Challenges of Farming - 7. CoF Ch 7
I had a few ideas about the farm that I wanted to discuss with Malcolm, so I headed into town with Jack coming with me, and he even followed me out of the vehicle once I had parked, and I decided to let him come with me into Malcolm’s office.
“Hello Mitch, and you brought Jack with you too, my how he has grown in such a short time,” Malcolm said when he saw us enter the outer office, and indicated for us to follow him. I want to be able to diversify a bit so as to be able to cope with any downwards trends in farming.
I know that cattle prices can often drop down low, and so I want to be able to have a continual income not matter what happens,” I said to my accountant.
“Well I think you are already fairly protected with the income that you get from the four blocks of land that you lease out, as well as having the cattle plus your small and growing enterprise in fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and now your cheeses, which Loretta and I are very much looking forward to tasting when they are ready,” Malcolm replied.
“It is your visitors that are staying for the week that had me thinking, that if I have enough money to pay for it, I would like to have two cabins built and located on a two acre patch of land directly behind the milking shed and cheese shed, right along side the river.
I want to have one cabin at each end of that block, so they are at least eighty metres apart, and there is already a sandy beach area at the point of the river bend, and a walking track leading to it, where I would like to place a small landing for kayaks and canoes,” I suggested.
“Well your investment account is going strongly, since that is the account that has all of lease payments put into, so I think that it would be a good investment to have tourism on the farm, but you will need to have some regular cleaners to clean the cottage and the two cabins, and maybe your big home as well,” Malcolm replied.
“Yes I was thinking about what to do about that, I really do need a house keeper to keep the place clean” I said, “What about June Higgins on the Vineyard property, I believe she does some part time cleaning in town, maybe she would be able to clean your house for you once or twice a week,” Malcolm suggested.
“I will call in and see them both a bit later, thanks for that tip,” I replied, and after a few more minutes of general chatter, I said goodbye, and we set off to do some shopping, since I will be feeding an extra person as of tomorrow, with Myles moving into the small cottage on the corner block.
By the time I was back home from my trip into town, it was almost time to go and do the milking and feeding, after calling in to see Sam and June, and I was happy that June had agreed to clean for me twice a week, and also cook to evening meals, which would put a lot less pressure on me, with Myles moving in tomorrow afternoon.
I was able to relax alot easier with Jack in the house with me, and with it being another busy day tomorrow, I made some dinner for the both of us, before having a shower and heading to bed.
In the morning after I had done my morning chores and eaten breakfast, I did a bit of a tidy up, so it wasn’t to messy when June comes to do the cleaning just after lunch time today, and once that was done, I headed to the office to do a bit of office work, as I had been a bit slack these last few days.
Just before lunch time, Jack and I walked down to the front gate, where I unlocked it, but left it closed, and we walked back to the shed, where I did a few checks on both the farm vehicle as well as my own private vehicle, before heading over to the house for some lunch.
This afternoon, I had plans to do a drive around the paddocks to check on fences, check all the dams, check the small herd of cattle that I have, and also all of the security cameras, located at each main access point onto the farm and around the main buildings.
I was loading up the farm vehicle with some tools, plus some plain and barbed wire, when a vehicle came up the driveway, and stopped near the shed where I was, and it was June climbing out of her sporty Mazda car. “Hi June, the house is unlocked, and you will find everything you need in the pantry or storage cupboard.
Jack and I are off to do some checks around the farm, and we will be back by about 4 pm. Can you lock the front gate padlock on your way out afterwards please,” I said to June as she approached. “Sure that is not a problem, thanks for thinking of me for this work, the extra hours will be very useful,” June replied.
“Saving up for a holiday are you?” I asked, and June laughed, “I wish, no we need some more money to put in more sprinklers as we are going to planting some more vines this season,” June replied. “Ok, well I will see you again on Saturday, if that will be ok with you?” I said to June.
“Yes that is all good,” June replied, as she climbed back into her car and drove the short distance to the house, while I locked up the shed, and we climbed into the farm Ute and set off down the farm track. It was about 3 pm when I looked at my watch and suddenly remembered that Myles and Malcolm would be arriving at the cottage in less than an hour, so I packed up the tools, and we made the short trip back to the main shed.
Parking the Ute into the shed, we walked over to the house, where there is the smell of a nice cooked meal inside, and I could hardly wait to taste June’s cooking. “Pot Casserole in the oven, just heat it up and it will be ready to serve,” was the note left on the kitchen bench, and I smiled.
Telling Jack to stay, I walked back over to the shed, where I rode out the quad bike, and locked the shed before making the two kilometre trip across the paddocks following the fence line, and leaving the gates open, till I arrived at the front of the cottage.
Malcolm and Myles had not arrived yet, so I walked around the cottage, to make sure that it is reasonably tidy, which it is, and I arrived back at the front, just as I heard a vehicle approaching, as I recognised Malcolm’s vehicle, and I gave a short wave of hello.
“Welcome to your new pad Myles, I haven’t seen inside since you and Loretta cleaned it, so I am hoping that it will be suitable for you,” I commented, as I shook his hand and then I helped Malcolm to unload the bike from the back of his vehicle, and I wheeled it around to the back of the cottage.
“I didn’t see any tracks on the road. Did you come across the paddocks?” Myles asked me from the back door of the cottage, “Yes I did, I will get Malcolm to take me back home, so that you have the quad bike to come over to the house for dinner, just leave a bit before dusk, so you don’t get lost,” I replied.
I followed Myles into the cottage from the back door, and I was amazed at the transformation of the place, which now has nice curtains on each window, decorative light covers for the overhead lights, a large rug on the floor in the dining area under the table and another in the lounge area, and there was even some pictures on the walls.
