Sunday, 29 November 2015

Illegal Analogies: Farming Style

Yet again, the Dairy industry has been ripped into, but this time round they've pretty much got it so jolly well wrong. It's pretty disgusting; what they've filmed, how they've gone about it and who they're blaming.

Firstly - they set up hidden cameras in a private place. On private property. That's illegal, everyone knows that. Yet, somehow these happy little whistle blowers have still managed to very quickly and easily, score themselves a prime position on TV - Sunday.
They've filmed a heap of clips, illegally - claimed animal cruelty and pointed their grimy fingers at dairy farmers because, quite simply, somebody needs to be blamed. Thus trying to make the country, and then the world go into a Strike, refusing point blank to buy any of our dairy products and, quite honestly, destroying our country.
Well, that's the idea they marvel in their minds, but honestly people will get all excited about it tonight and then tomorrow they'll go to work, buy their coffee to go with an extra shot of milk and forget about the whole thing. Fancy that.

So, where to start on this? Yes, OK, I saw the footage, I am disgusted. As a young dairy farming girl brought up around cows and knowing how to care for them properly, I have a lot to say about what was filmed, what was taken from that information and what should be done about it. I certainly don't believe they should've gone about it the way they did. What I saw from the footage is quite simply put. Those people, they're just farm workers, left to pick up the calves from the calving mob. Sadly, farming is one of those industries where more often than not, staff are employed but they're not the nicest of people, they don't care - so long as they've got a house on the farm the family can stay in, and they get a nice healthy wage.
I'm not trying to defend what I saw, seeing a calf kicked across a paddock and then dumped into a trailer. That is NOT normal practice, that is disgusting behaviour that shouldn't be tolerated. If I employed that guy, he would get a written warning for a very good reason, it was animal cruelty. However not all farms run like this, you get a few. But who knows what's going on in that person's life? There could be a number of things, that camera could've caught him on a seriously bad day. I'm not saying that he should be given an easy pass on it, but you can't just take someone on face value.

Moving on, the calves being taken from their mothers, I honestly don't feel the need to explain myself when I know no-one will listen or understand. It is not animal cruelty to remove a calf from its mother - in a beef herd, sure I give you that. But there is a tonne of information you have to understand here, we are helping the animals - believe it or not.
If a small, single calf is left on its dairy cow mother, in the elements to fend for themselves it should be considered cruel. You may say it's natural, but the world has evolved with the use of genetics. You say genetic engineering? No, it's not as serious as it seems.

We breed these cows based on their genetic heritage; to produce top of the line calves for future use and then produce milk to feed the world. One little calf can't simply stay on a dairy cow, not when the cow has been bred for milk production - producing much more than 20 litres a day at her peak. The cow will suffer from mastitis due to not being milked out properly - she has four quarters and more often than not has only one calf. Seems ridiculous doesn't it, that sheep can have triplets but only have the feeding capacity for twins, yet a cow is basically the opposite. Cows suffering from mastitis is horrible, left untreated is a serious offense. Humans mothers can get mastitis too, so what would you recommend there? Exactly, it's not a hard thought to process.
To add to that, calves have been removed from their mothers in the dairy industry for generations. I wouldn't know how long off the top of my head, I'm only young myself. But let me tell you a little secret, you may not know the complete truth after seeing tonight's breakthrough. We don't actually take calves from their mothers as soon as they're born, and if we do we have a reputable excuse for it - for the sake of both mother and baby.
Calves can be left with their mothers for hours, depending on how large the operation is will depend on how often "newborn" calves are taken from their mothers throughout the day. Imagine in the middle of winter, being literally dropped into a freezing environment from the home you had for nine months - you'd be pretty jolly cold, wouldn't you think? Imagine if it was pouring with rain or snow, the ground a big mud bath and you don't know what has just happened to you. Don't you think it may be kind to be taken in, washed and dried, fed some warm milk and snuggled in with some warm calves in a shed? Generally speaking, that's what we do. These animals are our livelihood, we care for them as if they were our own children, we are not cruel, heartless people you make us out to be.

