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.

Just Get Off the Farm to Chill With Men of League

A sense of gratitude displayed today, as farmers with a genuine love for the industry, gave themselves some time out, with the generosity and kindness from the Tamworth Men of League.

A Farmers Grill & Chill Re-Run held at the Calala Inn today has left farmers feeling supported, cared for and new friendships have been formed.  Strength has been restored in the local farming community, by easing the pressure of drought through the sharing of a delicious meal, sharing stories and having a good laugh.

The Tamworth Men of League hosted a free lunchtime meal and drinks in the beer garden of the Calala Inn, near Tamworth NSW.  As farmers enjoyed a cold one, smiles returned as the drought load was lightened in simple conversation with old and new friends.

The Men of League Foundation is an Australian rugby league charity providing support and assistance to men, women and children from the rugby league community who have fallen on hard times.  The Tamworth Men of League have once again expanded that support to the local farming region.  They invited local farming families to the second Grill & Chill event, following its success last year.

This was the first event that my husband and I have attended.  Feeling a little awkward at first, for just allowing others to show their support, yet quickly we were made to feel welcome and very comfortable.

We shared friendly conversations with other farmers that we had just met, feeling an instant connection and relatability to issues within our lives.  The positive discussions lifted spirits and recharged our inner batteries.

The chefs at Calala Inn provided a delicious cooked meal including steak, sausages, vegetables and salad, on behalf of the Tamworth Men of League.  The tasty meal was served buffet style.  The staff behind the scenes made this happen.

It enlightened me, to see the selfless acts of kindness in organising such an event to support farmers in a time of need.  Industry support with a personal touch, was at the grass-roots of the event.

Sponsors provided a variety of valuable lucky-door prizes for farmers to all enjoy.  The many sponsors generously provided these prizes, so to hear their names reminded us of the businesses that supported this hospitable occasion.

I was fortunate to meet exceptional people today… those that so kindly put this event together and their thoughtful family members, as well as those strangers that became friends ever so quickly, through mutual understanding or compassionate connection.

Thank you to Kevin and the Tamworth Men of League team for your thoughtful acts of kindness, your support and your gracious hearts in our local community.  It is empowering to see the difference you make in so many lives.  Today was not only a  simple meal, drink and a prize being provided… but rather the analogy of an outstretched arm of support and a gentle reminder of the good people that exist in our community at large.

It is in these tough times that we have seen so many selfless acts of kindness be revealed.  And it is with this supportive shining light, that gives farmers the strength to hold onto their passion in sustaining the agricultural industry into the future.

Take care, Karen.

“Sometimes we just need someone to be there for us.

Not to fix anything or do anything in particular,

simply so that we can feel we are supported

and cared for during the hard times.”

~ Author Unknown

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Rural Reflections #22

My favourite time of year has finally arrived.  The calving season!  With an early start in the birthing arena, a first-calving heifer was the star of today… delivering the first newborn calf for the year.

Ladies first… a female calf becomes the first calf born for 2019, and was also a first for this 2-year old heifer in bringing life into this world.  Hereford calves are beautiful, especially when they are newborns with their clean whitefaces, pink noses and inquisitive looks.

The start of the newborn season always brings me such delight and a smile to my face.  With excitement, and anticipation for what the next 8 weeks will deliver… daily checking of cows and weighing newborn stud calves.  This is my most treasured time of the year,  with our farming business.

The newborn season brings hope, optimism and business prospects.  Drought has brought us all worries, financial concerns and physical exhaustion.  But now, as each baby calf is born into this world, we are reminded of the love for farming and our animals.

Today, I share with you, a photo of the first heifer calf born this year.  It reflects my happiness as we come along to check the cattle and see a sweet face amongst the grass.  I also love the quiet temperament of our cattle and how this first-time mother trusts us and just eats calmly closeby.

Rural Reflection #22…

22 Ladies First in a Newborn Season

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I cherish these times on the farm and wait in anticipation for the next calf to be born… probably tomorrow.  The calving season brings more enjoyable times to such a hard-working industry.  Although we physically have to weigh the newborn stud calves and ear-tag them for identification purposes, these are jobs that bring more pleasure than pain.

