Category Archives: Family

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….and we’re back to normal programming

Category : Family

Is it just me?  Is it because I’m getting older?  But I swear those Christmas holidays seemed so much shorter than normal.  They simply flew by!  Mind you, there were times that they seemed to drag, and those were the days that we had absolutely NOTHING on – my version of bliss, but the kid’s version of utter HELL.  And what normally ensued was fighting, arguing, the occasional punch up, a couple of blood noses, screaming, crying……you get the picture.  So of course, it became hell for me too.  Because unlike Mark, I couldn’t escape the little buggers.  I was trapped.

Proof that injuries were sustained…..H knocked out Bella’s tooth.

But on the days that the sun shone, and there were things to do, games to play, places to see, the holidays were fabulous.

 

Christmas this year had a big scale back from what the kids had enjoyed in previous years.  Present numbers were reduced and there were “themes” around what they were going to receive.  A friend of mine – Kerryn Smith – has been doing these “Four Things” each year;

  1. Something to wear
  2. Something to read
  3. Something you need
  4. Something you want

..or something like that anyway.  Those are the themes we used.  Plus they each got a big present from Mark and I as well.  Plus the Santa sacks (that contained bathers, towels, water pistols….big chunky stuff and some small $2 shop stuff!).  The kids were told that this would happen and that if they came up with a good idea for one of these themes for a sibling, that they could “nab” that one and the others would have to choose from what was left.  Of course, I actually put the money towards buying them, but I have to say, that the ideas were amazingly moderate in price.  It was fantastic!

Christmas 2017 family pic

Biddy celebrating her 10th birthday on Christmas Day! Double digits!!!

(on a side note, we were informed reliably by Tom just before Christmas that he knew that Santa was not real.  And for that measure, he also knew the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny were not real either.  Which all came as a relief to me.  I really thought that I would mourn the day when my kids stopped believing, but in fact, I celebrated this milestone.  Now Tom can help.  We had a discussion about how Santa WAS in fact real.  Very real.  But Santa is not the man in the red suit that he’d been led to believe, and to believe in.  He was in fact a great number of people that worked together to keep the magic alive for younger kids.  But moreso, it was about the fact that BEING Santa gives you great pleasure and a sense of community.  It is about what YOU can contribute, and how giving actually feels good, rather than getting presents.  I think he got it.  He helped with the gifts this year (he understands that he has to upkeep the charade of the Santa sack that he gets so that the younger ones can believe), and he is very much looking forward to being part of it all in the future.  We quoted the line, made famous by Willem Dafoe’s character, Norman Osborn in Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility”.  Tom now has the responsibility of keeping it all alive).

Anyway, Christmas went well.  I tried to set the side of the house on fire with the duck in the Webber, but luckily Mark got a water pistol for Christmas off the kids, and being the champion fighter fighter that he is, he managed to put it out with just one refill of his pistol.  Needless to say, we had the duck for dinner.  Luckily the turkey was already cooked!

Mark and I milked that arvo, and it was bloody hot.  And I forgot to take a refreshing bevvy with me to bring up the cows.  Rookie mistake.

placing flowers on Rex’s grave

The week following Christmas is a stupid one.  No-one quite knows what day it is.  Some shops are shut, others are open.  Some staff have leave, others only have the Chrissy day off.  Sleeping routines have gone out the window and the kids are not getting to bed before midnight.  It’s a crazy mish mash I tell you. We also lost our dog Rex on New Years Eve.  He tangles with the tractor and came off badly.  RIP Rex.  We also lost a few chooks, but this was by design.  They are now gracing my freezer and will form the basis of some very yummy meals.

 

But before long, we are starting to think about school starting and with Tom starting secondary school this year, we had book lists to pick up, computer to order, uniforms to be delivered.  It was a bit exciting really.  H started prep as well and hence, it was 4 sets of school shoes and 4 pairs of runners.  $850 later………

 

Mark and I attended a fire in Terang.  Hot and blustery, but a reasonable outcome all things considered.

And a great night out was enjoyed watching the Renegades thump the Sydney Sixers.  Yeah!

A relaxing 2 weeks in Apollo Bay was called for and we packed up and headed down to the beach for some sun, surf and Dooley’s ice creams (search them on Facebook).  It is always difficult to come back after that sort of break, however, school and work beckons and resistance is futile.

