In 1978 my husband, four children and I bought a house on forty acres close to Benalla. We were lucky to have a woolshed and a machinery shed plus sheep yards included. We started off our farming adventure slowly with a couple of lambs we bottle fed. These were called Bonnie and Curly. These two grew up and were a great help when we increased the flock, as Bonnie would follow us and the rest followed her.
Our next addition was a cow in calf. Unfortunately, after giving birth to the calf, Rosie, she died from Grass Tetany. A couple of years later we found Rosie was infertile so sadly she was sent to the sale yards. We then invested in a beautiful Jersey cow. The kids named her Goldie. She was a gentle soul who allowed me to milk her. We set up a bail in one of the sheds and she used to follow me from the paddock to the bail every morning. We then bought another cow, whose family had named Veranda. She was a different temperament. When I would open the gate, I had to run towards the shed with her racing behind me.
With all the milk being produced I learned to make butter and even branched out into ice cream making. At one stage we bought a couple of piglets which delighted the kids, but they grew quite big and were sent to the abattoir. We were given a goat to help keep the grass down, but he seemed to think the house was his and would wander into the lounge room to watch the Television.
We were very fortunate in our neighbours, who went out of their way to show us the way to do things such as cutting sheep toenails and putting marking rings on the male lambs. One family allowed us to share an Angus Bull with them, so we had newborn calves. We had also bought the kids a calf each which they hand reared and named. To the cattle and sheep, a horse and a donkey were added, as well as various dogs. All in all, life was chaotic but enjoyable.
Then came the drought of 1982 - 83. Suddenly, life became a pattern of hand feeding stock and anxiously watching the sky for any black cloud. As my husband was employed, we were not reliant on income from the land, unlike full time farmers. Thus, my romantic view of farming life took a battering, but I learned empathy for farmers.
I still feel life on the land is the ideal lifestyle, but one needs a certain temperament to cope with Nature's moods.