Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some Things I Have Learned About Being A Farmer's Wife And Country Kid's Mum

*Edited - Hi! As there are so many new readers, I thought I would summarise who I am in a bit of a 'this is a bit about me' piece. x Jess x

I've been a Farmer's Wife and mother for ten years now. In my previous life I was a 'coastie' and bonafide city slicker. After accepting a teaching post in a remote area of Australia, and vowing and declaring I would NEVER, EVER, EVER marry a farmer, it was a position I suddenly found myself in.

Who would have guessed that the tall, dark and handsome guy who drove a ute, wore RM Williams boots, an Akubra, and chewed grass, would be the same guy who stole my heart?

Prior to getting married, way back in the dating days, I used to tag along on the back of The Farmer's motorbike (the wind whistling through my hair, arms tucked snugly around his waist) and dream about how we would be like this forever. Acreage for as far as the eye could see. Sheep, cattle, kangaroos and emus, dotted intermittently across the countryside. Just The Farmer and I, alone and together. It was, of course, very romantic. What I didn't realise at the time however, was that my hormones were playing tricks on me. Those tricky little pheromones were spinning throughout my body and clouding rational thought.

After being married for ten years, I now find myself practically begging The Farmer to take at least one of the kids out on the bike with him, and to take his time coming home! Our lives have become (at times) a mish-mash of overlapping schedules, that directly relate to the amount of precipitation in the air and the availability of man power at any given time. With three children we find ourselves "high fiving" each other on crossover between dropping kids at the bus stop (a mere 20km away) and heading out to fix fences or pull stock who have become stranded in a dried up dam.

Distance seems to be the main thing that people ask me about living out here. Our property is very average for this area at just over 20 000 acres. That's still several suburbs in a city when you get down to it! We are 5km from our mailbox, and 10km to our nearest neighbours. 40km away is the nearest 'town', where my children go to school and where we can buy food staples. Although there is no pharmacy, there is also a small hospital in this town, but they don't have services to allow for child birth, so your best bet is to head to St George, 100km away. It is in this town that I do the bulk of my grocery shopping. I am 250km from my dentist in Goondiwindi. I should also mention that I am 250km from my nearest McDonalds or KFC, and yet we are still shown the same ads as city dwellers on our television in a strange and torturous twist of fate! I am 500km from a decent cinema. Toowoomba is the nearest 'major' city, and at 500km away (or 5 hours in the car), I find I often bypass it to head to Brisbane (600 + odd km away) where my family live, and where my daughter (who wears glasses) has specialist appointments twice a year.

A typical day for me involves getting up at sunrise (who needs clocks, when we live and work by the sun?). In the summer The Farmer is out the door to try to fit in a few good hours of work before the temperature starts nudging 40 degrees. Some days I barely have time to kiss him goodbye, and then I spend the next hour or so begging my children to get dressed and pack their school bags so that we don't run late for the bus. The bus stop is, as I mentioned above, 20km away. That's 20km of white rock gravel, which inevitably means flat tyres on occasion, but also that we don't get bogged on one of the rare days that it rains out here. The children then continue on for another 20km on the bus before arriving at school for the day. The bus carries five children, and I have a great friendship with the bus driver. Where else in the world would your children's bus driver give you their mobile number and get you to call if you have a change of travel plans that day?

Since having children I only do relief teaching. Being close enough to a primary school my children are able to attend is a blessing. We have many friends who have to home school their children because of the sheer remoteness of where they live. Anyone who has ever had to educate their own children will tell you how hard this is! Before I even had children, I knew that Boarding School (for high school) wasn't even negotiable. It is just something that many country families have to do for their children. It is not an easy decision, and often it's the choice between boarding, home schooling or long hours of travel in a bus. I am somewhat lucky in that my mother is the Head of Boarding in a Boarding School in Brisbane, and it's kind of like my daughters will be going to live with her.

On the days I am working, I will drive all of us into town together. It's an 80km round trip. I know that 40km to 'town' is nothing compared to other families across Australia. If I have neglected to pick up milk or bread on my last trip to town, that's an 80km round trip for staples. It means that we need to be organised out here. No ifs or buts. You just don't forget the 832876870 things you need to get done when do you make the trip to town. Or you need to have a good relationship with your neighbours.

