In early March, as we prepared for lockdown on the farm, the first of our fluffy little lambs was born.
There are always one or two who are rejected by their mother and need to be bottle-fed multiple times a day.
Liz puts the lambs in cute little knitted coats, and the kids feed them colostrum formula with baby bottles.
Instagram: #sooocute #farmlife #furbabies!
It takes a few goes for the lambs to get used to the bottle, but when they get a taste for it they’re hooked.
Soon they’re so excited to get the bottle that they literally knock the kids over. Terrified, the kids hold out the bottle and brace for impact. The lambs charge at them, suck it down as fast as they can, and then wander around ‘milk drunk’.
There’s a time limit to how long we’ll trudge up to the yards twice a day in the dead of winter, of course.
Yet the lambs don’t know that.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
I’m really talking about JobKeeper, the boosted JobSeeker, your caring bank who’s let you pause your mortgage payments (but not your interest and charges), and the landlord who’s discounted your rent.
You’re sucking on that milk. Tasty, ain’t it?
Well, don’t get too comfortable.
Soon September will roll around on our farm.
The season will change, the flowers will begin to bloom, the air will start to get warm.
And our cute, fat, hand-raised lambs will be …hanging out with the butcher.
One day they’re frollicking in the warm glow of sunlight, the next they’re simmering in a roadside BP bain-marie.
At this point my editor stopped reading and wisely advised me to spike this column: “You will get hate mail.”
Well, I’m trying to make a point.
See, I’ve lived through natural disasters and seen the outpouring of emotion and generous offers of support.
And I’ve also seen just how quickly people move on — banks, politicians, the media, the general public.
They always do, and quicker than you think.
Case in point: the banks have painted themselves as the ‘financial doctors’ of this pandemic, pausing repayments (but, again, not the interest) on $220 billion worth of loans.
And having won praise for giving customers ‘up to’ six-month payment holds, the NAB has already begun ringing its COVID-affected customers just to check in (“How you doin’, lil buddy? You got some money for us?”).
Similarly, politicians have bestowed on renters a six-month ‘eviction ban’ and, in many cases, the option of negotiating reduced rent, i.e. landlords cop it in the neck. Yet, with 1.3 million landlords negatively gearing (aka losing money), this can’t last forever.
And, while the Government has unveiled the biggest welfare response in history (though slightly revised down!), they’re now under pressure to restart the economy and begin cutting back the gravy.
The bottom line?
Right now we’re in the early stages of reopening the economy, and we’re riding a wave of optimism after being locked down for so long.
But just remember that for many people things will change in September. That’s when the economic season changes and we’ll find ourselves smack bang in the deepest recession in living memory.
What does that mean for you?
It means you have 90 days (at the most).
You need to cobble together a plan that gets you on the front foot. It’s time to reinvent yourself. It’s time to radically cut your costs. It’s time to have a hard conversation with your bank. It’s time to sell something, or many things. Do whatever it takes. The time to act is right now, while the milk of human kindness is still flowing.
Tread Your Own Path!