What’s your passion?

I look at the farmer in amazement (in a good way) most days, he lives doing what he loves, farming and he is a good farmer at that. I have always said to him I will never learn what he has forgotten about farming, I’m doing care taking. His love of the land is matched by his love of the animals and his dedication to ensuring he farms to the best of his ability.

He has grown up here, a familiar story to men from the bush, they can relate on a deeper level to the earth than most people. The house block was bare when purchased and he has planted every tree here, maximising for wind breaks, shade and aesthetics. He has re vegetated fence lines to provide boundaries, grass breaks and shade from wind, rain and hot sun for animals. He has utilised Trees for Life to get natives to plant that will beautiful the landscape, encourage bees to pollinate vegetation and stabilise ground cover.

He checks everything daily to ensure, it’s safe, this includes water in troughs, no open fences for escapees, animal girth for bloat (in winter) pregnancy how far along they have progressed and paddocks that allow the animals to roam on the property without much interference from humans.

I got him to teach me how to feed out hay, most of you would think this is easy but there is skill in everything and safety first when doing farm work. It involved being able to drive a tractor to collect a hay bale, get it to a trailer attached to a ute, place the bale so that it sat within a specified place to ensure safety and room for 2 more, flip the bale and load 2 more. Drive the ute to the paddock where the cattle would come around, cut the six strings, set the Ute into low gear and let it drive itself whilst you get on and divide the bales up and drop the biscuits off both sides of the moving ute. Terrified me it did when I had to do it on my own, the thing about farming is that you have to accommodate for all instances.

Me, learning to do this allowed the farmer to go off farm for more than one night without having to come back to feed he hasn’t been able to do this since 2009 when we holidayed together.  Working as a partnership has it’s ups and downs as there is only the two of us, no next generation coming through the ranks, but that happens in many families.

I haven’t found my passion here yet, I still feel at home in the city where I have family & friends. In the country there is so many highly talented educated unemployed women that have married into a life of no career and duties from times past. I know women who are charted accountants now bank tellers (part time) para legals now abattoir workers, nurses unemployed or working as cleaners. There is no shame in gainful employment don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to be employed close to home, but some of my women friends have 2 or 3 jobs to earn a decent income well out of their chosen field.

 

 

3 Quick tips to know you’re buying Fresh Meat

When you’re in the supermarket and looking at the meat counter, you know your families health and food choices come from your decision making . Most people with families look for value for money and quantity, making the most of what’s on offer, what’s in the family purse and how far can the purchases go.

  1. Smell, never never eat anything you think is ‘turning’. Meat should have hint of a smell a little like blood or stronger if it’s game. It should smell pleasant and nothing much more.
  2. Red Meat should look red, pink if pork and white if chicken. It may sound simple but some meats can have a slight tinge of purple in them this is ok, but it means the meat is beginning to have sat for a long period of time and needs to be used immediately or frozen.
  3. Check the hydration of the meat, gently push your finger into the meat and once you have taken it away it should spring back and the only evidence is a slight indentation on the packet, if it stays deflated then I wouldn’t buy it.

In Australia we are lucky to have such good quality meat and I can not remember a time when there has been a meat recall. Most supermarkets have in house butchers and also a range of selection of good quality meat.

I often get asked if there is blood should I avoid it, I say no, this means it is fresh, the pad at the bottom of the packet is such that it soaks it up as meat should not sit in blood as it will start to set up bacteria. Buy it, open it and freeze it fresh.

If none of these steps are good don’t buy it or eat it.Beautiful scotch fillet pictured

scotch fillet

If you want ‪#‎halal‬ is should read that on the label, it has been certified by the appropriate body.

Ode to my Farmer

I passed away in the early hours of this morning, outside when the sun came up and in a place I knew was home. It was where we sat having drinks in summer, near your chair where one of you would reach down and pet me. The outside erection built by you, I wasn’t well and have been slowly letting you know I was going to pass over a week ago. I started to not want my food.

