Down Under everything is out to kill you. Even the sun.
An estimated 10,000 venomous spiders inhabiting a variety of ecosystems. Ten of the most deadliest snakes. Some nasty things living in the waters. But every morning I fear the rooster.
I have to tell you he’s a dodgy little feller. And ugly too. He attacks you when you least expect it. I was letting out the chucks -like I do every morning- to feed them when all of a sudden he comes running right at me with his wings open. I had to knock him down three times with my food scrapes bucket until I suddenly realized I was holding a precious weapon. An egg.
Me: I will drop your offspring, pal. So bugger off!
Turns out he’s just a big chicken. Especially when I come in with the wheelbarrow. You should see him run then.
Every morning I consider it a miracle I survived another night. A miracle I wasn’t attacked by a poisonous snake or rolled up in a giant woolly web by an army of redbacks to feast on me for several weeks on end. But other than that, I am enjoying the farm life. I feed the animals, clean the house, mow the lawn, take care of the plants, …. Not one day is the same really.
My very first chore on the farm was to fill up the horse water. Once I walked up there, with one hand holding the hose, I discovered a cockatoo had drowned himself in one of the basins. Grrreat. The sheep and horses stood there staring at me, all thinking: “What are you going to do now, city girl?”
Well for five minutes I didn’t have the faintest idea really. Eventually I went to go get a bag, climbed over the fence and scooped it up with a stick. Then I left it somewhere in the shed to deal with it later. I had to hurry to feed the chucks. This is where I had my first stand off with the rooster.
Another interesting encounter I had was with Olaf the goat. He jumps on you like a dog, follows you every where around; I tried to tell him already: Look Olaf you’re a goat not a dog, your hoofs hurt when you jump on me and you got them nasty pointy things on your head that perforate the hell out of me. The goat actually belongs to Jesse. She found him in the street, completely starved. She also owns a cat. Cheshire, is the name. I just saw two cheshire cats last Sunday night in an elevator at the Adelaide Hilton. A boy and a girl so drunk they had this crazy smiles on their faces. She was probably a hooker. And he looked very much an occa*.
Talking about bogans** (and I mean this in the nicest way) turns out there’s living a hot butcher’s son next door. His name is Alex, he’s like ten feet tall or so. Regular feet. Not his feet cause they’re gigantic as well. Turns out Alex lives by himself with a dog and a bird. No girlfriend, no kids, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get around. Everytime new backpackers arrive he makes sure to check them out. Especially the female ones. Found out he already got involved with some of the ‘farmer’s daughters’ (that’s how I’d like to call us female farm inhabitants). But this one isn’t up for grabs that easy.
I did install Tinder, however. I had this crazy idea my Tinder would explode with hot surf dudes once I would arrive Down Under. Turns out that’s a bit of a HUGE let down. I even had to lower the age level to 23 cause once above 30 you really get the hopeless ones. It’s also funny how buff some of the men are here. They look like big, hairless kangaroos.
I did install Tinder after meeting Noah, the other backpacker. He met his girlfriend Kelsey that way and they are just adorable together. Kelsey is so cool, she’s like Kristen Stewart’s younger sister. Definitely some screws loose in that upper chamber.
Noah is a strapping British lad who is -what’s in a name- a carpenter. If this world goes to an end at least he will be able to build us a proper ark. There are enough animals to take with us too. My room used to be his one year ago. That’s where he got bitten by a white tail spider. Its poison had burnt a hole of about a 2 AUD coin into his lower arm. He was putting on a shirt to discover seconds later a spider had crawled into his sleeve. It’s a pretty nasty scar. Occasionally it becomes an open wound again. Grose.
Note to self: spiders hide in clothes AND sit on towels. I got a big black one crawling on my thumb the other day after I grabbed a towel to dry my hands. I jumped like two meters backwards. It must have looked impressive.
I also encountered the infamous Eastern Brown Snake. Sitting behind glass, fortunately. It looks so slow, stupid and harmless but looks can be quite deceiving. It is fast, aggressive and FATAL (the bio stated).
I’m so close to reaching my inner Indiana Jones. I do hate snakes an awful lot since I’m here.
I am living this farm life for four days now. Am in Australia for almost two weeks and already have I wondered: “What am I doing here?”
I wasn’t expecting existential questions until my arrival in China, two months from now. Backpacker Pierre has it too, occasionally, he says.
He is an electrician in France and is also having a bit of a ‘walkabout’. He’s been traveling way longer than me. He recently had a farm job in Sydney where he stayed for three months, he made loads of money there. As much as 10.000 AUD (!). He said the conditions were good but he likes it better over here. Samantha and Nick definitely got a fun, young household going on. Everybody contributes when they go to work and by the end of the day she makes sure there’s dinner on the table. I was really lucky I got this job. When I first reached out to Sammy she said they had just hired someone, and weren’t looking for another backpacker at the moment. Two minutes later she sent me a text to tell me she had changed her mind and looks forward to meeting me. I do wonder what got her to change her mind. Maybe because I had presented myself as a ‘young, easy going, hard working backpacker looking for a host with a good sense of humor’. People always tend to prove they fit right into that category. It’s almost as if they wouldn’t reply they immediately admit they’re stiff and boring. Seems like I have pulled a little reversed psychology there…
We did get to know each other pretty well on Friday. Sam and Nick threw a party and invited some friends over. Including the hot butcher. There was quite a lot of wine involved. And some green stuff called Midori. Anyway it knocked some people out pretty fast. We also had a taste of that farm lamb. It wasn’t until I licked my fingers clean I discovered what I had been eating.
I should watch out with that once I arrive in China if I don’t want to end up eating cat or dog. Also: I had just started naming the sheep that day. I wonder if we had Angie, Carl or Forrest for dinner. I think I will just stop doing that since I learnt they will kill some more sheep next week. I won’t be surprised if there will be kangaroo on the menu later this week as well. Turns out the boys went hunting yesterday to fill up the freezer. I heard them arrive late last night and noticed there was quite some heavy lifting involved.
Before I went to bed I discovered loads of spiders in my room. I even had to call in Noah to check if there were any white tails. He said they were harmless but one was pregnant and I swear it was disgusting. I tried to hoover it, but it disappeared. I think I will sleep with my ear plugs in tonight. I still have some from the plane. Or tie my hoodie real tight around my face. I don’t want those babies to hatch in my ears.
Anyway, I should probably deal with this dead bird now. And take out the trash to the front of the ranch. I’m allowed to take the quad :-p
BTW: I bought myself a genuine cowboy hat the other day. Looking like a real McLeod’s daughter ey?
* an occa/ocker : A thing or person characterised by their (usu. extreme) Australian-ness. Esp. refers to persons with heavy Australian accents and mannerisms. Typically used as an insult. See also bogan.
** a bogan : A person perceived to be unsophisticated or of a lower class background.