Windscreen-bashing bugs, bungarras and bush flies…who needs ‘em? OK, some spiders can be useful (though not when they rain from the sky, as happened in Goulburn recently), but there are plenty of other critter antics we could do without…
1. Bungarras that lurk in the water trough and sneak up just as you bend over to pull the bung.
2. Bush flies that seem to take particular delight in heading up your nose when your hands are covered in grease or afterbirth.
3. Bugs that always seem to hit the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight (same applies to stone chips).
4. Bugs that aim for the eyes of any motorbike rider silly enough to forget his glasses.
5. Feral cats – especially the one that finds an open window to a truck and rips up the seats to have her litter.
6. Plovers guarding their nests – just when you’re walking back to the seed and super truck after seeding at night – and taking five years off your life. (NOTE: Plovers move for no man. Or tractor. Brownie points with the wife can be gained by going around them, but will then be lost with the agronomist.)
7. Brown snakes that decide to live on your verandah.
8. Pythons that eat your chooks.
9. Snakes, generally, but especially when you mistake a python for a big king brown. (When in 'snake panic’ mode, try to be aware of what's behind the snake before you let fly with the shotgun. To justify five dead chooks, a dozen broken eggs, two scared-witless dogs and a hole in the water tank, it would need to be a huge one. And not a carpet python.)
10. Redbacks and funnelwebs, anywhere: on your dunny, under the woodpile, inside your gumboot. Never good.
11. Mice, necessitating mouse traps that resemble phalluses – especially weird when you have to rub the rubber rings on them to set the traps.
12. Fruit flies – on your crop or in the missus’s jam
13. Ants on bloody everything after rain, from the missus’ just-baked cake to the dogs’ food.
14. Frogs that manage to get in the water tank no matter how well you seal it.
15. Mixy'ed bunnies that run out in front of your little kids at Easter.
16. Pregnant rabbits. ‘Nuff said.
17. Cockatoos, especially when they raid your sunflower patch the day before harvest.
18. Emus that steal food and kick your dunny door in.
19. Frogs that manage to get in the water tank no matter how well you seal it.
20. Wild dogs that frolic in your vegie crops and wee on your tomato bushes (usually the day after you knock your rifle sights out of whack).
21. Plagues of anything: rats, mice, toads, machinery sales reps.
Editor's note: Some of these tips were published previously as tweets in response to Michael Trant’s call for ‘Farmers’ curses’ or as Golden Rules of Farming in Michael's excellent blog Farmer's Way Of Life. If you enjoy his cheeky sense of humour and writing style, keep an eye out for Michael's upcoming novel Wydjawanna Station, which he crowd-funded successfully through Kickstarter. Read a sample of the book for free here.