Saturday smiles

July 21, 2012

A farmer walked into an lawyer’s office wanting to file for a divorce. The lawyer asked, “May I help you?”

The farmer said, “Yes, I want to get a divorce.”

The lawyer said, “Well do you have any grounds?”

The farmer said, “Yea, I got about 500 hectares.” The lawyer said, “No, you don’t understand, do you have a case?”

The farmer said, “No, I don’t have a Case, but I have a John Deere.”

The lawyer said, “No you don’t understand, I mean do you have a grudge?”

The farmer said, “Yea I got a grudge, that’s where I park my car.”

The lawyer said, “No sir, I mean do you have a suit?”

The farmer said, “Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays and any other formal occasions.”

The exasperated lawyer said, “Well sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?”

The farmer said, “No sir, we both get up about 4:30.”

Finally, the lawyer said, “Okay, let me put it this way. WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?”

And the farmer said, “Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her.”

Owner-operator farming would decrease with CGT

July 19, 2011

When I was studying Spanish in Spain the class usually had some new students each Monday and we’d all have to introduce ourselves.

As part of my introduction I’d say my husband es granjero – is a farmer.

One day my teacher corrected me and said, no, pienso es estanciero. (No, I think he’s a rancher/station owner).

The difference between farmer and rancher or station owner in New Zealand is usually just one of scale but in many other countries it is the difference between the person who farms the land and the one who owns it.

Most New Zealand farms are owner-operated. That has shaped not only how we farm but the culture of farming.

If Labour’s proposal to impose a capital gains tax on farmland is enacted that will change.

Families will be less likely to sell farms, they’ll lease them instead. Owner operated farms will decline in number to be replaced by absentee-owners who lease the land or employ others to farm it.

That will reduce the amount of CGT Labour expects to collect. It will also change our farming culture and I don’t think it will be a change for the better.

Saturday’s smiles

August 8, 2009

An Auckland lawyer was representing the railway company in a lawsuit filed by an old farmer.

The farmer’s prize bull was missing from the section through which the railway line passed.

The farmer was a reasonable woman and only wanted to be paid the fair value of the bull.

The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back room of the local hotel.

The lawyer for the railway company immediately cornered the farmer and tried to get her to settle out of court. The lawyer did his best selling job, and finally the farmer agreed to take half of what she had been seeking.

After the farmer had signed the release and banked the cheque the young lawyer happened to run into her again and couldn’t resist gloating a little over his success.

“You know, I hate to tell you this, old girl, but I put one over on you in there. I couldn’t have won the case. The engineer was asleep and the fireman was reading the paper when the train went through your farm that morning. I didn’t have one witness to put on the stand. I bluffed you!”

The old farmer replied, “Well, I’ll tell you, young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because the bull came home the morning we settled the claim.”

Saturday’s smiles

July 11, 2009

The Department of Labour had heard a rumour that a farmer wasn’t paying his staff the minimum wage.

The agent who was sent out to interview him asked for a list of his employees and how much he paid them.

The farmer replied, “Well, there’s my farm hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $550.00 a week plus a free house and meat. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her as much as she wants, plus free room and board.

“Then there’s the half-wit. He works about 16 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10.00 per week, pays his own room and board, and I shout him a beer or two every Saturday night.”

“That’s the guy I want to talk to…..the half-wit”, the agent said.

 That would be me”, replied the farmer.

Summer recipe #2

December 18, 2008


Shearer’s Suprise

Take forecast for continuing fine weath with grain of salt and put sheep under cover for the night.

Next morning add three shearers and a couple of rousies.

Stir farmer until combined into classer, pen-filler, counter and general dogs-body.

Herd sheep into shed at regular intervals and shear.

Repeat until all sheep are shorn and wool classed and baled.

Shout for shearers and shed hands.

Return home with good excuse as to why forgot to shout for cook.

Summer recipe #1

December 16, 2008


Drafter’s Delight

Take a good sized set of sheep yards.

Sift several thousand lambs through latest meat schedule.

