Daily Prompt – Adult Vision – The Arrogance of Youth

Being an adultThe daily prompt question is as a kid you must have imagined what it would be like to be an adult. And now you are one, how far off was your vision?

Last week, I turned 40.

I remember my sisters and I talking about how old our parents were when they turned 40. That was a while ago! We thought they were so old! How can someone live that long?

And I also couldn’t understand why they felt the need to hide their age. We as kids are more than happy to tell people how old we are. 16, 18 and 21 are celebrated with parties and special gifts. Then you have to wait till 50 before you get another one!

But you can’t ask a lady their age! Its rude! Apparently!

As my 40th loomed, lots of people asked how I felt about it. Like it was something to be afraid or even ashamed of. And what’s worse, most were genuinely amazed that it didn’t worry me!

The other thoughts I had when I was a kid were around the capability of ‘old’ people. Because 40 was so old!

I really believe I feel more alive at 40 than I did at 25. I have more confidence and a better idea of what I want from myself and other people.

I spent my childhood mistaking arrogance for confidence. I guess that’s the problem with most of us! As kids, we tell adults they don’t know. Hire a teenager while they still know everything was something my ancient 40 year old father said more than once.

But the biggest lie I told myself was that it was soooooooo much easier being an adult.

As a child, decisions are made for you. You wear what you’re given, eat what you’re given, go where you’re sent or taken. You have to go to school no matter how traumatic that experience is. Then you’re told what you can learn while you’re there. All the peer pressure and bullying – you know no adult would ever understand what that’s like! Your friends get to dress in whatever they want and go where ever they want. Or so it seems!

I remember telling myself and others that adults get to decide what they want to do and don’t have to do anything they don’t want to.

I now find myself doing a very similar job with my kids – they need to dress appropriately, behave appropriately  and no, you will not be walking the streets with your friends on Friday arvo when high school finishes 30 minutes early!

Oh boy! I have figured out how wrong I was about the adult world!

I was well off the mark with my vision!

I am a huge believer in karma. The idea the universe will teach you where you went right and wrong and reward you accordingly.

Well universe, you can stop rewarding me for my arrogance now! I get it!

Horror Movies

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.

 

 

LOL Moments – The Power Of Thought

It is completely ridiculous, but we baled silage last week.

Yes, in July.

We had a paddock of not the best pasture locked up. The weather forecast looked like it wasn’t going to rain, so a decision was made to conserve it.

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The treeline in the distance is where the creek runs. You probably can’t tell from the picture, but the paddock slopes down toward the creek, with an increasing slope closer to the treeline.

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I was asked to bring the baling twine down. Hubby was near the creek when I got down there.

I thought to myself
Well you’d have to be careful where you dumped a bale here. It could end up in the creek

I also thought
‘I should film the baling process for a future blog.’

Little did I understand the power of my mind….

Apologies for the quality…

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MJyA8zNehLA

Luckily a tree stopped it.
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We made 80 bales off this paddock. The cows got a scrap bale that evening and loved it.

The sunny side and the dark side of modern technology

Ali's Dairy Life:

This is a wonderful video. If you haven’t watched it please do. You won’t regret.

Thanks Lynne. Another wonderful look at human nature.

Originally posted on Clover Hill Dairies Diary:

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I was born with club feet and very poor eyesight and serious depth of vision issues and not a week goes by where I am not grateful that the miracles of modern medicine allowed me to look  ‘normal’ and have very few restrictions on what I can and cant do. I often wonder how I would have coped if I had lived say 150 years ago.

This is a truly inspirational TED talk by Maysoon Zayid called  I got 99 problems… palsy is just one.  Like Maysoon I wasn’t teased at school and I can only remember being called Four Eyes once

Living in a world where medical miracles happen everyday, modern technology has also opened the door to to give some truly sick people a vehicle to spread their sinister disease.

Listen to what Maysoon has to say about social media –  the truly frightening world where faceless…

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Heartfelt Pleasures

As I have said before, I am the calf rearer.

This whole Pleasures blogs came from this reply left by Denise in this blog.

It’s not the money, it’s not that it’s not sexy. It’s the hours. It’s working every public holiday. It’s every Saturday, every Sunday. Missing events because you are always still in the shed.

It’s battling the liberationists. It’s having to defend ourselves constantly.

Its the calf part of dairying that will get the ARA’s blood boiling! Its a very emotional issue, not in the least because they are so darn cute and are great for pictures! I have been called a cow rapist, calf thief and murderer more than once. I have been accused of forcing my cows to become pregnant just to make money off them. And you can’t blame the misinformed when information like this and this are floating around!

I have a friend who loves to hear about the calves who mentioned they are like children – and they are!

They have different stages that are similar, but don’t last as long sadly.

First are the newborns.

Unlike humans, they are up and about very quickly!

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This little girl is only hours old. She’s up and able to walk with her mum to the dairy. I put her in the calf shed that afternoon – that’s a whole other blog!

Then they become toddlers.

This is the part I love! They start to really develop their own personalities.

