Tough Day Ended With A Smile

Have you had one of those days when everything seems to go the wrong way?  No matter what your plan is for the day, life just gets in the way.  Farm life… is always throwing something at you.

What a tough wayward day that sprung on me today!  Working very conscientiously in my office until mid-morning, when the husband asks for help to get a heifer into the yards.  (A heifer is a cow that has never born a calf before.)

Of course, I help.

Now calving season is upon us, and emerging from a drought, following rain, there is a lot of green feed on our farm.  This drought recovery period can create problems for cows, leading to calving difficulties as the calf grows too quickly in the uterus in the last few months.  So we have to keep checking the cows daily, especially the heifers, just in case there may be a calving problem.

So we get the beautiful heifer into the yards and husband does what most farmers do to assist her in the delivery.  Big problem… as the calf’s head is twisted around backward and almost upside down.  Frustration and exhaustion for the farmer, as time is spent trying to turn the calf’s head into the correct position for delivery.  It is just too big and not enough room inside the uterus.  But the calf is still alive… at this stage.

Since we usually breed for ease of calving and select bulls accordingly, the frustration is mounting.  Then comes the phone call to the Veterinarian.  A phone call that farmers prefer to do without, as this means more business costs, when finances are already at an all-time low.

As a farmer, we do all we can for the wellbeing of our animals, as they are our livelihood.

The keen young Vet arrives an hour later and spends hours trying to correct the abnormal presentation of the calf but to no avail.  By now the calf is dead inside as it has taken too long for the birth.

One ordeal follows another… then a Caesarean Section is required.  The quiet heifer is patient, almost understanding, as the Vet performs a difficult Caesarean, needing lots of physical assistance.  The dead calf is removed from the uterus and she starts to suture the uterus back up, but that led to complications.

Late afternoon, the Vet was tiring and needing extra assistance, so she phones for a second Vet to attend.  The heifer is obviously uncomfortable but still cooperating.  Just on dark, 2 Vets and husband finally get her all sutured up, given her fluids and medications, then she is back on her feet just needing some time to heal.

It was a mentally and physically tiring day, with frustration all around.  My day was full of interruption, distraction and nothing went to plan.  Do you find these sort of days, throw you out of order and routine?  The trouble with focusing and juggling tasks in our lives.

Life is overwhelming at times… for all of us.

But my day ended on a high note.  Despite feeling overwhelmed, tonight I still attended a scheduled group Live event (virtually) on Facebook with Katie Godden – Bulletproof Coaching.  Reliability and commitment are important to me.  It was her personality, her energy, and her enthusiasm, all wrapped up in her smile.  A shower of support.

This reminded me of the important things in life.  My values, my family, my businesses, and a compelling future.  What is it for you?  We all have something that inspires us, that motivates us and that lights us up.

Instead of focusing on my tough day, worrying about everything that went wrong and what I did not get done… I choose to focus on what went right and appreciate the good things in life.

The heifer survived the ordeal and will heal.  I got to see my youngest son at lunchtime when he turned up and gave us a hand.  Family is important and will help when they can.  Surround yourself with good people that inspire you, challenge you, motivate you and believe in you.

So no matter how tough of a day… look for the good people around you, refocus on what is important and make every effort to be the best version of yourself.  Be true to yourself, do what matters, and believe there is always something great about to happen.

Take care, Karen.

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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.  It empties today of it’s strength.”

~ Corrie ten Boom, Dutch watchmaker.

Rural Reflections #30

This is my first Rural Reflections of 2020 so a photo to depict my year gone by and to capture the sheer determination, resilience and hope that farmers try to maintain in drought.  Our personal strength to endure the battle of drought after 2 years and to still have the vision to sustain agriculture into the future.  Livestock that depends on you to feed them and fulfill their nutrition levels and to maintain future productivity.  This photo captures the true essence of WHY we do what we do.

As we head into 2020 with 2 years of drought now under our belt, our motivation is struggling, we have become weary, yet our resilience is bold.  Every single day without slacking off, our cattle need a daily ration.  Without grass in paddocks to satisfy them, their dependability is entirely upon us to ensure their wellbeing is preserved with drought feeding.