I live 80 metres from my in laws. When I had romantic notions about The Farmer and I being alone together, I neglected to factor in our proximity to his parents.We share the farm together. They can not only see how many days I have left my washing hanging out in the scorching sun for, but I also have to wear clothes all the time, even though we live in the middle of nowhere. Heaven forbid they need sugar or milk. I wouldn't even hear the car pull up to warn me! Our other nearest neighbours are 10km away. Thankfully I really love them. Loving your neighbours when you live in the back of beyond is another small blessing, especially when you share fences with them.

Some days I feel more isolated than other days. We live in a 'black spot' for mobile phones. Luckily I can be reached by fellow 'Iphone users' over our wifi. Thankfully our internet speed has improved too. We are still the slowest internet speeds in Australia out here, but life is a lot easier than it was even two years ago. When your job is internet reliant, it's nice to be able to access it without wanting to pull your hair out every now and then. I also rely on the internet, and specifically social networks to communicate with my family. I send photos, videos and funny stories to my family and friends. My children have I-devices that they message my family on. I use the internet for clothes shopping, gift shopping and everything else you can imagine. I have no idea how people out here survived before the internet! They were clearly much stronger women than I am! We also receive mail only twice a week out here. That means that all my internet purchases arrive on one of two days, and I try desperately to be the one who makes it to the mailbox first, so that my in laws don't have a hernia when they see my bounty of goodies!

So back to my typical day. After the bus run I come home to do some household chores. The Farmer usually arrives for 'smoko' around this time. Smoko being the meal between breakfast and lunch that preferably involves something sweet and home cooked washed down by hot coffee or tea. Many farmer's wives join their husbands in working the farm. As a teacher and mother I have never had the opportunity to be a 'hands on' farmer's wife. I admire those women who help out on the farm, but prospective farmer's wives should also know that it's not a pre-requisite! Preg-testing cattle and penning up sheep can be done on a voluntary basis! Next year when all of my children will be at school, I have been promising The Farmer that I will be following him around and learning all about the farm. He said if that's the case, I should write a new blog and call it 'Sunburnt and Sore Hands.' Everyone is a comedian around here. After smoko, I continue with housework, cooking, baking, blogging and writing. I spend most of the day watching the clock, so that I can collect my children from the bus stop and bring them back for an afternoon at home. My children spend the afternoons swimming in our pool, or riding bikes, or tagging along with their Dad or Grandparents out in the paddock. They feed the chooks and work dogs (I specifically mention that they are working dogs) and play with our Jack Russell (our 'pet') in our yard. Even though we still love and cherish our working dogs, they aren't allowed the same 'yard privileges' that our terrior has!
Our baby Gypsy.
These aren't ALL our dogs, but they are all the 'farm' dogs.
There are kangaroos, emus and echidnas over my back fence and sometimes even in my yard. I am still amazed by that. Amazed and annoyed. Echidnas (as cute as they are) leave holes all around your lawn. Kangaroos are a hazard on the road, and emus are aggressive when you encounter them with their chicks. All that aside, they are beautiful creatures, and I am privileged to be able to see them in their natural environment on a daily basis. I'm glad my children can grow up in this environment.

On the down side, living out here also means dangerous snakes! * Gasp * Every single summer I worry about my kids and brown snake bites. Touch wood - nothing has happened so far. But in the (unlikely) event of a brown snake bite, and given our remote location, it is fair to say my children probably wouldn't survive, though a grown and healthy adult might have a greater chance of survival. As my snakebite contingency plan generally consists of 1. DON'T DIE! I guess you could say that after that follows 2. Prevention is certainly the key. We have an airstrip on our property, and a large selection of straight roads that planes can, and do, land on for a variety of reasons. We have also had helicopters land out here too. Thankfully, we have never had an instance where the Flying Doctors were required, but it still helps to be prepared if you ever do need them. Country kids are taught from an early age to avoid long grass, and hollow logs, and how to avoid snakes if they are ever unlucky enough to encounter them in the paddock. Plus we all have up to date CPR certificates, and keep a 'snake bite emergency' kit in a handy location inside our house. Our little Jack Russell Terrior is a great little 'snake dog' too, and she lets us know if there is anything out there for us to be wary of. I am a regular caller to the 13HEALTH number. A background in nursing might have been handy at times, but I have learned that there is so much you can do for yourself at home, without having to drive the kids all the way into town, only to be sent home with Panadol. You can guarantee that if my child has arrived at hospital, there's a good chance it's something serious!

