When family come to the farm they arrive with an up to five year old memory of the place. Where they expect a summer dust-bowl, spring is green, lush and leaping. The garden now shields the house, the walnut trees are about to bear, the fencing abounds and sheep bob. Every square inch of the place is now in use, with chooks and pigs to come. They listen to our boast that this is a 200 year project with patronising bemusement. They question our carbon credentials because of our prunings’ fires:
Not recognising that this pile is a tiny percentage of last year’s growth nor noticing the adjacent metal pole topped with a solar panel powering our satellite directed water channel gate that directs water to our dam.
And the questions … not learned insightful observations, but groping incomprehension delivered with urban arrogance. You don’t learn how to maintain an orchard at the pool, the gym or over coffee.
I am being hard on our city cousins but they do not feel the pressure to get the orchard floor clean prior to fertigation with bud burst imminent and copper spraying needed. There were twenty rows of umbrella sedge to be whipper-snipped. Down to seven now after this weekend.
The women say to my wife that she needs more female friends; but if she is managing the production and marketing she has to speak with blokes. Few women have roles in manufacturing, marketing, shearing, plumbing, welding, sheet metal, irrigation maintenance, earthmoving, fencing or trucking.
The farm is a unique world. Having city family here for the weekend reinforces that fact.