Fear of the times

Drought is one word that sends normally sane people into periods of depression, walking on eggshells around each other and periods of high stress. This has been proven, there are many organisations that provide workshops, individual and private counselling for mental health and financial advice. Groups form to “catch up” so it gives people time to get off the farms and away from the situation even for an hour or so.

A lot of the women in farming families feel the stress of this greatly as they cope with what it all brings. It’s not like depression though, that is a different element, if you suffer from depression I am positive it would be harder to manage this, the farmer and the change in lifestyle if you do. Luckily I can only imagine how much harder it is for people with depression to cope during difficult times when families depend on that person more. We must watch out for each other during these difficult times as it is only people who keep people going.

Some days are harder than others and with all of the white noise around concessional drought loans (there have been minimal allocated in South Australia) from what sounds like political argy bargy many are going hat in hand to the Banks. It has been decided SA or parts of SA like the South East & Mid North are in drought after record-breaking lack of rain falls yet the State Government is playing politics with federal allocation of money that can assist some farmers during this time.

I wonder sometimes about the choices we make with voting our politicians in, there is no doubt they all go into politics to ‘help people out’ yet most of the time it looks like grand standing, self-absorption and self-importance, doesn’t it? These people are making decisions they rarely know anything about and do it thinking about the deficit they have created in the economy. Many people need financial assistance especially here in the South East but feel it will only be given out whilst taking from the back pocket with drainage levy hike, NRM levy hike and what ever else is next . This leaves many wondering if politicians really do know what it’s like to live rurally? they have good salaries, fantastic accessible pension funds from the day they leave office, they use the tax payers money for dinners, bottles of wine, business class and first class trips around the country and the world then come back and tell us all to tighten our belts. I often wonder if this mentality will ever change, if you can get away with the finer things in your job then one suspects everyone would do it.

When I was a sales rep, I traveled for my job and often at conferences met up with other staff members. I vividly recall being told that on one representative I went with ate and drank the mini bar dry 3 times whilst they were there for 5 days. In a 10 day trip and my expenses of eating in cafes and pubs for the 10 days I was away were not as much as had to be paid for the other reps gluttony in 4.

I have been told dealing with the banks is almost as difficult, though most farmers plan for drought, they also plan to get income, either through stock sales or grain sales and hay sales to name a few. When in drought the crops don’t grow, so it can not be sold as there is nothing to sell. I had a lady email me to tell me the most humiliating thing that has happened to her during this hard period is having to go into the bank and sit across from her friend and be scrutinised over their spending habits even to be told her monthly coffee catch up with her friends (including the bank manager) was out of their budget. At that moment she writes, her stomach started churning, her palms started to sweat and she knew she was going to vomit.

There was only one way to get the overdraft and that was for her to get a job in her chosen profession, she is a lawyer and with no option open to her to work in this field and with a 3 month old at the time, she has taken a job in the meat works in the local town 4 days per week.Her husband has also taken off farm work, as a truck driver and she said over the last 6 months they have worked 60 to 80 hours per week and their daughter has seen more of the child care assistants than of her or her husband. They are coping and are managing financially. She writes that this saved the property from foreclosure and they are able to pay their bills on time. She has never returned to the coffee group as she can not face her friend again.

If you can assist with my drought ladies day in March 2016please let me know, sponsorship, gift bags and prizes. Dates and sponsors will be announced over the coming week. InOurPaddocks is going through the system to be a Not For Profit Charity so I will be able to issue tax-deductible receipts. Anyone can contact me through the Facebook page or here.

If you do need help call Life Line 13 11 14

#newneighbours #travellinghome #emus

#newneighbours #travellinghome

I took this photo yesterday on my way home.

Today is brought to you by the letter D (part 2)

This is one we all watch for and hate to have happen. There are plenty of them around and we need to be mindful we don’t add to the collective. In Farming we have dogs, dogs and more dogs, there are pets, then there are working dogs who know all of the swear words under the sun. They work for farmers and they are amazing when in action. We have dogs that we love and treat well.

Farming life brings many a thing starting with D but there are Days and I mean Days, where everything can go wrong and does and things can go right. I watch for the big one though, farming is challenging at the best of times and I love hearing people who have left the farm and moved to the city, where they have families close, jobs and children then make statements like “I would love to live back on the farm but” there is always a but… What I hear from women who leave the farm is, I am so glad we left, we have better schooling, don’t have to worry about not fitting into “the A group” , feeling isolated, having to drive 100’s kms a day and a regular income, wished we would have done it sooner”. Which is more realistic than anything.

Farming is also about watching for depression, the black dog that can creep in when the things go wrong or not the way one wants it to go. Most buyers of livestock except to get things a prices paid in 2009, butchers don’t want you to sell your produce in their area but won’t buy from you and cropper’s rely on commodity markets and the weather that also is non reliable. Farmers are the only producers in the world where they are expected to pay double for everything and companies resent them if they make a profit.

Had I known how hard it would be I don’t know that I would have chosen it, but I think it chose me. There are days where things can seem bleak and difficult and I watch for it, I think many a farming wife does. I assist where I can, lamb marking, calf marking, ear tagging, drafting, moving tractors and vehicles, book work, animal raising and in other aspects of the business so that it can take the pressure off. I also make arrangements to leave the property even if it is only 1 night so that there is a break in the month even though we both know we have to come back to the same same the next day.

