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Published: August 18th 2016
It took me a couple of months of searching for some farm work but it ended up working out for me.
I moved from Gawler to the Clare Valley for a job in Hill River on the 5th April 2016. I was there a couple of months as a farm hand and it was interesting, got to meet some famous people, for example - Paul West who presents River Cottage, both here in Australia and also in the UK. Shared a few wines with him. I was mainly working with the orphaned lambs so I had to hand rear them three times a day. They were adorable and named a couple that were distinctive - Buddy, Amie (unfortunately passed away on me) and Lucky.
The couple I worked for didn't keep their promises so I felt I needed to move on.
I worked there for two months and when I finished up there, my manager at The Valleys leisure centre found me a job as a vineyard hand so I was basically pruning in the vineyards.
I had NO IDEA what to expect on my first day, I'd never pruned or extended vines before. But as soon
as I had met every one (a team of 9) I quickly settled into the little family and learned the vineyard lingo and perfected my 'nature wees'... The dunny (toilet) was always just too far away... When ya gotta go, you gotta go!
My first job was extending the vines and this was up at Annie's Lane vineyard. Cynthia, my supervisor taught me everything I know to this day. She was a fabulous teacher and very patient with me.
The thing I liked best about working on a vineyard is the team work. No one is left behind, what I mean by that is, everyone has one row of vines to complete and if someone works faster than everyone else, they won't start a new row, they will help out other people on their own rows. We don't get paid per vine so people working to the best of their ability. But the standard is usually 30 vines per hour.
The banter with the lads was fun, by the second day I was spending all smokos (first breaks of the day) and lunchtimes with them, and we all got fairly close. Jackson, Alex and Brandon welcomed me
into their lad group and I was fine with that. I'm used to hanging out with guys, I get along with them better (usually)!
We went onto different vineyards including Emu Creek, TWE and then.... We all got split up. This was actually upsetting for all of us in the lad group - we felt like family and we had been torn apart. Jackson was off post knocking with another group of guys, and Alex and Brandon were together post knocking fencing with other men.
I was sent with Cynthia and Helen to a vineyard called Provis where we had been pruning for the past month. I do like pruning, it's just very hard on the hands and wrists. And as it is winter at the moment, its hell cold! Even with two pairs of gloves on, two winter hats, and six tops on, plus wet weather gear on top... Still cold! I thought I'd be used to the cold weather but oh no, I was very wrong!
We find out if we are not working that day due to weather around 5.30am every day, if we don't hear anything then it just means work is on
My alarm is set for 6.40am every day and leave home at 7.10am after eating a big brekkie. We start work at 730am, Smoko is at 10am for 15mins, in which I eat a banana and apple. Lunchtime is at 1pm for half hour and we have a 5 min break at 3pm in which I sit on the floor and do a bit of meditation - it has been known that I fall asleep within a couple of minutes when I do this! Then we finish work at 4pm, depending on the weather it may be earlier.
Pruning isn't easy, it takes it out of you mentally ad you're constantly thinking 'do I need to standard this one', 'which arms am I going to extended or do I need new arms for these'. I've done it for almost two months now so I don't really think about what I'm doing, it just happens automatically!
I finished my last week and my last day was the 12th August, it was a fantastic sunny day and everyone was in high spirits and we all chatted away and I also worked with a few new people
which was great, learning new stories and about new people. I did tear up a bit because they were my work family for a coupl months..
It was incredible and I really enjoyed working for Acklands, but at least now my hands and wrists can recover and I can get rid of my RSI!!
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