Next on the agenda: bobby calves. You need to understand a few things here too, it seems. Firstly, bobby calves are the end of line, unnecessary by-product of the dairy industry. We can't rear every calf that is born, there is not enough to feed them and they would overpopulate as if this was the dairy cow version of Asia. There is a term we have, in farming there is livestock and deadstock. This may sound awful, but it's the truth - everyone dies sometime and if we kept every animal that was born we would be unintentionally cruel to them because we just can't look after all those calves anyway. It's the same with goat farmers, chicken farmers, sheep farmers, there is always a by-product somewhere. For dairy farming, it's the bobby calves. As someone who has grown up in the industry, I hate the idea of bobby calves. If I could keep every calf and come up with a way to do it, I would. If I could figure a better way, I would do that. But there is only so much this girl can do.
What is a bobby calf? Quite simply, they are the calves who are due to natural mating, they don't have the well known, genetic background and quality to be bred from. We can't spend time DNA testing who their Dad is, we may not be able to prevent inbreeding because we don't have a computer system to tell us what to do - like for Artificial mating.

We sell bobby calves for a pittance. They don't just go as pet food, they're sent to slaughter and sold in the shops as veal, that is a delicacy - so I've heard. The leather handbags you love so dearly,  those calves looked pretty cute huh? How about the glue you use on a daily basis? The gelatin in food products, yep you guessed it - that comes from them too, along with other things along the line. But for that pittance, we have very big hoops to jump through. The calves need to be cared for until they are four days old, many are kept for longer than that and treated like any other herd replacement calf, they can't have an ounce of penicillin anywhere near them, so if one gets sick we can't do anything about it, other than to dispose of it. They need to be looked after in the best way possible, with a full belly before they're picked up and they need to be able to move themselves around unassisted (to be deemed healthy in the eyes of the people picking them up) and that's pretty much it for us dairy farmers. While also, the calves were in crates outside waiting to be picked up. In the Waikato - prime dairy land, that footage is very old. Why? Because bobby calf pick ups from the side of the road were binned years ago across the entire country, they are now picked up directly from their pens in the sheds that they are cared for in. Those calves also didn't have bobby tags, which are essential as they are a track and trace method of the calves from that farm, calves can't be picked up without them and should be sent down the shoot at the house.

A contracted stock truck company is asked to pick up the bobby calves and deliver them to the slaughtering facilities, these truck companies are often privately owned and, I'll be honest, operated by monkeys. Those guys you saw, biffing the poor, defenseless calves? They're not farmers, so stop blaming us. We have all said our views on it, but nothing is done, they are employed by the stock truck company who see the calves as something that'll die soon anyway, what's the difference? They are then dropped at the the next point. I've got something extra to point out, what was on TV in the slaughtering facility, they can't be labelled as farmers. It was another privately owned venture - not the typical Greenlea or Affco, who would be disgusted with that treatment. Again, that was illegally filmed footage in a workplace, how are the media getting away with it? We, as farmers, were disgusted with the treatment of the calves in that environment, I sure hope something is done about that as there is absolutely no excuse.

There are many, many "secrets" in the dairy farming industry, like there is in any farming venture, but we're not keeping them from anyone - urban New Zealand just doesn't want to know. To them, we're just filthy rich farmers, living off a nice healthy income produced from animals we treat like slaves, driving around with our nice vehicles and redbands. I think it is sad that these people can do what they do, try and set us up and knock us down. We are the ones who work hard and earn nothing because we're putting the money back into our livestock to keep them healthy - if we get to the stage we can't even do that our lives may as well be turned upside down, hanging in the balance and we're all hoping for a miracle.
It is sad and shameful that a few pieces of footage, illegally taken can be screened in front of the entire country and make us look to be the bad guys - yet again. The whistle blowers certainly are innocent, aren't they? But you know what? We are innocent until jolly well proven guilty! We are a nation of farmers, everyone is somehow related to a farmer. The country should not be turning against us, simply because of few bad eggs.  Let's face it - there are rotten eggs in every industry and business, isn't it about time some of them were put in the limelight?