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I remember you coming and selecting me, you picked me up held me to your chest and I felt your heart beat and you brought me to the farm. I was little and it was big, there were other dogs that looked like me and white 4 legged wooly animals as well as big black 4 legged creatures. All of this was frightening but you carried me around until you felt I was ready to join the mob. You spent weeks touching me, encouraging me, training me to obey, sit on the back of the ute, run after sheep and cattle whilst growing up.

I loved the space, I loved working, you would drive the ute and whistle, I would know what to do, I was your right or left hand depending upon where you sent me. These cattle and sheep were never frightening after you took the time to teach me, I could get them where you wanted them. You would lift me up into the ute, pat me and tell me all the time what a good dog I was, sometimes if I was hot I would run to the trough, jump in and lie down whilst moving my body from one end to the other to cool off.

I loved the farm and I loved you, you would pat me, feed me and put me in my kennel at night for protection. I was never chained except on the back of a ute to protect me and as I grew and became the oldest working dog I earnt the right to sit in the ute with you whilst the other younger ones got to ride in the back. This was great in summer with the air conditioner on and in winter with the heater. I would stand with my head resting on the dash board looking out. You would reach over and pat me often, I loved working with you. I loved summer when we would go to the dam and swim whilst chasing a ball it was what I was bred to be.

I learnt your voice, your whistle and your touch, you were who I wanted to be with. I learnt the good words and the bad words. Sometimes (when working in sheep & cattle yards) there would be swearing and I would look for a way of running off. It was here in the sheep yards that we had our serious accident. I jumped, missed and dislocated my hips. You picked me up and took me into the vet, I then had to spend weeks getting better, I never really recovered to my best but you never seemed to mind. You would come and get me, sit on the step and hold me like I was a puppy again, I would place my head on your shoulder and breath the love between us

During my growing years, I had a coat given to me in winter, I had a bed I was always happy to go to, it didn’t even become crowded when the new puppy came along and she dug under our joined fence and started to sleep with me. We were fed, we were allowed to swim and we were a family. When I was really sore I was given the best health care going, I even was allowed trips to town, the bank teller still remembers when you brought me in and placed me on the counter (where I was a little scared and I peed) no one told me off you picked me up and patted me. I also had many people that I loved and they loved me. People came and went but you were always there.

Then last year I became sore in the hips, slowed down and found it difficult to keep my balance in the front of the ute (I had turned 15) I suffered if I had to work so we decided I could move inside at night. I was given the couch, no one told me to get off and when the other dogs came inside I didn’t even have to look up when you shouted for them to get out. I was safe and warm again in your care.

Then I had to retire from the day trips, that was initially difficult, I would bark as you drove away but could easily find my couch, then when I stopped being able to get up on the couch the padded bed was bought. This was also lovely, it was taken to the office daily and returned at night so I could sleep at your feet. I still barked when you drove off, but from the comfort of my bed, either from the bedroom or the office. I was warmed protected and loved.

I had begun to get sick and I noticed no one told me off, in fact yesterday I was found lying in it, instead of being put outside, I watched as my bed was moved to the darkest corner of the room, my blanket was freshened up and she lifted me up, bathed me with a warm hot towel and laid in my bed all the while she was telling me what a good, beautiful and wonderful dog I was. She laid on the floor for a while petting me, telling me how much I was loved and how hard I had worked for 15+ years and it was ok to join the others.

You came home and came straight into see me yesterday, you didn’t mention the vomit to me, I know you loved me as much as I loved you. I loved the fact you would pat me and make me feel safe and loved, I knew this as I passed. I know that when you buried me you carried me close to your chest, holding me gently like when I was a puppy and as a last act of love you patted me one last time.

 

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Mandy

 

 

 

“The Last Laugh”: seeing dementia differently

my totally amazing friend, can’t wait to get to see her on stage, doing stand up comedy on Dementia – fantastic dropping the F bomb – Classic

It never ceases to amaze me what I end up getting involved in! After asking Dr Mark Cross not to use one word on a Facebook page he had set up, we have connected, met over dinner, and are involved with a wonderful producer Alison Black in filming a documentary called “The Last Laugh”. Here is a trailer we have made for it…

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On dementia, disAbility and writing my book

For all those who have or know someone with Dementia – this is a must read and must have book . Written by a truly talented author and friend

Jessica Kingsley Publishers in the UK sent me a few questions to answer about what is was like when first diagnosed with dementia, how dementia has impacted my life and family, and on living beyond dementia, continuing to study and much more… you can hear my response here.

