Good byes

Well here it is then, it’s time and sadly after 16 years & 6 months our beloved Pete (the Golden retriever) passed away yesterday. What a sad day for us, not for him he was at peace when he passed, in fact we got a last wag of his tail. What does one say when they have lost a large part of their lives, nothing as my daughter said we can celebrate the fact he was the “best dog ever” and he was. He always greeted us with a smile, a wag, got up and licked hands, when younger he use to run around in circles in excitement when he met people he loved, as he grew old and lost hearing and some sight he would go and sniff then lick.

I am grateful for the time we had him, he was loyal, faithful and loving. When younger he use to sleep on my feet, he would come and lean against people’s legs that he liked when he was in his middle years and in his older years he would lay on the floor where ever I was and sleep, his presence was comforting and I never felt alone.

He loved the beach, the dam, the shower, the rain as do all goldies in summer the first time the farmer shaved him he ran to the dam and washed the years of thick fur off him and then we noticed he started to get freckles from being in the sun. I use to smear him with sunburn cream as his skin was so white.

I remember when I lived in the city before meeting and marrying the farmer I walked him everyday on Brighton beach, he swam everyday, winter and summer. Once on a winters day when the whites of the waves were crashing into the sand he ran out into the water and body surfed it back in, he was surrounded by white tops and small young boy with his dad yelled out “look Daddy it’s a polar bear”. Out Pete came and shook all that water all over that little boy, licked his face and ran back in. Luckily his father laughed and said it was a golden retriever. I remember when he swam out to the dolphin that comes into Brighton in summer and people yelling at me to get him out as he would eat the dolphin, all I was worried about was the fact that he would follow it and I would not be able to get him back, much like the two goldens that swam after one and they had to get the rescue boat out to get them off Marino beach, they were nearly 2 kms off shore when they pulled them in. Seeing those two dogs on really long ropes after that was funny. Pete never hurt the dolphin, in-fact they swam together (before mobiles had cameras)

Pete moved to the farm with renewed vigor, he had dogs for company, cattle to bark at and sheep to stare at him and the dam. He was leader of the posse. We secure all dogs on backs of Utes and he would be in the middle, in winter the other dogs would huddle close for warmth and in summer lay in his shadow for shade. He loved it, even when he broke his paw and had to be relocated back to the city for 12 weeks following putting 3 pins in his paw he was thrilled to come back to the farm. (it was the cost of a small car to fix that paw)

He ran and ran until he stopped, well actually we think he went under a gate to get to the dam and tore his cruciate ligament, so he was again limping. We took him to a knee vet who said then, we could do surgery but he’s an old dog and it would heal on it own (he was 10) and he probably wouldn’t live that much longer. Ha, he proved that vet wrong, he went on for more years to come.

He has had arthritis over the last few years and found it hard to sit quickly, stand quickly and get out of his own way (hence the pooping without notice – can I say I won’t miss that). He has not coped well with 40 degree days and a few times over the last couple of years we have watched with worry. From the hot weekend past where we were without power for over 14 hours we all suffered and he woke on Monday not well. As sad as it was to say goodbye, we did.

I wanted to put a picture of him taken the day before but looked at it and saw how unwell he was, so I got one from Jan 2nd and have shared that. I shall miss everything about him, he came into my life rescued by a dear friend and became all I needed, Amy & I loved him unconditionally and he loved us back. I will miss driving up and watching him lift his head as he knew the sound of my car, I will miss going to the door and letting him in and out up to 6 times per night despite being asked by the farmer “does he really have to come in?” “um yes he does” I will miss trying to walk around him whilst preparing a meal as he waited for a lucky drop (which he ALWAYS got).

Even the last year when we have watched him age, my husband said “pat him as much as you can as after they go, they are gone” I did that frequently, every time I walked past him I would touch him either with my hand or my foot. I would sit on the floor with him sometimes and pat him like I did yesterday for about 3 hours. I would bend over and kiss his head and he would lift his face to me. I am glad I was there for him and I am sorry he has gone.

Good bye, farewell my friend, my pet , my companion, I already miss not bending down to pat you and feel your soft fur under my touch.

2 - 1 -2015

2 – 1 -2015

Not a feel good blog

I feel tired and slightly strung out and struggling to rein in my attitude today. Hasn’t the last 7 days been trying? and I do mean in an unsettling way. We have watched  people being held against their will for 17 hours, we cried when we heard of the awful death two innocent people in the fallout whilst their family & friends were tortured waiting for an outcome. The thought that 3 small children and their partners are never going to hear another “Merry Christmas, I love you from them” is very distressing.

