Saturday, 13 December 2008

True Blue Aussie Country


At 9.30 last night, P got a phone call to tell him there was a fire at the back of our property. That extra-bright, extra-big full moon must have inspired someone to extra-lunatic behaviour and they’d put a match to the dry grass on both sides of the road. So it was burning into our wheat stubble and into a pasture paddock on the other side, dangerously near to a neighbour’s house. Fortunately there wasn’t a breath of wind last night and the humid day had left a lot of moisture on the ground. Those who turned up to fight it were able to get it under control before too much harm was done.

It has always fascinated me that when something like this happens out here in the country, the whole neighbourhood turns up to help. These days the local volunteer fire-fighters are issued with protective clothing, but they’ve always done it, regardless of the danger. Some farmers have lost their lives fighting fires on others’ properties, but it deters no one.

When Eldest was little, a spark from a power line set fire to the paddock just across the creek from our house. That day the wind was raging and the fire shot down the hill into the nearly dry creek and the trees along the banks. Within minutes, about thirty farmers had turned up with their water tanks on the back of their utes. Again, they managed to get it out before it did too much damage.

It’s not just fire fighting that rallies them either. A couple of years ago, P’s dad, well into his seventies, fell from the back of the header whilst trying to tighten a belt. He broke some ribs and was quite ill for a long time afterwards. P was suffering at that stage from untreated anxiety attacks and depression and seeing his father age ten years like that nearly sent him over the edge. He found it really difficult to get back to the task of harvesting on his own. Then in rolled a neighbour with his big green header, twice the size of the one we had. He took off the rest of the crop in a third of the time it would have taken P, while P took on the less stressful role of driving the truck to the bins. We payed him, of course, but the fact remains that he had finished his own harvest and faced the prospect of a couple of week’s relative relaxation before Christmas, but he gave it up to help a neighbour out. True country spirit.

P finished harvest for this year last Tuesday. Last night one of the neighbours fighting the fire told him that his header had broken down and didn’t look likely to be fixed for quite a while. He faced the prospect of not finishing his harvest until the new year. Today P is back on his header, going around that neighbour’s paddocks, taking off his crop for him. It’s what you do. True Blue.

Now here's a little more True Blue Aussie Country -

6 comments:

Rena said...

Glad to hear it got put out, especially this time of year. Did you take that picture? It reminds me of Montana. I've heard Aussies say Montana reminds them of Oz too. I live in a valley surrounded by mountain ranges, but as soon as you start driving away, it looks a lot like your picture, especially with the wheat fields and rolling open lands. I'm surrounded by pine trees and mountains, so sometimes I forget how much of Montana is prairie land.

Luc2 said...

It's really that sense of community that is mostly lacking in modern-day society. Today's society is influenced by the principles of the French Revolution (Liberté, égalité, fraternité), but people seem to be focused on their own equal opportunities, at the cost of a sense of brotherhood.
My father was raised in a kibbutz in Israel, where the socialist system curbed many freedoms, but did have a strong sense of community. Today, the kbbutz is liberalized, and the sense of brotherhood has decreased rapidly.
Nice story, Kate.

Kate said...

Rena, P took the photo and yes it is taken on our farm. In winter, when it's lush green, I'm told it looks just like the south of England!

I agree entirely Luc, which is why I wouldn't live in the city for all the money in the world. The 'Me' society is why the financial world is in the state it's in at the moment.

C.R. Evers said...

Wow! HOw scary. So glad you are ok!

Brenda said...

Farmers from all over the world must be just like this...When the barn burned down on Hub's family farm, other farmers came from all over the county to make sure they had enough feed for the cows and to lend a hand any way they could...

It was an amazing thing to see...

I'm glad you guys were able to get things under control before too much damage could be done...Hugs...

Jane Smith said...

SO glad you got the fire under control: it's a scary thing. And your photo of your farm is gorgeous: I can see how it might look like southern England when it's green.