I don’t watch much television. It can go weeks without being turned on.
Other than not having enough time, I’m often too tired and fall asleep!
We do have Pay TV (cable, subscription) and that’s my beer money! Sometimes I think its an expensive baby sitter or video shop.
We originally had Pay TV connected because we lived in an area that only received two TV channels. It was easier to have a satellite dish installed than borrow videos from 80km’s away.
I love cooking shows, sewing shows, police procedurals and anything crime. Pay TV suits me.
Both hubby and I have become serial junkies though.
It started with Dexter. From the get-go I couldn’t get enough of him! What a brilliant premise – a serial killer that only kills serial killers.
We have watched True Blood from the start because I wouldn’t mind if Alexander Skarsgard bit my neck!
Sons of Anarchy has a pretty good story line too. I can’t wait for that to come back.
There’s a remake of a much loved Aussie serial ‘Prisoner’. It was around in the ’80’s. Its set in a women’s prison. Its now called ‘Wentworth’ and even better than the original. We have both become a bit obsessed!
Last night I (belatedly) found episode one, season two of ‘Orange is the new Black’.
I’m not sure if the protagonist, Piper, was in season one and I’m not sure what she did to end up where she has either. But the show intrigues me enough to consider borrowing season one and watching. In my abundant spare time, of course. If no more blogs turn up in the next week, you’ll know why!
From watching the promo’s I thought ‘Orange is the new Black’ was a comedy. The episode I watched last night could be described as dark humor – the sort of humor I get.
I started to really want to know what Piper did and (spoiler alert!) why she decided to lie under oath to protect her lover.
And then this thought popped into my head….
What would I be willing to go to jail for?
What could I possibly be capable of that a judge would deem me unfit to live in society?
Do I love somebody so much that a life in prison to save them would be ok?
I know if anyone touched my kids they’d be in trouble. I would seriously consider murder, but would I go through with it? Would I believe justice would be served without my intervention?
So many people get away with so much these days, I wonder of the threat of jail is even a deterrent.
For example, animal rights activists break laws all the time by breaking into peoples farms to set up cameras, making death threats, harassment. But not too many of them end up in prison.
A lot of people commit horrific crimes, beating people up, raping. Quite a lot of them are baled until they are sentenced. Some even get away with it.
The area I live in is becoming a bit of a druggy haven. I know of drug dealers who are not only known to the police and walking the streets freely but committing other crimes as well. Obviously they feel they are immune to the system. I don’t blame the honest police either. There is a do-gooder element in our judicial system that suits the corrupt police. All t’s must be crossed, all i’s dotted.
And is it that bad a life in prison? I believe it would be for me! But if you live on the streets and three meals a day is a rarity and a bed with sheets is unheard of? Or if your fellow gang members are in there and you can just continue on living like you were? To receive medical attention including for chronic illnesses, TV, education….there are times when I joke about it!
Could I spend the next 20-25 in a cell with someone else and one toilet?
I doubt it!
But the big question I found myself asking me was what has happened to society as a whole that makes it OK to have shows that ‘glorify’ drug use, gang mentality and completely amoral behavior?
This is just my opinion – I think that journalists keep putting more and more shocking images and words together. It has normalized violent behavior. I wonder if the images of dead people laying in the streets of war ravaged countries would have been shown 40 years ago. Are we becoming desensitized by these ‘news’ reports? Is death and destruction not just in wars overseas but in our own ‘war on drugs’, ‘war on gangs’ etc. becoming so commonplace we’ve lost the ability to feel distressed by what other ‘humans’ do to people? Are we becoming victims of the ‘Horror Movie’ Skyhooks sang about all those years ago?
When I was a child I was terrified the police would come and put me in jail for misbehaving. I was taught right from wrong, good from bad, the difference between a good decision and a bad one, consequences for actions both positive and negative. It didn’t stop me from pushing the envelope at times! But I knew where to stop. Others I know didn’t and paid the price.
Is it because of the morals instilled as a child?
