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From Country Living to City Dwelling!

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18th April – Arriving to a very quiet train station 3 hours from Melbourne called Sale, we were met by Ben in his pickup truck. Looking like a ‘real farmer’, he definitely gave Si a run for his money in the beard stakes! Taking us to ‘Family Farm’ for 6.30pm, we arrived to what looked like the middle of nowhere and were greeted by Belinda; Ben’s wife and owner of the farm, their 2 children Will (4) and Abby (5), Georgina (Northern Irish) and Richard (Scottish); a couple who had been working for 3 months on the farm and a French couple; Basil and Sophie. With 10 of us at the farm, we wondered where everyone would stay – luckily we were given our own room in the house with Belinda and Ben in the room next to us and the kids in the 3rd bedroom. Outside, Bas and Sophie stayed in their own campervan and George and Rich in a caravan belonging to the farm.

Farm view

Farm view

As we all gathered around the open log fire in the garden, we cracked open a few ‘cold ones’ under the clear night sky, and were told about farm life whilst we got to know everyone.

19th April – Woken up at 8.30am by the sheep and cows outside our window (and of course the children getting ready for school) we felt a little worse for wear.

Izzy the 'home cow' and her two woolly friends

Izzy the 'home cow' and her two woolly friends

Given a list of things to do by Belinda, we were then told the other backpackers had the day off as they had been at the markets all weekend- no wonder they were so happy to stay up drinking all night! First on the list for us – collect the eggs and feed the ‘chooks’ – Rach wanted to do this as she’s always wanted chickens.

Come on Chooks, time for dinner

Come on Chooks, time for dinner


Chook house, yes rach could fit in it!

Chook house, yes rach could fit in it!

Next we had to clean out the weekend market trailers which were used to transport and sell the fresh beef, using the power hose; we were now starting to get a picture of what the farm entails.

Cleaning up after the markets

Cleaning up after the markets

With 99% of the farming revolving around the 300 Hereford and Angus cattle on the 300 acre farm, the purpose of which is to rear and breed cows for slaughter with an end to selling the cuts of beef for profit at the market. Belinda also told us that her parents who owed the farm were away travelling as her dad was very ill, so she had been asked to take the farm on and hence needed a little more help in return for accommodation and as much beef as we could eat!

With this in mind, we were soon heading off to meet the cows on the back of Belinda’s quad bike. Arriving 5 minutes later, we herded them from one paddock to another with the calls of ‘Sucky, Come on, Come on, Come on’ – and yes, they actually did come (well the older ones anyway!).

Cow whisperer

Cow whisperer


Cow herding

Cow herding

With 3 different groups of cows all needing a different herding ‘approach’, it was not as easy as we first thought. Belinda even had to bring out a whip at one point to get the young cows moving, whereas the older, mature mothers of the group willingly moved at a single call. Back on the quad, we were whisked off to another field where we had to move their 2 goats.

Jonno - stronger than he looks!

Jonno - stronger than he looks!

With that completed, it was time for some physical labour; with spades in hand, we spent the rest of the afternoon helping irrigate the fields by digging trenches, enabling the water to filter through the fields evenly.

With a break for lunch, we were treated to beef stroganoff! The first mouthfuls of the free range, fresh beef from the farm and it was heavenly!

Rach was then needed as ‘security’ against one of Belinda’s associates in the farming industry who being a bit lecherous, Belinda wanted some moral support (with Rach’s ‘city life’ experience she felt more than competent to handle him! ;-) Only joking boys!...).

That evening, all 10 of us were tightly squeezed around the dinner table for lasagne (beef of course!) made freshly with farm mince and cooked by our resident chef – Sophie.

Feeding time at the Zoo

Feeding time at the Zoo

After dinner we all sat around the TV and chilled out for the evening. Si nursing his blistered hands after the first bit of manual labour he’s done in his life!

20th – 23rd April – Farm life continued in much the same way, with Belinda’s job list being allocated amongst the 6 backpackers, sharing the cow moving, weeding of ‘toxic’ Bathspurs - harmful to cows and of course looking after the kids (and chooks!).

Come on ladies, we haven't got all day!

