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    quokka
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Challenges of Farming - 2. CoF Ch 2

“That would be great thanks Loretta, but can we make it 10 am, so I can get all the main chores done, and the milking shed cleaned, and I tidied up?” I asked, “Yes certainly, that is fine with me, I will see you then, bye,” Loretta said before she hung up the phone.

“While I was milking the cows that evening, I heard a vehicle arrive, but I kept going with the work, and moments later, Malcolm and Loretta appeared. “Hello, what brings you folk out this way this evening?” I asked my visitors.

“Two reasons, Malcolm mentioned that you have milking cows and I was wondering if we could buy some milk off you, and the other is that with the cleaning today, we found two sets of keys for the house, which is now spotless and locked up,” Loretta replied.

“Well you are welcome to have some milk free of charge, since it is fresh and not heat treated, as I have more than the calves and I can drink. I am thinking of starting to make cheese, since I have too much milk now, and thankyou for organising the cleaning of the house,” I responded.

“You are most welcome, in regards the house, it was quite an enjoyable day, as we chatted away while we cleaned, which made the job so much more fun, and I would love to try out your cheese when you start making it. Will you be selling it at the markets?” Loretta asked, “Depends on how good it turns out,” I replied smiling, as I finished the milking and let the two cows out of their holding yard, before carrying the milk up to the lean-too, with my visitors following me.

Finding an extra three empty and clean 2 litre plastic containers, I filled them up with the warm milk and capped them off, before placing them in the fridge to cool down a little, while I filled up the remaining containers with milk and also place them in the fridge.

“We will let them cool down a bit while I give the rest of this milk to the calves, come and I will show you how it is done,” I said to Malcolm and Loretta, as I picked up the still full second bucket and carried it out to the yards, where the calves and kids had gathered.

“You have goats too?” Loretta said sounding surprised when she saw the kids, “Yes, I have two bucks and twelve does, and half a dozen little ones,” I replied, as I approached a raised trough that has a dozen rubber teats sticking out from it, and I poured the milk into the trough, and the animals began to drink quickly.

“My, that is a clever invention,” Malcolm stated, “Not mine, it is a popular setup with any farm that has calves or kids to feed, its quick and easy, I just have to clean and sterilise the teats each day, and give the trough a good clean after each feed,” I replied, as we watched the milk quickly disappear from the trough.

Once they had finished, I pushed the animals out of the yards and into the paddock where they live, before I returned to the trough and removed the teats, and washed out the trough. “Right now that is done, I will get that milk for you so you can be on your way,” I said to Malcolm and Loretta.

“That is quite an interesting experience, watching you do all that, you should have a farm show every now and then, to show city kids how farming is done,” Loretta stated, “No time for all that, I am a one man worker on this farm which has suddenly got a lot bigger, so I have no time for that,” I replied.

Once Malcolm and Loretta had left, I headed back to the cottage, and put a date on the milk containers and put them in the fridge, where three other containers are, and I frown. Sitting down at the kitchen table I started up my computer and started researching making cheese.

After about two hours, I had decided that I could do this, and that I would need to make a trip into the city to get some supplies, and decided that I can do it at the same time as I go shopping for furniture with Loretta. After a light dinner, I had a shower and headed to bed, as tomorrow as yet another ordinary day on the farm.

Once I had finished the main chores the following morning, I decided to have a closer look at the two other properties that I now own and have full access to. Hitching up the trailer, I headed down the road to the small corner block that has a large shed and a lot of junk around it, and after a more detailed look around, I saw that the shed has a concrete floor, lights and power points in a few places, and a long bench along the back wall.

There was a number of old rusty tanks lying around, a number of old vehicles and plenty of old drums, and I decided that I really needed the tractor for a lot of this, so I unhitched the trailer, and drove down the road to where my new home will be, and to the shed with all the machinery.

Starting with the quad bike, I checked the oil, which looked rather old and needed changing, and as expected for not being used for over a year, the battery was dead. The same was for the ride-on lawn mower and also the tractor, so I decided to leave it for now, and add to the shopping list machinery oil and batteries for all three vehicles.

Back at the other shed, I hitched up the trailer again, and drove over to the small cottage, which was also unlocked, and I discovered that it was partly furnished, but very dirty from not been used. After a bit of searching, I located a set of keys, and I locked up the cottage and added the keys to the one set of house keys that I keep in the Land Rover.

Heading back to the main farm, I slowed down when I saw a vehicle just inside the fence, near the front gate to the vineyard property, and when I saw a man standing nearby, I pulled over to the side of the road. “G’day, how can I help you,” the tall man asked me as I walked over to the gate.

“Hi, my name is Mitchell, I am Old Doug’s grandson, and the new owner of the land,” I said to the man, “Hello, I am Samuel Higgins, your lessee for the past fifteen years,” the man replied, and we shook hands. “Yes, I understand that you have a long term lease, could you tell me how long it is for?” I asked.

“You don’t know?” Samuel asked, and I shook my head to indicate that I didn’t. “Well it is for fifteen years with the option to have it for another 15 years, and that time is coming up very fast,” Samuel replied. “I see, well I have no problems for the lease to be continued, if I could at some time just have a bit of a look around.

When my grandfather passed away, as far as I knew it was just the original farm that I had inherited, I had no idea that he had purchased additional land, which has only just recently been brought to my attention,” I explained. “I see, so who do I see about having the lease renewed?” Samuel asked.

“My accountant, Malcolm Danby in Denmark will probably be the best person, as he knows everything about my grandfather’s land,” I replied, “Good, I will get in touch with him sometime this week, thanks for that information, and just give me a call when you want to have a look around the property,” Samuel said to me.

Back at the cottage I called Malcolm, to let him know that I met with the lessee of the property that has the vineyards, and that he would be giving him a call about renewing the lease.

