As I mentioned in my last blog post there was a second reason for going to Melbourne last Thursday night. It all started about 7 weeks ago when I got a phone call from Hannah. You know the ones from the kids that start off with...Muuummmm. Yes you know that they are after something when you get that drawn out greeting on the other end of the phone. It turned out that a friend of hers.....Joel, a UK backpacker..... needed another 14 days of work to make up his 3 months work in regional Australia. Time was running out for him to find work so Hannah kindly suggested that he might be able to work on our farm. This would then allow Joel to be able to apply to return to Australia one day. After discussing it with 'Dad', we agreed to have this unknown stranger in our house for a fortnight.
Joel arrived at the farm under equipped for work in winter on a dairy farm in south west Victoria.....he had spent most of his time working in Queensland. So a pair of rubber boots (not wellies), work boots, overalls and a coat later he was ready for work.
Joel milked his first cow....and then many more, while learning to move quick in the pit to avoid the dreaded s#$! on the head. He did well remaining unscathed during his stay. There was also heifers, test buckets, mastitis, colostrum, vaccinating, dry cow and teat seal to learn about. I think he also learnt some swear words!
Joel saw his first calf being born, and twins being pulled. He fed calves and realised that calves that head but are not fun! He experienced the joys of slipping on afterbirth and learnt that dogs have disgusting eating habits.
Joel discovered that winter weather on the farm can include frost, sunshine, wind, rain and hail......possibly all on the one day! And let's not forget the mud....especially the 'quicksand' sludge that swallows you up.....well at least to an inch above the top of your rubber boots!
Joel saw the tedious and frustrating side of dairy farming when we undertook our biennial Quality Assurance Audit for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.
Joel helped to yard and sort cattle. He helped us with herd testing.....we haven't had a herd test lacky since the girls left home!, and replaced the inflations in the dairy......the job that no-one likes to do! The pressure cleaner got a good work out and the wood splitter also.
Joel saw his first koala (in the wild) on our farm.....in fact he saw them a couple of times......unfortunately no babies though. He became Russell's drinking partner.....sampling Russell's first batch of homemade Apple Cider. I'm not sure if Joel was being polite or he really did enjoy it.......but free booze is free booze.....lol!
All jokes aside, we really enjoyed having Joel come and stay with us for the three weeks. Yes I know that I said it was 14 days, but as we had just started calving Joel offered to stay the extra week to help us out.....which was fantastic. It went so quick and it was an absolute pleasure having him stay.....and I'm not just saying that because he said he liked my cooking!
So getting back to the reason why I went to Melbourne last Thursday evening......it was to take Joel to the airport to catch his flight back to the UK. Hannah and Joel had spent the day in Melbourne doing some touristy things before I picked them up in the city.
We hope that one day we will catch up with Joel again.......but until then I know someone else who is missing him......
One last thing........ GO ARSENAL!!!
PS.....And how did Hannah meet Joel? While travelling the Great Ocean Road last
year, Joel and his friends stopped in Apollo Bay. They decided to play
poker and Hannah was there also. They got chatting......then became
facebook friends......and the rest is history.