|Closed due to a lack of water|
It has been a hard year in Australia for farmers, and western Queensland has been particularly touched. To me, a city girl, one rainfall this year, and that back in March, seems bewildering, yet this was the reality for some. Water restrictions in past years have reduced the length of my showers and elongated our evening routine as my husband and I set about transferring our children's bathwater, one bucket at a time, onto our garden. In those years, the lawn and the car both got browner and talk turned to re-designing gardens with drought-resistant plants. These inconveniences are almost embarrassing to divulge when compared to the struggle of trying to keep stock alive and crops growing without water.
It seems, though, that as well as a good bit of luck, the thing that gets most farmers through these difficult times is a positive attitude and a knowledge that, even separated by hundreds of kilometres as they often are, they are part of a strong community.
I was delighted, therefore, to learn of a project that recounted- no- more than that, celebrated the lives of some of these farmers. And, I was even more delighted to learn that the book, as that was what the project became, highlighted the strength, determination and courage of women farmers.
Unfortunately, this was short-lived when I saw the title of the publication. Cattlemen, it could be argued, refers to both women and men, like actor covers actors and actresses of yore. But, 'Cattlemen in Pearls' - that, to me is just wrong. It reduces, again, the exploits of women to something superficial. I am an admirer of Australia's former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. In a recent speech, she said what this title makes me feel "if you're trying to be a man, it's a waste of a woman". The book, a brilliant opportunity to inspire and educate, leads off, instead, by representing competent Australian women as dressed-up men.
|Low levels in the Annecy Lake|
How to remain optimistic when things don't seem to be normal is a challenge. Sometimes, I agree, getting dressed up and going out is a good antidote to worrying. But, I can assure you, if I owned any, that it would not be by donning my pearls that I would be expressing my womanhood.
|In good times at the Annecy Lake|