This weekend was the weekend that we have been building towards. So yards are getting built. The shade cloth was going up. The shed was getting finalised. All because out in the paddock were some fairly woolly animals that were in need of attention. Parker has a nice handful of sheep that will take an average Shearer a good day to shear.
The shearing was booked. Not the usual fella, but the recommended second-best. The caterers were prepared. The volunteer workers signed on. Ready for a day of shearing.
I spent the first good two hours just observing and as a result I got to see a little bit closer how it all happens.
Old mate grabs his sheep from the double swinging doors and gets into it.
The Rouseabout starts collecting the bits of wool that won’t be part of the fleece. Parker is the wool classer and he’s there ready to grab the fleece and lay it out over the table. The skirtings are removed and the fleece is put into its wool type. Meanwhile the shearer is already nearing completion of the next sheep.
It’s a well oiled production line here that almost doesn’t need my help actually and that’s fine with me. Cos I don’t speak sheep. Parker does. I eat lamb, I wear wool. I like sheep, but I speak cattle.
Old mate didn’t seem to understand that statement… keep advising me on all the things… and without fail I said with pride “Mate! I don’t speak sheep! Better go chat with Parker!”
And then it came time to be a sheep wrangler.
See all those lovely Shawn sheep needed drenching and a lice backline. So I put my cattle work skills to good use and wrangled those tiny little things over to the gate, allowed them to be treated and released in the holding yard so they could finally get a drink and a bite to eat. It was definitely a big day, possibly bigger day than feedlotting cattle. But a good one.
I’m sitting in the second hand (verge rubbish collection) lounge in front of a glorious fire that Parker built in his bushmans stove saved from a renovation and now installed in his shed. I’m warm enough although it’s definitely wool jumper weather: forcasts of 3 °C overnight and:
frozen tea towels in the morning.
I ponder life. Mine. My family’s lives. Everyone else’s. Meanwhile Kelsie sleeps instead. Maybe she has the better idea.
Where is the line? How much can you forgo if it means you get to be with someone you’d rather be with. Exactly what do you need to have to be living comfortably enough? More than just getting by, but thriving. And in those moments I find a humorous notion to exclaim to my Parker, giggling:
“I love you more than a shower More than a troopy More than a washing machine. I love you more than a toilet…” (All things we don’t currently have. )
We actually have a lot that I am very grateful for. Like a shower at our workplaces. And life is rich and joyful. Mostly because we choose to be so.
We have good food to eat. A stove/oven and that aforementioned fire boils a kettle too. We have a mouse proof cupboard/pantry. (Something to be grateful for after not having such elsewhere.) We have a grand dining table that is almost as magnificent as my parents table. We have running rain water outside, collected from half the roof into a scavenged 7500L repaired tank. Both Parker and I do not have any qualms over using or even repairing secondhand gear if it’s available. We have a modest amount of power: enough to charge my phone which doubles as internet and maybe watch a hard drive movie on my TV. We have a brilliant LED “corn bulb”and hand held battery spotlights too.
Parker calls this our castle! And it is.
I have my dog here, which this time last year had been a serious issue as I was having trouble getting decent employment that included keeping her with me.
I have a cool little bit of an art table set up. I still love playing with markers and watercolours: there’s an Instagram feed to show for all that. However, it has been a long time since I could have art set out and not have to perpetually put it back into boxes.
I am loving the life I share with Parker on the farm. Watching lambs frolic over rock piles and dirt mounds and poddy calves grow strong; Colours of the crops and sunsets over the rolling hills.
Life may not be overly easy here, but it is good.
And of course I love Parker more than a toilet, but my point is that it is love strong enough to go without a porcelain toilet knowing that eventually we will build one here, and that the earth is loving the fertiliser we give it daily.