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 ( 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