Aug 12

Tips and tactics to motivate the farmer

I’ve tried guilt, shaming, threats, flirting, resignation and taking a wager and while each ploy worked once, I can’t confirm their ongoing usefulness. These are my tried and tested methods of getting a bloke to oblige with practical matters because it’s universally known that nagging – or, often, even asking nicely – doesn’t work. You’re welcome to try them at home, but I suspect they may need to be tailored to the quirks of each individual.

Pink beribboned hammer

Pink beribboned hammer

I had the shaming idea after the farmer nicked my precious hammer once too often, despite owning several himself. I tied a pretty pink bow on its neck and now, while the farmer uses my hammer, he no longer walks off with it. I guess the guilt he’d feel untying the bow or the shame while using a girlie work tool did the trick.

When he emptied my lawnmower petrol container once too often, I wrote threatening messages on it: ‘Rae’s petrol can. Do not touch.’ But he’d still sneak it to fill the pump for the nearby dam. Finally, I acted in the manner of an employer planning to fire someone who wouldn’t have a chance of winning in the employment court. After more strategic pleas, the day came when I said, “If you take it away again or leave it empty once more, I will never, ever mow a blade of grass again.” These days the container only departs briefly when the farmer refills it.

I’m devoted to my old green spade. It’s small, light and perfect. So why did the farmer keep using it? Eventually, I just bought him a new spade. But I did want it sharpened. My requests produced no action until the day I took it to Whangarei and phoned him to ask where I could get it sharpened. “I’ll do it,” he replied.

The next day I presented the spade. “Please sharpen this. I’m really, really hot on getting my spade sharpened.”

He grinned. “Really hot?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Really, really hot.”

He sharpened the spade.

And now to the vegetable garden which so big I’ve resigned. It’s now a weed jungle apart from rocket, a patch of kale and mustard greens (which are surprisingly delicious). Then I found the farmer hunched over his computer doing research. A raised garden bed is now under construction.

Then there’s the ancient bellows bought at a secondhand shop. They were gorgeous till he used them to start a fire in his smokehouse after a good catch of mullet. Pity he left them outside.

“We’ve got two choices,” I said, pointing out the dry, cracked leather and, therefore, useless bellows. “Toss them out or get them repaired, but that’ll cost a fortune.”

“I’ll fix them,” he said.

“You’ll fix them,” I spluttered. “I bet you don’t.”

“How much?”

“$200 and I’ll give you two years.” I felt supremely confident, having spent 16 years observing the farmer leave a trail of small DIY projects in his wake. (Fortunately he’s good at the big jobs.)

Two days later, he’d turned the dining table into a craft table where he sat cutting and hammering (with my prettily beribboned hammer) while bathed in an aura of self-satisfaction.

The repaired bellows look so beautiful I’d bet good money they won’t be left outside any time soon.

Finally . . . you can get the ebook – go to: https://www.amazon.com/author/raeroadley

About the author

Rae Roadley

Rae is a journalist, freelance writer and writing tutor. Soon after returning to her hometown to work for Northland's daily newspaper, she met beef and sheep farmer Rex Roadley. He lived in a historic home at Batley on the Kaipara Harbour and after moving there, Rae reported on farming then wrote a newspaper column, The Country Side. Her wryly amusing tales of country life earned many followers and led her to learn more about the local people, past and present. She tells the story of her new life in 'Love at the End of the Road: Finding my heart in the country'.