It takes time, energy and money to feed our remaining 260 head of cattle.  260 hungry animals need quite a lot of feed to keep them not only alive but productive to produce next year’s calf.  Farmers possess this tenacity to take charge and do what needs to be done with a vision to see their business operations in years to come.  Debt is heavily incurred to ensure the core breeding herd survives.  Sometimes life gets a little hazy with the burden, but with a deep breath and a reminder of WHY we do it… usually is enough to kick us back into gear.

Water is provided from a bore to fill troughs as dams have been dry for a very long time.  Daily checking is required to ensure maintenance is not required and their access to clean water exists for their health.  Farmers care for the wellbeing of their animals as they have a job to do and each breeding animal is producing their progeny for a future purpose.

Today I share with you this photo specifically to capture the trust that our breeding animals have in us, the persistence that exists in farmers and an appreciation for the courage that it takes to endure the tougher times.

This photo was taken by Peter Hardin from an article written by Carolyn Millet from The Northern Daily Leader in December 2019.  This single photo captures so many feelings, experiences and reality below the real surface.  Tough times express a heartfelt reality for my husband and I, which is depicted in a single photo when they visited our property.

What do you see in this photo?  Perhaps a couple on their property with some cows.

Rural Reflection #30…

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Photo Credit: Peter Hardin 071119PHF008

Look beyond the obvious to understand.  Yes, a couple on their property with some of their cows is the forefront of a deeper observation.  This photo depicts so much more:

  • A farming couple who passionately preserve an agricultural purpose and a love for the industry.
  • Mutual trust between the breeding stock and farmer.
  • Desolate farmland that won’t survive without moisture.
  • Farm production for future years.
  • Eyes that mask feelings of angst, uncertainty and emotional torment from within.
  • Gratitude that people care about farm production and farmers.
  • Farmers overcome with physical exhaustion and tiredness but masked with a friendly look or smile.
  • Financial strain taking its toll on the farm business and threatening the farmer’s mental health.
  • Decision-makers with an optimistic vision.
  • Quiet Hereford cows doing their job and loving the extra attention while drought feeding.
  • A couple committed to animal wellbeing and missed celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a canceled holiday so they could take care of their livestock.
  • Farmers in need of some time out and a little enjoyment.
  • Big hearts and a love for each other, their cattle and for sustaining the agricultural industry.
  • An appreciation for others who show they care through kind words, letters, cards and encouragement.
  • Hope for a better future.

This dry working environment is tough, unpredictable and overwhelming at times.  Yet farmers see their role and the value they bring to supplying food and fibre for our nation.  We have a love-hate relationship with farming during this time.  The depressing feelings can be overwhelming with the physical and emotional struggles during times of drought.

But farmers have a huge WHY within them.  They love what they do and the variety of tasks that they do on the farm.  They see value and purpose in what they do.  That is WHY they do it.

So spare a thought for each other.  We all have our own interests and serve our own purpose in a variety of ways.  Accept all differences, acknowledge everybody’s value and be kind to everyone.  How you treat people is a true reflection of you… and it is important that we try to bring out the best in each other.

Take care, Karen.

“Photography is an art of observation.

It has little to do with the things you see

and everything to do with the way you see them.”

~ Elliot Erwitt

Another Year Grateful With a Vision

2019 is almost over and it is time for me to reflect upon my year gone by.  A mighty year I have paved my way through, including drought and personal growth.  In review, my vision board has been my regular guidance.

Did you reach some of the goals that you set out to achieve in 2019?

Some goals reached, others still a work in progress.  Overall I am happy with my own personal achievements and what I have been able to extend in doing for others.  I finally learned the importance of looking after myself, something very unfamiliar to me.

This year for me, was one for learning and expanding my comfort zone.  Personal growth was a priority in 2019 and I amazed myself and enjoyed learning in the process.  You just never know what you are capable of until you have a go.

My year started with the creation of a vision board and was used as a reminder throughout the year to motivate and inspire me.  A vision board is a collage of words and pictures to represent your goals and dreams.  It is used as a visualisation tool.

I enjoyed creating my vision board for 2019, as I used pictures, words and colours to personally represent my goals and to inspire my own success.

Vision Board for 2019

Well, how did I go?  Was I successful?

Success is not a destination but a journey. 

So YES I believe I have been successful to achieve and make progress on what is important to me.

OWN WHO YOU ARE!  This was my mantra or affirmation for 2019.  I made a choice to express who I was and love the person that I am, with faults and imperfections.  This is who I am, a unique individual finding her way in this world.  You are never too old to set another goal and dream a new dream.

