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

A Broken Exhausted Life Exposed by Farmer in Drought

I am feeling tired, exhausted beyond the every day responsibilities in life.  Like you, at certain points in life, it just becomes far too exhausting.  Farm life, our responsibilities, household chores, financial stress, feeding stock and coping with the current drought… it is breaking me.  When do you say enough is enough?  How do you make that decision that it has been too tough for too long?  When life feels broken all around you, where do you turn?

When farm life is all that you have lived and a passion you have enjoyed, why would you want to say “it is time to get out”.  On one hand you know, financially time is up and borrowed funds have been exhausted to keep your livestock in production and to pay the bills.  Yet on the other hand, farmers are fighters.  We have been here before, managing drought, we believe we will get through it.  How does one admit that the fight may be over?

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The compassion may be all around us, people caring and helping in our community where they can.  The support for the agricultural industry has been so greatly received.  But the charities are unable to really help to solve a bigger problem than one could imagine… as 10 bales of hay donated, “will only feed our stock for 2 or 3 days”.  Then the farmer is on their own once again.  With no income and the need to borrow more money to pay the never-ending bills.

But the truth is… there are only 2 things that will get us through this drought.  Consistent rain allowing time for growth… and money.  Money to feed the remaining stock, money to spray the weeds that are emerging, money to pay for farm vehicle maintenance, money to pay the household bills, money to pay interest on an over-enlarged loan.  Nobody can help farmers at this level… we can only help ourselves.

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How much more debt does a farmer get into before drawing the line?  If only someone could tell you.  The decision comes back to the farmer… a decision so very difficult to make.  Farming is a gamble… and so is the decision to stick with it or get out.   As a farmer, how do they make that decision and feel confident that the decision was the right one?

Making the decision is the hardest.. and controlling the feelings of inadequacy despite being out of one’s control.  There is no failure or shame… the drought has placed this heavy burden on the farmers shoulders.  There are other chapters in life… just turn the page.

My blog has become my voice to express the importance of our industry and to share the pain of our farmers.  I wish all the pain and worry, experienced by our Australian farmers, to just disappear.  Their work is of so much value and is significant for the future food security of our nation.  But mental health is more important at this time.  Please show a little kindness and understanding to the person hiding behind the farmer persona.  Life is really tough on the land… much more than is ever revealed.

Take care, Karen.

“Decisions are the hardest thing to make,

especially when it is a choice between

where you should be and where you want to be.”

~ Author Unknown

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