Ode to my Farmer

I passed away in the early hours of this morning, outside when the sun came up and in a place I knew was home. It was where we sat having drinks in summer, near your chair where one of you would reach down and pet me. The outside erection built by you, I wasn’t well and have been slowly letting you know I was going to pass over a week ago. I started to not want my food.

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I remember you coming and selecting me, you picked me up held me to your chest and I felt your heart beat and you brought me to the farm. I was little and it was big, there were other dogs that looked like me and white 4 legged wooly animals as well as big black 4 legged creatures. All of this was frightening but you carried me around until you felt I was ready to join the mob. You spent weeks touching me, encouraging me, training me to obey, sit on the back of the ute, run after sheep and cattle whilst growing up.

I loved the space, I loved working, you would drive the ute and whistle, I would know what to do, I was your right or left hand depending upon where you sent me. These cattle and sheep were never frightening after you took the time to teach me, I could get them where you wanted them. You would lift me up into the ute, pat me and tell me all the time what a good dog I was, sometimes if I was hot I would run to the trough, jump in and lie down whilst moving my body from one end to the other to cool off.

I loved the farm and I loved you, you would pat me, feed me and put me in my kennel at night for protection. I was never chained except on the back of a ute to protect me and as I grew and became the oldest working dog I earnt the right to sit in the ute with you whilst the other younger ones got to ride in the back. This was great in summer with the air conditioner on and in winter with the heater. I would stand with my head resting on the dash board looking out. You would reach over and pat me often, I loved working with you. I loved summer when we would go to the dam and swim whilst chasing a ball it was what I was bred to be.

I learnt your voice, your whistle and your touch, you were who I wanted to be with. I learnt the good words and the bad words. Sometimes (when working in sheep & cattle yards) there would be swearing and I would look for a way of running off. It was here in the sheep yards that we had our serious accident. I jumped, missed and dislocated my hips. You picked me up and took me into the vet, I then had to spend weeks getting better, I never really recovered to my best but you never seemed to mind. You would come and get me, sit on the step and hold me like I was a puppy again, I would place my head on your shoulder and breath the love between us

During my growing years, I had a coat given to me in winter, I had a bed I was always happy to go to, it didn’t even become crowded when the new puppy came along and she dug under our joined fence and started to sleep with me. We were fed, we were allowed to swim and we were a family. When I was really sore I was given the best health care going, I even was allowed trips to town, the bank teller still remembers when you brought me in and placed me on the counter (where I was a little scared and I peed) no one told me off you picked me up and patted me. I also had many people that I loved and they loved me. People came and went but you were always there.

Then last year I became sore in the hips, slowed down and found it difficult to keep my balance in the front of the ute (I had turned 15) I suffered if I had to work so we decided I could move inside at night. I was given the couch, no one told me to get off and when the other dogs came inside I didn’t even have to look up when you shouted for them to get out. I was safe and warm again in your care.

Then I had to retire from the day trips, that was initially difficult, I would bark as you drove away but could easily find my couch, then when I stopped being able to get up on the couch the padded bed was bought. This was also lovely, it was taken to the office daily and returned at night so I could sleep at your feet. I still barked when you drove off, but from the comfort of my bed, either from the bedroom or the office. I was warmed protected and loved.

I had begun to get sick and I noticed no one told me off, in fact yesterday I was found lying in it, instead of being put outside, I watched as my bed was moved to the darkest corner of the room, my blanket was freshened up and she lifted me up, bathed me with a warm hot towel and laid in my bed all the while she was telling me what a good, beautiful and wonderful dog I was. She laid on the floor for a while petting me, telling me how much I was loved and how hard I had worked for 15+ years and it was ok to join the others.

You came home and came straight into see me yesterday, you didn’t mention the vomit to me, I know you loved me as much as I loved you. I loved the fact you would pat me and make me feel safe and loved, I knew this as I passed. I know that when you buried me you carried me close to your chest, holding me gently like when I was a puppy and as a last act of love you patted me one last time.


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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.

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Finishing to start anew

I was told last week I needed to finish things up so that new opportunities could come my way. I have been procrastinating for many months – doing things, putting off things and finishing things became low on the priority list. So off I have set to finish things up, I drew myself up a list, double checked it to see if I had put all the things on it I needed to and as we know with most jobs or tasks it is not until someone reminds you, you do leave things off it.

Start how you mean to finish is one of my sisters favorite sayings and it works well for work life balance. Balance includes making sure you begin a task and then you complete it. I have avoided many over the years and the worst one – being my taxes. I am sure that should my accountant read this she will be saying, stop writing and get me the information I need, well I am about to complete this task. It is number 1, 2 and 3 on my priority list to do. I have slowly worked on this but only after I had done my husbands books, daughters taxes and then run right out of time to complete them. I say run out fo time to myself to justify this but actually it is through not be organised with my own book work that has me failing to complete this task.

I also have a couple of things hanging to do for the Keith Hospital, I have completed 2 of them but the Government grant has taken the urgency out of things for a while so I have let it lapse. I have 1 thing left to complete so will do this by the middle of June before I commence on the next list of projects. This is the cookbook, it has recipes from celebrities, chefs and local residents all whom have contributed a recipe, a bio or a picture, it will be beautiful.

I am also working on fundraising for my mothers choir, they are an Adelaide choir who have been invited to sing in Carnegie Hall next year. I have completed a submission to Qantas for sponsorship and letters that are currently being edited to go to major companies and TV stations for assistance and promotion.This will be my next thing I concentrate on, only between my taxes, during all this I will be job hunting.

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.