We had a daughter ring us from school and inform us she wasn’t coming home. She was going to live with a friend. She is my step daughter but I have always treated her as one of my own. While her parents were bickering I took it upon myself to be the parent her and her brother needed. I taught them all the things I had been taught. So even though she lost her way, what I had given her as a moral compass guided her and she didn’t end up where a lot of these kids do. Doesn’t mean she didn’t have a go, though! She even thanked me for being so ‘tough’ on her and often try’s to tell her 13 year old sister that I am not the bully I’m made out to be.
A lot of it is blamed on TV. That shows like Breaking Bad have caused an increase in meth labs for example. I don’t know really. I haven’t seen an increase in bikey activity since SOA came out. Or an outbreak of serial killers dying. Or vampires taking over the streets. Watching Law and Order – SVU hasn’t made me want to abuse a child or rape a woman. Watching shows and reading books on Ivan Millat hasn’t turned me into a sadist. And I became pretty obsessed with Ivan!
What I do see is children believing the idyllic life they witness on sitcoms and tweeny shows is the way life is. No responsibilities, doing whatever you want, having the best most supportive friends, perfect skin, perfect body, perfect grades without any work, money never being a problem.
And I do believe there is a link between video games and violence. If you’re involved in the killing of humans on a regular basis where no real emotion is felt by the victim it has to effect your mind. At least in paintball you can see the bruises on your friends!
I worry for the future of our children. Our society is increasingly becoming more about rights and less about responsibility. That a 14 year old child has the right to call us and say she’s not coming home from school but we as responsible parents don’t have the right to turn up and remove her from an unsafe situation has to got to be seriously looked at.
That someone who has raped and murdered before can be released from jail to do it again because it isn’t right to keep people locked up can’t ever be considered the right.
I hope the fact we don’t let our children watch copious amounts of TV – they can go days without watching it – and that they both have jobs on our farm and rules they have to abide by will help make them hard working adults who contribute positively to the world. But our way of parenting seems to be the exception these days.
Maybe I do seem hard on my kids to the outside world. Maybe they are deprived in some ways. But they know they’re loved and have a safe place to come to and people who will go in to bat for them when required. And that none of that came from a TV show.
If kids came with a manual, I’m sure the first instruction would be turn the bloody TV off and spend time getting to know your kids!
I don’t have the answers. I wish I did! Our world has been filled with violence since the beginning of recorded history. When or if it will ever stop, I don’t know.
What I do know is this. TV has less to do with our children’s – and society as a wholes – behavior than people give it credit for. If the idyllic idea isn’t reinforced then it won’t be reality. Its up to us as parents to create the world we want for our children by teaching our children its up to them to create the world they want to live in and give them the tools to achieve it.
Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?
That’s easy – my phone! The very piece of technology I’m using to answer this question!
My phone is my lifeline to the outside world.
Farming and particularly dairy farming can be isolating. A friend of mine posted on Facebook the other day “Dairy farming – ruining social lives since forever!”
The long hours and the need to be there 24/7/365 puts a dampener on most outings. Just as you settle in you need to go home to milk. By the time you’re done you’re too tired to bother and you know you have to get up in the morning and do it all again.
So my social life is really social media!
I discovered Facebook a long time after my friends did. I’m still not convinced, but it has its place.
Twitter has been my true savior! I have found kindred spirits there I would never have known existed. There’s a different type of person on Twitter, but how and why I can’t tell you. It suits my because I think that’s how I talk. 140 characters, straight to the point.
Twitter is where I’ve learnt about dairy farms in different parts of Australia and the world, discovered activism and most importantly found out what a blog was!
Its where I found my ‘home’.
Its the place that I can go for a serious conversation about the goings on in the world or find some bubblegum for my mind.
I have met some of the people I ‘know’ on Twitter. The most extraordinary thing is its like we’ve known each other for years. Its something I’ve written about before.
I do talk to people I know! I text a lot. By a lot I mean A LOT! Its how I and my busy friends get our information out in a way that doesn’t impose. I can ask a question, make a statement, invite or just update in a way that doesn’t stop my friends from doing whatever it might be they’re doing. They can answer when they’re ready. Also gives people time to think before they answer.
I do make or take the odd actual voice call too!
