Friday, 31 July 2015


A few weeks ago we finished one of our bigger fencing jobs - I don't usually help because let's face it, I'm not really fencer material ;) But, Dad has been getting me in to help speed them up with all of the dog's body work that usually takes a while to get sorted. It is beneficial though, I must admit, as it certainly helps the bank balance and it also meant I had a good reason to get those awesome boots - they're purple, and that's all that matters! hehe
So off I went and it worked out quite well, I finally got taught quite a few things. You know how you see it get done, and think Ok, piece of cake. Typically though, it's not all that easy, but it puts it in perspective!
 This job ended up being just over 900 metres of seven wire, battened. While I was there on our last day, I took a quick opportunity to snap a few pictures, for blogging purposes, as they say pictures speak a thousand words, and this might make it a little more interesting for you lot!

As I said before, I got to do a bit more than my usual pulling out long stretches of wire from the spinning jenny's, stabbing them in the ground and cutting the wire to start again on another stretch. Nope, this time Dad had me planing all of the strainer posts and apparently I was quite good at it. It might be possible that I had a bit of knowledge that my Grandad might be standing with me critiquing my work - as it was his planer! One hopes that he too agrees that I didn't do too badly (not that he could tell me anyway...), as it's nice to get things right the first time, and be trusted to continue with no supervision...

After years of helping with fencing, I was finally taught how to do tie-offs - not as easy as it looks. The gloves are quite essential as the wire isn't the nicest, but the gloves seem to slide on the wires. Gotta be held tight, in both hands, curled, twisted, pulled, all at the same time it seems - it's quite an art! Here you go Andrew, I'm keen to know whether we do the same sort of thing up this way as you guys do in Gisborne?
I don't think I did too badly, in the next photo mine is the second from the bottom - a little off line and the curls aren't completely perfect, but with no help given for a change. It's quite fun work, when you get it right lol...thinking about it the second one from the top isn't all that perfect either...the best idea of how we do it is that top one - nailed it. :)

 Horizontal stay - I've never seen them do so many stays before....
 And another from of stay, (I think?) But done with wire instead with the opposite affect. Gee, trying to sound smart, hehe

This is Kermit! For those who don't know, it's our tractor. :P
Another trick I got to try, operating the post banger on a small stretch of about five posts. It looks nice and simple, but there's a lot of technique for it. From memory there are about 5 different operations you can do on it; using the monkey (the actual rammer that you see on the side), moving the whole boom shaft towards or away from the fence, tilting it towards or away from the fence, and tilting it towards or away from the tractor. Then you have to add in holding the post in the correct spot, and guiding the driver to the nearest millimetre.... Dad is pretty spot on with it, he can operate all the different levers as he needs to, while holding the post and guiding the driver - Nick. So by the time the tractor is in the right spot, the banger is pretty much all sorted. I don't particularly like working with it though, once that boom is flipped up, it's jolly massive and I can only just reach the leavers, let alone releasing the chain that holds the monkey in place. So it's not all that safe really, for me to be using it as I'm not physically able to reach things...                                      

 Purple boots - not so clean anymore though...
 And this is how we do footings. Again, Dad doesn't usually do so many, until recently. Just another post bung right in the ground as far as the post banger can get it to stop the main post from moving in the dip, and tied on the other side.
 Nice planed strainer post... ;) It's all in the overall look...especially for lifestylers...
As a side note, this is Tilly! She's the cutest little dog where we feed the calves, and for the first time in three years, I've seen her in a little jacket. She's a funny little thing, friendly but not overly. I just think she's a user, she'll grab a lift from us on the 4-wheeler - but that's all she's after. It's not as if she thanks us or anything...may as well be a taxi service, but she's still pretty cool.

Things are going pretty well lately. Currently it's a battle with the rain and wind, but it's unusually dry for winter and our water tank only has about 5000L left in it - conserving water in winter, what has this world come to? We need the rain, but I'm not yet ready to work in it. So I'm hoping for it to pour down at night, and be clear by the time we're out feeding the calves at 7am - no sleep in's in this house for the next few months, but it's nice to be up early constantly these days and my body clock is getting used to it - rather than the constantly changing sleeping patterns that I'm used to. 5am one day, 7 the next - it's ridiculously tiring.

