Wednesday, 31 August 2016


It's been a while between posts eh?

That's mainly because we've been having some issues locally that stole the residual time and energy I'd been putting into blogging. 

It all started back in January 2015 when we agreed to hire a manager for our dairy farm straight from prison. Being former townies, we were not quite ready to run the place ourselves. We knew this guy's family very well and we all shared an enthusiasm for biological dairying. I knew he'd been jailed for sexual offences but found out several months later that the victim was a little girl, well known to him, as are around 90% of such cases.

This was a shock, but we carried on with the plan because even this type of offender deserves the opportunity of rehabilitation into society and Corrections assured us that he was considered low risk of re-offending. Corrections turned out to be right - there was no re-offending for the 10 months he was here.

We were vetted, briefed and instructed by Corrections. We agreed to liaise with Corrections and to provide ongoing support for our new manager. Corrections decided there was no need to notify neighbours.

The full story was discovered however and three close neighbours (a small minority in the community) cooked up a plan for a co-ordinated attack, which they implemented during February and March of 2016 while we were visiting our first grandchild overseas. The plan included:

  • cutting off the gravity-based water supply to our farm;
  • making a misleading complaint to the police; and
  • agitating in the community against me serving as a trustee of the local school.
It was a complete success. Corrections decided the risk of violence against our manager was too high and ordered him to leave at 24 hours notice. I resigned as a Ministerially-appointed trustee of the school (an appointment I'd only accepted for altruistic reasons - our children are well past school age), and we constructed a new water supply line from a different location that is consistent with our easement (this was planned but I'd agreed with cutty-off-guy on a 12 month time-frame rather than 6 weeks).

Strangely enough though, despite their complete success, these three neighbours still seem extremely angry. To cite just the most recent example, the neighbour that agitated the community about my role as a trustee, who is now herself a trustee, last week threw a raucous, screaming tirade of abuse at me while I was hosing out a calf-feeder at the cowshed.

These people seem to have no capacity for forgiveness. They obviously don't trust the criminal justice system and are seeking ongoing punishment for our former manager, and us for daring to employ him.

It is therefore ironic (at least) that the partner of the school-focused, raucous, screaming neighbour, was taking advantage of the forgiveness embedded in our bankruptcy laws in the same month as she helped drive our former manager out of the district. I'm sure Jim's a nice guy and did his best, but his unsecured creditors are out of pocket by about $3.4m.

The chances of me one day conversing normally with any of these three neighbours seem low. But if they ever do stop screaming at me, I'll forgive them.

Meantime, on with the show. We're having a great season so far and now that I've got this off my chest I'll be a tad more forthcoming on farming, economics and all my usual witterings-on.