Isolation versus isolation.

Loads of people ask me how I ‘cope’ living so far from civilisation and on a farm surround by nothing but animals, how terribly isolated you are they say..

Well, I guess so in some ways yes, we are isolated. There is no mobile phone service, the internet is shocking, drops out all the time, and is basically useless for anything that requires a high speed connection, it’s also very expensive. Our TV is satellite based, and to be honest we don’t watch that much of it. We don’t go to the cinema, and I haven’t seen the latest release film.
I don’t even fully understand the ‘coffee culture’ of the cities, go to a coffee club to hang with friends, when you can stay home and make your own, and have cake too? 😜

Yes, I guess I am isolated…

But then, my friend the Kiwi sent me something he had written, during a ‘meh moment’ as he calls it, and strangely enough, he explains why I never NEVER feel isolated, in a way I really honestly couldn’t explain.

Now I remember a few of you requested to hear more of Kiwi last time he wrote, so here it is.. (But don’t tell him it’s here, coz I didn’t ask permission first!) 😜😈


You can still feel incredibly lonely being surrounded by 1.4million people.
All too often we attach ourselves to the most fickle of relationships which are based on looks, style, money and activities.
The true tragedy is that, whenever someone delves into any questions along the lines: “hey what about life” we’ll revert back to those materials that we think our lives are all about.

Is it because we see too much glass, metal and concrete? Manufacturing and adverts? Bank balances and transactions?
What ever happened to living for the sake of living? Seeing life through the eyes of a new born? Or time through the eyes of those that have spent the most of it?
Why is more lessons learnt through TV & the internet than through books, human interaction and observation?
Why is it, that the more connected we are to “information”, the further we move away from each other?

Life it seems is quickly turning into nothing more than being an object signalling and self-sustaining processes a chemical or electrical process.
Robots who receive instructions with perceived expectations that they draw up because living becomes no more than the ease of which they create and maintain symbolic materials with no base value.
Value… somewhere in the deep recesses of our brain we know what is truly valuable: Time, Relationships & Love. Having plenty of all 3 we know would make a person feel incredibly happy.
We all seek it and yet, we don’t long for it nearly as much as we used to.
If we feel we lack in one, we’ll kid ourselves in thinking that material things will fill in as a substitute?
Why do we not use these things to complement life?
People will often look at the tools of which we complement our lives and shift the focus away from life itself and this is exactly what we’re doing.
Life is more than obtaining more mechanisms in which we can advertise ourselves or keep ourselves occupied. Yes, we need some in order to actually stay alive but, you have to admit, the world is getting worse.
Those that have the material want more and those that are removed enough from it simply want to live. And yet we, those that have it are unwilling to share because we are unwilling to care which is because we are unwilling to see.
What is it about a holiday that helps you reset, feel more human and more connected?
Is it the computers and mobiles that you surround yourself with? -If there was no one willing to interact with you on the other end; just how long do you think you want to keep using them?
Is it the clothing, accessories or body art that you style yourself in? -If there was no one there to appreciate it, is there really any point?
If you had a house with nothing to connect with, nothing to love… For how long could you stand the silence?

It’s amazing how easy it is to see just how much more there is to see once you remove yourself from the lights.
A day in the country with the right people does make you think “Have we stamped life out?”
What is it about seeing life grow, die and move that warms the heart?
If you were to become society’s primary producer, would you, like a parent tending to a child, feel a greater satisfaction that you’re directly helping your fellow men grow?
Would you, having hundreds, if not thousands of living creatures directly under your care feel a deep appreciation and strong connection to life itself?
How would you feel if the whole outside world shut you out, and tried stamping out everything that you know and hold dear?
No, as someone that has experienced it and wants in, I can tell you now that throwing them out is not an option and how dare we try and disconnect those that are closest to the true nature of life.

If you haven’t yet, head out for 1 round of life on a farm.
As for me, I’m ready for round 2.




