I was a farm manager for a week. I had the keys to the bakkie and no clue on how to run a dairy.
I had agreed over a few dozen beers to ‘manage’ Des Glutz’s Kenroy while he buzzed off to Mana Pools in Zim with Tabs Fyvie. I would be given detailed instructions and a crash course in advanced agriculture and animal husbandry. Soon. Said Des.
What actually happened was a car screeched to a halt outside the door to the Platberg Bottle Store in Warden Street where I was working in my holidays for Mom and Dad, and some keys were flung at me as the car taking Des and Tabs to Jan Smuts airport roared off. They were late and could miss the departure of their flight at Jan Smuts airport in Joburg.
Were they written instructions? No, hastily shouted instructions: ‘You’ll be fine! The bakkie’s parked in Retief Street.’ Said Des.
O-kay! Let’s see: What did I get wrong? I ran out of feed for the cows, then bought the wrong feed at the mill and it was made clear to me I’d have to go back and change it; I had the farmhands look at me in amusement once they realised just how little I knew; I had Des’ horse King realise he had a novice on his back when I took him for a daily morning ride; And I had a cow get stuck in labour with a breech calf. I had to phone Kai to come up from Bergville to sort that one out.
What did I get right? Well, I ate breakfast every morning. Quite well. Gilbert presented a plate with one egg, one rasher of bacon and one slice of toast, arranged identically on the plate each morning at 6am sharp. That I was good at. And I rode King for half an hour or so each morning. I enjoyed that.
Decades later my nephew Robbie told me dairy farming was all about managing your pastures. Hell, don’t tell Des, but I didn’t given his grass a single glance all week.
Later I used this experience to get another important job.
The picture is Kenroy but there were no ladies on the gate when I was farming.