Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's Called Pet-Mesh

Over a year ago I introduced Gypsy, a Jack Russell terrier, to our family.

Living on a predominantly sheep property, we have many dogs. But not having ever owned a small 'pet' before (or lap dog) before, The Farmer was not excited. He claimed they served little value as a 'farm asset' and considered her to be more of a burden than anything else. What good would she be without a pedigree background and history of good workmanship?!

We were all in love with her immediately, though The Farmer claimed he was not falling for her in the same way that we were. A pat here and a head scratch there, but that was where his emotional attachment appeared to end. Over time I noticed that he let her sit on his lap a little more. She started to follow him around when the children were at school, and then , more recently, he has started taking her out on 'farm jobs' with him, and showing more affection. But when you ask him, his answer is still the same; she's okay.

Then yesterday I arrived home after a LONG day out in the saddle (metaphorically speaking... those of you who know me will know that I am as capable in a saddle as I am flying an F1-11) to find that we had new gauze on all of our screen doors. As the Farmer hadn't informed me of any of his plans to change/repair the existing gauze, I could only assume it was because the old gauze had been desecrated by our precious Gypsy, as she jumps up on the door and begs for us to let her in for a cuddle. The Farmer vows and declares that if the dog doesn't stop jumping on the door, she will have to go - something that none of us want to see happen.

When he made it in for smoko I thought I should make note of his latest efforts, as they were slightly reminiscent of the time that The Farmer installed a grid for me on the driveway to town so that I wouldn't have to get the gate. It was a gesture that demonstrated his love for me. As The Farmer struggles with declarations of love, and public displays of affection, he relies on 'acts of kindness' to express how he is really feeling. In any event, our conversation went like this:

Me: I love the new gauze you installed today.
The Farmer: Thanks, but it's not gauze. It's pet-mesh.

Pet-mesh! I stand corrected. If the dog can't 'go', I guess The Farmer has conceded defeat. Or maybe he really must love Gypsy after all.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Farm Survival 101: Know Your Animals

I found this oldie yesterday and thought it deserved a re-run!

When I first moved to the farm (WAAAYYYYY back when) there was an incident involving a four legged beast.

I came home from school (where I worked) to find that I was the only person around that afternoon. When I wandered into the back yard, I noticed this 'four legged beast' (which I will here in refer to as a 'cow' for conversational purposes) sitting over the back fence. Something was definitely amiss. It didn't look right. It was kind of sitting there looking quite ill, if that is possible.

Being the 'city chick' that I am, I was at a loss at what to do. I mean, if this had been a dog or a cat in the city, I would have called the Vet. Did the same principal work for cows too?

So I moved closer to this sick animal and tried to feed it some grass. This was most unsuccessful. So I tried some water instead. The poor thing was not interested in the water either. I must have sat and watched the cow for close to half an hour before I realised I would have to actually do something else. But what? In desperation I called one of my hubby's aunts, who lives nearby, and also on a farm. The conversation went something like this.

"Hi Sue. I've come home and found a cow over the back fence and it looks really sick. I've tried to feed it but it won't have any. Should I call a vet?"

"Whatever you do, Jessie,  DO NOT call a Vet. Your Father in Law will KILL you if you call a vet."

"So what do I do? Surely I can't leave it here suffering?"

(Laughing) "Yes. Unfortunately that's exactly what you must do.Sadly, one of the things about living in the bush, is watching animals who are sick at one time or another. It will all be ok. Just wait for someone to come home and they'll sort it out."

Surely that couldn't be right? I needed a second opinion, and called a local friend for some advice. The phone call went pretty much the same as the conversation I had had previously. SO... the general consensus was to wait.

So that's what I did. I sat there and watched it from over the fence. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I recall sending it love and motivational words about getting better, and staying strong.

When someone did come home, it was my father in law (FIL). I hurried over to tell him all about "the sick cow over the back fence." He walked over to inspect this "sick cow", and then after a few minutes of careful consideration, FIL looked at me gravely and said "Yes... there are a few things wrong. Firstly, and most seriously, this is not a cow. It's a steer." * (Which meant nothing to me, but FIL found it quite amusing, and even had a chuckle at my expense.) "And secondly, I think this steer has been poisoned."