Breaking Even

Did you know that a bed in a private hospital costs $1200 per night?
And that intensive care beds cost even more? That the anesthetist for
a single surgery can cost over $2500?
What about the idea that the public health care system can sometimes
not set a broken leg for up to a week after the accident?
How about that farm work is considered one of Australias most
dangerous professions?
And what about private health cover? Income replacement insurance?
Private health cover was not something that I thought I could afford,
in fact I can still think of so many better ways to spend $150 per
month, or better still, not spend it at all! But the fact is, had I
not given in to the pressure from my parents and taken out a medium
level cover, with extras, a mere couple of months before my fall from
the horse, I would now either not have a leg, or be facing a bill
equivalent to buying a brand new car.
I thought private health cover was expensive, in fact, I can now pay
into that fund for 20 years, and not pay back what they spent fixing
me. I am the first person to recognize that what happened to me was a
freak accident, I have had horses fall on me in the exact same way so
many times, and never so much as sprained an ankle! And I know many
people pay into insurances for many years, and never make a single
claim! But that one time that it ended with a serious injury, or even
the chance that it might end in serious injury makes owning a policy
so much more worth it.
How easily my $40,000 hospital bill could have been $100,000, or even
higher! I don’t know many people who have that kind of money stowed
away that they can afford to spend in one hit like that.
One of the things that happened to me while I was in hospital, was the
accounts lady came to visit me, holding a $32,000 bill, and asked me
what method I was going to use to pay it, and could she have my credit
card details. I was terrified, emotional, a very long way from home,
and alone. What a blessing that I was able to tell her [albeit through
tears] that I had private health, and thought they were paying for it,
she apologized and sorted out the mix-up immediately.
During a drought or tough financial time, insurance is often the first
thing that gets cut from the budget, but if we are honest with
ourselves, can we really afford to not have it?
I know, for me personally, and my family, insurance will be the last
thing cut from my budget, whilst ever I remain working or living on
the land.
I sure hope it is for you too.



Winning the Break, part 2

Finally going through one of the last bags from my hospital stay, its called my ‘Silly Bag’ and when I tipped it out one of the first things I found is my diary… Maaan! I used to practically sleep with that thing! My life was mapped out to 15 minute intervals some days, and I never went a day without looking at it, every single page was full or scribble and notes of stuff I had to do, Until the 23rd Feb, and then every page from there is either crossed out, or blank. Was quite a shock to thumb through it and see the things I had planned and the stuff I was going to do.. All cancelled. So much I missed out on.


But after that, underneath the black book of my ordered life, is about 50 cards, this huge amount that just about covers my entire bed!! From everyone who wrote me while I was in hospital. From all these people who I never knew cared, or perhaps I kind of knew they cared, but I never really understood just what that meant. And even from complete strangers who had no reason to care, I still don’t know why they did.


It is so very easy to go through life planning every single thing, and hating the things that come along and cause stuff to go awry, I especially hated it when I had something written in my diary, and it didn’t happen as planned.

I admit, I used to think I was easy going, patient, and a good friend to people. But the fact is, over the last few months, I learnt a lot about what those qualities actually mean, and why I didn’t have any of them

And most of it, didn’t come from inside me, actually all of it did not come from inside me.


After the first surgery I had, I woke up in hospital, and my surgeon uttered a phrase I was going to hear from him a lot during my time under his care-I think we are winning. He said that a heck of a lot, and frankly after the first few times, I was not sure if he wasn’t just saying it. In fact, one day, as he tapped on my leg,  pricked me with needles, and told me to move my foot this way and that, and I watched as my foot just would respond to my attempts to move it, as he was touching me and I could not feel anything, and honestly, I felt defeated.

Then he finished his exam, and said, well you know what, I think we are winning.. So of course I smiled at him and thanked him and he left. And I curled up and cried.

Because I didn’t feel like a winner, not right at that moment. Nothing was going to plan, I was supposed to be home carting water for our cattle, and going to work every Wednesday and Thursday, and then going overseas in a few weeks. It wasn’t meant to be like this!!

But, my plans, and Gods plans are not the same thing, and no matter whether you believe in the existence of a higher being or not, one thing is certain-best laid plans are the ones most likely to go awry. And in my case a good thing too.

Its so easy to not be thankful for things, especially the little things in life, they pass you by and you never really notice that you missed them. But in a place where you have no choice but to notice things-because honestly staring at a wall sulking only works for so long when you are in hospital for a month. I started to notice things, and little things become a  lot bigger when you take away all the crap we surround ourselves with to make us feel like we are ‘in control’ and to fill our lives up. Now I am no saint, I didn’t sit there having epiphanies all day, in fact I spent most of my time on youtube or facebook, or watching silly movies. And I didn’t read a single book all the way through despite being given many for that purpose. And I did a lot of colouring in and playing with lego.

