To cycle or not to cycle. That is the question.
The answer is simple and obvious. So I thought.
Then why, you might ask, is it you are not on the road.
Sometimes one has to work to be able to maintain a certain lifestyle…
And what job could be better than working on a WA farm?
So, here I find myself again. Driving tractors while enjoying the good life.
If you thought life on a farm in Western Australia is uneventful, maybe even boring, I can tell you different.
Playing with big machines, UFOs and rescuing rabbit’s has all been part of daily life…
Although not many think I should be rescuing the European rabbit that is a pest over here. Shooting them is considered more appropriate. But look how cute they are! Not far from this farm runs the rabbit-proof fence, built between 1901 and 1907 to try and keep them out of the crop. That attempt failed. Gary calls it ‘share-farming’ the rabbits get their share….
One of the most important things in this part of the world is rain. Or the lack of it.
Everything that is done at the farm is influenced by it. So it’s not too strange that first thing in the morning the rain forecast is checked online followed by phone calls to family members in other parts of the state to check on their progress.
I found myself doing it too after a little while. A phone call would start with; “Hi, did you get any rain yet? …And how are you?….”
My job was to drive the caterpillar with a 16.5meter air seeder ’round and ’round and ’round the paddock and make sure not to hit anything and put seed and fertiliser in the ground so it can grow (if we get rain) and hopefully become a lovely thick crop of lupins, triticali and wheat to harvest in about 5 months from now.
Trying to go straight has been a bit of a challenge, specially since the tractor seems to have a preference for turning right…
The work went on 24/7. My shift ran from 8am to 8pm and the night shift was for Lynne. The farmers daughter. She had the bright idea to get some audio-books. So I’ve listened to murder mysteries, plastic surgery drama’s and vampire stories while still going ’round and ’round and ’round…
Sometimes, when there hasn’t been enough rain yet, there’s other jobs to do at the farm.
Like marking lambs. Giving them earrings and getting rid of tails and balls… Something different and slightly gory. Makes you appreciate the fact you’re not born a young male sheep… Something I don’t think about too often.
As you might know ‘we are not alone’…. Gary, the farmer, knows all about that.
Strange sounds can regularly be heard on the property and armed with a camera he goes out and chases weird round shapes that make frantic buzzing noises and seem to fly around the house for no obvious reason. He hasn’t yet figured out what this might be…
I include one of his pictures so you can have a look yourself…
I’ve been sharing a whole house with Will, he came from England and has been driving the boom-spray. It’s nice having a house… lighting the fireplace and playing boggle… well, I did. Will doesn’t like boggle. He did like the fireplace. And the telly.
One thing we both didn’t like much was a unknown creature, death and rotting under the floorboards. That stank!
As every farm here too we had a dog.
I like dogs. Normally.
But you should see this one! It’s a little Jack Russell who thinks he’s king. Apparently he grew up with a much bigger dog, and now thinks he is huge himself… The bigger dog, apparently, is scared of everything… Jack didn’t like me. The feeling was mutual. His favourite pastime is growling and barking and biting my toes… That, and killing harmless little rabbits. Evil, I’m telling you. Although some others call it ‘misunderstood’. Sure.
But, how ever interesting and fun it is to live on the farm and have a house, the time has come to make a move.
Tomorrow I’ll be on my way.
I’m as organised as you can expect from me…
I got a permit to cross Aboriginal land.
I got a ‘spot tracking device’ so if I happen to disappear in the bush I can always be found thanks to a satelite tracking system. Yes. I’m now officially high-tech…
And I’ve got an ‘extra wheel’
Indeed. A third wheel so I can carry even more random things with me, although I will be leaving my snorkeling gear behind this time. Don’t think I need it.
The plan is to ride across the middle of Australia.
Via Leonora, Uluru and the Plenty Highway over east…
Let’s see how far I get.
On the road again…. I’m on the road again… Sjalaladiela