A Country Girl…….
I was raised on a farm outside Deniliquin in the south-west Riverina of NSW. That was a long time ago, but I am still a country girl (?) at heart. I always expected to live on the land, but that wasn’t to be.
When I return to visit my family, who remain close to my original home, I cannot help but feel nostalgic.
For this country girl, there is something about the smell of woodsmoke in winter as smoke wafts from the chimneys. The memories flood back of burning off old logs with my father in the freezing cold as we gathered firewood in the ‘back paddock’ to keep the enormous ‘woodheap’ topped up for the winter months. My father’s first morning job was to cut wood with an axe, load up a wheelbarrow and take it to the kitchen for the days supply. He loved the exercise.
Our early kitchen had a wooden stove, and that firebox burned all day, with kettles on the top for instant cups of tea. We used to cook pikelets on the hot plate and heat the cast iron for ironing. On some early school mornings in winter, we would toast bread on long wire prongs, for breakfast in front on the fire, which also kept us warm.
In summer months my memories are of searing hot days watching the cricket and tennis on a black and white TV, trying to avoid the heat until the evening and the greatly anticipated ‘cool change’ arrived.
As a country girl there were always fruit trees laden with oranges, lemons, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums to name a few, with a vegetable garden full of produce with a whiff of sheep manure. And then there were the chooks with fresh eggs daily, and an occasional baked chicken dinner.
It is a productive and wonderful life as a child, but being young, I was unaware of the hard work involved. My sister reminded me one day, that I was only remembering the good times, and she is right!
So why the nostalgia and reminiscing of that country girl?
Well, Rick and I are back in the country for a couple of weeks, looking after a property of a friend while she takes a much-needed break.
So……. the man who stole me away from the country after eighteen years at McAllister, has disappeared into the shed with our city Cavoodle, to explore and check out the four-wheeler that he will be checking the sheep and cattle on. He is busy trying to remember the names of the seven kelpies, and which kennel they are to inhabit. Jazz, the cavoodle, is in heaven with dogs to play with. She has been doing ‘burn outs’ in excitement, loving the freedom and the space. Unfortunately, it is freezing cold, wet, and muddy outside, but she is revelling in being a free range, grubby little dog!. The kelpies think she is very strange!
What does this country girl love about the bush?
The peace. There is something to be said about the silence, apart from the birds and the whispering of the breeze in the tall gum trees which surround the house.
The space, it appears to be endless.
The comradery of a neighbour dropping in for a chat.
Endless cups pf tea, with a pot, not a tea bag.
Vegetables from the garden.
Collecting manure for the garden.
Why is this country girl living in the city?
LOVE of course. I would follow my husband anywhere, even though he has taken me down a few ‘dry gullies.’
Do I have regrets?
I love living where I live. I wouldn’t change a thing. I have enjoyed a fascinating life with many challenges, good and bad. I will always have an affinity with the land and love returning for visits to add to the good times. I am forever grateful that we were able to raise our boys on the land, as I was. They had the best times. I find myself being horrified with some of their stories of their antics and I’m grateful they survived, and that I was unaware of what they were up to at the time!
In summary, this country girl is remembering all the good times and looking forward to plenty more visits, and then returning to her happy place in the city.
Enjoy the good times,
Jenny Old AUTHOR
‘Innocent Nurses Abroad’
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