My 2019 goals were to:

Write a Book – My talent had blossomed this year and my passion for writing has developed.  Through my words in this blog, I have been able to inspire and help others to shape their lives by making better choices and believing in themselves.  As an Author, my book may not be complete but it has progressed in some way.  For this I am grateful.  This goal has also diversified into 2 separate books that I want to write.  My blog is the basis of those books remaining within my mind.  I attended a workshop with a published Author at the Rural Women’s Gathering this year in Walcha and I have learned specific techniques for my writing to use in the future.

Public Speaking – I joined Tamworth Toastmasters to tackle my fear of public speaking and gain confidence in communication skills.  I have learned great techniques and met some great people that encourage me.  I also attended a Grow your Speaking Biz Workshop with Sharon Jurd Events and I now enjoy speaking to others with a specific message to inspire the listeners.  I have also had several opportunities to speak to community groups on agricultural issues, hypnotherapy, my business, anxiety and to inspire students at my former primary school.  My greatest fear has been conquered.  I still get nervous but more excited now. 

“Country Heart Spark” Blog – My unique way of sharing experiences, thoughts and motivation to inspire others.  Like a journal, but for the public to view, I can connect with people, encourage and support them through my writing.  To have found that something special in me and be able to share with others, is enormous.  I love to write and express myself wholeheartedly in the hope that someone really needs to read what I have written today.  The feedback I receive is what keeps me going and I love to know when I have helped someone in some unique way.

Improve Health – I have struggled with my weight, emotional eating and lack of self-care of myself over the years.  This year I have had a few tests with my doctor, had a diagnosis and dietitian advice.  Finally, food started to make sense with how my body was reacting to certain foods.  It was the first time that I actually made a connection.  I also participated in coaching with Katie Godden on Simple Steps to Better Health which was a great motivation and support.  Although limited by finances in this drought, I was able to understand my health issues and start making progress.  I had been eating much better, with more salads, vegetables and meats.  Unfortunately, over the festive season I have made some unhealthy choices but my body tells me when I forget to listen.

Financial Relief – Drought has been crippling us and business choices have been limited for over 2 years.  Whilst experiencing the worst drought in 100 years, we still have been making decisions, right or wrong, to sustainably remain in farming.  We did make the decision this year to sell part of our farming property, subdivided and put it on the market.  We are down-sizing and business will change and I will find off-farm income.  With this land sale, we will achieve some financial relief.

Design Website – I have now created 3 websites from scratch.  I love to be creative and design marketing material.  Self-taught with information online, I managed to create these websites to reflect the businesses using my good eye for detail.  However, I have even surprised myself with the results and how much I enjoy it.  Completed in style!

Spend Time with Family – As a mother of grown-up children, I miss not having dependants.  But our children are always our babies, so being there to listen, to advise when needed and to help teach them adult lessons… becomes a new task.  Drought has made time a huge limitation, but I have managed regular contact with my sons and family.  It was lovely to have both of our sons home for Christmas with their partners and to see their personalities shine.  In October, I also enjoyed a few days with my Mum and valued the one-on-one time I was able to spend with her.

Time-Out – I have been using a visualisation technique.  Visualising myself as a jug full of water, giving to others.  As I started to run dry, I realised I can’t be there for others if I do not refuel myself first.  When I learned to do this, my jug was full enough to share around and help others.  I now find time to write, to unwind and to express myself.  I also give myself time-out away from work, to connect with local organisations, volunteer my time and communicate with others.  During this drought with the mental and physical exhaustion, I still found a little time to relax, feel calmer and be happy in life.  Whatever it is that you love, find time to do it.

Our performance is so much better and we are much more productive when we acknowledge that we are worth it.  We need to take the time to meet our own needs, nurture ourselves from the inside and embrace our capabilities.

Take time to reflect on your own year, your own goals and your own achievements.  It is surprising, in our review, that we have been very successful and made mighty progress in our lives.  Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve festivities.

Take care, Karen.

“Starting today I need to forget what’s gone,

appreciate what still remains,

and look forward to what’s coming next.”

~ Author Unknown

 

 

 

Rural Reflections #29

Life is like a book.  Some chapters in our lives wear us down.  Sometimes we experience sad times, but sometimes we have good times and excitement in our lives.  If we never turn the page, we will never know what our next chapter in life holds for us.  Who knows it could be our most exciting chapter ever.

