Farmer shares wisdom on the happiness of chooks and men
HALFWAY Creek farmer Jack Gallagher remembers a time when there was no electricity in his home.
Farm life was rich with experience, family cooperation and happiness. In a time where we work so hard for things we don't really need, it is a reminder we do not need much to be happy.
Studies on happiness by the World Happiness Report show that after basic needs are met, there is little correlation between more money and happiness.
We have so much in the first world; sometimes it becomes hard to see it.
We become expectant and our experiences relative to the wealth we hold.
Mr Gallagher says he would return to the "good old days” any time; no electricity, little money, just living from the land, sharing the workload and love.
Although they worked all day, life was connected.
His mother sold eggs at market in the 1940s and his father was a sheep and cattle farmer, so there was always something to do on the farm.
Now well into his 70s, Mr Gallagher has lived a rich life, full of all different types of wealth.
Until seven years ago he travelled the nation as a racehorse trainer, but it was not as satisfying a career as it seemed.
"The horse racing industry, from my experience is not a happy industry,” Mr Gallagher said.
"No matter what they get they want something more.”
Once he felt he was too old for this high pressure pursuit, the Halfway Creek resident moved into chicken and honey.
He now has 100 beehives and 500 chooks, and sells his produce at the Yamba Farmers Markets.
"We have substantially increased the number of chickens we have to be able to provide Yamba with the eggs they require,” he said.
"We still always sell out and are always looking at how we can increase what we produce, without compromising the lives of the chicken or the quality of the eggs.
"(But) the attitude of the customers (at the markets) is better than any market we go to. Even when I run out of eggs the customers say they will be there earlier next week; they understand that we are a small scale farmer and respect the nature of farming.”
Speaking of respect, Mr Gallagher highly values the relationship with his animals, something that was passed down by his parents.
Now, he sees it as a key part of farming.
It is clear the chickens have good life at Halfway Creek, allowing anyone to pick them up and give them a hug.
"My mother had a great relationship with the birds,” Mr Gallagher said.
"A happy chicken produces a good egg.”
Get your fresh eggs from Mr Gallagher at the Yamba Farmers Market every Wednesday from 7-11am.