It's about time the media started covering the good parts of farmers. They need to take a step back, come politely knock on our doors and ask us nicely to explain our practices, they need to sit down at our kitchen table and learn and try to understand it. They need to walk in our gumboots for a day or two, then they can go back to their TV or newspaper companies and they can tell the world all the good stuff about us, because I'm sick of all the dramatised, set up, "bad" stories taking precedence over what is actually true.

We need to be shown some respect as an industry. Enjoy your coffee, might pay to ask for soy milk tomorrow, if you remember. But consider, where did the coffee beans come from? That's an interesting thought isn't it?

Thursday, 26 November 2015


I've been thinking about a few things lately. I know, I know - thinking is a somewhat dangerous job I take on, but don't worry, I try not to do it too often!

There's a few things I've been wondering about, one of them - clothing sizes. It may be a slightly weird topic to talk about, but I really want to question this: why is every item of the same piece of clothing, in a range of sizes, the same price?
Take this for instance, Dad, Nick and I all wear overalls on a daily basis, they're all pretty much the same - overalls are overalls, the only difference is that I prefer to have half length sleeves and the guys don't. The sizes are a little, odd I guess you could say. Mine are like a size 5 in comparison to Dad being around a 10 and Nick somewhere in between us. We all pay the same price.
It's the same with gumboot sizes, three out of the four of us wear the same gumboot brand, all different sizes - again, mine are quite a bit smaller, but alas we all pay the $70 odd for a pair. I dunno, it just really, confuses me? (Don't get too concerned, I admit to being easily confused) but quite seriously, surely this is just slightly odd?

In this scenario, I'm kinda getting a bit ripped off money wise, getting the physically smaller product yet I'm paying the same price as everyone else and it seems they've got the better end of the deal. I'm somewhat wondering whether I pay the higher price, which therefore covers the cost of making the bigger product of other sizes?
Sure, it doesn't happen all the time - more often than not I'm pulling the slightly bigger item off the rack and thus getting that cheaper deal than what someone the size of a pixie would be paying (absolutely no offense intended to smaller framed people). I'm not saying that the bigger you are the more you should be paying, more so that it should be perhaps a little more relative? And yes, typically clothing and footwear and all that is within a certain criteria of sizes - you wouldn't see a size 5 on the same rack, for the same price as say, a size 20. It's all sectioned out to make it appear a certain way. You wouldn't usually find a t-shirt design that was outside of that S to L range, but still. Do you get what I'm getting at?

Definitely not really wanting to walk myself into a discussion on size differences and all that, but the whole concept of my original argument has been playing around in my mind as of late....

Next on the topic of numbers, is it just me, or is it common for others to constantly see the same number? I'm talking dates, times, actual figures, anything to do with numbers. For me, I always see the same time - 9:11.
I have absolutely no clue on this one, other than the fact it's been happening for at least a year. It's a typical situation, if I'm going to look at the time around about the 9am mark, more often than not it'll say 9:11, even if it's only just changed or it's about to change over again. If I see it in the morning, I'll see it at night too. I never see it once in a day, it's twice or nothing.
I find it a little bit strange, in the beginning I was thinking - is this some sort of sign?! What's going on? But now it's just normal, I sorta get used to it. The thing was that my car clock used to be the wrong time, always an hour ahead because I didn't know how to change it, so even though it was really 8:11, I would see 9:11. Then an hour later at home I'd see the real "9:11" time, and then see it later that night at random.
So yeah, it's a slightly odd situation - I'm not completely sure what to think of it. But you know, these days I see it, smile in my head and I'll know I'll see it later that night too

