Thursday, 25 February 2016

Course: Completed. Next level unlocked!

What can I say? I'm finished my course! Yippee, level 4 Dairy/Ag all done and dusted, finally after this year long course it's nice to see myself getting a break for the next couple months. Yep, I probably could've gotten it finished sooner, but procrastination is my best friend - or frienemy? And leads by a bad example. Anyway. It sure was nice to put the last two assignments in the post box today, yep there might be a chance they might not quite pass, they were probably the most confusing assignments I've done but if they need modifying in a couple weeks when they come back, they do. I'm not too worried.

In the meantime, this is like recess! I'm giving myself a couple months of "me" time, no study just anything. My plans? Well Bee got me this really neat CakePop maker thing for my birthday that I've seriously been meaning to try out, but just haven't had any spare time, so next week sometime that is going to be on the list of "to do's"! That and those recipe books Mum and Dad got me for Christmas, all on baking and chocolate - Mum and I need to rally together and get into some baking and try out some new recipes. Should be fun :)

Mum's recently been down to Rotorua, Dad and I did the trip down there on the 15th, basically got down there at about 9:30pm and turned around and went back home again straight away after dropping Mum at Nana's. The idea was for her to be down there for Grandad's anniversary. So she was down there a few days until Dad picked her up again on Thursday.
The trip back was, interesting. Dad was super tired but obviously I couldn't drive - after not having driven a 6 speed manual before, let alone that ute, I wasn't too keen on taking over - not that he was going to let me, or ever will! But, we got lost in Auckland! At midnight! There was a detour as they'd shut the motorway, which was all well and good. They'd put out detour signs and saying what direction you wanted to go in for north, south, or west - until the signs just, stopped. Gee, thanks guys for assuming everyone passing through will know inner city Auckland like the back of their hand. -_-. So, around we went and somehow managed to get ourselves on the southern motorway again. Simply looking at google maps wasn't helpful, so Dad called up Siri - the iPhone assistant. "Take me home, Siri!" She's figured out our address, who knows how, I'd hate to think?! :/ and can direct you when you're lost, so that's helpful. Except that she doesn't factor in roadworks or detour signs. SHE was the one who got us onto the southern motorway.
Once we got back onto the detour, dearest Siri sounded pretty sarcastic with her directions as if she thought it was a marvelous joke, the detour signs had ended probably because there was writing in certain lanes, directing you to specific motorways. What's wrong with overhead signage or something?! Anyway, it took us a good half an hour to get back onto the motorway at the right place, and we must've gotten home about 1:30, quarter to two. Thank goodness I wasn't milking the next morning....

But things have been busy, work is coming out of our eyeballs, which is good. But it is a slightly uncomfortable situation, you know, posts have a bad habit of splintering and having them go through one's eyeballs isn't pleasant...Dad has recently redone/built/upstyled one of our trailers which took a good week worth of work between him and Nick. I have to say, it looks blimmen awesome! Much more useful than the previous one and much more user friendly too. To think, that originally my parents got an Auckland trailer building crowd to build this 4.5m trailer for them - but it was basically made of nothing, I've no clue how it has hauled as much as it has over these last 8 years or so...Only problem is, the first day using the upgraded one, Dad almost broke his leg!
The sides are framed up and half the height has ply, but the top half is open - a perfect size for a leg even. He and Nick were unloading posts, while Dad stood on some strainers that were also on the trailer, something happened, Nick dropped the post, Dad tried to catch it, the strainers rolled and then suddenly his leg was hanging out the side of the trailer. Oops, ouch, couple pulled muscles but thankfully nothing broken... o.O Better not be doing that again, I think he's gonna make a few amendments...

I'm getting plenty of milkings to keep me happy, all this week coming in fact, are only once a day milkings as many farmers have gone once a day, regrettably but I don't mind not having to milk in the heat and I'm sure the cows aren't too concerned either! Although that is good in itself now that I've finished my study I'll be back into helping with fencing, tomorrow I'm battening with Dad. Yay! Hopefully I'll be able to help speed them up a bit, even slightly. We've got so much fencing work it's not funny and get more phone calls every day...I think we're booked until mid April. Fun stuff!

