Tag Archives: farm

1869. Water tank winter walk

A little while back (in fact last week!) I took the dog and headed for a winter walk to the water tank on the nearby highest hill. The water tank gravity feeds all the troughs on the farm. The farmer had told me that the best view around was from the water tank. He also said to take the tractor. But the dog needed a run so walking it was!

I set out from my house. In the photo you can hardly see the tank on top of the hill.

The path starts almost on the flat. We pass the old, disused woolshed, the corner of which you can see in the picture above. The farm used to be a sheep farm, but now it’s all cattle. Hence the disused shed for shearing sheep.

The last flat bit before the hill!

The upward track begins.

We pass a gladed valley!

There’s a herd of grazing cows, and a pile of baleage. For those who don’t know:
Hay = cut grass dried in the sun and baled.
Silage = cut grass compacted and stored in a silo (like a pit in the ground) without being dried.
Baleage = cut grass of a relatively high moisture content that is baled with a round baler and then sealed in plastic to keep oxygen out.

The native trees stay green all year; the introduced trees are bare – except for the pines.

There are a number of small dams. Someone likes them!

Suddenly a corner is turned and the volcano, Mount Taranaki, comes into full view. My photo simply doesn’t do the scene justice! Let’s hope it won’t erupt! Click on the photo for a full picture.

The climb goes higher. Another volcano, Mount Ruapehu, appears in the distance. (Difficult to see in the photo but the mountain seems much “closer” in real life!)

The climb continues. Almost there!

Arrival! But… I didn’t come to see the tank!

I came to see the view! My house is shown by the arrow! Click on the photo for a full picture without the arrow! Isn’t it amazing how the Vikings must have come here and buried so many of their ships? Hence all the hillocks!

It’s easier going down! (Note the Corona no-haircut lockdown look! The most difficult part of the walk wasn’t having to walk uphill – it was the difficulty of having to maintain social distancing in such a people-riddled environment.)

Thank you for walking with me and the dog. May your day erupt into joy!

(Note: During the coming week I’m going to post two or three “stories” that involve myself. It gives a bit of padding to the blog, and anyway, when you’ve got fame and fortune hanging out your ears, you can do what you like…!)

1845. To find someone nice

Destiny said she didn’t marry her husband’s job; she married her husband. Quite frankly, she hated her husband’s job; cows, cows, cows. All he did every morning was milk cows. All he did every afternoon was milk cows. Was there ever time off?

Roman was doing his best. He’d grown up on a dairy farm. Dairy farming was all he knew. He’d worked hard throughout his teens. His father left Roman the farm. He built a special house on it for his widowed mother. He met and married Destiny. That was about his life.

Destiny didn’t merely love Roman; she fell in love with the prestigiousness of his habitation. How wonderful to live on a farm! How wonderful to have all this space! A house! A garden! Some chickens! A pet calf for the children when children came along! Fresh milk! All her friends married labourers of one sort or another; plumbers, carpenters, truck drivers. They lived in hovels in town. She lived in a mansion; more of a manor. She alone had married into proper bliss.

Can’t you take some time off so we can get away? asked Destiny.

The cows can’t not be milked.

Pay someone else to do it.

We can’t afford to do that yet.

Since a while Roman’s mother cooked one decent meal a day and brought it over. Destiny has gone off somewhere in pursuit of happiness. It’s all over. Roman wished he could get out sometimes and perhaps meet someone nice. If only he could find someone to milk the cows say one night a week.

Success! He found Ned Burton’s daughter from up the road to milk the cows on Thursdays. Betty knew the ropes; she was brought up on a farm. In fact, Betty helped milk the cows twice a day every day of the week. And on his day off Roman would give her a hand to milk. He didn’t need to look too far to find someone nice.

1773. After the pandemic

It was only a few years after the pandemic that swept Planet Earth. No, not the Coronavirus (Covid-19) several hundred years earlier, but a new and far more fearsome pandemic. Without warning, like a tidal wave of infection, it swept through the world’s population, killing them, and leaving only half a dozen or so humans, who had some sort of natural immunity, on each continent.

What a dream come true to have the whole of the North American continent almost to oneself! What a wondrous fantasy come true to set ones bed up in a corner of St. Peter’s in Rome and be able to say, “This is my bedroom”! When a vehicle ran out of gas, it was easy: just pick up another limousine!

Oh, but the stench! The several dozen on the planet inevitably wore face masks for a few weeks to facilitate breathing. What a happy thing it was when quite by accident a survivor bumped into another survivor! One couple early on were even able to start a new family.

Don’t think that these survivors were irresponsible creatures who didn’t give a hoot about others. One of the first things each did, almost automatically, was to wander through farms and zoological gardens and open gates and doors. That way the animals were free to fend for themselves and not be enclosed and starve to death. Of course, there were so few people that only a small percentage of animals were freed, but it was enough.

Time ticked on and new families began to form. How marvellous to have no pollution. The growing populations didn’t just sit on their haunches and do nothing. They learned to make their own flour and cider and everything else.