Finally, I went along again to youth group last night. They've started watching these videos by an American guy, Chad Daniels. I think it's called "Into the Deep", he talks a lot about all the important stuff and I found it quite interesting.
Anyway, last night he was talking on counterfeit and the use of our tongues (how our tongues are like the rudder on a ship, they'll either steer us north or south depending how we use them - quite a good analogy).
With regards the counterfeit subject, he spoke on quite a bit of how to tell if something is real or a fake and how to work out what exactly it is by the clues you can get from it. Jo, one of our youth leaders then moved on to speak of how, in China as a tourist you go into the country with Chinese currency, but if you walked down the streets in the markets it's easy to be deceived into swapping your currency for another type of Chinese currency. However, tourists don't realise that the currency they've now got can only be used in certain stalls - so they're getting pretty jolly ripped off there and it's hard to swap it back.
But she brought it back to the original concept of as a person, being one and only one currency. Don't be anything but yourself because otherwise you may not be able to go places and do things if you keep topping and changing between currencies - when you really consider it, it's quite an interesting way to think about life, isn't it?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Be Au Ti - ful

It rained yesterday, so, jolly, much! 33 whole millimetres of rain! It wasn't just drizzling, the rain came over the whole day, seemed to rain for most of the daylight hours, nice and constantly heavy. It was fantastic. I got home from milking that night, said, "I'm off for a shower..." was then told, well, enjoy your shower, take as long as you like, perhaps give us a gold coin donation for the use of the gas (perhaps have a cold shower even?) whatever you do, use the water! The tank was just about to overflow. Ridiculous!
We have filled the tank, well not completely but we've had two truckloads of water in about 3 weeks, now the tank was close to overflowing and washing itself down the drain. You just wanna like, I dunno? Scream? So I stood in the shower for as long as I could tolerate, when you get bored and have to resort to (not singing!) but reading the backs of the shampoo and conditioner bottles, you've been in there too But I do have to owe it to studying chemistry, which taught me the language of seriously overextended chemical names for ingredients in shampoo and conditioners....Where would I be without that knowledge? I wouldn't like to hazard a guess.
Anyway, so I said the rain must be filled with Beryllium, gold and titanium - see the title ;)

So yeah, we've been busy and not busy, but busy all the same. As I quite often talk about. I'm relief milking 7 days a week now, twice a day. This week I'm covering 5 different farms, but I'm not complaining and neither is my bank balance. Let me just say, being considered a "full timer" for a change at this time of year - more than 30 hours of work a week, is brilliant. To think that last week I did 35 hours of just pure milking, is pretty jolly good! Keep it coming I say, usually I'd expect no more than 20 hours.
But, in saying that I am covering for Dad and Nick. They don't really have time for milking anymore, save for the odd milking here and there that Nick will do. Why? Because this is our silly season for spraying gorse for lifestylers and building fences, it'll be like this all summer long - well into about March at least. So it's mainly just our other relief milker and myself doing all the milkings, again, not that I'm complaining.
However we still have that issue of needing extra helpers - do you know how difficult it is to find someone who fits this description: Drug free. Fit and able. Team Player. Committed to the job. Enthusiastic. Does what they're told. 
Quite literally, there is no-one who fits that description, even after Mum called WINZ to see who we could give a job to, even offering if they lived in the area and had no transport that we would cart them to and fro. But, nothing. All they need to do is help with fencing, pulling wires, holding battens, doing basic work that needs little to no experience for. In saying that, Mum and Dad are on their way back from Auckland airport, having since picked up my cousin George. He's after work, so he'll stay with us for the next month or so, help us out by finishing the jobs faster and getting paid more money than he would with more hours than anything offered in Wellington. A win-win situation. :)

