Published: March 7th 2006February 27th 2006
Bringing home the new calves.
Andy and I named the Jack and Humphrey
Hello all you bloggers out there, this is our farming experience.
Ok so today we were up mega early (5:45) for our trip south of Brisbane to our farmstay in a small place called Ma Ma Creek, which is near the town of Gatton. In true Andy and Mel Stylee we had researched the cheapest way of getting there which again was by train and a bus or two.
We arrived at Gatton train station with plenty of time to spare where we waited for Sue our new boss for the week, to be picked up at 10:00am. It got to 10:30 and there was no sign of here, so Andy gave her a ring and apparently she told us to use the bus (which was more expensive) so a few minutes later we were in her ute (small truck).
Because there turned out to be six people staying at the farm and the fact that there were three people leaving meant that it was going to be a day of taxi'ing and waiting about as she had to wait for one of her vans to be repaired, this turned out to be good because whilst the new
Two of the 6 chicks
This was the last time they were seen alive.
Pamela in the background
four people were taken back to the farm to clean the cottages we got to pick up two new calves from the market and drive them back to the farm, it was good they were really cute, we got to handle them and give them names, Jack Sox and Humphery, they looked pretty scared on the back of the ute whilst being driven back to the farm.
When we eventually arrived we met the other four, Neil and Gemma (English), Chelsea (Canadian) and Kathleen (Belgium) and settled in to our nice double room.
At tea time we got to go to a local dairy to pick up some milk for the new calves, which was good then we headed back for our Goat chops and mash dinner which was lovely but also the start of a Goat fest.
We chilled out after tea then watched Robots on dvd before going to bed exhausted.
Up nice and early again, looking forward to our first day as farmers, we were given our work clothes or should i say we rummaged through a bag and tried to pick something that fitted we got to the kitchen to see a nice
Our first day fencing
Lucky it's not a fashion parade hey?
Do you like my $2 kidies hat?
breakfast all set out ready for us in. BUT STOP to our horror we found out that six new chicks that she had bought had been munched alive by snakes in the middle of the night, there wasn't a feather in sight, the snake managed to get in the cage and actually climb back out, we managed to get a photo of there last few living hours, Ahhhhh bless.
We all got to feed the new calves and let the goats out for the day.I (Andy) got to go to the top of the farm in the ute that had just had its steering repaired to do donuts with a load of sweetcorn on the back to spread it out for the cows and goats, this was fun!!The steering then broke again, D'oh.
Then it was time to start our fencing job that we were making from wire, it was fun working with new people that were all here for the same experience, after a couple of hours we had a well earnt break!!! Then carried on working until 1:30 ish, the weather was really hot and sticky so we were ready for a break.
So far on
Gemma and I banging in those posts.
We did use ear defenders on the next ones!
the farm we had seen some pretty big spiders and a couple of dead snakes (a Brown snake that is deadly and a Carpet Python which is harmless) these were being devoured by millions of big ants, which looked pretty grim.
For lunch we had some really nice corn on the cob. Then the girls fed the new calves Jack and Humphery, then we all fed Huph (an orphaned goat that lives around the house, that had a mischievous character about him) and Toby, a horse without any friends.
That afternoon we all did some biscuit baking and some free washing as Sue had gone out.
When the evening came it was time to feed the the two older calves, Salt and Pepper, the two dogs that look after the goats, Tom and Jerry and also to round the goats up into their field for the night (they had to be locked in and looked after by Tom and Jerry because Dingoes have been known to attack them at night).
After all this hard farming work we were all ready for our tea and to continue with our goat fest, for our tea tonight we were
Lunch is up!
We were getting fed the same food as the goats!
having goat meat spag. bol. But this wasn't going to be easy as the mincing machine was broken, so Andy and Neil spent ages messing around with a large mincer!!
When the night drew in all the wildlife came to life, we could hear frogs and the native kookaburras, that sounds like monkeys and did you know that the used the kookaburras call in the Tarzan movies and other movies because it is cheaper to get these noises, than a monkeys.