My book “What the hell happened to my Brain?: Living beyond dementia” released on January 21, 2016 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in the UK, and is available there, on Amazon, The Book Depository and through selected bookshops.

If you have dementia, join me and others living with dementia from around the world at Dementia Alliance International, an advocacy and support group of, by and for people with dementia which is exclusive to us, and free – http://www.joindai.org

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Things you don’t want to do

How do we get motivated to do the things we don’t want to do? How do we know we don’t even want to do them? I think it all starts from the nurture and nature up bringing we all have. As children we are taught many things, in-fact these teachings are taken into our adulthood and if you are as lucky as I was with the parents you have, these teachings good and bad go with us into our adulthood.

I think there may be one thing that despite nature or nurture no one looks forward to and from brief conversations with others most avoid going to the dentist at the risk of losing teeth. I myself wish I could be anywhere else yesterday as I headed in, but have nursed this pain now since before Christmas.

I have taken pain relief and antibiotics to ease the risk of infection and pain, but it started to get worse so I headed back to the Dr, to get the same antibiotics I had taken 2 weeks before not giving anything another thought. Waiting till after dinner and following the instructions I washed the tablet down with water and didn’t give it another thought. Approx 2 hours after ingestion I found myself having an adverse reaction to the antibiotics that had me having an overnight visit and stay in the Keith Hospital.

I awoke thinking I was being bitten by mosquitos until I realized my eyelids and upper palate were itchy as well as my scalp. Having had this experience before I knew this was a drug adverse reaction. It took less than 2 hours to have the reaction but have it I did. I got out of bed and checked myself in the mirror, I had the lovely red rash all over the body, swollen hands and feet. I gave myself the appropriate medications , woke the farmer, called the hospital and we headed into the hospital.

I spent the rest of the night on the appropriate medication and observation. It’s times like these that I am grateful, I was part of a community that helped to save the Keith Hospital. As for the visit to the dentist yesterday morning, I dread it, I dislike the injection of local anaesthetic, there were 3. I dislike the drilling, the suction and everything to do with the dentist, especially the numb face for hours afterwards.

So we begin the adventure of fixing the tooth, the gap between private cover, fees and beginning a relationship with parting with money and getting to know another new dentist.

Animal Farm

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Ole “Mr. Grumpy”

I have to correct myself from yesterday the bull Ole Mr Grumpy is not 2 ton, he in fact weighs about 1 ton. To me when you see him standing up and close wouldn’t matter how much he weighed if you annoy him and he hit you, I think it would be the end of a good day and a visit to the hospital. He is quite a gentle bull and will take to being told to move on, even the cats will move when he walks up to them to sniff them.

Whilst watching TV last night we were surprised to see a bat flying around our lounge room. I know a bat, we suspect it was brought in the night before by one of the ‘shed cats’ and it managed to get away from the cat to take place in the curtains. I jumped up turned the fans off, closed our bedroom door, bathroom door, turned the lights off and opened the double sliding doors hoping it would fly out.

We think it did as I have searched in dark places, our drapes and shelves and I can’t seem to find it, this morning. I hope it either flew out via the open doors or the propped open ‘new cat flap’. I say new cat flap as the farmer decided to put a new one in the wall and move the old one to the other side of the house.

The cats are none too happy with this change, they will sit outside the cat flap and look at it. As soon as it’s propped open with a plank of wood they will jump through it and if it is closed and we catch a cat we push them out through the flap so they can get use to it and start using it.

The shed cats are clever they have managed to track down their old flap and enter and leave via this. I think the farmer finds this annoying as he was so happy when he found the correct flap on boxing day that when we got home he commenced the insertion of the wall flap.

Life is not dull on the farm and whether it be day or night we have lots of movements of animals. As for ‘Ole Mr. Grumpy he’s going back to a mob of ladies soon to start this years work.