Monday last week we did something spontaneous, jumped in Nick's ute and went fishing on the beach after I got home from work. It was stinking hot, and our beaches are amazing, they're everywhere around here (great thing about living in the sort of area of Twin Coast Discovery!) basically we can go in any direction and find a beach. Everyone local knows about most of them, typically you need to drive down hard metal roads through bushland to get to them. This time was a new place to us, the only place around here you can drive right onto the beach. So that we did, drove out onto the sand (mum and I a little stressed about sinking in the sand lol), backed the ute up to the ocean and set the lines.
Two proper surf-casting lines (they're longer, seriously longer - 10 foot?), a basic shorter fishing rod and Nick's reel and kite set up (similar to a Contiki, except you use the wind to blow the kite out, thus pulling out the line and hooks). Sadly, there wasn't too much wind so we mostly just used the rods.

DID YOU KNOW that when something is biting on your line, you're not actually supposed to pull it in? Did you think we were there to fish? Gosh no, try feeding the fish, poor little beggars they might've died from starvation you know..... -_-
So anyway, I'm holding a rod and I can feel it tugging. Give it a few quick, sharp yanks on the line. Wait a minute, yep I can feel something on there. Start reeling it in, the odd big pull of the whole rod every so often. Nick comes over,  "what are you doing? Stop pulling it in!" "There's something on it!" *Nick grabs hold* "oh, there's something on it!" *Quickly reels it in* Meanwhile, I'm just standing there dumbstruck, what the heck just happened? He stole my line, that's MY FISH! Don't you dare try taking the credit.
It wasn't too exciting, here was me thinking it was something massive, it was just a baitfish quite a decent size but not edible for us. I unhooked it, it looked at bn me, mouthing "save me!" Nick grabbed it, cut the head off and forever those eyes stared at me in the bait bucket..."I trusted you..." The shame. I murdered a flippen fish, man I felt guilty.
Apart from a few bait fish eventually caught on the kite line, and a few crabs caught on the rods, the fish weren't biting. I was mortified though, pulled something in, saw a small body waving around in the sand, I absolutely freaked and thought I'd pulled in a baby turtle (do we even have turtles in the water around here? I dunno), ran up to it expecting to grab hold and put it back in the water. Then realised it was a MASSIVE crab, on it's back, pincers flying around snap snappity snap. There's a possibility I squealed, and ran in the opposite direction. Crabs are flippen evil, scary things. Eeek.

Yesterday I donated blood again, very well behaved little Miss O Negative. I'm quite excited to know that the rescue helicopters are now carrying O- on board, so it keeps inspiring me to keep on donating as often as I can (Every 3 months). I've done 5 donations now, in about two and half years? Got a gift yesterday for it being my 5th donation, a NZ Blood water bottle. It's actually my second water bottle,  as I randomly got given one as it was only a couple days after my birthday when I donated (lol). At 25 donations, you get an umbrella.
Although I get a really good buzz out of donating for a blimmen good cause, I feel really gutted because I looked around yesterday, among all the people there to donate, I was the only one in my generation. Everyone else was, I dunno, 30's and older. It's such a shame, it's not as if you really lose anything out of it, just 20 minutes of your day, blood is replenished anyway. Yeah I just really wish more people I knew could just give it a go, at least once.

But, who am I to talk? I was happy, my hemoglobin levels were pretty much perfect, meaning I'm obviously eating enough red meat to have good iron levels. What I was curious about though, is that none of them wear gloves - seems a bit odd, wouldn't you think? They're all like, what medication have you taken recently? What are the chances of you having this disease or that disease? Have you been to the doctors lately, why? Any chance of having HIV or anything like that? No? Good (lots of detailed questions about that, by the way...). But I'm just like, what if people lie? What if people don't realise? You're pricking their fingers, then you're touching me. Sure, they are careful to not touch any blood and all that, but I'm just like, seriously? You're putting so many lives at risk here, when we are here to help others. I dunno...

