Today, I’m introducing you to Kirstine.
Kirstine not only works tirelessly alongside her husband on their family farm but also works night shifts at a local hospital.
I tip my hat to rural nurses. They are deserving of so much respect and appreciation for their work. They deal with EVERYTHING in the smaller rural hospitals. When there’s no doctor or security onsite, they are often on their own to care for anyone who walks through the door until a tele-doctor and/or the Royal Flying Doctor can be scheduled. Respect.
I could go on and on about Kirstine. She’s one of the hardest working and most genuine and compassionate people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. When she says ‘Hi, how are ya?’, she’s not asking as a rhetorical conversion starter, she genuinely wants to know how you are. This is a woman who has meaningful relationships and makes the conversations she has with people really count.
Oh and she’s also a brilliant cook, seriously, AMAZING.
Anyhoo, please meet Kirstine.
“My dad was a potato farmer, and my grandparents. We left the farm for the northern mining boom. There was no money in spud farming. Two families couldn’t be supported off the one property.
School holidays we used to head back to the farm and I saw how hard my granddad worked on that land. So hard. My Nan too. I decided way back then that I’d never marry a farmer.
But you can’t help who you fall inlove with.
I met him on the dance floor in a pub. I could tell he was from the country. He had a quick wit, a country humour and a kindness to him. Ten months later I moved down the farm. I went from being a city nurse to a country nurse in a hospital that often has no doctor in town.
It was so quiet in the country. No traffic. No white noise. Just silence, well, except for the birds. The stars at night…pure magic. It’s very isolating though. Can’t just pop down the road for a coffee. Popping down the street to get milk became a 50km trip.
I didn’t realize part of marrying into a farm is taking over the generational family legacy. We’re fourth generation here. It’s a massive responsibility to continue a successful business despite the growing challenges.
People say its lifestyle, but is it? We live with little money, we rely on mother nature who is often not reliable. Infact she can be a downright bitch some years.
Women moving to the country can find it so hard to find a place in such small communities. I found it hard. Moving to a town where so many people have grown up together, so close, to find a place amongst it can be hard.
At times it felt like a baptism of fire…sometimes literally…being evacuated with my kids, throwing the dogs in the car during a bushfire. He was out fighting the fire. Not knowing if he was safe or if we’d have anything to come back to. It happens often out here. It’s scary.
One time my son, at 10months, face up against the sliding glass door with a 2-metre dugite striking against the glass. It was a 45 (114F) degree day. I don’t blame the snake for wanting to come in.
I’ve adapted to the isolation now, I’ve learnt how to plan. Everything has to be planned when it’s a long drive to go anywhere.
I can do most things around the farm, and I do, except for shearing and changing a tractor tyre. Not part of my skillset.
I think working alongside my husband we’ve grown a deep mateship and camaraderie. I know how hard he works. I think he’s amazing. He’s an amazing father.
I love sheep work, it’s a family affair, the kids, us and the grandparents all pitching in to get it done.
Many women who haven’t experienced farm life have a nostalgic view of what its like. A romantic view. And when they move to the country they really struggle with the reality. The loneliness. I guess I’ve always been happy with my own company so it didn’t worry me so much, the loneliness I mean.
But the work, it’s hard and long. And the flies…they’re disgusting. I prefer the snakes to the flies.
There are priceless aspects of my life. Nothing beats watching the kids climb trees after a sweltering hot summer’s day working in the yards, sitting on the verandah, having a beer, watching the sun go down.”
KIRSTINE HAMERSLEY, 45
‘Jackessi’ Western Australia