We all need enlightening and a boost right now, an uplifting feeling to clear our vision and remember our ambitions and aspirations within the agricultural industry.  These innocent newborn calves give us that completely.

Satisfaction on-farm has returned, as I look into these beautiful brown eyes.  Satisfied that we have managed to keep our cattle productive, despite the effects of this tiring drought.  Satisfied that high-fertility in our cows is a major trait that we focus on.  And satisfied that I have a wonderful family to share my life with.

Take care, Karen.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

~ Dr. Seuss

 

Rural Reflections #15

Reminiscing about what precipitation will do to our farmland and our mental health.  A beautiful drop of rain bringing us into the weekend was graciously received.  The best rain we have had for over 2 years… and what joy this precious moisture has stowed upon us.

From about midnight Friday, a few light sprinkles briefly intrigued us.  But at 3am… the clouds opened above us and lightened our heavy hearts and cleansed our minds.  In the early daylight hours, we lay in bed listening to the beautiful sound of rain on a tin roof and watched the rain through our bedroom window.  The sheer delight as time rolled on by and the workload waited.

Drought feeding cattle could not start in the rain, so we rested our weary bodies and calmed our minds.  After a busy and tiring week, a lazy morning was perfectly timed.  By 9am Saturday morning, excitement overcame us… as 72mm of rain was tipped from the gauge.  72mm of pure gold to the parched farmland surrounding us.

Dams that had been empty for over 2 years, finally had water in them.  Some dams were even full.  This was the most rain we had received in 2 long years.  The heavens had finally delivered the relief we greatly needed.  The hard cracking ground soaked up the moisture quickly.

The drought may not be over, but the hope is alive and well again.  With follow-up rain, we may just get a chance to round that corner and get back on track.  It seems almost magical… that rainfall can simply change your thinking and lighten the load mentally.

This weekend following the rainfall, I blissfully enjoyed listening and watching the altered demeanor of my husband and youngest son in discussions.  The stress had subsided somewhat, the fun had returned, smiles became more apparent and conversations were more relaxed.  That rainfall really did cleanse our souls and prepared us for life once again.

Today I want to share with you, an image of what this hope truly gives us.  It reminds us of normal seasons on the farm and more effective farm production.  This photo was taken in July 2017 on our property, in the middle of Winter in north-west NSW, Australia.

Rural Reflection #15…

15 A Stormy Grey Sky Brews in the North

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I love this photo for the simplicity and colour contrast.  A few young Hereford heifers quietly watch in awe.  The stormy grey clouds are brewing in the north yet the sun is still shining upon us here.  The tender lush grasses provide the nutrients for the livestock and is usually the norm.  The white box tree depicts the natural environment around us.

This recent rain is hope for a fresh start, to put the horrid drought behind us and allow our pastures to sprout again.  It will take time, but the aspiration has returned to us and we await the desired prospects.  This rainfall has lifted our spirits immensely and given us the much-needed inner strength in our lives.

Always find that little flame inside you and remember your passion and what is important in your life.  There is always hope for better times.  That is the thing about life… we have to go through the tough times to really appreciate the good times.

Take care, Karen.

“I don’t think of all the misery

but of the beauty that still remains.”

~ Anne Frank

Rural Reflections #13

Rain seems to be a figment of our imagination lately.  2018 was a very tough year with only 369mm of rain, whilst our annual average rainfall is 673mm.  Despite receiving only 55% of our usual rainfall, we have managed to keep our remaining core breeders in relatively good condition, by implementing a full drought feeding program.

After receiving 37mm of rain in December 2018, we hoped for a turnaround… but no, just a temporary break to catch our breath.  With no rain at all in February, the grass failed to grow and we started full feeding the livestock once again.

As farmers and primary producers we do focus so intently upon the weather and weather forecast, as a means of farm business management, livestock feeding, land management and cropping.  It is sad but true.  Drought feeding takes its toll on us all physically, mentally and financially.  At what point do we say enough is enough?  I wish I knew the answer.

From a national economic stance, it is important that not all farmers sell all of their livestock, as the end result will be far too detrimental to our agricultural industry.  Livestock that are sold during this drought, will not be sold for breeding purposes.  Livestock numbers across our nation will be drastically reduced, thus affecting the future production of our red meat industry.  We need to have breeding stock still alive when this drought breaks and producers will need to re-stock over time, which will take several years.

