Another Bale of Golden Fleece

Down Kenyu Road the lambs play, darting optimistically to a new season and the chance of later rain. It’s a road I’ve come to love, every turn, every rolling green hill nestled in the landscape and each tree guarding from the weather above. Just out past the coffee shop and bridge where it all started.

Saturday started with a morning of cattle work, tagging new calves and providing a new lot of molasses around the farm. Fresh braford calves thrived despite a harder season, moving with ease around greening paddocks. Their personalities are shared with the older cows, carefully guiding them through the yards and around the paddocks. It was then off to Boorowa, floating down the highway to a shearing start, out where the red dirt flows and sheep flood the town once a year.

It’s shearing time at Amerton, the first week of September every year without fail. Normally, it’s the time where we get to ask a few more questions over dinner, edging for a bit more that goes on beyond the gate. Yet this year, it was pretty apparent that things were going to be a bit different. Not just that I could be there, but also the big loss of the Quiet Stockman.

It wasn’t long before the stories came out. The time when water flowed through the shearing shed and of crazy ideas formed over fleece. Bales pressed to the sound of “Another bale of golden fleece” being called out across the shearing floor, full of pride, spirit and love for the wool industry. It was evident he had more of an impact on just the lives of his family.

As sheep moved in and out of the shearing shed, tales and stories flowed from politics to share prices and news around town. Books were written experience rich, of shearers, rousies and classers making their way across properties nearby, with no detail spared of their thoughts.

Yet it’s a comment from Nan that has me wondering, the same question that’s been flowing through my mind. Who continues on the legacy or will the farm just be sold up? How do we keep the farm’s purpose, as it was intended, alive? And how do I tell Nan that I’ve come to love this patch of ground just as much as she does?

As I pack up my stuff to head home tomorrow, I know I want to spend more time here. Like the haunts of farms held in my family before, I want to grasp this one more than ever and keep the tradition alive, rather than having just another story for my children in the future.

“Growing the wool you wear on soil that’s still here”- is the legacy Greg left. I just hope we can still be here too.

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