Dooley’s Ice-cream…….quintessential Summer

A walk through the Otways – Mait’s Rest

H was the first cab off the rank, starting prep on Wednesday.  He was so excited and looking forward to it all.  The uniform looks huge on him, but experience lets me know that it won’t be this way for long.  Biddy and Bella joined him on Thursday, with Tom also attending Trinity College for the first time on Thursday too.  Again, a very excited young man heading off to start the next chapter of his life.  I was a bit more emotional about Tom going to secondary than I was about H leaving me!

H’s first day of prep (31/1/18)

All going off to school (1/2/18)

He’s creeping up on me. I’m betting that he’ll be as tall – if not taller – than me at the end of the year.

Tom’s first day at Trinity (1/2/18)

Getting ready to hop on the bus

It’s a big step for a little kid. Four attempts to get on!

Made it! On the bus.

For Mark and I, well we scored new cars.  Well, I scored a new car, he scored my hand-me-down.  But I had it serviced and detailed and it seemed like a new car!!

So all in all, it was a pretty busy Christmas break.  I look forward to enjoying the rest of summer, hopefully catching up with more friends and family that we didn’t see over Christmas.  But for now, I am off to referee some more fighting and arguing because its Friday arvo and what else is there to do but start WWIII with your siblings?!


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The signing off of another year

As I sit here, on the last day on 2017, I have a five minute window to reflect on what this year has been about for us.  There have been some great moments, but there have also been some terribly low ones too.  But I guess that we need them to learn from, to grow from and to show us just how great the good times are.

So what were the highlights and lowlights?

  • Mark was diagnosed with PMR (polymyalgia rheumatic) which answered a number of questions but presented us with a long recovery period on high medications
  • We spent 10 days at Apollo Bay over summer thoroughly enjoying ourselves
  • Kids started back to school with Tom entering his final year of primary school.  H starts kinder and this year marks our final year ever at Wydinia Kindergarten: 10 years all up.
  • Bella picks up tap dancing as an extra dance genre.  It is a LOUD activity.In March, we started preliminary discussions with a local architect to renovate and increase the size of our house.  This has been a long time coming and to be honest, I think there is still a long way in front of us.
  • Trevor celebrate 10 years with us and starts making good on taking long service leave (lucky bugger!)
  • Biddy is diagnosed as being unable to digest and absorb a number of carbohydrates and is on track to develop coeliac disease.  This follows on from some surgery she has just prior to Christmas the previous year.  Lots of tests ensued to work out what is the issue.  Biddy was placed on a full FODMAP elimination diet for 8 – 10 weeks and then had to reintroduce foods, one carbo family at a time.  The process is still not complete and has taken about 10 months.  Exhausting for me to work out what she can and can’t eat.  We are still working on diet.
  • Biddy and Tom go on their respective class school camps
  • Tom has increasing fainting spells and dizzy spells culminating in a seizure where his breathing and heart stopped for a bit.  scary stuff.  Tests for cardio and neuro followed but to date, nothing concrete has appeared as to why.
  • Our first ever backpacker has joined our Craiglands team.  Issy Foster, from England, is spent about 4 months with us.  She fit in amazingly well and everyone was very sorry to see her go.
  • We filmed an online advert for Puffing Billy during the first school holidays.  The filming crew obviously loved Bella as she gets quite a bit of the screen time.  You can see the clips HERE and HERE .
  • I started pilates as part of my surgery recovery (from last year) as I was having significant muscular pain.
  • In May, calving started on the farm and from now on, it is busy all the time as one activity rolls into another.
  • Mark is forced to resign from the Bonlac Supply Company board and the Fonterra Farmers Forum (of which he was chair) due to the fact that he voiced his concerns that the company was not looking out for the farmers.  Amazingly, in the months that followed, many of his PMR symptoms regressed and we now realise just how much stress he was under in the role he held off farm.
  • We nominate St Brendans Primary to take part in the “Cows Create Careers” program and give them 2 calves to rear for a few weeks.
  • Henry turned 5
  • Josh Robertson (aka Robbo) completed his Cert III in dairy and graduated at the SW Dairy Awards.
  • Bella turned 7
  • We dehorned calves for the first time using twilight sedation.  A game changer as far as labour management and animal welfare.
  • Biddy’s pony had to be put down due to old age.
  •  Our annual holiday was for 2 weeks to do the Oodnadatta Track in outback SA.  We all loved it, including Cooper the Kinder Bear who came along with us.  A memorable trip and amazing landscape.  Do it.  Put it on your bucket list.
  • Tom turned 12 at Oodnadatta
  • Biddy has a dermatologist appointment for itchy skin and turns out she has a number of skin issues (typical!).  Creams, lotions and potions are dispensed.
  • Sam becomes a mentor in a PhD program
  • We all got the flu over the third school holidays.
  • Bella undertakes her ballet and tap exams and aces the tap exam with a High Distinction!!
  • We start to get some info back on our participation in the Improving Herds project and initial data is great.
  • We use our genetic testing information to mate our heifers and cows based on BPI for the first time ever.
  • Biddy and Bella participate in their dance school’s dance concert with both of them picking up main roles.
  • Buster the rescue cat had to be put down due to kidney failure.
  • the farm hosts 8 dairy women from across Australia, including Sam, to film a segment to encourage Australian women to eat more cheese.  This advert will be aired in early 2018.
  • We welcome Emily into our Craiglands team.  Emily is undertaking a school based apprenticeship through Colac Secondary College.
  • The storm of the century  – the storm to end all storms, the 1 in 100 year event – cancels plans across Victoria including our family Christmas gathering in Gippsland. Only for the weather to be fine and sunny on SW Victoria.
  • Army worm moved in across SW Victoria and decimates pastures.  We spend $$ on getting rid of the bastards.
  • Tunnel moth moves in after army worms.  More $$ to get rid of these.
  • Silage season is great with good cuts both at home farm and at Gellibrand.
  • Robbo breaks his arm riding a bike (on his own time and off farm!).
  • Season turns off quickly after silage season, so a couple of truckloads of vetch hay is needed to get cows through summer.
  • Sophie finishes her Cert III in dairy.
  • Biddy turns double digits – 10 – on Christmas Day.
  • Rex the farm terrier died after an altercation with one of the tractors while Mark was feeding out.