Even so, I realize that loving your friends isn’t about reading their facebook updates, or sending an occasional text, although that became important to me, (despite my lack of reply-sorry guys) love is what I learnt in hospital, because I never knew how loved I was. Through no virtue of my own, people were sending me cards and flowers, and chocolates, and I didn’t go a day without a visitor, despite the nurses telling me that many patients, especially rural patients, don’t get many at all.

I wanted to write about the miracles that saved my leg, about how had Emily not turned my leg immediately when she found me, out of sheer instinct and no training, I would have lost it then and there from lack of circulation. How had the Royal flying doctor not been in the St George airport that day, to pick up another patient who decided not to use them, I would not have been flown out that day, and I would have lost my leg and potentially died because of serious and rare complications-swelling and circulation problems, how I somehow ended up with the best ‘lower leg orthopedic surgeon in Queensland’ despite his 4 month waiting list, in a prestige hospital that doesn’t take emergency patients, and the list goes on.

But the thing is, my real miracle, is the people who rallied to help me get through this, my sister who took time off work to be by my side, who came and sat with me every single day despite being exhausted herself. My parents who drove some 500 km to spend a week with me, despite our cattle desperately needing them to stay home, my two younger siblings who singlehandedly did the work of 5 people, to allow my parents to come away.

And that’s what is expected. What is not expected is the people who flocked to support me from unexpected places, friends who cared way more than I expected, bringing me unexpected things, like chai tea, because I love it, and cant get it at home. A teapot and teacup so I can have it anytime I wished, lego and coloring in books-of horses no less, so I didn’t miss my own. My teddy bear that held a heart saying ‘I love you more than chocolate’ and my penguin to squeeze when it hurts, I woke up many times in hospital only to find teddy tucked under my chin, and penguin gripped firmly in my hand.

There is so much more and I cant list it all, but these things were brought to me at my lowest points and lifted me up. And more than material things, my adoptive parents who looked after me so my own could go home and rest easy knowing I was ‘ok’

Being taken out of my room, to the coffee shop downstairs, or having coffees brought up. A cousin who would ride a train for over an hour, just to bring me up a chocolate and a quick chat, the friend who would pop by on his way home, or in their lunch hour, for no reason..

I was known in hospital as the girl with the flowers, and nurses were coming into my room just to see if it were true, did I really have that many?

One nurse sat beside me and admired the flowers, and told me sad stories of people who sat for months in hospital and didn’t get a single visitor, phone call, or bunch of flowers. In those moments, I learnt a little of why I might be winning..  Because I was learning. My dad always has this saying whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I would just like to add, that only if you learn from it.

I learnt to be grateful. I learnt to be happy. And I learnt that to overcome doesn’t mean that you come out standing victorious on a pile of dead bodies like some medevial action movie, it means to withstand a storm. To remain, and to stick with it, even when you don’t want to.

I most importantly I learnt that withstanding a storm, is not something you do because of surface materials. Its what is underneath holding you up that matters, and underneath me, I had no sandy foundation, I had and have some of the most amazing friends and people in my life that I have ever been blessed to meet.

My life is NOT ABOUT ME! My strength to withstand does not come from me, it comes from the people who stood to hold me up when I wasn’t able to stand.

Since being out of hospital, I have gone to a drought resilience talk, done by Suncorp bank in town, and there they had a speaker, a psychologist talking, and he asked the question that we should think about the hardest and most difficult time in our life, and then to think about what got us through that time. I didn’t have to think too hard about what my toughest time was, and to think about what personal strength got me through it? Well none! I got through it because of the people who visibly came to the fore to hold me together. Most importantly, I learnt that these people had always been there, but I had never credited them with the importance that they deserved.

The advice I can give to anyone who asks, as a result of what happened is only this, surround yourself with people whose qualities far exceed your own, and then don’t be shocked when they rally and love and support you in ways you never dreamed, and never underestimate what they do in your life behind the scenes, don’t wait until all the rest has been stripped away to notice how amazing they really are.