We learnt that this man has been on social security for 10 years absolutely no contribution to ANYTHING, I understand people don’t want to work out of their comfort zone, but we in the Tatiara have over 182 positions that need to be filled, we have apprenticeships going begging, and not enough people to fill them, our houses are affordably priced from $180,000 to $500,000 and a community that needs new growth. There would be hundreds more jobs and affordability of housing in rural and regional towns all over Australia, it’s just people won’t move away from the city – for fear they will (perhaps) miss something. Cheap housing and jobs should be enough for people to think lets give it a go for 12 months, save some money and get a work history, but there is no one forcing them so they stay and drain the public purse.

We have gasped in horror when we heard 8 children were murdered and the disbelief that it looks like the mother may have done this, where were these children’s fathers? How terrible for all of the families, fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins to name but a few.

There would have been deaths from domestic violence, statistically 2 this week,  from road accidents and aging, all of these represent someone somewhere having a sad time during the festive season. Tears that fall that will never cease to fall, hands that will never be held again, smiles unreturned it will be a difficult

With all of this happening and the report released about the CIA torture it’s enough isn’t it? I know 99% of people don’t subscribe to practices of torture nor applaud those that do it to others Martin Place being case and point and to watch a television station roil out David Hicks as an expert was too much for me. I do not agree with his treatment but lets not make him relevant to any discussion, he didn’t go over to sell Tupperware he went to learn to fight and kill. He was convicted and no one will lift that conviction because he is not as innocent as he and his supporters want us to believe, he did go, he did participate, he did get caught. I make no apology for my views, lets hope he is not drawing on social security to support himself. I turned it off and got up.

Listening to the radio I hear not happy Christmas music but how all of the farmers are struggling in drought – it is not only QLD farmers suffering – it is all over Australia, it really is. I should know I am also watching it here on my own farm and I hate it. There is no joy in it and daily it is a mental hurdle to not be engulfed by it.

I stated this morning what I missed the most at this time of year other than family was the OPTION of going to a shopping centre and sitting having a coffee and watching the frenzy madness that Christmas brings. I have lost my IPod and am cleaning out cupboards, shelves etc to find it, I know that has happy music on it.

Sorry for the blog today people, as bad as I think my week was , it pales in comparison to those that are really suffering, the joys this week, my sister came and stayed, I have spoken with my beautiful daughter, mother, father, got messages from my brothers in other states. Caught up with beautiful friends and in-laws at my salon opening, called friends for birthday as I am now going to do this as well as face booking so if it’s your birthday and if you are important enough to be a face book friend you will get a call this year. I have sent and received Christmas cards – which I religiously did for many years and then stopped. I have laughed, cried and been part of family love, and I need to in the words of another dear friend @KateSwaffer “toughen up princess”.

finally the tree is complete



Today is brought to you by the letter X

It beginning to look a lot like Xmas isn’t it? It is coming up to a hot summer in Australia and as much as I dislike excessive heat, especially our 40+ degree Celsius or 104+ Fahrenheit. The land is needing a drink (so early in the season) and I have gotten as far as getting the tree up, discovering the lights don’t work and have come to a dead stop (with the tree)

However, I have managed to get to Adelaide shop, wrap gifts, and now have boxed them to go to the post office tomorrow to get them sent to nieces and nephews in different states in Australia. It has installed the Xmas spirit back into me and I am determined to get the tree finished today so that I can feel like its Christmas.

Its been a struggle to get to this point so far, many things have stepped in and taken over, there’s always the farm, study, work, worry about family and friends and life seems to be getting busier and a little bit harder. The cost of living is taking it’s toll on everyone and this year with rainfall being lower this year than last farming is becoming a bit harder as we become a little bit older.

I love the ceremony of Christmas, the tree, the presents, spending time with family and friends and being able to take time off the farm as limited as it is. I loved the Christmas Pageant in Adelaide and took nieces and nephews to it when my daughter was too old to go. I miss the pageant as we no longer even get it on TV as we live rural and apparently it is now with a commercial TV station so it can’t be seen outside CDB. The pageant is the time Father Christmas comes to town and it rings in the yule tide season, I normally wait in putting the tree up so that family birthdays are celebrated without the interference of Christmas. It is something I still do despite the fact we don’t live in the same house together anymore.