Drought feeding is very costly, yet a necessity for remaining core breeders on farming properties.  Most primary producers are borrowing funds to feed their livestock with no idea when this will end.  But tough decisions are made, right or wrong, for each individual farming business and the future of our livestock industry and red meat production.

I have been avoiding the drought feeding routine on our farm lately and feeling a little guilty… leaving it all in the hands of my husband.  But today I did go with him and I took the camera.  We were checking the cows out the back in the pine country.  I was surprised that we have managed to keep up their condition score quite well.  These Hereford cows are pregnant, producing a calf to be born in only a few months.  Since cattle only produce one calf per year, we felt it was important to ensure their condition was maintained as to produce their progeny without fail.

So today I share with you, a photo taken this morning.  The photo depicts a green Kurrajong Tree amongst the pine trees with a small mob of Hereford cattle resting in the shade.  There is no grass for feeding livestock, so they rely on us to provide their feed rations and nutritional requirements.  But as you can see, the cattle are in good condition to ensure their farm productivity.

Rural Reflection #13…

13 Kurrajong in the Pine Country

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I like this photo because the cattle calmly watch us encircle them with satisfaction upon their faces.  The green Kurrajong Tree is prominent and a saviour when drought feeding.  I felt content to finally see something green today… the colour alone lifted my spirits.

The branches of Kurrajong Trees can be lopped for livestock to feed on, in times of drought.  The green foliage can be a real saviour to drought-stricken cattle.  Then during the better seasons, they are great shade trees and are quite attractive in appearance.  Farmers value the importance of Kurrajong Trees on their farms.

So today I am reminded that we need to look beyond the image of drought and find beauty in our breeding animals and our environment.  It is this that will keep us focused and capable of battling each new day.  Look for beauty in your life today!

Take care, Karen.

“It’s not the load that breaks you down,

it’s the way you carry it.

~ Lena Horne

 

 

 

Rural Reflections #9

Working dogs on farm are truly a valuable blessing and can replace the work of several men when it comes to moving livestock.  We have 2 working dogs on our property… Rex and Ringer… and they are Australian Kelpies.  Today I wanted to reflect on our dog “Rex”, as this week we spent some time at the Veterinarian so he was at the forefront of my mind.  He had an abscess that developed above his eye and needed some attention and medication.

Australian working dogs are loyal, hardworking and very intelligent.  When you have a well-trained working dog, stockwork is much calmer, controlled and more effective.  Their ability often amazes me, with their natural stock sense, agility, alertness and brainpower.  Our 2 dogs, are used for different purposes based on their unique skill and natural ability.  We use Ringer out in the paddock when mustering sheep, where Rex is used in the stockyards, shearing shed and for loading sheep onto the truck.

Our dog Rex is a black and tan 7-year-old kelpie.  We have owned Rex for over 4 years now and he never ceases to amaze me.  Very few dogs can be controlled effectively by more than one master.  But Rex is the one dog that we have owned, that not only my husband can use, but also my adult son and myself.

I don’t have a lot of stock sense myself, but when I have Rex in the sheep yards, we just work together and mostly he just knows what to do requiring very little instruction.  I usually have to tell him to “come over” to the left to bring the sheep into the forcing yard and when he has enough sheep I just call him back to the yard, where he waits until he is needed.  He always enjoys a pat after he knows he has done a “good job” and looks at me quite proudly.  If he needs to “hop up” to encourage the sheep into the race for drafting or weighing, he does so when directed, without any fuss.  Stock work just flows naturally when he is there to support me.  I hate to imagine, the extra manpower that would be needed to do this if we did not have Rex.

So today, I share this photo with you, that was taken in April 2017 when green grass existed in the sheep yards.  Sadly now, it is just brown dusty dirt and not much fun to work in.  But back then, it was much more enjoyable at work.

I really like this photo because of Rex’s eyes.  I love his intent gaze, an independent thinker waiting patiently until he is required.  His ego is ready and he is waiting for his turn, for him to do his “thing”.  This relaxed yet eager look, we see regularly.  His aptitude just waiting to be displayed with competence.  I really love his personality, his temperament, his attentive concentration and his determination to finish the job at hand.

