Coming back

It’s hard some days to write on my own blog as my bullysbeefothermeats blog has been picked up by the global website mytrendingtories so I’m having to commit to doing at least 3 to 4 blogs per week on farming and I suppose it gets blurred but it’s been a thrill to have been asked. I am also the unpaid farm hand, who is needed to drive tractors, quad bikes, deliver farmer to paddocks in Utes so that he can do his job.

I do the selling of our meat, trade shows, doing our book work, budgets and finances for the business and feed baby animals when they arrive. Nothing gives me more joy than watching and assisting an orphaned animal survive and become part of the Caloundra farm family.

At the moment I have also been asked to present at a nurses conference so am about to put the final touches on my speech. This is for the South Australian Peri-operative Nurses Association. What a thrill and honour to be asked, but also slightly frightening at the same time. For all of you nurses out there join your association, now that we are under legislation to get our continuous development points or CPD to maintain our registration, our chosen profession has groups and associations that provide high quality education for country as well as city nurses to get their points.

I know when I renew my Registration Certificate each year we tick a box that says we know we are competent to work in the field in which we trained. I take this seriously and know that I am coming to the end of that grace period. I didn’t leave nursing to not keep up my skills, I married in the country and there is not a job for me within 150km’s so when I take one I know that I’ll need overnight accommodation and have to weigh up whether it’s worth it or not. I know that it is and I keep getting told “you should” “you have to” in relation to my nursing career.

I know this but it will also make me a FIFO, and I wonder how many of my fellow nurses would like this idea or do it. It does not mean fly in fly out it actually means, DODI Drive out and Drive in, I live where there is no airport, we have a landing strip for RFDS and hang gliders but not a commercial place for me to get to work and back. The drive will either be a 5.5 hour round trip or a 6 hour round trip. I have been told, he will travel to you, it’s a great theory but there is ALWAYS something on the farm that can keep him from family BBQ’s in Adelaide or events. When you have animals, it’s an obligation and life long passion to look after them, feed them and assist them when they birth if they are in trouble.

Getting work  within my area is difficult, as both hospitals in my area have their quota’s of nursing staff and unless anyone leaves then there is no opportunity. Also I am limited as I love the Operating theatres, it’s is where I always felt at home. I have and do firmly believe that we are the eyes, the ears and the voice for the unconscious, frightened and voiceless, if we are not there to protect, defend and care for all who come to theatre then we should move out and let someone else who has these values do it.

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Here I am as a nurse and my twin sister Jacqui as a chef, so from the age of 4.5 years it was my chosen dress up costume and career.

What is your chosen profession? Did you reach your goals? Have you taken the long route round?

you can follow me on instagram as @Bullysbeef

twitter @RobynVerrall

 

There’s beauty in old silos

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The completed silos in the tiny Victorian wheatbelt town Brim. The artist, Guido van Helten, snapped this photo.

Isn’t this beautiful? the artist has painted these abandoned silo’s to help change the landscape in Brim and to bring back to life the characters of the bush.

He has painted these images whilst standing on a cherry picker, at first glance it appears to be all male, but the abc rural is currently doing a radio piece on it and third from the left is a woman in a hat looking down, which clearly demonstrates the diversity in farming.

 

When things create change in one’s life

Things on the farm have settled as the rains came, we have had 60 odd mils of glorious rain on our paddocks, and where there was sand and dirt we now have tinges of green, something we have not seen for a while now. The farmer is more settled and happier and the animals appear calmer, with rain comes cooler weather and animals prefer that. We have planted belts of native trees to grow and provide shade for them. We have water troughs that get checked daily and we are feeding out hay to supplement the lack of greenery in the paddocks.

With cooler temperatures comes cooler tempers, things that bother one in extreme heat don’t seem to do so in cooler weather. I have even hung washing on the line in rain as it cleanses everything even gives it a quick rain rinse. An old farming wives tail is to hang the heirloom family handed down by mother in law quilt on the line when it looks like rain so that it can continue. There is no heirloom quilt here – despite mother in law keeping everything, but I am happy to put sheets, towels, quilts & clothes on-line when it rains.