Nobody told me about country kids before I had three of my own. I used to worry about my kids going missing or wandering off on the farm when they were younger. I seriously thought that inserting GPS chips in my children's arms was a legitimate way of keeping tabs on them. As it turns out (and from experience), there's little chance of a child running away out here. There really is nowhere to go, and the heat and insects and fear of worse are enough to keep them close to home.

Country kids don't need summer clothes. They get around in the nude. This is because it's too bloody hot to put anything on anyway. Country kids don't really need winter clothes either- and for the same reasons- except that their parents worry about chills and flus and illness. Summers in the country are filled with mozzies and flies and hoses in the garden. Country kids drink from an old tap, and don't care about bacteria or germs, because they have built up a serious immunity to such things from the time they've spent outside.

Country kids love hats. The bigger, the better. No outfit is complete without an Akubra or straw hat on top. Country kids work up the genetic curse of the 'farmer tans' (sock lines and sleeve marks on their arms and legs) while they are outside putting in a hard day's work on the farm. They muster (on horseback, by motorbike or even by car), plant, harvest, stick pick, water and fence. They check stock, help with yard work, stock work and with cropping. They are jacks of all trades, who build up an armory of life skills (changing tyres and fixing machinery) before they even reach high school.

Country kids own boots. Lots of boots. And not soft suede dress ones. We're talking heavy duty working boots that will ensure that tiny feet stay protected from an array of accidents waiting to happen. Having said that, country kids also like to go barefoot lots of the time too. Across burrs and prickles and rocks. These kids are tough.

Country kids understand the life cycle. Something is born and something dies. They watch dogs and cows mating and understand that it takes two to make one. And likewise, they know that the meat in the freezer comes from an actual (once living) beast, and there is every conceivable chance that your country kid helped get it from the paddock into the freezer in some capacity.

Country kids love the rain. They speak in terms of how many "points" or "inches" we have had, and happily share that news with friends and neighbours. They understand the effect of rain on a crop, and in harvesting. Country kids care about the weather for more reasons than what it they can and can't do at home today. Country people (and not just the kids) have an appreciation for the value of water. We have access to three different water sources on our farm. We have artesian water for the stock, and dam water for stock as well. We also use dam water on our lawns and for some household usage, until it runs out. And finally we have tank water; the nicest water. Sadly, also the most likely to run out when it doesn't rain. When it's gone, it's gone. There isn't a back up plan, and so we value water as a resource above all other resources.

Country kids ask questions like "who's car tracks are they?" and "when can I help you muster?" and "why do some sheep get fly blown and others don't?" Country kids, like city kids, have a fascination with learning. But the learning doesn't end on a trip away from the house. In fact, much of the learning is done at home. Field trips are a way of life. My kids can name all the paddocks (and that's no easy feat!), as well as tell me what each paddock is used for and when. They know their way around the farm better than I do, and give directions like 'past the eagles nest,' and 'near that place where the emu's nest was.' They know the difference between our own cattle and the agistment cattle. They know the names of tools that Dad uses, and the difference between graders and dozers and backhoes. They can differentiate between lamb and beef when they eat it, and will happily tell me if I have cooked the meat too long and made it tough. And my eldest is eight years old.

My children and husband speak in 'farm terms'. When I was pregnant I was 'in calf', and 'an old breeder cow'. When I was breast feeding I was 'an old milker' or 'jersey'. When I gave birth there was 'one on the ground'. They are all affectionate terms and not meant in malice at all. Conveniently, my husband is 'a stud ram' and 'proven sire'. Hmmm...

I may not be a country kid but I am raising three of my own. I am certainly not a country girl but I am doing my best to be me, just the way I am, in the environment I have chosen to live. It's not the life I thought I would choose for myself, but I'm proud that I'm giving it my best effort and enjoying every minute. Being a farmer's wife and a mother in a remote area is all a juggling act – much like mothers and wives everywhere. I'm a teacher, nurturer, cook, cleaner, chauffeur, referee, book keeper, gardener, farm hand, entertainer and a bunch of other positions! It's an adventure; and an adventure that teaches me a little bit more about myself, and that pushes me to new levels of understanding and confidence every day, that's for sure!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sunburnt and Sore Hands

Next year I'm going to be taking some time off work. So I was thinking that I might (finally - after 10 years of living here) like to try my hand at this whole 'farming gig'.