But the freed animals from farms and zoos also grew in numbers. They needed to eat. It didn’t take long for the tiny human populations to disappear.

Without humans the planet thrived.

1477. Selling up

That old lady, Mrs Tucker, has let her farm go to wrack and ruin. It used to be so well run, so orderly. These days, buildings are falling down; it’s under stocked with very few head of cattle; there are never any crops. I don’t know why she ever bothered to think she could farm the place. It was great while her husband was alive. And then her boy took over but he died in the flu epidemic way back. After that I don’t know what got into her head that she thought she could do it herself.

She is such a silly old lady. We hardly ever see her, and no one ever talks to her. She’s a bit weird really.

The other day I accidentally bumped into her in the grain shop. She said “Hello, Nigel”. I got a hell of a fright because I wouldn’t have thought she knew my name. And then she said she was hoping to sell off her remaining animals and then sell the farm all together. She said she didn’t know much about farming and had been doing her best since her husband and son had died, but the time had come to bite the bullet and sell up. So did I know how to go about selling the animals?

I said to her – I like to call a spade a spade – I said, lady if you don’t know how to do that after all these years then you never should’ve started. I’m not here to give free advice.

She said thank you and went on her way. Such a strange lady. A bit weird really, as I said. No wonder the farm’s so run down.

1464. War families

Enid’s husband had died in 1910. In the traditional, old-fashioned way, Harold ran the farm and Enid ran the household that included a son. The farm was the sole source of income of course, but it was a partnership. One spouse couldn’t do without the other.

When Enid’s husband died fortunately her son, Jack, was old enough to run the farm on his own and do all the heavy work. It was a partnership as before, although Enid was inclined to help more on the farm than she had previously.

And then Jack was called to war.

Enid ran the farm as best she could, but it wasn’t good enough. She sold the farm for a song. The farm wouldn’t take care of itself while she waited for a millionaire to come along and buy. She went and lived in town, but had no experience of the work force. Her skills lay in other areas. She couldn’t find a job.

And Jack didn’t come back.

It’s not only soldiers who make sacrifices in times of war.

1347. Ride into town

Butch would saddle his horse and ride into town. It was an all-day expedition and a weekly one – every Wednesday. Butch always admonished his wife, Mary, the same way: “Make the grocery list thoroughly. I don’t want to have to go into town a second time in one week. If you leave something off the list, that’s it. We’ll just have to do without.”

Then off he would go, leaving the farm, and the milking of the cow, to the care of his wife for the day. This weekly Wednesday venture was Butch’s way of having a day off. And it was useful as well; someone had to get the groceries. Besides, Roosters’ Saloon, the local watering trough, was an added attraction.

“Silly man,” thought Mary every time, “if he just took his cell phone I could text him with anything I’d forgotten.”

1292. Life on the little farm

Betty once went to stay for a few days with her good friend Gustave. They had been friends for over thirty years. They had attended each other’s weddings, and now both spouses had passed away.

Gustave lived on a little farm. He had a few chickens, a cow, two sheep and a goat. As well as that he had a wonderful orchard and a gorgeous flower garden.

“The break from city life will do you good,” said Gustave. “And there’s plenty to do during the day while I’m away at work.”

Betty thought it a marvellous idea. On her first day on the farm she thought she would make herself useful by doing the laundry. She washed the pile of clothes and hung them on the line to dry. The goat came along and shredded the clothes he didn’t eat.

Gustave came home and:

(Please decide on the correct ending)

1. They laughed and laughed. Never had such laughter been heard on the little farm for many a year.
2. Gustave was furious. They haven’t spoken to each other since.

1181. Playing chicken

Jane and David had a small lifestyle farm next to a going-nowhere, country road. Chickens would not infrequently get run over while dust-bathing in the unkempt, pot-holed road. One day, their favourite little black hen was run over, leaving seven babies motherless.

Frustrated and angry, Jane and David placed a letter in every neighbour’s mailbox. Can’t you drive with more care? Can’t you slow down? We have chickens that use that road. Our favourite chicken was run over…

“Did you get the complaining letter in your mailbox?” asked Farmer Eric of Farmer Phil.

“Yeah,” said Farmer Phil. “It kind of killed my fun.”

1056. Cock-a-doodle-do

Everyone said that Claude’s rooster was a prize bird.

“I don’t know what you did to that rooster,” said Farmer Jack, “but for a nine year old boy to raise a rooster like that is fantastic.”

“You should enter the rooster in the poultry competition at the upcoming Farm Show Day,” suggested Mabel. (Mabel was a notable ornithologist.)

So Claude did. You wouldn’t believe the preparation that went into getting the rooster ready! He had everything done to him that chickens normally don’t get done: his legs were washed and oiled; each feather was individually preened; even his magnificent tail had a surreptitious whish of hair spray.

Farm Show Day arrived! All were agog at nine year old Claude’s rooster. Cock-a-doodle-do! Cock-a-doodle-do! The rooster was something to crow about.

Anyway, like most things in life, it didn’t get anywhere, so Claude brought the thing home. Eventually, like most domestic birds, they had it for dinner.