Come on ladies, we haven't got all day!


Bomber eyes up a stray chook

Bomber eyes up a stray chook


Collecting up the weeds! What a job!

Collecting up the weeds! What a job!


Rach returning from a hard day at work

Rach returning from a hard day at work


Traffic jam in Sale!

Traffic jam in Sale!


Transformers, goon box in desguise

Transformers, goon box in desguise

Also to be noted (but not on the list) were more leisurely activities such as haring round the farm on the quad bikes and motorbikes (Rach the instructor even though she couldn’t reach the floor!), fishing for carp in the rivers, shooting rabbits (or trying to at least!) as well as the intake of beef; morning, noon and night, washed down with a good Ozzie beer or box of goon of course! Needless to say we were loving ‘farm life’!

Si playing with his new toy...

Si playing with his new toy...


Y.M.C.A at the F.A.R.M

Y.M.C.A at the F.A.R.M


Fishing on the farms lake

Fishing on the farms lake


Hopeful Bas and his trusty net

Hopeful Bas and his trusty net


Cop a load of that carp!

Cop a load of that carp!


Down time at the farm

Down time at the farm


Evil Kanevil eat your heart out!!

Evil Kanevil eat your heart out!!


Hunting for rabbits

Hunting for rabbits


Working hard at the farm...

Working hard at the farm...


That's not two gulps! MORE!

That's not two gulps! MORE!


Come on Rach, down the hatch!

Come on Rach, down the hatch!


Wrong Soph - two gulps!

Wrong Soph - two gulps!

23rd – 26th April – Routine changed at the weekends, and instead of farm work we would be heading into Melbourne city to sell the produce at various farmers markets. First up was to load the freshly cut meat into the refrigerated trailers; ready for the journey, along with the various boxes of equipment needed for the market stall.

Ben and Belinda hard at work!

Ben and Belinda hard at work!


Rach sorting the meat for market

Rach sorting the meat for market

Four of us would then drive the two 4x4 cars, towing the trailers to the family’s second home 3 hours away in Melbourne, arriving late Friday night.

With four markets around Melbourne to be visited in 2 days, we were split into pairs - Si with Georgina and Rach with Richard. Si and George’s first market was Mornington and with it being an hour and a half around the peninsular, they had to leave at 6am sharp! Rach on the other hand had Werribee market which was just 30 mins away, so enjoyed a relative lie in until 7.15am but early enough for us lazy backpackers! On arrival at the markets, we were allocated a pitch and after navigating the trailer into the spot, it was time to set up the meat. Arranging by cut, we displayed the meats in the glass fronted refrigerated trailer and encouraged on the sales! With the sizzling smell of our sausage tasters drifting from our stall, it wasn’t long before we had the customers queuing up and by 1pm when the markets came to a close, we had both made well over $1,000 for the farm.

Sizzling sausages at your service!

Sizzling sausages at your service!

As was protocol for the end of the market, we swapped some of our remaining unsold meat for other produce such as cheese and vegetables at other stalls, for the weeks’ meals. Si however, wilful as he is, after spending the day eyeing up the Kobe Wagyu Beef stand next to his stall, sweet-talked the owner into frying him up a fillet of the beer fed and massaged tender beef to share with George for free! With the markets finished and the stalls packed up, we all headed back to the Melbourne house to relax.

Later that evening after distributing the remaining cuts between the two trailers ready for tomorrow’s market, Rich the ex-chef, kindly cooked us up some delicious Beef Thai green curry for dinner.

Up at 6am on Sunday morning, we headed our separate ways to the next markets and at the end of the market we had sold out of most of the meat.

Round up, round up, get your fresh beef here!

Round up, round up, get your fresh beef here!

As was normal, nothing went to waste and all the remaining meat was to be our dinner for the week ahead – lots of lasagnes and shepherds pies this week! After a few more food swaps, we all met up at home again but this time we quickly packed up and got ready for a house party around at Ben’s mates house; Martha and Gary. First up, the traditional Anzac Day AFL Derby match, accompanied by the first beers of the afternoon, Goon for Rach of course! As Ben’s team lost, drinking games were soon on the agenda and it wasn’t long before the alcohol needed to be soaked up with some delicious barbequed T-Bones (saved from the market!). Next was a bit of late night poker, lasting until the early hours when we eventually called it a night.