I spoke to hubby and told him how next year I'd like to follow him around and see what he does, maybe help where I can, learn a few things, get involved. I suggested I might be able to write about it - about my experience as a 'real farmer's wife'.

Hubby suggested I start a new blog and call it 'Sunburnt and Sore Hands'. Everyone's a comedian.

He might be onto something though.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Goals... and a bit of a run.

You might remember all the way back here in January, when I purchased a new pair of running shoes. It was an arduous experience. A rewarding experience too. Those shoes changed my life. Like Forrest Gump, I started running. I also set my first ever (I swear to God) athletic goal. I wanted to do the Kokoda Trail walk.

Quickly realizing this was not as easy as I initially thought, I set a few new 'lead up' goals. I wanted to do the Inca Trail (in Peru), and before that, the Bridge to Brisbane (a 10km run).

I recently completed the Bridge to Brisbane (and clearly I survived, as I am here today to tell the story). But it wasn't easy!

My training consisted of downloading a few apps on my phone and just trying to keep up with them. What I hadn't factored in to my training was how many times I would get sick before the Bridge to Brisbane, and how much work I took on, resulting in even less time for running. Not to mention my natural aversion to exercise, and general lack of motivation.

So for the last few months I have more or less (but mostly less) increased my inclination to put one foot in front of the other in the pursuit of fitness. Truth be told, I was actually enjoying myself. Before Bridge to Brisbane, I knew I would need to set smaller 'training' goals to ready my body. I decided I would need a healthy eating plan, exercise and some rest as well. By September 1, I had nailed the 'rest' part of my training. The rest had fallen by the wayside. In actual fact, before the race, I had only managed to complete a full 10km run on two occasions. And one of those times I felt like death afterwards. I was feeling a bit out of my depth.

I headed to Brisbane the day before the big run. Having never been a morning person, I wasn't sure how the 4.30am start would affect me.

The night before the B2B I slept in as much of what I wanted to wear as possible. I couldn't take any chances. By 5am I was up and ready. My sister arrived (we were all taxi-pooling) and we realized we were dressed the same.


My mother and sister are both B2B old hands. I couldn't get over the sheer size of the crowd. We were probably about half way into the crowd. I couldn't even see the 'start' line.

I was there (in the yellow joggers) with my sister, mother, cousin and a friend.

And then the race started. And then we started about 20 minutes after that! It was a crazy beginning. I wanted to jog up the bridge, but my own lack of fitness almost did me in. The run back down the bridge was no easier. My general lack of fitness got the better of me. My run quickly progressed to a jog/walk, but nonetheless, 75 minutes later I was finished! (Also almost dead, red as a beetroot, and physically exhausted). I was so proud of myself.

Someone asked me (after the race) if I would come back again and try to beat my time, but I really don't think I will. I set a goal, and I achieved it. I have new goals now. And I want to achieve them too.

So look out Inca Trail! You're next on my goals list...

Girls trip anyone?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Poddy Lambs

When I first moved out west I thought people were calling PODDY lambs, POTTY lambs, and I couldn't (for the life of me) figure out why!

The origins of the word 'poddy' are officially unknown, however what is known is that it is English in origin, and stemmed from the UK around 1890-1895.

In any event, it's an orphaned animal, pertaining especially to lambs.

Sadly, there are times when a ewe will walk away from her baby/babies. This is especially common when the weather is 'drought-y'. The mother is often too weak to support her young, and will, quite literally, walk away from her babies. It's a sad fact of nature, and farmers do their best to make sure it doesn't happen.

Short of destocking, the only real option that will ensure a poddy lamb's survival is to hand rear it. This is a times consuming and expensive option, and can make selling the animal much harder to do at a later date. Poddy lambs are often given names, and become a much loved family pet. Much loved, but also a hidden cost in a drought.

Some farmers do it on a larger scale. Next door to where we live, they are currently caring for 10 poddy lambs. I posted these images on my blog facebook page, but for everyone else, here they are!

