September 16th, 2008 – by: Rubbertoe
Work at Stonefield Estate run out for us and after two weeks we were longing to move on. In my experience one week at a farm is good enough, if you stay any longer the hosts become used to having you around and they drop all those nice treatments reserved to a guest. For example, the first few meal you may have a roast dinner with all the trimmings or a delicious pasta bake with pudding and ice cream, then towards the end of the week they serve you party pies or a slipper-size pizza and soggy chips! That’s when you want to make a move :-)
Our next stop was a fishy business, Pete’s Fish Farm in Kalangadoo. The entry in the wwoof book made my mouth water, through the lines I envisaged a huge lake with massive trout and fat juicy yabbies (that’s a fresh water green looking langoustine-type of crustaceous) just waiting to be caught.
I looked forward to at least one good dinner with the freshest trout, caught, killed and cooked by me… but it didn’t happen. In fact our stay was all a bit of a disappointment. We didn’t eat any fish, but the main reason of our frustration was that there wasn’t at all much work for us to do, and Pete was quite happy to carry on his day to day routine with no interest to make the most of our help. That’s the worst feeling, when you want to make your self useful but you have nothing to do. Carola and I spent most days just hanging around and waiting for a task, bloody boring I tell you.
One of the small jobs we had was to feed the orphan lambs, three times a day, sixteen of them. These animals are just like a bunch of kids.
They bleat constantly and the noise they make is enough to drive anyone bonkers! Truly, our bedroom was next to them and when I woke up one morning at blooming 5 am I could have killed each and every one of those little screaming bastards, with my bare hands! But then again you are charmed by how sweet they look when you feed them, all they want is their missing mummy, poor sods. It’s so funny, as soon as you jump into their paddock with a bucket full of milking bottle they surround you; crushing and climbing onto each other, they’ll bite your trousers and hang onto anything dangling, like laces for instance… I’m glad I wasn’t wearing shorts! After a few days you get to recognise them, it’s amazing how different they sound from one to another; you can actually identify them by their tone of baah-baah, it’s weird… My favourite was a little quiet one that kept having his bottle pinched by the bullies, so I made sure he got his fair share of sucky-sucky.
My favourite lamb
Water tanks for the big trout
Besides the fish business Pete has also a thousand merino sheep, which are bred for their expensive wool. Every day we joined him on a tour around the farm to check that the sheep were doing well. Some days were good, but others we would find a few old sheep lying on their side because something was wrong. It wasn’t at all pleasant when we saw one sheep with both eyes poked out by hungry crows, it’s very sad but that’s what happens when a sheep is sick and can’t go far. Pete got out of his ute (that’s the name for a pick up truck in Australia) and asked me if I wanted to do it… ‘Do what?’ I said; he had a riffle in his right hand, ‘oh… no thanks, you go ahead’, and he shot the sheep.
Pretty grim. He tied the back legs and hooked the other end of the rope on the toe-bar of the ute, then dragged the dead animal under a tree, where other putrefying carcasses were lying. He said that was his way of recycling, the sheep would decompose and feed the tree. The smell of death was awful.
Pete’s Fish Farm is also a hostel for backpackers, and if you contact Pete before you get there, he might be able to find you a paid job.
So, besides us two wwoofers, there were 3 other English girls (pommies) and one German guy staying at the farm. They worked eight hours a day in a nearby vineyard, and when they got back we shared the lounge at night. Maybe they were too tired or they simply didn’t like us, but they didn’t make much of an effort to socialise with us. The girls cooked bangers-and-mash each night and sat in front of the TV for the habitual episode of ‘Neighbours’ followed by ‘So you thing you can dance’ or some other crap of that sort! And I wondered why they came to Australia… One of them told me that they had bought a car when they got here, which cost them $4000. They drove it up to Cairns from Sydney, then on the way back down the head gasket blew, perhaps because they never topped the water up she said… ok… then they wasted another $2000 to have the engine rebuild and 2 weeks later the gearbox or the transmission broke and they decided to scrap the entire car! God $6000 down the drain, it made me feel a whole lot happier about my precious Bella which only cost me a third of that and was still going strong… fingers crossed.
Spending time with Carola, I have being collecting interesting facts about Germans. For instance, they almost always reply to your sentence starting with ‘yes but…’ seriously, keep it in mind next time you speak to a German. Also, I’ve found out that they pronounce V as W and vice versa, which cracks me up every time Carola asks for Vegemite (the Australian equivalent of Marmite) and sound like ‘can I have wedgie mate?’ Apparently sausages and sauerkrauts is not a typical German dish (I still don’t believe this one). Oh, and I’ve been learning a lot of new German words, mainly the insults she calls me by :-) Does anyone know what ‘shatzi spatzi’ means? I’m afraid to say that after three and a half weeks together we’re getting bored of each other, the experiment didn’t work out and I personally can’t wait to be travelling on my own again.
I just find her so negative, she hates everything and all her sentences start with ‘it’s terrible’, ‘yes, but…’ or ‘I hate’. Come on darling, put a sock in it!
The shearing shed