Rural Reflection #9…

09 Rex the Kelpie - An Independent Thinker

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The Australian Kelpie is an active, skillful, supple and graceful dog that is capable of untiring work with a natural instinct to work livestock.  Kelpies are a real Aussie icon that in appearance are athletic with muscular shoulders and a strong hindquarter.  Working Kelpie’s are maintained in ‘working condition’ with a very trim, muscular physique without any unnecessary bulkiness.

Working Kelpies are hardworking and capable of working in blistering heat or freezing cold temperatures.  They are tireless and can work over great distances.  Their intelligence also brings a natural instinct and desire to work amongst livestock.  The Kelpie is a very loyal breed and regarded as a ‘one man dog’.  They have a natural willingness to comply with their master, so have a desire to work not only for themselves but for their boss.

A good Kelpie is very valuable and said to be worth many men.  Their value is displayed in the stockyards and paddocks when gathering sheep, driving them to the yards and forcing them up ramps into sheds and trucks.  The Kelpie is undoubtedly a very special breed of dog and a valuable farmhand.

We love our working dogs just like they are our family.  Their value in our lives is appreciated greatly, and we are reminded of that each and every time we muster livestock.

So as we waited to visit the Veterinarian this week, I saw the trust and loyalty in Rex’s eyes.  Without words, his eyes tell me… that he trusts us, as he waits quietly for a veterinarian to help him.  The bond that a farmer has with his/her working dog is strong and the trust is apparent.  His wound has started to heal nicely and he is still as active and keen as ever.  Rex is a very special dog and irreplaceable, but one day as life progresses for us all, that will become a necessity.

Take care, Karen.

“If the kindest souls were rewarded with the longest lives,

dogs would outlive us all”

~ Author Unknown.

Rural Reflection #8

When all you seem to do is work, work, work… there comes a time when you just crave for a breather.  A time to sit and reflect… to just appreciate your life and the wonderful people around you.  With drought smothering us on the farm and that natural ability to thrive seems to diminish somewhat… alas… there is someone reaching out to you.

They are special compassionate people, friends or strangers, extending an arm to you, listening, thankfully distracting you from an overload of work tasks and allowing you into their own world of thoughts.  It is then, that you truly appreciate the kindness and generosity in these extraordinary people.

That day was only yesterday for me.  A friend that was once a stranger, and her family lifted our spirits… unbeknown to them… and what a powerful effect their presence had created.  A family that moved to Tamworth from the Central Coast about 2 years ago, starting a new life in this beautiful northern region.  I met this quiet woman a year ago through CWA meetings and our friendship developed.  Interestingly, two women from two completely different backgrounds, from city and country, can form a connection and feel comfortable in discussions.  Our husbands then met, both leading different work lives, yet conversation seemed so engaging and relaxed.

Yesterday, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, as tiredness took hold of me and I struggled to fully function in work mode.  As farmers know, we do not have the luxury of work times… our work finishes when the job is done.  We work 7 days a week and with drought now, those hours are extended with earlier starts and working until dark.  We all pray for relief soon, rain to break this horrid drought.

So with work committments piling up and office jobs completed in priority order, I was feeling mentally exhausted.  It was then that I receive a little message from my thoughtful friend, suggesting her family come for a visit.  Honestly, my first reaction in my own mind was… I don’t really have time to socialise, I am so busy with things to get done, the house is a bit untidy, what food do I have in the fridge.  Why do farmers automatically feel guilty when they stop to relax?  I have no idea why, but I know now that it is more important than ever, that we do find a little time out and engage with other people.

Then, I took a breath from my anxiety… and yet it was then organised, on a spur of the moment whim.  My friend, her husband and their 2 sons arrived early evening, with a few dinner supplies in hand.  Her calm gentle nature somehow manages to relax me and I enjoy her normal and compelling conversation.  The men all went to shift a mob of cows, giving us time to catch up and prepare dinner.  The evening just worked out perfectly.