Enjoy. Total cuteness!


You're welcome!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hickory Hill Home

I get a stack of emails from people who want me to advertise their products, so it's always lovely when I hear from someone who has a product that I already adore.

(Sadly this is not a blog about how lovely bedding and linen and pajamas make my kids better little people.)

I'd seen Hickory Hill Home advertise on Facebook and had popped over to check out their gear prior to being contacted. What I DID know, was that they had some AMAZING gear. Cute homeware and clothing. Cute cute cute!!

Gorgeous bedding in classic colours.

And again! Simple, stylish and elegant.

Totally in love with these summer pajamas!

Cashmere beanies, booties and cable knit jumpers!

What I didn't know is that the two women behind Hickory Hill Home are country girls come city girls! Their classical, timeless designs appeal to a range of tastes. They also stock high quality bed linen and accessories which are both durable and affordable.

I often have people ask about the gear my children wear, and I only endorse products I truly adore myself.

And here are my little cherubs in their new pajamas. If you want to grab a set for yourself, they are currently on sale over at Hickory Hill Home. Go to SALE items, and they are currently only $29.95 while stocks last!

If only they were this cheery during the witching hour every night!
I'd like to say that these amazing pajamas make my kids happier at night, and sleep easier etc. but that would be false advertising...

Normally I'm just about ready to strap them to their bed and bribe them to stop talking and just go to sleep. Here, butter wouldn't melt!
They are still little monsters between 5-7pm. But they love to pose for the camera... maybe I should think about doing this with them every night?...

My muscle man! Arm freshly out of a sling after breaking his collar bone!

Hickory Hill Home stock a range of goods for varying budgets.

If you would like to register for their newsletter (go to their homepage at www.hickoryhillhome.com.au) you can go into the draw to win a $150 voucher to spend on ANYTHING you want in their store! Sounds great and I am totally devastated that I can't enter!

To be eligible to enter the $150 voucher giveaway, all you need to do is:

1. Head over to Hickory Hill Home and go to the homepage, where you will need to register for their newsletter.

2. Leave a message here (in the comments) to let me know that you have registered. You will need to leave your real name in my comments as well (so we can cross reference registrations). *

* If you can't leave a message here, pop over to my facebook page and send me a message to let me know!

That's it! In two weeks I will contact the randomly selected winner to pass on the $150 voucher! EASY!

Good luck! (And seriously - those winter pajamas are AMAZING! Just saying...)

Judges decision is final, no correspondence will be entered into. Competition closes Thursday 22nd August, at 8pm EST. Competition open only to Australian residents.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gypsy and The Working Dogs

It's been a bit quiet out here on the blogging front lately, but that's because we have a massive distraction.

Introducing Gypsy.

She's the new baby in these parts, and we are all in love with her. (Even the Farmer - who will acknowledge that she is a bit cute).

She's playful too. And a bit of a princess.

She is our first non-working dog. (Pretty sure she'll want to be a working dog though, once she sees what the other dogs get up to).

Gypsy joins these guys on the farm. These are our 'working dogs'. Some of them are nearing retirement, some of them are only pups who are still learning the ropes, and others are the heart and soul of the farm. They are the hardest working creatures around at shearing. Some of them are better in the paddock, and some of them are better 'yard workers'. All of them have very different personalities. They all have their own strengths. Some of them belong to The Farmer and I, and others belong to The Farmer's parents.

I'm off again to spend some more time with my new baby girl! x

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You want me to go WHERE?

I've written before about how big some properties in Australia can be. One place, in South Australia, is bigger than the entire country of Belgium. Several are over a million acres, and ours (although very 'average' for this area) is just over 30 000acres. I know that many places are much bigger than us, but still feel that people on those places will relate to what it is I am saying.

To give you an idea of what 30 000 acres looks like, I found this map below. (Side note: I KNOW it's near LA in America, but when I googled 30 000acres in a comparative map, it just so happened that a fire of that size has been blazing over there.) So rather than superimpose an image, I thought you would all be clever enough to figure out how big LA is in comparison to the red area highlighted. Our 'place' would be the size of the area within the red border (hidden by the tags, but you get the picture...)

