Blaming Others

Most people know if they have a bad night or a good nights sleep, i find myself waking up most nights and chose to lie in the dark looking outside our windows. It is beautiful if there is a moon shine. we live in the country so we have no street lights, neighbours house lights, security lights that flicker on and off with the movements of cats and no road traffic. This no longer scares me I find comfort in the quietness most nights.

We do however sleep with the radio on, I have a night time moaner, talker and snorer and have on occasions woken myself up talking nonsense in my sleep. He is a snorer with tinnitus and can wake up asking if someone has left a machine running.

I know when I wake what sort of day I’ll have, I have woken with heart racing and teeth gritting together, my teeth will ache from grinding them in stress. How do you have bad days on a farm you may well ask?  Most people think country life is relaxing, and jovial, it is full of loving animals, lush green paddocks, endless beautiful scenery, hours to prepare fabulous meals, wearing aprons and or jeans, boots and hats.

In reality it is very different, if it’s too hot, all the waters need checking 3 times per day as cattle will die within a day if they do not have water. In winter when the grass or paddocks turn green the animals need checking 2 to 3 times per day for bloat, too much green will expand their stomachs (they have 4) and they will literally fall over legs in the air dead. we place magnesium blocks over the place so they can lick them to reduce the risk of bloat. In birthing they can and do require assistance. The farmer is amazing with how he can deliver live cattle and not hurt mother or calf, but it can look like a brutal process with great outcomes.

My biggest gripe is the gap between sale of goods, meaning beef or lamb and payment. We will pay all our local places before anyone else, we do not need another country business closing due to slow sales and bad payers. All country towns and associations try and fund raise for their associations, hospitals, children’s schools, individual causes. I chose my charities now based on how much of my dollar goes to the charity or how much they pay staff to get your dollar. Yet when everything doesn’t pan out who do we blame?

How many head to the blaming the Government? themselves? the Boards that run organisations? or just society in general? are you a doer, get in and help or are you a watcher that stands on the sidelines, never participates but whinges loudly when it fails, or are you the volunteer that gets in helps, works and promotes? I’m the doer, the volunteer, I can work hard and tirelessly to raise funds and awareness and sometimes this isn’t enough or is too much for people and they shut you down. I move onto the next cause. I don’t do it for the praise, me I would like to be thanked as most people do, how do you react when you’re not thanked and appreciated?

Be involved

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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.

Shutting up Old Broads

The farmer didn’t like my post yesterday, he thinks I have no understanding of what we do here on the farm, when it comes to drought management and animal husbandry. Having been with him for 13 years (I know a long time) I have marveled at how he manages the farm, the cattle, the sheep and the crops. I have long stated I won’t have time to learn what he has forgotten when it comes to farming, business planning and management of animals.

Why did he take offense? because he’s thinks the work he does I don’t see and when I comment it’s a criticism of his abilities and it’s not. It is far from it, he doesn’t see that I worry about the animals that I can’t help with, other than the odd assistance or (slavery as I call it) I can help with lamb marking, putting rings on tails & testicles, whilst vaccinating them, I am no good at crutching or shearing. We rely on our great mate Ronnie to come and help pick up, put up and as a team we can do over 300 in a day. It’s hard yakka, bending, lifting, drafting (I can do this as well) we manage to work together and enjoy each others company (thanks Ronnie).

I can help with ear tagging the cattle, mustering and weighing, I can’t do the ringing of testicles as the size of these animals scare me and he gets to them young enough they are only about 200 kilo so it’s not so hard. When we ear tag them we have to put them in the race, head bale them (hold their heads with metal doors) whilst I grab their right ear and pierce it and put the legislated ear tag in it. Boy they can make a large noise as they bellow in protest, it’s the same as having ones ear pierced.

I have watched over the summer months as he has gone outside to check waters in troughs and dams, if they are out of water he has to locate the problem and fix it. We spent the best part of one Christmas day – missing lunch with my family to dig up water pipes clear them and wait for the troughs to fill over the farm in 40 degree heat (104 fahrenheit). Cattle and sheep can die without water in one day in this sort of heat.

I have watched him go out and feed hay to animals when our feed has declined, I see him jumping on and off a hay trailer whilst the ute is moving slowly so as to spread out the hay to keep animals fed. He does this every day maintaining the quality of our animals and their food source. I have watched him and gone with him checking things over our 5000 acres, I have taken him drinks and lunch whilst he is sowing, reaping, raking and fencing. We have spent weekends planting up to 3000 trees per year to give animals shelter belts and to re-vegetate tops of hills that blow with sand.

I have adapted to farming and I do have a deep love of what it is I don’t see and I don’t have the passion nor the drive for all of it like he does. I rarely criticise anything he does as I am aware he drives heavy machinery, he can build a shearing shed from plans drawn up with Ronnie on a scrap piece of paper,  he can swear like a farmer (as only they can) at anything and everything, he can care deeply for small animals which is why I am hand rearing 2 calves & a lamb currently.

How to shut me up – sorry Chris it won’t happen.

2014-09-19 21.28.47

Country Living: Its time to clear the pantry

Living on a farm when one goes shopping you seem to purchase food for the pantry, ingredients you think you may need at some stage of another, well my new shelves of my pantry are bulging from the weight of said pantry tins. My husband has determined that he can not find anything he wants – he started his own shelf a few years back but refuses to acknowledge that this was in spite of the fact he wouldn’t use what’s on it anyway. I do 99% of the cooking, needless to say I have placed things in front of his said items and made better usage out of the pantry.

