Monday, 16 December 2013

Loving Life as a Jillaroo!

It's been a while since by last farming post, but I've been a jolly busy Jillaroo! The past 3 months have gone so quickly, I can't believe I've almost completed my specified work already!

We've been selling fat little lambs, making hay, crutching the daggy wool off sheeps' bottoms, shearing ewes and huge rams, spraying crops, drenching and injecting sheep to keep them healthy, and the lambs George and Junior are finally weaned- my boys are all grown up!

George and Junior getting chubby and independent!
To add to my growing list of random skills: I've used a chainsaw; a hydraulic splitter and an axe to cut firewood; have arc welded metal and shot clay pigeons with a 12 gauge shotgun. I smell feminism!

How much wood could a wood-chopper chop if a wood-chopper could chop wood? - HEAPS!

Don't mess with the Jillaroo

Welding like a pro- well, maybe amateur

I've learnt to drive two different bouncy tractors whilst we made hay for when the grass dries up, as the sheep will go from eating fresh to dried with a side of gourmet grain as the seasons roll on. I've had to cut grass like a huge cumbersome lawn mower, rake it into rows, rake it again to let the wet grass see the sun and become hay ready for the baler to bundle it up. The hay gets tested for quality (high protein= juicy lambs) and we cart all 600 bales into neat rows- not a swift job!

I've also learnt a lot about what can go wrong farming, from bush fires and water shortages (which we've thankfully only prepared for so far) to cobalt deficiencies in scabby sheep to wobbly legs on ewes eating toxic grass. I even got to play vet by splinting a sheep's broken leg!

I've witnessed unfortunate sheep suffering heart attacks, suffocation and even one lamb needing to be euthanised due to half of it's digestive system hanging outside it's body. Less than ideal, but now it's in a grassy lamby heaven.

On a more positive note- my friends and I hit the Dunkeld country races and threw an after party which was awesome! We made delicious sandwiches, kebabs, salads and barbecue food and smuggled in vodka by pouring it into a bag of ice in the bottom of our fruit- and juice-filled esky, because punting needs punch, right?

Sheep cake complete with vanilla fairy floss for 'wool' and chocolate raisins for...
Clay pigeon shooting in my races attire

I've sampled Hamilton nightlife (The Attic providing the necessary seediness at the end of any good night out) and culinary delights from pubs in Dunkeld, Cavendish, Hamilton and surrounds, have cooled off in yabbie-laden waters- without a pinch- but I'm ashamed to say I'm still yet to venture into the stunning Grampian Mountains.

Taking pictures whilst mustering sheep :)
Well-deserved dip after a hot day on the farm

View from the farm
The many free hours I thought I'd have to run in the countryside, do yoga in the fields, paint canvases, write a novel, decide on a career and decipher the meaning of life have been spent on cooking delicious food, eating said food, cleaning, Facebook, watching movies, and making recycled crafts! Some are for Christmas presents though so expect a post on that soon after!

My three months as a sheep farmer have been amazing; I have a huge amount of respect for all farmers and farm workers, a deeper understanding and appreciation of where our food, clothes and materials come from, and a plethora of skills and knowledge that I may never need again but I'm glad I've had a chance to develop!

I'm staying at the farm for Christmas and I'm excited for a festive season filled with sunshine and cider rather than snow and hot chocolate, though we still have an excellently decorated pine tree and will be eating enough turkey to last me until I fly home in mid January for a belated fake Xmas with my family.

Watch this space for a jam-packed post on my final month in Victoria!

I will leave you with a few more snippets into the daily life of a sheep farmer... Enjoy!

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!

New Kelpie pup Maggie!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Markets and More in Melbourne

There are TOO MANY treasure-filled markets and events on in Melbourne this weekend and over the Christmas period to keep track of without writing them down, so I may as well share the love!

This list includes the Christmas, craft, second hand and random markets, pop-up shops, fairs and vintage garage sales that I've heard of recently, but if anyone knows any others please let me know in a comment! 

---VINTAGE SALES IN BRUNSWICK 7th and 8th Dec---

RetroStar Vintage $10 or less Sale- 7th and 8th Dec - 8am- 5.30pm - 33-37 Stewart St, Brunswick. Right by where I used to live and FULL of treasures! 

