Farm Jenga and Childcare revisited – July

Toilet seats and Target – July 2013 Episode 2
January 21, 2014
Mother’s group and barley soup – June Episode 2
January 21, 2014

When I first heard the term ‘air seeder’ I had this image of an uncomplicated piece of machinery resembling a long line of downward facing paintball guns that would somehow magically use oxygen to propel the different varieties of seed to exactly the right depth and spacing they require to flourish. While parts of that description proved to be right the term uncomplicated is not one I am ever likely to associate with this crucial yet highly temperamental piece of machinery.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances that I will not go into detail around the labour situation on the farm reached crisis point halfway through seeding, the situation was exacerbated due to the fact Wifey was also sporting a very attractive cast on her arm following an incident on the netball court. All this led to me getting my hands dirty in a variety of ways other than scrubbing errant pieces of excrement from the kid’s cloth nappies.

One of the more simple sounding yet overall challenging tasks was clearing a paddock of some wood that would impede the aforementioned air seeder. My father in law described them as ‘sticks’ however they seemed a lot more ‘log’ like when hefting them onto the back of the family ute. Having assumed that disposing of the wood would be In fact the easy part of this endeavour you can imagine my dismay when I was faced with what could be best described as a psychotic game of Jenga on the tray of the ute which took a lot longer than I thought possible to disentangle.

On the subject of how long it takes to complete various jobs around a farm I have actually come up with a set of formulas that can be applied to most situations that a novice farmer’s husband or indeed farmer’s husband in waiting can apply to pretty much any situation they may face.

Before I start it is important to note these are only a guide however they are based on over five years of empirical research on the completion times my Wife and Father in law have given me for various undertakings:

(A) = time in minutes you were told it would take to do……..

1. Sheep work = (A) multiplied by 2.75 (3.25 in summer as dogs get tired quicker and are always looking for either water or shade)

2. Machinery work = (A) multiplied by 3 (this can blow out to as much as 5 times originally stipulated time if you have to go and pick up a part from town)

3. Work around seeding of harvest = (A) multiplied by 2 (normally most accurately predicted part of farming as it takes so bloody long all estimates are given in days rather than minutes)

I promised an update on the childcare centre in this blog and even though it has taken me so long most of the kids attending are probably almost old enough to have their own kids by now I thought it worthwhile to give you a quick overview. Since I last wrote the situation got worse and as per my prediction we had set a date when we would have to close the doors, this was a very emotional decision for all involved and one of the hardest things I have ever had to make a call on. What happened next defied belief as within two days of making this decision our little Childcare Centre was the beneficiary of the rarest of miracles in the form of a quick turnaround by a State Government Department on a funding submission.

While not completely saving the day the grant we received has allowed us to keep operating while also providing the funding to investigate alternative ways of ensuring our community will have Childcare services in the future. This good piece of news also allowed me to renew my shortlived love affair with the Midwest media which was every enjoyable although did allow one of my brothers to get a decent sledge in about me having a face for radio.

When I found out Wifey was pregnant with our second child I was convinced it was another girl and as such was completely shocked when at the 20 week scan a somewhat reluctant sonographer announced that we would be having a boy. This prompted me to ask “Are you sure? I was positive we were having another girl” to which a slightly peeved sonographer replied “That kind of question is exactly why I don’t like telling people what they are having” which I guess is fair enough. This however was not the end of the story as so in shock was I on hearing the news that I would have a son Wifey had to drive home…. not my proudest moment as a husband.

Once I got used to the idea the thought of having son became very appealing, as a bloke who is big on occasions I envisaged big milestones we would share like teaching him to drive (although since Wifey has been driving since she was seven I probably won’t get a look in), taking him for his first (legal) beer and that most hallowed of manly traditions in the form of our first chat while standing together at the urinal trough in a pub toilet. If you will indulge me it is the last point I would like to expand on as this was a milestone that ZCP and I shared roughly 17 years and 7 months earlier than planned.

It was in fact one glorious Autumnal day that I found myself wandering around the local IGA with a half full trolley of shopping and the little man safely ensconced in his Baby Bjorn. It was at this point that the 500ml can of Mother I had consumed as part of an extremely healthy, sleep deprived breakfast started to take effect. Having no other choice other than to abandon my shopping trolley and head for the public facilities I immediately started to ponder the logistics of relieving myself with ZCP in tow.

In hindsight the smart thing to do would have been to use the disabled toilet where I could have taken the little man out of the B.Bjorn and put him on the change table however it was after struggling to undo my button fly jeans (another rookie mistake) that I found myself standing at the urinal trough sharing the most manly of moments with my 5 month old son. It is my hope that the mental scarring ZCP suffered on that day will fade over the years and we will be able to have a good chuckle about it when he turns 18.

Just a quick comment on the subject of buttons on clothes before signing off. While my button fly jeans were undoubtedly a mistake this pales into insignificance when compared to the decision by some baby clothes manufacturers to use buttonholes. The twenty something chai latte sipping designers who probably think buttons look so ‘shiek cute’ on kids have quite obviously never tried to dress a squirming 6 month old boy while simultaneously finding a 2 1/2 year old’s favourite episode of Dora on an iPad, seriously guys for the mental wellbeing of parents everywhere please use poppers or even zippers.

Next time I will explore one of the more serious sides of farming in the form of succession planning as well as the deadly serious and somewhat dangerous undertaking of competing in the Target Toy Sale…

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