Love, laughter and lockdown

Ladies of the land missing their time to come together under common ground

Sheep
Donna Scott (right) from Valley Vista Poll Dorset stud, Coolac, NSW with some of her family at Canberra Royal Show.

Donna Scott (right) from Valley Vista Poll Dorset stud, Coolac, NSW with some of her family at Canberra Royal Show.

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When life gives you lemons, use them to make lemonade.

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When life gives you lemons, use them to make lemonade. It's an age old adage used to encourage optimism in the face of adversity.

There is no doubt adversity is what we are all facing at this present time. And it is optimism we are all searching for.

The turn of the century threw a curveball. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives.

Gone are the days of catching up and spending time together with our family and friends, and gone are the days when we get to gather at agricultural occasions with our likeminded colleagues.

No rural, regional or royal agricultural shows or events. No drinks on the mat or in the aisle after showing.

So how are the women in agriculture feeling about the adjustments to their normal lifestyles?

Mother of five, Donna Scott of Valley Vista Poll Dorset stud at Coolac in the Riverina region of NSW, said there is always something special about coming together with other women who share the same industry passions.

"Your sheep showing studs become family," Donna said.

"Memories that are made with fellow partners of farming men are life-long.

"You keep in contact with them and you have things that are similar that you get on with, but there are also the differences and that is what makes it so interesting and fun.

"I think for a lot of people it (the show circuit) is one of the few outlets that they have to catch up with people."

Admitting it is an exhausting exercise packing to get there and maybe more exhausting unpacking when you get home, she said she makes the effort not just for their business, but said it was an important life experience for her children.

"You will find amongst all the showing families all their children are able to hold a conversation with any age group - whether it be interacting with their own age or younger or sitting and listening to and participating in a conversation with adults," she said.

"I am also always impressed by the young schools that are showing - they have the highest work ethic, are so well behaved and their enthusiasm and their ability to interact with other studs is so impressive.

"Obviously they have good mentors at school, but from being able to come and participate at the shows - I think they will miss it too."

Donna said friendships are made across all breeds that travel to the shows.

"We all get together at the end of the day - whether it is the esky in the isle or at the members," she said.

"It doesn't matter if you won a broad ribbon, a blue ribbon or got sent back to the pen, we are all there for the same reason at the end of the day and we all need to debrief and have a laugh, and keep the sanity."

But for Donna, her lemonade is the opportunity to reflect on what their lives were like.

And although she knows it will be missed, not having to commit to the show circuit for 2020 will give them a chance to return to some of the simpler things in life.

Donna was adamant she didn't want to trivialise what is happening to a lot of people, and to the Australian economy, and that her family situation was circumstantial.

But she said her family is 'catching their breath'.

"As a whole, our lifestyle hasn't changed that much day to day, but what it has done is it has made myself, my husband Andrew, and our kids realise just how busy we had been," Donna said.

"We have now all just stopped and taken a breath and it has given us the chance to get our core and balance back a little bit."

It doesn't matter if you won a broad ribbon, a blue ribbon or got sent back to the pen, we are all there for the same reason at the end of the day and we all need to debrief and have a laugh, and keep the sanity - Donna Scott, Valley Vista Poll Dorset stud, Coolac

Cherie Coddington of Roseville Park Merino stud at Dubbo, NSW, has spent many years attending shows with her husband Matthew and their five children.

She said when the children were younger it was hard work getting everyone packed up, but now they are older she embraces the chance to attend.

"There is common ground amongst everyone - they understand the preparation that gos into the animals and how consuming it can be. It's nice to have that similarity," Cherie said.

"To be honest it is also about having a good time on the sideline and forgetting about all the hard work. There is always fun and there is always stories to be told afterwards."

She said being in the moment when you are there helps you to forget about other things that are going on on the outside, such as drought.

"To be honest, I don't think the reality of not attending these events for most farm people has really hit yet," Cherie said.

"After coming off the back of probably the worst three years ever, I don't know what that is going to do a lot of families - the impact of not being able to attend these social events will hit in a few months time.

"Often it is upon reflection - you don't realise how much you missed and and how much you enjoyed it until you actually reflect back.

"I think by the end of this, we will all be looking forward to hanging out together again."

Often it is upon reflection - you don't realise how much you missed and and how much you enjoyed it until you actually reflect back - Cherie Coddington, Roseville Park Merino stud, Dubbo

The story Love, laughter and lockdown first appeared on Farm Online.

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