Togetherness

Living and working on the farm means that you are with your partner 24/7 and to some it probably would be too much, for others they would enjoy it. Farming is a different kind of work and a different kind of life. There are many different types of farming also, some farms breed animals to sell, some breed for meat, some plant crops to sell, some milk cows and others do a mixture of different enterprises depending upon soil type and expertise.

We are a multi-mixed farm here, but our highest concentration is breeding and caring for the animals that reside on our farm. Not only do we put them first, their health and well being is checked twice daily and this means we can not get longer than 24 hours off the farm without hiring staff to come in and check them.

There are many reasons why they are checked, in hot weather to make sure they have enough water or shade, in breeding season to ensure they can deliver and be given help should they require it, to make sure they do not have bloat in winter and in times of drought they will be fed hay to ensure they remain healthy.

There are times though when animals are orphaned, and if found in time they are brought home to be bottle fed and hand reared. We have the Caloundra 6 from last year 1 lamb, named Josie after my cousins daughter  named Josie, 5 calves, Rosie, Delilah, Abby, Hope & Annie and of late we have had a bull come into the house yard and become part of the crew. It is quite a sight seeing a 2 tonne bull walk around the house eating lawn and bellowing. As we have smoked glass on our sliding doors we have to be aware that he can sometimes see his own reflection. He has been caught licking the glass, so we have to go out and shoo him away, we don’t want him thinking there is another bull in the place and charge at it.

We have also had the arrival of another calf in December  2015 whom we think was a twin and his mother left him so he has come to us. I am amazed to see that it didn’t take long for the Caloundra 6 to get use to the Bull “Mr Grumpy”as I have named him cos he walks around the house making a mmmmmm sound making him appear grumpy and me a little fearful of him. They also have taken to the little calf who was probably 3 days old when he came to us.

They will go to the vegetable patch now known as the animal nursery and sit on the outside so he can see them and feel them. I have caught them leaning against the fence so they can touch him. The bull will also join in. It is amazing to see and last night Jeremy decided he didn’t want to live alone, the reason why we won’t let the others in the nursery is because they would knock him out of the way to get to the milk, they are no longer being given milk and they miss it. Abby is the only one who will continue to come up for a rub under the chin,  we found her on my birthday and my cousins daughter’s birthday. In honour of our Abby the calf was named as such as soon as we knew she was a girl.

Jeremy has now happily found his place in this posse of which Josie is the leader, the lamb came first and bonded with Rosie until the others came along. Josie leads them around the place and will come up to my office window and say hello to me, it is cute but can be off putting to people on the phone, I have been asked many a time ïs that a lamb?” as she baa’s loudly at the sound of my voice Yes I will say.

These animals have formed their own togetherness, from the tiny 3 week old to old Mr Grumpy, it is an amazing sight to see and we are lucky to be able to witness it.

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The baby Jeremy is behind the fence whilst the others are sitting outside in a build up to a thunder storm on 3rd Jan 2016.

Happy New Year 2016

It’s the morning after the night before and how are you feeling? Happy, hung over or sad and looking forward to a new start? Us, we are doing fine, no hang over, not sad and I am so looking forward to 2016 and feel relieved to have left 2015 behind.

2015 was a hard year on the farm we rolled over the 2014 drought into 2015 and it was difficult. I promised the farmer (and everyone else) I wasn’t going to do another drought, yet here I am.

Looking back on last year I lost my beautiful old mate Pete, it is only recently I have stopped looking for him. The thing about farms is there is always another animal to take it’s place, albeit not in my heart. I am now the care taker of a 15 year old retired kelpi Mandy, the Caloundra 6, Josie the lamb, Rosie, Delilah, Abby, Hope & Annie all calves, and as at 2 weeks ago Jeremy another baby calf who is now about 3 weeks old.

I opened a business in a local country town in December 2014 and closed the doors for good on 30th December this year. The down turn in the economy and the failure of crops in our district have meant many are evaluating their finances and putting it where it needs to go, back into the family pockets.

I have passed a milestone birthday which was celebrated sitting with family & friends at the Big Lunch one of the charities we support by being able to supply the meat every year for 300 guests to enjoy grass fed true aussie beef and lamb from our farm to Adelaide via the Hilton Hotel Renown Head Chef Lloyd Cremer> This is one of our long term charities and a must not miss lunch in July at the Central Market supporting the Big Issue a magazine which enables sellers to earn an income to work their way out of desperate circumstances.