My beef roast had been cooking in the slow cooker, so we only needed to cook some vegetables to accompany the meal.  I do find on the farm, my slow cooker is used a lot because I never know when I will get home, so at least we have some meat cooked for dinner to motivate me.  And tonight it all worked out fine.

The men returned after moving the cows, with the hope of a storm in the hills behind them, but disappointingly it never made it’s way here.  I felt relief for other farmers beyond those hills.  Although we missed out, I was happy for the other farmers in the distance.

Today, I have been reflecting on the importance of friendships and allowing others to reach out to us and welcoming them into our unique world with open arms.  So I am sharing this photo with you all, that was taken a year ago.  It shows a track on the laneway of our property, that we use regularly when moving stock from the lower undulating hills to the valley out the back.  I really like this photo for 2 reasons.  The colours are enticing with cloudy blue sky above the dry landscape with a splashing of trees.  And the windy track as it dips over the hill arouses the curiosity of the unknown destination within the image.

Rural Reflection #8…

08 A Windy Track Beneath a Cloudy Blue Sky

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Yesterday, it was this winding track that brought the men back for dinner.  It made me think about not only the appreciation that we had for this visiting family in helping us, but the appreciation of the country and lifestyle that we were able to share with them.  A rural industry that they are very unaccustomed to, yet keen to experience.  An industry that we are passionate about… giving us the opportunity to share it with them.

Whilst the men enjoyed what the outdoors can offer, my friend and I enjoyed some open heartfelt conversation.  I find it so amazing that although we are new friends, we can connect, enjoy the company and find support in one another.  And our husbands in their own way, can do the same.  My farmer husband with his tough exterior, deep down enjoys sharing his passion with these new friends and relishes in seeking some downtime and laughter.  This visit meant so much to us, in a way that may be difficult to explain, but sincere gratitude expressed, especially at a time when farmers are so very sensitive and stressed.

Kindness does not cost anything and makes a big difference in the lives of those you touch.  No act of kindness, regardless of how small… is ever wasted.  Be kind to everybody that you meet, because everybody is fighting their own battles.  Regardless of our differences, our background, our experiences, our stories… we are all interesting people in city and country… kindness is the key to uniting us and strengthens our soul.

Take care, Karen.

“No act of kindness is too small.

The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple

that over time can turn into a tidal wave

affecting the lives of many.”

~ Kevin Heath

Rural Reflections #4

Hope and memories exist somewhere within us all.  This widespread drought has left farmers and rural communities battling every day… which is a reminder that we all need time to just stop and reflect.

Memories seem to find warmth from within us.  Those memories of a time when a season was able to produce food and fibre, with only the usual effort on the farm.  Farm production without the mental tribulations, physical exhaustion and financial debilitation.  Time to enjoy life… time to spend with our families… time to feel content.  A time we all yearn for once again.

This weekend I did stop, relax and reflect a little… a feeling and action that seemed so long lost.  A reminder that time with our loved ones is essential for all… and time to take care of yourself.  I needed to find this place… a moment where I could bring back hope.  This hope… or feeling of desire… for our season to break, for the heavens to open and rain soak into our paddocks and fill our tanks and dams.  For this rain to wash away our stress, our weariness and our pessimism.  One day it will happen… we are one day closer to rain every day.

So today I would like to share this photo with you, to show that hope is only around the corner.  This photo was taken in July 2017, at the end of a good Winter season, as sheep fatten for sale on the green grass.  It also depicts a storm to the east over Tamworth NSW.

Rural Reflection #4…

04 A Distant Storm Overlooking the Sheep

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I showed this photo to my husband, and at first, he didn’t even recognise it to be our property.  Sadly, the scenery now is paradoxical to back then.  Now every day is a vision of thick dust and short dry vegetation sparsely consuming the paddocks… and more so have consumed our lives.

I really like this photo because of how it depicts the storm in the background yet the sun shining brightly on the sheep feeding on the green grass.  It symbolises the intensity of how farming relies on storms and rain to continue our production effectively.  It also illustrates diversity within rural areas, and only 20km away the weather can differ so dramatically.

We may not be able to control the weather and a farmer knows best as they gamble every day upon the odds.  But we can have some form of control regarding how we respond to the drought, how we prepare for the drought and how we protect our families mental state in the meantime.  In any industry and family situation it is important to retain our optimistic state of mind and take care of each other.