The next morning hubby got up early, and reappeared at home mid-morning. I asked how "my steer" was, and was told very matter-of-fact that my friend hadn't made it through the night, and had been dragged away. And of course, I cried like a baby.

I suppose the first thing about surviving on a farm, is that you learn quickly that animals DO die, and that often the money you spend trying to save them, far out weighs the money they are worth. Farmers are practical beings, and this is hard for city folk like me to get their heads around. The second thing I learned about living on a farm is that you should know your animals.

A steer is NOT a cow. Just so you know...

* A steer is a castrated male beast.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Careers that might have assisted me in my transition to Farmer's Wife...

Whilst we all know that being a wife doesn’t require any previous education and training as such, there are a few careers that might have made my baptism of fire into the role, a little more calm in the beginning. (Or even now, truth be told).

As I am a teacher, The Farmer has often reminded me that I am the ‘drought relief’. It’s an inside joke around farming parts that you will always be the source of income, regardless of the weather, when you are a teacher, and as such, you are a catch of sorts. Of course, it’s all just fun and games. Any job off farm is almost certainly appreciated, however many wome have found that they are more useful (and perhaps better contibuters) by not working off-farm. Whatever floats your boat.

In all seriousness, teachers and nurses (and medical specialists) are prime candidates for snagging a farmer. New girls in farming towns are always the recipients of lots of male attention. And every year brings with it a new swag of female teachers and nurses.

Over the years I’ve often thought that being a teacher would be handy if you had to ever home school your kids. Thankfully I don’t. I HAVE attempted it during floods, when we’ve been stuck at home for a number of weeks. But I take my hat off to women who manage to educate their children at home. You are a breed of women who I could only ever aspire to be like. I found it to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Whilst being a teacher enables me to better understand curriculum, nothing prepares you for the test of endurance you undergo on a daily basis as a mother AND a home educator.

Being a nurse might have also been handy. If you could earn frequent flyer points from calling 13HEALTH, I would be able to fly around the world several times for free. I’ve become quite adept at diagnosing my kids over the years. Mothers everywhere develop that same level of medical ability at some point, but geez it would have been handy over the last few years. The times when we had  a 7mm gaping bloody lip, the fevers, broken collar bones, broken elbows, temperatures, flus, respiratory concerns, vomiting bugs… and god forbid if a snake bite had ever happened. Touch wood it hasn’t – and nor has anything else major – but a background in any first aide could be a god send on a farm.

There are other careers that might have proved useful over the years too.
The other day The Farmer came in at lunch and asked me if I would mind picking him up from the ‘4-corner yards’ in about half an hour. I must have screwed up my nose (and not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I hadn’t drawn those yards onto my map of the property). I KNOW where the yards are, but  The Farmer wanted me to go there HIS way (the quick way), and whilst I thought I had a fair idea where it was and what the best road to get there would be, I wasn’t 100% certain. The Farmer (correctly interpreting my screwed up nose as complete hopelessness) followed up with ‘you know the road?! Up where all those Brigalow trees are.’
*Cue the moment where I realised that a career in Botany might have come in handy. Eventually I found my way there (ok, so I may have kind of followed him out there after lunch, but the good news is that it was where I would have gone anyway). We were all winners.

And I have already forgotten what a Brigalow tree looks like again…

When we watch TV shows like My Kitchen Rules, I will occasionally hear The Farmer make a comment along the lines of ‘why don’t you ever cook meals like that?’ I generally respond with, ‘I DO! I just don’t stack it all up like that.’ Or something along those lines. Sometimes I think that a career as a Chef might have been useful on the farm. As it stands, I am pretty satisfied with my culinary ability. But cooking skills are always much appreciated on a farm.

I am ‘needlework challenged’. I don’t own a sewing machine, and the extent of my needle working skills is patching a hole, or adjusting a hem. Don’t worry, I disappoint myself too. Perhaps my perceived wastefulness could be mended (excuse the pun) by improving my skills as a seamstress.

