Blaming Others

Most people know if they have a bad night or a good nights sleep, i find myself waking up most nights and chose to lie in the dark looking outside our windows. It is beautiful if there is a moon shine. we live in the country so we have no street lights, neighbours house lights, security lights that flicker on and off with the movements of cats and no road traffic. This no longer scares me I find comfort in the quietness most nights.

We do however sleep with the radio on, I have a night time moaner, talker and snorer and have on occasions woken myself up talking nonsense in my sleep. He is a snorer with tinnitus and can wake up asking if someone has left a machine running.

I know when I wake what sort of day I’ll have, I have woken with heart racing and teeth gritting together, my teeth will ache from grinding them in stress. How do you have bad days on a farm you may well ask?  Most people think country life is relaxing, and jovial, it is full of loving animals, lush green paddocks, endless beautiful scenery, hours to prepare fabulous meals, wearing aprons and or jeans, boots and hats.

In reality it is very different, if it’s too hot, all the waters need checking 3 times per day as cattle will die within a day if they do not have water. In winter when the grass or paddocks turn green the animals need checking 2 to 3 times per day for bloat, too much green will expand their stomachs (they have 4) and they will literally fall over legs in the air dead. we place magnesium blocks over the place so they can lick them to reduce the risk of bloat. In birthing they can and do require assistance. The farmer is amazing with how he can deliver live cattle and not hurt mother or calf, but it can look like a brutal process with great outcomes.

My biggest gripe is the gap between sale of goods, meaning beef or lamb and payment. We will pay all our local places before anyone else, we do not need another country business closing due to slow sales and bad payers. All country towns and associations try and fund raise for their associations, hospitals, children’s schools, individual causes. I chose my charities now based on how much of my dollar goes to the charity or how much they pay staff to get your dollar. Yet when everything doesn’t pan out who do we blame?

How many head to the blaming the Government? themselves? the Boards that run organisations? or just society in general? are you a doer, get in and help or are you a watcher that stands on the sidelines, never participates but whinges loudly when it fails, or are you the volunteer that gets in helps, works and promotes? I’m the doer, the volunteer, I can work hard and tirelessly to raise funds and awareness and sometimes this isn’t enough or is too much for people and they shut you down. I move onto the next cause. I don’t do it for the praise, me I would like to be thanked as most people do, how do you react when you’re not thanked and appreciated?

Be involved

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3 Quick tips to know you’re buying Fresh Meat

When you’re in the supermarket and looking at the meat counter, you know your families health and food choices come from your decision making . Most people with families look for value for money and quantity, making the most of what’s on offer, what’s in the family purse and how far can the purchases go.

  1. Smell, never never eat anything you think is ‘turning’. Meat should have hint of a smell a little like blood or stronger if it’s game. It should smell pleasant and nothing much more.
  2. Red Meat should look red, pink if pork and white if chicken. It may sound simple but some meats can have a slight tinge of purple in them this is ok, but it means the meat is beginning to have sat for a long period of time and needs to be used immediately or frozen.
  3. Check the hydration of the meat, gently push your finger into the meat and once you have taken it away it should spring back and the only evidence is a slight indentation on the packet, if it stays deflated then I wouldn’t buy it.

In Australia we are lucky to have such good quality meat and I can not remember a time when there has been a meat recall. Most supermarkets have in house butchers and also a range of selection of good quality meat.

I often get asked if there is blood should I avoid it, I say no, this means it is fresh, the pad at the bottom of the packet is such that it soaks it up as meat should not sit in blood as it will start to set up bacteria. Buy it, open it and freeze it fresh.

If none of these steps are good don’t buy it or eat it.Beautiful scotch fillet pictured

scotch fillet

If you want ‪#‎halal‬ is should read that on the label, it has been certified by the appropriate body.

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.

Cooking!! there is no glamour in this chore

It this really busy world where women and men are out working, being parents, playing sports, being on committees and numerous other roles unmentioned in this blog. There is always that nagging feeling when coming to the end of the working day, even if you do not work in paid employment after a day working, it comes to about 4pm and your mind starts thinking about the dreaded chore of preparing the evening meal. Remember the ‘frustrated Chef‘ from ‘Sesame Street’ well cooking daily makes me feel like this

There is no speech by your parents when you grow up about how laborious this chore is, yes they talk about sex, making babies, financial responsibilities and school and growing up but my mother never told me how this could be the worst chore ever invented and how necessary it is to daily functions. My mother also never told me how frustrating it is when you ask people in the house what do they want to dinner and have responses like “anything as long as I’m with you” as nice as it sounds it’s a cop-out. In Australian language that means I have no idea and I’m not prepared to offer any suggestions, this is frustrating to say the least, or what would be nice occasionally is to have someone say, “I know” and get up and prepare it and present it themselves.

We sit and watch shows like ‘Masterchef‘, ‘My Restaurant Rules‘, Huey’s kitchen and every other ‘lifestyle’ program has a cooking segment on it and we (pardon the pun) devour these shows, in my case I love some of the dishes and want to see who wins, that’s the competitive nature in me coming out there. But sometimes these dishes they don’t relate to normal life do they? Who really has the time (other than paid contestants) to spend 5 hours preparing meals? Not me I could not think of anything more boring. Preparing and presenting a perfectly cooked meal, consuming it and then CLEANING up.

There are some days when I think, can’t I just go and buy dinner? I live where there is no identifiable (no golden arches) fast food places within 150kms or in American terms 93.20 miles so when I do feel like this I rely on the trusty freezer, to have meat, oven fires and frozen vegetables and normally use this opportunity to do a mixed grill, rump, fillet or lamb chops which I will crumb, eggs from our chooks, sausages either our beef or lamb, then bread cooked in our bread maker and frozen oven fries cooked in the oven. This really is our choice, I don’t keep frozen ‘fast foods‘ like hash browns or others, these can be high in fat and salt.

But sometimes just sometimes I would love someone to come in and cook and clean. The last time farmer was out for dinner I cooked a microwave bag of popcorn and ate that, nothing else but white wine with it. When we travel to the city to see family and friends it normally is for a celebration so food is part of this shared experience, I have a family of cookers, they bring salads, hot vegetables, desserts and we cook either a leg of lamb or roast some of our beef. There is nothing nicer, but if we dine out, I note farmer goes for the seafood or steak, I normally go the steak option, it is just nice to have food prepared and presented to you. We also like Asian foods which I also cook when I feel I have time, but overall home cooking is always much more flavor some and healthy for you than ‘fast foods’ but for the convenience fast foods will win this mental trauma every time and this is back by the statistics, people would rather drive through than shop in.

My advice, find a great fresh home delivery company that will bring fresh fruit, produce and meat to your door, plan your meals so that you only order what you know you are going to eat. This will help reduce the high calories intake and save you from opening your purse. Put that money towards a long desired holiday where, when you get it you can PAY someone to cook what you want and clean up.

frustrated chef