30000 acres is approximately 130 square km. Or a few suburbs of Brisbane. (Or any other city for that matter). There aren't many roads in that area out here, and many of the landmarks look the same wherever you go, so we rely on such euphemisms as "the tree with the big eagle's nest" and "where Dad ran over the big pig" and "where granny got bogged" as real and valid markers for directions.

When I first came out here, I was certain I would never know my way around. I worried about having to insert GPS trackers into my children's arms, so as not to lose them permanently should they wander off, and I dared never venture out of the house paddock without the supervision of another adult.

But time does funny things to a person.

This week I have encountered several tests of endurance; mentally and physically. Okay, so more mentally, and actually not physically at all (unless you count me having to get out of my pyjamas in freezing temperatures to run out to the car to complete the mental part of the test).

Two days ago The Farmer called on the two way to ask me to pick him up out in the paddock. Here is how the conversation went.

Farmer: Calling Jessie. Are you there Jessie? (And actually, he was lucky I heard him because I often turn the two way off when: a) I am vacuuming the lounge room, because it's either that or the phone, and I'd rather leave the phone on. b) I am in the first few days of school holidays and relaxing with a movie and don't want to listen to the truckies share their four letter word exchanges on our channel.)

Miss 8: I'm here Dad.

Farmer: Tell Mum I need to be picked up in the "L Paddock", near the corner of the "Horse Paddock".

Miss 8: L Paddock... Horse Paddock. Right.

Farmer: L Paddock. NEAR the Horse Paddock, but not in it. Okay?

Miss 8: Okay. I think.

Me: (Catching only parts of the conversation and realising I needed to hear it for myself). Hang on. Is that the L Paddock? NOT the Horse Paddock?

Farmer: Got it. All good?

Me: Yes. I think so.

Farmer: Want to check on the map?

Me: Don't be silly. Of course I know where you are.

I actually didn't really know where he was, so I made a mad dash to the kitchen where we keep our map of the farm.

I KNOW where the Horse Paddock is, and just needed a gentle reminder where the L Paddock was, and after a quick glance I was pretty sure I knew where I was going, and ran out to the car with the kids in tow, and headed out to meet The Farmer. I imagined The Farmer out in the paddock leaning cross legged against the Backhoe, chewing on grass and watching the clock.

The pressure was on. This was a test, for sure. He knew that he was relatively close to the house and obviously wanted to see how I would handle this. A good 9 years have passed since the 'flat tyre' incident, and yet I had a sneaky suspicion that this was the follow up test. How much had I really paid attention in my time out here?

Meanwhile, back in the car, I panicked slightly when I remembered that the two way in my vehicle was broken. I had no back up plan. No map and no way of contacting The Farmer. *Cue heavy breathing*

I made my way to the turn off I THOUGHT we needed to take, and it was only as I sat at that intersection that I realised how crap my map was. I had redone it 9 years ago after the 'flat tyre' incident, and thought it was wonderful. And here I was thinking of how my roads didn't line up exactly with gates and grids and tanks and drains. I drove onwards. I couldn't see The Farmer anywhere in sight, and thought that if I made it as far as the cattle yards without finding him, I would turn around and follow the fence down from the original intersection and go with my gut instinct instead.

Gut instinct was right. The Farmer was still working away down the fence line and I had been right all along. Relief washed over me. Followed by a quick, stern reminder to the kids not to tell their dad that I had missed the tun off.

So with a brief mental reminder to myself to make some adjustments to the map, I put the whole event behind me. Until today. Another call through on the two way.

Farmer:  You on channel Jess?

Me: Yes. (Thank goodness).

Farmer: Can you come and get me please?

Me: For real?... Okay... sure.

Farmer: I'm in the Laneway. Near the shearing shed.

Me: Which shearing shed?

Farmer: The main shearing shed. Just head north, and then head south through the Laneway. You'll see me.

Me: Okay. I know where you are...


Why hadn't I adjusted the map? To be honest, I know the Laneway quite well. It is a very narrow paddock that runs from one end of the place to the other. It helps us move livestock through the property with relative ease. Even if I didn't know the exact entrance to the Laneway from the north, I was sure to know it when I saw it, just on the width of it at the very least.

I just hadn't banked on the maze of gates and turns at the northern entrance!

Using just my Jedi mind trick to help manoeuvre my way through, I actually managed to enter the Laneway with relative ease, and spotted The Farmer shortly afterwards. And withe the enthusiasm of a man who has completed one household chore, I made sure The Farmer heard all about how proud I was, and how quickly I had completed my task!

