When Driving is no longer your thing


I am at the age where people close to me, parents and some friends are now in the twilight of their lives and decisions need to be made that they won’t or can not see they are having issues with. I know I am no longer the fit agile girl from my youth, but I look in the mirror and am not horrified by what I see. I see a woman looking back at me whose hair is greyer than colour, I have a face that smiles with lines, I have a body that gave birth and there are lumps and bumps one never thinks about when being in your 30’s and 40’s.

The biggest issue I can see for our elderly folk is the driving license, it is something many hold onto without thought for others, it is a single entity that one holds despite ability to drive safely. I know of children of aged parents who go to the Doctor and ask them to remove it and many are angry when this request is refused. I have worked in a Doctors surgery many years back and watched an eighty year old man throw a thousand dollars at the doctor and said it’s all yours if you let me keep my license. It was a shock, the doctor opened his door called the nurse (me) and I was witness to him handing it back and then watching the eye test and other requirements of the medically fit to drive test for the Department of Motor Registration (in Australia) to which this gentleman failed.

I was also the nurse who then had to call his son and get him to come and collect his father and the car whilst he sat in my treatment room sobbing, he was 83 and I sat taking with him about his life and other issues for him to tell me, he and his son hadn’t spoken for 6 months earlier as he asked him to consider stopping driving. This made him angry as he wanted to keep driving to the local shops and to church. I asked him why he put himself and others in danger by doing this as he clearly couldn’t ambulate well – he had a frame, to assist him walking and couldn’t see well enough.

His answer is one that many use to justify the need to keep the license, ” but I’ll lose my independence, I don’t want to rely on my son and others to drive me, but I’ve been driving since I was 13 and I haven’t had an accident. I don’t want to take public transport as there is no bus, train or tram near me.”

Having the discussion about driving with the elderly brings, in most cases an immediate anger response, and instant emotive change from happy to angry no matter the intent of the messenger. How does one go about getting someone you love and care about to admit they are having issues ? Most times saying things out loud can trigger truth in the speaker but the drivers license issue doesn’t.

I look, watch and talk to people and am surprised when I hear children of aging parents say yep, ” I know they are terrible drivers and I won’t let them drive my children around anymore. ” so then begs the question ” have you told your parents this?” 99% of the answer is “God no I don’t want to hurt their feeling” so it’s ok NOT to have your own children being driven by an elderly  unsafe driver but it’s ok that they can drive through school areas without being aware they have an issue.” Here is where it doesn’t make sense but as humans we are basic nurturers and do not wish to hurt anyone’s feelings even if it means putting others in the path of danger.

I know of a person who has TIA (Transient ischemic Attacks – or mini strokes) and refuses to tell the doctor and family about them as they  knows they will have to give up the  license, one of her children just this week has told her they will be discussing this fact after Christmas, she is horrified at the thought, not of the thought she could kill herself or others if she has one when driving, but that she may have to stop driving, umm yes you do.

Then there is stories of deaths by running over spouses, miss identifying the pedals in the car, running cars into shops as they mistook the accelerator instead of the brake, or in cases I have watched driving at 20 kms and then using the gutter as the indicator to stop the car as that’s as far as one can go. There are tales of mistaking car parking spots and ending up on ovals, lawns and other areas, yet this isn’t enough for the person to tell someone they are having trouble. We watch as people use the brake every time they think a car is going to hit them, see a car in their vision and immediately think it is coming at them, these are minor eye issues but they still pose a risk to the general public, nothing worse than driving behind someone who constantly hits the brakes for no reason.

Why this blog and why now? I would like to have any answer from anyone who has had this conversation with a loved one about stopping driving. I don’t want road statistics quoted to me I would like you to contact me and give me clues or stories that got you to stop driving or got a parent or loved one to stop. Keeping in mind some people, country people don’t have any access to hired drivers, taxi’s or public transport.