That’s about it in a nutshell.  It was a busy year and on the whole, it went ok.  Looking forward to 2018, I hope that we can get some final plans drawn up for our house and as a family, get to spend more time off the farm together…even just for an afternoon or a night.  Tom starts secondary school which is exciting for everyone.  H starts primary school which is bittersweet, but the girls are looking forward to having him with them more.  H is looking forward to travelling on the bus!  Of course, we hope that some lifestyle changes for us all will result in better overall health, but I suspect that the reduction of stress on Mark will help a lot.  I also hope that next year we don’t loose as many pets, because poor Biddy suffered a bit with loss this year. Next year, with H starting school, I will be starting back on the farm 2 days a week and devoting chunks of time to updating our farm blog, website, Twitter account and Facebook page.  Keep an eye out for all that!

Have a wonderful New Year.


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Food glorious food…..NOT

Category : Family

I’ve been quiet on here for the past few weeks and that has been a direct reflection of how busy things have become.  Once I have a great idea for a blog post, 100 other things rear their crazy, ugly heads and I don’t end up getting anywhere near the computer.  Well, except to try and get last year’s tax done anyway.

Rather than try and fill you in on EVERYTHING that has been going on (because, a crapload has been happening in the dairy industry right now that needs it’s own blog post), I thought I would fill your on some health issues that have escalated here.

In a family of 6 people, you would think that a reason percentage of those that have ongoing health issues would be less than 20%.  That allows for 1.something people to have some health crisis going on at any one time.  Well, thanks to some faulty genetic coding, that figure is somewhere around the 85% for us.

Over the past 6 months, with a change of paediatrician, things have become a bit more serious about getting to the bottom of Biddy’s stomach issues.  6+yrs ago, she was admitted to hospital due to severe and unrelenting stomach cramps.  Ironically, it was during this hospital admission that we found out that she has hypothyroidism, although this is not related to the stomach issues.  Nothing we did helped and no medications eased them.  The cramps followed no pattern and the duration of them could last from 20 minutes to 6 hours.

After copious blood tests, stool samples and home remedies, our new paed suggested that it was time to see a GI guy.  So 4 days before Christmas last year, Biddy toodled off to Cabrini for a gastroscopy and colonoscopy (double banger!) to have a decent look at her guts.  Initially, things looked pretty good, although biopsies later on suggested that she was developing coeliac disease (supported by the fact that she has the gene for it) and breath tests done this year have come back that she cannot absorb fructose and sorbitol.

Two weeks ago, we saw the paediatric dietician at the Royal Children’s Hospital and was told that she needs to go on a low FODMAP diet for 8 weeks prior to reintroducing foods back.  I had heard of FODMAP……I had no idea about FODMAP. And now I know why!  Bugger me!!!!  It’s a bloody minefield.

