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By Jody Kopp
WINNER – OPEN AGE CATEGORY
I walk around the farm, remembering days of old, the fun we had the laughter shared, the pigs the chickens and the dogs!
The mango orchard, trees perfectly in rows, the pineapple patch the paw paw trees the passionfruit vine, custard apples and the gunja plot.
The honey we made, being stung a million times, the welts and the itch I am surprised we didn’t die! It hurt so bad each time you were stung, but we all wanted to be the one who walked into the house proudly, with the golden magic liquid and placed it on the kitchen bench!
Each morning was egg collection in the chook house to the side, I hated getting the eggs in the morning, too many snakes in the summertime.
We would muck out the chicken house and lay fresh hay, the poo the chicken lay, smelt awful and it was everywhere.
Trying not to vomit and looking out for snakes, you couldn’t help but be weerie when the mice jumped and scurried as snakes weren’t far behind.
I’ve killed so many with one foul strike, not giving it a chance, either with the shovel or the rake! We all cheered the victories of killing snakes.
Being from the desert you see the green ants, mozzies and midgies drove me crazy! And anti hestimes saved me time and time again from passing out and convaulting!
Allergic to most things, smothered with rid omgosh that shit drove me up the wall and made me sweat like a pig! Nanna’s precautions all with good intent, as if we got sick we weren’t allowed to come back for holidays again!
June, July and Christmas were the holidays we spent on the farm with our cousins, nan and pop and the neighbours Sally, Dick and Zac!
All chores needed to be done before we could explore as there was always something new and exciting to do on the farm.
Walk the greyhounds, collect the eggs, check the bees, cut sunflowers for the chooks, feed them!
Mow the grass on the ride on slasher, the fun we had on that orange beast, our farm was big so we each got a turn, cutting the grass was my favourite chores!
And then there was the tractor that we’d plow the new plots planting the sunflowers that we fed to the chooks. We drove all over the farm until we conked out and I had to ask pop to fuel us up! he would rave on, swearing and carrying on but would do it all the same! Anytime the tractor moved all 5 of us jumped on, 2 in the front and 3 at the back, the younger ones in the front so as not to fall off.
The adventures we had and the fun times we shared and the trouble we got into, we were usually spared by nana screaming dinner time, set the table and let’s eat!
My Nan was the best cook and prepared our food with love and care, and the smells that came out of her kitchen made your tummy rumble wanting more, we always had sweeties after dinner, normally custard and cake, frozen mango and ice cream or even plain old honey on fresh bread, whatever you wanted dinner time was fair game as each night the table was set like a banquet for each of us to eat to our hearts content! Chutney and chillies, bulchung and bread, savoury biscuits and all the sauces and condements, pickled vegetable from the garden, honey and cheese, butter and fresh herbs!
Dinner time was family time, where we all talked over teach other and shared our day, with nana screaming one at a time
After dinner and when everything was clean and put away, Pop would give us a night cap, so slight of thick red port, that was like syrup that gave us a tingle in our bellies that made us sleepy for bed!
Bedtimes were always fun too, where nana would tell us stories of long ago, the adventures she had when she was young or where she was from, or how she met pop, the camping trips the fish she caught, the adventures she had she lived a full happy life!
And just before we all nodded off she would pray a prayer of protection and made sure we all said Amen.
And the day would then start all over again, and the weeks would go quickly before we returned home, the good old days on the farm made us grateful and happy we had each other, fought and laughed, but never forgot the crazy, unique, perfect on Nana Fred and Pop Kev’s farm!
With love dedicated to Freda and Kev Manski.