Lean on a gate, talk to a mate

The season flicks from mid-summer to mid-winter day after day for vet Amy Hoogenboom.

In Home Block5 Minutes

The season flicks from mid-summer to mid-winter day after day for vet Amy Hoogenboom.

THE TEMPERATURE AND RAIN GAUGE right now are both suggesting we’re more likely in some month of winter, rather than mid-February. Between these outbursts of wild weather and the “C” word that we are all sick of hearing about, this long skinny landmass and its population have endured one of the most challenging summers on record.

Being plunged back into the “Red traffic light” setting has caused great uncertainty for the viability of many events this year, including the Future Beef Hoof & Hook competition held annually in May which attracts almost 100 competitors alone from across New Zealand.

The weekend-long event is designed to enable youth from a variety of backgrounds to discover and learn about opportunities within the NZ beef industry, it is centred on a prime beef cattle competition, alongside hands-on modules.

Being on the executive committee for this event and working through the deliberation process of whether it will go ahead or be cancelled for 2022 has been a difficult process. There are many other considerations besides just how many people can be at the event. Many of our entrants have already put in hours breaking prime cattle to halter, event sponsors have different guidelines around what events they can attend.

Is it financially viable to run at reduced competitor capacity and, of course, what would be the reputational damage to the competition if there were to be a cluster of cases related to the event? By the time this column is published the committee will have made a definitive decision, but Thursday’s meeting can’t come quick enough at present.

One thing I prided myself on during my veterinary career was never getting caught short on fuel, I definitely got lost a couple of times but never ran out of fuel as a couple of colleagues did. So, you can guess what the next story is about, can’t you. And while I am still filled with a sense of embarrassment that I can write this story, I’m still alive and I feel we all need a little something to laugh about a little these days.

I was heading to the tip top of Lake Coleridge for the afternoon to visit some clients, I should have filled up on my way through town the day before but forgot. And the one hang-up with having a company vehicle is you tend to only have fuel cards for certain outlets and for me by the time the fuel light came on, the nearest fuel card stops were both 30km away (doable probably).

There was no way I was making it to the top of Lake Coleridge with the fuel in the tank. That’s fine, I thought, there’s a fuel stop in Windwhistle and I’ll use my personal card. Arrived in Windwhistle and where is my wallet? On the bench at home… %#$^&^%$#! And so I sheepishly called the farm managers who were out with 20 litres of diesel as soon as they could.

This was a great reminder of just how caring and supportive rural communities are of each other. In the words of Craig Wiggins, don’t forget to ‘Lean on a gate and talk to a mate’ this week, there has never been a greater need to stay connected, communicate, look out for one another and take care of ourselves.