Reaping what was sown

It has been very dry. The grass is tall and dry, full of prickly seeds that get into your socks. We moved some hay bales the other day and I ended up with a splinter in a very unusual place. Farm life is not always as portrayed on TV.

Shayne, our neighbour, sowed some oats in a couple of our paddocks, to help us control the serrated tussocks. The first paddock was ready to harvest on the weekend.

Shayne is fond of antique machinery, and it’s a good size for a small farm, so Shayne used his vintage Fergie tractor, an old header, and a positively ancient Austin truck.

The grain quality and yield were high. Shayne is giving us several bags of wheat from each crop, for our poultry, and he’s welcome to the rest.

The other paddock will be ready in a few weeks, but the recent dry has impacted that crop and it won’t be as good.

The big paddock with the old shed has only a single dam, which has dried up completely. The cows and alpacas and geese are now all in with the horses. They seem to be getting on OK. We could open the gate between the paddocks, but the shed paddock has rabbit holes that might be a danger to the foal.

All of our dams are low, so we would like some rain soon. The El Niño weather pattern has come in strongly, though the statistical indices say it might moderate in coming weeks. We are lightly stocked and can get through a drought summer.

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This weekend was the 150th anniversary of Merrilla Church, built in stone by Allison’s great-great-grandfather. Our neighbouring village is Parkesbourne, and Merrilla is just the other side of that. Allison’s mum was a Bool, a local family inter-related with all the other local families.

There was a memorial service at the church, and then some of the closer relatives came back to our place for lunch.

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