Anyway, it only took 4 minutes to fill a blood bag, what 500mls? 750mls? The fastest it's ever been for me, first time took almost 10 minutes. Mum made a valid comment, "don't slit your wrist accidentally..." AKA, I'll bleed out pretty jolly quick. As she said that, I went to pick up Pippa....who grabbed me around the wrist with both front paws and her teeth and bit down hard. Evil kitty.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

I Have the Chocolate...Mwhahahaha

It's Mum's birthday today - Happy Birthday Mum!! Along with a book, I got her a box of Roses chocolates, which admittedly, were opened quite quickly ;) Now though, she and Dad are headed off to Mitre 10 in anticipation to wander around the garden centre - will likely come back with trees and plants we have nowhere to put but that's not the important thing I'm getting at here. I am HOME ALONE, with chocolate - that isn't mine. Sense a bit of mischievous behaviour going on? Absolutely not, hehehe

So we've had quite a busy week - apologies if I haven't gotten around to replying to comments, emails or texts and all that. Just, yeah. Busy. Chaotic. All of the above. You know?

With Young Farmers, there is a competition - now called FMG Young Farmer of the Year, it happens every year, starts off with District contest, the top competitors moving up to Regional and then the overall winner of each region competes in the National Contest.
So, our region we have two District finals, as our five clubs are kinda all over the show. Last Saturday we had our district competition which was fantastic, 10 competitors, seven of whom were from our club and my brother convened it (so he had to come up with all the modules, how they'd be run, organising materials and judges etc etc).
The day was jolly hot, I can imagine everyone got sunburned - myself included. I was helping out with judging the livestock module. (If you haven't really heard of it too much before, in the Districts the competitors rotate from one module to the next and so on, each module takes 20 minutes and you've only got a couple minutes to do a quick mark up before the next person arrives).

With the livestock, Tim and I were in the stock yards all day,  with not really anywhere to sit and there was absolutely no shade, bit of a shocker really when everyone else had some form of gazebo. But yeah, it was certainly interesting watching different styles of handling stock. From those people who weren't really involved with animals having the most difficulty, to those who handled sheep more than cattle having a few problems and those who handle cattle every day having the easiest job.
They had to draft out, single handedly, the six heaviest heifers from the group of 10, just by looking at them - not the most easiest as they were all around about the same size. Put them through the race, work out how to use the scales and weigh them. Check the teeth on one animal, and work out its age (some people cheated and looked at the eartag...) and then name breeds of New Zealand beef and sheep from the pictures provided. But yeah, having not participated in the contest before, it gave me a good insight for when I enter it next year as a competitor.
But it was really hard for me, to stand there and watch them struggle to draft the animals on their own, watch them set up the yards prior to drafting (or not doing it at all!) and thinking in my head, nope I would've done that differently! I found it seriously frustrating to stand there and watch, because you can't help unless they ask for it, thus losing them points.

So yeah, the day went without a hitch - kudos to my brother for his brilliant organisational skills, and sadly I missed the judging because I had to go back and milk that afternoon, but hey. The important part, the top four contestants who are moving up to regional level include three of our club members - blimmen awesome!

On Monday Mum and I checked in at the hair dressers for our annual(ish) hair appointment. Me, just a tidy up. $40 later. Pathetic though, she asked if I was still at school? It would've been $25 if that was the case. If I'd known that, I would've said yes! Why? Because all these years I've gone there and they've never, ever asked. So. Annoying.
Mum and Dad are off to Wellington on the weekend, just a quick trip for my Great Aunties' (Twins) 70th birthday party. I don't even think they're down there for 24 hours lol, but trying to get cheap flights means you need to earlier and later flights...and Nick is also somewhat away for the weekend - trekking it up to the Bay of Islands for the other district final contest.