Other careers that would have come in handy include (but are not limited to) being:

·         A vet (Hello?! Anyone remember the infamous incident where I contemplated calling a vet for a steer that was ill near our house in my early days on the farm? Read all about that sad and sorry tale here).  Being a vet would probably be THE handiest career to have chosen had I known I would end up a Farmer’s Wife at some point.

·         Truck Driver, general labourer, or even a tradie of some description (plumber, electrician, builder etc.). The Farmer always tells me I am the brain of our outfit, and he is the heavy lifter. Heavy lifting is certainly useful on accession. Like when you want to bring a piano into your house… (long story). But our water pump that has been playing up, broken oven and washing machine (and lawn mower now that I’m thinking about it) could have been fixed if I’d had the skills. The Farmer is generally too busted to do anything else by the time he gets home.

·         Mechanic. Who am I kidding? Whilst it would certainly be handy, I should learn how to change a tyre before I look at any benefit that being a mechanic would be for me. And learn how to use the Low 4WD gear in The Farmer’s work ute properly… perhaps muscles is really actually all I need, come to think of it…

·         Accountant. Oh my goodness, I loathe and despise bookwork as much as I loathe and despise the drought. I’d rather sit in a dentist chair and have a root canal done, than do books all the time.* Perhaps if I was more confident in that area, I wouldn’t fear it so much.

* I didn’t really mean that about the root canal. What kind of person would prefer that? ;)

·         A degree in Public Relations would also be ideal. As a member of the P and C, and any other number of committees, not to mention just the advocacy for farming that goes with living on the land, ALL require excellent PR skills. Something I could certainly use…

·         Counsellor – especially during the drought. I actually did start my Masters in Guidance and Counselling and having babies put that on ice for a while (read permanently). Some days I think that having skills in this area would be something of a godsend around here. (Or not just HERE, but here as in on a farm or in the country etc.)

Of course, whilst all of these professions would be handy, they are by no means a pre-requisite. Thank goodness. Pretty much all you need is a big heart, passion for the land and a good relationship with your partner to really make it work. That and being open minded, flexible and being able to think outside the square and work with what you already have. The rest will all fall into place eventually.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Is it hot enough for ya?

I'm jumping on the weather bandwagon.

Every man and his dog (in Queensland at least) has something to say about the weather. Everyone is posting about it on social networks. Let's face it... today this WHOLE week has been BLOODY HOT! Driving home from town at 11am this morning, the temperature in my car registered 47 degrees Celsius. I kid you not. But at home, on our trusty verandah thermometer, the best I could get it to read was 46 degree Celcius.


Seriously, it's too hot to even head out to our pool (which is in full sun at this time of day), so we are all hanging out till 4pm, when there will be some shade and we can cool off in the water. And also, how lucky are we that we even have a pool that we can cool off in?

Counting down the seconds until we are back in the pool...

Normally I'd put the sprinkler on in the shade, except that because it's a hot AND an awful drought, we have decided to let the sheep into our house yard to get as much grass, water and shade as they can. And we don't want to disturb them now that they have made themselves at home...

And so we are all locked inside, watching movies and playing 'The Game Of Life'. And face-stalking.

And that's the thing about the weather. It does whatever it's going to do, and we can't change it. We can just hope and pray for rain and cooler weather as soon as possible.

How are you dealing with the weather at your place at the moment?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some Things I Have Learned About Being A Farmer's Wife And Country Kid's Mum

*Edited - Hi! As there are so many new readers, I thought I would summarise who I am in a bit of a 'this is a bit about me' piece. x Jess x

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?

Since having children I only do relief teaching. Being close enough to a primary school my children are able to attend is a blessing. We have many friends who have to home school their children because of the sheer remoteness of where they live. Anyone who has ever had to educate their own children will tell you how hard this is! Before I even had children, I knew that Boarding School (for high school) wasn't even negotiable. It is just something that many country families have to do for their children. It is not an easy decision, and often it's the choice between boarding, home schooling or long hours of travel in a bus. I am somewhat lucky in that my mother is the Head of Boarding in a Boarding School in Brisbane, and it's kind of like my daughters will be going to live with her.

