A backyard campfire, sparkling satellites and a simple sunset tell a story

The sunset was fading as the moon rose slowly above the treetops last evening when Zoe remarked, “You know what? Amy was so amazed by the sunset that she took a picture of it on her phone.”.


Not long ago, when the moon was but a slip, Zoe’s city cousins came to visit. They didn’t go much beyond the confines of the garden but it was an experience of “country” all the same.

We built a little fire on the driveway to toast marshmallows and nurse steaming hot drinks. Normally languid teens who had never before struck a match crashed around in the darkness under the eucalypts for old branches to feed the flames. Uncles and aunts remembered childhood camping trips at Cockatoo and the whole group came alive with sightings of satellites drifting among the stars.

You don’t need to be from the country to see what makes life on the farm so invigorating but you do need a taste of it now and then. We’re lucky to have relatives from the city who love to visit but not everybody’s in the same boat – after all, less than 2 per cent of working Australians call themselves farmers.

It’s a real shame then, that Farm Day, which brings farmers and other Australians together once year, is in recess due to OHS liability concerns. Best of luck to Deb and her team in finding a solution.

Easy to forget what makes farm life unforgettable

MyFarm screenshot

The incredible MyFarm experiment

Both bold and bizarre, the National Trust’s MyFarm online experiment in farming and food production gives 10,000 members of the public a say in the running of a real working farm. I had a look at the MyFarm website for the first time today and was astonished by the account of a farmer assisting a calving. I count myself as someone who appreciates (actually, loves) farm life but reading about it from an observer’s standpoint is something else. People were moved.

MyFarm is a ground-breaking project bridging the gap between farmers and other members of the community.  While we don’t have anything like that here in Australia, there are lots of opportunities to connect people and farmers.  Farm Day does an amazing job of getting people out to farms and meeting real farmers, while the Archibull Prize and Picasso Cows help students learn about agriculture. Farming is even on Facebook with Farming is the New Black and quite a few farmers have begun blogs like mine to offer a window into life on the land.

Isn’t it odd that something as abstract as the internet is having such a role in bringing the very earthy lives of farmers closer to those of townfolk?