If you want to know what scary is though, you haven't seen it until you're involved with making Creme know those little custard desserts in the ramekins, with caramalised sugar on top? Nick makes them every so often, man he's good at it and they come out absolutely perfect every time. He was intending on being a chef until all his food allergies arose meaning it wouldn't be practical - why he doesn't cook more often though.....So he learned how to make these from watching it on You Tube, and has since taught Mum.
She made them for tonight, but needed a little help from me. She still has an injured back, (not as bad but still a pain) and I was required to transfer said ramekins into the oven. However, these tiny little ramekins are filled to the near brim, and they're sitting inside a roasting dish filled with boiling water that is near the brim of the ramekins, and the whole thing is covered in tin foil. You CAN NOT get water in the about scary times, my hands have never shaken so much! So I've come to hide upstairs in my room so that I've no reason to touch the Creme Brulee again until I eat my one, with the intention of continuing my assignment and then skyping XJ - instead I've done this. Nice one Kayger...

Monday, 27 July 2015

Goes in Circles

The joys of this time of year are well, few and far between. Everyone is all a little on edge these days and some days can be just a tad more frustrating than others. You know, it's raining quite steadily, the calves in the half round hay barn decided that today was the day they wanted to be set free, and they forced their way past me and the long metal gates that are tied up with wire that constitute as hinges. In the end, you just give up and think, I'm peeved and can't be bothered - they can just stay out and get wet...

Sometimes you have to take a step back and wonder, why do we keep doing this as a job, as a life? But then, for instance, you fast forward to the end of calving and think to yourself, "Man, that was crazy. And I'll do it all again next year, but heck, I can't wait."

I came on here about an hour ago (yep, it's taken me this long to figure out what to say and how to say it), potentially to talk about all the lame things that have been happening, but then I stop and think, "Okay Kayger, how are you going to write this, so that it doesn't sound like you're just being downright negative? Snap out of it!"
You know, I could write all about this last weekend being really slow, about Pippa driving me insane by chewing on every power cord she can get her paws on, missing out on donating blood recently but then wondering how on earth I could do it when I'm already so tired? Considering the slim chance of ever seeing a friend of mine any time in the near future, and worrying about how far behind I'm getting with my study, along with everything else in between...

But then I remember that this isn't what my blog is about, because I've always thought that if I was put on this earth to do something, it must surely be to spread the positivity - at least 90% of the time. We all know how stress just oozes around and spreads itself into every little cavity. I guess you could say, and this is my own silly imagination working overtime, that if positivity was a toothpaste that you used twice a day, you could fight off dental issues quite easily - so long as you kept it up. Anyone else seeing along my line of thinking? Which is why I won't come on here complaining about silly little things going on in my life, when there are surely more productive things to be doing?

It's like when you smile at someone on the street, they'll smile and feel that little bit happier. Then they'll pass it on to someone else they see. It's a continuous circle, so long as somebody starts it. And little kids are always smiling, not just because the world hasn't touched them yet and ruined their innocence, but because they've got nothing to be unhappy about - save for their sandwiches being cut into squares instead of triangles!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Just Cruising But Needing Chocolate!

On Monday we took my car to our BMW specialists for a bit of an operation. Basically, a couple months after I bought it we realised it was losing oil - somehow, and it stunk really bad (think burnt popcorn, not particularly nice early in the morning!)
Not using it, not overheating, not leaking, so to speak - it was just disappearing. We took it for an (early) 100K service and they found it was due to a leaking valve and possibly a couple other related things. I didn't know it at the time, and I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but yet again I had to buy the car with the different engine - that just happens to be just that harder to get into and requires special tools, therefore creating a bigger job. Clever, no?

We knew it had to get sorted, so we got the quote for everything they could possibly think may need doing to fix the issue, and it came back pretty close to $3000. Although they did admit that they've added extra onto the quote because they honestly weren't sure and they didn't want to under-quote us. Due to the lack of work I've had over the past few months, I was grimacing a bit. My parents wanted it fixed ASAP though, so they offered to pay whatever I couldn't and I'd just pay them back. Thankfully though, we heard yesterday that some of the parts they thought might need replacing, actually looked OK, however they did have to replace a couple other little things - o-rings and such - that were much cheaper than the other part would've been. So it's quite possible that it's knocked the price down a thousand - thank goodness.
Back in the beginning when I said I was getting a BMW so many people kinda freaked out and told me I was an idiot. Yeah, sure the parts are expensive, just as they said. But hey, at least they're easy to source and they're good vehicles when they're running well. It wouldn't have been a problem if I'd had more work in May and June, but hey.

