My two Australorp chooks, Pesky and Blanche d’Alpuget, get fed each morning before I do. Or all hell breaks loose.
And, hell or not, I feed them before myself as that’s essential - they depend on me for their food.
Feeding them this morning reminded me of how all of we 7 billion humans need to eat, too, each day.
It may be easier for me, and others who’ve lived on farms, to expect the unexpected, including catastrophic weather.
Floods, droughts, pests, rat or mice or locust plagues tell farmers of the uncertainties threading day to day life, how the weather has the last say. Farm life can be a gift helping us to choose to see Earth life as it really is.
This photo shows one such gift I got there. It’s probably the 1956 flood when our farms near the Lachlan river, NSW, were cut off for four months.
No school. Instead, kids came by boat and horseback to a temporary school in the old first farm house on our place. Like lords of the dries we played on the hill there, surrounded by flood water.
The photo shows the flood waters in the background, the chook run in the middle, the dunny in the foreground with the grapevine and track to the left to the house out of the photo.
It was probably taken by a neighbour who owned a Gypsy Moth biplane. He would fly over, throw out a sugar bag with tinned food, turn off the engine to hear mum and dad yell out if they were ok, then turn it back on to fly to the next farm. The photo shows how close he got to the house.
Despite that flood mum and dad kept farming until dad had taken up the farm fences 17 times after which he sold and bought farms up north on hill country. (When a flood comes the tie wires on the bottom of the miles of fences have to be cut so the logs and debris carried by the flood waters flow through, don’t bring down the fences.)
You may wish to read about some solutions for growing food in our cities and farms that I offered last week in my column in the online magazine The Fifth Estate about water, floods, droughts and the breaking climate and changing seasons. Feedback very welcome, of course.