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

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Gratitude: A Somewhat Silent Expression

How much gratitude have you seen during the current devastating drought, the raging bushfires and the severity of floods in our very diverse nation called Australia?  How does one return from the mortifying emotional, physical and financial loss in our agricultural industry?  Despite the disastrous effects surrounding our every being, you can see the gratitude everywhere.  But you must look past the obvious and observe the more delicate ways that gratitude is expressed.

How can our one single country be experiencing these extreme gut-wrenching weather events?  From flooding in Northern Queensland, to bushfires in northern NSW and Tasmania… and drought almost everywhere we see.  The horrid effects that weather is casting upon our hardworking farmers in crisis, is none other than mass devastation and loss.

But beneath all the heartache, there is a flicker of hope.  A hope that is yearned for, day after day.  With one foot in front of the other, farmers are finding the strength to face the struggles and battle to sustain the future of agriculture in Australia.  Gratitude is expressed in two very different ways and is an absolute reflection on either side from city to country.

We see everyday Australians of all ages, adults and children alike… dig into their piggy banks and savings to throw our farmers a lifeline.  We see donations of canned food, toiletries, water, anything at all… just to show appreciation in a gratifying way.  Many charities step up to take on the challenge of distributing these donated funds and grocery supplies, as the liaison to unite the efforts of the Australian people.

To see the gratitude within the community and the heartfelt actions of lifting the spirits of our farmers, is genuinely profound.  To understand that communities care about farmers, the food they produce, the fibres they yield… and feeding and clothing our beautiful nation, suddenly became of utmost importance and the compassion is sincere.  These actions alone proved that the mental state and future of our farmer’s wellbeing, was accepted with gratitude by a compassionate nation and then a sense of obligation was accepted warmly.

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On the flip side… the farmer’s hearts are breaking, surrounded with the burden of loss and devastation… yet they are overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation to the community and charities holding them afloat and trying to power their natural farming spirit again.  The silence in this case, can be as quiet and non-existent unless you look beneath the emotional surface.  As a farmer presented with a natural disaster accepts some form of assistance… the guilt in their own mind can be over-powering, they can feel unaccomplished or unsuccessful in their usual farming operations and ashamed to have accepted the help.  However, beneath that tough exterior, it is visible but camouflaged in disguise… the gratitude is rampant.

Gratitude is expressed silently in that sad and solemn expression… an expression that is only seen by very few.  Gratitude is depicted as the farmer’s head falls into his callous hands or as he wipes those tears of relief from his cheeks.  Gratitude falls into his burden of work as he feeds his hungry stock and is somewhat overlooked until the day he manages to comprehend the specific degree of gratitude, as he digs himself from that hole consuming his life.  It is then that we see that honest, hearty grace that he feels indebted to.

The thankfulness exists within each and every farmer, but expression is limited, through farming workload and the disastrous burden that has impacted their lives and the welfare of their family.  The warmth and cordial emotions surrounding farmers at the moment is overflowing with acknowledgment and recognition of an industry they are so passionate about.

The Australian community is empathetic, compassionate and resilient… and the division diminishes as disastrous events unite our nation.  With heartfelt thoughts and actions, it allows the gratfulness to emerge.  I am proud to be part of the Australian community and I am proud to be a farmer supporting our agricultural industry.  Gratitude is what makes our nation unique and it is the kindness in ordinary people that make us extraordinary.

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Thank you to the farmers that work to feed and clothe our nation.  And thank you to all those beautiful people, businesses and charities that support farmers and rural industries.  If you eat food and wear clothes, you are supporting the agricultural industry.  So thank you!

Take care, Karen.

“Gratitude drives happiness.

Happiness boosts productivity.

Productivity reveals mastery.

And mastery inspires the world.”

~ Robin S. SharmaCanadian Writer

on leadership, personal growth and life management.

#feb_gratitude  

#greatblogchallenge

@writally

Rural Reflections #5

Loyalty, trust, love and hope… is at the heart of why farmers bear the burden of drought year after year.  Loyalty to our passion in life, our love for the agricultural industry and our love for our family.  This is what motivates us to keep on going, implement our drought management plans and ensure our nation’s future food security.

We trust our agricultural industry to survive so we can continue to feed our great nation and the rest of the world.  We hold hope for a better season as we face hardship and worry every single day.  Farmers love what they do… they care for their livestock, they take pride in managing the land beneath them and they trust in what they are doing to help feed and clothe our nation.

Today I am sharing this photo with you, taken in November 2018, only 2 short months ago.  Our land has suffered the effects of drought, as we had a very dry start to 2018, with the driest first half of a year on record.  Our average annual rainfall is 673mm (26 inches), but in 2018 we only received about half of that… 369mm (14 inches), only 17mm more than the lowest annual rainfall on record.

In the month of November alone, we received 106mm (4 inches)… which had given us hope.  Hope for a break in the dry season and hope for some relief for the land, the livestock and for us.  Sadly it didn’t last for long, but nevertheless, there is light at the end of this tunnel… finally.