And then when I finally made it back home, something occurred to me. I REALLY DO know my way around this place. All 30 000 plus acres of it! And I'm so proud of myself I feel like I could dance!

I must have been out here too long, or maybe long enough, because this place is starting to feel a lot like home to me. x

If you would like to read about the 'flat tyre' incident, please click on any of the highlighted links above, or just click here, to read about my first solo adventure out into the farm.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Farmers and Pregnancy Slang

There are loads of great blogs around on 'Farmer Slang'. My personal favourite is the one written by Bessie at Burragan. If you haven't already read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. Be prepared for lots of nose snorts and laughing out loud! This one strongly pertains to farmers and pregnancy.

There's something really interesting about men who are raised on a farm, or live on a farm, or just understand farms. They speak in farming terms, and there have been times when The Farmer speaks to me that I've actually had to stop what I'm doing, think about what was just said, process it, and then move on. Farmer speak is still relatively new to me.

So imagine my amusement this week when (after a discussion about how I had lost some weight) The Farmer said "I was like a run out yak from the north who is lucky to have found such a high quality bull to sire my children." He was, of course, trying to be funny. But he's still lucky I didn't lean across the table and clip him over the head for the analogy! Or even better, (as one lady pointed out to me), he's lucky I didn't transform him from a bull into a steer!

When I was pregnant the Farmer used to tell people that I was 'in calf', and much later in the pregnancy I was 'heavily in calf'. He also told them that he wasn't sure if we were expecting a heifer or a bull! I've even heard of women who were told they 'swaggered like a dairy cow' when they were pregnant! Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was reminded that the 'calf pullers' were on standby. The Farmer seemed happy to be a 'proven sire'.

When I actually went into labour, The Farmer thought the birth suite was like an abattoir (only much more sterile). He was not perturbed by labour at all, and referred to on a number of occasions as being very similar to the birth of a calf! The 'mess' didn't bother him at all, as he has butchered many beasts for meat in the past.

The Farmer called his parents to tell them there was 'one on the ground' after the birth of one of our children, and then the references about being a Jersey cow, heifer, old milker, old milking cow and breeder cow. My breasts are like 'udders', and our kids are '05 drops' or '07 drops etc. after the year they were born. As our babies grew, it became clear that they were 'in a good paddock' and eventually the children became our 'weiners'.

Honest to goodness, these men aren't being rude, or trying to insult women. Animals are what they know and understand. By using farming analogies, these men believe that they will avoid offending us by using 'generic farm terms', when in fact that's exactly what they often, unintentionally, end up doing. And actually, none of it bothers me at all. These men aren't being offensive. They are bringing something they understand to something that they don't. And really, you've got to laugh!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

RB Sellars - The Bush Uniform

This week we received a lovely bunch of goodies from RB Sellars in the mail. This is part of my plan to expand our colour horizons in this house - we'll never rid ourselves of blue... we love it too much.

Olivia and Darcy in Tess Girls Workshirts (in cornflower and pale pink), and Sam in Cox Boys Workshirt in Royal.
We are HUGE RB Sellars fans in this house, and I know I speak on behalf of farming families across Australia when I say that we love their gear because it is absolutely the best. Their workshirts (pictured above) are durable and comfortable. RB Sellars are the unofficial uniform of the bush.

Posers! Straight out of the catalogue! x
CP wearing the mens Heavy Weight Work Shirt in Stone.
The Farmer was all excited when he saw that his new work shirt was
a) stone coloured (it's his favourite after blue), and
b) Heavy Weight - many of his work shirts are the light or medium weight, and he's pretty stoked his heavy duty has arrived in time to see him through the chilly winter months.
That's CP all camoflaged in amongst the sheep.
The reluctant poser. Me in pink. (See previous post for me in blue).
I am wearing the Sandy Half Button Long Sleeved Women's Work Shirt in Hot Pink.
The girls are modelling the Kippa Kids Trackies in Navy.
With side posckets, elastic waist and zips at ankles.
I gotta say. My kids love tracksuits. They spend so much time in jeans, or school uniforms that they love just chilling around the house in tracksuits. Miss 8 even wore hers for three days straight (oh god, please don't judge me) because they were so comfortable and she loved them THAT MUCH! I anticipate these will get a good hammering over the winter months. Luckily they are well made!
Aside from their amazing work gear, RB Sellars also stocks a large variety of other clothes. Check out their webpage (www.rbsellars.com.au) to find:
* Skirts/dresses (for girls and women)
* Jeans and pants
* Dress shirts
* Shorts
* Wet weather gear
* Accessories
* Underwear
SERIOUSLY GOOD STUFF at very reasonable prices!
* We were also sent some jeans, but need to fix the sizing. So I have included catalogue pics of what we were sent instead (just so you get the idea).
Boys Kunanurra Jeans.