With the rain comes a sense of relief that one can see things change for the better, it may not seem like this to city dwellers as there isn’t the same need for rain except to fill rain water tanks and to water the gardens. lawns and parks. People in the city are not as greatly affected by heat and rain as country people. Most can get relief from heat and rain, here animals need checking more in extremes than ‘normal weather.’

Farming is very consuming and I am very conscious of the fact that I write about this more than anything else. We work together as a team and sometimes it’s difficult, I am not as capable as some men but I am better than most. I can drive all of the machinery on our property, I can lamb mark, cattle mark, muster, vaccinate, do the book work and also be lucky enough to have time for family and friends. It also can annoy me as it may not be what I want to do that day, in-fact I let the working dogs off this morning, many, Patsy & Mollie and they choose to come running to the back door than answer the farmers whistle, my sister said “don’t worry it’s Friday they are taking a mental health day.” So I gave them a bone and they were happy to be lying on the lawn chewing on them instead of tied to the back of the Ute in the sun.

I admire people who can live more remotely than us, have longer periods of drought and less rainfall than us. The mental strength of farmers and families is admirable, for me there is a small 3 hour drive to see family so I can justify going when I do leave, for those with longer drives it can be too much, not only financially (fuel costs, accommodation costs and time away from animals that need you) but can be visit limiting, making sure your time spent in the city is spent doing al the things you need to and catching up with very few.

My words today, enjoy the time you have, never take anything for granted and include all of those you want in you life the best way you know how, be that phone call, email, face book or twitter. There are so many more options to keep in contact these days than writing letters and waiting for a return. Make sure those you love, know you love them, make sure those you care about , are cared for and mostly be grateful for little things, simple things  such as rain, sunshine for we never know when this will change.

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Dogs on the Ute but not today, they are sleeping on the lawn.

 

Today is brought to you by the letter E

It’s one of those days, a Sunday which started with an early morning phone call from a farmer in the “north” wanting to pick my brains about the fund-raising I did to assist the Keith Hospital. I did qualify that many people including the entire community and expats of Keith & beyond were involved and it was almost a 24/7 commitment to come up with ideas, nurture other people’s ideas and assist where I thought I could to get the dollars coming in. There was also the pledges that the community made to the Hospital in the early stages to meet the shortfall, an idea that came from the Board to support the Board. he hung up with a “right then, good to know, hard to do”.

Followed quickly by the need to commence work, farming is 7 days per week and mostly relentless, so before the day begins I like to try to start the days with an Egg or Breakfast of some sort. Simple you say, go up to the chook pen and grab a couple,  we have chooks & a rooster and we have eggs right? Wrong – we purchase caged laying hens from a farm and we let them become free range and wander the property and lock them up at night they do a good job in providing us and the extended family with eggs. Not this time we have had them for a few weeks and they are not laying at this time.

I have had to purchase some and luckily I live in the Limestone Coast and one thing farming does is bring solutions to problems and one of these is free range, free roaming chooks who lay organic eggs and they are sold locally, Hood’s Earth Produce. and they are as nice as the ones we would have eaten had our girls gotten their acts together. Get on and support them, they can be found in at Feast Fine Foods stores around Adelaide. Look for this happy container and you will know you are getting real free range grass-fed eggs. (Yes the background is deliberate – thanks SAWeekend Magazine)

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Farming from a city girls point of view is nothing short of hard work, dedication, care and problem solving. Many have gone from farming families to enterprises which employ people, provide food for the greater communities and extensively work to maintain and grow the business. Adaptation and experience are things that farmers have in abundance, I often say I will never learn what my husband has forgotten about farming as I don’t have time. His experiences have been over 40 years on the land and he loves it (most days) practices change along with machinery so farming grows. Farmers are great sharers of ideas and experiences.

Happy Sunday and Long weekend to those who have them, drive safe and look after each other.

 

Todays is brought to you by the letter B

I had a great reaction to the Letter A post and thanks for all the input, it seems the Auger brought out many responses and most similar to those with which I described. I am not a professional farmer by any means so my blog is light-hearted and I hope will bring many a laugh, if I offend (don’t read me)

“Warning this blog contains words that may offend and make your ears bleed (if you could hear it) and make you laugh out loud. That can’t be helped as it would mean you would have worked out the word and the code associated with it or can envisage the action”

Today is brought to you by the Letter B

At every farm door they are there, they stand waiting for the opportunity to be tripped over, they can be covered in mud, all different sorts of pooh, dog, sheep & cattle but are the backbone of farming life. They stay where they are left, be it at the back door or the front door, it is custom that they are removed from feet when entering farm houses to save the farmers wives from continually having to clean and wash the floors.

