I don’t participate much in the physical running of the farm, it frankly doesn’t interest me, but autumn brings what is becoming a family tradition – the picking of the fireweed. Although it looks kind of pretty with it’s bright yellow flowers, fireweed is dangerous for cattle and if left can spread over an entire paddock in a very short space of time. Some of the properties around us haven’t kept on top of it, so it inevitably spreads to us.
So every autumn when the fireweed begins to show, we all head out to the paddocks to fill big hessian bags full of the stuff. Tippi has fun because it feels like picking flowers, and what little girl doesn’t love that. So we walk, and pick and chat in the cool, afternoon sun.
I’ve learned a few things on these fireweed missions:
1. We have paddocks in Australia, not fields. They are never to be referred to as fields.
2. Baby cows are NOT calfies. They are calves. No exceptions.
3. It is apparently not funny or cute to refer to alpacas as llamas, its irritating. Which is funny, don’t you think? Farmer Andy doesn’t seem to think so. And no, we can’t have one for a pet.
4. Blackberry bushes are also a weed, even if they do make good pies, so they all got ripped out and now I wish we had just one.
5. We also can’t have geese, or a peacock, or goats for pets, although I haven’t given up on some of those yet. Peacocks eat baby snakes. I want a peacock.
6. A heifer is a girl cow, a steer is a boy cow that’s had his privates removed. Actually I’m not sure if I’ve got that right.
At this time of year, there’s massive moths – or are they bats – as big as my hand fluttering at the glass doors at night trying to get in to the light and scare the crap out of me. But at least the snakes have gone to bed for the winter. Although, does the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having mean they might still be up?
And it’s bonfire season. Still, clear nights spent outside in big, warm coats eating sausages in buns, talking shit, burning shit, stars like you’ve never seen them before. Pass me the red, will you?