Please send me ideas and stories, I would love to hear them and read them as this may give me options on how to broach the subject with a loved one who is being observed driving terribly.


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.

Things you can count on

One thing we can count on in Adelaide, South Australia is the heat, it gets mighty hot here, we have consecutive days over 40 degree Celsius 104 farnheidt. It gets hotter here on the farm and without air conditioning I can count on it being unbearable.

I could spend time listing all of the things we can’t count on but there is one glaringly obvious thing we can can count on and that’s the head line gripping behaviour of politicians. Even on slow news days politicians can manage to make merry on the public purse, tarnish their images and come out looking less than desirable.

We read about these stories, sometimes as they die on their swords or if someone ‘leaks ‘it to the media either way it’s (sadly) becoming common place and we can all count on it, no matter who you  vote for, they all do it.

This last couple of weeks have been Jamie Briggs, Mal Brough, the Royal Commission into unions which shows no one in great light, whilst the politicians who were called before it can say they weren’t aware – it’s not really good enough is it. People’s hard earned money paying for thousand dollar dinners, business class trips and no one checking the checkers. Did they really need to spend all that money on a Royal Commission to discover it? in my opinion probably not.

In this day and age, with cameras in phones do they really expect to get away with it? Let’s face it Jamie Briggs MP looked foolish enough by his own admission and vowed to protect the identity of the women whom says his behaviour made her feel uncomfortable and was inappropriate with, has since sent the image to ‘his mates’ and one of them has kindly assisted him in breeching all the codes of privacy and common decency by giving it to a media outlet.

Are we supposed to think by being able to view the image that it was put out there in self-defence? if we could all see her “piercing eyes”would this mean we would understand why he grabbed her and kissed her neck? Is this implying we should take it as her fault? As one reporter suggested perhaps he should find better drinking partners – here’s a tip don’t drink whilst working, we all know the rules around work functions, it you attend you are working until you get home in what ever state you left the work function, it becomes the responsibility of the boss to protect the worker even if they are drunk, sober or anything in between,  politicians are no different or do they just think they are?

Not only do all politicians get good salaries, they all get the perks of a tax payers credit card and travel expenses. When they become Ministers rather than back benchers we can count on the fact they get a pay rise and elevate themselves to a higher standing than they should have.

Those of us that are lucky to have seen the New year in, know that we can count on today doing what one can to get through hard times and good times. I do understand politicians are in fact humans working like we do, except they get the benefits of public life and access to money and travel that none of us do, every time I see headlines around their bad behaviour it irks me more.

We have farmers in QLD who are showing signs of third world malnutrition this article should be front and centre of all of their thoughts and abilities to assist.  We should be able to count on our politicians not getting pissed in a Hong Kong bar, kissing a woman who never asked for it, not enlisting a staffer to steal private records which leads to a police investigation or not being party to unions that take hard earned money from working people and so on….

We like politicians, can count on the fact that their behaviour is reported to the general public as they continually tell us the Australian taxpayers are their bosses and they are accountable. So from this boss to ALL politicians, lead by example and just stop allowing yourself to be portrayed as twits.

Summer Rain

It’s coming up to Christmas and into summer in Australia and its the time we prepare for the happiest of times and for the saddest of times. How I love winter, I love the fact one can get warmth and be warm whilst the weather out side does it’s job, it rains… well most times it’s does. We haven’t had enough rain yet and now coming into summer on the farm is going to be another long one (hot summer) that is. There are areas all over the world that could use rain to get out of drought and poverty, Australia like other countries has them at the moment.

In the country that I live in we have had a below average rainfall, and now summer has hit in a big way – much sooner than we wanted or expected. Outside our temperature gauge hit 37 degrees celsius 98.6 F the other day in spring and this is not considered unusual, it is part of the pattern of our seasons. With these types of temperatures so soon in spring many farmers are watching their crops ripen and set seed early so many will start to harvest. It will be a tough year for farmers in the south-east of South Australia with many harvesting early and many de-stocking to reduce food load on finances.