Harry Wragg Vintage Sale- Also 7th and 8th Dec until 6pm 18-20 Moreland Road, Brunswick East 3057. Buy 3 items get 1 free!


The Big Design Market - 7th-9th Dec, Fri 10-9pm, Sat to Sun 10-5pm - Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens. Clever minds and their covetable creations.

Anatolian Cultures and Arts Festival - 8th Dec - 11am-10pm - Fed Square. A taste of Turkey!

North Melbourne Market- 15th Dec - 10-3pm  Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne. 

French Xmas Market- 7th/8th Dec- 10-6pm - 51 Grey St, St Kilda. Tres bien!

Scandinavian Xmas Market- 7th Dec- 10-5, 8th Dec 11.30-4pm - 21 St George's Road, Toorak.

NB: German Xmas Markets- There was one on 22nd Nov on Barkly St and another on 5th Dec in Melbourne Town Hall. No more lebkucken in store I'm afraid!

The Sisters Xmas Market- Weekends until 22nd Dec- 12-5pm but until 7pm on Fridays, Dream Tent at QV square.

Christmas on Victoria Green- 6th and 13th Dec- 4pm-8pm - 807 Bourke St, Docklands.

Kris Kringle Night Markets- Thurs 12th and 19th Dec- 5.30-10pm - 189 High St, Northcote. 

Christmas Twilight Markets- Friday evenings until Dec 21st- 4-9pm, Harbour Esplanade by Etihad Stadium, Docklands.

St Kilda Twilight Market- Thursday evenings 5-10pm until Feb 20th - O'Donnell Gardens. The regular Sunday market is 10-5 along the Esplanade with beautiful views of the sea and lots of treasures.

Supper Market- Fridays until March 7th - 6-10pm - Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford.

Coburg Night Markets- Fridays until Dec 20th- 5.30-10pm - Bridges Reserve, Coburg. Follow with the drive-in cinema perhaps?

Chinatown Market Day- Friday 20th Dec - 4-10pm - Heffernan Lane off Lt Bourke between Russell and Swanston.

Festive Foodie Market- 14th and 15th Dec- 11-4pm - Fed Square. Tasty Treats and Xmas Tree Mazes? Yes please!

Young Creatives Market- Sun 15th Dec- 10-3pm - Raglan St Gallery, 14 Raglan St, North Melbourne.

Kensington Arts and Crafts Market- Sun 15th Dec and monthly until March- 10-3pm - Kensington Primary School, 62 McCracken St, Kensington.

Blender Lane Artists' Market- Weds until 26th Feb, 5-10pm - 110 Franklin St.

Colour Box pop-up shop and creative workshops- Until Sat 21st Dec- 236 Nicholson St, Footscray

Mr Nice Guy Pop Up Burger Bar- Sat 7th Dec- 10.30 to 4.30pm, 535 Lt Lonsdale St

And of course, not forgetting the old favourites...

Camberwell Rotary Club Market- Sundays- 7am-12.30pm- This will always be my favourite, especially for the last half hour of frantic bargain hunting when sellers call out things like 'everything a dollar!' Closed 15th and 22nd Dec.

Queen Vic Market- Daily except Mon and Wed for cheap groceries and bits and bobs.
Night Market on Wednesday evenings until Feb 26th- Lemonade and sangria in summer, mulled wine in winter, and paella! Lots of it!

South Melbourne Market- Wed, Fri, Sat Sun for posher groceries and bits and bobs.
Night Market on Thursday evenings until 19th Dec.

Arts Centre Sunday Markets- 10-4pm - Arts Centre Lawn, St Kilda Road. Pop in and check out the Arts Centre 'All That Glitters' Exhibition too, it's dazzling!

Fed Square Book Market- Saturdays 11-5pm, The Atrium, Fed Square.

Rose St Artists Market- Sat and Sun 11am-5pm, 60 Rose St, Fitzroy. 

Coburg Trash and Treasure Market- Sundays 8am-2pm - 115 Newlands Road, Coburg.

Good Old Queen Vic