I also asked Malcolm if he could recommend a good mobile mechanic who could come out and service the vehicles that are in the machinery shed at Hunwick Road, and he gave me a name and number to call.

After arranging for the mechanic to come out on Thursday to do a service on the vehicles, I went to do a check on the small herd of cattle that I have, and I decided to relocate them to another paddock as the feed was getting a little low in the paddock they are in.

For the rest of the day, I began to pack up everything that I wanted to take with me to my new house down the road. The farm office was one of the areas that will be fully relocated, and that is where I began. I managed to locate a bale trolley in the old shearing shed the other day, and that would be ideal for moving all of the furniture out of the office and onto the trailer.

I first had to dig two trenches, that has a sloping down at one end, so as to drive the trailer wheels into, so that the tray of the trailer was down low enough to get the furniture into the trailer, which consisted of a large wooden filing cabinet, a very large deck, a hat stand, two chairs, a two seat leather lounge, a coffee table, a old kitchen table, and a large wall map of the original farm.

There were also a number of boxes, that had ‘From and To’ dates on them, that went back four decades, plus two boxes that had Farm Diaries written on it. Once I had it all loaded on and tied down, I headed over to my new home, which luckily is raised about two feet off the ground with local stone wall between the ground and the verandah, which is the perfect height for the trailer.

After unlocking the house, I had a good look around, and it looked so different now that it was clean, and the dirty looking curtains looked like they had been replaced with newer looking ones. The front door leads straight into the main lounge room, and stepping into the passageway that runs down the middle of the house.

There is a storage & linen cupboard to the right, at the end of the hall, while across the hall at the back end of the house, is a study with half of the back wall covered with a bookshelf, which I decided would become my farm office, especially when I noticed a telephone jack near the corner near the window.

Next to the office, are the laundry and the back door, and after that is kitchen and dining room. On the front side of the house, there are two bedrooms, with a family bathroom separating them, with a small lounge being the last room at the front, with double doors leading out to a nice patio area.

On the far end of the passageway, is the master bedroom, with its own bathroom, walk in wardrobe and a private patio that overlooks the river, trees and lawn, which was rather overgrown. I liked that I would have my own private bedroom and patio area, where I can enjoy the peaceful surrounds, even if I was living alone.

It took me a good two hours to get all of the office furniture into its new home, and as I admired the room, I like how it looked, especially with the extra space there was, and includes the large book case, with a large old rug located in front of it.

Looking at the phone jack, I made a mental note to arrange for the telephone to be connected to the house and also check about the electricity connection, as there was already power to the house. Walking into the kitchen, all the bench space looked fairly modern, and the stove and oven were fairly new.

Walking around to the back of the house, there are two large gas cylinders connected to the gas lines into the kitchen, and looking at the indicator, one said that it was empty, and giving the other one a shake, it felt like it too was empty. Another job for me to do on Wednesday is to take the cylinders into the city to be swapped over for full cylinders of gas.

Back at the cottage, I continued to do the packing, until it was time to go down to the yards and do the milking and feeding, and when that was done, I headed back to the cottage, and having finished a little earlier than usual, I was able to relax for about an hour before making some dinner.

When Wednesday morning arrived, I was up half an hour earlier than usual, as I had to load up the gas cylinders onto the vehicle and secure them, hitch up the trailer, ready to take it into the city to bring home most of the furniture that I would be buying.

When I had done all of the morning chores, I saw that I had enough time to have a proper shower, and dress into some nice casual clothes for the trip into the city, and I was about to head into the shower, when the house phone began to ring.

“Hello, Mitchell speaking,” I said into the receiver, “Hello young man, I just wanted to let you know that I have discovered that I have a flat tyre, so can I meet you in the city, as I am catching a lift with one of my friends,” Loretta said to me.

“Yes, that will be fine, where shall we meet?” I replied, and after confirming a meeting place and time, I headed to the shower and half an hour later I way on my way towards Albany. A few hours later, and over $4,000 poorer, I had my Landrover and trailer loaded up full of furniture, which consisted of a queen bed frame and mattress, two bedside tables, two lamps, a fridge, microwave, toaster and kettle, washing machine and dryer, dining table, four chairs and a side board cupboard.

Bed linen, including bath and hand towels, tea towels, everything I need for cooking, including cutlery, crockery, cups and classes, cutting boards and a knife set, and for the lounge room, a two seater and two single chairs, a coffee table and two side tables. I also bought two single beds and bedding for one of the other bedrooms, just in case of visitors, not that I was expecting any.

Once I had all the furniture that I need to move into the house, we went to the gas supply store, and bought two new cylinders of gas, which were loaded onto the back of the vehicle and secured, before we headed to a store that specialises in supplies for cheese making, and I bought everything that I needed.

With that been the last job to be done, we headed back towards my new home at Hunwick Road, and I was surprised to see three vehicle already there, as we drove towards the house.

“These are the workforce that I recruited to help you unload everything, and get it all set up for you,” Loretta announced, when she saw the surprised expression on my face.

“Wow, thanks Loretta, I was just going to back the trailer and unload it all one by one in between all of the other jobs that need doing,” I said, as another vehicle arrived, and I saw that it was Malcolm. “I’ve come to collect my wife, once you have all of this sorted,” he said to me, after I had backed the trailer up to the verandah.

With all the extra man power, the job of unloading the trailer, plus the back of my vehicle was done in no time, and I now had gas connected to the kitchen and water heater.

Copyright May 2021 All Rights Reserved, Preston Wigglesworth
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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This is starting to look like more than a one man job with the added acreage and all.  Making cheese is not particularly labor intensive; but you have to have the right tools and place for it to keep.  Can't wait to see what happens next.

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