Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Club on Serendipity

We had book club last night. Our bookclub is called The Sneaky Readers. We meet once a month with the following format. One member chooses the book which we have all hopefully read before the night for review, and they also direct the discussion. Another member hosts the evening and provides red wine followed by coffee and cake.
Sounds terrible, doesn't it? It's murder I can tell you.

We did Fleur McDonald's "Red Dust" last night. Fleur is a local Esperance farmer who manages to juggle working on the family farm, two young children and writing and publishing novels!

The book discussion went down well, so did the red wine and so did the cake. I made the cake that was on the front page of the May edition of Delicious magazine and it is an absolute ripper and to be recommended. In fact, every cake I've ever sampled at Book Club has been delicious, so good that I suggested we compile a 'Book Club Cakes for the Discerning Reader' publication. It would be a sell out I reckon. A slice of delicious cake and a good book to go with it. Yum...

All Sneaky Reader members live in town apart from me, and as we don't have a town house I have to make alternative arrangements when it is my turn to host. Therefore we have it on Serendipity (pictured) which is housed in a pen at The Esperance Bay Yacht Club marina. Let me tell you, getting the other members on and off is often more entertaining than the literary discussion. They have to leap from the marina jetty over an expanse of water, onto the bow of the boat and over a rail. Very amusing to watch, and to their credit we haven't lost anyone in the drink.......yet. Not even Peg Leg Hall who managed to get on and off last night with one leg in a cast. Pretty impressive, especially when faced with the prospect of getting on at a time when the boat is level with the marina, and getting off three of fours hours later when the tide has dropped a metre.

A merry night it is, particularly when we have finished discussing the book and get on to other matters that amuse and titillate the female mind. Last night it was how to botox your nether regions. Apparently it's all the rage!

Personally, given the choice of botoxing my bits or reading a good book, I'd choose the latter!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seeding comes to an end

Seeding is almost at an end here at Hill Plains. I thought I'd better post a picture of 'the rig' that has put the whole 4500 hectares into the ground. Seems funny to think the whole farm is under crop this year having sold all of our sheep due to the shocking late break to the 2008 season.

Canola, wheat, barley and 10 hectares of peas are going in this year. The talk around the kitchen table is all about 'Do we need a bigger seeding bar?' Do we need another header? Do we need another chaser bin?' Boys, please...I know Prime Minister Krudd is encouraging us to spend in order to keep the economy going but there's no need to go crazy. What ever happened to cutting the stuff with a sythe and putting it up in stooks? If the world collapses and we run out of fuel that might be the only solution to getting the harvest in. Scary....all day out in the fields . I'd feel like Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Better get another milking cow.

I keep reminding the husband that it is only fair that I do my own personal bit to help boost the economy, and this time there is no question about it. 'I do need another winter coat. I do need another pair of winter boots. I do need another winter sojourn.'

But as they say....'some seeds fell on stoney ground'.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lovely weather for ducks

At last we've had some rain and as we drove around the farm this morning we came across a mob of ducks on a dam. The collective noun for ducks escapes me for the moment. It's not a flock, I'm sure. This is one of the many things I love about Australia, everything can be lumped under 'mob' in the collective world and no-one contradicts you!

It's been a great week so far and this rain has capped it off. As I watched the dawn come up this morning, silhouetting the shearing shed and the eucalyptus trees, I could hear the steady throb of the tractor engine in a nearby paddock, seeding our barley crop. Above that, the heavenly sound of rain on a tin roof, whislt the fire crackled away in the sitting room, revitalised by a few well placed mallee roots. A perfect start to a June day on the farm.

On Wednesday I had a radio gig on ABC 720 with Eoin Cameron and the Slim But Savage One (his producer for those not familiar with the Perth ABC Radio breakfast program). We played The Appendage (the poem about having fun with chicken necks.) This led to many lovely emails from all sorts of people including a gentleman from a group of dog walkers in Perth; a lovely lady hoping to get a copy of A Bird in the Bush for her mother who is blind; two emails from old friends we haven't spoken to for over ten years, and one from a lady who remembered my dear departed mother when she was living in Kalamunda. She too lost her mother to cancer (her mother Sheila had lived next door to my mother, Jane) and we have decided to raise our glasses to them both at 6pm tonight.

Thanks for contacting me, Christine, and in answer to your question "Is 6pm to early for farmers?" the answer is "It is never too early for these farmers to appreciate a good glass of red."

This is one of the things I love about radio, its ability to connect, or in this case reconnect. Thanks to Cammo and the team having me on the program this week I shall be sharing a reflective moment at 6pm tonight, when I raise my glass with a woman in Perth whom I hardly know to toast our wonderful mothers.

"To Jane and Sheila".......wish you were both here...