So, because I haven't had my car, and still don't have it - I'm picking her up tomorrow - I've had to drive one of the utes to get places. And, because it's so old and beaten up already, I had to use our old fencing ute - because apparently I'm rough on the gears and not to be trusted. I'm not saying I'm stupid, but there are some things in this world that I just can't easily comprehend and one of those things is driving manual vehicles - although I'm a heck of a lot better than when I first began. Basically it's the listening to the engine to know when to change gears, and accidentally missing gears, or worse, putting it into reverse while going up a hill that I have issues with. Yeah yeah, I know, ridiculous, right?! I'm just not practical that way, and hey I'm admitting to it.

But I am going to say that I really am getting my head around it, after this week. There hasn't been any stalling or bunny-hopping happening. Yes, I did flick it into reverse when going up a hill and around a corner when changing down into 4th (oops), panicked a bit, had my feet on both the accelerator AND the clutch (hehe) and sent Dad into a frenzy in the passenger seat with cars behind me. But that was the first time I'd driven a manual in well over a year. Changing up gear is fine, it's changing back down that scares me a bit lol!

Yesterday seeing as Mum's back still isn't quite right (it's getting better though) I had to drive. Basically this ute was needed for the fencing gear, Nick's ute was needed to pick up more posts and battens and Dad was needing to drive Kermit (the tractor) between jobs. So it's possible, if you were in the area, which I highly doubt, that you might've come across me cruising along behind a tractor going about 40Km/h, radio up loud and tapping my hand to the beat of the music on the steering wheel while holding it with a couple fingers. Yep, she's relaxed. What can you say, I've been driving nearly 5 years, the fact it was a manual means nothing at all for this girl :D (sighs with relief)

My (our) calfies seem to be going really well, we've got 76 in the sheds currently - not including however many came in this morning. So tomorrow I'd imagine that our first group of replacement heifers will either already be in the half round haybarn, for their transition to going outside, or will be heading out there that day. There's a lot of sorting out to do, as we've got about 20-25 bull calves in there and we're not sure whether the farmer is going to be clever and choose to raise them all until weaning (which will be a really smart move this year) or send them to the sales next week. And there are also a couple of Angus heifers in there too, as we all forgot that the bull jumped in a couple days before AI began last year (hehe). There are quite a few smaller jerseys that Mum wants to hold back for the second mob, as they won't be able to compete with their big Friesian sisters all that well.

As I said before, Mum's back is coming right, but it's still giving her grief. She's come down to the calves with me the last two mornings just to oversee what was going on (even though I've taken over chief calf rearer role!) and just to keep it somewhat moving. The idea though, is that she comes and watches - not do anything, or I'll make her walk home. Tough love in these parts! But I know exactly where my stubborn streak comes from mostly, because I've had to tell her off a few times today. Don't pick that up, don't do that. Stop helping me, you'll make it worse! Argh, she wants to help, but I wish she'd let herself get better properly first. Because honestly, if she doesn't get better I'll have to get one of the guys to help, and we all know that males have low tolerance/patience levels when it comes to calf rearing. (No offense intended to my readers!)
Not sure about feeding lambs, but calves, no leave that up to Mum and I, please.

Tomorrow night I'm catching up with Sam and Chantelle to watch a couple DVD's for what seems to be our monthly catch up. And currently I'm so jolly tired, for no reason whatsoever, all I'm really after is some chocolate :)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Without Faith - A shared poem.

Sorry guys for the influx of posts lately! But I wanted to share this before it disappeared. I'm pretty sure you will take it the same way I did. It's a few years old, but sad and very, very true....It's hard to read, but keep going right to the end, it gets better, I promise.

Without Faith

He looks out upon the baron land
And sighs a breath of pain
His hopes, his dreams, his livelihood
Been crushed from lack of rain.

His finances diminished
His stock a dwindled band
And he feels like a helpless onlooker
As life slips through his fingers like sand.

A young man of forty deplenished
Though still young he is ravaged by stress
His marriage and bond with his children
Is at crisis point, put bluntly, a mess.

How can he be all that he needs to?
How can he give more when he’s spent?
Physically and emotionally
To the grindstone his life has been bent.

Inheriting the family property
Twenty years of keeping tradition alive
Shouldering debt and commitments
Now he finds he has no strength to strive.

His childhood sweetheart Martha
With darling children Lilly and Tom
Have travelled away for the weekend
To visit her sickly mum.

With trembling hand he holds the pencil
That signed the letter from the bank
And as he wrote to wife and children
His heart and spirit sank.

“These words I write, I could not speak
Or look you in the face
The man I was, I am no more
I’ve neither strength, nor pride, nor grace.

