Daily Prompt – Object Lesson

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!

CTFD And The Duck Effect

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.

Panic attack.

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.

No farmers.

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!

Propraganda and How It (Doesn’t Always) Work

The news was broken by PETA yesterday of the abject cruelty endemic in the shearing sheds of Australia.

It came with a video complete with an official sounding voice and emotional music.

Why is a dairy farmer having a rant about this?

I am against the mistreatment of all animals.

And I worked in the industry for about 10 years. So I do have some experience. But that’s a blog for another day.

I have seen the behavior depicted in this video, but I didn’t stand back and watch. I had a shearer sacked for treating sheep like that. I made enough noise in two other situations for the overseer and the grower to see what was happening and moved those horrid excuses for human beings on. I walked away from what would have been a lucrative job as a contractor allowed this sort of abuse to occur because the shearer was a ‘gun’ (lots of sheep shorn in a day) and even moved 800km’s away just to find a new team after basically being blacklisted where I was for it. All in all, I probably saw seven shearers act with such contempt for another living creature. They don’t get a lot of work.

Here is the video. Watch with an open but curious mind…

So here are a few of the problems I have with this video.

Firstly, why (again!) was the footage held for 12 months without prosecution of the shearers involved? This is something we see regularly from so called animal welfare advocates.

Some of the filming was obviously done with the full knowledge of the person being filmed. This can mean a few things. It could be a set up. It could be a mate filming a mate and that video has been used inappropriately.

A question that has been bubbling in the back of my mind is who has a hammer on their stand and why? Its not a normal part of a shearers kit.

Not surprisingly, some of the images were taken out of context.

The sewing up of a sheep is something that needs to be done from time to time. It has little to do with the per sheep payment system as reported by PETA. The reason a sheep ends up with a cut like that are varied but rarely does it lead to the death of the sheep. And no, pain relief is not used. PETA again are using emotion without facts. They are comparing human skin to that of an animal that has evolved to have less nerve endings in areas prone to damage.

There is also footage of a shearer with his foot on the sheep’s neck. To me it doesn’t look like much downward pressure is being used. Experience tells me its being held still so the sheep doesn’t kick and then need to be sewn up.

And lastly, who installed the cameras and was it done with full knowledge of the owners of the sheds involved.

If these groups had there way, every livestock enterprise in Australia would be under constant video surveillance with open to the public feeds over the internet. Nothing should be hidden in their view.

Agroterrorism is being used in this country by these groups to obtain footage they can then cut and paste to suit their own agenda. This is what I believe has happened here. Imagine what they would do with live feeds.

This picture was on the Weekly Times report about the video. I feel I should comment on this picture. Its out there for all the world to see. I have no idea where this picture came from but it doesn’t help anyone but PETA.

Or does it?

It shows a sheep with some blood. I do feel bad for this sheep. But looking at the picture I notice the sheep isn’t very cleanly shorn. There’s wool left on the rump. This indicates the shearer was probably a learner.

But the more interesting thing I notice is, except a tiny patch on the bottom left, the lack of blood on the fleece.

Could be a lucky shot… make your own assumptions.

Source: PETA

I am also guessing you have more question. And you should! All of the material shown by ARA’s needs to be dissected and any cruelty that we can stop needs to be stopped!

But if you want information from people who know and understand, ask a farmer! They are the people with the hands on experience in animal welfare.

There are lots of farmers from all over the world to be found on Facebook and Twitter and most are more than willing to let you in on the workings of their enterprise.

Feel free to leave questions and comments. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll probably know someone who will.

Thanks for reading.

No Toilet Paper. Goodbye Socks!

Today, quite by accident, I performed a little social experiment.
In the last week or so, I have posted and shared a few what I consider interesting links on my Facebook page.
These are some of them;

Animal Welfare: A Wyndham Station Perspective

An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow

EXCLUSIVE: The Danger Of Outrageous Outrage

Live-Ex Comes Home To Roost

All very interesting and informative reads that, in my opinion, everyone should read.  I had three “likes” and two comments for all of those articles.

Today I was having a rare read of my Facebook feed when I came across this doozy from an old friend I shall call Spud – because that’s what we called him at Tocal.

No toilet paper. goodbye socks !!
  • You and 5 others like this.
  • Alison Germon
    Write a comment…
    Of course I “like”ed it! It sounded very Spud-like!
    It was a trick. Within seconds I received this via chat….
    You’re in trouble! Lol! A friend did this to me, its a game. You shouldnt have liked or commented on my status. Choose one of the following:
    1. Damn diarrohea!
    2. Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket.
    3. Anyone got tampons? Im desperate.
    4. How do you get rid of foot fungus?
    5. Why is it no one is around5. Why is it no one is around when Im horny?
    6. No toilet paper. Goodbye socks!!
    7. Is it too early for a whiskey?
    8. What a day, can’t wait till my husband gets home!
    9. I just feel like running naked in the garden.
    10. Does liver and peanut butter make a good sandwich filling?
    Dont explain on the status, just send this message. Your turn!
    I looked at the list for a while and decided on 2.

    Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket….
    Like · · Promote · Share
    It was the most plausible post there. 9 was tempting and had it been raining I would probably have put that one on.
    As I write this, 17 people have clicked “like” and nine have commented.
    I haven’t shared the fact I blog with my Facebook world – too many of them know hubby and I’m not ready for him to know.  But I am tempted!
    Maybe this is what we need to do to promote farming – make it low and degrading. I doubt it.
    We Australian farmers have a lot to be proud of. We are the cleanest food producers in the world.  We are at the forefront of animal welfare standards.  We feed and clothe everyone in Australia and millions of people world wide.
    Why is it then I am taken more seriously when I post something about my boobs and nobody listens when I  share the stories of our lives?
    This is another reason I haven’t bothered sharing my inner most secrets with Facebook.
    But it does beg the question – if my boobs and those of others are so damn interesting, why are more people not interested in what’s happening in the  dairy industry?