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This has been a week with a difference. I have just spent 4 days on my daughter and son-in-law’s property in Mt Barker. Their farming enterprise is mostly cropping, a diminishing cattle herd and some sheep, mostly for meat production.

I was able to have a taste of farming life again after having left our farm twenty-seven years ago. My son-in-law and two sons were busy preparing paddocks for this season’s crop planting. It is such a different method that was the norm during my days as a child watching what my Dad and in later years, my late husband, Ron, preparing for seeding.

Everyone was busy: a workman was raking stubble from the previous year’s crop into rows ready to be burnt; one of the sons was spraying to kill whatever growth had appeared after the recent rain; the other son getting machinery ready for the seeding operation; my daughter was sorting out a complicated process to license a piece of machinery they had just bought, making appointments for one the sons to pick up superphosphate from Albany, arranging for a truck to pick up a load of lambs on Sunday afternoon to be taken to the abattoirs, meanwhile keeping up with meals, picking up someone from the paddock after they had shifted machinery for the next job. Oh, and she did squeeze in washing and hanging out a load of washing; my son-in-law was checking on the operations, delivering the chemical to be sprayed, fixing the rake when the operator damaged it.

In my days, as a child and later, on Ron’s family farm and then our own preparing for seeding entailed ploughing after the first rains to kill the weeds, waiting for the next rain to germinate the second crop of weeds, then sacrificed (another tilling implement); then the seed was planted and superphosphate distributed.

Did I miss all that? Yes, I think I did, but not to the extent of swapping the lifestyle I am enjoying now.


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