Two deliveries and a sale

farm lamb sunday roast

It’s been quite a big fortnight for me and I mean quite big in the same way that a werewolf Sean Connery would be quite hairy (although not on top, which would raise the possibility of a combover werewolf; terrifying yet also funny in a sad kind of way. “You know you’re not fooling anyone…aiiiieeeeeeee”)

Anyway two weeks ago Eva was born and it does not so much turn your life upside down as create its own space in your brain that squashes everything else out of the way. Although not in a way that creates a large bulge in my forehead and the urgent need to take a piss every thirty minutes. She’s also absolutely adorable and makes me laugh, which are great qualities to start life with.

We also managed to get issue 10 of SPICE off to the printers. Well when I say we, I mean everyone else and me distractedly checking commas and apostrophes and asking if it’d kill us if we got it out on the 7th instead of the 1st.

The other thing was the family farm’s clearing sale, last Friday. A clearing sale is a kind of garage sale but with heavy machinery and drinks afterwards. It also means that the family farm is sold and so ends my father’s forty years on a wheat and sheep farm and my family’s 80 year ownership of the wheatbelt property.I grew up there and it was as a good a childhood as anyone could want – I was rarely priveleged. By my teens, the appeal had waned; it became holiday farm work through uni; and by my twenties I’d supplanted my home town of twenty with the 14 million person megalopolis of Tokyo. Although things changed on the farm there was always something I could relate that linked to some part of my life. On the day, most of theses things were lain out in straight lines in the paddock and all that was left in the workshop were the neatly painted labels of where the tools once went.

It was a hot day, the wind blew with dust all day, my first car struggled to raise $50, and I’ve never enjoyed a can(s) of mid-strength beer so much. The sale went well beyond all expectations, I only got one ‘why didn’t you take over the farm’ question, and a lot of people weren’t shy in saying how they’d miss my Dad.

I took two things with me; the Cramphorne wool bale stencils and a leg of lamb from the freezer. This was from one of the sheep on the farm and, as they aren’t there anymore, it’s the last of the lamb. I roasted it old-style with garlic and rosemary stuffed into slits in the meat and we had our Sunday roast together. Eva didn’t quite make it up to the farm and she’s a few months away from solids but whatever Toni eats, she gets eventually. And so in an odd, indirect way, the farm became part of her.

filing cabinet farm lamb

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  1. santos.’s avatar

    it has only been tweeks? it seems like she has been here forever. well, i suppose it is her forever.

    ah. the farm. i tip my hat off to it and its place in your life. at least your family had the choice to sell it rather than having it taken from you. sad that is not the atypical case in the world today.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Well two and a half now but yes. I remember when we noted her forst 24 hours and that felt like forever (in the nicest possible way)

    Thanks. Yes more than a few people have walked off with nothing so it’s luxury. Hasn’t been the easiest decision or time for my Dad but he finished on a good note. The new onwner (a neighbour) has promised not to shoot on sight if I go and visit.

  3. Francis Xavier Holden’s avatar

    man i used to love a good clearing sale. I used to go for work and fun. I had the cattle truck so looked for cartage and also looked for an oppurtunity. I often used to buy whole sets of sheds etc for removal and then on sell them one at a time to individual cockies who couldn’t buy a whole lot.

    I think thats why I still haunt op shops and hard rubbish chuckouts.

    Hope it went ok

  4. Gracianne’s avatar

    it is strange that both events should happen at the same time, a new life, and the end of the farm as you have known it.
    I really liked your note, nostalgia and happiness – and food – mixed together.

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    That’s very entrepreneurial of you FX, as we were saying, it’s the analogue eBay. I think you would have liked this one, lots of stuff and generally a good vibe about the whole thing. If you click on the filing cabinet you can see a set of pics.

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    It’s as life should be Gracianne, perhaps not all in the space of a week but it’s what life should be.

    There was music too! I got to see The Scientists two days after Eva was born. They’ve been my favourite band since I was 16 but never got to see them live as they broke up not long after. They were fabuloous.

  7. Jeanne’s avatar

    That’s real circle of life stuff – one thing ends as another begins. I don’t know if I could cope with seeing the place I grew up in sold, even though I pretty much know that one day it will be inevitable. Glad to hear your dad is leavign on his own terms though and not forced to sell. Now he’ll have more time to be a doting grandad!

  8. Barbara’s avatar

    Great post Anthony. Out with the old, in with the new. When we sold our farm the new owners ( who turned it into a Margaret River vineyard) told us where the gate key was hidden so we could visit whenever we wanted.

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Hi Jeanne
    Yeah I had mixed feelings (and the weight of the ancestors) but I guess the land will always be there and when it’s all said and done – it’s a house and a business.
    We’ve cut him a bit of slack for the first month to adjust but there will be doting duties.

    That’s really sweet of them. I don’t think there’ll be a vineyard in Muntadgin in a hurry (Climate Change anomalies notwithstanding)

  10. santos.’s avatar

    won’t the sheep be surprised if there was….

  11. Nellie’s avatar

    Clearing sales were the stuff of childhood adventure and extreme boredom for me Anthony, I havent thought about them in years! Hope you are not too sad about the passing of the ancestral pile. And good to hear about the (indirect) passing on of the fruits of the land to Eva. And that you all are doing well.

  12. Anthony’s avatar

    Oh I know. I remember seemingly endless hours sitting in Coventries while the finer details of a hydraulic hose coupling were being discussed. As soon as I was old enough i got rid of my attention span and the rest was history.
    All doing very well and with his share-owned greyhound winning $800, a new door opens for my Dad.

  13. Anonymous’s avatar

    Little late, but so glad I came back to Spice for a visit. Loved the photos of the clearing sale, lots of folded arms (accentuated by the sawn off shirts) and crampthorne dust. Someone else mentioned nostalgia and I felt it too remembering hairy trips down the firebreak on the CR80 for a dip in the Georgeff pool.

  14. Anthony’s avatar

    I feel ashamed I don’t have a single sawn off shirt. Know what you mean about the CR80 – 40kmh and 40cm from the ground.

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