I know that those that have been following a FODMAP diet tell me that it gets easier, that a lot of what we eat is already low FODMAP (let’s face it, if you stay away from packaged crap, you are probably going to be ok), but one area that made me feel like an inadequate mother was that of fruit.

Kids – and mine are no exception – if given the choice, will pick junk foods over wholesome foods.  Just watch Dreamworks “Over the Hedge” if you don’t believe me.    So in the face of them grabbing some pre-packed, chemical laden, artificially sweetened, colour and preservative added but bloody tasty snack, I often direct them to “have a piece of fruit”.  Turns out, that advice is not always the best.  For all kids, but especially for one that is unable to process fructose! (By the way, did you know that for kids aged 9 – 12yrs, they should only be having 2 pieces of fruit per day?  No, either did I until last week!).

I have had 2 weeks to get my head around this FODMAP thing and just like anyone that has ever had an assignment due and has left it until the last possible moment, I am sitting here, pulling my hair out, feeling like I want to cry, because I am trying to work out what I am going to send Biddy to school with in her lunch from tomorrow.  Tomorrow is D-Day.  Or should I say F-Day (I can tell you, I can think of a few things F could stand for).

I know I am going to cock it up.  If we manage to get through the 8 weeks of the elimination phase without her starving to death we might be on a winner.  At this point she is going to be living like a convict….on bread and water.  And by bread I mean corn chips, because she can’t have bread.  Well, not the regular bread anyway.  Of course she can only have the super expensive gluten free varieties that start at about $6/loaf.  I can tell you, none of that stuff will go mouldy in the bottom of the bread bin.  Like Darryl Kerrigan in The Castle who shoved everything of value into his poolroom, all my valuable food groups are “going straight to the freezer”.

And that leads me to another point.  The cost of specialised diets.  And the stuff-arsing about of organising specialised diets.  Biddy’s dietary issues are not going to kill her, although I’m pretty sure that she feels like she might as well die when she has an attack.  But for those that are unaware, her brother H does have LIFE THREATENING food allergies.  That little cherub is anaphylactic to about 5 types of nuts (not just peanuts), eggs and dairy.  Already, we have a modified diet around here just with him.  And we HAVE to stick at this one and I cannot fuck it up, because I will KILL HIM if I do.  Truth.

So this brings me to why I am feeling utterly overwhelmed right now.  For Biddy to have certain foods, things are swapped out and replaced to give the right “mouthfeel” or consistency.  A good example here is of swapping out dates for walnuts when making energy balls.  Because Biddy can’t have dates.  But if I replace with walnuts and H accidentally gets into them, the walnuts can kill him.  And there are things in reverse.  If I swap out eggs for avocado so H can eat it, Biddy can’t because of the fructans in avo.  Sigh.  Do you see my issue?

Already, trying to fit things around H’s allergies is a juggling act.  There are very few recipes that I can just run with for him, because do you know how many dairy, nut and egg free recipes are out there?  That a 5yo boy will WANT to eat?  Not all that many.  A lot end up being pretty bland and ordinary.  Now couple this with cutting out foods that are high in carbs.  Oh God give me strength.  And that is NOT a blasphemy….I really do pray to Him to give me strength in this area.

And the cost!  Don’t get me started on that.  Not only are they limited in what they can enjoy, but of many of the things that they can have (GF, dairy free etc), the cost is disproportional to the product.  I mean, come on…..$6/loaf for GF bread?!  Surely by now we know that there is a market for GF foodstuffs, so why hasn’t the price come down?  There are people out there that aren’t coeliacs and they eat GF bread.  The market is not constrained.

On top of this, live in rural Australia and try to access some of the products.  I have a feeling that internet shopping will be my friend.  Not for my bank balance, but for my children.

So, if I haven’t gone completely gaga and I actually manage to poke some food at Biddy that satisfies all FODMAP criteria and by some bloody miracle she actually enjoys things, I’ll report back.  I admit to not being very hopeful right now, but I don’t have much of a choice.  And as a mum, of course I will do what it takes to improve my kids quality of life.  Even if that means giving up all my spare and personal time to research, shop and prepare meals.


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Who’s business is it anyway?

A week or so ago, I had a surprising – and a little disappointing – discussion with a friend of mine in relation to our farm business and my family’s life in general.  And the discussion got me thinking about all the people that feel they have an opinion on our businesses, our lives and our reputations.  Especially when the offer to comment back is not reciprocal.

