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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

10.000 trees

Finally a chance to sit and reflect. The opportunities are very few, as working full-time is so demanding and getting online is so rare. Again, I'm sitting in the office, on the farm. The same farm as last 2 weeks ago, and the same as 3 weeks before that.. All up, it's been 5 weeks here in Shepparton, not that I'm counting or anything.

I was just saying today to Jason, that it feels like so much longer. Why? I don't know.. I'm not too sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. They say time flies when you're having fun. So does that mean I'm not having fun and that this chapter s dragging on too much? I don't think so. Because don't they also say that when you feel so quickly at home somewhere, then its like your life situation has never been any different than the one you find yourself in. So I'm not too sure what to make of it all.

The work is going good. We're working 6 days each week now. 7 days was proving to be too much. It was draining us both and we lost all our enthusiasm on the 13th day of working flat out. So we quickly lost interest in pushing ourselves unnecessarily. Jason is too easy-going when it comes to work anyhow. He might be my boss, but he's not a slave driver.. I'm probably the one who could be classed as that.. oops-a-daisy! I've done away with that attitude and have relaxed into going with whatever working hours we miss on or have to catch up on. It's not that important.

How are the trees? They're great. Not a bother. We've probably attended to around 10.000 in the past month. And each day the amount rises. We have different paddock (fields) with rows and rows of trees, each week. So it's like we're in a different "office" at the start of each week. How exciting! We get stuck in, we do our work, we talk sh*t to each other, we bicker like kids, we laugh, and then it's time to "go home" (a 2 minute drive across the farm).

It's sounds monotonous, and it can be. But each day brings something different.. Because as the trees are being attended to, and conversation runs low, thoughts go within and that's where it all happens: Sometimes it's happy things and thoughts, sometimes it's a confusion and other times it's eagerness to take the next step on this journey. What step? I have a few ideas, but nothing is certain as of yet. Where to? Again, I have a few ideas, but no certainty. The eagerness and the itchy feet come and go. Sometimes it's nearly unbearable and other times it's easier to forget that feet can itch to the point of going crazy. This is due to the fact that we're so isolated and it's so easy to forget about the world and about what's going on out there. It's almost too easy. But as tempting as it is, I force myself to feel my itchy feet and let them lead the way.

Will they be leading me away from this farm or away from Jason? The work here will be ending within a week, then maybe I'll be going to Adelaide with Jason for a week or so. After that there's more work. But I'm not too sure just yet what I want or where I'd like to be next. This lifestyle can be amazing: living in a van, roughing it all the time, being in the bush, surrounded by lots of these giant insects. It really can be so good. And I appreciate it the most when I'm at ease and not feeling my feet itch. This lifestyle can also be hard going: All of what I just mentioned to be amazing, can easily turn into the biggest struggles, at the drop of a hat. But I've found ways to keep me from feeling any kind of strain.. I still do yoga out in the field. That's what keeps me sane, gives me my space and helps me relax. So for now, we've still got a couple of 1000 trees to see to, and from there I'll make a decision as to what I want to be doing. More than likely I'll be going with the flow. But what flow will that be.. My flow and my feet.. or my flow and some work? That I still have to figure out.

The weather is picking up, ever so slowly, cold nights, but spring-like days.. So hopping out of the van in the morning is getting more and more pleasant and I still enjoy sitting in the grass brushing my teeth, after I've squatted against the "toilet-tree" for a morning visit to the bathroom.. So for the next week or so, All will be well, as it always is..

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

3 weeks later

3 weeks since I first arrived at this farm. 3 weeks after stepping back into the workforce again. 3 weeks since living in a house. 3 weeks since having a shower at my disposal, at any given time of the day or night. 3 weeks since watching tv. 3 weeks...

Does it feel like this long? It definitely does. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it takes a while to adjust to living in this environment, where work is always at our "doorstep" and where a space of 2 square meters is all we have to call our home. It might sound like it's difficult. That's because it is. Enjoyable but difficult. A challenge at the best of times. But never one that I'd shy away from.

There are certain things that keep it exciting.. Like the wild deer that lives just behind the field we work in. He's there on a daily basis, just standing as near as ever, and a pretty as ever. Some workers (Jason for example) would be tempted to shoot it and cook up a feast.. But not me, I admire it and wouldn't stand for anybody killing it!

Another thing that keeps it exciting, is to wake up in the morning, after a frosty night, and to be offered a ride in the helicopter before starting work. They would use the "chopper" here on the farm, to blast the frost away from settling on the fruit trees, which would otherwise cause damage - Something I never knew to happen.. (we live and we learn!). It was so cool, to hop in and be taken for a 10 minute fly across the region! The first time for me to be in chopper..the sky was clear and seeing the farm and this whole area from up above was amazing! I loved every minute of it!

Boring moments can suddenly become the total opposite, when sitting in the van at night and Jason gets a shocked look on his face and tells me not to move because there's a massive outback huntsman walking across the pillow just beside my head! Oh my god! I didn't scream, I didn't run.. I forced myself to stay calm but couldn't bring myself to have a proper look of this gigantic poisness spider, that was orange and hairy and as strong as I don't know what. It had invaded our tiny little house!! Jason was freaked out too, tried to kill it, and after 3 or 4 attempts, it finally gave up and passed away.. We didn't bury it, but threw it in the garbage and had a proper look at the ins and outs of it, the next day, once we both felt up for it.. But if you think I slept at all that night, you can think again. I had the heeby-jeebies for days. But seeing as though how scared I can be of spiders, I reacted so calmly. How proud me and Jason were of us both to not being scared off by that beast!

The work itself, is going great. We've been working 7 days this week and next week too. I don't mind. I don't feel like I haven't had a day off in 2 weeks. I've adjusted my mindsetting. I switched off to what day it what. One day just rolls into the next. It's easier that way.. The outside world is nothing for us..only when we need a shower. This would usually be everyday, but we don't have a shower here on the farm. So, as often as we can, we drive 25 minutes to the nearest town, and scrub up. Last week we said to each other (even though I had been thinking it for quite some days) that we are starting to live like hobo's.. or pigs even.. It's so easy to do that here, because we can go for days without seeing another soul, except the trees and the manager of the farm. But we can't let ourselves get like that.. Especially now that the warmer weather is coming in. This has been the warmest week so far. Around 20 degrees it's been. Not too hot, but it feel a whole lot hotter when you're standing in it, concentrating on the trees and the ties and the paint for hours at a time. I'm adjusting to the heat though. The nights are still as chilly as a ever (around 1 or 2 degrees) and we've nearly been tempted to sleep with our hats on, because we'd wake up in the night with icy cold foreheads. The joys of living in a van.. But once the mornings come, it's beautiful to step outside in the sunshine, with a cup of tea and be heated by the already shining sun. It makes it all worthwhile!

So 3 weeks I've been here, and as one day rolls into the next, we tie more and more trees. I don't know how many more trees we have to "attend to", but for now it doesn't matter. There are thousands.. so on and on Jason grafts and I tie..