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.

Does it all get too hard?…

I heard Amanda Blair finished up on radio today, she has been thinking over the last six months about picking her children up from school, working in the canteen and just generally being Mum. What a gift for her to be able to have the choice, she resigned and left what we would consider quickly. Then Wendy Harmer wrote an article on her about how Amanda was the only female radio host with her own show on commercial radio. how sad is that on International Women’s Day she finishes up..

I have enjoyed Amanda’s radio stints over the years and though have not agreed with all of her opinions, comments, guests and segments it has made for interesting radio. Isn’t that what thinking, working women want, a woman’s woman where we can secretly agree and disagree, where one woman – Amanda can put it out there and say “there I said it’. She would stand by her words and deeds and therefore should have been encouraged to stay (in my opinion). But she is correct you can never get the time back and they only children for a while, it passes in the blink of any eye. She is one of South Australia’s major charity fund-raisers and will continue doing this, a very admirable trait, if only some of her male counterparts were so generous with their time and ‘personality’

Does it get too hard this working mother bit? I think it does, there were times when I wanted to have 5 minutes peace and couldn’t find it except in sleep, even now I find it hard. I love seeing my daughter and I happily travel to Adelaide to spend time with her, I wish I could do it more, but between work at the hospital, my work in the shop and my volunteer hours as well as help out on the farm I sometimes feel I am wearing myself too thin. I get forgetful, get absorbed in my life away from Adelaide and I miss out. This be my fault you say and I agree.

I wish Amanda nothing but the best on her career decision – I believe being a full-time mother to 4 children is a career and may we hear her back on our airways soon. Now 5AA if you want another opinionated loud mouth, you know where to find me