Thursday, 23 November 2017

A life long before quilting......


........How about you do a agriculture post this week............

what does agriculture mean to you.........
what memories/connections do you have...........
you are all consumers so you all rely on agriculture to survive.......

Chookyblue threw out the challenge above earlier this week, and posted lots of ag photos of her world. This g0t me thinking, and delving into a drawer full of photos, (that still need to be sorted, someday!). There were lots of memories in that drawer, and a story that's not been told on my blog before. I was too lazy to scan the photos to get them on the computer, so I took a photo of the photo instead, and I apologise for the lack of quality. I do have plans to sort all those photos and write a story and print it, for my children to read one day. This blog post will have a very brief outline of that story.

I guess the answer to the first question has to be that agriculture has a lot of meaning for me. As you will read below, it has been a very big part of my life. The family farm is still managed by one of my brothers, and another brother farms with his sons on Eyre Peninsula, about 10 hours from here.

 And the second question, what memories do you have is summed up as follows......................................... I was brought up on a farm, that had been settled back in 1910, by our family. I guess I was more of an "inside" girl, and as I had 3 brothers, and our grandparents also lived on the property, there was no need for me to do any farm stuff. I do remember a few spotlighting adventures in the jeep, my brothers checking their rabbit traps, and climbing trees looking for birds eggs.

And there was the year that it rained after the hay was baled, and us kids were "paid" to walk around the paddock and turn each bale over so that it could dry. And now I am reminded that we had a milking cow, and I did have duty sometimes to milk it (with a one cow machine!!), wash the machine, and then separate the milk to make cream. If you turned the handle really fast, the cream was much thicker, and you needed a knife to cut it and spread it on your bread. A family story that we still laugh at today, is when my "city" cousins came to visit, they were amazed at the thick cream we had. And my dad, with a straight face, told them it was "bull's cream"!! It was many years later when they found out he was joking them.

Looking back, I would say that life growing up on the farm was pretty good, but at the time, all I could were the negatives, and I vowed and declared I was not going to marry a farmer!! But a new family purchased the farm next door, and ........... the inevitable happened and I was married when I was 19. But, he was not a farmer, he was a stock agent! I did not take into account that he was the son of a farmer, and had a yearning for his own farm!!

We have had many moves over the years, and a quick summary follows.

First we moved to Crystal Brook in the mid north of SA, where Neville worked for Bennett and Fisher, a stock agent company. ......................
........Then another move to Brinkworth, a bit further south, still working for this company. .............................And while living there, we purchased our first property, a semi developed block of land near Mundulla in the South East of the state, and proceeded to run this while living about 5 hours away!........................... Some time later, we left the stock firm, and moved to Bordertown, and sharefarmed a dairy, while we developed the Mundulla block, which was about 15 minutes away. (We had 2 children by then.)................   and even though I had been brought up on a farm, I still had no idea about lots of thing, including the fact that a cow needs to have a calf every year, to produce milk!!...... so you can see I had a big learning curve about to happen!!....... especially as we were responsible for 130 milking cows on this dairy!!!...............about 2 years later, we sold our Mundulla property and purchased our own dairy property at Jervois, on the river, about 15 minutes from Murray Bridge, (where I was born and bred)...........Our 3rd child was born here............... About 5 years later, we sold that property, and purchased a larger dairy at The Point, closer to Murray Bridge. We kept our own herd of cows, and walked them up the road, about 5 miles away......and our 4th baby was born while we were here...........

The following photo is the view from our house, looking down across the swamps, where the cows grazed, with our year's supply of hay and the converted herringbone dairy in front. We had more land behind the house, and another property across the river to run our dry cows, and heifer, and cut hay on.

One of the 110 cows grazing on the swamp.

......After a few years of milking cows, we decided that a venture into "real" farming was a good idea!!???........We purchased a grazing property just north of Bordertown, and moved back south again...........almost 10 years to the day that we had moved up on the river.
I was a "hands on" farmer by now, and helped in the dairy, and with the sheep etc on this farm. I had learnt a thing or two by now about farming!?? The children also helped, and were involved with feeding calves, hosing out the dairy, getting the cows up from the swamps, etc. while we were dairying. The tasks changed to helping in the sheep yards to tail the lambs, drafting sheep, and shearing shed duties when we moved to farming. We ran beef cows, sheep, and cropped about 1/3 of the farm. Soon after we purchased this farm, having purchased our sheep for about $15/head, the government of the day, in their wisdom, changed things, and 6 months later, you could not sell sheep, and ours and others farmer's sheep were being destroyed and buried. This was when I went "off farm" to work to help things along.

A few photos from our time on the Bordertown farm...............
















 We did not inherit a family farm, and each move was a "step up" the ladder, hoping to build a future. We stayed on this property for 10 years, until selling it in the year 2000, and moving into the town in the house I live in now. There is a lot more to the story of our farming years, but suffice to say, that a husband that suffered with depression and anxiety, made for some hard times, in amongst the good ones, and eventually gave us no choice but sell. This was also a reason to start quilting. (When life gives you scraps, make quilts!!) 

It is almost 18 years now since the farm was sold, and my life has been filled with quilting and family instead. It sometimes seems like another lifetime ago. When I see paddocks of sheep with little lambs, I get a bit nostalgic, but then there is another quilt to do, and life moves on.

Well that is my blog post about agriculture, as it relates to me, and it might be more than you wanted to know!? But now it is in my next book and a record of part of my life. Thanks Chooky for the challenge.


Blessings, From Jude



6 comments:

Raylene Edwards said...

Quick-give up Quilting & WRITE! Your life has been amazing. As a Townie who has moved 3 times in a 3 km. radius, i applaud you. Loads of hard work with a husband who had a dream & 4 children has made you the lovely lady you are 🐄🐂🐑

Michele Hill said...

Wow Jude......that was wonderful. I know you have had so many highs and lows but at the end of the day we treasure all the highs that we share with you xx

Jean McGee said...

Just enjoyed reading your last two blogs, lots of moves and changes in your life but glad you ended in Bordertown so we can all share your friendship, kindness and beautiful quilts. Beautiful photos of the unusual plants in your lovely garden. you could easily write a book, make sure you keep some time to quilt though, we need you to make ours beautiful.
Luv, Jean 😀🌺

Joy from Days Filled With Joy said...

Thanks Judy for sharing your story, so good to get to know you better! And hope to learn more as the years go by.. there is always another story to be shared! xx

Alison Bacon said...

A lady of so many talents, with such an inspirational outlook. Thanks Jude for sharing so much with us, I truly appreciate and value our friendship and the fun and laughter we've had along the way.

Chookyblue...... said...

wow great post.........you sure have been in the thick of farming............the days of shooting sheep and burying them...........such a bad time.............hope we never go there again........