Life has been busy, and finally I am sorting and packing twenty years worth of family memories. I begin in my bedroom with the dressing room table, the place where I jam personal correspondence, that I haven't got time to sort don't want to forget.
Its a strange feeling. Old letters from my early college days, cards from friends and children, love letters, wedding replies, envelopes and check buts. I try to shred them, I shred half a dozen, but I cant shred them all. Instead I take time to indulge in the memories, from a growing number of people no longer here.
My next target is the studio. As an artist I collect small objects found on the farm. Nests, wood, signage, ropes, many things, usually of little value in monetary terms. You could say I have sprawled out, with many parcels tucked away in corners and shelves. My life's accumulation stands before me, in cardboard boxes.
Rainfall patterns have been changing and history repeats itself with smaller family farms struggling to hold on while eager opportunists wait. Corporate scale farms, allow an economy of scale resulting in more productive and profitable outcomes. Certainly it is a buyers market in regional Australia.
The human face of these 'opportunities', is an exodus in the wheatbelt of Western Australia. I heard on the radio recently that the Shire of Kulin's population fell by 80 people last year and that this decline is predicted to continue. Families that leave often move to already engorged cities.
There is more involved than a moving caravan of displaced farmers. Decisions about the quality of produce are less diverse with decisions made by a declining population. Indeed food security; types of crops, biotechnologies and chemicals are selected by an increasingly powerful few.