It is now more than ever, we need to focus on our memories of the good seasons on the farm.  A time that will return to us once again.  Hold on to hope, enjoy time with your family as you anticipate a better season soon and remember we will get through this… together.

Take care, Karen.

“The greater your storm,

the brighter your rainbow.”

~ Author Unknown

Toddler Killed In Devastating Farm Accident

The shock a family feels as their 2-year-old toddler is killed in a traumatic on-farm tractor accident.  How on earth do these loving parents, siblings and grandparents cope with this mortifying loss?  The grief is unimaginable yet our hearts go out to this family upon hearing of this tragic event.

I was reading today about the young boy that was killed when a fertiliser bin fell from a tractor and trapped him on a dairy farm in south-west Victoria.  The shock and chaos that would have emerged when this accident unfolded, is almost impossible to fathom.  The distress the family would have felt as they tried to dig the little boy from beneath the monstrous weight.  My heart just breaks quietly from afar… for a loving family that I do not even know.

Sadly farm accidents happen on our farms.  It is so scary to think in the blink of an eye… devastation can unfold, ever so quickly.  As a mother of 2 boys, I understand knowing their curiosity, their sense of adventure and their indispensable actions… leads us to worry and take precautions every single day on the farm.

One cannot ever understand what happened that day… a simple farm task, carrying out a usual job, family distractions, nobody knows… but it was an accident.  Plain and simple.  An accident that cannot be reversed and an accident that is so heart-breaking for this family.

It is fun for little kids to grow up on farms and this upbringing is a valued and treasured experience.  A life that shapes the country child and develops their skills and attributes.  A possible farmer in the making or a well-developed young person to take on any alternate career one day.

Farm kids learn so much when they are involved on-farm and it has a positive effect on them.  They learn patience… when extra chores have to be done before dinner can be served.  They learn to drive at a young age and maintain vehicles, which is helpful later on when they are getting a drivers licence.  They learn to be handy and help with jobs that just need to be done, no excuses.  They learn first hand where and how food is grown… and understand the work requirements to feed and clothe the world.  They learn to respect the land as this is their family’s livelihood.  They learn about the weather and how farmers rely on Mother Nature and they learn how to adapt when drought is upon us.  They also learn the meaning of family when they live and work with them every single day.

As a farmer, we generally take precautions with our young children and supervise their involvement.  Like other parents, we try to be aware of where our kids are, to avoid accidents of any kind.  But sometimes, unfortunately, accidents do happen, no matter what we do.  Young children will wander when playing and they take risks without even knowing it.

However, it is devastating that too many tragedies occur on our farms and they happen in a split second of a moment.  Farm accidents can involve tractors, quad bikes, motorbikes, farm machinery, horses, livestock, dams and rivers.  Naturally, children with their inquisitive nature, sense of adventure and unpredictability… can have a disastrous effect on-farm.

As standard procedure, the toddler’s fatal accident is being investigated by WorkSafe Victoria.  I understand the necessity of the investigation due to the fatality and the possible need for future prevention strategies on all farms.  But I also feel the family have just lost their son and that devastation alone would be ripping their heart out and a battle of feelings and numbness would exist.  What could be worse than that?  I just hope the investigating organisation can be respectful to this family… as they have been through enough.

Farm safety for children is very important to all farmers and the usual threats of farm safety are managed from a business perspective.  Information for keeping children safe on our farms as well as managing all farm safety can be viewed at Farmsafe Australia.

Most of us do not know that feeling of the tragic loss of a child and so can only empathise with the situation or hold our own children a little tighter now.  I hope the parents and grandparents can support each other through this tragic time and find solace in other family and friends.  How does one get through such a tragedy on their farm?  I do not know.  I guess memories of this little boy… remembering their cheerful bubbly son for all that he was.  And not being afraid to ask for professional help to deal with their grief and loss.

So we need to love our children, watch them intensely on the farm, take precautions to prevent farm tragedies… and respect the tragic loss that this family has endured.  For more of this tragic story see the Sydney Morning Herald article I read today or 9NEWS.

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Take care, Karen.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

~ Queen Elizabeth II

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