On the days I am working, I will drive all of us into town together. It's an 80km round trip. I know that 40km to 'town' is nothing compared to other families across Australia. If I have neglected to pick up milk or bread on my last trip to town, that's an 80km round trip for staples. It means that we need to be organised out here. No ifs or buts. You just don't forget the 832876870 things you need to get done when do you make the trip to town. Or you need to have a good relationship with your neighbours.

I live 80 metres from my in laws. When I had romantic notions about The Farmer and I being alone together, I neglected to factor in our proximity to his parents.We share the farm together. They can not only see how many days I have left my washing hanging out in the scorching sun for, but I also have to wear clothes all the time, even though we live in the middle of nowhere. Heaven forbid they need sugar or milk. I wouldn't even hear the car pull up to warn me! Our other nearest neighbours are 10km away. Thankfully I really love them. Loving your neighbours when you live in the back of beyond is another small blessing, especially when you share fences with them.

Some days I feel more isolated than other days. We live in a 'black spot' for mobile phones. Luckily I can be reached by fellow 'Iphone users' over our wifi. Thankfully our internet speed has improved too. We are still the slowest internet speeds in Australia out here, but life is a lot easier than it was even two years ago. When your job is internet reliant, it's nice to be able to access it without wanting to pull your hair out every now and then. I also rely on the internet, and specifically social networks to communicate with my family. I send photos, videos and funny stories to my family and friends. My children have I-devices that they message my family on. I use the internet for clothes shopping, gift shopping and everything else you can imagine. I have no idea how people out here survived before the internet! They were clearly much stronger women than I am! We also receive mail only twice a week out here. That means that all my internet purchases arrive on one of two days, and I try desperately to be the one who makes it to the mailbox first, so that my in laws don't have a hernia when they see my bounty of goodies!

So back to my typical day. After the bus run I come home to do some household chores. The Farmer usually arrives for 'smoko' around this time. Smoko being the meal between breakfast and lunch that preferably involves something sweet and home cooked washed down by hot coffee or tea. Many farmer's wives join their husbands in working the farm. As a teacher and mother I have never had the opportunity to be a 'hands on' farmer's wife. I admire those women who help out on the farm, but prospective farmer's wives should also know that it's not a pre-requisite! Preg-testing cattle and penning up sheep can be done on a voluntary basis! Next year when all of my children will be at school, I have been promising The Farmer that I will be following him around and learning all about the farm. He said if that's the case, I should write a new blog and call it 'Sunburnt and Sore Hands.' Everyone is a comedian around here. After smoko, I continue with housework, cooking, baking, blogging and writing. I spend most of the day watching the clock, so that I can collect my children from the bus stop and bring them back for an afternoon at home. My children spend the afternoons swimming in our pool, or riding bikes, or tagging along with their Dad or Grandparents out in the paddock. They feed the chooks and work dogs (I specifically mention that they are working dogs) and play with our Jack Russell (our 'pet') in our yard. Even though we still love and cherish our working dogs, they aren't allowed the same 'yard privileges' that our terrior has!
Our baby Gypsy.
These aren't ALL our dogs, but they are all the 'farm' dogs.
There are kangaroos, emus and echidnas over my back fence and sometimes even in my yard. I am still amazed by that. Amazed and annoyed. Echidnas (as cute as they are) leave holes all around your lawn. Kangaroos are a hazard on the road, and emus are aggressive when you encounter them with their chicks. All that aside, they are beautiful creatures, and I am privileged to be able to see them in their natural environment on a daily basis. I'm glad my children can grow up in this environment.