I am launching into divulging aspects of my farm business and life that really – and I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will – is of NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT MINE AND MY FAMILY’S.  But for the sake of this post, to shed light on the conversation and to also give a perspective on my thinking process about all of this, I will let you in on things.

Let me begin at the conversation and work backwards.

The comment was put to me that due to a comment of mine on Facebook over one of the weekends about doing some hand drawn plans for a house extension, and the fact that Mark and I took the kids down to Apollo Bay for 10 days in January, that people have said that we were whinging about not being able to pay bills, but now we can afford to take holidays and build a house.

Wow!  Sounds like we are travelling overseas for extended leave and building a mansion.

Not that any of these people have ever said anything to my face.  EVER.  (Feel free to do so by the way….I would love to hear you tell me about how I am hypocritical about money).

There has long been a firmly held – but incorrect belief – that landholders and primary producers are “rolling in money”.  This belief I should say, is held by extended family members as well, not just by public.  However, for anyone that has been involved in agriculture to a reasonable degree, will know that the reality is not further from the truth.  True, our assets and the things we own are worth quite a bit of money, but assets do not equate high income.  In fact, the opposite is almost true for agriculture.

Think I’m stretching the truth?  Well how about some facts and figures.

It is common knowledge that in April last year, two of the biggest milk processors announced (for different reasons) that they were going to average the milk price to $5/kgMS (milk solids).  Dairy farmers do not get paid in c/litre like the public buys it.  So I imagine that $5/kgMS sounds pretty impressive.  Except for the fact that it is UNDER THE COST OF PRODUCTION for many dairy businesses.  In other words, we were – and still are – being paid less for our milk than what we can make it for.  Many half enlightened do gooders helpfully suggested that farmers just stop milking.  After all, the processors need the milk, so if we turned off the tap so to speak, then they would have to pay us a higher price.  Ummm….no.  That’s not how it works.

Dairy cows, like many agricultural animals, cannot simply “turn off production” like turing off the aforementioned tap.  The timing of the price drop also meant that a large proportion of the southern dairy farmers were caught in their peak milk period (i.e., the time of year that they produce the most amount of milk).  Stopping production was not something we could do.  In addition to this, if enough dairy farmers cease producing milk and the total amounts falls to a certain level, then there actually is legislation that can force dairy farmers to milk cows.  Did you know that?

So in May and June, in a bid to even out the year’s price to an average of $5/kgMS, the processors actually dropped the price to $1.80 ish/kgMS.  This effectively gave us a negative cash balance for those 2 months.  This is the TRUE part.  Families COULDN’T AFFORD FEED THEIR FAMILIES MUCH LESS RUN THE FARMS.  But as I mentioned above, we still had to milk.  And feed cows.  And buy fuel.  And purchase chemicals.  And run the farm like nothing had ever happened to the milk price.  Oh, and we still had to feed our kids, pay school fees, daycare and kinder fees and continue on like normal for our kids, like the stress of the world was not on our shoulders.

As an example, for our May milk (paid in June) we received just over $10,000.  The day my milk payment arrived, I opened up 2 bills from Barwon Water.  Each of them was over $5,000.  So the water bills alone used up my monthly money.  And I still had to feed cows, purchase dairy supplies, pay staff (’cause they don’t work for free!), pay fuel and and that point in time, was paying for seed that we needed 2 months earlier because tunnel moth and red legged earth mite destroyed 3/4 of the pastures on our farm.

Sounds exciting and so lucrative doesn’t it?

In order to get through those 2 months, most of the autumn calving farmers were forced to take a loan with their respective milk processors.  These loans were paid to us to bring us back up to a $5/kgMS for May and June milk, BUT the kicker was…..we have to pay that back with INTEREST.  Even though we were backed into a corner to take it in the first place, by the result of mismanagement that had NOTHING to do with us.

This is a simplistic view of the situation, however, comments from outsiders on how we use our money are also simplistic in nature too.  Just keeping it all on an even keel here.

Taking holidays.  Ok.  When Tom (who is 11yo) was a baby, Mark and I went away and stayed in a self contained house for a couple of days for a break from the farm.  It was at that point that we realised that we could not afford to take holidays in motels/hotels/resorts anymore.  We needed at least 2 rooms and that hiked the price up substantially.  So when Biddy (now 9yo) was a baby, we purchased a caravan and that is what we take holidays in.  We go to low cost places, where the kids can entertain themselves and we cook our own meals most of the time.  For a family of 6, our 10 day holiday in Apollo Bay works out to be cheaper than some of my friends who have smaller families but go to Melbourne or Sydney for the weekend. (Oh and I should say that we holiday in Apollo Bay because it is close enough to the farm, that if anything needs doing, we are close enough to nick back).

