The green knight comes to a milk maid’s rescue
Zoe: “I love it when we get bogged. It’s fun.”
Zoe: “I love it when we get bogged. It’s great!”
Alex: “It’s not great for Mama, Za Za.”
Zoe: (Dancing on the spot) “I LOVE IT!”
Alex: “But Mama doesn’t, don’t you Mama?”
Me: “No, Little Man.”
He was right: I wasn’t pleased to be stuck in the sticky sulphuric sludge of the gully but wind the clock back 35 years and it would have been a different matter.
I remember the delight of being bogged amidst the despair of my father. Every bogging was an adventurous departure from the daily grind, complete with desperate stuffing of the wheel tracks with bark and anything else that came to hand before spinning wheels sprayed mud from here to kingdom come as the fishtailing ute wrestled its way free.
I was reminded of all that as the three of us trudged (or skipped) across the paddocks back to the dairy at dusk and again this morning reading The Conversation’s article about the cost of raising children. It turns out parents are really no less wealthy than childless couples. One of the reasons offered by the Curtin University scholars rings true:
“When children are present, nights at home with the family, a simple visit to the park, or watching your child play sport may provide enjoyment that would otherwise be gained through income-intensive pursuits, such as holidays and going to restaurants. This is more than a direct substitution effect – parents’ own utility may increase at a lower level of financial outlay.”
The best things in life are indeed free.
Bogged on the first day of summer
Wayne has a reputation for getting stuck and he’s outdone himself this year by bogging a quad bike on the first day of summer. Worse, he left his helmet at the scene of the crime and by the time the kids and I came to the rescue, his gear had been given a beating by the local hoons.
Cows may be vegetarians but don’t for a minute think that this in itself bestows innocence. They are merciless with unattended vehicles. This time the helmet, fuel breather line and rubber boot for the brake assembly were squelched deep into the quagmire but I’ve seen much worse.
In fact, a local fencing guy swears one (or maybe a gang) of our “ladies” opened his ute door and took off with his cheese and Vegemite sandwiches, leaving only a trail of slobber on the gearstick and driver’s seat.
Moral of the story: never leave valuables in sight or your vehicle unlocked.
I haven’t posted for a while because the flood left the farm in a big mess that will take time – and a lot of money – to put right. The most obvious cost will be in track repairs.
Farm track after the flood
The other big piece of vulnerable infrastructure is fencing. So, when I went looking for a fresh paddock while Clarkie rounded up (nothing like a little pressure, eh?), I decided to cross the gully and check on the boundary fence. Gone.
Dashed back across the gully towards the track and, after 10 minutes of showering Zoe, Alex and myself in mud, had to concede defeat. What a miserable day. Nowhere to put the cows, the tractor stuck at the other end of the farm with a tyre blowout, the tracks, the fences…
The Bobcat slid in the mud for 10 minutes before we pronounced it bogged
On the long march homewards, a pair of kookaburras began to cackle. Zoe said, “Listen Mama, they’re laughing at you for trying to cross the gully and getting bogged.” I felt instantly better.
What a fool I was. Feeling sorry for myself while holding the hand of my lovely little girl with my baby son on my chest as we walked through glorious country in the winter sun. It’s all about perspective.
Partial view of the flood from the house this morning
The rain came…again. Yesterday, Yarram airport received 48.5mm and today, all the roads to town are closed, a third of the farm is cut off with at least another four paddocks underwater and the car is still sitting bogged in the driveway. Thankfully, the house is nice and high, so no sand bags needed (but thanks for the offer, Julie and Doug)!
Most of this is a temporary inconvenience. The good news is that the local rivers are short and empty into the sea quickly, so the roads should be open again in the next day or so. More important is the longer lasting issue of saturated pastures and muddy tracks.
Saturated pastures (they were already saturated before this jolly east coast low pressure system decided to pay us a visit) are very vulnerable. The damage done now by cows’ hooves will cause compaction of the soil so that, come summer, water will run off rather than soak in and roots will find it harder to penetrate the soil, exposing them to heat and denying them sub-surface moisture. If you’re a gardener, you’ll understand!
Muddy pastures and tracks are also a perfect recipe for lameness and mastitis, both painful conditions that are difficult and expensive to treat.
Of course, sopping wet soil is also no good for growing grass, which means we must step up our imported feed. This means more cost, long days and heavy tractors on fragile pastures.
Those weather gods need an urgent performance review so they can refocus on their KPIs!