Without my phone I’d be lost!
From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting. What’s yours?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a peaceful, lush and at the time, isolated place called Nowendoc.
Our 900 acres of hilly beef cattle country is bordered to the west by a State Forest. My parents still have a 99 year perpetual lease on 300 acres within the boundaries of the forest where we used to put mature cows to winter. I say used to because they don’t put any stock there now. Too many have gone missing with the only trace being horseshoe marks in soft soil.
When I was a child I was a loner.
At school I spent my lunchtime reading in an out of bounds area which the principal ignored (she got me).
At home I spent my daylight hours on a horse.
I would catch my horse on the weekend in the morning, might come in for lunch, but mostly I’d get home with enough time for my horse to dry off before the cool night arrived.
These are the days that my nosey delights come from.
If I think hard and breath deep, I can smell…
The sweet smell of my horse, slightly sweaty.
The earthy scent of freshly disturbed humus rich soil.
A whiff of musty honey near a native bee nest.
The occasional stench of death.
I think the one I miss the most is the smell of a summer storm rolling in from the west.
I would feel the air pressure change and my excitement would build.
There would be a rumble of thunder you could feel as much as you could hear.
A waft of earthy scent building to the glorious and unique smell of our native eucalypt forest that I’ve never smelt anywhere else.
Slowly, the fresh smell if the rain mingled with the forest, cleaning the air.
These are the smelly memories of my childhood.
My happy place.
I have battled with my mind (you can read about that here if you haven’t already) and its little quirks all my life. It’s on only relatively recently though that I’ve learnt to manage these quirks.
It was two meetings yesterday that showed me how far I’ve come!
The first was a meeting of the local Dairy Advancement Group.
For various reasons this group had lost its way but thankfully enough people could see the value of such a group to make an effort to refocus the intent and call a planning meeting.
I’ve been part of the industry for six years but have only just started going to these meetings.
I haven’t gone in the past for a lot of reasons. The meetings tended to clash with places I needed to be for kids. Or we had farm work to do. Or I just wasn’t informed the meetings were on.
But the big one was I didn’t believe I belonged or deserved to be there.
What forced my hand was a good friend who has worked tirelessly to encourage youth into the industry was having a crisis of confidence herself and I went to support her.
So I went to my second meeting yesterday.
I went again to support my friend, but realised I had ideas and insights to offer.
I listened and sat on what I had to offer and really fought with myself….
Do I open my mouth and offer my thoughts?
Am I worthy of such an input into the future of this group considering I didn’t have a past with it?
Would I be taken seriously?
I have applied for a job with our state body. As I listened to some of the political side I started to really panic, telling myself I had no idea and what did I think I was doing applying for this job and I wouldn’t cope and what if what if what if….
Then the convenor asked for my input. That nearly brought me completely undone!
By this stage I was hoping what I call the duck effect was working.
What’s the duck effect? On the surface, calm, floating peacefully. Underneath, paddling like a crazy!
My heart was pounding, headed toward my throat. I could feel the shaking and struggled to control it. I was starting to get the cold sweats. The occasional blurry vision (for want of a better term) thing occurred. My hearing, at times, sounded like I was in a tunnel.
I have spent the last three years building an internal support system for panic attacks. Thankfully.
I call it CTFD therapy.
Calm The Fuck Down!
I managed to get CTFD to kick in, though I spent the entire meeting being that duck.
Towards the end of the meeting they were talking about building our ‘brand’, not just locally but world wide. The convenor, who knows my social media experience, kept looking a me and then kept dropping my name into the conversation as the person who could build our brand on social media.
Big responsibility in my mind. Huge in fact.
CTFD kicked in again.
I decided I would challenge this crisis I was having.
I put my hand up and told the meeting I have the skills and the experience to make this work if you want it. The convenor backed me up.
I was still that duck, but was excited. Not only had I lived (a serious question I ask myself when this happens because I do feel like I might die), I have a new project to sink my teeth into. Its not going to be an easy project. I need to drag old school people into a global life.
But I’m really looking forward to it!