There comes a time though doesn’t there when one has to admit they can’t find anything, never have the ingredients one needs to cook with and can’t remember what’s even there. I’m not quite at this level but I get accused of it not being organized, he also blames me for not being able to find his ‘men foods” tinned spaghetti – which I use when I do mixed grill or on toast on a cold winters day, cans of tuna (which I have never seem him eat one) which when we ran out of cat food and couldn’t be bothered doing the 100km trip to buy it we fed them the tuna and the jars of coffee, which I rarely drink and we buy a couple at a time to ensure we do not run out. Other than these I have NO IDEA what he is talking about.

I have decided to cook things using at least one item from my pantry per meal I cook or at least x 2 per day. As I am home most of the week working I do prepare lunches for my husband, most times I cook something or make warm foods to sustain him and the work he does. I started this idea last week when I went to find a tin of spaghetti to find I couldn’t find anything. I did however find 8 cans of coconut milk or cream (lots of curries coming up) 12 can of diced or whole tomatoes and lots of pack noodles.

Yesterday for lunch I did sausage rolls – using cumin seed of which I have 4 bottles of, real beef sausages, filo puff pastry & cheese slices looks like lots of things with cumin coming up, I have posted the recipe on our website www.bullybeef.com.au. Last night I used a packet meal curry – just add meat and rice, it actually was delicious. The only problem is I have decided not to purchase anything more until I have used all of these cans, packets, tubes and jars up. I am out of basmati rice, a favourite and tinned bean sprouts, it looks like I am going to have to grow them using the 5 kilos of mung beans seeds I have. Oh the JOY!!

Today before I left the house I did a beef straganoff in the slow cooker, using a packet mix – I normally make from scratch – oh well at least it will be ready when I get home. Anyone with any recipes for coconut milk & cream and tinned tomatoes please send them in, my husband thinks I am mad but this is one way to ensure nothing expires and we use what we have.

Alphabet on the farm will be on the blog using the letter B tomorrow and no I am not clearing the shelves to move out, in case anyone is wondering

 

Cooking!! there is no glamour in this chore

It this really busy world where women and men are out working, being parents, playing sports, being on committees and numerous other roles unmentioned in this blog. There is always that nagging feeling when coming to the end of the working day, even if you do not work in paid employment after a day working, it comes to about 4pm and your mind starts thinking about the dreaded chore of preparing the evening meal. Remember the ‘frustrated Chef‘ from ‘Sesame Street’ well cooking daily makes me feel like this

There is no speech by your parents when you grow up about how laborious this chore is, yes they talk about sex, making babies, financial responsibilities and school and growing up but my mother never told me how this could be the worst chore ever invented and how necessary it is to daily functions. My mother also never told me how frustrating it is when you ask people in the house what do they want to dinner and have responses like “anything as long as I’m with you” as nice as it sounds it’s a cop-out. In Australian language that means I have no idea and I’m not prepared to offer any suggestions, this is frustrating to say the least, or what would be nice occasionally is to have someone say, “I know” and get up and prepare it and present it themselves.

We sit and watch shows like ‘Masterchef‘, ‘My Restaurant Rules‘, Huey’s kitchen and every other ‘lifestyle’ program has a cooking segment on it and we (pardon the pun) devour these shows, in my case I love some of the dishes and want to see who wins, that’s the competitive nature in me coming out there. But sometimes these dishes they don’t relate to normal life do they? Who really has the time (other than paid contestants) to spend 5 hours preparing meals? Not me I could not think of anything more boring. Preparing and presenting a perfectly cooked meal, consuming it and then CLEANING up.

There are some days when I think, can’t I just go and buy dinner? I live where there is no identifiable (no golden arches) fast food places within 150kms or in American terms 93.20 miles so when I do feel like this I rely on the trusty freezer, to have meat, oven fires and frozen vegetables and normally use this opportunity to do a mixed grill, rump, fillet or lamb chops which I will crumb, eggs from our chooks, sausages either our beef or lamb, then bread cooked in our bread maker and frozen oven fries cooked in the oven. This really is our choice, I don’t keep frozen ‘fast foods‘ like hash browns or others, these can be high in fat and salt.

But sometimes just sometimes I would love someone to come in and cook and clean. The last time farmer was out for dinner I cooked a microwave bag of popcorn and ate that, nothing else but white wine with it. When we travel to the city to see family and friends it normally is for a celebration so food is part of this shared experience, I have a family of cookers, they bring salads, hot vegetables, desserts and we cook either a leg of lamb or roast some of our beef. There is nothing nicer, but if we dine out, I note farmer goes for the seafood or steak, I normally go the steak option, it is just nice to have food prepared and presented to you. We also like Asian foods which I also cook when I feel I have time, but overall home cooking is always much more flavor some and healthy for you than ‘fast foods’ but for the convenience fast foods will win this mental trauma every time and this is back by the statistics, people would rather drive through than shop in.

My advice, find a great fresh home delivery company that will bring fresh fruit, produce and meat to your door, plan your meals so that you only order what you know you are going to eat. This will help reduce the high calories intake and save you from opening your purse. Put that money towards a long desired holiday where, when you get it you can PAY someone to cook what you want and clean up.

frustrated chef