What’s “hard yakka”? In explanation “Yakka” is the aboriginal word for work and have we been yakkering hard over the past couple of weeks! The cover photo shows our reward for our hard labour which constituted several very nice glasses of chardonnay at our local wine bar in Penshurst. The convivial Gaudenzi wine bar is a most civilised addition to our lives and serves canapés and pate to go with their excellent repertoire of vino. A roaring log fire greeted us after an afternoon’s shopping in Warnambool and we ended up staying rather longer than we had intended.
The hard yakka quote also applies to me because I’ve got a job! I’m now gainfully employed as an administrator at a day care centre for adults with disabilities. The centre is in Hamilton, our nearest metropolis of 8000 people and is a 35 minute driving commute away. I have to be there for an 8.30am start for four days a week, with Thursday’s being my day off.
Before I officially started my new job I was required to spend three days working with the participants of the centre because I haven’t had any experience of working with people with disabilities. I was quite daunted by this and was thrown in the deep end and quite rightly so. However, by the end of my training I was singing and dancing with everyone and painting fingernails in the “making the most of yourself” class. I loved spending time with those who aren’t as privileged as the rest of us and the thought that I’m now working in an environment to give something back to society really makes me feel good.
I have now finished my first week’s work and despite a steep learning curve and my mobile phone going off in completely inappropriate moments, I have to say I think I’ve found another new purpose in life. I only hope that the wheels don’t fall off with things at home as I retain my role as Director of Domestic Services.
During my first week of work we had a visit from our friend Jim. Jim stopped off with us for a night whilst on his long journey on his motorbike from his home in Queensland through to meet work commitments in Hyden in Western Australia. The Kiwi and Jim worked several harvests together over the years and we had a great evening catching up with him. The next morning Jim lent the Kiwi a hand with the sheep.
Other things that have been going on in our lives include us both hard yakkering getting our cottage sorted out with the installation of just some of our worldly goods. Recently all our weekendshave been spent making numerous trips to our containers to put huge loads of stuff on a trailer bringing it to our new home and then spending our evenings unpacking boxes. It’s been great seeing all our things again and thankfully very little damage occurred during our “stuff’s” 12,000 mile journey here. We’re now up to our eyes in used bubble wrap, paper wrapping and boxes but there are many squeals of delight when we unwrap things such as my pasta machine (the Kiwi now refuses to eat dried pasta ever again)! The main task has been that every box has to be opened and gone through with decisions made about whether to use it now or put it away for when we eventually build our own home. There are 342 boxes plus all the furniture items. It really has been like an enormous Christmas and everything we unwrap gets discussed and reminisced over, you see every item has a story and it’s so important to remember those stories. We’ve got all the time in the world and I don’t care if it takes us a month of Sunday’s to get sorted out.
The farm where we live and where the Kiwi has been working was sold on Friday which was something we knew about. The new owners have retained his services in a full time capacity and no doubt things will be done differently under the new regime. Nevertheless calving continues and thankfully uneventfully. So far, only two heifers have required assistance to give birth and driving through the countryside, everywhere there are impossibly sweet calves skipping about the paddocks with their tails in the air and not a care in the world.
Activities on farms around us have included stubble burning which was quite a sight. The vastness of the paddocks dictate that the only way to efficiently prepare the soil for reseeding is to burn off the stubble from last year’s crop. This practise also gets rid of the weed seeds and slugs and bugs and puts valuable nutrients back into the ground.
The summer is ending now and autumn is setting in. The swallows have been lining up on the telephone wires gearing up for their long journey home and the Kiwi has been having lots of fun with our wood burner getting our only source of heating going. Again, he’s been hard yakkering stockpiling a huge store of logs for the coming winter months. The clocks went back an hour last night and I must admit it will be lovely to have some extra light in the early mornings and I will no longer have to walk the Golden Girls in the dark before I leave for work.
And to end this blog I have to impart a joyful occurrence, last night for the first time in over a year we spent our first night in our own bed within accommodation that doesn’t have wheels!