I’ve been a Farmer’s Wife and mother for ten years now. In my previous life I was a ‘coastie’ and bonafide city slicker. After accepting a teaching post in a remote area of Australia, and vowing and declaring I would NEVER, EVER, EVER marry a farmer, it was a position I suddenly found myself in.
Who would have guessed that the tall, dark and handsome guy who drove a ute, wore RM Williams boots, an Akubra, and chewed grass, would be the same guy who stole my heart.
Prior to getting married, way back in the dating days, I used to tag along on the back of The Farmer’s motorbike (the wind whistling through my hair, arms tucked snugly around his waist) and dream about how we would be like this forever. Acreage for as far as the eye could see. Sheep, cattle, kangaroos and emus, dotted intermittently across the countryside. Just The Farmer and I, alone and together. It was, of course, very romantic. What I didn’t realise at the time however, was that my hormones were playing tricks on me. Those tricky little pheromones were spinning throughout my body and clouding rational thought.
After being married for ten years, I now find myself practically begging The Farmer to take at least one of the kids out on the bike with him, and to take his time coming home! Our lives have become (at times) a mish-mash of overlapping schedules, that directly relate to the amount of precipitation in the air and the availability of man power at any given time. With three children we find ourselves “high fiving” each other on crossover between dropping kids at the bus stop (a mere 20km away) and heading out to fix fences or pull stock who have become stranded in a dried up dam.
Distance seems to be the main thing that people ask me about living out here. Our property is very average for this area at just over 20 000 acres. That’s still several suburbs in a city when you get down to it! We are 5km from our mailbox, and 10km to our nearest neighbours. 40km away is the nearest ‘town’, where my children go to school and where we can buy food staples. Although there is no pharmacy, there is also a small hospital in this town, but they don’t have services to allow for child birth, so your best bet is to head to St George, 100km away. It is in this town that I do the bulk of my grocery shopping. I am 250km from my dentist in Goondiwindi. I should also mention that I am 250km from my nearest McDonalds or KFC, and yet we are still shown the same ads as city dwellers on our television in a strange and torturous twist of fate! I am 500km from a decent cinema. Toowoomba is the nearest ‘major’ city, and at 500km away (or 5 hours in the car), I find I often bypass it to head to Brisbane (600 + odd km away) where my family live, and where my daughter (who wears glasses) has specialist appointments twice a year.
A typical day for me involves getting up at sunrise (who needs clocks, when we live and work by the sun?). In the summer The Farmer is out the door to try to fit in a few good hours of work before the temperature starts nudging 40 degrees. Some days I barely have time to kiss him goodbye, and then I spend the next hour or so begging my children to get dressed and pack their school bags so that we don't run late for the bus. The bus stop is, as I mentioned above, 20km away. That's 20km of white rock gravel, which inevitably means flat tyres on occasion, but also that we don't get bogged on one of the rare days that it rains out here. The children then continue on for another 20km on the bus before arriving at school for the day. The bus carries five children, and I have a great friendship with the bus driver. Where else in the world would your children's bus driver give you their mobile number and get you to call if you have a change of travel plans that day?