Times have been very tough for all of us on the land, especially in this region.  But knowing that we are all going through this together, somehow gives reassurance and strength to believe in our soul purpose to produce food for our nation.

Life is about to change for me.  With the downsizing of our farming property in the near future, I will take a step back from it all… to pursue work elsewhere in an effort to support the ongoing operations on the farm.

Rather than view this change with hesitation, I choose to see this as an exciting chapter about to reveal itself.  Learning new things empowers me, and on my latest journey of personal growth, I am eager to see where life takes me.

When one has not experienced the job interview process, after 25 years of self-employment… this process could be a little daunting.  Strangely enough, however, I am not nervous at all.  I believe I know what I am capable of and what special gifts I can offer the wider world.  Nobody else knows us better than ourselves.

I have had a couple of job interviews and applied for a couple more in the business administration area and am ready to see where this takes me.  With nothing set in stone yet, I am allowing myself to blossom.

My advice to anyone going through a change right now… just breathe, do your best to showcase who you are and enjoy the opportunities before you.  Life will not give you too much to handle… just keep making decisions to get through it.

Today I found this photo to share with you.  I took this photo in June this year when I thought that after a shower of rain, maybe, just maybe, seasonal conditions would turn around for us.  A shade of green was scattered through the back paddocks.  Although temporary, it gave us all a boost to soldier on.

Rural Reflection #29…

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Why I like this photo?  It serves as a visual analogy.  The older large tree on the left with the deformed tree growths… is feeling the struggle of conditions yet not inhibited to serve its purpose.  In comparison, we may be getting a little older, a little tired and feeling the struggle in this drought… but we have a purpose to share our talents with the world and provide a little shade of comfort for others.

Similarly, the small green tree on the right is growing from an old stump of a tree that would have been cut down many years ago.  From the centre of an old hollow stump, this seedling would have grown, feeling the protection from the environment until it was able to blossom.  Even in drought conditions, this beautiful tree looks healthy and is still growing.

This just shows that we depend on one another in our personal development.  But more importantly, change is how we evolve into the person we truly are.  Through change…  whether it is changing our perception or thought processes… or with life-changing events… we evolve and progress through the chapters in our lives.

So be kind to yourself, be kind to others and enjoy your next chapter!

Take care, Karen.

“Change is inevitable,

Growth is optional.

~ John C. Maxwell

Rural Reflections #28

Life does not get better with chance… it gets better with change.  My life is about to change once again.  Have you been at a crossroads in your life?  Ever wondered which road to take this time?

We never know what is around that corner and we must make changes to move through life and experience interesting opportunities.  Sometimes taking a chance… may just be the change we are looking for.  But we must make it happen.

Drought is overloading us.  Overloading my inner strength.  Overloading my mind.  The battle continues here in Tamworth, without rain, without feed and something is about to change.  Making me question… why we all chip away at it every single day?

I am passionate about the agricultural industry… a future to secure for all Australians.  But I am not giving up… I am about to make a change.  Life is all about choices and decisions… right or wrong… who can say?  It is us that controls our own choices.  The drought may be cracking me around the edges, but it is no way going to break me.

Another choice we make.  Unfortunate but necessary, we are dividing our farming property in two, and we will be selling one block.  Finances can only stretch so far, as we all know over the last 2 years of drought.  So we are down-sizing.

Hubby and I will remain here on one block… farming as usual.  The other block “Porters” will be sold… 1650 acres of land… giving someone else an opportunity to love life here too.  Like many farming decisions, at first, I felt a little disappointed.  Then I felt comfortable with the decision, to have a plan in moving forward.

So whilst my hubby spends the days farming, I have decided to seek off-farm work and bring a new experience into my life.  So many farming families have had to change their circumstances and still feel the struggle every day… juggling off-farm work into their life equation.  But for me, since we are down-sizing, I have an opportunity to share my expertise further, in an industry that I choose.

Have you been making choices and decisions or questioning those choices?  There are many opportunities before us, we just have to figure out what we need to do to make a difference.  But the decision must be right for you, not for those onlookers from the outside.  I am still passionate about this industry and I am still the same person… just making some life changes to work for me.