Martha, dearest Martha
I have failed you in this life
Though I have toiled and worked relentlessly
I know I have let down my darling wife.

Too proud to stick my hand out
And accept charity from others
Too stubborn to leave this blasted block
And now I feel strangled and smothered.

I promised for good and for bad
I promised till death do us part
I promised to protect and care for you

I’m so sorry, down deep to my heart.

I have no more to offer
I have no more to give
And my final wish my darling
Is that you will truly live.

Move back to town with your father
Let him care for you and our kin
And please, alway’s remember I love you
And please, please forgive me my sin.

My gorgeous little Lilly
The apple of my eye
Remember our good times together
When you think of me, smile, please don’t cry.

Young Tom, you’re the man of the house now
Take care of our special girls
And heed the mistakes of your father
Oh my little man, I wish you the world.

You children have been a blessing
Please do not carry blame
My fate is not your doing
Please carry on my name”

Through tears of pain and anguish
His saddened eyes look out
To a calf without his mother
She too been struck down by the drought.

His letter not quite finished
But his duty must be done
He puts down his trembling pencil
And replaces it with gun.

The chamber ready loaded
Prepared for fateful deed
But as he looked upon the sickened calf
He felt this beast had greater need.

He would empty out the chamber
To protect the calf from a death more grim
Reload the gun, switch off the safety
And do the same for him.

A swift shot to the temple
Was the way he’d alway’s done
So he walked to head off lonely calf
Beneath the beating son.

The calf was struck with sickness
Snotty nose and wrought with scour
He’d gone without a drink of feed
For many sun scorched hour

He ran his hand along calf’s bony back
Laced with scabbed skin from the sun
Wiped the tears away from bloodshot eyes
And raised the trembling gun.

The calf, two weeks of age and stunted
Weak and battered down by life
Surges forward, head butts the farmer
He would not die without some strife.

“Come back here you foolish youngster
You’ll be better off this way
Your fates like mine, we’ve both been doomed
Let’s end it here today”

He jogs up to the calf’s hind end
And grabs him by the tail
Then the calf kicks him in the stomach
And with a strengthened run set sail.

Over the dam bank down to the moistened earth
Where the water used to lay
He trotted out towards the middle
Then got stuck, that’s where he stayed.

The farmer trudged out through the mud and slush
And sank down to his knees
Placed the barrel tip to calf’s young head
Then the trigger he began to squeeze.

The calf threw his head back left and right
Knocked the gun from out of his hands
His body weak, yet his eye was bright
And it seemed he had other plans.

Within the stare of this young sick calf
He could feel the heart of a fighterWithout
And he shook his head at his own disbelief
Then he cuddled the little blighter.

As he walked from the dam with the calf in his arms
He knew that he too must fight
For though life was grim it was better to live
For his children, himself and his wife.

He took the calf inside and bathed him
Then set him down beside the fire
That he started with the letter
Then he heard the crunch of tyres.

His family had come back home
He welcomed them with joy
And said “Oh it’s great to see you all
Come meet the little boy”

The children were ecstatic
As they fed and cuddled calf
Their dad had named him Faith
And they couldn’t help but laugh.

The family grew back together
Moved to town and changed careers
And if you pass their front yard, say hi to Faith
Their healthy full grown steer.

Written by Guy McLean
In honour of the men, women and children on the land
fighting hard in endless days of drought and difficult times.
Copyright Guy McLean February 2008.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Busy Times Ahead!

Last night was a nice trip out for dinner with the young farmers - skipping our usual pub/bar/restaurant for something a little more, uh, fancy. Well not over the top, but it is in the local "snobsville" I guess you could say, in comparison to the norm anyhow. It was nice, having a change of scenery for once, and trying some different meals. About 10 of us went so the company was quite good too!
Apart from listening to all the guys go on about their Tinder accounts for most of the night (honestly...) it was fun. We went to another place on the way back - uh, what do you call it? Bridgehouse? Bridge-something? I don't know. Some flashish pub/bar anyway - I guess this just shows my naivety when it comes to alcohol related things! Apparently the first car load, including my brother, all got ID'd at the door, yet we walked in A-OK. Sorry, I walked in with no issue, considering all the people I was with are in or near their 30's, hehe I must've somehow blended in - a first for me! Although I might add that the person wasn't even around, so that was probably more likely...

