Imperfection builds character

Emma Poole

One of the hardest things I have found when juggling working as a vet and a farmer is the weekends on call. Being at the vet clinic during the week usually means that by the time the weekend rolls around I have a huge list of things I want to get done on the farm. One particular weekend I can think of, my husband Chris and I wanted to build yards down the back of the farm for the calves.

We loaded up the New Holland T5.105 with posts, put the post rammer on the back and headed off for a day of work. We usually use the T5 for ramming posts because of the extra visibility it offers with its ROPS design. Without the driver being in a cab it also means we can yell insults at each other with the guarantee of the other party hearing you. More recently we have switched to using the T6.180 with an enclosed cab for ramming. I must say there are now less arguments – mainly because I can no longer hear Chris yelling instructions/insults at me, but also because the automatic clutch feature allows one to creep back into the perfect position without riding the clutch.

This particular weekend we had just started ramming when I got my first vet call out; a pony with a sore tummy. It is a good time to point out that I am not the kind of James Herriot vet you all have in your imagination that enjoys treating a cat one minute and a donkey the next. I specialise in cows – focus on what you are good at is my theory. After returning from the two hour round trip to see the pony, who did not in fact have a sore tummy, I returned to the task at hand.

​ Chris had carried on without me and there were now a series of not quite perfectly rammed posts in the ground. Chris brings efficiency and speed to the husband-wife working duo while I bring the annoying perfectionism that slows us both down but ensures the job is done properly. Phone call two for the day rolls in; a baby alpaca born two hours ago with a dislocated hip. It took me a while to convince the owners of this one that baby alpacas are naturally wobbly on their feet to start with before they learn to walk and the hip was in fact exactly where it should be.

Call three for the day; a vomiting goat. Until I had seen the carnage of goat vomit spread from floor to ceiling in this poor woman’s garage, I hadn’t even realised goats were capable of vomiting. There is a lesson here for everyone – keep your goats out of Mum’s rhododendron bushes unless you want your garage remodelled. Call four for the day was a sheep that had been sick for two weeks but suddenly needed seeing on a weekend. By call five – another miniature pony, I then admitted defeat and accepted that I would not be hopping back in the tractor for the day and I would have to put up with the imperfectly rammed posts for the rest of my farming career or get back on the old ROPS tractor and yell insults about wayward fence posts and over anxious lifestyle block owners.

New Holland Agriculture a brand of CNH Industrial N.V. ©
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