On the down side, living out here also means dangerous snakes! * Gasp * Every single summer I worry about my kids and brown snake bites. Touch wood - nothing has happened so far. But in the (unlikely) event of a brown snake bite, and given our remote location, it is fair to say my children probably wouldn't survive, though a grown and healthy adult might have a greater chance of survival. As my snakebite contingency plan generally consists of 1. DON'T DIE! I guess you could say that after that follows 2. Prevention is certainly the key. We have an airstrip on our property, and a large selection of straight roads that planes can, and do, land on for a variety of reasons. We have also had helicopters land out here too. Thankfully, we have never had an instance where the Flying Doctors were required, but it still helps to be prepared if you ever do need them. Country kids are taught from an early age to avoid long grass, and hollow logs, and how to avoid snakes if they are ever unlucky enough to encounter them in the paddock. Plus we all have up to date CPR certificates, and keep a 'snake bite emergency' kit in a handy location inside our house. Our little Jack Russell Terrior is a great little 'snake dog' too, and she lets us know if there is anything out there for us to be wary of. I am a regular caller to the 13HEALTH number. A background in nursing might have been handy at times, but I have learned that there is so much you can do for yourself at home, without having to drive the kids all the way into town, only to be sent home with Panadol. You can guarantee that if my child has arrived at hospital, there's a good chance it's something serious!

Nobody told me about country kids before I had three of my own. I used to worry about my kids going missing or wandering off on the farm when they were younger. I seriously thought that inserting GPS chips in my children's arms was a legitimate way of keeping tabs on them. As it turns out (and from experience), there's little chance of a child running away out here. There really is nowhere to go, and the heat and insects and fear of worse are enough to keep them close to home.

Country kids don't need summer clothes. They get around in the nude. This is because it's too bloody hot to put anything on anyway. Country kids don't really need winter clothes either- and for the same reasons- except that their parents worry about chills and flus and illness. Summers in the country are filled with mozzies and flies and hoses in the garden. Country kids drink from an old tap, and don't care about bacteria or germs, because they have built up a serious immunity to such things from the time they've spent outside.

Country kids love hats. The bigger, the better. No outfit is complete without an Akubra or straw hat on top. Country kids work up the genetic curse of the 'farmer tans' (sock lines and sleeve marks on their arms and legs) while they are outside putting in a hard day's work on the farm. They muster (on horseback, by motorbike or even by car), plant, harvest, stick pick, water and fence. They check stock, help with yard work, stock work and with cropping. They are jacks of all trades, who build up an armory of life skills (changing tyres and fixing machinery) before they even reach high school.

Country kids own boots. Lots of boots. And not soft suede dress ones. We're talking heavy duty working boots that will ensure that tiny feet stay protected from an array of accidents waiting to happen. Having said that, country kids also like to go barefoot lots of the time too. Across burrs and prickles and rocks. These kids are tough.

Country kids understand the life cycle. Something is born and something dies. They watch dogs and cows mating and understand that it takes two to make one. And likewise, they know that the meat in the freezer comes from an actual (once living) beast, and there is every conceivable chance that your country kid helped get it from the paddock into the freezer in some capacity.

Country kids love the rain. They speak in terms of how many "points" or "inches" we have had, and happily share that news with friends and neighbours. They understand the effect of rain on a crop, and in harvesting. Country kids care about the weather for more reasons than what it they can and can't do at home today. Country people (and not just the kids) have an appreciation for the value of water. We have access to three different water sources on our farm. We have artesian water for the stock, and dam water for stock as well. We also use dam water on our lawns and for some household usage, until it runs out. And finally we have tank water; the nicest water. Sadly, also the most likely to run out when it doesn't rain. When it's gone, it's gone. There isn't a back up plan, and so we value water as a resource above all other resources.

Country kids ask questions like "who's car tracks are they?" and "when can I help you muster?" and "why do some sheep get fly blown and others don't?" Country kids, like city kids, have a fascination with learning. But the learning doesn't end on a trip away from the house. In fact, much of the learning is done at home. Field trips are a way of life. My kids can name all the paddocks (and that's no easy feat!), as well as tell me what each paddock is used for and when. They know their way around the farm better than I do, and give directions like 'past the eagles nest,' and 'near that place where the emu's nest was.' They know the difference between our own cattle and the agistment cattle. They know the names of tools that Dad uses, and the difference between graders and dozers and backhoes. They can differentiate between lamb and beef when they eat it, and will happily tell me if I have cooked the meat too long and made it tough. And my eldest is eight years old.

