Walnut trees take up to ten years to pay their way. You can’t put food on the table during that time without alternative employment. My wife and I have worked. For me, its three days in town but it is not unrelated to farming.
Walking to buy lunch I bumped into the niece of the man who first took our walnuts to the Melbourne market, somewhat reluctantly at first, until the first night. She had worked for us prior to taking maternity leave. Her father grows the grapes our grandfatherly walnut mentor uses to lay down his reds to have with his to-be-believed salami.
‘Do you miss me every day?” she asked.
“Every minute of every day.”
Off to buy the newspaper and dream of purchasing the farms for sale, buying up the clearance sales and the advertised machinery, to sit in the park to eat lunch. I watch the passing traffic, the stock trucks from market; and those with fruit bins full of peaches, apples, apricots and lemons. I observe which vehicles have been selected for each of their purposes- to carry stock, service, tradesman or family. There have been more European vans and utes on the roads this year. Why is that?
At work there is much to learn. I speak with farmers about the recent trend for Chinese buyers to pick up walnut farms, dairy and accommodation. We agree that they do not seem to have much knowledge or experience in this type of farming. I learn of Walnuts Australia developing over 300,000 hectares near Leeton and where to launch a boat on Lake Eilden to catch brown trout.