I am still learning, I am still making mistakes, I put deadlines on my recovery, and I try to predict how far love extends, to find an end to things, to measure it. And I don’t meet my deadlines, my plans are still going awry, and when I think I have found the extent of love, it reaches further into the expanse than I thought possible. I am still on crutches, I wont be able to ride a horse again for 12 months maybe longer, and maybe not ever again the way I wish and hope to be able to.

I will not ever get back to the way I was before, I have nerve damage, I have a wonky leg, I have some pretty impressive scars. I also have the most incredible friends and family ever, I have learnt that my personal strength extends further than I ever imagined because my friends wont allow anything else.

No, I wont be the way I was before, I will be better, I will be stronger, and I will overcome.  I wont forget, and I will get back on my horse, both literally and metaphorically. And when I do, I credit the people in my life, family, friends, and in some cases complete strangers who stood to help me when I needed them the most.

I am winning.



Standing at the Break, a farm injury part 1

It was silent, that was the worst part. All those white and blue gowned people, not saying a word as they laid me out on a stainless table, each of them preparing to do things to me that I knew would be unpleasant.

One anonymous person, fully masked and wearing safety glasses took my arm and I watched as he began to inject the drugs into me, others organizing things around me, strangers everywhere and not a friendly face to be seen.

Then right as the world began to become unstuck, I see my surgeon walk into the room, a friendly face in a sea of strangers and his promise that all would be ok was only a little bit comforting.

How on earth did I end up here? I am a healthy, happy and reasonably fit country girl. I’m not sick!


Well to answer that question I need to rewind a week or so, to a warm February morning, I pulled out my favorite black moleskins, zipped up my ariats, strapped on my spurs, and picked up my favorite thing in the whole world, my saddle!

I always love the smell of my saddle, the oil conditioner, and the horse hair I can never quite get out of the saddle cloth.. I am  horse girl, always have been, and I love my ponies..

When I bought Yoyo, she was bound for the dog meat factory, by bringing her home to live with us I saved her life, and she taught me a lot in return.

When I bought Yoyo, she was bound for the dog meat factory, by bringing her home to live with us I saved her life, and she taught me a lot in return.



My dad needed help to muster our cattle in, the Santa cows, they were in serious distress, and we needed to get the calves off them.

Early weaning is not a fun job, taking calves off their mothers as young as 3 weeks old. But it’s a job that must be done in drought, to save as many lives as we can.

I choose to ride my Yoyo, my high spirited 5 year old mare, and we hurried to reach the paddock before the others arrived on their motorbikes. (myself being the only horse user on our place these days) we were firing on all cylinders, despite her drought affected condition, and mustering those cattle was what we both wanted to do. Cantering around the paddocks, mostly watching for cattle flushed out of the wattle by the motorbikes, and shushing them through the gate at the top, and thoroughly enjoying myself I might add, I could hear the bikes approaching, but first I saw the cattle..


A steady canter around them and bring them the final few hundred meters to the gate, for some reason they went to break away just before-as cattle always do, and I followed at a good clip, spinning them around and the last 100 meters to the gate traversed at a higher speed. I turned away from the gate still going in a canter. Right then little sister Emily, appeared over the rise with a couple more cows, and we exchanged a quick wave.

But at the moment my hand left the reins I felt my steed falter underneath me, 3 more paces, and she was going down. She slipped on the hard packed soil of the ridge, heavy because of our speed, and forward thrusting, she fell flat on her side, not the first time it has happened to me I react fast, flicking my leg over the saddle and leaping clear, as I have done in the past.

My thoughts as I did so, that I would have to convince everyone that this wasn’t Yoyos fault this time, and ‘gee I hope I get a decent bruise this time, coz whats the point of stacking your bike and not having anything to show for it’


But I wasn’t fast enough getting out of the road, my toe caught on the ground as she landed and turned my leg around, as her heavy body fell with all her weight on top of me.

I heard as much as felt a slightly wet crunch, and a lot of pressure as her body came to a halt trapping my right leg under her. But not for long, as Yoyo leapt and bolted away completely unharmed.. Lucky her!


From the day I rode this horse home (no literally rode her home-35km!) She has been an adventure, from the quietest horse I ever bought, to the biggest troublemaker, to the best lesson I ever learnt.  The horse that broke my leg, and taught me so much about myself.  And I have only owned her for 7 months! Imagine what she will teach me in her lifetime!

