Dowerin Field Days Act Georgie Sadler Talks Life as a Songwriter in Agriculture
Georgie Sadler, a songwriter, farmer and mother to three kids under 9 lives out on Danubin Farm situated between Dowerin and Wongan Hills with her family. WAM’s Regional Officer Nigel Bird spoke to Georgie about being a songwriter in the agricultural space ahead of her Dowerin Field Days performance.
Can you tell us about your farm and what’s in your paddocks?
This year has been a historical one for the Sadler Family, with the family farm being split in two – Darren and myself going out on our own and farming half of the land, while Darren’s sister Jemma and her husband Shea farming the other half. Our succession story is one for the family to be extremely proud of, with the process being remarkably smooth along the way. The Sadlers have run Danubin as a family business, and although we have gone our separate ways, we remain close and are in close contact with each other (and father Don shares his time working on both properties).
So, Darren and I now farm all in crop, with a mixture of hard wheat, noodle wheat, canola, lupins and barley included in our rotation. Up until this year, the Sadlers ran a mixed cropping and sheep program, but throughout the last 6 months, Darren and I have sold off all of our sheep. We acknowledge that we may be putting all our eggs into 1 basket so to speak by just growing crops, but we feel our time is better spent growing crops – and concentrating on growing them well.
How many hours a day does the farm and family take up? When do you find the time to get in a creative space to write songs?
25?! I admit I am not out in the paddock anywhere near as much as I’d like. I find that my time is well and truly taken up getting the two older kids ready for school (Rowan, 8, Billie 6), having a toddler (Maggie 3) at home with me, keeping up with the washing and cooking etc etc and all of those endless jobs that a stay at home mum does.
In addition to that, I now have considerably more Farm Office work to do than ever before. I grew up on a farm in Kojonup and studied a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management at The University of WA , and have worked in Grain Marketing, Perennial Pastures and Landcare so I have a keen interest in all things farming and how to run it more efficiently. My intention is to spend more time in the office once Maggie is at school and hopefully more time out in the paddock!
As is the case in all small country towns, most people have their turn at volunteering in various committees. I am on 3 committees at present and that takes up time too – but volunteering is what keeps these towns alive so I realise the importance.
So…where do I find the time to get in a creative frame of mind to write songs? In all honesty I get very little time at present. I do believe, though, that this is one of the busiest times of my life and my kids are only young once. I struggle to write at all when I’m not ‘feeling it’, so as I writer I like to be patient and wait until the urge comes. I hold out hope that I will make more time in the years to come to write some new material that I can be proud of.
Being twenty odd kilometres off the bitumen, what does preparing for a gig mean to you?
Preparing for a gig is no mean feat, as it’s not just me that needs to prepare, often I need to plan what is happening with the kids during that time! Lucky Darren (chief roadie) fully supports what I do and often stays at home with the kids or comes along as my helper and lugs all the gear. Preparation also involves practising the songs – which is also a challenge these days!! My closest gigs would be in Wongan Hills which is 30 km away. In the past I have travelled down to Denmark and as far as Mingenew. But gigs are what make me pick up the guitar and realise how much I enjoy doing something just for ‘me’, and that I can do this as well as being a mum.
What do you most hope to achieve next with your music?
Well I have recently purchased a new PA system – so I hope that it gets used!!! I also hope to pick up my guitar more often, I may have to be more disciplined with that – but like I said I can’t force it! In October this year I’ll be singing with the Hills Symphony Orchestra who are coming to Wongan Hills so that will be an amazing experience.
Any advice for other parents wanting to focus more on music?
Firstly, you’re never too old to get into it and have a go. Music is such a gift, I don’t think it matters if think you can sing or write or play an instrument or not – if it brings you joy then damn well do it! I do believe in the saying that ‘You Can Have it All – Just not all at once’ and I think this particularly applies to women. My role as a mother and wife will always come first. But in saying that, I sing almost every day when I’m around the house, (admittedly not often my own songs!), and I know I’ll always have that, that I can pick up my skills later on if life’s demands mean I have to put it on hold for the time being!
DOWERIN FIELD DAYS: WEDNESDAY 29 – THURSDAY 30 AUGUST
Located in the heart of WA’s Wheatbelt region, the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days returns, and will once again see WAM partnering with Dowerin Events to present the Wheatbelt Songwriters Showcase. Happening on Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 August, 2018’s Field Days will see stacks of sensation local acts performing 10am till late at pop-up locations throughout the agricultural event, including a Sundowner showcase on the Wednesday evening featuring WAM Song of the Year folk award winners The Little Lord Street Band, alt-country songstress Polly Medlen, soul-stirring roots duo Golden Egg (featuring Erin Pope) and country singer-songwriter and WAM Sounds of the Wheatbelt artist Georgie Sadler.