They are the boots of the workers and people who reside within the dwelling, and I can guarantee you no matter which door you take your boots off at they will be at the wrong door when you need to put them on again to go outside. There is no organization of these boots and you can guarantee that you will at some stage trip over them, kick them out-of-the-way in frustration and anger and the trick is to ensure you empty them out before you put you foot into them. They become home to millipedes, the odd mouse, moths, beetles, bugs and anything else that may climb in there to get away from cats or light.

They have been known to have been kicked and sworn at in the same motion. They are bastards amongst other things. the trouble with kicking them away is that at some point they need to be retrieved, to be worn. The farmer here loves to occasionally clean them or rub them down with beef fat (think the fat from vertical and grills. Yes it puts a shine on them but as soon as the dogs smell them they lick them (yuck) He also puts beeswax on them should we have some in the house.

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.At times in the country getting contractors in is a necessity, as farming machinery is so expensive unless you are using it for more than 2 months of the year it is an asset parked in a building lying idle.  Getting contractors in to do work is important as it helps to continue the daily running of the farm, most of the time they are friends and neighbours which can be a little difficult. (Please take this all in jest as we appreciate what you do – just not having to pay for it )

One of the necessary items that a farm can require is a baler (we do not have one of these) we get contractors in to do this work, It is a skill raking and bailing hay and is environmentally controlled – too hot and it can catch fire so they stop, too cold and once baled with too much moisture the bale can spontaneously erupt. Think about some of those hay shed fires that appear randomly in the news it may have been incorrect baling of hay that may have caused it. This is a machine that rakes and collects the hay and strings it up in either round or square bales which will get fed out to the animals when feed is less on the ground. This could have belonged to yesterdays blog when for when the bill arrives for this there can be the word a**hole bastards or worse. (yes, you knew it was coming).

Despite the fact that all the working black / tan dogs on the farm are bitches, they have been called Bastards, loudly and often, most times when they are working and get over enthusiastic and won’t “SIT DOWN, GET OVER, COME HERE, GET UP HERE” (all said in capitals as he is yelling), it is here they become a bunch of bastards.

Black Angus cattle is what we produce here, they are beautiful animals for sure and with the limited amount of people who come here our ‘beasts’ (what else do you call a 500Kilo + animal? ) are fairly quiet. I sometimes look at him when we are together doing ‘jobs’ there are lots of items and movement that need the encouragement of the B word.  “COME ON YOU BASTARD” is commonplace when “we” can’t start engines, when “we” can’t dislodge items from equipment, when “we” are demonstrating how to get out of being bogged by deliberately getting bogged and then one gets bogged and realizes they do not have the equipment on the Ute they need to use to show you how to get out and to get themselves out. Oh the irony, here and one must remember not to change facial features (smile or laugh) for fear of the death stare or worse being sworn at.

One of my first trips out with him to see the property he stated “I shouldn’t drive through here as I always get bogged” I said “well don’t then” to which he did and by the time he finished trying to get out of it the mud was up to the foot guard of the Ute, it took over an hour to get me out as he left me in said vehicle with the dogs and walked back to the property approx. 5 km’s get a tractor and pull us out, this has not been an isolated incident.

One of the other things farmers do is going to clearing sales where they purchase other people’s goods. “We” like to buy books on farming amongst other things, now these items are things that are not wanted by other farmers who are moving off properties yet they seem to find their way in my home, we have a bookshelf of books that can be “thrown away” except for the farming books – note to self – that is all that is in the bookshelf.

Sometimes I feel this farming game may be the bloody death of me or at the least lack of expansion of my vocabulary. Please feel free to add any farm implement starting with B that gets the farmers blood boiling. One of the necessary B items the farm has on hand is booze and after some days you can’t drink enough to be rid of the sights and sounds of the country.