For the croppers they are cutting crops such as canola, wheat, barley and others early due to low sub soil moisture and no back up rains. They will be expecting the livestock people to buy the hay bales. They will all be wanting a good price for their hay but in times like this where most of them will be doing it I suspect the prices won’t be there, but we’ll see.

There are many things people do when they come into summer – most women shave their legs which they have left over winter as they were either wearing stockings or trousers to hide them and many people look to the perfect spray tan to start wearing summer clothing without looking like the lighthouse beacon with lily-white legs. In the country not only do women think and do these things they also have to work off farm for income and on farm as unpaid labour, the extra pair of hands to help when it’s easier to do the job ‘now’ rather than wait for paid employees. I know many a wife who help at shearing time in the shed as a general roustabouts whilst running and maintaining everyday issues of family, school, business and even continue their part-time careers during this busy time.

Summer also brings the thought of fire, when I hear dry lightning storms I worry, when I read there is to be controlled burn offs by the Government I worry more. I prepare for fire now, after having had 2 in the last 4 years. I listen and act, everything is in place, this year though there will only be a plan for 3 dogs instead of 4 with Pete safely at rest, it has taken some of the stress off me. All fire fighting equipment is checked and at the ready something no one wants to do but is necessary in a country where fire is one of the greatest dangers in national parks and on properties.

No fires for us this year, we keep hoping for summer rain and look to the skies when it gets dark and cloudy. With 9 Fridays left till Christmas it’s time to prepare and get ready for the celebrations with family and friends.

before and after shearing

Stepping in manure

I live in Australia, an island of unique properties and places with vast distances of space. Driving from one end of the country to the other is an adventure undertaken with bravery (I have never done it nor do I ever plan to). I remember the first time I visited Darwin and I sat on Mindil beach and thought about the fact I was on the complete opposite side of Australia to my home town beach at Seacliff Beach, South Australia and I knew then how small I was in the scheme of land mass.

I loved living near the beach, I walked the Pete daily for years, not the weekend warrior kind, the devoted owner winter and summer kind daily. There was hardly a time I missed unless I was away. Being the Golden Retriever he would swim summer or winter he wasn’t fussed and I had to start bathing him weekly as he would get that smell of wet damp dog hair that sometimes is mistaken for a boy’s room smell. But we did it and loved it.

Then I met the farmer and moved to the country to live on the land and as much as I have loved it I have developed a love / hate relationship with it. Pete also loved it here, he had freedom, other animals to be with and dams to swim in. My relationship with the beach is one of love, it is a place I find peaceful and calming and I miss it. It’s like having to answer the “favourite child question” the minute it’s asked it’s an automatic “I love you all the same ” response and I know it’s not. I feel more at home near water than I do on the land and at times like long hot summers it’s hard on everything here, the land, the soil and the animals.

Being on the land means 24/7 with your partner / husband and this is another special skill one must adapt to. Many woman know that what gets said in the cattle yards, sheep yards or pig yards stays there, they is not for the faint nor soft-hearted. But sometimes one must dumb oneself down to get the right answer before it becomes the issue.  Let the cattle out of the cattle yards is not such a simple request as I found out today. I take the ute out to the cattle yards and there is 5 lots of them locked up in different pens, be careful as the gate may be electrified, only to be discovered it was live upon touching it that it as I got a shock. I noticed the cattle have turned on the tap and the water is lapping over the gate and electricity which is making it ‘live’. I took my shirt off so I could unlatch the gate without further shocks to myself, I have no clue how much shock the cattle would have felt staring at me in my bra and jeans but the tap needed to be turned off and this gate open so the cattle could go into this paddock out of the cattle yards. Once done I could let the cattle out, then realising they were in separate pens I knew I had to look for the farmer to ask the dumb question, do I let them all out or only some of them? A dumb question or smart one depending upon what they have been put in their for. I track him down 15 kms away and ask, sometimes it’s better than the alternative, letting them out and getting sworn at for not just ‘letting the cattle out of the yards’ confusing isn’t it? They were to all be let out, back I go and walk through them to do this, one panics and jumps over the 4 foot gate to get away from me, ‘good riddance I say. I walk back to shut one of the sets of gates and as I’m doing so I happen to tread in a pile of manure in my sandals, nothing like the slippery feel of fresh manure as it flows onto your foot.

