In this article, get to know Jacinta Haycock, one of the four talented artisans we have sponsored from the Buy from The Bush community to participate in Artisan Lane at Sydney Gift Fair.
Raising 11 children is never going to be an easy task and raising 11 children on a farm during a drought makes the challenge exceedingly more difficult. Thankfully, Jacinta Haycock, 52, loves being a mother. The former school teacher, whose husband is a high school teacher, raises her large family while running a 960-acre cattle farm in Dubbo, in New South Wales.
Haycock tells the story of the time the family was forced to de-stock two years ago. “We had to sell livestock because they were all basically dying in the paddock. We couldn’t buy feed. Some died on the truck. Others died later. The rest were sold,” she explains. The property has received some rain over the past two weeks, but not nearly enough, and it takes time for the full effects of such a drought to be reversed.
“There’s no water in the dams at the moment and until they are full, we can’t look at buying more stock,” she says. “Everything is so dry, and we haven’t had enough rain yet. But it’s the most we’ve had in ages.” Thankfully, the family hasn’t been affected by the recent bush fires.
Haycock was raised on a large sheep property around 200 kilometres from Warren. She was home-schooled until Year 5 and then in Year 10 she started boarding school. “Boarding school was horrendous for me,” she says, adding that her brother and sisters “loved it”. I was always a very shy child and I was brought up around jackaroos and other adults, so I thought I was just a small adult.
Haycock always knew she wanted a large family, and thankfully husband Andy, 53, felt the same. “I told my boyfriends I wanted heaps of babies and my husband was the one who was on board,” she says. The couple were both raised in Dubbo and attended university in Armidale before getting together back in Dubbo and becoming engaged after only two months.
Their children are Isabelle, 24, Hewett, 23, Ruby, 22, Martha, 21, Paddy, 19, Sullivan, 18, Fletcher, 16, Georgette, 15, Darby, 12, and Lars, eight. Daughter Bessie, six, died in 2010 from a seizure disorder. “My life is so bloody good. They’re just beautiful normal children with beautiful hearts,” Haycock says of family life. “I’m a real homebody and I’ve never needed a lot of friends. I’m more of a bloke’s girl than a girl’s girls and my kids are everything to me.
“They are my mates and now I’m a grandmother. Isabelle has two little ones – Alfie, one, and Banksie, five months.”
Not all of Haycock’s children love farm life, and that’s okay. The boys are very sporty and they are into football and rugby league, and the girls are into netball but not as much as the boys. “Their father is mad about football.”
The mother of 11 is also an artist and has recently been included in the Buy from the Bush campaign. When the full effects of the drought began to hit the family hard, the artist and mum thought she may have to go back to teaching to help earn an income for the family. Buy from the Bush has helped to avoid this. Haycock, who paints impressionist flowers and animals, says she received messages from the campaign, and it was a friend who encouraged her to respond. She also sells her work through local businesses, adding, “The kids have also made me put them on Facebook and Instagram.”
A typical day for Haycock starts at 4.30am with a 40-minute run, and then it’s back to the property for some housework before the kids get up. By 6.30am I get them up and it’s breakfast and schooling and signing notes and yelling at them about their homework and to get ready to leave. “It’s crazy.”
The primary school-aged kids take the bus at 7.30am, while those in high school go with their father, who teaches there. Two of Haycock’s boys are working in trades — building and plumbing. “There’s always lots of people coming and going,” she says.
“Before I leave the house at a quarter past eight, I think about dinner and get that planned in my head in terms of what needs to be defrosted,” she continues. “Then more loads of washing, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, tidying up and then hopefully out to the art shed.” Haycock heads back home to do more washing at around 2.30pm and then starts preparing dinner, which they eat at 4.30pm.
“The kids come home starving and if tea isn’t ready, they snack me out of house and home”. After cleaning up, she’s back out to the art shed from around 6pm until midnight. “I like being busy and having things to do,” she says.
Article written by Jo Abi. Article originally published on Nine Honey
Sydney Gift Fair 2020
Where: Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park
When: Friday 21st February – Monday 24th February 2020
Hours: 9am – 6pm (Friday – Sunday) & 9am – 5pm (Monday)