Mostly, life is good. Busy, Chaotic, I think I mentioned it all a little earlier! It is stinking hot, over 20 degrees most days, the ground is bone dry and the little rain we get is a bit of a misty thing every now and again. We had yet another truckload of house water arrive today, our second one already doesn't bode too well. Fingers are all crossed for, I dunno, a cyclone to come through bringing with it heaps of rain?
I'm working pretty much full time, seven days a week for the next three weeks at least, covering about four different farms each week and it gets to the stage I need to look at the calendar each day to figure out where I'm going, how the fuel situation is looking (the windy roads use so much more fuel...) whether I can leave my milking gear at the shed, or am I somewhere else the next day? Why is all this happening? Because yet again, staff are hurting our clients, pulling out of their jobs and leaving them high and dry. The third one this season for one of our favourite farms, you feel so stink for them but all you can do is help them milk the cows. It's great, I don't mind the work and I certainly don't mind the income - it's just those start times at it again, it really mucks up all your sleeping system, especially the 5am starts, which need 20 minutes just to drive there...up I get just after 4 o'clock.... :(
During the day, I need to get the study in, just three and a half months left to go (bring on end of Feb!), I've stuffed around the last two months and now have three assignments to finish and send in the by the end of the month - I don't know why I do it to myself. Just like, seriously kid, get your A into G (as mum would say!). But you have those confidence/enthusiasm boosts, when the one paper you sent in gets returned with, and I quote, "difficult to find faults" comment. Perfect!

I popped into youth group for the first time since around May, last night. It was nice to go back, but it's definitely changed, however it was nice to be back and just get my mind ticking along with what Jeff was talking about. I kinda want to go back more often (helpful when term is almost finished), because, I dunno you feel a little more, alive when you leave? But I'm somewhat considering now going along and trying the Bible study that some older people I know go to, just to try it. It's awkward, being in that inbetween age. Too old for youth group when everyone's still early/mid teens, but too young to go to this other group when the people you've spoken to are a little younger than your parents. But hey, it might be good. I just have to try it :)

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dear Future Husband (lol)

Now, while we're on the topic - that's actually quite an amusing song "Dear Future Husband", I haven't heard it in quite a while but, hey. Although, it does go against what I'm about to talk about, it's funny, nonetheless.

One question someone asked me at work this weekend, "do you have any dreams and aspirations?"
-Sure, I said.
-Such as?
-Umm, I'll have to get back to you on that one....
Because, currently I'm going through life, knowing full well I do have dreams but I'm not all that sure how to describe them to myself - let alone anyone else. I don't even think I can picture them at all, they're there and one day I'll figure out what they are. But for now, just take life as it comes - you know?

So later on I came up with something..."I have a find myself a bank, who'll give me a lifetime loan with no necessary repayments, that'll buy me a house by the time I'm 25". Because, that kinda is my plan, to save up over the next few years a deposit enough to buy a house with a bit of land - I've got five years up my sleeve, it's possible.
The person however, replied, "oh yeah, is he a nice guy?"
-I was talking about banks, I said.
-Yeah I know you what you said...(laughing)

It just brought back the typical idea, quite plainly that in every relationship she has to live off his wages - sort of thing. I just don't like it. It's such an old fashioned thing that is mostly ridiculous in this day and age, especially when everything is all about anti-feminism and equality. It started my mind stirring for the rest of the afternoon, getting me quite worked up in my head because I strive to be independent. I would rather live by myself, for the rest of my life just to prove the point - that I'm quite capable to look after myself. And yes, that is my proud, stubborn mannerism coming through, but it's true! I hate the idea of having to rely on other people, I'm one of those who is able to work in a team - but if I did it all on my own I'd get whatever it was done, just as easily.

I saw a photo recently, depicting a man hugging his daughters boyfriend, with the caption "whatever you do to my daughter, I'll do to you.." It kinda went viral, but later I read an article on it. The photo was intentionally planned, but it had been taken in the typical way - that every girl needs "protecting" and "saving". Which, I dunno. I don't get a buzz out of that all that much. My parents are taking that stance, yes they're old fashioned - so am I. But I disagree with the continued damsel in distress stature in our modern 21st century lifestyle.
The article was actually really interesting. As the person wrote, "teach your daughters to be independent. Don't let them think they need saving...especially from decent people."