Mix with a well seasoned stock agent, a hopeful farmer and a couple of dogs.

Add noise and dust to taste, spice with a bit of gossip of jokes and follow with a cool beer.

For better, for . . .

October 15, 2008

In a past life I used to write a weekly column for the ODT on life viewed from the home paddock (from whence came the name of this blog). In honour of World Rural Women’s Day I’ve dug out the first one I wrote:


Some of us are rural by birth, some become rural because of the career we choose and some become rural by marriage.


If like me you’re in the latter group you’ll know that the marriage vows have extra meaning for those of us who choose farmers, because when you take on a man of the land you don’t get just the man, but the land and the lifestyle as well.


To love and to cherish applies not only to your farmer but his farm and everything that goes with it. In sickness and in health includes stock and machinery. For better or worse encompasses the weather and markets. All of these have a very real bearing on whether it’s for richer or poorer; and anyone with dreams of one day retiring to town should determine exactly what’s meant by “til death us do part”.


It didn’t take me long to realise what I’d let myself in for when I’d said, “I do.” During his speech at the wedding breakfast our best man mentioned he’d been surprised to see the groom throwing his gumboots into the car before they left for the church. When asked why, my soon to be husband had replied, “I’m irrigating tomorrow,”


 I thought he was joking – until early next morning when I was woken to accompany him as he checked the irrigator before we left on our honeymoon.


Still, I should be grateful we had a honeymoon at all. Had it not been for a drought we’d have been in the middle of harvest. As it was we managed to snatch a long weekend away between a stock sale on Friday and drafting lambs on Tuesday.


And there were plenty more breaks ahead – two days for the Lincoln field days; three for a Young Farmers’ conference and four at the Young Farmer of the Year.


After all that, perhaps my farmer could be excused his reaction to my request for a real holiday for holiday’s sake and not something to do with farming. He looked at me in hurt surprise and said, “Life’s one long holiday when you enjoy what you’re doing”.


That’s when I had to confess I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about my new life.


The position of farmer’s wife hadn’t come with a job description but it went without saying that having accepted the post I was responsible for feeding farm workers, shearers, stock agents, orphan lambs and other strays – two or four legged.


Then there was the stream of phone calls to deal with, messages to run and the other minor but time consuming tasks that fall to your lot when you live with someone who lives on the job.


On top of that there was housework and with the house had come a garden that was big enough to be a full time job in itself. So it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough to do or even that I objected to doing any of it, I just felt something was lacking.


Before we’d married I’d had rosy visions of working together. It didn’t occur to me that my farmer had been running his business for several years alone and had no need for an assistant with a lot more enthusiasm than expertise.


There was the odd occasion when he wanted me to lend a hand but that wasn’t always successful. Take the day he asked me to help draft the ewes before lambing. It sounded so easy: he’d send the sheep up the race and if he said “full” I was to let them go straight ahead and if he said, “empty” I’d send them to the right.


It sounded so simple, even a fool could cope, and I did at first; but then a couple of ewes ran up together and when I’d sorted them out there were three more charging up the race. I wasn’t sure whether they were full or empty and by the time I’d worked it out there were several more coming at me. In the heat of the moment I forgot whether full was to the right or straight ahead…


It was about then that my farmer started yelling and I replied, “Woof!”


I suppose it was understandable that subsequent offers of help were met with a “thanks, but no thanks”. Or “if you really want to do something you could get us some afternoon tea because people are best doing what they do best.”


Fortunately soon after that I was offered a job as rural reporter on the local radio station. That let me combine the skills I’d been trained to use with my new found country contacts and left me with no time to hanker about a more active role on the farm.


But I’d learnt a valuable lesson from my time at home and put it to good use when winter approached. Our fire wood supply was getting low so I suggested my farmer might find time to cut some more.


“Why don’t you do it,” he replied. “After all you’re the one who says women can do anything.”


“Ah yes,” I retorted, “But you’d do it so much better than I could and thanks to you I’ve learnt that people are best doing the things they do best.”


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