Harvest Havoc

Harvest has commenced in many areas of the state, as has the associated panic that grips man and beast where long hours and short deadlines turn normally amiable husbands into disagreeable grumps and usually patient sons/daughters into frustrated frowners. Even generally sane mothers, wives, significant others become frazzled and fray a little at the edges trying to juggle the myriad of peripheral roles whilst attempting (usually in vain) to maintain some calm and open communication between all parties. Every able bodied being must be on deck and ready to ask “how high” when told to jump!

I’m being a bit flippant and no doubt there are some farms where harvest runs like a well-oiled machine and calm and order prevail … somewhere …

The aforementioned dispositions are the norm for harvest, in my experience, because our livelihood depends on getting a significant portion of our yearly income into the relative safety of some form of storage before the vagaries of Mother Nature’s moods snatch it away. The lead up to summer often brings storms and any grey, pink or green cloud can deliver varying degrees of destruction, most resulting in a reduction to the bottom line.

Whether it’s damage to the crops themselves, loss of a contractor due to prior commitments elsewhere, meaning down-time in finding another (if that’s even possible) or impassable roads to market/storage there is a consequence and with margins so tight now, any glitch is an unwelcome hindrance. So it is little wonder that stress levels increase.

Mayleigh ScenesM2 Pics 219

Most of you have seen a harvester in action and some will know the uses for chaser bins as opposed to field bins, silo bags vs. fixed silos, on farm and off farm storage and the transportation of same in huge road trains whose drivers run the gauntlet of Roads and Maritime Services Inspectors to deliver their precious cargo to grain receival sites dotted across the countryside.

Sarge overseeing header operations

For the uninitiated a chaser bin, as its name suggests, “chases” the header (harvester) so that unloading grain can occur “on the run”, the chaser bin driver will then deposit his load into a stationary field bin which in turn fills the trucks for transport to storage. The whole system is designed to avoid any downtime at any part of the process i.e. the header is not wasting time travelling to the field bin and unloading and trucks are not waiting for a load. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work!

This year, although we are lucky to have some grain to harvest, it will not be worth getting contractors in, so; Josh and Marc will alternate days on the header and chaser bin, Jeff will cart, I provide food, ferry and counselling services, the dogs are charged with entertainment and good sounding board roles whilst Emma, on weekend visits, slots in where needed
and provides respite for anyone who needs it. (Pic of Sarge overseeing header operations).

As you can imagine any suggestion of escaping to a CWA event during this time is met with a scowl and often a growl, from not only the boss cocky but his side-kicks as well!

Being President carries no kudos in this team!

Temporary and more permanent grain storage

Temporary and more permanent grain storage


The Simple Things in Life

Driving to Mudgee on Sunday afternoon I found myself thinking I would rather have been lazing on our couch watching a Sunday afternoon movie with Jeff than spending another 5 hours in the car alone. By the time I got to Coonamble I was feeling a bit melancholy about it all and decided some lunch might improve my demeanour. As I turned off the highway towards the main street I found myself looking at the Sunday afternoon matinee I had been yearning for. I couldn’t decide though if I was watching Rio Bravo with big John and a dash of Dean Martin or Tim Allen and the other big John on their Wild Hogs adventure. There was no couch either, so I knew it wasn’t real!

What am I raving on about now, I hear you say … well …

Perched on its corner ahead of me was the imposing two story Bucking Bull Hotel with its wide veranda, bright yellow adverts and welcoming, shady interior. Apart from the name and its relevance to the story, the pub was not what attracted my attention. It was the saddled horse hitched to a veranda post on one side and four large motorbikes, including one very glittery blue trike parked at the curb around the corner! Two worlds meeting or colliding, I wondered.

A horse in Coonamble is not a strange sight and neither are motorbikes of any description; it was just the timing, and placement of the props, that sent my mind on one of its numerous tangents.

Before I could gather my thoughts and take a decent photo (because I thought no-one would believe me!!) the owner of the pony had emerged from the pub and mounted his trusty steed for the trip home.

As I followed him up the deserted main street (no tumbleweeds in sight) I briefly found myself wondering what the rules are for drink riding, assuming he’d had a drink, as I considered whether this was one of those “only in the country”, or “it’s the simple things in life” moments. I decided in the end it was the latter that are often the most rewarding. Plus on a hot Sunday afternoon, driving, it pays not to over-think things.

The memory amused me for the rest of the journey – being a lone ranger was no longer an issue.

The Bucking Bull Hotel

More than Tea and Scones

Each year members of CWA of NSW raise money for a specific medical research project.

On average over $30,000 is raised annually for research that attracts little or no government funding but which helps find answers for sufferers of chronic and debilitating conditions.

At present we are supporting Crohn’s & Colitis Australia and I asked if they would provide a brief summary of the work they do and how our donations have been used so far. It is reprinted below.

CCA Logo high quality jpeg (2)Crohn’s & Colitis Australia – recipients of the CWA of NSW Medical Research Fund Cheque 2014

Thank you so much to the Country Women’s Association of NSW for nominating Crohn’s & Colitis Australia as the beneficiary of your fund raising for the last 12 months.

For those who may not be aware, Crohn’s disease and colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases or (IBD) that affect over 75,000 Australians. It’s very much a young person’s disease normally diagnosed between the ages of 15 – 35. However, we know that children much younger than that are being diagnosed.

The number of people with an IBD in Australia is predicted to rise to over 100,000 by the end of the decade which means that we will have one of the highest prevalences in the world.

People with IBD live with a chronic illness that baffles the experts as to why we get it in the first place and what we need to do to cure it.

Until we find a cure, the best we can do is to treat the pain, the bleeding, fatigue, the weight loss and the crippling diarrhoea that characterise these life-long incurable diseases.

The funds raised by the CWA of NSW last year were allocated to two research projects:

The POCER Study and the Angela McAvoy Fellowship.

The POCER study has won a number of international awards for its ground breaking research which has found ways to significantly reduce surgeries in Crohn’s patients and keep people disease free for extended periods of time.

The Angela McAvoy Fellowship is researching the influence of diet and fat cells in causing inflammation, and is identifying ways to reduce inflammation in the bowel through diet. This research is being undertaken at the Monash Medical Centre.

The funds raised this year will again go towards research to continue funding projects that are leading the way in IBD research.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, and the team at CCA I want to extend a very warm thank you for your support and this incredible contribution to our work.

Lauren Mann
Fundraising & Events Coordinator