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Day 3 WWOOFing – A Busy Day on the Farm

18 September 2012 2 Comments

Sunday 13th March 2011 – Somewhere in Noosa, Australia

Much of the 2nd day on the farm had been spent eradicating a large city of ants from the walls of the small room in the cottage, needing much demolishing and re-building of the walls along the way. It started to look like a D.I.Y job gone wrong, so it needed a lot more work to get it looking habitable again, especially as this was likely to be a child’s room. This was the first of many jobs to be completed today.

My AccommodationWhilst Mike was busy re-plastering the walls and filling in the gaps, I was given the task of tidying and sweeping the large garage. I had to use my initiative in deciding where things belonged, and I am quite sure I have mistakenly housed items where they don’t belong, but I wanted to leave Mike well alone with his re-plastering, as he was already fairly stressed with the problems that kept arising from the small room.

With the morning adequately taken care of, the garage being a lot tidier and the small room looking more like a room, and less like the result of a sledge-hammer-yielding mad man, we turned our attentions to the field outside. Mike’s son was turning 10 in a few weeks, and part of a long-running tradition – that had been forgotten in recent years – was to create a water slide down the slope in the field and into the lake at the bottom. Apparently the kids used to love this, but I couldn’t help but think “death trap”. The long weeds and filthy water didn’t look overly inviting, but I guess when you are a kid, a water slide is a water slide. First, though, the land needed sculpting.

The recent bad weather has filled the lake somewhat, and muddied the land all around. The fabric that was once used for past water slides was still laid upon the slope of the field. Over the years of non-use, the fabric was now part of the land, with plants growing through it, mud caked on top, and cow waste soaked into it. We had to remove the fabric before doing anything else, and this was a job and a half. The roots of the plants and the weight of the mud made moving the fabric close to impossible. We enlisted the help of the digger to help pull the fabric from the ground, and eventually we won, but the fabric looked awful.

Mike continued to sculpt a route down the hill with his digger, smoothing the ground for the water slide to sit, and it all looked to be going well. I had my first taste of quad biking and the weather seemed to be holding. Suddenly, Mike looked to be in trouble, and the digger began to slide down the hill towards the lake. We couldn’t do anything but watch, and just at the last minute Mike managed to wedge himself on the hill and stop himself from plunging into the lake. The next couple of hours were all about freeing himself and the digger from the swampy earth he was now in, right along the water’s edge.

Mike was busy trying to free himself whilst his son and I plucked all the killer weeds from the hillside. Whilst digging, Mike pulled up a Red-Bellied Black Snake which was now dangling from the forks of the digger, the first snake I have seen in the wild. It was good to see. Shortly after, more drama unfolded as the tracks of the digger came off on one side, and the machine began to lean dangerously towards the water. I was amazed it didn’t topple. There was now nothing Mike could do to salvage the machine, and it was now about what we could do to free the machine by another means. This is when I learned the lake had a drainage tap. We needed to dry the lake a little in order to free the digger.

I now had a new job, and that was to try and dig up a small metal tap underneath years of mud and plant growth, without knowing what I was really looking for, how big, how far down under the ground, or indeed where this tap was. All we knew was that it was roughly in this particular place. The next couple of hours were spent digging in thick, wet mud with Mike’s son, trying to stay sane when the kid kept throwing himself into the mud, seeing it more like a game than anything else. It hindered significantly, and all I wanted was to find the damn tap and get out of the bog. Eventually we did, and the tap was turned, releasing the water from the lake and into the main river. I was told it could take a couple of weeks to drain the water completely.

Whilst we were looking for the tap, Mike had used the smaller digger to help try and release the larger one, but this too had gotten stuck in the mud. It was a bit of a sorry state that the farm was left in this evening as the rain began to fall again. We were covered head to toe in mud, and the farm’s heavy machinery sat precariously on the slopes, at the mercy of nature and completely immobile. I welcomed a shower this evening, however cold the water.

We sat for the evening watching telly and relaxing, thinking about the day just gone, and I could tell Mike was thinking about how to get everything sorted in time for his son’s birthday. I walked back to the cottage down the gravel road, this time with a torch, and arrived just in time as the heavens opened and the rain began to pour down. Large cane toads gathered all around the side of the building trying to get in and escape the rain. I switched the outside light on at one point and noticed the huge number of the toads everywhere I looked. I imagined another would make its way into the toilet again.

I learned today that I had snakes living under the floor in this cottage, and that a goanna was living in the roof. With all these animals sharing my living space, I though sleeping would be an issue tonight, but I was so exhausted by the day’s work that I fell right to sleep.

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Written by Daniel Stevens,
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  • Colleen said:

    Smiling once again. Thanks. You are very entertaining.

  • dan said:

    Thank you Colleen 🙂

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