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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Changing Community

This coming Thursday a truck will arrive across the river at our work farm carrying 300 bales of sight unseen hay from the Denman area. At $10.50 it is sort of cheap seeing as how the last hay we bought for the boss was $12 cash. The $12 stuff is just amazing in its quality. It was going up to $14 cash because of the cost of irrigation. And we have to load and unload.

Well $10.50 is cheap but then it's $3/bale additional for transport and loading at the other end. I hope what turns up isn't complete rubbish. I've noticed that when you feed out rubbish the cattle not only look at you like your an idiot but manage to spread it about and the waste is enormous. A bit like pushing food around your plate. Of course when you feed out the good stuff they can smell it coming and run to the feeder. And the ground around the feeder is spotless. The plate gets licked clean.

Paying for quality is the best investment. Being frugal doesn't always mean buying the cheapest.

Then of course its a mid week delivery and the boss can't be there to help and nor does he want to unload 300 bales after doing 150 bales the other week. And there is the memory of the 400 bales he ordered that arrived on New Year's day a couple of years ago. 40 C was not a good temperature to be unloading.

But he also doesn't want me to unload 300 bales as that would be unfair. Not that I mind, it's all good character (muscle) building stuff. So he says get someone else to do it and he'll pay. Simple.

Well not that simple anymore. The community has changed.

When there were lots of working farms in the area (not hobby farms) it was a simple matter of calling a couple of neighbours and they would turn up at the appropriate time and pitch in. And some time in the future (or the past) you would also receive a call for assistance. And there were always a few local lads around who could be tempted with a little cash. These guys would not be fully employed just doing a little casual work here and there.

So there aren't that many working farms anymore and many of  those that do exist are owned by old timers who are starting to get past their hay stacking days.

The first port of call is the former dairy farmer for who I worked for 7 years. He always knows who is available. Well he doesn't but volunteers his time and gammy leg. He will be useful as he learnt the art of hay stacking as a young boy and knows how to get it from the truck to the stack with minimal effort. He will check out another likely candidate but university demands  might be a barrier to attendance. A couple of months ago this former dairy farmer urgently needed a hand with some fencing and I responded to the distress call. A reminder to put the needs of others first. You don't always have to wait to get to heaven to be rewarded.

This morning I was collecting milk and asked the father and son dairy farmers if they knew of any likely candidates in their area that might be able to help. Yes, said the younger I'll give you a hand. Not that he really wanted to but the family has a tradition of helping friends and neighbours (and strangers). This is the family that will put up a livestock carrier overnight on a long run down the coast to give the cattle a spell. And unloaded the stock and feed them and if they were dairy cattle milked them. The carrier now never goes by now without calling in for a cuppa. These people may be frugal with the money but very generous with their time.

So it looks like we have a good crew, shouldn't take long.


  1. I usually love to read your posts - but this time I took offence at your comment of "there aren't that many working farms anymore and those that do exist are owned by decrepit old timers who are past their hay stacking days".We own one of those working farms in your local area and we are certainly not "decrepit old timers" and are still very capable of stacking hay though these days we make and store round bales for convenience and work/time saving reasons. Please be careful how you refer to those who still own and work their own farms - there still are some young ones out there!

    1. Sorry if I gave offence. The wording is a bit absolute. It could use better phrasing.