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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 - 4. CoF Ch 4

Backing the vehicle up to the tree, I climbed on the back with one of my new field motion cameras, and I put the strap around the trunk at about 3.5 metres off the ground, and after attaching the camera to the strap, I altered the direction slightly so it is pointing directly towards the gate, before activating it.

Pulling out my phone, I connected with the camera, and marked it as front gate, and I was able to clearly see the front gate from my phone. Happy that I had can now monitor the front gate, I had Jack jump into the vehicle, and we drove back to the house and along a track that runs alongside the river, where I had to stop to open and close a gate.

I continued to follow the river, we soon came up to the milking shed and orchard, where I had to open and close another gate and shortly after another one until I was on the main track that leads into this area from Redmond West Road.

When I reached the gates there, I located a suitable tree about twenty metres in from the gate, so I could secure the second motion detector camera, again high up so no one can each it from the ground. Once I had connected the second camera to my mobile, I marked it as Milking Shed Front Gate, and soon I had a view of the second set of gates into my property.

Opening and closing the gates behind me, I replaced the wire, with a new chain and padlock, before I drove up Redmond West to the original part of the farm. I did the same with securing the gates, as well as with setting up a camera, also approximately twenty metres in from the gate, and I marked this camera as Cottage Gate.

Once I was happy with everything, I set off back home, where I sat down at my desk and made a few adjustments to the settings for the cameras, including having notifications sent to my phone when motion has been detected with one of the cameras.

I made up a late lunch and fed Jack, and I listened to the rural report on ABC radio, when my phone dinged with a notification, so I opened up the message, and it stated that motion had been detected at my front gate just 600 metres away, and I clicked on the app to see the video footage.

What I saw was a mob of kangaroos grazing on the grass near the front gate, which made me laugh a little and I muted the notifications, as it was bound to send me alot more for the rest of the afternoon. For the next week and a bit, I was kept very busy with all the farm work, as well as cleaning up the mess down on the small block on the corner road.

Once I had finished gathering all of the junk and burying it all, I started on cleaning up all of the dead trees on the land cutting them down, and pushing them up into large piles ready for burning off, and fixed up a few breaks in the fence line. All a while Jack kept me company, which I found very comforting, as I had been feeling very lonely at times, since I had moved from the small apartment in the city, out to the farm.

The day before the markets, I had an abundance of fruit and vegetables, and a plentiful supply of chicken eggs, with at least another month before my first trial batch of cheeses would be ready, which are in the walking fridge, down at the milk shed.

I had already begun making the cheese the week before, as I followed all of the instructions to the recipes that I had researched, and I just hoped that they would turn out ok.

I decided to install the last motion camera down there, which I attached to the only tree located at the front of the milking shed, and I had put a lock on the walk in fridge, to stop any intruders getting in, as there had been reports of intruders stealing fuel and tools from farms in the district recently.

When I arrived at the markets early on Saturday morning, I noticed Malcolm was with Loretta again, which probably meant he wanted to see me again. “Hello both of you, how are you going?” I asked before Loretta could say anything, and she gave me a smile. “We are doing great thanks young Mitchell, how are things going on the farm?” Malcolm replied.

“All is good thanks, I have fixed the gates at all entry points to my farm, with heavy chains and padlocks on them, and I have been cleaning up that corner block that had all the junk and dead trees.

I also have a great helper to keep me company” I replied, referring to Jack, who was watching everything from in the vehicle, as I began to unload my supplies and display them on the table supplied by Loretta.

“Looks like you could do with an extra table, give me ten minutes while I go and organise it for you,” Loretta said, and before I could say anything she was gone, with Malcolm chuckling at how quick she made the decision and left. “By the way, I already knew about your security, as I came around to see you, but I couldn’t get in, and my phone battery was flat.

I also spotted the added security up high in the tree, as the glass gave of a reflection from the sun when I moved into the right spot,” Malcolm said to me. “With all the farm stealing going on lately, I decided to beef up the security around the farm, so I installed a few of them around the place.

