Sunday, May 31, 2009

National Gypsy Day

I've been reminded that June 1st is fast approaching. Not only the birthday of my youngest but National Gypsy Day! Oh, and also this is Queens Birthday long weekend. Not that that matters a toss to anyone, it's just an excuse for a long weekend.

Throughout rural New Zealand there will be an increase in stocktruck traffic as 1 June draws closer. I noticed it on our road yesterday although it took a while for the penny to drop. You know how you notice something without really noticing it and then the minute you turn your mind to it, you find the explanation. My aha moment came when I stepped out the front door into a cloud of dust as a stock truck and trailer rattled on up the road. "How many more?" I muttered to myself and that was when I realized that without knowing it, some part of me was paying attention to what was happening outside the door.

1 June is the date dairy farms change hands, the day share milking and other milking contracts start and end. Throughout the country young people will be starting their way in the dairy industry, others will be stepping up the ladder towards farm ownership, some will be taking over their first farms, others moving on to bigger and/or better farms and, at the other end of the scale those who have served their time will be bowing out, heading for retirement.

And it all happens on this one date. I call it National Gypsy Day. Herds of cows are being moved from one farm to another, along with farmers and their households. Some going north, others south, east or west. All crisscrossing the country.

For it all to happen it has to start a few days before. I wonder if city folk notice the increase in the number of trucks on the highways.

Of course, no sane dairy farming couple would choose to have a child anywhere near 1 June, not unless they have already purchased their first farm, and even then it is too close to the time cows calve to be sensible. And especially not on the same day that their first share milking contract begins. So I missed my first National Gypsy Day, was otherwise occupied.

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