Today, I share with you this photo of the driveway on my property depicting “Porters” and the drive away to change.  This image is the perfect metaphor for changes in life.  It shows a green barley crop after a shower of rain in June, yet now it has sadly turned to dust.  It is still a nice reminder of how quickly our land changes.

Rural Reflection #28…

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We could sit back, struggle and complain about the drought, but NO.  We can’t control the weather and farming is a gamble at times.  But we do have control over our feelings, reactions and our response.  We made a choice to do what we need to do.

Hubby is happy when on the land… and I am happy when anyone can find that passion within to do what they love.  I believe life is made up of experiences.  My next experience is about to unfold and I am excited.

What choices are you making to ensure you are passionate and committed to your life, inspiring those around you?

Take care, Karen.

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.

~ William Arthur Ward

How to Feel 10/10 about Mental Health Day Now?

That dreaded phrase that we hear over and over again.  MENTAL HEALTH.  Why does that term make us cringe somewhat?  Lack of understanding perhaps?  Mental health is NOT mental illness

Mental health is where we want our minds to be… this is the good place to be.  So mental health is a positive phrase that we need to make part of our lives.

Today is declared World Mental Health Day… October 10th.  Today we need to feel 10/10 on this 10th day of the 10th month.  Let’s extend that… and learn all that we can about good mental health.  We can also be aware that sometimes life gets too tough… feelings of overwhelm can take over… leading us into depression or anxiety.

In Australia, 1 in every 5 people are affected by mental illness, yet so many people do not seek help because of the associated stigma attached.  We must all drop this perception and shed a more positive light on mental health.

If you had a broken leg, a gash that needed stitches, or an unknown rash… you would seek medical help without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable.  If you need some help with your mind or thinking processes, seek help… there is no difference.  It is our responsibility to the people of our nation to drop this stigma and support everyone regardless of what medical help they need.  We can all make a huge difference by talking about it positively.

In the farming industry we are built pretty tough, sometimes show a lack of emotion and live by the “they’ll be right” or “no worries” attitude.  The mental health phrase is getting tossed about everywhere we turn at drought support events.  The Government is pumping finances in, to support farmers’ mental health.  Is that what farmers really need right now?  Perhaps… perhaps not.

As a farmer in drought, suffering the physical, emotional and financial strain… life did become too tough for me for a while last year.  Life changes and medical conditions piled on top of that, tipped me over the edge.  I did seek help starting with my local GP and I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety.

Everything around me proved that I was losing control.  This was when I found a way to take back control and to chose to develop a new mindset strategy.  I finally understood that we had NO CONTROL over the weather, the forecast… and relatively little control over our own business and finances during this drought.

But we do have control over how we react.  When we understand that we control our reactions to certain events, especially when things go wrong… life is easier to accept.  Concentrate on those things that you can change.

I chose this option.  Hitting rock bottom allowed me to find a new path… I found a new passion and developed a new business as a supplementary income to farming.  It keeps me going when I concentrate on good mental health and being proactive and positive… despite sometimes feeling that everything is against the odds.

It is important that we think about prevention rather than cure.  But deal with where you are at.  If you need help or support, ask for it.  Talk to your family… talk to your mate… just talk to someone.  Your health, and your family’s health and happiness depend on this.

Each of us deserves to feel 10 out of 10 about our mental health, so today is the day for you to make this happen:

  1. Take Care of Your Mental Health – Being healthy also means to have good emotional health.  We must be mentally healthy to be able to handle the challenges that are presented to us in our lives.  We must learn to be resilient and build strategies to move forward.
  2. Take Care of Your Body – Eat healthy foods to nourish your body, improve your mood and energy levels, making it stronger.  Exercise regularly to allow your mind more clarity and your body to become fitter.  Ensure you always speak positively about your body with your inner self-talk.  Get enough quality sleep to allow your mind and body to heal and refresh every night.  Sleeping well helps you to feel energised, allows you to focus and will protect your mental health.
  3. Embrace Your Emotions – As humans, we are designed to feel different emotions.  Sometimes we will feel sad, angry or frustrated.  Acknowledge how you feel and be aware of each emotion.  Talk about your emotions and then allow yourself to move on, letting new thoughts develop.   Don’t dwell in a state of negativity.  Learn how to manage all emotions… positive and negative.
  4. Think Positively – The way we think can have a powerful way of influencing how we feel.  Think positively every single day to teach yourself new mindset strategies.  When speaking to others, talk about the positive things in your life.  You will start to see the positive side a little more, when that is where you place your attention.
  5. Nurture Your Family and Friends – Form and maintain good relationships with others.  Nurture your family and teach your children how to manage through difficult times.  Foster your friendships and make a point to meet up regularly for social time.  Ensure your relationships are positive and meaningful.  Spending time with your pets is also great to help strengthen your mental health and wellbeing.
  6. Practice Gratitude Every Day – Write down or say something you are grateful for every single day.  Anxiety cannot be felt when gratitude is being expressed.  If you regularly practice gratitude, your mind will start looking for things to be grateful for daily.  This is great for children too.  At dinnertime, every family member can say 3 things that they were grateful for today.  This holds so much power to cope in challenging times.
  7. Focus on the Moment – Appreciate the small things in your life.  Allow yourself time to see the beauty around you.  Don’t get caught up worrying about what could have happened or what might happen.  Put strategies in place and keep making decisions.  Live in the present moment… not in the past or the future.
  8. Open Up to Someone – Find someone that you can trust to talk it through… a family member, a mate or your GP.  Talking about the tough times as well as the good times will enable you to become more resilient.  Attend social events and functions.  Share your load… and connect with others… you will probably find the load ‘magically’ becomes less heavy.  A mutual understanding becomes very supportive during tough times.
  9. Good Habits and Routine – It is important that we identify our own routine and be consistent.  We need to make an effort to structure our days and priortise our own time.  Good habits help us to learn and fuel our minds.  Find support if you need to be pointed in the right direction.  Keep doing the things that you love to do.
  10. Take a Break – We are all so time-poor… juggling work, business and family life.  Don’t forget about yourself.  You can’t be there for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.  Schedule some time out every week… every day… to focus on something you love.  Whether it is a walk in nature, meditation, read a book, listen to music, craft or journalling.  Find what it is for you… to be able to relax and re-fuel your mind and body.

Good mental health and well-being will give us a sense of fulfilment and connection with others.  It allows us to live our lives in a positive and meaningful way.  We become more resilient and can cope with life’s changes and challenges upon our paths.

Take care of yourself and your mates.  Accept that it is OK to not feel OK.  Seek the support you need and adopt strategies to manage stress and keep you physically and mentally healthy.

Take care, Karen.

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“Don’t believe everything you think.

Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”

~ Allan Lokos

 

Rural Reflections #26

Dusty dry conditions!  Drought conditions continue despite the essential production and on-farm management routines.  Sometimes the depressing elements of drought, makes you feel like giving up and questioning your future in farming.

At what point is enough… enough?  DAY IN… DAY OUT… farm feeding tasks continue, fencing repairs, machinery breakdowns, bills to pay, no income, increased financial strain… the juggle of it all takes its toll.

Yesterday, another decision made… cattle needed multi-vitamin treatments.  Raising their calves, ready for joining to be able to produce next year’s progeny, the drought is making it tougher.  But as a farmer, your livestock are your priority.  Their health is optimal and your future income is in reliant on them for your survival.

Drafting cattle at the stockyards, left me in thick dust and sticky little flies.  The work conditions are questionable in the big dry.  Nevertheless, business as usual.  When we start to stop making decisions, it becomes a problem.  Just make a decision, right or wrong.  It is the decision-making process that will keep us going during these tough times.

Sometimes I do question the workload, the financial burdens, the emotional and physical strain.  It is at this point that I need to remind myself of why.

Why do we keep nutting away at it?  Why do we persevere?  Why?  Why?  Why?

To protect and secure the future of agriculture in our nation.  To ensure Australian food security is sustained.  To hold onto a legacy and an industry that we love.  That is why!

My family simply love Hereford cattle.  They have a passion for breeding quality cattle and producing the desired product.  When you see the passion in their eyes and hope for a future, you mutually fight-the-fight alongside them.

I wanted to share this photo with you today, taken in the stockyards yesterday.  You can see a beautiful mob of baby calves, quietly waiting for the process of their treatments and then to be returned to their mothers in the dry desolate paddock again.

I like this photo because I see hope.  I see farm production.  I see the future of agriculture in its rawest form.  Future sires and future maternal females bearing the signs for breeding beef for our nation.  Amongst these calves are several sets of twins, surviving the toughest conditions yet not knowing any different.

