The last Saturday of the month signals that it's market time in the little town of Nabiac, where local farmers sell their goods proudly and share yarns about the season ahead. It always amazes me how the little town of a few hundred manages to attract such an influx of people, form seasoned farmers to those dabbling in the game. Under the spell of folk music and back paddock tales, it's hard to wonder how interaction in local communities and purchasing local has taken such a beating. Yet as the hawker carts of early years found out, sometimes the temptation of the exotic unknown is enough to trigger consumer response.
My weekend started out under a million stars, as the cold night air filled the space around us, drowning out the sound of heavy horses trying to sleep. We arrived at the St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Day late on Friday night, with a rush to try and find a pen and set up before trying to get some sleep before an early morning. I awoke to the sound of horses playing, horsing around trying to work out who was boss. Somehow Izz found herself in this dispute, so it was straight over to pull her out of the pen and to the wash bays. We got her washed (and somewhat dry) just in time for her class, where she competed with six other horses to take out third place. Not a bad effort for a younger horse with pretty tough competition. What I love about the Heavy Horse industry is the way they bring youth into their network, hosting their own categories and honestly sharing tips and tricks around the show ring. But to my surprise even more, it’s the stories of some of the older breeders taking youth under their wings and giving them a horse to start- that’s the stuff our industry should be doing! It was also great to see a farrier work their magic, alongside whip plaiters and blacksmithing. Many of these lost talents are re-emerging through the maker revolution we find ourselves in- looking for novel, lasting products with purpose. Then it was back home for some cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead, followed by a family lunch. In a change to unwind and slow down again, I found myself searching my tea cupboard looking for the perfect brew. So in the light of an old measuring tool left at the house when we moved in and with an Indigenous art teapot, it was good to just settle. Monday morning I received some news I guess I had been expecting, yet something I didn’t want to hear. Dad called to say my Grandfather in Boorowa was severely unwell and that they were heading down to see him and my Nan. Standing around the hospital bed, it was clear that his wisdom and patience was no longer for this world. That his way with chainsaws and sheep would be encapsulated in time, waiting for stories and his journals to be unearthed to discover what he really was thinking. With a heavy heart, in the early hours of Tuesday morning he passed away, out of pain and leaving a massive hole in the family and small little town.
Last weekend was spent strolling through the local park for the Gloucester Farmers Markets and exploring the local shops, looking at what was around. Local native flowers danced with biodynamic sourdough and ironbark honey to create home, with beeswax wraps and horse gear preparing us for the week ahead. The trip around town also reminded me and sparked again my interest in their role in our nation. Needing to mow the lawn meant that a new whipper snipper was needed, with the guy able to pinpoint which house we had bought and making recommendations for what we need. It’s these little things from small businesses that truly distinguish our towns from the bustling streets. Following a Mother’s Day lunch, Sunday afternoon was spent reading and dreaming of things to come. During a morning run on Monday, I was brought to tears after reflecting my family’s history in this small town. My Grandfather worked in the same mechanics garage for 50 years in the main street, struggling to raise 5 boys, run their farm and help my Great Grandfather on top of everyday life. Today, all that work lost to bad accounting at the mechanics that saw his super ‘lost’ and his work ethic taken advantage of. This week also took me back to the farm to look at cows with Dad, learning through the conversation and making calls on the weather and nature to help see us through the winter. With no cattle to sell now for a few months, it is the anticipation of calves from our new bull on the mind and the hope for a better season. Then an early morning back to Sydney for a project meeting and a trip back to freezing Wagga. I have recently been selected as one of AgriFutures Ignite Panel Members, with some incredible youth from across Australia, to discuss the issues of importance to us. Conversations were thrilling with different takes, different snapshots and different experiences, all leading to some great ideas and advice for us to provide. This weekend is a big heavy horse weekend for us- taking Izz to compete in a led horse class and watching gentle giants plough fields and plant seed. Hooroo and until next week, JG
The world is a busy place and I've often found myself pondering inside the realms of tireless newsfeeds and double taps, seeking answers in a world we grasp in our hands, yet one so far from reality. Having spent time reflecting back on the farm and in my hometown of Boorowa, I started pondering where we find joy and comfort, and what my legacy will be to those that follow many generations from now.