The English backpackers.

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Around the farm

Today we said farewell (for now) to our most recent travelling couple, Ben & Carly. With us for just over 4 months we have very much enjoyed getting to know them and working with them, doing many of the everyday farm jobs and some special projects too (check out the pic below of our marvellous new chook palace, home of the Fosterville Four!). Instead of me telling you about their stay with us, I asked them to write a blog post about their time at Fosterville. We wish Ben & Carly safe travels on the next part of their Aussie adventure. Enjoy!

 

Sitting just after Christmas, earlier this year, we remember the night that we decided to change our life, sell everything we own and go travel around Australia. Sitting on the sofa with our blanket keeping us warm, lights down low, freezing cold, we both said “bugger it, let’s do it, let’s move to Australia!”. We planned our adventure Down Under that night.

We booked our visas and tickets and the dream was becoming real.  Still thinking that our family would never believe that we were going to do it.  After many car boot sales in the freezing cold we had an amazing house party to say farewell to all our family and friends, so emotional. Excited but exhausted we set off to Perth on 28th April 2013.

We spent 3 months working and living in Perth.  Ben worked as a roof carpenter and I worked in a lunch bar. We then decided that Melbourne was going to be our next destination. We booked tickets. Then Ben came across an advert on Gumtree for “Seeking couple for farm work – Central Victoria”.  We never once thought that we would end up living on a farm at Fosterville for 4 months.  Our expectations were of living in a dirty barn. Nothing like that we ended up with.

Melbourne was an adventure in itself. We landed very early on Wednesday 31st July after we slept the whole of the night flight. Jumped in to our hire car, as we only had 4 days to buy a car/van and get to the farm ready to start work on Monday morning. After being out all day we headed to a hostel that we had googled and had good reviews. Didn’t mention that it was situated above a night club.  At 4am with the walls vibrating we even contemplated sleeping in our car. Thank god Ben brought earplugs for us.  As you can tell we aren’t the typical 24 year old back-packers wanting to rave all night. We just wanted a good nights sleep!
Finally we bought another Holden commodore (same as we had in Perth but about 10 years younger and less hailstone damaged) and we headed off to Bendigo.

Our drive to Fosterville was dark and gloomy. Bear in mind that a 2 hour car trip at home (Morpeth, in Northumberland, England) is a long distance drive for us.

We didn’t have high expectations of the farm as we didn’t want to get our hopes up.  We guessed by the modern website and Facebook page that we were going to live with some young hippy type family farmers (barb wire art and selling bags of manure at the side of the road!).  We didn’t know that the 3rd farmer was little 3 & half year old Emme.  No way hippy at all.
Arriving at the farm we met Liz and Emme. Tim walked in soaking wet as he had been working outside in the rain.  We finally met the ‘Three Farmers’.

Cottage

We were introduced to our two bed cottage situated on a paddock just down the road from the farm house. With 10 sheep and 1 lamb, with more babies on the way. We were amazed to see what had been provided for us. Even a batch of Nona’s homemade Anzac biscuits. We had struck gold! Far from our thoughts of living in a dirty old shed. Nothing better than waking up, looking outside and seeing that another lamb had been born.

Ben with a lamb

Every day on the farm is different.  We arrive at the farm for 8am with not a clue of what we will be doing that day. But we can guarantee it won’t be the same as the day before.

Our first job was to help Tim put up a new fence in a 100 acre paddock. We were tying on droppers and pulling in the wires on our first day. Tim showed us his tricks of the trade, like how to tension and tie the wires and put in strainer posts.
Every lunch time we would sit under the huge peppercorn tree with a campfire going. Cooking the farm beef sausages for lunch. We felt like it couldn’t get any better.

Mooreheads fire drum

Since then we have completed lots of projects on the farm. From straightening up old sheds to building the state of the art chook palace (to date we have had 3 tiny little eggs 🙂 ).

Chook palaceCarly concreting

Every day we have been involved in farm duties from moving sheep up the road to a different paddock, lending a hand in the shearing shed, marking lambs or raking hay.  The list is endless but always an experience.
SnowLamb marking

My best experience on the farm was getting a text message from Liz one morning to say that a sheep had triplets up at the farm house.

Triplets

Surprise Surprise….
On Monday 17th November I was asked to drive Liz into town to drop Emme off at school (daycare) and to run some errands with her. Nothing out of the norm. After doing some shopping at the supermarket Liz said that she had a package to pick up from the train station that was running a few hours late. Arriving at the train station… walking around the corner… to find my mam and little brother standing there, scared the life out of me.  I almost screamed the train station down. I could not believe my eyes. How could Liz and Tim have kept this a surprise from us!  Who’s mam and little brother come to visit them after 6 months of travelling in Australia!… MINE DO 🙂
So we spent the whole week showing them around the farm, spending time in the town and headed to Melbourne for the weekend. Visiting all the tourist attractions and trying to see as many kangaroos as possible.

English visitors

Emme, the 3 year old farmer, always stuck to daddy’s side. As soon as Tim has his boots on Emme’s out the door following him down the yard to join in with the mornings activities. Her face lights up at any sight of the tool shed to see what she can find.
How does she do it?  One day we were helping Tim change the rollers on his hay mower when Emme disappeared off to the house and came back with the new bearing that was to be fitted. At no point had anyone told Emme to get it or even explained what it was or what it was for. Just somehow she knew where it went. She’s definitely a farmer.

Fixing the mower
Shortly after arriving Liz rang all the locals to see if she could find us some extra work.  One of those was the local pub, the Axedale Tavern.  After an introduction they gave me a trial shift washing the dishes. Since then I have worked there nearly every weekend and most evenings prepping food, making deserts and waiting tables. It has been great to meet all the locals and hear their stories. I have learnt a lot over the past few months working in the kitchen and have made some great friends there too.

Being involved on the farm has been life changing for us both. It’s been eye opening to see the time, effort and love that goes in to make the farm work! We have loved it so much we have made the decision to spend our last month in Australia back on the farm.

See you in four months time! (we are off to travel around oz)

Thank you Tim, Liz and Emme.

In the shed
Love Carly and Ben x