This little girl – yes, shes a beef calf! – had a traumatic start to life. Her mum didn’t make it due to the stress caused by foxes and crows. Its times like that I wish we had a calving shed!

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Crows like to peck at all the soft bits and had eaten the edge off  the little calf’s tongue! She would not have survived, even if her mother had stood up.  She took the first feed off the bottle as the adrenalin was still having its pain relief effect. But it was the stomach tube that saved her life.

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Stomach tubing bottle! Best money I’ve spent!

I know you shouldn’t have favorites, but she is mine! I’m pretty sure I’m hers as well!  At feeding time when I open the gate, she walks in and stands next to me and holds my hand up to the calf feeder.  She then pushes her way through so she can stand next to me while she feeds. At the moment she wont go on the teat until I put her there! Hopefully its just a stage she’ll grow out of!

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The toddlers very quickly turn into children.  They love to play a game similar to tag.

Catch me if you can!

Catch me if you can!

A calf goes up to another calf, has a sniff then they both run really fast around the paddock, often taking others with them. Its not unusual to see them all following a circuit!  Occasionally, either by accident or design, a foreign object will find its way into the paddock and then becomes part of the course. One windy day a piece of roofing iron blew in. It was soon discovered it made a fantastic sound when little hooves ran over it!

Then they are weaned, and become sulky teenagers!

They spend about a week yelling at me about the lack of milk every time they see me or hear my voice!

They are given grain and hay and they soon learn that’s just as good.

As I am very hands on and treat my calves like they are my babies they become very quiet. It makes bringing them into the dairy easier, and doing any animal husbandry less stress for me and her because she trusts that I will not doing anything that doesn’t need doing.

It also means they can become pests!

This is where cow licks come from....

This is where cow licks come from….

But I wouldn’t swap it for anything!

The joy I get from watching a calf you have lovingly raised have her own calf and walk in the dairy is only surpassed by the birth of my own children and their achievements!

Audible Pleasures

I have written before about how much the creek means to me. If you haven’t read it you can here.

I love to sit and listen while the cows cross the creek.

The sound of the birds, the creek bubbling away and the slosh slosh of the cows wandering across to their feed all help me clear my mind and prepare it for the day ahead.

You can hear even more if the cows aren’t there.  And it depends on your morning!

Just listening helps detox my mind, preparing it for the day ahead.

I appologise for the quality! I only have my phone!

 

 

Daily Belly Laugh

I’ve never been inspired to have a go at a Daily Prompt before. Not because it didn’t interest me, mostly because I had nothing real to offer.

But the question asked is when was the last time I had a good laugh..

Today. That’s the last time.

I swapped a friend a facial for some chickens and a coffee kick frappé. That’s how our friendship works.

We’ve really only been friends for a few months, but I struggle to remember life without her.

We like to dissect the things that happen in our lives.

We are both dairy farmers. The dairy and our families are our lives. ‘Outsiders’ really don’t understand what goes on. Its like speaking our own private language.

We share a wicked sense of humour and way of looking at life. This means explanation is rarely required!
Today was snap day. We must have said the same thing at the same time at completely random moments two dozen times!

We had to stop what we were doing and wait for the tears to subside a lot!

The dairy life can be a hard life.  These chances to laugh just as hard make it a lot easier!

But Why?

I have been lucky enough this year to be given the chance to go to the Australian Dairy Conference in February and the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium this month thanks to Dairy NSW.

As part of this the other bursary recipient and I need to give a presentation on (as I understand it) how to attract and keep young people into our wonderful industry.

I thought I knew why before I even left for Geelong in February – money.

That is part of the problem but it goes much deeper than that.

Firstly though, why did I think it was money.

We have been doing it very tough financially for a while for various reasons, some within our control some without.

Our oldest child was working with us at the time.  We paid for everything for him, fed him, clothed him and kept a roof over his head.  He had as much freedom as could be allowed doing the job we do.  But one day he came home and told us he couldn’t stay because he wasn’t getting ‘paid’.  My hope was he’d have to look after himself and realise what he was getting here, but alas no!  He has since moved back this was and is working on another dairy, getting paid.

While looking at dairy farms in Victoria, knowing my brief, I made a point of talking to the staff and asking why they were there, are they committed to staying if not this farm in the industry and are they keen to get their own farm.

The answers varied, but most of the staff of any age said they were not keen to own their own farm.

After reading a blog posted by Farming Ahead of the Curve about the Young Farming Champions, and realising dairy wasn’t represented, I think I may have the deeper answer.

Dairy just isn’t sexy!

Who in there right mind would want to spend the rest of their working lives covered in excrement from cows and bureaucracy?

Or spend nights out in the cold and wet pulling calves or nursing down cows?

Or work hard at building a business, working 100+ hours a week to provide dairy for families only to not be able to feed your own?

And this is reason the industry I love is not considered sexy.  And I have to admit I have been responsible at times for showing dairy in such a bad light.

There is good stuff too!

