DYLAN and NICK….Part 1
A small robust diversion from the AUSTRIAN COUNTESS, but as my favourite writer Diana Gabaldon has taught me….a Writer does not need a Storyline…..a book can be created from a patchwork of stories. I had an epiphany hearing her speaking about her method….suddenly all the pressure of “how to” dissolved, and the stories burst forth like a river in flood….
We had moved from the old family house in Ambrose Street, Emerald to a beautiful little farm (23 acres) nearby on Paternoster Road, into a modest weatherboard house, perched right on top of a hill. My small sons, both now in Primary School and Kindergarten, my husband becoming more successful, spent longer hours away from home…..apart from financial support, I was in all other ways, a single Mum.
Needing something more, being influenced so strongly by my relationship with the Countess, I began carefully selecting animals. It was the early 70’s, the counter culture was thriving. Whole Earth Catalogue, Grass Roots and Earth Garden magazines were my teachers……the idea of going back to a better way of living, being self sufficient, living with Nature were intoxicating to me, and being very like my beloved Grandmother (paternal), I thrived surrounded by goats, sheep, chickens, a pony for the boys, the small herd of Herefords I managed with the help of a Stock and Station Agent.
DYLAN and NICK……with the farm stocked with animals of my choice, the days were filled with harmonious routine. Milking was part of it, and goats were my choice…..Anglo Nubians……those fabulous creatures of multi coloured coats, aristocratic faces with high domed foreheads and long curved ears. The breeder I bought my does from gave me my first lessons, and then I was on my own…..a steep learning curve as I grappled with the delicacy of handling animals adapting to a novice…..there were tears…..
MA© Summer 2018
Dylan and Nick
a hazardous drive
we select a Sire
DYLAN and NICK…..Part 2
(OK, I’m getting there)
Her shrill cries and constant bleating were the telltale sign of a goat in season….without a Billy Goat (their smell…… sublime seduction to a Doe in season, is powerful, invasive, repulsive….it seeps into your clothes, clings stubbornly to delicate nasal passages, and ruins the milk), advice was sought from experts, phone calls were made, and an appointment for a few days mating, arranged. I would take the doe to the Buck. It sounds so simple….does it not??? You would have had to be there!!!
Getting an unwilling goat in the far back of the car was the easy bit. Then the boys, Dylan and Nick , freshly bathed, in winter jamas, woollen dressing gowns and slippers, were strapped into the back seat, and I, the lone occupant of the front seat….headed into the night, to a location I’d never been to (it was the best time for the owner of the Buck).
My children were high energy, robustly competitive, and I felt often like a referee, instead of a Mother. God, they were always fighting, from the moment they could both stand upright!!!
I don’t know what started it, I was focused entirely on driving unfamiliar, unlit, back country roads, finding my way…..the car vibrated with the frantic bleats of an anxious goat, and then the boys started fighting, full on yelling and physical clinches…..a driver’s fucking nightmare. I told them to stop, threatened, cajoled and screamed…..but, they were “in the zone…fight club”, they were impervious to all and any threats!!!
So I swerved onto the grassy verge, jumped out, shaking with stress and anger, undid their seat belts, hauled them out of the car to the side of the road, climbed back in, and drove off, leaving them in the dark. Looking into the rear view mirror, I remember clearly now, two small boys, abandoned, standing together in frightened solidarity……as the bleating goat and their demented Mother, left them behind.
MA© Summer 2018
To be continued……
DYLAN and NICK…..Part 3
My last view, through the rear vision mirror would tear at the heart of any warm blooded Female…..two tiny boys (approximately 3 and 5 years old), huddled together in the darkness, of a small back country road.
But I was seething…..so, I actually drove off up the road, leaving them in a total blackout, to meditate on their sins.
It was a valuable lesson for us all….at heart, young children are basically immoral ….they “work their parents, like a dog works sheep”, and words are absolutely no substitute for action.
They were only alone for 5 or 6 minutes, while I calmed down, started breathing again, swung the car in a tight u-turn, and drove back.
They hadn’t moved…..shocked into silent submission, I lifted each one, without speaking, back into the car, strapped them in, and at last found the Stud Farm. The owner met me at the gate, having heard the Does cries coming down the road. I led her across to him, gave her a brief pat of encouragement, then returned to find 2 angelic beings, heads together, fast asleep……exhausted from their brief adventure, they slept soundly all the way home, through the moving from car to bed, right through till next morning.
MA© Summer 2018
To be continued…..