GIRL POWER: Margot Tesch.
GIRL POWER: Margot Tesch. Contributed

Margot's extreme tree change

MARGOT Tesch has always liked a challenge, that's why she agreed to join her husband on their 10,000 acre grazing property in the Traprock in 2008.

At the time she was working as a consultant for Virgin Blue (now called Virgin Australia) assisting the senior management team with their strategic planning. But life was stressful in the corporate office and she was looking for a change.

Her husband Chris had harboured a dream since his youth to run a cattle grazing property. Both Chris and Margôt agreed that a life in the bush, in the fresh air, and a more active lifestyle was the perfect thing to do when you turn 50. And so they did.

But Margôt wasn't to know just how much taking on this new challenge would test her.

Living on a remote rural property in the Traprock (about an hour from Warwick) was a far cry from living in their city apartment on the river in Kangaroo Point Brisbane. Margôt's first year was tough. No more riding the pushbike around the inner city bike paths and enjoying a late breakfast on a Sunday morning. Instead she had to learn how to ride a quad bike and how to muster in very rough terrain - bouncing over sticks and logs, traversing rocky creek gullies, and dodging re-growth. To top it off, she had to remember where she was exactly. 10,000 acres is the equivalent to a few suburbs in Brisbane!

Margôt's well-honed project and program management skills were not much good when it came to fencing. On her first week full-time at Spring Creek, she joined Chris and their neighbour to work on a three kilometre boundary fence.

Margôt was used to working in male-dominated environments - but this was something different altogether. She was used to the corporate world - training, performance feedback, mentoring. But there were no such formalities in the back paddock. The fence was going up and she just had to step in and give it a go ... develop new skills on the run. One of her first jobs was tying off barbed wire to star pickets. It became a challenging and painful job and her hands were marked with many puncture wounds before Chris taught her a simple technique. He showed her how to make a crank with the tie wire to help hold the barbed wire in place while she tied it - simple ... if you know how! Margôt's skill development was launched but at that point she wasn't convinced she really wanted to be good at fencing.

Her first week in the bush was to throw more challenges her way than learning how to fence, more challenges than she felt ready to handle.

They arrived at the fencing site one day only to discover that the right front wheel of their Nissan Patrol looked remarkably like it was about to fall off. It was pointing in a different direction to the other wheel. Being about 20km from the house, it was a bad start to the day.

At the end of the day's work they decided to take the broken car to the neighbour's house as it was closer. Margôt was unprepared when Chris announced, "You'll have to drive the tractor."

She had anticipated she would need to learn how to drive it one day ... some day ... but not THAT day!

It was one of those times that seem to come around fairly frequently when you live in an isolated place. A rescue was required and everyone had to play their part, including Margôt, whether she was ready or not.

Chris gave her a quick lesson and she set off driving the tractor behind the Patrol. Though Chris was driving cautiously, Margot couldn't keep pace with him and had dropped well behind when night set in. She managed to switch on the head lights but they were shining straight into the tractor bucket and she could only just make out the track between the front wheels and the bucket by sitting precariously on the edge of the seat.

It was a nerve-wracking ride in the dark following an unknown trail with dips and turns until she finally pulled up behind Chris. Chris jumped out of the car and climbed up the tractor step and flicked a lever. The bucket lifted way up into the air, letting the head light beams stretch out in front. Margôt was grateful he didn't say anything. How was she to know?

It was a relief to make it to their destination that night and enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine with the neighbours. It was the beginning of her new life. She had wanted a change, a new challenge but now she found herself in the middle of it, living it, wondering.

Four years on and she's still here and has even been known to say that she actually enjoys fencing!

Margot has agreed to share with Bush Telegraph readers more of her adventures as she adjusted to rural life.

There were many times she had to dig deep as she wrestled with her decision to go bush.

Check out the Bush Telegraph next week if you would like to read more.



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