In other news, I've decided to join the group of Young Farmers from our region and head on down to the Grand Final Young Farmer of the Year competition. This year it'll be in Timaru about mid July for three full on days, so I'm booking five days off to allow for the traveling down. From what I've heard of Grand Final, for the spectators it's pretty cool. There's lots of additional things, not just the typical competing of the competitors, there's a few other competitions too, like a photography competition that I'm entering a few photos in, and a tug of war competition, fencing competition, claybird competition etc etc etc, even Agri Kids and Teen Ags are competing too, the best teams from each region just like the Young Farmers. There's all sorts of stuff to do, Mystery bus trips, big black tie dinners, all sorts of cool stuff that you just need to go to if you wanna be a full on Young Farmer member. That, and they're also planning some major changes, so I want to experience the original experience before missing the boat...much like the flag debate. Hmm.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

2016: Zooming On Past

It's been a whole year since my Pippa arrived! So, I sorta celebrated her birthday today, actually well yes and no. I didn't wrap her up in a birthday suit, but I gave her a little more attention than normal.

Actually I wandered out to the compost bin today, via the garden and discovered a good handful of beautifully red strawberries - honestly I would say they're the best looking ones we've had all season. Then turned around and realised how many tomatoes were ready, I kid you not, the tomato plants basically died and we pretty much gave up on them. Now we're inundated with these massive tomatoes of a few different varieties, so much so that without my neighbour Sam, knowing, I dropped some off at his house on my way to work the other week - then texted him to say they were there. So I kinda didn't give him the opportunity to say no, lol, the tomatoes needed a home!!
It's funny really, tomatoes are the one thing in our garden that I eat and always have eaten, without a second thought. So long as they're red, I'll chuck 'em on anything. Everything else I'm concerned about bugs and slugs being inside them Yeah I'm kinda living off tomatoes at the moment, there are worse things to be eating!

Anyway, we've also got a whole heap of buttercup pumpkins growing, another lot of seedlings that we left in their pots and never got around to planting them out properly, until one day I kinda went a little mental and said it's ridiculous growing things if we're not gonna actually give them a fighting chance. (It was more the fact that the garden was already overburdened and we didn't really know where to put them!) So into a garden they went, and I had the brilliant idea of putting the lawn clippings around them to keep them moist, well, now they're going ballistic and are known as "Kayger's buttercups" haha. I keep pulling off the unnecessary flowers but today I realised how many massive bumble bees were in there, so I grabbed my phone and took heaps of photos. The Young Farmer Grand Final contest includes a photography section in the awards, among other things where you can put your club and region out there a bit more in front of the nation, so I'm gonna enter a few categories and see what happens. Zooming in on bumble bees inside massive yellow flowers is pretty fun!
But Pippa was helping me so I got some of her too....and then she and her buddy Jackson chilled out under the barbeque.

Life is, pretty basic these days. They say we'll get hit with a cyclone...maybe. They say the humidity will pass, lol that's a Tui ad! I got nicely tanned up again yesterday while I helped Dad and Nick with some fencing, I'm very lucky (touch wood) to have not gotten overly burnt this year - just a nice, crisp brown. The weather is painfully hot at midday, which is typically when you want to be out of the sun, but that's when we're working in it. Lovely. And milking in this heat certainly isn't pleasant either, what with the heat, humidity and a few hundred massive cows crammed into a concreted area with concrete walls surrounding you, plenty of sun gets through (especially with that skylight plastic roofing) but hardly any air-flow, yep, it's great.
But I'm not complaining, the work is good. It's taken me a bit to get back into the swing of it, but these days it's easy to get up just after 4am, as once I'm up I'm generally awake. If I have the odd sleep in here and there I wake up at the same time anyway, go back to sleep and wake up after 7 feeling worse. Fantastic! No, work is good.

Trying to get my assignments done is more of a problem, as these days I'm filling myself up on antihistamines to stop the sneezing, which then makes me sleepy, which then makes reading particularly difficult. I really shouldn't do this to myself, leave most of my study to the last month and a half, but it's painfully boring!!
What's worse is that this is my last lot of the course, thus needing to be finalised by end of February. One assignment completed and sent away, one lot of reading material almost finished and one assignment half completed which is now at a standstill as they missed out a heap of information in the reading material (quite literally, half a sentence and then a blank page) which is needed in the assessment and I've absolutely no clue how to do it. Waiting for them to get back to me. Ha!