The tone of the comment – and others before – have been that we must have it pretty good if we can go away for 10 days, 2 weeks or even a month (every 3rd year) at a time.  Just another comment that gets me riled a bit.  Those that are working in paid employment enjoy their time off.  Whether that be on a traditional weekend (Sat/Sun) or whether it is over the school holidays, or whether it be during the week.  There are very few people who as employees get NO time off at all (and if you think you are getting no time off, then your employer is probably pulling a swift one on you, because by law, you are entitled to regular time off).  Not so for us.  Each YEAR, we get one 10 day break and one 2 week break to spend time together as a family away from the farm.  That is it.  We don’t get weekends off, or every school holidays, or even public holidays.  If we want to spend time as a family, then we all trudge up the paddock and help out with the tasks.  Just to spend time together.

In a year, there are roughly 96 weekend days, 12 public holidays and 4 weeks leave.  There is also sick leave for those that take it and use it as holiday (yes, as employers we know people do this).  So for the average worker, there are about 128 days that you are free to spend as you will.  With your family if you wish, or working on your projects, or sprucing up your house, or taking a holiday.  If I added in a few more days over the course of the year on top of our annual holidays, then we spend 30 days away from the farm as a family.  That means the average Joe has about 100 MORE HOLIDAY DAYS than us, and 1/3 of that is PAID LEAVE.  Ironically, when we take leave, we have to not only pay for the holiday or break we are taking, but we also have to PAY FOR STAFF TO BACKFILL our jobs.  So we pay twice.

Again, sounds great hey?

Many studies have been done that show that everyone needs leave.  Everyone needs downtime.  So why shouldn’t dairy farmers?  Why, when we take leave, people look askew at us and assume that we are either rolling in it, or hypocritical about our spending habits?

Finally, the house extension.  This is an easy one.  How many people buy a house with cash?  How many renovate their homes with cash? I’m guessing not very many and of those that do, it would be in the extremely low percentages.  So if “normal” people are taking loans to do this major stuff, why wouldn’t people assume that dairy farmers do the same thing?  The money to renovate doesn’t grow on a money tree out the back.  We will have to borrow it like anyone else.  And pay it back with interest.  Like anyone else.  Should farmers have to live in standards of housing below anyone else in the community?  Why can we not improve our lifestyle and farm assets?

Some may comment and say that it is hard luck for us, and we chose to be dairy farmers and so, by extension, we should just learn to live with the short vacation times, houses that our families have stretched to beyond capacity and the milk price fluctuations.  Yes, in part, that is true.  But what we shouldn’t have to do is JUSTIFY ourselves and the way we operate our businesses and family lives to people that have no idea about what we have to go through.

What I ask is this; THINK about what you say before you say it.  Perception is not always the reality.  If you are not prepared to have a microscope placed on you, your business and finances, don’t do it to us.  If you want to be educated about the issues facing the dairy industry and how they affect our lives, ask us.  Don’t gossip behind our backs.

So I ask again…..who’s business is it?  Who’s business is it to question what we do in regards to our business.  The answer is, no-one outside the business.


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Fat Unfeeling Farmers Fingers

Category : Dairy industry , Family , Funny

For a good many years now, I have had a bit of a dig at Mark in regards to his hands. A typical dairy farmer, they are large, calloused and very strong.  He works with them every single day and he is always amazed every time we go away how they clean up real nice!

The thing is though, Mark has no idea how hard and how strong his hands actually are.  Yes, they have cradled all our babies with utmost gentleness.  Yes, they have managed to do delicate tasks like doing up some of my jewellery.  But pretty much, on the whole, they are tough and – quite frankly – painful!

When Mark tickles, it hurts.  When he attempts a massage, it hurts.  When he playfully grabs at your knee, it HURTS (I cried once!).  So for many years, I have referred to his extremities as “Fat Unfeeling Farmers Fingers”.  Mark has even been stymied by the size of some smart phones, because his fingers mess up the buttons (he now owns a Samsung Galaxy, not really because of features, but because of size).

So, I was amused when I was forwarded this blog post by my mum, of a fellow local dairy farmer, and her experience of this “Fat Finger Syndrome”.  It appears that I am not alone!