Mens Wilkinson Jeans, regular leg.

Longreach Stretch Womens Jeans.

I'd love you all to click on ANY of the links to the RB Sellars page for me! The more love they get from this page, the greater the chance of more giveaways down the track! x

* I received RB Sellars clothing in exchange for writing about it.

So now you too can score yourself
one womens workshirt and one mens workshirt
(in the colours and sizes of your choice).
All you need to do is:
1. Leave a comment below (or on my facebook page)
OR to double your entry chances - that's right - the following methods will earn you double entry points...
2.  Share this link on a social networking site (facebook, twitter, tumblr etc.), then post THAT link   
     here so I can see it.
3. Share the link I will have posted on my facebook page on YOUR page, announcing the giveaway, then leave a comment under that post saying that you have 'shared'.
* You can enter as many times as you like, depending on how often you want to share the link around!
Giveaway valued at approx. $80
Giveaway winner (drawn randomly) will be announced on this website on Monday 10th June at 5pm EST (Australia).
Only one winner. Open only to residents of Australia and New Zealand.
Winners will be announced on this page by Tuesday morning at the latest, so make sure you check back then. If the winner hasn't contacted me by Wednesday, I will be doing a redraw.
Judges (my) decision is final.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

50 Shades of Blue

Long before '50 Shades of Grey' became a world wide phenomenon, we had our own '50 Shades' going on here on the farm.

Yes, this story involves zip ties, riding crops and a tall, dark and handsome leading man. Only this story is far more PG than the other one. In our version, the leading man uses zip ties for securing items OTHER than people, and riding crops are only used on horses. And my leading man isn't a multi-millionaire either. But it is love nonetheless. And it is '50 Shades' love too. '50 Shades of Blue'. My leading man doesn't do grey. He does blue. Blue shirts and jeans EVERY, SINGLE, DAY.

The first photo I ever took of CP. And he's in a blue shirt.

In fact, in most photos I have of him (unless we're at an off-farm function) he's wearing a blue shirt...

One of my favourite pics of him...

Even in a family pic...

At work...

Running jobs in town with the family...
But clearly the '50 Shades of Blue' is catching. I seem to be drawn to it more and more as well! Unlike The Farmer, who wears blue because it is his uniform, his comfort zone and his security blanket, I wear it to get in touch with my inner country girl. Whilst Beyonce wears a sequinned leotard to get in touch with her inner Sasha Fierce, a blue work shirt helps me to channel my inner farm goddess.

Brave enough to do some preg testing!

Mixing it with the boys...
And I can thanks RB Sellars for this! RB Sellars are the unofficial farm uniform. (Even though they cater for outback to ocean!) Farmers and farmer's wives (and other rural people as well) all around Australia are nodding their heads in agreeance. I love their stuff! And so do my kids now... and not just the blue stuff either! We're getting into the greens, stones, and pinks and reds as well!

Cute... even in grease and green!

So where am I going with all of this? 

Over the next week I am going to post another blog on RB Sellars, where I will be running a giveaway. So if you would love to score some RB Sellars work shirts, make sure you pop back in in the next few days to see how you can enter.

Here is a teaser...

Miss 6 in pink work shirt.
Miss 8 in light blue work shirt.
Mr 4 in navy blue work shirt.
PS: Now that you've seen all these pics, if you can't wait to see if you *might* win the giveaway, feel free to head on over to the RB Sellars page to get some great valued gear yourself. Or just feel free to click on any of the links on this page to head over and check out their stuff yourself. The more love they get from this page, the greater the chance of me getting more freebies to giveaway in the future! xxx