I've also recently discovered that the next course I plan to do - Agribusiness Management Level 5, is in fact just another "certificate" qualification, not the Diploma I thought it was, and it's basically a lead in teaching on being self employed. Which, I dunno. I kinda feel the need to keep on studying while I'm young, but then I also don't want to spend $700 on another year long course (I admit, it's cheap really) if it's not what I want to learn and will I get anything out of it anyway? Argh, decisions. I don't want to look like one of those people who spends a lot of time and money doing things that might come in handy, when really on a C.V. it just shows that I'm one of those people who has no clue what to do and has the potential to be yet another 'career changer'. Meh, no clue, whatsoever.

In saying that, I'm going to apply for an exchange trip to Scotland for June/July in 2017. The Young Farmers organise the exchange for one accepted Young Farmer member, and (so far) provide $500 towards the costs and farming host families in Scotland cover your accommodation expenses. Well I don't know all that much about it, other than the fact it's a 6 week exchange trip where you meet with heaps of other young farmers in that general area, you get hosted on farms and you get to learn about their ways, and such forth. Scotland is somewhere I've always wanted to go, so I'm determined to apply and hopefully meet the criteria as best I can - with the intention of getting over there before I'm 25 (if I don't get accepted in the first couple years of applying). I looked at one of the previous years' applications of the guy who was accepted and he seemed to be a real industry 'big-wig', I guess is the best way to describe him (out of admiration, rather than being judgmental).
He had worked his way up in his farming career, heaps of qualifications and within the Young Farmers club and region he was involved in, he'd had a lot of roles in the executive committee, and such. So I figured, okay, looks like you have to be pretty awesome to be given the opportunity, thus I started planning.

We had our young farmers regional AGM on Tuesday night, where all the new executive committee members are elected for our region, I had previously been put up for Secretary but unfortunately didn't get enough votes. I thought, if I can go up in the roles each year and prove myself as a willing, hard working, fully involved member then it will increase my chances. But I did get my Publicity Officer role back again partly I think, because it's one of those roles where nobody else wants to do it, and partly because I showed last year that I was more than capable of getting things done well in a timely fashion. So, yeah ok, kinda bummed that I was beaten to the post of secretary again, but hey - sitting typing minutes and not really being part of a meeting is kinda lame anyway!
However, Duncan, a guy from the national Head Office was there on the night, he mentioned the exchange trip (mostly because a Scottish lass or lad will be coming over here and will need to bunnyhop between member's farms across the country for 6 weeks), so I asked him about it later on. Apparently, so it seems, in a good year only three (yes, 3) people apply for the trip. THREE?! WHAT?! So my chances of getting in are exceptionally high, not only but also, the criteria is simply to be a good member of young farmers - heard straight from the horses' mouth. Like, huh? Duncan basically said to just get in and apply, definitely. But perhaps give it a couple years as he was working on the young farmer big wigs to provide more money, such as to cover the airfares at least.

I mean, wow OK. Here I was thinking I needed to push, push, push, get good work references and look good in the club and all that. Now here is something to definitely look forward to!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Happily Ever After

Last night I was slowly, gently drifting off to sleep. You know, in that sort of realm between the worlds I guess you could say! When suddenly, I had a thought. Do you realise how annoying it is to have a thought come to mind, knowing full well that if you don't write it all down then it'll be gone by the morning, never to be rediscovered? So I was pretty peeved, but I pulled out my notebook and pen and started writing, it was just after 9pm. By the time I finished it was 11pm, or thereabouts, as it takes a little while to transpose the meaningless thoughts into words and phrases. Eventually I got there, potentially finishing it on a different note to what I was meaning when I first started, and I might've gotten a little lost in the middle, but I thought it was a possibly interesting. Which is why I'm retyping it here...word for word.
Welcome to the crazy world called my mind, where silly ideas come from late at night when one should be asleep.

Everyone would be kidding themselves if they couldn't admit that they wished their life was like a movie, like a book with a sweet ending, like a fairy tale with a "happily ever after". Everyone wishes, at some stage of their life that it would happen at some point of time.

Of course, we all know full well that that sort of thing is written for children to read about while they are still young. To help them to grow and to preserve their innocence for as long as possible, teaching them about the good things that could come from the world if they wanted it badly enough and are willing to fight for it.
Before finally releasing them into the unknown, where only some remember the whole story they were told, while others remember only small parts. Of course, the latter are the typical people that live today - dreaming of that "happily ever after" but not quite knowing the story of their childhood well enough to realise what stages have to happen, what they must suffer through first, to get to that "happily ever after" they dream of.