Which is pretty much on par with what is happening in the world these days. I don't mind my parents being protective - it's great, we're joking about it often. But I do mind the idea that as a female I need to be looked after...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


When we first moved up here almost 14 years ago from the Waikato, we originally moved to a Dairy farm on the Kaipara Harbour. I was merely a six year old, but I remember everything. The move was pretty chaotic, we had the drama of my parents being sharemilkes, therefore meaning we had one of the typical moves: leaving the Waikato house before 12pm, but not arriving earlier than 12pm at the new place, up north.

Luckily you can move the farm implements in the weeks prior, while also sending up most of our animals too, the beginning of Mum and Dad's herd ownership. Nick and I didn't actually have all that much to do with the shift, just a wee bit young, so off we went to Nana and Grandad's in Tokoroa and stayed there for a few days. My cat, Tiger, decided to go awol - until the last moment. Friends were gathered to tow trailers of gear, a furniture truck was hired for Dad to drive and the cats were bundled into cages. I can imagine it would've been stressful.

But now, the important part. In my opinion, the place we moved to was and still is, one of my favourite places. We had the Kaipara Harbour right at our fingertips - even if that meant mangroves and shelly beaches, filled with oysters and crabs. We had a section of bush to get ourselves "lost" in, we had horses to learn to ride on and then eventually Mum and Dad bought us our own. Suddenly we were surrounded with other homeschooled kids like ourselves. It was the best place any 6 year old could grow up in, I was almost 11 when we left.

Now I'm almost 20, I haven't been back there in around about 9 years. Yesterday, I got that chance again! Years ago we did a bit of a tiki-tour around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty houses and farms Mum and Dad used to live and work on, way back when they were from being my age - I remember them being quite, in awe? I suppose, seeing somewhere and remembering how it used to be, but then seeing how it's changed, it can be quite dramatic. So that was kinda me yesterday...driving down that long driveway, covered in Poplar trees that seem to have had a growth spurt since I last saw them. Driving past the old cowshed, the house we stayed in and down to the flats that line the shell beach and Harbour. Seeing new trees have grown, and others have been removed.

Let me just say, it's super weird when you go down a race, that diverts into a semi Y-intersection, where inside the corner of the Y was a paddock that held a small pond, surrounded by trees. That was where I came off my bike one day. I was one of those kids who didn't want to use her hand brakes - I preferred to flick the pedals backward instead. I came off my bike a fair bit, always seeming to injure myself somehow. This was one of those times, riding down a slight hill (with Nick, after some cows who ended up in the wrong paddock...) I guess I got a bit of speed up, tried to brake in my own fashion and failed. That was the day that I went straight through a Taranaki gate, at quite a high speed. I don't believe I've ever been covered in so many bruises in my life!
But, alas, the trees are now gone. The pond is filled in. I feel like it was a memory (however awful) that was torn from existence. How can I prove it happened, if all of the landmarks are now gone?

Driving past the house, a view from the race shows that the garage is gone - we knew that, it was taken in a storm not long after we left and Nick and Dad flew over the farm in the helicopter, back when Dad was still flying. I didn't expect to see the old single garage that was behind it, to be gone as well. I've never seen the front lawn and gardens look so open, seeing that someone has removed the treehouse Dad built....but also seeing that the Loquat tree was still there. Fences that we all put in, are now gone from certain areas, the farm is just so run down.
Why were we there? Dad was doing the sprayouts for one of our clients, who now leases half the land. Ironically, it was the first time I've ever been with Dad in the ute, spraying. But he seemed to think I would've been too young to remember the place at all. Gosh no, I think that place had the biggest impact of my life, it's the place I technically grew up in, we were there for almost five years - sure, we've been here a long time. But that place was pretty darn cool for the most part. And it's quite nice to go back there, even for only half an hour at the most!