The drive west always seems so much further than the drive east. At least for visitors. Maybe that’s why they do it so sporadically. To be fair, it’s always further for me as well. Although I love heading home, the thought of ‘getting away’ seems to make that drive east always go a little bit faster.
My brother and sister both came out to visit with their young families on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. I always get so excited about having visitors to the farm for a number of reasons.
Before visitors arrive I love getting my house clean. Like really clean. Like scrubbing the glass on the windows and pulling hair out of the shower clean. I love baking and organising the pantry so that there will be plenty of food to go around. I can’t bear the thought of visitors thinking we go without because of where we live, so I always make sure there will be enough to go around. I always ensure we eat a variety of home grown meat with our visitors. We are incredibly proud of what we produce on the farm. And as city slickers, my brother and sister are always grateful for lamb they don’t have to pay for.
I organise an array of activities showcasing our fantastic local region. Before children, it was a day trip to the local winery. These days it’s a trip to The Ridge to see underground mines and hot springs. In the summer we all lounge outside by the pool, and in winter we head out in a farm vehicle to show the children sheep and kangaroos and emus. Preferably the live ones.
My brother arrived late Friday and stated that a friend of his from the city had told him that ‘if The Farmer asks you to help him out with fencing this weekend, you’re not really his friend.’ So fencing was out. But what about stick picking? We can always do with a bit of that – especially in the winter – and the more hands on deck the better. But as the cold snap kicked on over the weekend, it was wine and beer by the fireplace instead.
On Monday morning I was left with that hollow feeling you get when something really good comes to an end. As we waved my family off in their cars, I wondered if this is how my parents feel when we all pack up and head back to the farm?
And now that the weekend is over and I have packed up all the spare beds and moved the furniture, I can rest easy knowing that it will be some time before I have to go through all that effort again, all thanks to that long drive west.