Waking up a little jaded, we thanked our hosts and all headed back to the farm, 3 hours drive away in Sale. Arriving mid afternoon we relaxed with the family all evening and after seeing the huge job list for tomorrow, already shattered we got an early night.

27th – 30th April – With Belinda finding out her dad’s illness was terminal and he had only a week to live, she left with Ben for Melbourne and asked if we all minded looking after the kids and farm for a week or so. Glad to help anyway we could, farm life continued with just the six of us with more cow herding, egg collecting, motorbike riding, fishing, shooting, drinking and of course trying every cut of beef known!

I've got us dinner!!

I've got us dinner!!


Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go!

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go!


Rach needed new pants after this find!

Rach needed new pants after this find!


Men at work

Men at work


Not long now.... slurp, slurp,

Not long now.... slurp, slurp,


Relaxing at the farm

Relaxing at the farm


Echinada in the fields!

Echinada in the fields!


Spiderman finally reveals his alter ego... Will!

Spiderman finally reveals his alter ego... Will!


Sunset over Sale

Sunset over Sale

One thing here we do have to mention, is pregnant cows sink! Unfortunately on one of our rounds herding the cows, we passed the paddock with the pregnant ladies in and spotted one had collapsed in the lake. Rushing over to it, it was clear that she had died. Not knowing what to do, we reluctantly phoned Ben for assistance and he assured us there was nothing we could do but take it back to the farm to bury. Basil retrieved the tractor and soon, Si and Bas were knee deep in the lake, hoisting up the cow to drag home.

'Do you know what were doing?' 'no i was hoping you did!'

'Do you know what were doing?' 'no i was hoping you did!'


Preparing to drag the carcass

Preparing to drag the carcass


The hauling of the cow

The hauling of the cow

The rest is in pictures.... look if you dare!

Bringing home to bury

Bringing home to bury


Who's gonna dig?!

Who's gonna dig?!

Later that week, we had the news that Belinda’s father had sadly passed away and they would not be returning before we left the farm. AIthough we had never met him, the loss was felt on the farm and we endeavoured to do all that we could to help.

With the end of our stay nearing, we had a farewell evening on the Thursday, which started off with us baking some chocolate cup cakes for the kids (yeah right!). With the evening, beginning harmlessly enough, we were accompanied by the other four and a drinking game soon began! It wasn’t long before the leftovers of the chocolate icing had surfaced and was being flung around as a ‘penalty’; as well as the obligatory drinking of course!

Drinking games continued..

Drinking games continued..


Sophie carefully applies the foundation

Sophie carefully applies the foundation


Come here Bas, its your turn!

Come here Bas, its your turn!


Looking good!

Looking good!


Chocolate waterfall!

Chocolate waterfall!


How do you eat yours??!

How do you eat yours??!

It seemed a good idea at the time. The partying went long into the night with plenty of living room dancing and singing!

When drinking games go wrong!

When drinking games go wrong!


Karaoke - get the ear plugs!

Karaoke - get the ear plugs!

Our last day on the farm started with a big hangover, all feeling very worse for wear, it was an unsurprisingly unproductive day.

Enjoying the company car!

Enjoying the company car!

Once we had removed the remaining chocolate from our faces and clothes, we packed up our room, loaded up the cars and helped get the trailers ready for the weekend markets. 4pm, we said our goodbyes to George and Rich and with Bas and Sophie in convoy, headed for Melbourne. At the house for 7.30pm we distributed the meat then grabbed some dinner before getting to bed early.

1st & 2nd May- All up and on the road for 6am Bas and Rach headed for Flemington market while Si and Sophie drove to Warrendyte. On Sunday we were lucky enough to have a relative lie in (6.20am for Si and 7am for Rach)!
Running much in the same way as before, we drummed up business by beckoning customers over and providing delicious tasters of the sausages.

Get your lovely sausages here!

Get your lovely sausages here!

