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!

1 comment:

  1. Well i am sooooooo pleased that you have had a life exprience in farmimg you will take a lot of good values away to help you on your next expedition your adopted family have my thanks xxx