull and Loner – stayed in the bush.
The night was terrible. My foot was so sore that I could not sleep almost at all. I took paracetamol (which made me sick) and later aspirin. Nothing was helping, the pain was unbearable. Finally after 5am I decided to go to the emergency department. And so I got to know that I got bitten not by an ant but by red-back spider. I drove myself to the hospital and... after the visit, I had an excuse to catch up with Penny, as the strong pain-killer they gave me was with a narcotic and therefore I was not allowed to drive a car for a few hours. It was nice to catch up with Penny, though I was not in a very chatty mood. I felt terrible, I could not feel any pain, but I was very tired and could not think clearly. I did not do anything most of the day – slept for a couple of hours and did some little jobs. And of course the cattle were out and I had to lock them up again. Today, however, surprisingly everything went very well. In the late afternoon I went on the quad-bike to have a look where they were. I found them not far away from our house. I looked at them and was contemplating what would be the best approach to get them to the paddock when suddenly Monsieur Bull got scared, started to run and led all the cattle to the yards, and from there they ran through the small section of our bush to the small paddock. And I could lock them all without any problems – not sure if I will let them out tomorrow...
The last couple of weekends George has been very nice to me. Of course when we have some discussions I cannot say anything as this upsets George, but as long as I am quiet, do not say much and listen to him, he is happy and we have nice conversations. A week ago we even managed to have a camp fire and grill on our old steel plate we bought just after purchasing the property. Organising the camp fire was not simple – everything has to be planned and on time. Actually everything for the camp fire was already prepared a few weeks ago, just put a match to it. (I prepared it with Penny hoping we could have a camp fire together, but it did not fit with George's plan). However... on Saturday I was 5 Min too late, so the grill got cancelled (the plan is important; when we said that we would start at 4:45pm, so it is 4:45 pm and not close to 5pm). On Sunday, however, I started at 4:30pm, so we were on time and George was happy.
Sitting at Shed 1 brought back a lot of memories... We used to cook on the steel plate with a timber fire burning underneath when we first came here. For a few months we lived in this shed without a proper kitchen or bathroom - the septic system and water were connected, but we had only cold water hooked up to a small bathroom-like sink. And the toilet was functional as well. Actually, in the first few weekends we spend on the farm before we moved in here, there were so many bugs in the shed – red-backs, little scorpions and others - that I was setting up a tent in the shed to make sure that I did not get bitten by anything overnight. At that time, I thought that these scorpions are so little that they cannot be dangerous, but lately I got to know that though the sting of this scorpion is not deadly, it is so painful that people get morphine to cope with the pain; luckily I did not test it yet and hope will never experience this pleasure. Sometimes for cooking we used a camping cooker, but because washing up was very complicated, we preferred to cook outside on the open fire grill – not many dishes to clean after :) I thought it would be nice to sit here and go back in our memories to our beginnings on the farm, but... George just sees all the jobs which should have been done in the past few years and have not completed yet. For him we have to stay practical and not dream all the time and the facts are that not everything went as we expected and planned. If we look back on what has been done, how long it took to do it and how much is still to do then... if we continue in the same way, then most of the jobs will never get done. For me... everything here went better than I have ever hoped for. I remember, when I talked with George, that we would never mow the area outside Shed 1 paddock and which is now between the houses and the shed. We said that there are so many rocks and the terrain is so rough that we would never be able to use a mower there. Through the years we removed most of the rocks and timber and now the few acres of rough land are mown and look green and tidy. The bush at the top here got cleared, the fruit-trees are growing well, the small gardens around the cottages are looking better every day. People who saw the property at the beginning cannot believe that it was possible to make such a big change and transform the rough bushy land into this lovely place. The place changes every day and whoever visits us can see the changes as well. Yes, there are plenty of things to do and all the jobs will never get done. But again our happiness in this place does not depend on the jobs and when, if ever they get completed, it depends on our perspective about the property and our life here. George always looks at everything that has to be done and what did not get done and therefore he is stressing all the time. While I, though I am aware of all the jobs waiting for me, always look back on all the jobs we have already completed and I look at how much we changed here and how much I love the surroundings here.
At some point, while sitting at the fire, we could see that on one of the neighbouring properties the owners came to feed their stock. “I do not understand why they are doing it. This farm brings them only losses” - said George. “Maybe they just enjoy it. They like farming and this gives them the feeling that they belong to the farming community here” - I replied (I know that at least one of the boys owning the farm also works as a mechanic in a local workshop, so maybe the farm is just their hobby). “No, definitely not. Nobody does things just for fun. Yes, they are farmers, but their main area is in orchards (their father owns orchards here). Hopefully the fruit brings them much more money, as with the cattle they are just losing money. Last year [here he gave the exact number] trucks came here with feed... This cost them... and the cattle prices are not good at the moment... Last year they could not make more than $5000 on the cattle...” George was loudly analysing the financial situation of our neighbours, but I could hear only parts of the monologue. I prefer to enjoy the scenery and think about the times when we arrived here, about the hopes and dreams we had and actually see that everything is going in the right direction – at least with the farm. At some point when George finished his monologue, I said “I showed a few photos of our farm at work and people understood why I love this place”. “Yes, in the photographs everything looks perfect, especially if somebody knows how to take the photos”. “Oh, you know that whoever comes here always mentions that we have wonderful views and the place is gorgeous” “Yes, but only because they do not know how difficult it is to work here – slopes in every direction, the tractor is bouncing like on a trampoline, rocks everywhere, it is not possible to dig the smallest whole without hitting a rock. And mowing is also very difficult – it is not like at the neighbours, they have it much easier...” And George continued his monologue, and I... I admired the view. I do not think about the property of our neighbours – I would not like it anyway, there is not any view at all – they are in a valley. And if the neighbours are working hard or not doing anything all day long is none of my business – it is their life, not mine and it does not matter what they do or not do, I am not affected by it. I know that on our property there are plenty of rocks and the ground has slopes and is rough and bumpy and every single job is a struggle and a battle with nature and with the topography of the place. However, in this particular moment, all the grass around us had been mown and after the rain everything looks so fresh and green and the views of the bluish looking hills are breath taking and I am going to enjoy this moment and be happy now.
George had some steak on the barbie and I had tofu sausages and some veggies. At some point I put a few potatoes into the ashes. I did not think they would cook properly as there were not enough ashes and we were kind of rushing (or call it keeping to the plan), but to my surprise the potatoes cooked perfectly and we had a very nice meal. Everything was almost perfect, only it was such a pity that George could not relax and enjoy it. It would be so lovely to sit at the fire after the sunset (no, of course not for George – for him it would be simply boring or maybe even stressful as he could not see anything and it would not be practical). I used to love to sit at the fire with my family or group of friends, watch the sparks twinkling in the darkness, feel the warmth of the fire, sometimes play a guitar and listen to others singing songs (unfortunately I cannot sing...). And there were times when I enjoyed the fire being with just one person, the man I loved... it was great, only us, surrounded by the darkness and the warmth of the fire admiring the glinting flames and enjoying each other company. I miss these times... Usually I can do most of the things I like on my own or with Darcy, but somehow sitting at the fire... Darcy does not enjoy the fire at all and by myself... not too much fun... I am sure, Buddy, together we will have a lot of fun sitting at the fire...
Lots of Wings,