If you want to stay in Australia for a second year working holiday, you’ll have to do your 88 days of regional work. In the 88 days diaries I tell the story of my three months of farm work on a cherry orchard. I worked out in the fields as a farm hand before working in the packing shed during the cherry season. Read about what I think, experience and explore, from eccentric farmers to new skills.
Another few weeks of hard work have passed. I helped the guys with cleaning up the packing shed, but it was an ongoing operation. The men were preparing it for the cherry season and therefore it was in a constant mess. I was cleaning, electricians were running around, the machine was being checked and the normal crew was trying to find the tools that I’d packed away. I had to prepare parts of the machine, by soaking blue pieces into water and then hanging them up in the big cherry sorting machine. So I was climbing in and on the machine like a commando.
Besides this, the farmer’s private garden needed lots of weeding. It isn’t the worst job in the world, but it did make me feel like Cinderella, only without a ball or the possibility of meeting a prince. Everything had to be prepared for the coming cherry season. The toilets needed cleaning, the walls needed painting, the spider webs had to be brushed from the ceilings. Believe me, these we not the nicest days. After 4 hours of holding a broom above my head, a permanent layer of dust had gathered on my skin. I also found all kinds of rubbish that dated back to last year’s cherry season.
The next job was cleaning the big cool rooms, the storage space for the fresh cherries. Nobody had cared about it for about a year, so I put on my wellies and got out the pressure cleaner. I felt like a fireman. My muscles were working as this was no home-style toy, but a full pressure system. Wall by wall I cleaned the rooms and then finished doing the floor over and over again, slowly scraping off the layers of filth. Every 45 minutes there was so much water I had to sweep it to the drain. Then I could start again. The idea was to make it spotless, but thank god the farmer said it was enough after two days.
From water it went to fire. After sweeping big piles of leaves near the shed I was taken to an area in between all the cherry fields. While the farmer was bulldozing away I had to try to dodge him while putting pieces of wood on a huge bonfire. His philosophy was that the bulldozer was so loud he wouldn’t hear or see me so I had to watch out for him. I hate coming too close to fire and was trying to hold back my tears as the flames attacked me. At the end of the day I had to drive his truck back to the property. He drove the bulldozer. We wouldn’t have time to do this again. The cherry season was coming. I couldn’t wait.