I along with many others from my school year – held our breath following a beloved class member undergo life changing organ transplantation. It was a long and bumpy road to which we can say 1 year of life has been celebrated with much love and joy. During the highs and lows of this major achievement, in support of the family, many donated blood to the Red Cross, did you know every donation can save 3 lives? make this something you do in 2016. Many signed up to the Organ Donation Registry so that many more can live should others die.

We watched as the siege at Martin place in Sydney played out in broad daylight and knew we were no longer protected from terrorism. We watched world events in horror, the senseless deaths caused by terrorism, avalanches, volcanoes, road deaths and stood on the side lines with sympathy & empathy to the families that lost loved ones.  We watched as 2 Australian Citizens were executed in Bali in a time when we needed good news, William and Kate gave us Princess Charlotte.

We have watched the fires in our state that have taken property and lives and I have watched my husband don his CFS uniform and go off to assist fighting these fires. It catches my breath every time he gets the call, I feel so uneasy until he comes home. He is one of many who enter when others are fleeing.

We have had mainly good health this year, a family member recovering well from a stroke to the point that most people can’t even tell they have had a major episode. We have had many happy episodes but not enough time with our families. We go into 2016 with hope, hope for rain, hope for each other and lots of exciting events to come.

As I leave 2015 behind, I can smile, I did what I could and changed what needed to change, now I can concentrate on the things that matter, family, love, friendships and more time spent on all of these things. Also to the weather gods, any time you want to turn the heat down to a simmer from 44 degree to a nice 24 would be my preference, please feel free and if you find a couple of rain clouds looking to drop a load, we are located in the Upper South East of South Australia.

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Happy New 2016 everyone

 

It’s our Wedding Anniversary

It’s come around again, which I must say is a good thing, it means we are still together and still very much invested in each others lives. Though there are days when laying in bed (alone) and pulling the covers over ones eyes is preferable to some days when things are stressful.

The best part of us is that we can laugh at ourselves and mostly at each other, I never thought I would be married and he never thought he would marry again, if not for the fact I organized our 20 year high school reunion we probably would not have re-met up but who’s to say? We were not boyfriend and girlfriend at school we were however friends – well he use to follow me around the library – if that counts and he was a border whilst I was a day scrag as we were all known back in the 80’s.

I remember when we started to see each other and distance was the biggest enemy, I was a full-time mum and worked and travelled and still managed to make time to travel 600kms (round trip) to the farm and commence and grow a relationship. It was not without its troubles or issues, I lost a few demerit points trying to get back in time for work or daughter. I was told once there is no such thing as a brown cow and I shouldn’t make the mistake to stating as such – as they are considered red – commonly known in the country – not so much for the city girl. It was lucky his were black so there was need to have this conversation. I have since found out there are brown cows – Dairy Cows called Brown Swiss so not being Dairy was also a good thing.

I have enjoyed the farm over the years and have seen how hard people (farmers) work. I have asked him to teach me many things – so when slave labour is needed (as is known by country kids all over the world – a free pair of hands when paid workers aren’t required) I am there.

In our first winter getting a tour over 5000 acres in his Ute with 5 dogs (Rat, Peggy, Heidi, Polly & Pete all now deceased) we came to a paddock and he said I normally get bogged in here and then proceeded to drive through and  true to his word we got bogged, up to the door way of the Ute. He climbed out and said I’m off to get a tractor and I’ll come back and pull you out.  I didn’t realize we were over 5kms from the farm and it took a couple of hours, it was very dark when he came back.

I asked the next day if he could teach me to drive the tractors so that if he was ever stupid enough to do it again or if anyone else got stuck I could help. I then became the main driver and still am when we plant 3000 trees every year. It was also helpful when we had fire, I was able to load up the hay trailer so that we could feed out during times of emergencies.

I have traded my high heels for Rossi’s, rented my house out in the city, given up a medical sales career, taken up a beauty career concentrating in Laser hair removal. Helped deliver calf’s, ear tagged cattle, mustered cattle, lamb marked, ringed testicles (not his) ringed tails, learnt an accounting system, volunteered to assist to save the local Keith Hospital and not regretted any of it.

We have buried 5 beautiful dogs, 1 cat and gained 3 dogs and 4 cats in the process, never alone the baby lambs I have hand reared or the calves. We have also celebrated our 30 yr high School reunion and will celebrate 40 yrs within the next 8 years, though I hope there is more time for travel, friends and visiting my daughter in the city more often, along with my family in the nexy 8 years.

This year we are 3rd place on the podium – Bronze (8th year). It was a great wedding and many happy times have come along since. I hope for many more