“Wow, Loretta did a great job of making the place homely,” I commented, “Yeah, I like it too,” Myles commented, as Malcolm carried in another box of belongings for Myles. “I will catch a ride back to my front gate if you don’t mind, as I am leaving the quad bike here for Myles to use to get to and from my house and the main shed for work,” I said to Malcolm.
Once all of Myles’ belongings were out of the vehicle and inside, we headed back to the front gate, and I thanked Malcolm for all that he has done to help Myles out, before I walked down the driveway to the house, where I collected Jack, before getting into the farm ute, and heading over to the milking shed.
I had just got the cows into the yards when I heard a vehicle approaching and soon realised that it was Myles on the quad bike, and he was now in work clothes. “Hey, you found the milking shed. Do you want to start learning right away?” I said to Myles, “You bet I do, boss,” Myles replied smiling so we got to work to milk the cows, feed all of the poddy calms and goats, and collecting the eggs from the chicken run.
Once that was all done, I carried the one canister of milk over to the cheese shed, and I showed Myles how I go about making the cheese, without actually doing any, as it takes a few hours to do, and it would be one of my jobs after milking tomorrow.
After a visit to the vegetable patch to get a lettuce, two carrots, some tomatoes and a cucumber, I climbed into the Ute after Jack had jumped in, and we headed back to the main shed, with Myles following on the quad bike. “There is no stock in the lower paddocks between here and your cottage, so you can leave those gates open, to make it easy for you.
Just make sure that you take the key out of the quad bike and lock up the cottage and the front gate each morning on your way out to college,” I said to Myles, “Sure thing boss, that is not a problem,” he replied smiling, as I put the Ute into the shed and locked the large sliding door once it was closed, and as I walked over to the house, Myles followed on the quad bike.
After washing up, I turned on the oven to heat up the meal, while I started preparing a tossed salad, and Myles sat in the lounge and watched the ABC news.
After dinner, I washed the dishes, and Myles dried them and put them away, once I showed him where everything belongs. That box over there is all of your breakfast supplies, I just need to give you a bottle of milk to add to the box,” I said to Myles. “Thanks boss, that is great,” the lad replied smiling.
“You will also find a work hour’s record book, to keep track of your hours, be sure to add today’s two hours to it. I hope that you have a great first night in your new home,” I added, “I sure will thanks Mitchell, and I really appreciate this work and new place to live, I think it is awesome,” Myles responded.
Once he had left on the quad bike back to the cottage, I made myself a cup of tea and sat out on the balcony, where I noticed that it was starting to get chilly at night, and once I had finished my drink, Jack and I headed indoors, and I had a shower and went to bed.
I was up at my usual time, and I had just finished doing all of the chores, when I looked at my watch, which ready 6.30 am, so I decided to get to work on my cheese making, and have a later breakfast than usual. By the time I had completed the newest batch of cheese, and checked on the first three batches, turning them over and checking how they are going, it was close to 8.30 am.
I checked my mobile, and there was no sign of a notification from the gate camera where the small cottage is located, and I frowned, wondering if Myles had slept in or that the camera didn’t pick up his departure this morning, so I decided to go and check to the camera first.
Moments after I pulled up at the gate, a notification on my phone said that there was movement at the gate, which was me arriving, so I knew that the camera was working as it should be, so I went over to the cottage to check on Myles, to see if he had left for college or not.
When I saw the moped bike on its side and the back tyres of the quad bike slashed, I began to get really worried, as I went to the front door and knocked. There was no answer, so I knocked a second time, “Myles, are you home, it is Mitch,” called out.
“Come in Mitchell, the door is unlocked,” I heard Myles reply in a hurt tone, and I opened the door and found that the cottage had been trashed, and Myles was laying on the couch, with some huge black eyes, cuts and bruises everywhere.
“What the hell happened, are you ok?” I asked concerned, “I had some visitors last night, and they were not very friendly as you can see from the mess,” Myles replied, “Don’t move, I will get an ambulance, you are going to hospital to be checked out, and I will not take no for an answer,” I said.
I called the local Ambulance centre, and gave directions on how to find the place, once that was done, I called the police to report the incident, and then I decided to call Loretta. “Hey Mitch, I am on my way out there now, I am a volunteer Ambulance driver, so I got the call,” Loretta said to me,
“Ok, well I don’t need to worry about the ambulance having troubles finding the place then. Myles has been assaulted, it happened some time last night after he left my place, his bike is on its side and the quad bike has two slashed tyres. Myles is just as bad, with two black eyes, cuts and bruises,” I replied.
“Ok, as him if it hurts when he breathes?” Loretta asked, and with the phone on speaker Myles heard the question and nodded yes, “Especially when I take in a big breath,” Myles said. “Ok, sounds like he has broken ribs too, get him too gently to lie on his injured side, don’t give him any fluids, and we are about fifteen to twenty minutes out from there,” Loretta said to us.
I drove down to unlock and open the gate, and when I returned, I parked just past the cottage, in the middle of the track, just before the bend in the track, before heading back inside, and it was just ten minutes later that a police car arrived. I was giving them the details of what I knew so far of what had happened, when the ambulance arrived about five minutes later, and Loretta was in dark green overalls.
It was a good five minutes later when Loretta came out of the cottage, and she had a worried look on her face, “We are calling the Rescue chopper, he is in a serious condition, where is the best place to land the chopper?” Loretta asked, as she walked towards the ambulance with me following.
“There is the triangular front paddock, about 900 metres from my front gate and 500 metres west of here that has gate access to Hunwick Road, it is an open flat paddock, that would be the best option,” I replied. “Ok, but we will have to do it nice and slowly, as Myles is in a hell of a lot of pain,” Loretta replied, as she opened the back doors and pulled out the gurney, with its legs dropping down and locking into place.
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