Last week a mob of roo’s were grazing near my front gate and triggered of the sensor, so I had to mute the notifications for the rest of the afternoon,” I commented smiling, and Malcolm laughed. “They too can be a real nuisance around the farms,” he said to me.

“I don’t really mind them, since I don’t have that many cattle on the property at the moment, I am more interested in getting the farm tidied up a bit, and get any repairs done to fences and buildings, before expanding my herd,, as long as they don’t ruin my fences that is,” I replied.

“Well good on you for taking the time to get the place in order, now while Loretta isn’t here, I just wanted to let you know that I had a call the other day, from the owners of the land that your grandfather was looking at buying.

He has eventually sold off the northern section, which contains mostly plantation trees on it, as well as a cottage so there is just the southern section, which is 332 acres of mostly cleared pasture, with about 40 acres of bush. There is a seasonal creek, which runs through the property, plus plenty of dams, and the river. There are a number of sheds, water tanks, a cottage, and a main house.

Pratts Road, which runs near the river, ends at the front gate of the house paddock, while the property has boundaries of the river, South Coast Highway and Sunny Glen Road, and yes it is directly south of the two leased properties, and across the river from Hunwick Road, with just some river reserve separating the properties.

If you do buy it, I have a farmer who would be interested in leasing that farm from you, which would offset the costs of buying the property, which I know you, can afford to pay without a bank loan,” Malcolm said to me, which surprised me a bit. “Do you really think I should buy this extra land and then lease it out?” I asked.

“I do, because it will secure your future, especially when you have a regular income from the leasing properties, to help cover all your expenses on the rest of the farm,” Malcolm replied, and I took a few minutes to think about this, and came to a decision. “Very well set it all up for me, both the purchase and the lease, and let me know, and I will come in and sign the documents,” I said.

“What are you two scheming up now?” Loretta said as she approached, with two teenagers following her, carrying a trestle table. “Nothing dear, just talking business, that is all,” Malcolm replied, and after the two lads had set up the table for me, I tossed them an apple each and thanked them, before they walked away.

“How did you manage to convince them two to help with the table?” I asked Loretta. “That is a bit of a sad case, they are best friends, one has a really nice family, the other is in a similar situation as to you were in, and his parents are Catholics, so he tries to do anything to spend as much time away from home as possible to get away from the constant badgering,” Loretta replied.

“How old is he?” I asked, “Myles is seventeen, but he is repeating year 11, he is doing it at Ag College instead of the high school, as he is not very good with his schooling,” Loretta replied. “Could you do me a favour please, and see if he would be interested in some part time farm work, but don’t say who for or where, just see if he would be willing?” I asked.

“That will be a pleasure, and I think that is a wonderful idea, and I am most happy to do this for you,” Loretta said, before she began to look at my fruit and veggies, and she put in an order for some of it. “Do you have any more of that delicious milk?” she asked me and I smiled to her.

“I had a feeling that you would ask, so I brought some for you from this morning’s batch, fresh and still warm,” I replied. “Oh Wonderful, you are a dear, have you started on the cheese making yet?” she asked me. “I have, but it will be a few weeks yet before it is ready, and I want to test it out with some people, before I begin to sell it at the markets,” I replied.

“That is probably a good idea Mitchell, now is there anything else I can do for you?” Loretta asked. “Yes, could you mind my stall for five minutes while I have a quick look around the markets please?” I asked.

“That is not a problem, I can do that for you,” Malcolm replied. “When I returned about ten minutes later, I had purchased a second hand Finn double kayak with two sets of paddles and two PFD jackets, and the owner would bring them over to my stall at the end of the markets this afternoon.

With this new toy, I would be able to paddle up and down the Hay River, with a lot of my property located on the banks on one or both sides, and I was looking forward to doing just that tomorrow afternoon. Later on in the day, Loretta made another appearance, and she was smiling.

“He has a casual job that gives him just nine hours of work a week, which is weekends and one evening a week, but he said he would happily give that up, if he could work on a farm, and he asked if there was anywhere available to live on this farm,” Loretta said to me.

