Farming out the decision-making

DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Life on the farm has a way of working itself out, says NewsMail editor Christina Ongley.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Life on the farm has a way of working itself out, says NewsMail editor Christina Ongley. Max Fleet

SOMETIMES farming has a way of making decisions for you, whether you like it or not.

For the past few months, there has been discussion among our combined family about where we would have Christmas this year, who would host, what the sleeping arrangements would be and what we all needed to bring.

After a bit of haggling here and there, it was decided The Farmer and I would be the hosts both to my parents, who would come up from the Sunshine Coast, and his mum and her partner, who would come up from the cattle property they run in Victoria to spend Christmas in Queensland - something they try to do every second year.

When you've got a minimum of six family members plus potential orphans and friends, it's not always easy to come to an agreement, but I was impressed we managed to decide on a plan without anyone getting their nose out of joint.

Naturally, before too long, farming got in the way and made a decision we hadn't bargained for.

The weather down south has meant the cows are not calving when expected, which has pushed The Farmer's mum's plans back by at least a month.

So it will be at least January or February before we can have our "Christmas" get-together with her.

There was no point complaining - we understand how that sort of stuff happens. It happens to us all the time ("I thought The Farmer was coming out to dinner tonight?" "No, just me. Rain's on its way so he has to spray.").

So then the question was whether we would have Christmas at our place or my folks' place.

They were keen to put their hand up because we'd hosted last year too.

But The Farmer put paid to that one pretty quickly.

"Listen," he said to me.

"It's stupidly hot, I'm married to the pump at the moment and your parents are retired. They can bloody well come up here."

I agreed with the sentiment, but told him I'd pass it on in slightly gentler terms.

"The Farmer really can't spend more than a day away from the property at the moment," I explained to mum and dad. "So if you guys come up here, we can see you for a few days, but if we go down there we'd have to come back first thing Boxing Day."

There's also another tiny, but undiscussed, reason.

My parents absolutely love watching the televised Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve, which almost made The Farmer's head explode two years ago, so we figured we might have a bit more control over the viewing choices if festivities were held at our place.

Anyway, once again, farming helped to determine that decision.

Still, I can't complain.

We'll be with family, we'll be eating the best seafood the region has to offer thanks to pre-ordering through our marina manager mate, we'll be able to enjoy lunch on a shaded deck looking over the garden, and we can take the dogs for a run at Woodgate in the afternoon.

I know it's not all that easy, but if that's the kind of decision farming has made for us this year, I'll happily take it.

Topics:  blogs christina ongley opinion stories from the soil

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