I have also delayed this practice this year as I have struggled to find Xmas cheer, I don’t know why but I have. But I am determined to do it today as yesterday a dear friends Aunty (whom I have met) was killed by a hit run driver, the police have since found the driver and charged him, a small comfort to the grieving family. I send all my love to all those involved, to be filled with sorrow at this time of year must be difficult.

But it is time to celebrate life and it’s offerings, as we never know when it will change and we miss the things we can do now, rather than delay.

I hope that you all have a great Xmas and a happy and safe new year, may 2015 bring everything one needs to be happy, healthy and content. This is a precious decoration that my daughter made in reception and annually it gets dragged out and placed on the tree. We had lots of fun making it along with her reception class (aged 5 yrs)




This was not the blog I wanted to write this morning, I was going to talk about machinery in farming as my Facebook friends, (farmers) pointed out,I said he was out on the header and they said “harvesting this early?” no actually he seeding so he must have been out on the Air Seeder. I not very good after all this time identifying these useful and expensive pieces of equipment, I get to drive them when he needs a break, move them to re fuel or fill with water to add chemical if it is the boom spray but naming them without assistance isn’t difficult if I think about it. I just lazy and have limited involvement unless I am asked.

We are currently going through the process of getting another bank, as the business has used a grain pay account that the bank is no longer going to support and we have 5 days to find a new one. Of course now, one must consider the fees and charges that have not been with the other account as the farm has had it since the 60’s before banks became corporate and worried more about shareholders than account holders. I have taken over doing the books years ago and this is now a complicated process, it gets harder annually and I have to juggle more than I think. This year with the realisation we will not have children together and with aging parents we need to consider our options so we have changed accountants to accommodate possibilities one doesn’t think about in your twenties, such as death and who would manage the farm or books should something happen to either of us.

The sharing of these decisions opens topics to wishes and wants as we age, a who gets what scenario that perhaps we wouldn’t talk about if this was not a going concern. We both have wills but these were done before we married so we are also looking at renewing them so that our wishes are clear. These things are vital to healthy relationships and aging farmers, many a death occurs where there is no will and it is a nightmare for the person left behind. As this is a family business owned by three people, I am not a part of it, but would like my interests to be considered should he die before the other family members and what people say in life and do after death can be to different things. We have all seen this side of human nature, when one considers they are ‘owed’ more than the other.

Here is where we depend on each other, not to be generous but to be fair and kind to each other without excluding the others. We have talked about what to do with pets as we both know should he go before me, I will sell and leave the farm, if I should go before him he would stay but I would expect my daughter’s interests to be put first. Now this is clear it makes moving into our middle years easier to deal with and plan for. Being on a farm one becomes dependent on the other for many things including social interaction, happiness, respect of opinion and all things in between. It also makes an argument harder to not work through, one can not go to work and forget about it, nor can one meet up with girlfriends have the coffee session ‘compare notes’ and move on, one learns to become honest and say how the other made you feel, confronting yet it is a quick and easy way to move on. One soon learns the art of sharing. Dependency isn’t a bad thing nor is it a good thing, at times I feel the constraints as I am sure he does and at others it gives freedom to be open and real.


the mother’s day classic

Well it’s that time of the year again, coming up to Mother’s Day and it’s a day years ago I could take it or leave it, even after having my daughter. I often wonder if it came from my mother who would work tirelessly with 6 of us, had a part-time job, was doing part-time studying and being wife who would enjoy a mother’s day lunch but that wasn’t the be all and end all for her and how we operated as a family. When we moved back to SA we then met up with her family and our cousins where we would have a BBQ and enjoy the day. Inevitably there would be an accident of some sort, broken bones, sprained body parts, burnt bits as well as food – wood BBQ’s in those days. Plenty of laughs, games that would end in tears and comments such as “stop your crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about”. Children and Adults were not immune to any of this, as well as wet clothes from the inevitable falling into a creek – where it would get cold or parents didn’t pack spare clothes so hypothermia may well have set in and kept many a child sitting in a car ‘sooking’. I think back and think about the amount of work it took for her to arrange for us to give her a ‘wonderful mother’s day’! I think all the parents were pleased when these picnics were cancelled and we met in our individual homes.

As my daughter got older, I loved getting the home-made cards, gifts from the .50c stall in primary school, where most of the mums would donate something for the children to buy. My daughter may not know this but I have kept all of her cards and home-made things in my filing cabinet. She would roll her eyes now and say “MUM” but she may not know how precious these things are to me and how much I look forward to sharing them with her children, my grand children when the time comes.

