It’s at family occasions like Easter that I think of Dad most often.
Dad died at Christmas-time in 2006 when Zoe was just six months old. A new mum with a thriving micro-business and a husband from the city, I had to decide whether I would take on the family farm. Michael, the wise local accountant, advised to sell – I was doing well, farms are far from the most lucrative investment choice and why work so hard, anyhow? After all, my parents had invested in a great education so I didn’t have to be a farmer.
But I love the place. And the cows. And fresh air and the contentment that sore muscles bring. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed my career, a working life spent wholly indoors would be unimaginable. When I said I just couldn’t bear to lose the farm, Michael clicked his tongue, shook his head and said, “Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you”.
Michael was right, of course. It’s been a tough few years. The farm was run down and it’s taken a mighty effort to restore it to manageability, so now and then, I like to imagine what Dad would say if he could see it now.
With a lot of help, we’ve removed tonnes of old stuff, repaired kilometres of fencing, renewed kilometres more of the water system, installed 21 new troughs and a couple of water tanks, renovated 200 hectares of pasture and planted 8000 trees.
I thought I’d take a few photos to remind myself how far we’d come and discovered something humbling. For all we have achieved, it was Dad’s accomplishments that stole the show.