I think caring for ones mental health is vital and also that of those who work on the land, it is rewarding as it is difficult. I ask are you okay most times he comes into the house not just so I can hear about his day but I can judge how he is going. Farmers have the highest suicide rate than any other occupation due to the stress, something I am very aware of. Something I hope doesn’t touch my life.

If you know a farmer, plan a holiday on their property, they love company and many have the best meat in their freezers that they will share with you. They find it hard to holiday and leave animals unattended. Ask them if they need help, buy the best meat or produce direct they will sell the best quality cheaper than you can get in supermarkets and feel flattered by your request. If they don’t have meat they will know someone who does. They are great educators, mechanics and are more than happy to assist, company is sometimes the best medicine, it will give you and your children a different view on life.



yesterday a life time ago

Isn’t life interesting how one day you can be on top of things and the next be really down. I think all of us at some stage in our lives suffer depression. I know I did when I hurt my back, I couldn’t work and the grief of losing friends / work colleagues was over whelming. I remember being in hospital in traction for a couple of weeks hoping this was not going to be my life. I was a young mum with no partner support but luckily the support of my family who helped me in more ways than one. I met a Dr who was more attuned to mental pain than physical pain and he taught me how to distinguish between them. to this day I thank him, I was caught in that horrible trap of pain, medications, more pain and not working. He identified it was also depression I was suffering from and medicated me appropriately, it took about 12 months to recover and come off medication but I achieved this and going back to nursing.

I watch myself now for the same signs, I still experience back pain daily and with the loss of some functions and weight gain it is very easy to fall back into the mindset of not being able to cope. I know I cope better working than I do not, I know I am happier when I help others than just sitting around watching TV. That is not to say I do not like watching TV but it really has its place. I spent the day yesterday helping my mother and sister in preparing sponsorship packages and letters for her choir who have been invited to sing in Carnegie hall and I also nearly completed all of my book work to which my accountant will be pleased once I hand it over to her.

Today for me is always today, yesterday seems so long ago, I am lucky I have never lived in my past, I have made my mistakes and have moved on, it does not mean I don’t regret my actions nor look back and realise missed opportunities, work life and in my love life. But these have all led me along the path I am on now and I have met and married DH – my first and final Husband. My DH always uses the comment “there is always somebody else having a worse day than you” He is correct and I try to live by that in my daily.

tiresome tuesday…. what are some people thinking

I bought the sunday mail before I saw the front cover, it wasn’t till I was in the car that I saw him, there on the front page of my paper Kevin Foley, he was right I if I was eating weetbix I would have choked on it. Instead I read the article and shook my head. He has thoughts and an opinion on SA, not going to speak about his past position in the Labor party and it looking forward to bringing us a column every week. He stood there in what looks like a very expensive suit arms folded and looking definitely unfriendly, I am sure they were looking for serious for the topic he wrote about but to me he looked unfriendly. For those that do not know he was SA’s past Treasurer for the Labor Party, he was the poster boy of an older man trying to ‘pick up’ younger blondes and has a runs in with other people’s fists on more than one occasion. He is the man who decided to announce in ‘The Advertiser’ on a saturday he was approving pulling funding from the Keith Hospital, just a man of poor actions and poor form (in my opinion).

I was amazed how can he write on SA, he had holidays overseas every opportunity he got, he has never (to my knowledge) been out of the CBD other than for business as Treasurer so if he was travelling in a car he may not have stopped to enjoy sights and sounds of local SA produce, markets and just played the tourist. As for having an opinion on Australia – well he probably has more knowledge on other states, he had to transit there whilst travelling out of the country. He may have had more meetings interstate and spent more time there but as a tourist??

So then what will his opinions be about? Events, social outings, horse racing and or sports, he had the privilege of going to, as an invited guest and mostly in tents and corporate boxes at taxpayers expense. Whilst the Keith Hospital funding was pulled, the Government still managed to find a million dollars to put on drinks & nibbles at a south australian event that same year. Will people want to read about his opinion on these things? one will have to wait and see but I find it hard to reconcile this with Kevin Foley, he has had a career which has given him opportunity and privilege. He has a pension and superannuation only the politicians can have, so will he relate to me or other tireless people daily working to raise money for charities, hospitals, diseases, serious illness, facing unemployment or just plain unimpressed with his decision and public behaviour over the years.

This is not to say people won’t want to read his column, as many like him as disliked him and many will want to read about his life post politics, but he states it’s not about his ‘beloved’ Labor party and then proceeds to write about the party and its public implosion leading up to the ballot, so he has already started wandering off track. Will he write about his battle with depression and how he is feeling and coping now? one thinks not, though this would be good for people to read it may help others. Will he tells us about how to manage and cope with the aftermarth of some of his decisions as treasurer, this is a given he will not. Now that I have eliminated what he probably won’t talk about, what will he then write? I note all other contributors have an email address at ‘The Sunday Mail’ but not Kevin. I shall give it a couple of weeks to see if I shall keep giving my money to “the Sunday mail” in order for him to be paid.