From the day I rode this horse home (no literally rode her home-35km!) She has been an adventure, from the quietest horse I ever bought, to the biggest troublemaker, to the best lesson I ever learnt.
The horse that broke my leg, and taught me so much about myself. And I have only owned her for 7 months! Imagine what she will teach me in her lifetime!

I don’t know at what point I moved, but it was my yell that brought my brave girl Emily back to my side. I knew that my leg was broken, but it seemed more annoying than anything else.. What a way to ruin a decent muster, me being the idiot and messing everything up-as usual!


Emily brought her bike to a sliding stop next to me on the ground yelling about how she is not happy with my horse, (if you know my girl, you know I have understated her meaning just a tad) but she halted for a split second before dashing forward towards me, with an indrawn breath and a cry, ‘I think you have broken your leg’

She grabbed my foot, and quickly, she turned my foot around, and straightened my leg out, even before I was aware of how twisted it really was.

More in shock than pain, I was pretty convinced that I was not going to die right then, so off Emily went to fetch my Daddy and little brother Craig.

Some few minutes passed before they returned, and as I lay there in the dirt I pulled the 2-way radio out of my hip pocket, I had landed on it as I fell, but it wasn’t broken. My akubra I placed over my leg, it was still a little too wonky for my liking. Given that time to collect myself, I got to think about how awful this really was.

In the middle of the worst drought in history, with barely any rain for the year-our first summer shower fallen only the week before, cattle starving, water running out, all the work, all the feeding of cattle, everything that was going wrong, and here I was breaking my stupid leg.

Just another thing gone wrong, another straw on the camels back.


My family came back and a blur of activity went past, as Emily, rushed home to tell mum, ring 000, and bring back a vehicle to take me out of the paddock in, Dad too left, when he realized that the cruiser had a flat tyre he had been putting off fixing.


So Craig, my 19 year old brother was left holding me together, rubbing my face and keeping the sun off me.

20 minutes or so later, Dad returns with ‘Betty’ the town car, kitted out with a mattress in the back for me to lie on. Together, Dad lifted me in with Craig holding and supporting my leg, which was floppy beyond belief.


The ambulance was sent out from St George, and after transferring Mum into the drivers seat, and Emily in the back holding my hand, we drove out of the front gate. I forget my Dads exact last words to me, but I know he was apologizing, and the trauma on his face-not something I want to see again.


We met the ambulance halfway to town, it was both the longest and the shortest 60km of my life. I don’t know how long it took, but I wont forget it in a hurry.


The ambos were great, first thing they gave me was that whoppa green whistle, a few sucks on that, and I believe I knocked myself out! I woke up in the ambulance, and had the very pleasant paramedic tell me all about his injury just 3 months before-he said ‘I broke my leg, just like you, hiking in the mountains, it was terrible-much worse than yours, I nearly lost my leg, you wont have it that bad…” His advice was that even though I would have a broken leg, I would not be sick, and it was going to drive me stir crazy, but to take it easy, and be patient, things will heal in time.

He was right of course, about everything but one, my break, was just as bad as his, perhaps even worse.. But I haven’t caught up with him to compare stories yet, maybe one day.

The doctors in St George were fabulous, my own GP being on duty that day, he shook his head in disbelief, and roused on me for being ‘the most accident prone female he has ever met’ I cannot deny that it might be true, he was still getting over last time he saw me with shrapnel in my eyes from an exploding rifle. Initially Dr M was simply going to X-ray and then set my leg before deciding if he should send me off to Toowoomba for possible surgery.

But when he unwrapped the splint the ambos put on my leg, his face changed, and he called in another fellow, Dr T to have a look. Both immediately said I must go to Brisbane, Dr T ringing up a close friend orthopedics to find out what hospital I should be sent to. His friend, A specialist, after having the X-rays emailed to him, immediately offered that I should go into his care, at Brisbane Private hospital.

So the Royal Flying Doctor was called, and I ended up on a plane to Brisbane, only my 3rd time on a plane in my life!

It was a long flight, with the pilot having to make several stops along the way, but eventually I landed in Brisbane and was taken to the hospital where I was to spend the next few days.

A nurse met the ambos in the lobby, and led the way to my new room, D17, a room all to myself, with a city view at that!