Rural Reflection #26…

26 Calves of Joy

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The dust swirling in the background significantly depicts working conditions, yet I am grateful to still breathe every day.  It is by focusing on what I am grateful for in my life, that gives me the strength to face the struggles, the decisions and the adversity in my path.

With this photo that I share today, I ask that you see in your life what you are passionate about and remember every single day what you are grateful for.  Gratitude is how we can turn what we have into enough.

It is all in our own mindset.  Conditions are horribly tough on-farm in a drought, it is how we react and respond within ourselves… that is the key.  We cannot control the weather and many other aspects of farming, but we can control our own thoughts and reactions.  Look after yourself and your family.

Take care, Karen

“Those who have the ability to be grateful

are the ones who have the ability to achieve greatness.”

~ Steve Maraboli

Rural Reflections #25

Today I am reflecting from the beautiful coastal city of Port Macquarie as I arrive to attend a seminar… and finally catch my breathe.  A busy couple of weeks I have had, from cows being artificially inseminated as we start our first 2019 A.I. program… as well as meetings, business webinars and… oh… my hubby fractured a rib.

He was mustering cows on the quad bike, and a cow somehow kicked the tyre, and tipped it.  Hubby hit the dirt.  Cow 1 versus Hubby 0.  A late visit to emergency and the dreaded wait… wait… wait.  Finally discovered a fractured rib along with a couple of fainting episodes.  No internal injuries, so very lucky once again.  It just required an overnight stay on his part and plenty of good painkillers.

All of this commotion in such a busy week.  But like everyone else, family must come first.  So my best laid plans began to unravel.  He was unable to travel the distance so soon, therefore I arrived solo in Port Macquarie.  Feeling like it has been a juggling act, but finally I can breathe again.

Two full days and one night, at the Agricultural & Environmental Seminar run by the Country Women’s Association (CWA), will start tomorrow.  I had been looking forward to this annual event as tickets sell so fast that I usually miss out.  But not this time.  But then my plans almost went kaput.  Almost!!!

So as you can see with the photo that I share with you today… I made it to Port Macquarie this afternoon.  I snapped this photo as I strolled along the water’s edge, deep in thought.  My mind wandered.  I enjoyed the smell of the clean, salty air.  Dust-free!  Only a farmer in drought knows the true value in that word… dust-free!

Rural Reflection #25…

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It reminded me that as farmers, we take on a mighty workload normally, but the drought has taken its toll upon me.  It wasn’t until I was walking here, that it struck me… that we all need a break.  A break from drought feeding.  A break from worrying excessively.  A break to really breathe again.

A short half hour walk, with the spectacular coastal views, cleared my mind.  It reminded me, that self-care is important.  We tend to all get caught up in our busy lifestyles, business commitments and family routines, that we forgot to look after ourselves.

I like this photo with the purple flowers in the foreground and the rocky embankment holding those cool waters.  A short walk that gave me so much more than I expected.  I encourage you all to take a short break and allow yourself to see the beauty in the world around us.  A couple of days away from the farm will work wonders.

Take care, Karen.

“Sometimes you gotta take a break from all the noise

to appreciate the beauty of silence.”

~ Robert Tew

Rural Reflections #24

Such a busy-busy week.  But agriculture has been at the top of the priority list this week, as other aspects of life take a backseat.  From AgQuip field days and Hereford steaks… to pregnancy testing cattle and updating office records.  Time for a quick breather.

I have been reflecting on the agricultural industry, particularly the Hereford breed and the good-hearted people within this industry.  I have spent 3 long days at AgQuip Gunnedah with my fellow northern NSW Hereford breeders promoting the breed quality and performance traits.

With the beautiful smell from the BBQ, cooking 4000 Hereford steaks, and tasty Hereford beef pies, satisfied customers enjoyed the daily experience.  Hanging out with these passionate hard-working farming families and dedicated staff, has reminded me of the passion within them all.

Suffering from the effects of drought on-farm, yet they all found a way to be here and support the industry whole-heartedly.  Whether it is just a reason to get away, promote the significant breed or share their love for the agricultural industry… it was a pleasure to see the genuine care and interest over these days.