At the end of the weekend, we had sold most of the meat as usual with the remainder to be sent back to the farm (with a pack of sausages pilfered for our weeks stay in Melbourne!).

Knowing that Belinda was still short of volunteers for next weeks’ market, we offered our services and in return she offered us a room for the week in her Melbourne house, as well as use of their old 4x4 jeep.

3rd- 7th May- The next week we spent exploring Melbourne and its attractions including the 88 floor Eureka Skydeck, Federation Square, Crown Casino, St Kilda, and meeting up with a few friends namely Emma; Rach’s school friend now living in Melbourne and Julia and Paul; the couple we had met in Maya Beach, Thailand.

Posing in St Kilda high street

Posing in St Kilda high street


Decisions, decisions!

Decisions, decisions!


Singing in the.. sun!

Singing in the.. sun!


Flinders St Railway station

Flinders St Railway station


View of Melbourne from the Eureka Skydeck

View of Melbourne from the Eureka Skydeck


Melbourne CBD skyline

Melbourne CBD skyline

On the Friday night, we also met up with Bas to watch a game of AFL (Aussie Rules Football) at the famous MCG in the City. Arriving a bit early, we decided to head for a few pre-match drinks at a ‘local’. Upon walking in at 5pm to the busiest bar we could find (i.e. more than 2 people), we were met by a room full of men and.... a topless barmaid. Desperate for a beer, Bas ordered, not knowing where to look..... Within 5 minutes there was another ‘barmaid’ gyrating on the bar and it wasn’t long before Rach suggested we leave to find another local. The quieter one perhaps?!

Back at the stadium an hour before kick-off and queuing up to buy tickets, Rach was handed a free ticket by a local woman, on condition she participated in the ‘demonstration’. Tonight the ground was hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Evening where 20,000 people would don pink ponchos and pink flashing lights and take to the field before the match, to form a figure of a woman. Happy to be a part of it, all three of us grabbed a pink poncho and like thousands of others, marched onto the pitch to play our part.

Pinky & Perky

Pinky & Perky


Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink


Ready to take to the field of the MCG

Ready to take to the field of the MCG


20,000 of us getting into position

20,000 of us getting into position


Breast Cancer Awarness on pitch campaign- we're in there somewhere!

Breast Cancer Awarness on pitch campaign- we're in there somewhere!

Finding our seats, with a customary beer and pie in hand, the game kicked off with us supporting the local underdogs ‘The Melbourne Demons’.

Sport..... check, beer.... check, token frenchman..... check

Sport..... check, beer.... check, token frenchman..... check


Come on you Demons!

Come on you Demons!


The traditional aussie footie pie

The traditional aussie footie pie

It was a tight, enthralling match and even Rach enjoyed it in the 100,000 seat stadium! Sadly, our team fell in the last few minutes to succumb to the favourites – the Western Bulldogs by 2 points.

8th May – Another weekend, another market! With another early start we were repaying the accommodation to Belinda! This time we were attending the market together but with Rach’s unfortunate map reading skills, we ended up in a dead-end road. Oops! Finding it very hard to three point turn with a trailer of meat attached to the truck, Si got a little stressed but eventually made his 300 point turn successfully! Arriving to the market 20 minutes late; and locked gates, Rach sweet-talked us in and we were off and selling! With the sun shining down, we made the most of the small village market. Home for lunch we met George, Rich and the new backpackers Jonny and Ruth – a couple from England and our replacements on the farm and spent the evening chatting away over pizzas.

9th May - Our last market and Rach was teamed up with George (which meant Rach was driving one of the truck-trailers), Si was with Jonny, while Rich was with Ruth. All off our separate ways, we made the most of it being ‘Mothers Day’ in Australia and sold as many roast cuts as we could. With Si and Jonny’s market in close proximity to the ‘Neighbours Ramsay Street’ – they thought it only right they should pop in to visit Scott and Charlene. Unfortunately, those characters had left the programme 20 years ago!

New Neighbours??

New Neighbours??

Back at the house, we said our goodbyes once again and grabbed some unsold meat for our week on the Great Ocean Road with Beth and Lee.

Posted by siandrach 03:01 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world

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