Sale Day

has been and gone.
I woke Wednesday morning, after a terribly restless nights sleep. The nerves were all ready in action, the day had arrived.

My husband was long gone from bed, getting up at 5am to finish the last laps of placing his farming life in the front paddock. I could hear the 4 wheeler rushing around, back and forth, sounding almost as if time was running out.

One thing about my husband he is a perfectionist, especially when it came to his farm machinery. Everything was cleaned, serviced and neat as a pin when put out in that front paddock. This is how he is with all his machinery. Everything is cared for in the most amazing manner.
I believe that due to this care of his machinery, it made a huge difference on sale day.

I did the school bus run at 8am, cars were already coming down the long dusty drive even though the sale was still two hours away. My nervousness hit a new level, it finally kicking in that today was the day, this was real and I wasn’t in a dream. At the bus drop off point there was the sign – CLEARING SALE – pointing back towards where I had just come, another reality sign.

At 10am we went an stood at where the bidding was to begin. Our old red truck loaded up with smaller items on the tray, having been picked over for hours already. The auctioneer thanked everyone for coming, told them that this was one of the most well organised, best presented and well done clearing sales that they will have ever been at.

Then the bidding began.

My heart stopped for a second, this wasn’t real was it? One item gone, the next started, how quick it was happening. I turned and had to walk away as the tears were coming. I walked towards the sheds, running into my sister-in-laws, this being their original family home. I was met with tears from them. Together we all walked out into the paddock, escaping the sound of the auctioneer, his voice the reminder of why we were all here today.

We decided to go and see the old Vickers tractor, childhood memories abundant for my sister-in-laws. We stood there talking, them remembering playing for hours on it, how it had always been there in that same spot and now here it was about to be ripped from it’s home.

There’s a lot of people affected by the sale of our farm. Not only my own family, but the brothers, sisters, Aunts, Uncles, nieces, nephews and the list goes on. Then there is the community, the loss of children from the school, the loss of trade as yet another family leaves due to the drought. Can these small communities continue to survive if one by one families leave. Are we going to see new ghost towns cropping up in the future?

The bidding continued, the walk to the tractor helped a lot. The talking helped even more.

People crowded around, watching, listening, bidding. Oh and they bid! We can’t be sore at the prices we got, these wonderful people knew their stuff, knew they were getting lovingly cared for machines. I wonder if they knew that they were helping us so much with just a raise of their hands, each one helping to get us back, fight back, against the drought.

It didn’t take long to get to the big stuff, even though it was quite a few hours. Time seemed to fly, or perhaps it was just that my head was all over the place that time wasn’t registering. My nerves reached that peak again, knowing that this was the stuff that we really needed to sell to get us out of strife.
The first few big things went well, but when we got to the header and versatile, things stood still. Not a bid was recorded on either.
My heart sunk, the tears welled, the crowd moved on.

The bidding finally ended, we did really well, selling all but the two large machines. I have been reassured that they will sell, maybe not just now. I hope, I hope so much they do.

Anyone in need of a header or versatile, let me know. They are well cared for machines, better than new as they have our memories living within them.

Sheep and being 3.

We had to start selling our sheep a few months back. We sold them in groups, bits at a time, with still a few here to sell.

The first two groups of sheep were sold, a the truck turned up to pick them up.

3 year old son, his ears pricking up at the sound of a truck bustling down the dusty dry road to the farm, running to the window excitement in his voice – “Mum it’s a truck, there’s a truck coming”.

From behind the house yard gate he stood and watched, watched as they loaded the sheep, filling the top deck then down to the lower.

“Mum, where are the sheep going?”. I stop and wonder what to say, will he understand? I tell him we have to sell the sheep, that another man was taking them to his farm to look after them as we did not have any more feed for the sheep. He looks at me, the sadness crossing his face “He can’t take my sheep, they are my sheep and I am going to get them back.”

I swallow the lump that has grown in my throat not knowing what to say, I mean what can you say to a little one like him who has farming in his blood ?

I am dreading the day, the clearing sale day, when he sees all ‘his’ farm machinery being taken away.

I wish it had rained.

The sale of our lives.

As I sit here writing this my dear wonderful husband is outside driving back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

He’s not moving sheep or carting grain or any such thing, he is out there driving back and forth, putting his whole life – the last 28 years of work out in our front paddock.

It’s not his fault, nor mine nor anyone we know, it’s the bloody weather.

Two years running we’ve had failed crops, had to use our money to save our sheep to keep them fed, hoping and praying that it would soon rain and save us.

Our land was sold last October, all of it. The land that had taken years to acquire, blood sweat and tears. The clearing sale is on Wednesday, the reason why my husband is driving back and forth, back and forth. Piece by piece they are lined up waiting for the eager buyers trying to snatch up a bargain. Piece by piece parts of our lives are put on show.  Remember the truck bought back in 1980, the first Land Cruiser back in ’79, the new Header bought in ’03 – they’re all there with the rest of the machinery, lined up waiting silently for their new owners, ready to say farewell to the one who cared and looked after them so well.

We got a tease from the rain early last year, wonderful opening rains, tempting us to sow our crops – work those long long hours, slave to the tractor, the tractor he loves. I wonder if he knew it would be the last time he’d sow a crop? I wonder if he ever thought that it would come to this, that the world that he loves, the only world he has ever know would come to an end, all because of the bloody weather.

I can’t begin to imagine how my husband is feeling. I know I am numb, that the tears well in my eyes when I think of how it is all ending, how the farming life that I have grown to love is about to come to an abrupt end. I think of the smile in his eyes when he knew he’d be out on his tractor for weeks on end. The happiness in his voice when talking about his crops, the joy of gliding through them with the Header. He’d bounce out of bed at 4am eager, with a spring in his step.

They say farming is in your blood and I believe this to be so. Before I met my husband I would have laughed at the thought, but not now, not now knowing is pulses through his veins, the love of the land, the openness, the everyday coming and goings of being a farmer. Then an end to it all like that, no rain, no crops, no life. But still we go on.

Will our children suffer not growing up as farm kids? Will they remember the blue sky’s, the contrasting red earth, the joy or riding on dad’s lap as they go yet another round of the paddock in the header?

At shearing time, the smell of the shed, the laughter at dinner time when swapping yarns with shearers. Lying in the wool, sheep bleating, dogs barking the drone of the shears.

Our life continues, even though right now most of it is sitting out in our front paddock. Come Wednesday the new chapter begins. Through the tears and heartache we will struggle, fighting back the feelings of hopelessness, the total loss of what was ours. It will be a sad day, I know I will become more numb. I will stand and be strong for my husband as to me he is the one who is losing so much.

Just remember that we are the fortunate ones even though right now it doesn’t seem so, we are.

Love to you my dear husband x x x