Life has gotten a little hectic here now - (Just as well I didn't go anywhere this weekend aye? :P). I'm not going to stick with the current "my dear ol Mum" line, but yesterday my poor Mum injured her back somehow, possibly related to feeding the calves but we're not too sure. Either way she's taking all the painkillers she can while having immense difficulty moving - these injuries pick their timing, don't you think?!
From now until she's better (and after a trip to the doc's tomorrow, hopefully) I'm taking over as chief calf rearer. Just as well I'm quite capable of stepping up into the role! Although, I will admit that by the end of this week it will no longer be a one person job as the first group will be on the mobile feeder outside as these calves are dropping out like flies hehe.
We'll get averages of 10 to 15 new ones in each day, so it's enough to keep this person busy! These calves are typically huge Friesians (nearly waist height for me), every so often we'll see a red-factor one, (Anyone heard of them?) and the bulls that are sold as four day olds are so jolly solid - you don't particularly want to get your hand in between their head and the feeder....

This week is going to be crazy, starting with tomorrow (who would've thought? ;) ). Dad and I are needing to feed the calves ultra early - about 6am. Then my car is booked in to get its oil issue fixed, meaning I'll be driving it north and Dad will be following to pick me up - a two hour round trip and my car will be away for about a week (please don't ask me about the cost of this, it's too expensive to mention...). Then we've got to get back to help Nick with finishing off our current fencing job, before moving onto the next one, while at the same time racing the rain.
Still not quite sure how I'm going to cope without my car all week, because Mum can't drive I'll be needing to drive one of the utes to feed our calves- all manuals. He he he.

What I am stoked about though, is a free pampering voucher I managed to get. Someone was asking for models for makeup application training. Not that I wear make-up, the cows couldn't care less! But it's always a bit fun, so long as it's done properly...Anyway, without my car I can't make it, so I apologised to the person and she is sending me a $150 voucher for myself and two friends to use. Kinda awesome lol

Meanwhile, thinking lots of positive thoughts so Mum heals up soon, if not for my benefit, but for hers - I know she's going crazy after only two days!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Calves :)

I'm pleased to say that my skills as a calf rearer are still unchanged. The magic touch is still very pronounced after this morning... :P However after seeing the size of these calves, I'm mentally preparing myself for the bruises... o.O

Yay, the joys of calf rearing is set to begin again for this season, as of tomorrow. Apparently there are only four groups inside, so far, meaning that Mum will go and do it herself for now. But, give it a couple weeks and we'll be in the full swing of it!

In the beginning they're cute and all that, but towards the end when you've been doing it for weeks, man they test the patience! But hey, I love them all the same :D

Monday, 13 July 2015

Cool or what?

To lead on from my previous post on fencing you need quite a few safety things to keep everyone happy. (And yeah I suppose it makes us look like professionals, oh wait, that's what we're meant to be...)

So back in the day on the good old dairy farms where we did all of our fencing, we'd just be out there in the summer clothes in the middle of summer, between stock movements or milking and trying to get a new fenceline up over a few days. The tractor driver would have earmuffs, and whoever operated the post banger would have them too cos that monkey hitting the mark is jolly loud.

These days when we're fencing in all sorts of conditions; dairy farms, lifestyle blocks, sheep/beef, residential fencing, because we try to make ourselves look 'professional' and because of all the safety requirements as of late, we have to stick to a few guns. So, bright yellow/green high-viz vests, earmuffs for everyone around the tractor, and Dad has a hard hat while working with the post banger. Work boots for the guys, as they're always tramping around on all sorts of ground, gloves to protect your hands, sunnies or safety glasses when dealing with wire or staple guns. We've always stuck to the good old chaps and such for chainsaw use, so that hasn't changed at all.

Me, I'm finding it a little odd, walking around in a bright yellow vest, although it is good to hold things. Then using my brothers' tool belt (and annoying him by continually tightening it hehe). As of late I've been scrambling around in my good old skellerup gumboots. Not much to them apart from the steel-cap toe.
But, as of today I've moved up in the world! What do you think, aren't they awesome?!

Saturday, 11 July 2015


Unlike normal I've had myself a rather busy week, where I feel like I've swapped places with Andrew by being out helping with a fencing job. It's another job for a lifestyler, but this time it's quite a big job - just under a kilometre of 7 wire battened. Lovely work in the icy cold weather we've been having, sorta like getting really hot pulling out these long stretches of wire, which is even harder once you add in all the corners, but you don't want to pull off the jersey because it's just so chilly. Brilliant, no?
So we haven't been having any snow (lucky us!) but this morning I think we had a record frost and everyone who I've spoken to about it seems to agree. All the waterlines outside were frozen, meaning when I went out to milk this morning I couldn't blast the ice from my windscreen with the hose because it just wouldn't work! What's this? After milking I had yet more ice to break on my car (poor Ali!) and I the good old hands weren't too keen on working either after dealing with the water while hosing down.
Then, blow me down, if I get home to find the heatpump has frozen. That was how I knew it was definitely cold! lol