After a stressful six hours you’d think home would be where I needed to be. It was. But hubby and I had been invited to a meet and greet for the new combined version of our stock and land management bodies, the Local Land Services. As it turned out, hubby couldn’t go.
I’d met the lady organising the meet and greet at the recent Dairy Research Symposium. She mentioned they were having this meet and greet and asked for my email address so she could invite me when dates and venues were confirmed.
I assumed a lot of farmers would be invited.
I walked up to the venue, where there’s a large window looking into the bar, and saw suits. Lots of suits. And women dressed very business like.
But I lifted my head, put my shoulders back, and became that duck again!
Oh boy! Talk about fish out of water!
I was, though, pleasantly surprised how many of the suits I knew. And how some of them were actually interested in my opinion.
Again with the big responsibility.
Again with the panic attack trying to take hold.
Again CTFD kicked in.
Again I became the duck.
Three years ago I wouldn’t have walked into the room.
After sleeping on it and therefore calming right down, I can see clearly how far I’ve come.
I am proud. Very proud!
My favorite ‘time waster’ is watching my calves.
No, I’m not super vain!
I’m talking about my surrogate children. Its something I’ve written about before.
I often get in trouble for standing at the gate and watching them playing.
After a feed they often feel frisky. They’ll play tag or they’ll follow each other around, tails in the air and a twinkle in their eyes, running as fast as they can!
They’make an obstacle courses.
Through the hole in the fence, around the big tree, back up the hill and jump over the grain trough! If I happen to be in the paddock, it’s a guarantee they’ll include me!
Anything that goes into the paddock is fair game. Especially if it makes a noise when walked over!
One day my human children kicked a soccer ball into their paddock. They didn’t kick it, but there was a lot of inspecting…
“Ooo what is that?”
“Eeek it MOVED!”
“You touch it?”
“No! YOU touch it”
“Aaaahhhhhh! IT MOOOOOVED!”
“RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!”
I wish you could see what I see, hear what I hear.
They are beautiful to watch.
I do procrastinate a lot watching them.
I’m on a mission to show the lighter side of my life. Last week I wrote about Pleasures and where they comes from. This week I thought I’d share some laugh-out-loud moments.
I have an interesting ill health issue with one of my calves.
She refuses to suck the teat on the calf feeder. Or my fingers. This is very unusual. But she is getting better.
Cattle are social animals, so I like to put calves together in my calf shed if I can. I had another calf in with my little sort of sick calf who was healthy and could drink her milk very quick.
One morning, when they were about 5 days old, this healthy calf was being particularly pushy and I knew the other calf would be completely put off and wouldn’t even try to suck. So I put the healthy calf out the gate and into the big wide world before I fed her.
This is a trick I employ regularly. The calf normally explores a little, chases a dog, says hello to everything and does a few excited kicks and jumps. But they stay close because they haven’t been fed.
Not this calf..
She did chase the dogs. And she did get excited. But she didn’t stay close.
She ran, as fast as her legs could carry her, behind the calf shed, through a gate and into the next paddock.
If you’ve ever seen a newish calf run you’ll know it looks very uncoordinated!
This was our first big frost for the year.
The little calf, making the most of her freedom, galloped down the hill skipping and jumping and generally having a great time.
I was watching her antics while trying to get the other calf to drink so I knew where to go and get her to give her her feed.
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but on one of her down hill runs she fell down and slid for about five metres, spinning as she went.
My heart skipped a beat. I thought she’d be hurt for sure!
But calves are tough.
This is my lol moment…
She finally stopped sliding and just layed there for two seconds. Then she jumped straight up on her feet, looked back up the hill to where she started and shook her head.
She then, very carefully, walked back up the hill, through the gate and back around to the front of the calf shed.
I’m convinced, if she could, she would have been whistling!
By this time I was laughing so hard I was crying.
She was fine. She had her drink and bucked around her pen.
But she will forever be known here as our ‘Sk8r’ chic!
I went to an agriculture college after finishing high school. There’s a saying that goes “It takes all types to make up the world” and I’m pretty sure they were all there!
One of the first people I met was Adair.
She had a friendly face, gentle kind eyes, and a welcoming smile.
