Stay Insane – All of You

July 30, 2011


How disappointing it is to be doing this final run home. We are all reflective about how we feel about that, resigned to the work and study that has to be done but still riding on the magic of the last week and the intimate camaraderie that we have enjoyed. The run was straightforward until we got to Bathurst at which point Rod decided a gluteus maximus cramp  necessitated another walk around – and a ride on a small horse-like toy in a playground. The cramp must have been serious as the horse threw him. Read more

Penultimate Day

July 20, 2011

group290.jpgSaturdayOur departure day last year was marked by a lashing southerly wet wind blowing out of the Antarctic fridge, forcing us to huddle our farewells to Joy before hitting the road and sliding up the greasy track out of here. No such day to day. A gorgeous sunny, mild morning greets us. Rod has sorted most of the kitchen last evening so we have a head start this morning. Everyone is packed surprisingly quickly, Frank arrives when he said he would and we start rushing about to be finished by nine. The promise is a “shoot” if we are done by then. Read more

Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking

July 17, 2011


The sun creeps up the wall through the pattern of the window frame shadow and I watch it for twenty minutes before getting up. Andrew has been awake the whole time but remained in his sleeping bag until my feet touched the floor at which point he launched into his new day.  Last night  the “idiot talk” went long into the early hours so there will be some slower starts this morning. Myself included actually. 

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Things That Go Bump in the Night

July 17, 2011


Damn. Thursday already. The place is slowly, oh so slowly stirring into life with the soft rumble of the kettle, the scratching whisk as Rod makes up the powdered milk for the day, the vacant slurp of cereal as the first half asleep (actually mostly asleep) crew ease down at the table and start to refuel and the stir of spoons in coffee cups. We have the most gorgeous winter morning. The sky is clear, there is no frost and no wind. Hard to believe it is winter actually. Last year we were treated to three or four degrees of frost each morning which then yielded to fine, clear days. This year the wind has been cutting us up. But this morning we are being thoroughly spoilt. A fine day means we will start with cactus killing. And its all the sweeter for starting with porridge drowned in cream and christened with brown sugar.

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It’s Only the Depth that Varies

July 16, 2011


The grey cloud and still morning suggested rain but nothing of the sort. Instead the wind sprung up and whipped its cold arms around us from breakfast time on. Joy had rounded up a merino the night before and it was waiting for us after breakfast – a lesson in butchery which most were able to handle. It’s an instructional session that includes a revelation in anatomy that is far more enlightening than any text book. We poked around  in the offal and opened things up and explained this and that much to the intrigue and horror of some.  We cut it up more quickly than we should but it still cooked okay at the end of the day.

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I’ll Do Anything*

July 12, 2011


The Milky Way washed its billion star light over us last night, unchallenged by any fading moon. What a remarkable sight that catches our imagination every time we come out into the desert. But it is was a cool night without any cloud cover, threatening frost but not quite getting there as the wind wound itself up and started to hammer in hard from the west. We have woken slowly this morning but to a strong wind that will chill us all day. But no rain which is a blessing too of course. Yesterday’s work has slowed everyone and the clock ticks towards eight o’clock with very little movement from the sleeping bags. Dylan has made me coffee and delivered one to Rod who is still in bed too. Here comes Andrew, perpetual early riser but a hard sleeper this morning. There is nothing quite like a bit of open air work to ensure a good nights sleep.

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Let’s Do the Time Warp

July 11, 2011


Up  at o’dark o’clock. Crystal clear morning, steel coloured sky and fading stars. No frost but the breeze is up. I load up and head out looking for yabbie bait and something for the pot this evening. The search is futile and the team is gathered here at the end of the day cooking vegetable soup! Any protein running around this property managed to get away from me, much to my chagrin. Still, it has been a good day. We spent the morning emptying a time capsule of a shed so we could reorganize it and make more room for various farm implements and resources. This property was purchased in 1893 and there were fragments of  that original purchase scattered through the back of the shed.

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Farm Orientation

July 11, 2011

old-house_290.jpgSunday Morning

It’s dark and the sound of light snoring drifts through the old stone house. Every now and then a sleeping bag rustles as a body shifts. The rain has eased but the wind is up and the percussion on the tin roof continues. I guess its about 5 o’clock and get up and go for a walk. It’s a fresh breeze blowing out of the north east for which I am thankful – from the south and it would be a much cooler story.  Rod has set up some LED lights in the outhouses so my visit there is less an adventure in the dark than some in the past.

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On the Road Again

July 10, 2011

road-trip-290.jpgSaturday Evening

The thrumming flames wrest heat from damp wood and start to get serious about radiating. Bedding lies scattered around the floor in front of it, owners all in the kitchen area taking note of the brief on arrival which went something like “If Bruce is happy, you are all happy”. And the quickest way to ensure Bruce is happy is to pull your finger out, which in this case is best understood to be “don’t stand around watching us unpack”. So there is a happy chatter coming from the kitchen as food is sorted and placed in appropriate storage for the week. Rain has set in and tats away on the tin roof, rain which had made the inbound track slick and slightly interesting to slide around on as we came in from the highway.  The kitchen has been sorted and everyone has drifted in and are standing around talking nonsense.  The girls are all in pajamas  already, much to the perplexed boys who probably wonder what PJs actually are.

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Two Men and a Dog

February 3, 2010


Buzz. Old kelpie dog. 74 years of dust matted into his pelt. Eyes set way too close together. Thinks he runs the farm.

Silver. Mongrel something. 73 years of dust. Forehead as wide as a tanker’s bow – eyes way too far apart. Thinks he runs the farm.

Two kelpie bitches in heat. Know they run the farm.

Two part time, pretend farm hands trying to keep all of the above separated, fed, watered and out of each others way.

Scene 1: Bitches on heat. Dogs crazy. Read more

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