My Mother’s Tales

This is an example of an email from my mother, recounting the day to day events on the farm: immaculately composed for my viewing pleasure. Enjoy this delightfully distracted and colorful depiction of farm life via Una!




Sudden banging on the door aroused us from a mid-morning tea break. I knew immediately there was trouble, the fencing kind of trouble where all the neighbors know your name, but don’t sing your praises. Indeed, the husky, bewhiskered dairy man from next door was standing in full blown agitation at the front door – his truck still running for speedy getaway – and he bellowed “Your bulls are in with my heifers!” Did I mention we had been conned into buying 4 DAIRY BULLS masquerading as beef steers? Again, we need a good vet in the family…. He took off back to his precious heifers, and we (Ernest, me and the irreplaceable Red Kerchief aka Peter) all piled into a vehicle and raced after him, amazed that our little lovely calvey walveys had made it 3 kms down the hill, through multiple barbed wire fences and had found “the gals”. We glowed as we remarked on how smart those calves were! Three hours later, we were indeed all glowing, the sweat running down our faces as we faced the challenge of our lives – 4 excited bully teens trying to get back to their girlfriends while we tried to get them back up the hill to their meager rations. You may remember I wrote, down the hill, just a few short sentences ago, and a very smart person would know that what goes down must go up again to get back to the place of departure. Indeed, this is so, and never more so as I zig zagged back and forth, side to side, up a VERY STEEP 3km hill, constantly yelling to Ernest to “GET OUT OF THE CAR AND HELP!”Neighbors went by joking that this was the new “Jenny Craig workout for Sorrento”, some neighbors even stopping to help until one very fat fellow clutched his heart and keeled over to be jumbled unceremoniously back in his truck with a ‘thanks so much for trying to help, now you just take care of yourself’ advice before it was back to running ragged behind recalcitrant bully boys who had found out they could make CHOICES as to where the best grass and gals were to be had. (yes, I know this sentence is also too long, but so was the running).


One might think that those bully boys would never have escaped again, and to be true, we did put them the very next day into our VERY BEST FENCED FIELD! Ha!, we crowed, you can’t get out of THERE!!!! But they did, the very next evening…As Ernest and I were all dressed in our magnificent finery going out for dinner with friends, leaving the long and winding road to our property, I glanced across the field looking for the regular evening appearance of a lovely herd of deer. But what is this? A rusty colored deer was gracing our fields! An aberration? A trick of the light? NO, begaaaaaaaaads, it is the bully boys out again!! High heels flew in the hay field as visions of not sugar-coated fairies danced in my head, but very angry be-whiskered dairy men squeezed my heart with fat, dirty hands! The bully boys HAD TO BE STOPPED! And indeed they were.


(dog needs to go out for a piddle, so I have to pause here, and truth be told, I may never pick it up in similar style. If you continue to read past this point, and wonder if two people wrote this letter, no, they didn’t, it’s just me getting thrown off yet again by another animal’s whinging and whining, making their needs known before and/or instead of mine, not taking “NO” for an answer, disturbing my very thoughts (yes, this sentence is too long also, but that’s the way everything goes around the farm – too long, too much, too heavy, too busy, too much of people constantly asking the same thing twenty one times…….)


In truth, this letter to you is the beginning of a series of prolonged rants that I wish to commit to paper, so I am trying my hand just a little bit at the memoir writing business. The title for my book, which will then be a boxed set and next a multi-billion dollar TV show no doubt, is “Don’t Fill The Water Buckets When You Need to Pee!” – The philosophy of farming according to MOI! I think this will be the true gem of my farming life – turning it into amusingly entertaining stories for all those farmer wannabees who never actually go and do it. Which I am not.


Another Off-Grid Homestead!

Always exciting to visit another off-grid establishment! A little while ago I had the privilege of visiting another off-grid family and experience a bit of their property. The property itself is close to 300 acres and is complete with a house, a cabin, many watering holes and a beautiful hill-side view as well as cattle and a very friendly dog. This particular family has been living this way for significantly longer than my family and it was interesting to hear about the trials and tribulations that they had experienced over the years, as well as the obvious rewards of the lifestyle. Below are a few pictures to illustrate my favorite moments from the trip:
Off-grid meals cooked without running water or electricity. Major success!

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Off-Grid Chick learned how to cut her own planks! Not as simple as it seems. Basic math required. Not always my strong suit.


Cabin view! Can’t beat it.

Favorite part of the whole adventure: Bath tub in the middle of a field looking out onto the acreage. Not a house in sight. The tub is connected to a pond by a black pipe that gets hot in the sun. Turn on the water in the afternoon and you have a hot bath with a view. Bliss.
IMG_20150607_200634Take away from this trip: I am excited for the day when our property is settled in its ways as this property is.I am excited for the day when we aren’t constantly digging up ground to build something new, the day when all our greenhouses and permaculture adventures have been completed, and when all necessary fencing has been put in so that the cows don’t get out AGAIN. Until then, we will continue to plug along and invest time and energy into this incredible dream…