Halfway through 2005 we’d just taken on a new farm at Walkaway. It was a fairly rushed affair, but we set ourselves up for a big 2006. Organised the finance for a crop, leased another farm at Chapman Valley, and prepared as much as we could to go hard. And then it forgot to rain, and forgot to do so again in 2007. That’s not much fun at all.
I hate the idea of a country / city divide. Both would be screwed without each other, yet there is a perception that Perth has little regard for those in the regions. I’m not sure that’s entirely true; three of my neighbours all have country connections, or hail from the regions and we received a lot of city support during the live export rallies. But it’s hard to argue that point when your State Government drives in the mother of all wedges with recent education announcements.
There are a handful of organisations that are unique to outback living. The RFDS for example. It’s an icon, and the value placed on it by those who may one day have need to call upon its services cannot be understated. Another is the volunteer Rural Fire brigades, or the Ambos. They’re just, well, there. Part of the bush. Services that evolved out of a need specific to living away from the country’s capitals. That those services might not be around is unimaginable.
Another organisation, and one that is uniquely Australian, is the School of the Air.
Yesterday I read two things that bothered me. The first was an article on FIFO and the mental health impacts on workers. The second was the tweet below from someone in agriculture.
Unfortunately neither are anything new and personally both are too close to home. I’ve been in the two industries and seen (and felt) the effects of them. It’s strange, because they are worlds apart, yet they do have one thing in common. Both need to work harder on looking after the people involved. I have close friends still working in both and that tweet above could just as easily be about them. Because nobody sees it coming.
Now I will be the first to put my hand up and say a couple of years ago I would’ve read that FIFO article with some skepticism. They’re on big money, they are waited on hand and foot in camp (and this was before I was one of those doing the waiting) and they know what they’re signing up for when they take the job. Meanwhile farming folk are at the mercy of weather, markets and pretty much everything else. And then I did a mile in their steel capped boots.
Usually when I go to an Agricultural Show it’s been to gawk at something I’d never be able to afford and wouldn’t know what to do with if I got my hands on it, which, from what I understand, is much the same premise as a strip club.
Lately though I’ve been doing the rounds to promote RIDGEVIEW STATION, starting at Mingenew Expo, (pronounced Min-geh-new, not Minge – new; it’s not a beauty salon), followed by Dowerin Field Days, and yesterday I ducked out to Toodyay for their Show, which was, er, interesting to say the least.
The day started well. I wheeled the ute in, found my little 3 x 3 metre site all neatly marked out on the grass, and began to setup. One thing became immediately apparent. When everyone buys a 3 x 3 pop up gazebo to go onto a 3 x 3 site, there’s not a lot of wiggle room, since all the legs want to go in the same spot. Luckily I had the bigger hammer, so staked my claim pretty quickly. It was then I realised the ease of gazebo erection is inversely proportional to how much you paid for it, and lets just say I bought the cheapest one I could find.
It’s taken a while but here’s my new blog. I’ve no idea what it will comprise of, except to say there will be some promotion of RIDGEVIEW STATION, observations on Perth life, probably a bit of commentary on current issues, pleas to buy my book, and the current goings on in my quest to become a full time author. Did I mention I had a book published?
Hopefully those of you who enjoyed Farmers Way of Life will get as much a kick out of this one too.