My children and husband speak in 'farm terms'. When I was pregnant I was 'in calf', and 'an old breeder cow'. When I was breast feeding I was 'an old milker' or 'jersey'. When I gave birth there was 'one on the ground'. They are all affectionate terms and not meant in malice at all. Conveniently, my husband is 'a stud ram' and 'proven sire'. Hmmm...

I may not be a country kid but I am raising three of my own. I am certainly not a country girl but I am doing my best to be me, just the way I am, in the environment I have chosen to live. It's not the life I thought I would choose for myself, but I'm proud that I'm giving it my best effort and enjoying every minute. Being a farmer's wife and a mother in a remote area is all a juggling act – much like mothers and wives everywhere. I'm a teacher, nurturer, cook, cleaner, chauffeur, referee, book keeper, gardener, farm hand, entertainer and a bunch of other positions! It's an adventure; and an adventure that teaches me a little bit more about myself, and that pushes me to new levels of understanding and confidence every day, that's for sure!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sunburnt and Sore Hands

Next year I'm going to be taking some time off work. So I was thinking that I might (finally - after 10 years of living here) like to try my hand at this whole 'farming gig'.

I spoke to hubby and told him how next year I'd like to follow him around and see what he does, maybe help where I can, learn a few things, get involved. I suggested I might be able to write about it - about my experience as a 'real farmer's wife'.

Hubby suggested I start a new blog and call it 'Sunburnt and Sore Hands'. Everyone's a comedian.

He might be onto something though.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Goals... and a bit of a run.

You might remember all the way back here in January, when I purchased a new pair of running shoes. It was an arduous experience. A rewarding experience too. Those shoes changed my life. Like Forrest Gump, I started running. I also set my first ever (I swear to God) athletic goal. I wanted to do the Kokoda Trail walk.

Quickly realizing this was not as easy as I initially thought, I set a few new 'lead up' goals. I wanted to do the Inca Trail (in Peru), and before that, the Bridge to Brisbane (a 10km run).

I recently completed the Bridge to Brisbane (and clearly I survived, as I am here today to tell the story). But it wasn't easy!

My training consisted of downloading a few apps on my phone and just trying to keep up with them. What I hadn't factored in to my training was how many times I would get sick before the Bridge to Brisbane, and how much work I took on, resulting in even less time for running. Not to mention my natural aversion to exercise, and general lack of motivation.

So for the last few months I have more or less (but mostly less) increased my inclination to put one foot in front of the other in the pursuit of fitness. Truth be told, I was actually enjoying myself. Before Bridge to Brisbane, I knew I would need to set smaller 'training' goals to ready my body. I decided I would need a healthy eating plan, exercise and some rest as well. By September 1, I had nailed the 'rest' part of my training. The rest had fallen by the wayside. In actual fact, before the race, I had only managed to complete a full 10km run on two occasions. And one of those times I felt like death afterwards. I was feeling a bit out of my depth.

I headed to Brisbane the day before the big run. Having never been a morning person, I wasn't sure how the 4.30am start would affect me.

The night before the B2B I slept in as much of what I wanted to wear as possible. I couldn't take any chances. By 5am I was up and ready. My sister arrived (we were all taxi-pooling) and we realized we were dressed the same.


My mother and sister are both B2B old hands. I couldn't get over the sheer size of the crowd. We were probably about half way into the crowd. I couldn't even see the 'start' line.

I was there (in the yellow joggers) with my sister, mother, cousin and a friend.

And then the race started. And then we started about 20 minutes after that! It was a crazy beginning. I wanted to jog up the bridge, but my own lack of fitness almost did me in. The run back down the bridge was no easier. My general lack of fitness got the better of me. My run quickly progressed to a jog/walk, but nonetheless, 75 minutes later I was finished! (Also almost dead, red as a beetroot, and physically exhausted). I was so proud of myself.

Someone asked me (after the race) if I would come back again and try to beat my time, but I really don't think I will. I set a goal, and I achieved it. I have new goals now. And I want to achieve them too.

So look out Inca Trail! You're next on my goals list...

Girls trip anyone?