We were now getting into a routine, putting the 2 new chicks out, feeding the calves.
This morning Andy went to take the broken ute to the garage to get the steering mended, when he was at the other farm he got to do a bit of carpentry work as they were extending there toilet (they said he could have some paid work if he wanted).
the remaining farming crew continued our expert fencing job and had our break at 10:30ish minus Andy and finished at 1:00 for lunch, which today was home made pumkin soup (yummy) fed Huph is bottle then made some bread in the machine as Sue did this quite regular and we adopted
this chore everyday, we also experimented. We made garlic and onion bread, which was nice
Then in the afternoon it was time to feed the calves, dogs and put the goats away, we noticed one goat regularly tries to get under the gate, we nicknamed him 187 (his tag number) he was funny as well, we had to drag him into the pen by his horns on a couple of occasions. Mel and Gemma then groomed Toby as he often looked sad.
As Sue had been out all day we were actually looking after the farm ourselves which was kind of scarey which meant we were always trying to do the right thing but not quite sure we were, but we all thought we were doing ok.
That evening 5 went to the dairy to get the milk for the animals minus Andy as he was showering and starting the CHICKEN stir fry, on the way back from the dairy farm a joey/wallaby jumped out in front of the van and stood there for ages, really cute. When we got back Andy had set the table for tea (Minus Sue as she was at a meeting) then we both
Feeding Jack and Humphrey
Look at the boys, aren't they cute. Yeah Andy and Neil are ok too!
cooked the stir fry which seemed to go down a treat. We then carshed out and tried to watch another movie to the end.
6:30, time to get up, another hot day, same old chores (not really we were enjoying everything) Then fencing time!
Mel got to go on the quad bike to the other end of the farm to go riding. This place is 1000 acres but really hilly and picturesque and quiet. The horses turned out to be restless and quite spooked as there was a storm on the way so they had to give the riding a miss, they all reared up and ran off with Melissa attached to two of them after being dragged about she let go, Sue and Melissa then decided not to go riding. As they tried to return the quad bike wouldn't start (maybe run out of petrol) so a long walk back was the only answer.
Break time and a nice cuppa for 11s then back to fencing, we were getting the hang of it now even though our spacing out of the posts were not quite exact but it was looking good to us.
Pumkin soup for
dinner (squash at home) and home made biscuits, for afters. Then a few of us (including me and Melissa) went off roading in a battered old ute to go and collect the quad, armed with a tub of juice. We all had a quick blast on the quad then Andy happily rode it back.
Back at the farm and it was time to prepare the veggies for our roast GOAT dinner (we were unsure as to whether the goats in the field were on death row or whether it was Huph the friendly goat that we had been feeding all week was!)
As Sue was out again we did our usual jobs, goat hearding, cattle feeding etc. Then waited for her return so that we could tuck into our murdered goat victim.
Tried watching another film.
We were up a little later today as we were on cleaning duties instead of fencing. A bit of a nice change.
First we had to do the morning farm chores. Feed the calves, let the goats out and put the chicks out. Then it was on to
cleaning both houses as there were guests coming to stay in the house
where we were staying which meant we had to move into the smaller house for the rest of our stay.
We all allocated ourselves jobs, such as, hovering, cleaning windows, washing walls and cleaning lots of spiderwebs! We had to move all the food and things from the big house into the little house just for the one night that the family were coming to do a farmstay.
Dad rung us that morning for a chat, which was nice.
We got through the houses pretty quick. We had our lunch and chilled in the afternnon. This consisted of reading, movies, suduko and chatting. Later that afternoon Neil (Sue's husband) got the mincer working. So like a couple of mincers Neil and Andy set to work mincing anything they could get their hands on! Unfortunately this was goat!
Gemma and I made various goat burgers, with onion, without onion and with garlic.
We gave Sue a shopping list of wine and beer and asked if we could have a bbq, yes.
