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.

2016-01-03 02.09.35

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.

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.

2014-09-12 01.13.04

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


Giving people what they want

I see it written in people’s social media pages and we often hear about it, I too have bemoaned the same fact, that people ask for our skills for free. “can I ask you a favour?” “Can you just take a couple of photos for me, I’ll post them everywhere and advertise your business?” “What is it you do and do you mind sending me a spread on how you do it? so I can base my business on your model, I’ll change it but I just need help.”

Sometimes you do it without thinking and berate yourself afterwards as most of the time these people NEVER give you anything in return, nothing. Most people are generous with their time and words, if people did charge for time and travel (car) no one would employ them, some people spend 2 hrs of their day just traveling to and from work. It’s not just those people who work for themselves that get the raw end of the stick, I have seen some employees do it to their interstate bosses. Take advantage of their money and good nature, you all know the type or at some stage may have even been one of these people, you know it’s wrong but you do it anyway, it may just be arriving to work 10 to 15 minutes late per day but that’s over an hour a week you are taking from your boss and they are probably not even aware you are doing it.

Most people work hard for their income and to have it ‘taken’ is insulting for the years they have learned their craftsmanship. Here’s a suggestion to all those people who want something for nothing, it breeds resentment in the person you ask, it makes you appear selfish and mean (sometimes makes you look dumb) and can ruin a nice friendship or relationship because the person becomes wary of your motives every time you call. Coffee breaks are to talk about kids, family, social outings or in a business sense talk business, but these are always prearranged and give people the option of opting in or out but springing it on people is never nice nor is it appreciated by the receiver.

I have never heard of an electrician installing a light or ceiling fan so you can tell everyone each time you turn it on they did it or a sign above the switch saying “installed and fixed by turn me on electrics” or a plumber saying yes to ‘fixing’ your blocked toilet so you can tell your friends they did it – I have never seen a sign on the top of the cistern saying “fixed for free by unblock me plumbing”.  So why would social media experts, photographers, marketing managers and finance people give you their information for nothing? it’s not really helping them out nor is it free publicity for their business. I have scrolled through face book pages and nowhere have I seen, “design concept and expert advice with assistance by experts r us”.

Giving people what they want is saying to your friend in business, “can I ask you to do a job for me? do you offer any mates rates by chance? ” this then gives your friend and business owner an option to come to an arrangement with you and shows them that you respect and appreciate their skills. Even if it is to give you a quote GST inclusive that is effectively 10% off the bottom line of the price, this is more than some retail shops will give you. Give people what they want, recognise their worth and value, offer to pay upfront, be honest and most of all stop asking for people’s business tips for free.

What the…

I have started traveling for work, I have taken been given the opportunity to be an agent for a start-up medical company and this being an exciting opportunity have decided to take it. Part of this is the fact that I can now travel again, visiting hospitals, procurement managers and Departments of health in other states.

This is something I know as I did it for nearly 20 years for pure financial reasons. As a nurse and single mum, (no child maintenance) I wanted to afford my child the same opportunity I had which was catholic schooling and working as a nurse you are financially restricted by your boss, in my case the Government, as I worked in a public system. Even doing shift work, it became hard to manage a mortgage, life style and school fees, so once given the opportunity to become a medical representative I did.

After nearly 7 years away from it I have gone back, though traveling to the those that don’t it looks and sounds glamorous it is for the first couple of days then it becomes a chore, everything you eat is paid for out of you own money and is expensive, no matter where you go.  Changing hotel rooms is hard as everything needs to be packed up and put into your suit case, even hiring a car is a necessity and an expense. Most employers if they have staff that travel are generous with these allowances, my motto always has been “if I am not prepared to pay it for myself I certainly wouldn’t as my employer” this always helps when Dr’s or nurses want you to have an open tab at the bar. My rule of thumb is 3 drinks is enough, then I will close the tab.

Now all of these expenses are mine, it is even easier to say no, but luckily there has been a shift in everybody to stop the “your company pays” mentality “I’ll drink myself under the table and order 4 courses”. As I use to say to people, you are actually paying for it, it is built into the price of the goods. It is rather pleasant to travel and sit in a restaurant or café and have a meal with people it opens the dialogue to talk things other than work. I don’t know if my week was successful yet but I enjoyed it and I got to stay with a great girlfriend for one night who though we talk regularly on the phone it is fantastic to share a couple and sit and chat.

Excited I was to also be heading home, you have to be on your best behavior when you travel, not that I sweat the small stuff often, but you are representing yourself or a company so one must be nice and informative most of the time. After landing I have a 3 hour drive home, which is not too bad, but having to stop and shop prior to heading up the freeway can add an hour to this trip.

It is nice to be home but what I don’t like is the fact that there are dishes (washed) in the dishwasher that I put in there last Sunday. Today is Saturday, and yes it is a small thing but it is also annoying as you know that the day after you arrive home or even the day (I got in at 915pm) you need to spend doing house chores, washing clothes etc, so yes it irked me that I have to do the dishes AS WELL.. Nothing more can I say about this to the women that travel, you will understand, to the men that travel, I bet it’s something that you do not think about… and there in lies the problem. Yes this may be a generalization about the sexes but hey ho.


