Tag Archives: cows

The Grass is Greener #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write about the farm life. Where is the farm and who are the farmers? What are they farming and why? How is the farm life? Go where the prompt leads!

Mum and Dad were both country people and for the first six years of my life, I lived on a farm. It was a small crops farm. Dad grew beans, cabbages, pineapples, and I’m not sure what else. We had chickens. Of that, I am sure. When I went to collect the eggs one day, there was a red-bellied black snake curled up around the eggs. I ran to get Mum who came running back with a rake. By the time she got there, the snake was gone. Thankfully.

This is me (20 mths) and my sister (4½) in front of the pineapple crop. © Norah Colvin

Mum and Dad also tried to keep a cow for milking but without success. One cow knocked down the fence; another climbed under; and a third jumped over. They gave up on keeping cows after that. (I’ve written about those cows twice before: here and here.)

Not long after that, Dad sold the farm and we moved to suburban life by the beach. My siblings and I spent long days in the water, on the sand or climbing the red cliffs after which the area got its name. The school holidays dragged with nothing much to do, even if there were plenty of books to read, which was my favourite thing to do. So, an invitation to holiday with cousins on a property (cattle and sheep station) in the country was a joy. Interestingly, my cousins loved their holidays at the beach. My responses to Charli’s prompt are based on those thoughts but are definitely not true to life. Not my life and not back then. Regardless, I hope you enjoy.

The Grass is Greener I

Holidays with her cousins on the farm were the best. Days stretched from dawn to dusk with unbounded fun the cousins called chores: milking cows, feeding chickens, collecting eggs, riding horses and, sometimes, zooming around paddocks on quad bikes to muster sheep. Her cousins were never told what to do. They’d decide. ‘C’mon, we’ll milk the cows,’ they’d say. Or ‘On your bike. Let’s muster some sheep.’ So many fun things to do. At home, Annabelle’s chores dragged. The more she procrastinated, the longer they took. The days were interminable. ‘I wish there was something to do,’ she’d say.

The Grass is Greener II

Holidays with cousin Annabelle in the city were the best with something different to do every single day: watching movies at the cinema, slurping milkshakes in the mall, bowling balls at ten pins, splashing in the council pool. The stores were stocked with treasures they’d never imagined and deciding how to expand the value of their hard-earned saved-up dollars was challenging. One day a bus trip, the next a ferry ride on the river, zooming along streets on motorised scooters or joining a Segway tour; they couldn’t decide which was more fun. Anything sure beat their day-long country chores.

Thank you blog post

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Mending Fences flash fiction stories prompted by the Carrot Ranch challenge

Mending fences

What time is it when an elephant sits on the fence?

Time to get a new one!

Mending fences #flash fiction prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch

This week, when Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads, I spent quite a bit of time fence sitting, undecided about which fence story to choose.

As you know, there are many types of fences: literal, metaphorical, even imagined. Fences are usually built to contain things, to keep people or things on one side or the other, or to define a boundary and possibly restrict passage. But the term “mending broken fences” has a different nuance of meaning. In this use, it means to repair a broken relationship as opposed to improving boundary security.

But which fence should I choose?

Should I share some history?

Rabbit-Proof Fence

This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of my family (grandfather, grandmother and their young family – my father, the fifth of nine, was born three years later) taking up residence on a property owned by the Rabbit Board. My grandfather was a boundary rider until 1955, repairing the fence built to protect farming and grazing lands from the destructive introduced species. His youngest son replaced him, continuing until the role terminated in 1957. My uncle purchased the property from the Rabbit Board and lived there with his family until his death this year not long after the anniversary celebrations.

or perhaps reminisce?

The Cow Jumped Over the Fence

Until I was six, my parents were small crop farmers. The farm didn’t generate much income and there were more bad years than good. To help feed the growing family (there were six of us by then) Mum and Dad invested in chickens for both eggs and meat and a milking cow. The first cow knocked down the fence and escaped to freedom. Dad repaired it and bought another cow, which squeezed under the fence. After a third cow jumped the fence, Mum and Dad decided milk deliveries were a better option and we kids never learned to milk.

Note: I did write about this incident, a little differently, here.

Should I plan a lesson?

Teaching positional prepositions with The Elephant’s Fence

Make a fence from pop sticks.

Make an elephant using different-sized pom poms for body and head; pipe cleaners for legs, trunk and tail; paper or felt for ears; and googly eyes.

Place your elephant according to these instructions:

  • Beside the fence
  • In front of the fence
  • Behind the fence
  • Under the fence
  • Between the palings
  • Next to the fence
  • Above the fence
  • Below the fence
  • On the fence.

Now choose a place for your elephant to be. Tell your elephant’s story:

  • Why is it there?
  • How did it get there?
  • What is it doing?
  • What will happen next?

or attempt a story?

Sometimes it is the imaginary fences that can be more limiting. Sometimes it’s better to leave things that aren’t broken in the first place.

Broken with intent

The fence was too high to jump or even see over, no footholds to climb, and palings too close to squeeze or even peer through. It hugged the soil too compacted to dig. It seemed impenetrable, and so intrigued. He stacked boxes for makeshift steps—not high enough. Finally, he hatched a plan—balloons! He blew them big and tied them tight, attached some string, and waited. And waited. Then a gust of wind lifted him high, over the fence, where another, just like him, smiled and said, “Should’ve used the gate; latch is broken—always open to friends.”

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Pleasure share your thoughts.