I’m sorry it’s been so long between posts!

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in Around the farm

 

I’m feeling like my world is very busy.  And I’m certainly not saying that because I think I’m the only one who has that feeling.  In part I’ve decided my world is busy by looking at the to-do list of jobs for this week but also because I can’t quite believe it’s been over twelve months since I posted a blog.

I’ve written a few blogs during that time but never published them ……for one reason or another. For some of my writing, I wrote and then wasn’t quite happy with it. It’s a hard thing, I find, to be happy with something you’ve written when you don’t really know who, if indeed anyone at all, will read it (feel free to shout out if you do read them!).  Another I wrote, in fact wrote with great gusto, about ‘things that go bump in the night’ but haven’t posted due to what are seemingly never ending legal proceedings (we were having things stolen).  Stay tuned for more on that one…….

In any case, today, amidst the busy that is in front of me this week, I am posting a blog, albeit not written by me!

After sitting down with the biggest farmer back in late January, to plan for what needed to be done by Easter (so we could go away for a week ….. yes, sadly, only one week) we again made the decision to advertise for someone/a couple to come and work with us.  The outcome of that process was Brad and Jess, a lovely English couple, who have spent the last nine weeks working with us. We said goodbye to Brad and Jess on the weekend. We wish them all the very best with their next adventure (working on a potato farm near Ballarat) and for the rest of their travels in Australia.

I recently asked them to write about their time with us ………..

 

If anyone had told us a year ago that we would be on a farm in central Victoria working with cattle and sheep, we would have thought they were mad.  But here we are seven months into our travels writing this blog.  When we received a reply about an advert on Gumtree we had responded to we were excited, but nervous, about having a job again.  The prospect of joining the real world after a ten week holiday was daunting.  We were however sort of looking forward to having some sort of purpose again.

Prior to this we had worked the mango season in Darwin for about three months and it had been … to say the least, harrowing.  As bad as it was, it treated our bank account well and we went on to have an amazing ten week holiday.  On our last day at the mango farm we packed up and headed straight to the airport, Bali bound.  We spent three weeks in Bali and the Gilly isles, scuba diving, snorkelling, eating and drinking far too much.  We spent Christmas there and it did feel very strange.  Our first Christmas away from family and friends.  As much as we loved every minute of Indonesia, for the first time on our trip we felt a little homesick.  Never the less after this one day of weakness we continued to have a fantastic time and headed back to Darwin to continue our adventure.

Landing in Darwin we wasted no time getting the hell out of there.  A brief night in the van in a pub car park in the hottest temperature you could ever imagine, we set off on our ten day desert drive to Melbourne.  After a few hectic days in Melbourne we boarded the Spirit of Tasmania.  Our dreams of cold weather had finally arrived and we spent a month camping, fishing and living with the wonderful outdoors.  When we had spent every penny we had earned it was time to move on.  So on the 18th February 2015 we made our way to Axedale to meet Liz, Tim and Emme – the Three Farmers.

As we said we were pretty nervous and noisily thundering down their driveway in our slightly worse for wear van we had no idea what to expect.  To our fortune we were met with a warm welcome from the family and given a very enthusiastic guided tour of our cottage by Emme, the youngest farmer (the boss).  Emme, at the time, was parading around with her mums work badge on and showing us every detail of the cottage thoroughly – including a huntsmen spider that had taken up residence in the bathroom.  She was not at all  scared of the spider but persistent it was moved.  Tim stepped up and relocated the spider (so for anyone living in the cottage next remember you are owed one free spider removal with your guided tour).

On our first day we did a variety of different jobs.  This became the norm for most days.  We found this extremely refreshing after the monotony of ten very long weeks putting mangoes in boxes.  The first job on the farm was to move an escaped cow from the vineyard next door.  She had seemingly decided that grapes were much better than grass.  Once we got her back where she was meant to be, we went on to fix the fence she had trampled in her wake.  This felt like a job well done and it was almost definitely time for a cuppa.  Morning and afternoon tea’s in between work is always on the days agenda and a warm cup of tea and Liz’s home made cakes/biscuits are always a welcome treat after helping Tim with his day to day jobs at the farm.

Jess carting round bales

Since being here I think we have probably gained about three stone.  We get fresh eggs from the best kept chooks on the planet, fresh veg from the garden and an abundance of sausages, that we can cook on our fire outside the cottage.  No better way to end the day by throwing a few spuds and sausages on the fire.  We had been living pretty much as vegetarians for the past 7 months, due to us not being sure where to buy non-intensive farmed meat from and the fact we are too cheap to buy it.  So the prospects of happy sausages cooked on the fire and a proper non vegie spag bol, was very exciting.  We call them happy sausages because they come from happy cows!

It’s nice to eat something when you know exactly where it has come from.  We love the idea of sustaining yourself from the things you grow or animals you keep.  likelihood of us ever owning a herd of cows is pretty slim however we would definitely love to keep chickens and grow our own veg.

Brad and Fly

From fencing to sheep herding we’ve done lots of jobs on the farm that make us feel like real farm hands!  We’ve seen lots of new calves and even witnessed Tim helping deliver one cows calf!  Off we were heaping up sticks to burn in the field when we spotted a cow in labour.  We waited and watched but nothing much seemed to happen.  We weren’t really sure if this was normal so we drove home to tell Tim and Liz.  We all went back to the paddock to check on her and the calf seemed to be still in the same position.  Just two little hooves were visible.  We all helped walk her home and then Tim intervened and helped to get the calf out.  The process looked a tad gruesome but amazing none the less.  In a matter of minutes a very large wet calf was there.  Breathing and looking a little bewildered.  His mum was very attentive, grooming him and nudging him.  In no more than an hour he was up on his feet looking like bambi.

New calf

Another job we helped Tim with was maneuvering the sheep when him and Ryan were crutching them – giving them new knickers, as Liz calls it.  A very apt description.  All around their back end gets clipped so that its all clean and tidy for when they have their lambs.  They get a fringe cut too if they’re lucky.  Our job was to get them in line for a haircut.  As you can imagine the sheep are quite disagreeable about this and moving them was easier said than done.  Sheep develop this tactic of putting all their heads in a corner.  The ‘I can’t see you, you can’t see me’ sort of theory.  Once all their heads are buried it’s kind of like moving a block of concrete on legs.  All in all though we had the easy job.  Tim and Ryan had to endure many hours of hauling them out one by one and giving them a new ‘do’ to which they are not that keen on having.  Once it was all done we put the girls back in their paddock.

Ryan and Tim crutching

As we said the jobs list for the farm was ongoing and every day was always different.  One day we even had a demolition project.  We were quite keen to get stuck in.  We had to pull down a very old chicken shed from one of the houses in the next paddock.  We found it quite therapeutic ripping down  wooden beams and corrugated iron, aside from us burying one of Tim’s jimmy bars it went swimmingly.  As well as work on the farm we also had work picking grapes on the vineyard next door and also picking and processing olives on an olive grove in Goornong.  This was brilliant for our ever growing resumes and we got to sample some delicious olives and red wine too.

All in all we have loved our time on the farm and we will never forget the time with the Three Farmers.  We’ve definitely learned a lot, eaten like kings and met a lot of lovely people.  It will be for us one of the highlights of our trip and we’ll be sure to stay in touch!

Thank you Liz, Tim and Emme for having us, we’ll miss you!

Brad and Jess 🙂 x