The fencing has been good though, it's an easy way to get long hours and good money, hard work, but it definitely pays off - especially currently when I'm only getting a mere eight hours work a week. There's also the bonus of finally being taught a few things, as I'm keen on entering the Young Farmers District competition this year, and the fencing competition with my brother. So why not take the opportunity to learn as much as I can while I've got the chance?
So, end tie offs - Dad makes them look so easy, flick that wire round, twist, pull, curl, done with what seems a slight flick of the wrist. I tried, and woah, that's actually really hard! Just the gripping onto the wire, and not creating a memory in it, otherwise you can't fix it easily, keeping the whole thing tight and yeah. Not easy! This is going to take a while to master, but heck, I'm keen!

I'd also like to add a tip when it comes to fencing - I've been helping do it for quite a long time, but there are some basics to it, however every so often you forget.
Don't line up a staple on a post, regain your grip on the hammer, quickly stick your finger underneath one prong of the staple and then hit it hard - it hurts. And you also get blood everywhere and you don't want to be getting blood on a client's nice fence ;)

Friday, 3 July 2015

No Place Else Quite The Same

Yesterday we awoke to discover yet another GDT price drop overnight, and yet again I'm reminded of the uncertainties people suffer in this industry that so many of us consider to be our lives. However I know so many people, young people like myself, who are so dedicated to this lifestyle that they lead - they wouldn't have it any other way, even when times are getting tough.
It got me thinking, what is it in the agricultural industry that keeps proving to people that it is actually a worthwhile place to be?

The other night I went outside for a while with Pippa and for a change I actually just stopped. I stopped and looked around, looked out at the beautiful, clear night - the moon and stars burning the sky alight. I listened to the chickens shuffling their feathers and the pig, Tammy, seemingly grunting in her sleep.
It was almost ten o'clock, in the middle of winter in Northland and it was so utterly quiet. So peaceful. Perfect.
It made me think of those nights in the city while staying with my sister, big apartment buildings in the middle of Auckland. The endless roar of sirens and car alarms, hearing voices everywhere, and being in a place that was so lit up with streetlights, that the sky was painted an artificial colour scheme with seemingly no stars to be seen.

It reminded me of everything I love about the farming life that I've had the pleasure of living in. All the memories seemed to come flooding back to me of all those moments that I loved the most; going with Dad late at night to check the calving mob, wearing pajamas and gumboots, torch in hand and walking around all the beautiful sleeping animals that almost literally made our lives tick. Seeing the cows that I raised, giving birth to the next generation - watching the calves take their first steps in a world where they are so important. Having the knowledge that I would be the one to help raise them just right, so in two years time I'd see it happen all over again with that same feeling of pride.

Shifting cows in the middle of a dry summer, dressed in all the seasonal essentials - only for it to spontaneously pour with rain, getting us absolutely soaked to the bone, yet I just couldn't stop laughing.

Watching your favourite calves grow up and mature, seeing the glint of mischief in their eyes as heifers and in later years when they're much older they'll still look you dead in the eyes, a glimmer of curiosity and knowledge brewing, with their ears pricked forward, because they know exactly who you are - they'll never forget.

By now you're probably thinking that I must be a little delusional upon writing this, but I can promise you that I'm not. For quite a while I've been thinking, who am I? Where am I supposed to go? What am I supposed to do? I have had so many people around me tell me what I should be doing, where I should be going and who I should be. Confusing me to the extremes, making me think that I had no options, that I was stuck in a rut.

But last night, standing outside, all alone except for my Pippa and the chilly Northland air, I realised. I'm staring it straight in the face. I'm already where I'm meant to be, this isn't a rut this is a niche. In farming it seems like there are so many lows, that there is nothing other than endless hard work and stress and so many think they need to find a way out - that there is no escape.
However as a good friend and I recently discussed, life is only as good as you make it. It is not the industry that is the problem, it is the mindset of the people within it. It is not the industry that is somehow proving to some and not others that it is a worthwhile place to be in, it is the people, the animals, the feelings of pride and success that keeps it going. It is the environment itself.

I didn't know where I was going because I am already here, I am one of the lucky ones with all my opportunities spread out at my fingertips. I am in this industry and this is where I'll stay - because there honestly is no place else quite the same.