“There is actually, two options of which both would need cleaning, the cottage where I used to live, which is on the northern and original bit of land, or there is the cottage that is closer to me, near the corner of Redmond West and Hunwick Roads,” I replied.

“That’s the one on the bend of the road into the corner property?” Malcolm asked me, “Yep, that is the one, it has a small fenced off yard out the back of it, and it is fairly basic, more like a bedsit than a cottage, as it only has three rooms, the bedroom is also the lounge room, the kitchen and dining area and the bathroom with a laundry included,” I commented.

“That is probably all he needs, how will we go about introductions and getting him to have a look around, he lives locally in town, so I can drive him out to you if you like,” Loretta asked, “How about you get him to help clean the cottage on the weekend, and see if he likes it or not? I will call in when you have nearly finished, and take it from there,” I suggested. “Perfect, oh and while I am thinking about it, I enquired about your brother, he is buried at the Bunbury Cemetery,” Loretta said.

“Once again, I managed to sell all of my products, which meant I didn’t need to take any of it back home, just empty crates and boxes. Driving back from Denmark, with the extra load of a kayak and gear, I headed straight to the milking shed, and started doing the late afternoon chores, of feeding all the animals and the milking. I have now saved a quarter of the milk for my cheese production, which I was doing every three or four days now, and I was starting to get quite a lot of cheeses stored in the fridge.

I hoped to be able to have a tasting session in a few weeks time, and hopefully after that, I can start selling it at the markets. The next morning, I jumped out of bed glad that it was Sunday morning, and I got busy with milking and feeding the stock. When I had all of that completed, I walked over to the shed to retrieve the kayak, paddle, and PFD jacket, and carried them down to the platform just below the house.

I decided to head down stream towards the Wilson Inlet, where the Hay River ends, and after a bit of a shaky start, I was soon gliding down the river, at a nice slow and steady pace. I was amazed at how peaceful it is being on the river, with pelicans, ducks, black swans and many other birds that I had no idea what they are, but there was definitely a lot of them.

In just over an hour, I had reached the South Coast Highway Bridge, which was a quicker trip than I expected, as I continued on, passing under the bridge and went out into the inlet. I followed near the edge of the inlet for about fifteen minutes, before turning around and heading back towards the river, where I found it a little more difficult with paddling, due to the wind coming down the river.

It took me over 1 ½ hours to get back up the river to the house, where I found Jack patiently waiting for me. Leaving the kayak and paddle on the riverbank, just above the platform, I headed indoors to have a hot shower, before making myself some lunch of warm soup and toast to warm me up on the inside.

I managed to get two hours for just resting and relaxing, before I had to get to work once again, with Jack in the vehicle with me, we headed over to the milking shed to milk the two cows and feed the animals, and I managed to get it all completed before a downpour of rain arrived.

Back at the house, I grabbed my rain jacket, and put it on before driving the vehicle over to the shed, before going over to the river to pick up the kayak and paddle and carrying them over to the shed too, incase the river rose from the rain.

The platform are attached to two posts with metal collars, so it can raise and fall with the level of the river, so I had no concerns with it drifting down river. After a light dinner, I sat on my patio, watched the rain falling, and listened to the crickets, frogs, and night animals making their usual nighttime sounds.

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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Great chapter.  Mitch is doing well with his business and it looks like he will soon have a helper.

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Mitchell definitely needs some help, plus some sense of social life and community. However, ironically the motivator that finally pushed him to act on finding help is a tortured soul that needs an extended helping hand and a safe environment; what he got from his grandparents when immediate family shunned him.

Myles cannot help but find peace where the employer is supportive and is sure to allow his friend to have access as long as the reasonable job expectations are met.

As these young men grow in security and social circles, it will be exciting to see where all the relations take us on this CoF journey.

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Glad that Mitch is looking for help, even if just part time.  I wonder what kind of cheese?  Some of the best cheese is not refrigerated, but has to be stored often underground or in caves.  Chapter flowed wonderfully.

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