AMONG THE FARMERS. (By Our Rambling Reporter.) I should have finished up my notes of the Westerfield estate some time ago, when 1 noticed the homestead in one_of my “ day’s journeys from town.” I touched then on almost everything about Mr. Reed’s interesting place except the woolshod, and wool being one of the greatest items of a country’s wealth, I should be ignoring the chief point of interest on a run if I omitted to go somewhat into details of the woolshed, &c., and its accessories. Mr. Reed’s woolshed is what is called a T shed, after the pattern of the most approved sheds in victoria. The shearers, twelve in all, have got separate pens, inside and out, for their sheep. When turned off the floor, the sheep pass out through small sliding doors. These doors are light, and have small cast iron rollers under them, which enable the shearer to move them with the slightest touch of the hand. The gratings are formed of narrow hardwood battens, and placed (we were informed) at the only distance apart which will at all times keep them from fouling, and at the same time prevent the sheep’s feet from getting through. The table, wool bins, and press are all neat and compact, and well suited for the requirements of the station, which at present carries 25,000 sheep, and in a year or two, with the aid of English grass, will carry 30,000 with ease. I called at the shed when it was in full operation, and notwithstanding the apparent hard work going on, everyone seemed contented and jolly ; and the wool seemed to fly from the shears to the table, there to be skirted, rolled, and classed, passed to the bins, and thence to the press, with a rapidity truly astonishing to the un-' initiated. I was informed, however, on good authority that mistakes seldom or never happen, and that Mr. Reed is complimented by his London brokers on the correctness with which his wool, when placed on the market, comes up to station specifications. So much for Mr. Reed’s woolshed, which during sheai-ing time is well worth a visit, if you can persuade the at other times very obliging “ boss” to admit you. But I- suppose the powers that be at Westerfield are just as thankful* as other station authorities are to escape from the tax upon time they can ill spare during shearing by the visits of well-meaning people who like to see novelties, but who have no idea of the hindrance their visits are to -work. I speak feelingly on this matter, for many a time I have wished wandering sight-seers would stay at home, or at least come “in single files,” and not “in whole battalions,” like misfortunes. But this by the way, for I went ■when the shed was doing its best, and was received with the utmost courtesy and the best grace, though I certainly knew better, and should not have visited at the busiest time. But the wool trade is not the only one just now flourishing on the Westerfield estate. The farmers on it seem all on the road to fortune this season. They crate” are simply grand. Starting with on the Hinds, it may be safely said that there is not a better crop than his in the colony ; and as he has a laige area-some 040 acres—under crop, his harvest will be rather trying. But he is just the man to meet it. His barley, which has straw 6ft. high, with corresponding heads, is something grand to look at. On a windy day it resembles more than anything else the rolling waves of the ocean. For perseverance, pluck, and good management, Mr. Poole deserves to be placed in the first rank of Canterbury farmers, and the lady who is his helpmeet is not a whit behind in bar department. Neither is she afraid to encounter inconveniences which, as a rule, belong to the sterner sex. On so large a holding something is almost weekly required from town, on which occasions Mrs. Poole thinks nothing of driving 15 miles, and back the, same day, handling the whip and ribbons in a style that would do credit to some of Oobb and Co.’s Jehus. Following up the Hinds, the next farm is held by Mr. Sutherland, of the Ashburton Forks. He does not reside at the Hinds—more’s the pity, as he is another farmer of the right sort, and has this season 700 acres under crop, not altogether equal a in quality to Mr. Poole’s, but still very good. Next in order comes Mr. Steel, a festive young bachelor, who is content to farm on a less extensive scale. This being leap-year ho stands in great danger of being proposed to, especially as he has got such a nice crop. f Still further up the river is Mr. Brankin’a farm. He is a non-resident too, but that does not aeoru to affect the crops, which ia Such as to leave him no reason for regretting that he is cropping in Westerfield this season. Nearer home, on the Ashburton, Mr. Black lias the largest area under crop, say 700 acres. On that area there is at least three varieties of soil, and oonse-: quently some variation in the quality of the crops, but on the whole he will have a capital harvest. The last on the list, being the latest to start farming on the estate, is Mr. Bates, and whether he played into the hands of providence, or providence into his cannot be well ascertained ; but he has managed to grow a magnificent crop to start with, and has secured two reapers and binders to cut it; so he means business. He is also a bach el >r whoso happiness some fair lady should think of this year of female privilege. Like a good many of his ur fortunate sex, he is to be seen occasionally sewing bis own buttons qn,
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 48, 15 January 1880
THE FARMER Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 48, 15 January 1880
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