To be so close to nature on a daily basis is just one reason, but has to be my favorite.  The creek here is where I go to detox my mind.  To watch the sun rise and set reminds me that everything has a renewal process and that tomorrow is a new day.

To be to be on the cutting edge of technology use.  The most amazing ideas are currently being developed for our industry both in Australia and overseas that will be game changers not just for dairy but other animal production systems as well.

The people who work in dairy are a special kind of people.  Hard working. Honest. Caring for animal and environment.

Milk is an amazing food! How cool is it we can supply such a clean source of vital vitamins and minerals!

So, how do we change the perception and create a view that being a dairy farmer is something to be proud of? (Which it is, by the way!)

The Dairy Australia initiative Cows Create Careers is fantastic!

Agriculture needs to be taught at every school!  I know not every school can have a farm, but just reading ‘The Shipping New’s made me keen to want to know more about Newfoundland!

Aim at the girls!  This is the perfect industry for the nurturer!  Why not take advantage of that!  And although its hard, raising children on a dairy farm is fantastic!

We need to start being proud of who we are and hold our heads up high!

And lastly we need to be open!  Open to questions that we answer honestly.  Open to criticism.  Open to changes and new ideas.

Lets get this industry the happening place to be!

And Life Goes On…….

I haven’t written a blog for a while.  I made a promise to myself I would only write about things that are important to me and readable and interesting to you, the reader.

I thought about the why/why nots of writing this. But if I can help just one person….. so here I am putting it out there.

Nothing here has been “going to plan”.

We had the drought that was broken by some well timed rain.  This meant our cows would have grass, the creek would have water and we could restock our fodder supply.

And we could breath again.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray…..

In a conversation with my local vet about the dry and the effect it will have on calving cows he mentioned that cows that have a tough mid trimester will often deliver badly.  That is to say, the cow will have problems at birth and/or the calf will be born in a poor condition.  The cow and possibly the calf will have health issues and down cows would be an issue.

And that’s exactly what is happening now.

The majority of births are fine.  We have a few purchased heifers that may just have been put in calf too early an are having some issues and we have had a couple of older cows get calving paralysis, one of which didn’t get up on their own again and eventually threw the towel in.

The foxes too are back at it. They take advantage of the cows while they’re calving and will chew on the soft areas – the calf’s naval, nose and dew claws and the cows teats and vulva. This I have written about before and can be read here.

But that’s not why I am writing this today.

This is for the other farmers out there doing what we do – just put one foot in front of the other, clean up the mess left by all this, and get up the next day and do it all over again.  With dairy farming there isn’t even a day off. No matter what happens, we have to be back here for milking every afternoon and be able to get up and milk in the morning.

This is about the mental health perspective.

I have written before about BDP an the effect it has on me.

I am currently struggling to keep it all together.

We have had to put a few cows down and couple of calves have also had to be destroyed due to never recovering from the traumatic birth or because of the foxes.

Its getting to me.  Its getting to both of us.

I am starting not to enjoy anything.  Everything I need to do is a mammoth task.  Music can’t cheer me up. I’m overeating and with all the wrong foods. Or I’m not eating at all. I find myself sitting in the car in town for 20+ minutes before I get out in case someone wants to ask how the farm is going. How we’re going.  Or just interact with me.  I get home an do the same except I don’t want to find out what has gone wrong this time.

The only thing I do like is reading, because I can escape into someone else’s world for a while.

I am fully aware these are signs of depression and anxiety taking hold and believe me I am fighting hard so they don’t.  The demons that have pursued me my whole life are not going to win.  I have skills now to keep this at bay.

And if worst comes to worst, there is always medication.  I will resist for as long as I can though because waking with a hangover every day is not fun at all!

I also don’t want this to become a pity party all about me and my issues.

I want the other farmers doing it very tough financially, with the weather, with sick stock, sadness all around them, and a feeling there is no end in sight to know they are not alone!  We are all doing it very tough.  And that’s not to say what they are feeling isn’t important – it is.  We are all going through it but its an individual fight.

The farmers need to recognize that nasty blackness going on underneath all the business in their heads is completely normal and nothing to feel ashamed of.

Seeking help is not failing.

If someone genuinely asks ‘are you ok’, answer honestly.  Just sharing can lighten the load.

Visit your GP and let them know.  There are services available through them to help.

There are also people you can contact over the phone or internet if going to the Dr is too much.

NSW has Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) aimed at rural and remote people.  They can connect you with services in your local area.

What ever happens, farmers should not ignore what’s going on and just suck it up.

And if you know someone who has changed, become withdrawn, drinking more, angrier than usual, really not coping, ask them are they ok.  There isn’t a lot you can do if they lie to you.  But you are able to call someone like RAMHP, Lifeline or the metal health professionals in your area and ask what your options are.

Don’t feel like its interfering – you could just save a life and a family from years of torment.

This is a poem by Murray Hartin that has been doing the rounds lately.  Everytime I  hear it or read it I cry.  I’m not sure of its the words or the crying,  but I always feel a little better after.

Just know you are doing the best you can with what you have, and don’t be too hard on yourself.