As we have all got older, my brothers & sister all enjoy spending time together and will do a mother’s day lunch or dinner. It is important to recognise the significant matriarch in our lives but being one of a close-knit family it is not something we don’t do regularly anyway. Mothers day now is the time to share and this year my daughter and I are doing the National Breast Cancer Foundation “Mother’s Day Classic” walk in South Australia, we are doing the 7.5km walk around the River Torrens and I can’t wait to spend time with her. I am looking to complete it before it ends 🙂 I am a walker but this will be my first one for charity or anything else other than myself. If anyone would like to sponsor me to do this all monies go to the Breast Cancer Foundation go to or if you prefer send a donation to the Keith Hospital as we sure need it here as well


A picture of My Boy

I am writing about a true friend today, one that has been with me for about 16 years and one that I have never felt has been disloyal, unkind or non supportive. This one hasn’t chosen words over deeds and actions, it has not listened to gossip and passed judgement,this friend has stood beside me and given me nothing but support, sometimes in silence leaning against me other times loudly announcing the unwelcome. We have spent hours together, walked the beach in summer and rain, being cold and wet has not been an issue, there’s always rain coats. We have swum in pools, seas and dams there is no such thing as being too wet or not going into a ‘body of water’, even despite the criticism we shouldn’t be doing that.He has waited up for both me and my daughter many nights without complaint. I love this friend very much, nobody can beat my love for my daughter though, she is the most precious thing in the world to me. I believe my friend would sacrifice his life for the both of us without hesitation. I am posting his picture here today to acknowledge this.


Here he is in splendid glory my boy Pete. This was taken on the weekend as he was walking behind me on our way to the shed. He came to me at 6 months old via other people and has been with my daughter and I for nearly 15 years. He lives at the farm full-time as he is too old to do the 300 km trip to Adelaide & back, he has had 3 pins in his front paw that left me poor for nearly 12 months following a farm ute accident, he was trying to jump off and he slipped trapping his paw between the tailgate & back of the ute. DH to this day now only lifts dogs on and off the ute – that was 7 years ago. He has been hit by a car, became hypothyroid (lost his fur) and takes daily medication for it. He has had blocked anal glands that required surgery, he has a torn a ligament in his knee that has healed as best it can due to his age and having unnecessary surgery. He has had abdominal surgery after a grass seed penetrated his skin. All the same life is good with Pete and I hope he is around for many more.

When you think you can never get it right

There are times in one’s life that you can look back and regret the past, long for the moment “back when”. Then there are times where you love living in the moment, enjoying all things you create and friendships you’ve nurtured, these then become that fabric of times past and longing. Why look back when one should be living for the now. I have been married 5 years today, something I never thought I would ever do, I never saw myself in a white dress being married. I don’t know why I never dreamt of this event or saw it as an option or never really took seriously till I was a lot older.

I didn’t go into my marriage thinking about some fairytale life I was about to have, it was a 40 degree day in the midst of a drought with a fire on the next property. I went into thinking we were good friends and we liked each other enough to take that next step. It has not been without its difficulties as anyone in a relationship will tell you, but basically it has been based upon respect and trust. The basis of these feelings is the Foundation of love one feels for another person, it is very different to the love one has for a child but it is still enough grounding to work from and towards. We were lucky we could invite everyone we cared about, those people who made up the chapters of our lives and combined them for one big weekend party. We had the Birdsville mob come in, Friends from Sydney, Melbourne, Marcus and his wife Amy flew in from Sydney even though her lovely parents were in Australia from England. My daughter came up from Adelaide with my sister who flew in from Queensland, this was really special as it has been the only occasion she has come to the farm. Some of my friends and I have lost touch but this does not mean I think they are not my friends, this is just a part of life that goes on. We love, learn and expand, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong it just changes and one then gets the luxury to reflect upon one day in your life where you want things to go well.

I am not great with dates for this is just a number and my DH can tell me more about what happened on what day than I ever can. One thing he is good at is remembering our wedding anniversary, I read that it’s wood, I don’t think I can wear that but I can cook on it. At least with all the things I get wrong in my life this is not one of them. I did get it right being married to a kind caring loving man and having a life. Being a mother to a successful beautiful daughter is the highlight of my life, I feel totally blessed. For those of you that came to our wedding day, we thank you it was a great party…