Times they are a changing

Isn’t it funny how much can change in a week, a day or from yesterday. Time is fleeting, informative and ever challenging if you are unable to get a good work life balance. From where I sit today and I’m sitting uncomfortably with back and leg pain, many things can be viewed in glass half full or glass half empty. I sit and listen to Craig Thompson and his excuses for spending extraordinary amounts of other people’s money whilst in charge of a union and I shake my head at this wastage and not from a moral stance but from that of a worker paying union dues expecting those in charge would be diligent and honest. I hear his glass half full speech and I wonder what the truth is, we the public will never know but one thing can be guaranteed, the money will not be paid back. There will be one to force this and I suspect he will not offer this.

We in Keith do have a Glass half full attitude and today the sense of relief in the community is understandable, we have been given a one-off grant to help the hospital recruit Doctor’s on a permanent basis. Currently we have the wonderful services of locum Doctors and they cost large amounts of money, but we need the service, we want the service to continue. Effectively the Government handing over the grant is a sure-fire way of securing the future of the Keith Hospital and this is very exciting. There are so many people and groups that need to pack themselves on their backs for remaining positive when there was no light at the end of the tunnel. We need to thank the hardworking volunteer Board of Management who were and still are tirelessly working towards having a full glass. The grant is a glass half full, it gives us time to search and put things into play and balance to get the hospital running efficiently and effectively as it possibly can without affecting patient care and the community. We need to thank all the community who have tirelessly fund raised and will do so for a while yet, but the grant has given people hope. Hope for the future, hope for financial security, hope for work and hope for the ongoing community spirits. We also must thank the Government for identifying there was a need to offer this grant to keep the facility open.


the budget & me

Well here it is, the budget for 2012, no matter what your political leanings are, it is hard to believe that by upping your limit on your credit card and taking money from other areas will bring ‘savings’. In my household it does not work like this. I have been a budget freak for years, with one income and child in private school I had to account for every dollar and sometimes I did not do this well but other times I did.

What I didn’t account for ever was not having a job and this has become now a task, a full-time career, trying to make money or get gainful employment when there is limited opportunities in the country. I look at these people in politics and think no matter what they have great super, a great pension and really will not ‘suffer’ the same fate as the ordinary person. Going into Aged Care facilities now requires a down payment of $300,000 so if you or your parents do not own a home – where is this money to come from?

The budget may be the talk of the day but it does not stop the bills coming in, food to be purchased, mortgage to pay or rent depending upon your circumstances. Without an income how does one look at their day and move through it? It simply is hard and I think I can say most governments do not see this or if they do, they forget whilst the average person pays all their taxes (as do politicians) they do not have the luxury of having no car expenses, Rego and petrol, these people get driven everywhere, being able to transport oneself at the expense of others is a savings on its own.

The budget does not mean much to most people as everyone knows you need to work to pay bills, no work, no money and no budget by this Government will fix unemployment or create work where there is none. I consider myself lucky in that I have a roof over my head, food and family that I love. The budget will affect many people in all areas, DH read out to me this morning that overseas they pay a $4 carbon tax so how can we ‘Australia’ be looking to pay $20? I have no answers for him, I don’t get it either.

the in-laws

I have lovely in-laws and I am grateful for their support and presence in my life, but there is always a but isn’t there? They are not your own parents so the faults you see in them you do not see in your own. I spent a lovely sunday with my in-laws, they made the effort to come out to the farm (they also needed stumps for their fire & eggs & flowers) but they came. Both my in-laws are unwell and have been since they retired, we are very lucky they are still with us and I owe that to modern medicine and faith.

They spent the week in Adelaide last week visiting the numerous specialists they now see, cardiologist (both of them) Oncologist (MIL) Plastic Surgeon (FIL) Skin specialist (FIL) Orthopaedic Surgeon (both) and these are just the ones they tell us about. My father in Law is the typical aging farmer – he wore no hat and swam in summer in dams & then when they could afford it a pool without a shirt. He is becoming the poster boy of Basal Cell, Squamous Cell and last week a melanoma. He has grafts to his face and now is waiting the results of this melanoma on his back. They feel lucky as they see the skin specialist annually so this has “come up” in under a year, so it may well be a good outcome. My MIL has had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has been in remission for over 6 years now but has terrible back aches – she tells me they x rayed her back and she has arthritis of the spine. (ouch)

They enjoy our company  and we there’s but they are not my parents, they are DH which when you marry someone they become part of that family you wish to create. In break up’s some people find it harder to say good-bye to the parents & family not  the partner. I now have to travel to see my parents and this is hard, I miss being part of their weekly lives. If you do not have In laws – some would say you are not missing much, if you do have in-laws that you do not like some would say you are not lucky. But I like mine and their biggest regret is that DH & I never had children together, that is their issue not ours. MIL asked me yesterday would we (DH & I) be interested in purchasing a property in the country town where they live, I have to hold back my instantaneous response of yelling no, instead I say it is a dying town and I have no intention of retiring in it. I also kept my house in Adelaide so that I had a place to go when I am ready to and at this stage it is hard to even find a decent job here, unless you nurse, you are a teacher and the hospital is not employing so that leaves very little to choose from.

I have a small business which due to the economic times is now not doing so well, in fact it is costing me to open it daily, there is no foot traffic, no repeat business and it is positional. I have to make the decision to move it or close it completely. She is shocked by this, which is surprising, there are days when you can look down the main street and there isn’t a car to be seen. We grew up in different eras, she was a teacher who went on to study to become a librarian so was a professional all her life. I moved here due to marriage and now I am struggling to stay, I want to work, that is a topic for another day