Excuses one gives

I have an office that over looks the rear part of our house block, I could call it a back yard but I am aware it is bigger than my house block in the city. Our house is located on 20 acres but I couldn’t tell you exactly how much is back side or front. I wasn’t here when the farmer bought the house, moved it from the purchase location and built his home here, I came later.

All I know when I look out my lovely big office window is green grass, bush, dog compounds, grape vines and cattle of late. We have let a mob into the house yards as they are good a chewing down over growth, it’s good roughage and helps keep the bush from over growing and creating fire risks.

The cattle are quiet and they roam together eating, it sets the working dogs off, they love to ’round them up’ that is what they are taught to do, so on days like this when the farmer has had to go to town and get some things fixed, I leave them in their compounds. Don’t worry the compounds are approx. 4 metres by 4 metres, they have shelter and baths and they can watch things come and go. But they bark and with the cattle in the yard they bark day and night.

I sit doing book work, at the moment it’s BAS work and taxes time – yes I have to admit I ma late submitting this year. But I promise (my accountant) I’ll have this to you before the due date. I was chatting to a girlfriend on the phone when I could see a sprout of water being spewed into the air, surrounded by cattle happily munching and drinking it. They love fresh water, in-fact cattle drink 1 gallon or 3.7 litres to every 100 lbs or 45 kilos and as we have them ranging from 200 kilos or 440.9 lbs to over 600 kilos or  1322 lbs they drink a lot.

I raced to the back door, saying “gotta go cattle have turned the water on, last thing we need is the rain water tank drained, we have already pumped up from our emergency tanks”. I threw the phone on the couch and then pulled my boots on which I leave a pair by both doors and raced outside towards the spurting hose. I talk to the cattle as I go as they need to move on rather than run at me in fear. I managed to get the tap switched off, some of the cattle stood looking and they younger ones walked quickly in fear.

I figured that was the best excuse ever to get off the phone. Have a good hump day everyone.

yard bull

yard bull

Country Living

Life on the farm can be very satisfying if you live in the country as you get to become multi-skilled and multi adaptable. There are many circumstances where you need to be able to problem solve, there are so many aspects to farming life that are so rewarding and there are so many that are not.

I came onto the farm about 11 years wide-eyed and impressed by my now husband and the work that he has done and continues to do. The work was overwhelming, the animals were beautiful and frightening, I had never been up close to cattle, and loving lamb (as a meal) I never knew how much work animals are to get them from the paddock to the plate.

I also never realized that being summer, winter, autumn and spring brought with them their own set of problems. As the partners of farmers one must get involved so that the burden of hard work does not always fall on the primary person (this could be male or female) I have learnt to drive tractors, use a front end loader, double d clutch on a truck, lamb mark, ear tag, weigh cattle feed out hay and numerous things in my life that I never dreamed I would even have to know, including fire fighting!!

I am the second pair of hands that assists when asked and when I can and also does the farm book work. We decided early on I should be able drive all of the machinery if for nothing else than if an accident occurs I should be able to grab something that may get someone (including myself) out of danger and or trouble. (pulling a bogged Ute for instance).

Whilst the rewards are good there is also negatives, animals need full-time people to care for them, to check them, to feed them, to move them be part of most aspects of their existence and this is the tie that binds people to farming properties. Getting away normally means 24 hours at the most together and if you plan a holiday it can require you to hire staff in to do the daily running of things, this brings its own problems. Most women I know in the country with children take the children away and their partners / husbands join them on and off for that period. The last time we have time away together and our second holiday together was 2009, we have done the odd night here or there but never more than 2.

Living on a farm also means one discusses retirement plans early on in the picture for the following reason. It’s all hard work

THE PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FARMERS

Farmers were more likely to be male – 139,500 or 72% of all farmers were male, compared to 55% of all employed persons in 2010-11.

The age profile of farmers differs from that of all employed persons. In 2010-11, the median age of farmers was 53, compared to 39 for all employed persons. Seven out of ten (71%) farmers were 45 or over compared to four out of ten (39%) employed persons. The largest differences in the age distribution were apparent in the younger and older age groups. While 23% of farmers were aged 65 and over, only 3% of all employed persons were in this age group (graph S8.2). Conversely, only 2% of farmers were aged between 15 and 24, while 17% of all employed persons were in this age group. In 2010-11, farmers comprised a significant proportion of older workers – 14% of all employed persons aged 65 years and over. However, they made up a smaller proportion of younger workers – less than 1% of all employed persons aged between 15 and 34.

Aren’t Saturdays great?

Aren’t Saturdays great? I know there are some of you that are getting back in to the swing of school, some may even be doing the sports run, play overs, sleepovers or all things kids. Others may have headed into work, gone for run, walk later than you would do if it was a working day. Be coming home from night duty. But overall aren’t Saturdays the day for doing ‘stuff’. I know growing up in a large family 6 kids saturday was the day my mother did washing, changing our beds, school uniforms, etc. I use to work on a saturday morning (that was a modern thing back then) so I would get home about 1pm and help her. There would be load after load, I would sometimes bring the dry clothes, bedding in so we could put more wet loads out. That hills hoist in our back yard did an amazing job, it helped my mother, it was used as a swing, it was covered and used for shade for parties it was a true blue Aussie apparatus and one that many growing up now will not see.

My mother was and is a very inspirational woman. Sometimes in winter on a saturday you could not see the floor of the laundry for the clothes, especially with football clothes (I have 3 brothers) Netball (I have 2 sisters as well) school uniforms and the bedding. I remember when quilts came in. I think my mother must have sighed with relief, no more summer & winter sheets, blankets, a coveralls that could be undone and thrown over the bed. My mother ran a house and spent her Saturdays doing stuff, she would also do the shopping, balancing house budget, baking for play lunches during the week. I remember the piles of ironing she use to do in amongst all of this, I use to help her, I still love ironing and would do that over any other housework activity. I don’t think there was anything she couldn’t achieve on a saturday, if there was I can’t recall her telling us or ever seen her fail. She would ask for help and it would be given but I am sure she could have done with so much more. I remember her getting her first dishwasher, we all marvelled at it, she probably cried tears of relief. :-). When she went back to study to gain her Bachelor of Education she did this part-time, whilst working part-time and whilst all 6 of us were at school. I remember how proud we were of her at the graduation, my Dad even took time off from work to come along and celebrate this amazing achievement.

Saturdays for me are similar, they allow me to finish stuff from the week, I can choose to do housework, walk later, do book work or just laze about watching TV. In all this there is one thing I love doing and I am sure that is from my childhood memory and that is putting clean linen on the bed. There is nothing nicer that climbing into a freshly made bed (no I don’t iron the sheets). It evokes this response in me every time, I feel I sleep better, its cleaner and it gives me a sense of joy that I have been able to achieve this. I know I have passed this onto my daughter as well. I never complained as a nurse changing a patients bed as I believed there would be nothing worse than felling like crap, being poked & prodded and you had to lie in a dirty bed. I felt sadden when they changed the rules, no clean sheets for everyone each day only those that had soiled the linen etc could get clean sheets. So there would be some patients that could be in hospital for 5 days and they would not get a sheet change. Yuk

If I know I am going away for a couple of nights I strip the bed and put clean linen on before I leave so that no matter what time I get back I can climb into a freshly made bed. I will do the sheets today, I will also continue on my quest to clear a bedroom for a home office and if I really am dedicated I may even do some baking and book work so that if I have to get out and help on the farm tomorrow. I will at least know saturday was a productive day for me. Enjoy today no matter what you do or how you celebrate the end of the working week.