My sandal is outside washed under the hose, my foot has been scrubbed of any evidence of said manure and the cattle all ran out of the yards without a look back to see if I was still there. It started this morning with a suggestion of a cooler rainy day and has ended hot and windy. Mandy the retired kelpi – lives on my office floor now and decided today was the day she tore up Pete’s old quilt to make it comfortable for her body and I let her. He has been gone 7 months I still look for him and now I see the same look of love and devotion staring back through Mandy’s eye’s and it lifts my mood.

I see the towels waving to me from the washing line, flapping in the sun and spinning round and round in the wind and I know they are not going to take themselves off the line. The chooks are off and pecking at my sandal near the tap, that’s the last time, I don’t put my boots on to go about the farm.



Telecommunications #fail or #pass

Living in regional areas means having to use every thing available to stay in-contact with families, travel safely in areas during daily work life, maintain and do business, so it requires properties and families to have a land line, mobile phones, satellite internet and satellite TV services that are affordable and relevant. It also makes sense to provide these areas with great services due to the high risk of fire, isolation, horrific road tolls, farm accidents, distances needed to travel to get to anywhere and educational opportunities that city children don’t have to give a thought to. These are a few of the daily activities that regional and rural people need to combat in order to be educated, informed and involved in their local communities and lives, even medical services are now looking to linking up with video conferencing to diagnose and treat people in these areas as Doctors stay away in droves.

Yet in Australia, Governments historically and modern-day concentrate all finances and upgrading of services i.e. roads, high-speed internet to the cities, to get more votes. Their tunnel vision doesn’t expand greater than for self-serving and vote grabbing. Despite the fact that all politicians admit and acknowledge it’s an issue, one will come up with an idea i.e. NBN Co  the next incoming Government will veto it, change it and then make it so redundant it fails to provide anything for regional and rural areas, it becomes obsolete or rather the service so over subscribed they cut everybody sighting a ‘Fair Use Policy” designed to discriminate against “‘only regional customers” as told to the local radio station by a CEO of a provider, when challenged.

When paying subscribers were notified by email of this announcement to cut GB to 20Gb for all, there was a written disclaimer of being sued for breach of confidential information should you share it ( they were trying to infer regional people would just accept this as delivery of more poor services to our areas without a fuss). In the city, emails seen to fly out of sent boxes with ease, regionally you sometimes have to walk away and or disect the email and send in consequential lots, 1 email in the city and 4 from regional areas, depending upon content (thankfully there are now drop boxes and clouds).

I have written to all Communications Ministers, Sitting and Shadow, State and Federal to receive, at best, a substandard response from them all, when sending some of these onto radio producers I have had to send them with a warning “this will be 5 minutes of your life you will never get back if you read this” some Ministers Shadow and Sitting, actually think it is ok to make this about THEM, not only as individuals but as a party, the absolute vanity and non caring of these people sitting in $100K+ salaries telling us that if it weren’t for them we would have nothing was awkward at best. The radio producers have had to agree and then not able to put it to air so as not to embarrass themselves with such stupidity. Others have referred me off to the Dept of Communications – beautifully side stepping the issue.

Our local ABC radio has been great with the cause as it affects all of regional and rural areas, having diminished services puts safety at risk of all road users and travellers, tourism, business, medical services and educational growth of these areas. I was lucky enough to be able to get onto the regional telecommunications review webinars to hear how these decreases have affected many people in different forms from all over Australia.