Rural Reflection #5…

05 Eager Hereford Breeders Follow With Excitement

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As in stock management, a new paddock awaits this mob of cows and this photo depicts their excitement as the movement takes place.  A failed forage crop (on the left), planted in February last year, raises its head with the much-anticipated moisture.  Following every big drought, now we have the threat of weeds, invading paddocks that were once pasture.  But through on-farm management, weeds can be controlled, once some rainfall is received.  And those clouds above us hold hope that rain may be coming.

As we drive in front of the cattle, calling them to a new paddock… the hot, dry and dusty conditions were not restraining them at all.  I love this photo because it shows the natural quiet nature of Hereford cattle, the ease of stock movement and the trust that these beautiful breeders have in us.  They trust us to provide them with feed to meet their nutritional requirements.  They trust us to provide them with healthy clean water to drink.  They trust us entirely, as they follow eagerly without apprehension, as they contemplate what paddock may await them next.

So even with the over-bearing drought effects and the long-term process to farm business recovery… our loyalty to these animals and our industry drives us every day.  It is with the love of farming, that we do hold hope for a better season to fall upon us soon.

Take care, Karen.

“Loyalty is what makes us trust,

Trust is what makes us stay,

Staying is what makes us love,

and love is what gives us hope.”

~ Glenn van Dekken  

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

Rural Reflections #2

Babies in any form, always spark our interest.  Who doesn’t love newborn baby calves?  Today I will share another photo with you all, which reflects hope, something we all need right now.

With this horrid drought affecting farmers physically, emotionally and financially this year… we are always in need of finding joy in something every day.  The calving season always delivers us hope and joy.

This photo was taken in July 2018, right in the middle of this dreadful drought.  Not only farming to keep our stock alive but also at a production level, as we enter the calving season.  Sadly calves are dropping into a hard dry desert-like environment, where optimism is thin and prospects contemplated.  Nevertheless, these newborn calves always promise to bring us a smile.

Rural Reflection #2…

02 Baby Calves Deliver Hope in Drought

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I really love this photo because of the innocence portrayed with these cute baby calves.  Our Hereford calves are naturally quiet which I adore.  But I love the calmness they simulate by lazing around in the hay, sleeping soundly and the nonchalant yet curious glances they give you.

They just lay upon the hay innocently… the hay that we just fed out in the wretched drought, during the current daily feeding ritual.  As we watch their mothers eating to nourish and gain energy, these babies rest peacefully, as if we just put the hay there for the sole purpose of softening the ground beneath them.  How can one not fall in love with these beautiful tranquil animals?

The adoration we have for baby animals is the one positive motivation to keep us working so damn hard on the farm.  The birth of life in a cycle, re-cements our vision and passion as farmers and reminds us as to why we accept farming challenges.

So my photo for today is reflecting that change is a part of life… we must appreciate the beauty around us and find this beauty amongst the darkness surrounding us.  Drought may have a gut-wrenching hold on us farmers at the moment, but we will get through it.  We just need to look around and be grateful for what we do have right now in our lives.

Take care, Karen.

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr

 

 

 

Make a Difference Today

Have you ever wondered why do certain people come into our lives?  I believe everything happens for a reason and we are meant to meet some people to make a difference not only in our world but the bigger community as well.  One person can lift your spirits and give you hope and bring a smile.

Some people have the ability to boost a person up so effortlessly, their confidence and hope of things to come.  I love people like this in my life and I also get self-satisfaction from being able to make someone else feel good momentarily.  Our words and actions may not make a big difference in this world, but it can mean the world to just that one person.  It can lift the spirits of that person, encourage them to take that step, give them confidence to have a go and feel proud of their efforts.

With the stress of farming at the moment, the extra workload of feeding stock and the financial pressure, the need to lift spirits is more prominent.  The support of the Australian people and through the charities, we have all witnessed the uplifting this generosity has endowed.  Thank you does not reflect the overall feeling and the intensity that this kindness bears upon farmers.  As a farmer had been donated 10 bales of hay or a load of tank water or a bag of groceries …the emotions within are erupting.  It may be considered a band-aid solution and it will not pay that farmers bills or feed their stock for long.  But more importantly, it shows that others do care about farmers, care about their wellbeing and care about the future of Australian produce.

It doesn’t matter what line of work we are in or what walk of life we are from, everyone needs a helping hand at some point in their life.  It might only be a smile we give a stranger at the grocery store or an acknowledgement of their existence… it can make a big difference.  Everyone is going through something… life is not perfect.  We just need to boost each other up, instead of tearing each other down.  It is a win/win situation for all.

If we can all just help one person feel a sense of satisfaction or wellbeing, it will not only improve their life but also have a domino effect.  Be the reason that someone smiles today.  Make a difference!

Take care, Karen

“Hope gives us courage to do those things that we don’t believe we are capable of”

~ Noelle Pikus-Pace

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