Two other mantras became my guiding light as well – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and, You have to break eggs to make omelettes – and I know for a fact that if I had not focussed everything around these three mantras, I would have gone nuts within a short period of time. There was so much to be sorted out. The girls would be arriving at the farm before long, calving would start and the milking would begin. All of the junk and farm rubbish that had been left behind in the barn needed to be cleared out before the calf pens could be set up, and the dairy shed required a complete revamp (although the shed was reasonably new, taps were leaking, hoses were split, empty containers and dairy rubbish were piled up, there were cobwebs and bird nests everywhere, mouldy clothing and old raincoats were crumpled in a corner and the youngsters in the previous household had scribbled all over the walls with vivid pens). Clearing a space to operate the new venture in, and finding the right people to advise and help me, became my immediate goal because I only had three weeks before the season began. I ransacked the shed at Middelmost, the float and wagon were loaded to the hilt with every ‘clean and tidy’ tool I reckoned would be useful and I headed South to make a start.
Once again, things fell into place and I was amazed at the array of people willing to come on board to help. Friend had friends, I had made a contact with a knowledgeable local person who became a friend, and the stock and station agents I worked with in the North gave me some really good contacts for the area I was now in … and they all treated me like a friend.
With the arrival of heaps of humans, I needed to PRIORITISE. Some of the people were willing to just help out and I knew a few beers and a couple of barbeques would do the trick for them, a couple definitely needed to go on the payroll as they were available and had the skills I was needing, the agents were nice because they knew I would be spending money in their shops, and one person was moved on because I was seen as a cash cow with lots of free lunches.
And so the farm was tackled. I tried not to think what the hell have I done as we started but, as I stood in the dairy shed and looked at all of the dials and pipes and hoses and gauges and taps and machinery and pumps and motors etc. that is exactly what I thought! I was totally ignorant … I had never been in a dairy shed while cows were being milked … I didn’t have a clue about any of it. It was nothing like the gentle house cow, the plastic bucket and the upturned beer box. The whole dairy shed was shrouded in an unfathomable mystery. I was beginning to think I was in trouble and a gigantic learning curve became my PRIORITY!