My other issue is that though the provider has reduced the satellite internet services by 2/3rd they have not reduced the price. All our communications services are extremely expensive and fairly useless, mobiles do not ring or can’t be answered in houses, we get great reception 30kms away so we are reliant on a land line which during our fire was damaged and though, in an active fire zone was told we “were not important enough to have it fixed” it took Telstra 6 weeks to reconnect us. Recently it was out for 9 days with no explanation as to why they wouldn’t come and fix it, when they did it took less than 30 minutes.

Now with the reduction in Satellite internet services we also have had the announcement that Mobile black spot funding has been settled at 11 towers in SA, due to lack of input and finances from our State Government. In the South East of South Australia there was none allocated despite areas being identified where there is no network, no safety for people in these areas and no level of comfort they are being taken seriously. Our State Government has had over 12 years to improve our state and regional areas, with the exception of Port Pirie, they haven’t nor do I feel comfort that the opposition party will be any better, there is no money. Governments spend and spend tax payers money with no real planning for future growth and needs.

I have heard of families struggling with remote education, saying that their 2 teenage children had used the quota up in two weeks with school work and then they were cut off till the next billing round, does this then make it necessary to have local and regional libraries open after hours? Will the Government be proactive and allow this? pay the wages and encourage students to go there? the problem is lack of foresight by  Government and lack of finances to pay wages due to poor fiscal management.  Distance being an issue for families in that some of these libraries are attached to schools and are over 100+kms away from properties. I think not, its put up with it until we fix it sometime in 2016.

For anyone wanting to let the Department know of their issues and problems with reduced services please go to the Regional Telecommunications Review, issue papers and do a submission you have till 15th July 2015 to get your voice for your area read. It may not help solve the problem in the short term but will give them different aspects to work on. To make it easier click the link and it will take you straight there. I am also happy to share with you the correspondence I have received from the Ministers and Shadow Ministers if you would like to email me requesting it.

Some of these people and Departments make as much sense as standing in a paddock full of cattle, the language barrier is huge and the lack of concentration and understanding by the parties is a great divide.


I’m giving our Governments and Telecommunications a big #FAIL

Shearers and Farmers Agree


I want to thank you all for your words of encouragement and the positive words on the face book page and my blog. I think it is vital we all have a voice for our animals and our trades, there are very few farmers in Australia and the world that advocate cruelty to animals, in any way shape or form. Not to say that we are all perfect we are not, but deliberate attempts by organisations to show the rogues (there are those in every industry) the randomness of the trades, the bullies and those that need education all differ and high light the fact that we need to support even these people.

We can take stock and look back now at what PETA has done and thank them, we can thank them for the unity they have created amongst us all. We need to thank them for the fact that they have put our industry in the fore front of people’s minds to defend it. we can thank them for highlighting how ignorance and discrimination can create change for the better.

We are better off with them than without them and I mean that, for if they had not been so determined in their lies, fake lambs, vegan spokes person (nothing wrong with being a vegan – though to a meat eater it’s a different life style choice) and tried to con Australia into believing that the wool industry is full of horrific practices we would not be having the support of Australia and beyond. Groups such as PETA can do some much good, like expose puppy farms, – take photos of those cruel people who deliberately cage dogs for profit, close that sector down.

PETA we invite you to come to our farm next time we are shearing, I will actually pen a letter to them – an open letter and post it and wait for their response. I hope they do take me up on the offer, in fact I say why don’t we all do it, I am happy to write this and will share it with you. Lets get them to film us and our teams of workers and make them understand the frustration, the heat, the barking dogs and the work makes long days and frayed tempers but it doesn’t make shearing the skin off sheep and leaving them to die in agony as their picture depicts.

My friends at www.baabaabrew.com.au in NSW property Goongirwarrie sent me a picture of one of their Merino Rams being shorn – how hard does this look?

Shearing the Ram