On February 15 2015 I posted “a View From The Farm” on SST explaining that I had just moved to the country from the city and opining about what I saw happening to American foreign policy at the time. This is an update, I would have posted more earlier except for one reason I will explain later.
But first, the farm. Since this is the Third country place I’ve owned and I’m getting older; I subscribe to the dictum “”If there is a power tool for the job, then buy one”. First purchase was a little Kubota diesel tractor with digger and loader attachments. This is a perfect choice for me, everything is balanced and works nicely. I then found out why – it’s optimized for cemetery work – digging and filling graves. That was followed by ride on mower, a new chainsaw and unpacking all my tools, my friends, that had remained in storage for about Ten years..
So armed, I commenced the task of, as I thought. “tidying a few things up”. This has, naturally, involved considerable expense. In order to keep my partner happy and productive, this has so far included: replacing the less than tasteful blue vinyl kitchen benchtops with solid timber along with the stove, sink, dishwasher, wood heater and hot water system. After that I’ve added solar hot water and a nine kilowatt solar electricity system.
In the garden. I removed Nine Cyprus pines that in my opinion had been strategically placed to incinerate the house in the event of a bushfire. We then started on cleaning up the pool and tennis court and began to construct a vegetable garden, about the same size as the tennis court, with raised beds and suitable fencing to keep out the kangaroos and wombats. We have some help in all of this from the Three sons and daughters in law we have between us and we have Four spare bedrooms just in case.
Ah yes! The wild life. We decided not to buy cattle last Spring as they were expensive and we had a very dry season with not much feed. However we are home to a permanent group of about Twenty Eastern Gray Kangaroos on our place although numbers fluctuate. I can see them grazing as I write this. Then there are the wombats who are inoffensive – provided they don’t decide to dig under your house. They are stubborn animals. Then there are Red, Fallow and Sambur deer who visit us in groups of around Five to Ten most mornings. As for the birds that visit our bird table; Cockatoos, Magpies, Rosellas and my especial favorite the King Parrots some of which I can feed by hand.
All in all a desirable location and retreat. We have a snow fed river on our boundary, so we have pumping rights for our gardens. That has proved vital because we had a very dry spring and all our new garden plantings were at risk. We have great neighbors. We help each other and enjoy their company, well almost all of them. We have one “miss crabby face” schoolteacher near us who complains to the council about all of us at the slightest opportunity, my turn came one Saturday when I was zeroing the .308 and the .223 and she called the police telling them I was massacring wombats!
However so much for domestic bliss.
Then on 24th February 2016 my partner was diagnosed with breast cancer. Quite advanced, but hopefully successfully treatable. Some SST members may remember my late partner died of cancer so I have some skills, I hope, in supporting her through the treatment and surgery that lies ahead of us. One comfort is that the pair of us are covered by platinum level medical insurance for the princely sum of about Six thousand dollars a year, and my partner and I are both satisfied that she is getting the best care from a top flight team of surgeons and oncologists in a perfect setting. Our friends and neighbors are supportive.
. “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans” is the Jewish saying. so now everything is on hold and we live one day at a time. This years trip to Europe, already booked, is cancelled. I guess it just goes to show that at our age we need to be conscious that one day all this merriment is going to end. Hopefully for SST members and our leader Col. Lang, not before we see some resolution to the mess that is American middle east policy. My personal hope is that Donald Trump becomes President and uses his undoubted business skills to clean out the Washington stables. I guess to make a positive observation, things are so bad in foreign and domestic policy these days that there are many and obvious areas for improvement in the economy and society generally if only the legions of politically correct commissars can be ejected from their cosy positions.