And she was a little odd.
We were immediate and firm friends.
Adair was from a life of privilege, though you’d never pick it. Her parents doted on her, she longed for nothing.
Adair was at ag college to learn about farming so she could run the farm daddy had purchased. By farm I mean under 100 acres in the hills behind the Central Coast of NSW.
From the start, Adair had a different view about animal production for food. She was already vegetarian, and would go vegan later in life.
Adair never said ‘I don’t want to know’. She wanted to know everything. Even when the lesson included some distress to the animal, she was there. She did question the why’s and what ifs, but I thought that was great. I had always struggled with castrating male animals, cutting lambs tails off and intensive pig and chicken farms. It was nice to have someone with the same ideas.
But you could explain the reasons behind these practices, and in most cases she’d accept it.
We would do a lot of very strange things together.
One of our favorite things to do was go into town after dairy duty in two day old dairy clothes.
Another was to put her mums maternity dresses on with our work boots or better still rubber boots and go to the pub.
We were always there for each other. She defended my mood swings, I defended her views and vegetarianism.
After college, she went back to the farm and basically isolated herself. She did have a few friends, most of them living an ‘alternative’ lifestyle. I did keep in touch for a while, but my work made it near impossible. This was the time before mobile phones.
A lot of years later I found her on Facebook. I was so excited to find her. Of all the people I’d met in my life, Adair had been one of the few to encourage my eccentricities. I needed that acceptance again.
The first thing I noticed was she’d become an animal rights activist. In my naivety I thought it was great, and wondered how I could get on board.
It wasn’t long, after reading her posts, I figured out not only did I not want to be involved, I wouldn’t be accepted anyway.
We continued an uneasy friendship for a while. I asked her to clarify some activist positions. She tried to tell me my chosen career was terrible. But we still got on.
Until one day.
She posted an absolute lie. She said drinking milk causes arthritis and brittle bones. I stated that of all the health issues the elderly dairy farmers I know have, they weren’t among them.
That was it for her. She followed the usual activist line and told me I’m a cow rapist and I force my cows to be pregnant for financial gain, that I rip baby calves off their mothers and murder the boys, and that I personified everything wrong with the world and I should hang my head in shame.
The Adair I remembered with an open, questioning mind and morals, not that much different from me, had turned into a hate mongering member of an agroterrorist organisation hell bent on stopping the use of animals for food production.
I was devastated. Absolutely devastated.
I cried and cried.
It was like she had died.
I knew we’d never talk again.
I knew I’d never see her again.
That was about 12 months ago. I still have days…
Adair is the person who’s changed the most. And I miss the old Adair dearly.
I live on the beautiful Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia.
It is, in my opinion, one of the most picturesque spots in this country.
It is home to one of Australia’s major river valleys, the Manning.
It have spent all but about 10 years of my life in this valley.
Where I grew up is where it all starts.
The Nowendoc River is the headwaters. Into it runs the Cooplacurrapa. It then runs into the Little Manning, then the Big Manning. It then runs out into the ocean through two entrances, making it the only double delta (like the Nile) in the southern hemisphere. You can read more about it here.
I love the river and am lucky enough to have a friend who lives on the north entrance arm. I went to visit her yesterday.
It has been a while since I last visited either entrance. I’d forgotten the smell! That fantastic salty mangrove aroma you can nearly taste!
These are the pictures I took. I really need a camera not attached to my phone! But they’re OK.
I am glad I live so close to so much beauty!
What an interesting question!
In the centre would be me. A calm, loving, serene, smiling me surrounded by purple and gold sparkles.
To my left, my children in an ocean blue bubble. Their happy beautiful faces looking toward me for love and guidance.
To my right, my husband, a confusion of light and dark around him.He’d be reaching out for me with both hands while looking away. And probably on his phone.
Above us all, the cows, the farm, our dreams and ambition.
Underneath us though would be a black, boiling, smelly mass representing the jealousy, anger and bitterness threatening to engulf our extended families.
An ocean would separate that horrible nasty mess from us, with a vortex forming under my husband.
That would be my painting.