Confused? Ok, I'm getting there slowly.

Think of typical movies of today; fiction, based on a true story, based on the novel, sci-fi, etc., etc., etc. Almost all of them have a "happily ever after" moment, somewhere. Take, My Sister's Keeper for example. One of the sisters dies but the rest of the family live on happily.
The last 'chick-flick' that you watched? I'd fathom a bet that the perfect girl living in the perfect town, got the perfect guy eventually. Heck, even an action based movie of sorts, they kill off the bad guys and the world is now a better place. The credits roll and everyone watching, smiles and they move on with their lives knowing the characters will forever be happy.
Just like you spend time feeling the emotions of a character in a book, get so wrapped up in the plot that you walk around reality in a daze until you've read the final page, until you read the last word. There is the end of the book but we all know know the main character will be OK. We imagine their "perfect" life they've got and we're happy - but forever dreaming about when will we get to that stage?

(You've made it this far, the main point is coming up!)

We all take the roll of the child who remembers only small parts of the fairy tales. We know what happens at the end but we forget the main points that happen earlier on. We forget that Cinderella used to be mocked and laughed at by those ugly stepsisters, we forget the life she suffered before the whole glass slipper scene and when she actually does get the prince. All we think about is the future "happily ever after" that we are destined to receive, so much so that we forget the here and now and what we have to do in the present to achieve the gift of the future.
Just like we have to go through a whole other year before we can celebrate our birthday again, so we must go through the stages before we can even glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel.

My point is that we go through life accepting the boundaries that society expects. We don't often push them, ignore them or do something excessively extreme. We accept what society expects of us and thus we expect society to give us what we see in return. We see the normal expectation displayed profoundly and distinctly in books and films, so therefore we must surely expect the same?
We must expect to jump through a few hoops and then we will be presented with our "happily ever after" we so dream of. Expecting a perfect life with the perfect partner, house, career, family etc., etc., etc., - because everything works out just fine in the books, why not in reality??

What we don't consider is that in actual fact, if the book carried on until the end of the character's life, we would soon realise that happy phase doesn't last in appearances. The happy couple who finally hooked up at the end of the book? Who knows what happened? Real life that comes into play, that destroys happiness, it comes when you least expect it to. Diseases, cancer, other illnesses, world issues, freak storms, death. You know, it all happens which is why the author chooses to end the book where he does - to give us hope that there is a happily ever after, after all.

The problem being is that we see the end goal and we want it straight away. We often don't realise, and aren't prepared, or willing to work for it. We also aren't willing to accept that life is going to be all fine and dandy once we reach that happily ever after stage.
This has turned out different to what I hoped, don't get me wrong, I'm trying to convey a good message here.

I'm basically trying to say that no matter what is on a constant display in society, you shouldn't always strive for it or believe it. We think that this "happily ever after" is a place we need to get to - say, after getting married, moving to a new place or starting a new career that you love. No. Happily ever after is always going to be where you already are. People assume that it is this futuristic land you can only dream about, but it was always right there to begin with!
You need to MAKE your "happily ever after" in the here and now. You can only live in the present, think about the past and dream about the future. You can only live in the here and now, not in the future. That would be just as effective as living in a house that you've never stepped foot in - absolutely not possible!

If this "happily ever after" place was like it is in the books and movies, our lives would freeze once we got to it and I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound awfully happy! Life is what you make it, I've said it before and I'll continue to say it - you make your own bed. If you choose to live life looking at the negatives without developing them, then your life is going to be dark and depressing. But if you go through your life shining your light you will only spread the happiness. You will be able to look back on your life knowing full well it isn't perfect and never will be, but the main thing is that you are getting through it with a smile on your dial and that is the important thing.

In all this, what I'm getting at is that you are already living in the happily ever after! Once you get into your shoes and mentally walk into it, that is where you will be and that is where you will stay so long as you continue to BE there. There are problems, issues and sadness in there, people think that to be in a happy place you need to be continuously happy. But this "happily ever after" is not so much about a happy life, rather an acceptance of the genuine facts of life. It is happy and sad, it continues and grows. It is your happily ever after and if will never, ever be frozen in place because your book never truly ends.