The Rich Tapestry of Rural Life

I have had this horrible cold which seems to be doing the rounds. I put mine down to the draughty floor and those freezing days and nights and the lack of insulation in the roof, rather than catching it, but I have been pretty miz (aka The Widow Cranky!) this week and had a couple of ‘home’ days. Monday I was burning up with fever and the urge for a big cleanup, so had a bonfire and set fire to my hair! Lordy, my eyelashes and fringe have only just recovered from when the gas hot water system exploded, and I had to go and singe away my crowning glory once more! I also got myself in a complete tangle trying to do everything myself, and being impatient and had to holler for help! I was moving a big pile of rusty old metal down to the tin skip (I was on a mission!) and managed a lot in the trailer but then had to do the bigger items one by one with the car and my trusty old tow rope (thank you Chichester Chandlery). I did the big iron bath ok but didn’t really think through the old farm thing with wheels (whoops!) Oh well, Ged to the rescue and no real harm done but I have to learn that there are some things I CAN’T do on my own and wait for someone to assist me!
I was also pulling up fireweed and pulling down a fence – it was a gorgeous day to be out and about and getting some annoying little tasks out of the way. Tuesday I was in the office all day and ploughing through work but after another night tossing and turning and having horrible nightmares I decided I was well and truly exhausted and needed a day in bed to try and shake this fluey cold thing off. There’s no rest for the wicked, though, and George turned up just after midday. Apparently one of the cows is dead in the river from ‘black leg’ and so he had to muster the herd into the yards and immunise them. He unloaded his patient grey mare from the back of the truck and rode down into the river bed to flush them out onto the flat. My two were more of a hindrance than a help, galloping around aimlessly and Tinkerbell bucking at all the excitement. I was driving the car to prevent the cows bolting up the gully so I didn’t get you a picture of George on his trusty steed, surrounded by his pack of proper working dogs, driving the mob towards me, but I did grab a quick pic after the work was done so you can see ‘the man from Ellenborough river’! for yourselves.

Man, cows are stupid creatures! My first experience of ‘cow work’ and we put them in the chute and crush ten at a time for George to stab them with the needle gun and they were jumping on top of each other and trying to turn around in the crush and I was sure one of them was going to break its neck! But they all survived and hopefully we won’t lose any more . . .

George will move the dead cow out of the river and take it up onto the high country and trap it for dingoes and I must get my tie rail in this week so I can start riding at last . . . I had the most alarming conversation with George the other day. Because he is a Seventh Day Adventist we have our vegetarianism in common so I said a while ago that I would cook up some extra for him and Marcia. Of course he protested but it’s no skin off my nose – I cook enough for the army anyway! So I gave him some of my famous chilli beans the other day and when he asked me what to do with them I said ‘add some water and simmer . . ‘ and he said ‘what’s simmer?’ so I explained . . . and when I gave him veggie curry this week he asked what to do with it, so I said the same and then suggested some rice to go with it . . . ‘I can only cook eggs and boil water’ he told me. My God, what have those two been surviving on for the four years since Marcia became ill?
My thermals have finally arrived from M&S just as spring awakens but I have to say I am loving being so snug and warm in my long johns and long sleeved vests – what is the slit at the front for???
Something strange is stirring in the heavens above and I can hear the patter of rain on the tin roof . . . thanks for your encouraging responses to ‘Mad Cow’ and it’s good to have this opportunity to log my misadventures and endeavours as well as the myriad people co-creating my dream. Last week my lovely Jehovah’s Witness neighbour, Chris Latimore, who has recently retired from running the sawmill on his property, delivered the wood he had kindly agreed to cut for my house. Beautiful Tallowood for the big upright beams and benchtops throughout, as well as hardwood beams and posts for the building work. Another neighbour who had heard me describe my dream and ‘got the picture’ and given me EXACTLY what I wanted and all done with true zen. He and his wife, Ruth, are very lovely gentle folk and it was a pleasure to do business with them and now to have the means to make my house dream come true (now for the builder to fall out of the sky . . . !)


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