It was the animals that were the real stars of the day at Springhill Farm; they knew they were on show, and would start moo-ing, baa-ing and crowing as the bus pulled up the driveway, in preparation for a fun day with the children. These days, the same characters are still in the spotlight, this time gracing our packaging
Polly was, shall we say, a porker. Her piglet perkiness quickly morphed into a 1.6 metre, 100 kilogram machine that could dig up a garden bed faster than a rotary hoe. But she was ever adorable, waddling alongside the tractor during school farm visits when the mood took her.
Basil was up for anything, but mostly up to mischief. He’d eyeball the school kids on their farm visits and sidle up to the ‘one most likely’ – the unsuspecting child that would be seduced by his charms and offer Basil part of his lunch. As soon as Basil had his fill, he was off again, frequently taking a dip in the trough filled with water and shaking the excess over as many of us as he could (on purpose, we’re sure).
Doreen the fresian was always the one that would lead the animals of the farm in a cacophony of welcome as the excited school kids drove in to visit. She was ever content in letting the kids try their hand at milking her by hand whilst they balanced astride the wooden post and rail fence. She’d tickle these wanna-be dairy farmers with her long, rough, sandpaper-textured tongue, gently licking feed from their little fingers.
Whether scrambling onto a visitor’s car bonnet to survey his world, or being the ringleader of fellow mischief-making animals, we could always guarantee a bit of a riot due to the curiosity of our cashmere goat, Fred. Even the day he jumped to reach a tree branch to sate his irrepressible appetite, breaking his leg in the process, turned into a memorable day for the school kids that went wild over his plaster cast.
Shauna was bottle-fed from the time she was born. She was one spoilt little lamby and truly thought her place was in front of the open fire, not the open paddocks. On farm visit days her job was the tour-leader, steering the flock into the shed to show the kids how shearing was done. Shauna was often hoisted onto the truck for the trip back to the farmhouse, with the kids cuddling up to her thick and cosy merino fleece.