I particularly love the camaraderie and laughs shared; the efficiency and hard-work displayed; and the hospitality and care that is extended to customers.  That special factor that farmers possess… that love and passion to feed our nation… that is what stood out for me each day.

From one event to the next… pregnancy testing was on the agenda the following day.  I had been feeling slightly overwhelmed and worn out.  Back pain had sprung upon me again.  Nevertheless, a great result in preg-testing… with 100% of the mob preg-tested in calf.

With a quick visit to the chiropractor to rectify an on-going problem, I was back on deck again.  It amazes me how pain can affect your entire mood, your motivation and your enthusiasm in life.  I had forgotten how my chronic pain used to make me feel.  When we get pain, life does become a struggle… both physically and mentally.  It must become our goal to find a solution… to give us back control of our life.

My solution was a chiropractic adjustment, magnesium oil, pain relief and muscle-strengthening stretches.  Then time to catch-up on office work.  Several hours later, all livestock records have been updated and stock requirements have been met.  With calving season upon us, calves are being born, into not such an ideal season.  With a little bit of extra livestock management and schedules… farming continues.

With agriculture monopolising my time this week, I wanted to share with you a photo taken back in April 2017 just on dusk.  This is a reminder that good seasons exist and will exist again.

Rural Reflection #24…

24 Hereford Happiness

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I love this photo because it sparks feelings of happiness.  Hereford happiness… cows inquisitive in nature, quiet and trusting of us… their care-takers.  I like the green pastures beneath the cows and anticipate this again soon.  The cultivated paddock with rich black soil, full of nutrients, represents the opportunity awaiting a better season.  I also love how the sky and cloud formations tell their own story.

This photo significantly tells me that at the end of the day, there is beauty all around us, trust is in many places and hope of another day when the sun rises tomorrow.  Sometimes we all just need to take a breath, open our eyes and see what is before us.  What do you need to see today?

Take care, Karen.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments

when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

~ Thornton Wilder

 

 

Rural Reflections #23

The light has been flickering as I have been juggling life, businesses and my own personal growth.  I have been neglecting to share my photos with you as part of my weekly feature Rural Reflections.  Guilty I am, but I am back with so much to share.  Thank you for waiting for me.

My passion to be more, and to do more, has led me to a new business and new skills to excel with.  My underlying desire for sustaining the agricultural industry still exists beneath it all, but my passion to expand and inspire people every day has become the driver in my life.  And I am loving life right now.

Remember back, only a year ago, I was suffering from depression and feeling sorry for myself.  Angry that I had to experience such heart-wrenching feelings and loss of all basic motivation in life.  Depression and anxiety had overwhelmed me… I had no idea what was going to happen and where life was guiding me.

So many of us, unfortunately, do go through these depressive numbing cycles and anxiety can consume us every day.  My gift was to experience this first-hand.  In hindsight, I now know that it had to happen.  How was I to understand if I didn’t feel it for myself?

This time in my life… was necessary to reveal my true passion and what I can do for the world around me.  I was determined and with the support around me, I made it through… with flying colours.

My new business provides freelance writing, administration services, hypnotherapy, speaking and life/business coaching.  Every day I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to share my skills with those in need.  Those that need guidance… those that need office management… and those that need the inspiration to believe in themselves.  My words are my gift and I am on a journey to share and to uplift each and every one of you.

Today marks the day, I have set up my new office.  My own room dedicated to me, my gifts, my valued clients and the changes that await all of us.  This office symbolises a separate part of my life… separate from the farming business.  This is my space, my personal inspiration and my business motivation.

I want to share with you, this photo today… taken only 2 months ago on my farm.  Still suffering from the effects of drought, yet the oats are growing despite the odds.  For me, this photo symbolises my personal journey.  I had the odds stacked against me, but I continued to grow.  I did what I needed to do.  The beautiful sunlight is captured in this photo, shining that healing light upon me.

Rural Reflection #23…

23 The Light Shining Within

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We all need to find that one thing that brings us happiness and pure joy… and share that gift with the world.  Recognise what is against you and make choices to move forward for the betterment of you, those you love and those that need you in the wider community.

The greatest joy in this world is when we can reach out and help someone else.  This gives us purpose and a vision on our horizon.  I am no different from you all.  You too have the capability to find yourself and chase your dreams.

Believe in yourself and believe you will do it.  And you will!

Take care, Karen.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

~ Maya Angelou