City gal looks at country life
South Waikato News would like to introduce our new farming columnist Brenna Parthemore
Iwould like to introduce myself. I am the Rural LoneStar, a city girl who was raised in Dallas Ft Worth Texas. Our population in that area is roughly 6.5 million people. I grew up in a fifteenth-floor high rise. My backyard was a tennis court. The only herd I’ve ever seen is a herd of women rushing to shop for clothes. The most rural I get is driving to the airport. I had never heard of a gumboot until I came to New Zealand and I was excited when I was told it was footwear. NOT what I expected. I will be exploring the rich rural land of the Waikato. I am a bit scared of what I may find but most of all I hope I wear the right outfit.
My makeup is perfect and I have the hottest pink overalls, my hair is clipped, my heels have been replaced with gumboots and I am ready to roll onto the Watson farm in Waotu.
I arrive at the Watson Farm just north of Tokoroa. I am surprised at how green this country really is and it matches this cute cardigan I have at home – dang, I should have worn that.
It’s beautiful, it makes me think back to my birth land Texas and the landscape there looks more like a burnt out desert, but this place is magic, it looks healthy.
I am so excited to be here, I have never been on a real working farm before.
I am joined by the Watson family who will be giving me a tour of this beautiful farm.
The Watson family have been sharemilking here for three seasons. I asked what share milking is like and from their answers it seems to be a seven day a week job! Oh my goodness, no weekends. While talking to the man of the farm Wayne Watson I learn the rotary shed was built in 1975 and holds 22 bales. Wayne brings over the first cow I have ever been near. This cow is huge, maybe huge is the wrong word? Ok it’s gigantic. Now I know I have never been close to a cow before but I notice something that does not seem right even to my untrained eyes. I notice two little hooves coming out the back end of the cow. ‘‘Eeewww’’ something is totally wrong, it must be pooping an alien or something .
I am told that the mother cow is in labour and the baby calf is breech.
Wayne has me come up and help him with the birth, yes that’s right folks my first day on a New Zealand Farm and I am asked to be a midwife to a cow!
Wayne rubs some kind of liquid all over his hand and arm. He asks if I would like to put my hand in the cow and help turn the calf. I pass on that, my overalls are brand new and it would be a shame if they got real dirty but the truth is it seems too early in my farming career to have my hand up a cow’s butt.
Wayne has a hard time with the calf and has to put ropes on its small feet.
Now I am a big beautiful girl and Wayne’s not a little man by any means. He tells me to put all my weight on the rope, I am scared I am going to rip off the baby’s leg. The force that it took was amazing. The baby finally made it out of that hellish birth.
I am in a state of shock. The calf is so big I cannot believe it made it through such a small place. I hear some people say life is a beautiful thing and I tend to agree but what an ugly start, so gross.
Unfortunately the little baby cow didn’t make it which is a reality on all farms in New Zealand when a calf is born breech, some make it and some don’t.
I was a little traumatised by this, my first day I help life come into this world only to see it go so quickly; what a downer.
To prop up my spirits I head over to the bobby calf shed. The calves are so cute. I’m surprised Wayne let me near them after my tragic attempt at being a midwife earlier, but he is happy to introduce me to these little bundles of joy that will eventually provide milk for my morning cup of joe.
I’m in love!! These calves are so gorgeous I get to feed them. They are so strong and really have no problem pooping anywhere. Please do not poop on my new overalls is all I can think. I had a great day on the farm. From a city girl perspective I can really see the appeal of the New Zealand farming life. The solitude and the closeness to nature is something I felt my self that day. Thank you to the Watson Family and My Fair Farm for my overalls .
xoxo The Rural Lonestar
columnist Brenna Parthemore. SURPRISE: The Watson family from Waotu were in for a surprise when South Waikato News’ Rural Lonestar dropped in.
RURAL LONESTAR: South Waikato News