Whenever my boss didn’t want to have anything to do with me, he put me in the capable hands of the lead farm hand. I was ditched like an unwanted or incompetent child. I loved being ditched. The farm hand was a relaxed, kind and patient man, although I’ve no doubt he had lots on his mind. When the farm hand gave me tasks I went out into the field. This often meant no facilities and no company, but I didn’t care. It also meant no boss.
So I was dropped in a cherry field where I had to rub down the plants. It is a tedious job if you are doing this all day, every day. At lunchtime I saw the farm hand and then he was gone again until the end of the day. I kept hoping it would start raining, so the day was cut short. By the time it was 4PM I was mentally dead and my feet went on strike. It would take me all night to recover only to do it again in the morning.
Some days I was lucky and I got some company. Together with another Dutch guy I spent 4 days working in the vineyard. It is meant to become a cherry field, but while there are grapevines, the farmer wants to get the profit of this year’s grapes. Right before the cherry season he realized we had to lower the wires the grapes were growing in. For four days we walked through the field unhooking the wires.
The smell of dead kangaroo was everywhere. Whenever the farmer saw one, he would get out his gun. They were ruining his fruit he said. It was nearly impossible to breathe around the corpses in all stages of decay. And there were the annoying flies. I felt like the queen, constantly waving my hand in front of my head. At least I had someone to talk to. Among the popular subjects were Dutch food we were craving and how to kill the boss.
One day in the field I really had to go to the toilet. I found a spot in between the tall grass and squatted. Perfect. While I pulled my pants down I see two kangaroos. They kept staring at me while they were chewing their grass. Curious, this farm life.
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.