Bess Gairns is a 20-something-year-old mother of one, Fiance to another, sister to two and daughter of another pair. She prefers to call herself a 'Chronic organiser' rather than being coined as slightly OCD. Bess adores her family, her farm, her volunteer work and her writing. Bess is of the generation who literally grew up with the internet. As such she has grown up with a rapidly changing world and has been immersed in technology her entire life, from the original massive, DOS powered machine of her childhood (when playing 'pong' was about as technical as things got) to today, where she sits at a desk with dual screens, an ipad and iphone at the ready. Bess' infatuation with Social Media has lead her here where she hopes to share her knowledge and passions with you.
Bess was born in rural NSW but her family moved to sunny Brisbane, QLD when she was about 7. Despite being,essentially, a city-kid, Bess' formative years stuck with her and despite all the opportunity that came with a city based upbringing she was always adamant she would move back to the country eventually. Bess attended private school in the northern fringe suburbs of Brisbane, where she excelled at writing based subjects such as english and legal studies. Shortly after graduating High School she decided that she would prefer to work for a while rather than study and secured her first job as an administration assistant at an inner-city law firm. And in true Gen-Y fashion, so began her career in administration. Which lead her to work in an accounting firm, import & wholesale businesses and then for a large multinational company. Her 'chronic organisation', chatty demeanor and attention to detail saw her take each of these roles by the horns and excel at them. However her heart was always 'out of town' and she spent weekends and holidays picking and packing avocados on the small property owned by her Aunt and Uncle in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Without warning, in 2008, Bess' life was turned on it's head when she was introduced to Andrew, a larrikin cotton farmer friend-of-a-friend. It was the most tornado-like of whirlwind romances you've heard of. 6 weeks after meeting for the first time things became 'official'. One Friday Bess arrived home to Andrew parked int he driveway. After a quick dash inside to pack a bag they were off. 6 hours later, in the dead of night, they arrived 'home' to the farm. The following morning Bess woke to find no Andrew, with a dreamy vision of cows grazing out the window. That weekend she was introduced to the 10,000acre cotton farm near a tiny town called Mungindi for the very first time. Barely 12 weeks after meeting, during a phone conversation on her lunch break Andrew said the words that changed Bess' world instantly... "I don't know why you're insisting on wasting time up there. We both know you belong here on the farm with me". A week later she quit her job without notice, packed her car and did something that looking back now seems a bit ridiculous. But she wouldn't change it for the world. "It was a hair-brained, crazy thing to do. But I was home. I was where I belonged. and 5 years later I'm still here and as happy as I was that first day."
Agriculture & Cotton
Bess was thrown off the deepend. The week she moved to the farm was the first week of wheat harvest and when you're a cotton grower, wheat harvest tends to come hand-in-hand with irrigating. So for the first few weeks she lived alone, only seeing Andrew for dinner each day. That first summer was a massive learning curve. Bess often joked about cotton growers having their own language, one that she couldn't decipher. Andrew's patience shone through as he answered countless questions and taught Bess absolutely everything about cotton, irrigation, the local area and the realities of living on an isolated property. Watching the cotton grow and flourish everyday saw her fall in love with the crop and the farm life. As Bess learnt she became increasingly motivated to teach others about her new life. With the encouragement of other agvocates that Bess had met via online support groups for the Live Export community Bess decided to give blogging a go. It didn't take long for the blog to take on a life of it's own being read and shared in over 30 countries as Bess documented the daily running of the farm and her life. By far the most read post on the original blog came in 2011 when Bess and Andrew announced their engagement. Questions and feedback came from everywhere, much of it from readers who had 'no idea' that cotton came from plants. Bess has a great love of all facets of agriculture. Wool, beef, vegetables, pork, viticulture, dairy, very element, every industry, every product. She, like most Australian's, is thankful to live in one of the cleanest, greenest, most efficient food producing nations in the world. She has come to learn and understand that each industry and every producer has their own way and reasons of doing things and this in turn creates the fundamental diversity in production that agriculture needs to survive. Bess hopes to learn, as well as to teach, through social media as she promotes agriculture and it's importance.
Infertility, Loss & the NICU Journey
The other passion in Bess' life is promoting knowledge, acceptance and understanding around some of the most touchy subjects in our society. Bess speaks openly about the experiences she and Andrew have faced together in her blog and publicly as she hopes to bring awareness to these subjects and to help others affected.
Andrew and Bess began their journey to parenthood in 2008. After a few months of trying they lost the first of three pregnancies to miscarriage. Their losses were coupled with 2 years of infertility complications. They came to the decision that it was time to start looking into other options. Only to find themselves pregnant for the 4th time. It was a shock and a joy as they were no longer 'trying' and this baby was somewhat 'unplanned'. They breathed a sigh of relief at the 14 week mark and finally allowed themselves to start making plans and preparing for the baby they thought they would never have. One morning, after a late night at a function, Bess went into labour. She was only 26weeks pregnant. Within a few hours they had been rushed to a local hospital (an hour away). Eddison was born without steroids to mature his lungs, in a hospital that wasn't equipped to look after a baby as premmie as he was. He was 32cm long and weighed 860grams. Amazingly he breathed. Within a few hours of his birth Bess and Eddison were flown to Brisbane where Eddison spent 80 days in NICU. The experience of having a micro-prem, being flown out by air ambulance and spending 80 days living away from home watching helplessly as their son battled to survive changed everything for Andrew and Bess. Bess now volunteers on the National Premmie Foundation Committee as their Social Media representative as well as working in several online support groups. She often blogs about her experience with the hope of promoting and educating people about the complications and issues that come along with prematurity, as well as hoping to bring respite and understanding to other families who are faced with similar issues.
"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom. " - RW Emerson