The next morning, I was woken by a tall efficient looking man, who introduced himself as Dr Tim,

Surgery was scheduled for 3 pm that day to put a nail all the way down my leg, but by 10am things were not looking good, and by 11am I was being rushed into surgery to save my leg.


When I woke up I had two rather strange contraptions on the bed next to me, with pipes going from there to my leg. Vaccum pumps they called them and they were busy keeping a negative pressure on my leg, to reduce the swelling and clean out the blood and bruising. Underneath the bandaging I had large wounds cut by the doctors to relieve the pressure inside my leg, each side of my leg was opened up almost completely all the way from ankle to knee, and the swelling meant the wounds were over 10cm wide on each side. These wounds were to remain open, the one on the inside of my leg for a week, but the one on the outside for almost 3 weeks, in the end, a large skin graft was taken from my hip to close that wound up.

These funky pumps were cause for more than a little bit of entertainment in the time I had them attached to me, from causing the near fainting of a visitor, and grossing out of many others.


I was on a phentinol drip for the pain, nurses say it was twice the recommended dosage for my size, IV antibiotics, blood clotting medications, as well as two different types of morphine, and other painkillers.


The bleeding in my leg was so severe I had to have 4 blood transfusions, and let me tell you, that’s not as simple as it sounds, the taste of blood in your mouth, nausea, headaches, feeling itchy all over, nightmares and 15 minute observations to check for rejection. My heart rate was up to 150 beats per minute, shaking and dizziness.

Originally we thought a trip to St George, surgery in Toowoomba and home at the end of the week, then it was Brisbane, and my parents drove up the day I had my first surgery, thinking that when they went home in a couple days they would take me with them.

Not so, as for the next month the date of my release from hospital was extended further and further into the future.


My second surgery was 5 days after the first, and unlike the first it was terrifying. The first surgery, they were racing me in, and I was unconscious before I even arrived at the theatre. The second, I was waiting outside theatre in pre-op for 20 minutes, alone, and scared of what was to come, cold from the low temperatures there, and eventually when I was wheeled in to the operating room it was by an anonymous person who never spoke a word to me, blue mask covering most of their face. The lights in the room were brighter than I expected, and the operating table was bare cold steel. As they moved me from my bed onto the table they took the sheets with me, and I was laid out cold and frightened waiting for what I imagined would be the worst experience of my life.

When I woke it was with a sudden fright, and it was as I was being wheeled out of the surgical room. Strange people I didn’t know grabbed me and pushed me back down onto the bed as they pushed me into recovery, where my doctor was called back into the room to calm me down, I remember he told me I was ok, and that I wouldn’t remember any of this when I woke up properly. I disagreed and asked for proof, how many stiches did I have in my leg? He laughed at me, but the number he told me was 26. There was 28 when I counted a few days later.

I had another surgery after that, skin grafts to close the wounds in my leg, but that one wasn’t too bad.. I mean the Anesthetist was pretty determined to get my phone number by any means possible, and who plays dance music in an operating room anyway?

I copped a bit of flack for going to extremes to get a holiday, but it wasn’t much of a holiday destination.

From the beginning everything worked out worse than expected, I had reactions from the blood transfusions, pain like you wouldn’t believe, delirium , fevers, shaking, twitching, seizures, adverse drug reactions, into ICU with suspected kidney failure, back out again, catheters, blood tests, nurses poking and prodding just about every inch of my body, developing a reaction to morphine, allergic reactions to phentinol, withdrawals when they took me off it, reacting to the antibiotics, dressing changes that they would have to give me morphine and sedatives to cope with, and the time they forgot to give me any pain relief for the dressing change. I could go on…

Nurses told me that not so long ago my injury would have been fatal, and when my GP rang me during my stay because he was concerned about me, he told me in any other hospital, under any other doctor I would have lost my leg.

Its scary to think about how close to the edge I have been in the last few months, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think about it like that.

Why? Because without a word of lie I can say, this has been the best experience of my entire life!




p.s. if you want to find out why keep watching to read part 2 very soon!


Yoyo,  I do not regret buying this horse, despite all she has put me through.  And one day, God willing, I will ride her again,

I do not regret buying this horse, despite all she has put me through.
And one day, God willing, I will ride her again,