Neil was in charge of the bbq, well the bathtub full of wood. We didn't get fed until late as the burgers were quite thick! (someone, not mentioning any
names, said they would shrink when they were cooked!) Still it was ok.
It was really hot today. We had to get up even earlier today as we had to strip our beds and move into the other house. Gemma and I fed the calves, I hoovered the house and then we all started the fence whilst Sue was on a horse trek with other guests. Gemma had gone into town with Pamela (sue's daughter) to sell raffel tickets.
We went on our break and at 10am the family arrived for their farmstay so Chelsea, Kathleen and I went and met the family, showed them around their house and took the 2 children to feed the calves.
After our break we carried on with the fence and finished the section we were on before going for lunch.
After lunch Neil taught me (Mel) to play chess which I later went on to beat him at! We made our usual loaf of bread and then we experimented with chocolate bread. Unfortunately this was not very sucessful, but I ate it all the same.
At about 3pm we went for a walk to the top of a big hill,
as you do. Huph followed us all the way there and back, he was so funny! He is a very talkative and responsive goat.
Along the way we saw lots of spiders and some more of Sues horses that all came running at us and wouldn't leave us alone. So that was where our walk ended and we retreated like whimps.
On our way back down we hearded up the goats to get them back into the correct field for the night. I climbed the rocks to get the stray ones down this time.
For dinner that night we had a chicken stirfry which was really nice.
We all then sat in the kitchen and played cards and drank wine, which was a really good laugh, before retiring to our new living quaters.(4 bed room)
Our stay on the farm was coming to an end, we had a bit of a lay in this morning, we had learnt a bit about farming, met some really nice people and Huph the friendliest goat ever. We carried on with or fence that was nearly complete and did our chores, then everyone did some washing as Sue kindly let us
use her machines for free.
In the afternoon me and Melissa went for an afternoon stroll along the dried out creek, where we saw a big lizard, a green snake that scared the living daylights out of us and a cow with horns that stopped us in our tracks and made us turn back (Andy wanted to tame it like Crocodile Dundee did in the film, but he once had a bad experience when he was younger so he didn't bother, his dad would remember him being chased down the river bank by a dozen or so angry cows)
In the evening Melissa's dad rung and she spoke to her brother and sister in law Gareth and Caroline, then more tv and the girls played with dolls (Pamela's, Sue's daughter) me and Neil managed to get them into some pretty suggestive positions (too rude to put on the blog)
The last morning, Neil and Gemma were up early as they were the first ones to be taken back to the other farm (about 5 miles away) to wait for us as we had to go to the train station in 2 vehicles.
We had breakfast and said
our goodbyes to all the animals that we had be-friended, we had all decided to leave together as we had all had such a good time we thought if we stayed it may have taken the shine of it.
We all got back to the other farm from where we were taken to the trainstation, we said our goodbyes to Sue and Neil, her husband, we got a good send off and she said we had worked hard and all done a good job, so that was nice. (The others came on the bus but the paid $20 each and the train was only $8.50ish), so we did well again!
After a couple of trains and a bus later we arrived BACK IN BRISBANE! not sure where we were heading. We didn't know whether to head north, or stay in Brisbane so we could later meet up with Simon and Debbie (friends from Colchester) so we rung them and made a snap decision.
We said our goodbyes to all the nice people we had met.
As we were waiting for the train we picked up the latest edition of TNT a backpackers magazine to find Melissa's interview and photo
inside (how wicked, and another good thing to happen on out travels)
A few tired hours later we arrived in the man made commercialised resort of Surfers Paradise, where we booked into a dorm at the nearest hostel.
We dropped our stuff and headed to the beach to meet Simon and Debbie and their two children, it was cool to see people from home and the gave us a nice big hug, we think it was nice for them aswell to see familiar faces from home as they have just emmigrated to Oz.
We spent an hour together and arranged to meet again the day after.
As there were little cooking facilities and the fact that we had only spent around $6 in the week on the farm we decided to eat out and have a few nice drinks (which we felt in the morning)
There are more photos below