…isn’t easy when you own a farm. Although, I must admit, it was a whole heap tougher when what we were taking a break from was a 165 acre dairy farm and 65 milking cows, plus calves, dry stock, bulls, horses, dogs, cats, and chooks. Now that really took some organising to have the cows milked and the animals fed and farm cared for. Considerable costs were added to the general type holiday expenses. Little wonder it was years into dairying before we could take a break.
But even our little 10 acre farm today has beef cattle and calves, chooks, a dog and a cat to be cared for. Hubby Kanute is always busy in the last few days before we take a short-short holiday – this time just 8 days away, visiting the historic port of Echuca on the River Murray, and then to a delightful few days in a cabin nestled near the beautiful Grampian Mountains.
More about the holiday shortly – with gorgeous pics this time – in my dreams. What I mean is, the places are gorgeous and I just do the best I can with limited photographic skills to record same. What can I tell you…I’m a wordsmith!
Luckily, Kanute is a numbers man, and is able to accurately work out the requirements of our animals before we leave our home. The chooks stay locked up in their yard for safety from fox or eagle attack, instead of their normal free-range habitat in our lucerne paddock. Because we love our chooks (and their gorgeous bright yellow yolked eggs), the missing green feed from their diet is replaced with heaps of veg waste from a local supermarket, plus all our grass clippings (cut in the afternoon of the last day before we leave), plus all the veg scraps our neighbour can muster (she is our farm-sitter, and an avid fan of our eggs).
Then Kanute must check all stock water, plus feed out plenty of hay to keep them happy (as though all the pasture feed wasn’t enough to produce much contented licking of lips and chewing of cuds, not to mention the necessary weight gain). And electric fences must be double-checked and gates secured.
We don’t board out our dog and cat – they are so much happier and healthier at their own home. And our dog, Muffin, sees protection of the chooks as one of her major roles in life. When she scents or hears a fox, no matter how distant, she howls like a wolf – and so far, she has been successful almost all of the time, in keeping her ‘feathered family’ safe. If she were away from home now…hmm.
So, all of the pets’ feed must be estimated and readied, as well. Muffin the dog has canned food while we’re away, in the handy ring-pull opening containers. When we’re home, she has home-made liverpaste on a slice of rye bread for breakfast, and raw dog meat and dog biscuits for tea, but we try to make it as easy as possible for our kind farm-sitter.
The day before we leave also sees a total spruce up of our 3B (our Beautiful Big Benz – or Mercedes Benz car). Don’t get too excited now and imagine rich and famous – our beloved Benz is 13 years old – in immaculate condition thanks to the one previous owner who obviously loved it as much as we do. It’s a long way from the Volkswagen we began with, but the dream finally came true. Now, all we old fossils live very comfortably with each other.
And poor little Missy the cat – she suffers the most in our absence. Normally she is in and out countless times during day and night – not sure which is greater, her hunting instincts and skills, or her cuddling with her mother (me), or curled up in the chair nearest to our dear old combustion heater. Our farm-sitter never sees her whilst we’re away, and she refuses her normal feed, but her biscuits disappear. She must be watching from close by, because the moment we get out of our car, she’s there, turning herself inside out to twine around legs, and then charge through the house, checking that every single piece of furniture is intact, purring loudly in between telling me all about the horrors of me not being there for her.
And then Kanute is busy again, either for the rest of the daylight hours of homecoming day, or next day – basically repeating all he did before we left. Except now the chooks can go out to their favourite stomping ground, the lucerne paddock, and check out the worm and bug population as they peck happily once again into the lucerne. All’s right once again in Muffin’s world, too, as she ‘shadows’ every step Kanute takes. She loves us both, but he is the star attraction of her world – on our 10 acres, much of what he does is on foot – and she loves that. If it should be a job requiring tractor or utility, then the next best thing is a romp alongside either of these.
Do you get the feeling we are as happy to come home, as we were to go off on one of our small adventures? You’d be absolutely correct. How lucky are we to love our home and our life here so much that we get homesick after a week away? It’s true.