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The Wild Blue

Duke's Plain

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 4 March 2012 | Views [973] | Comments [1]

I've been at Duke's plain for almost 3 weeks and i've enjoyed every hornet-free moment of it. I'm keeping busy and learning a ton of things almost every day and get to hang out a with a group of pretty cool people while i'm doing it. I've done some things here that i never really imagined myself doing before.

Near the end of the first week here I helped skin and slaughter a bull for dog meat. I figure since I eat meat i should know and experience what, where and how it all comes from. I grabbed several shots, but many of them are pretty graphic so i'll upload them in a special gallery later on and drop the link in next time i post. A week or so after that I helped out with branding, which was another whole day of learning. First the calfs and cows were seperated using a large system of pens and a narrow walk way with a swinging door, the whole system being known as the yards and raceway. Then the calfs were led to another raceway and one at a time were branded with a heated poker, dehorned with a heated circle skewer poker, vaccinated against diseases and sprayed with a homeopathic first aid treatment. The whole proccess took about 50 seconds per calf. One of the most important lessons for me, was learning about how to move cattle. While i didn't do any drafting(seperating and moving cattle), I did try to help another, much more experienced, wwoofer a few times with lining the calfs up in the seperate sections of the raceway. I kinda think I got more in the way then helped most of the time, but I definitly walked away with more knowledge then I went in with, so next time i'm sure i'll do a better job.

On top of that we've done more mundane jobs. Spent time with the chainsaw chopping down trees and debarking them to make rails for the stable, walking along fencelines and chopping/sawing trees that were growing into the fence and of course the random odd jobs around the farm that need doing. Everything from polishing the yute(aussie term for a light truck) to sharpening the chainsaw, to unloading hay bales, to helping out in the garden.

All this work is spread around going for swims in the dam(man made pond fed by rainwater), hiking in the hills and chilling out with the cane toads and a good book. Speaking of hiking, I did finally manage to retreive my hat from the hornets nest I mentioned in my last entry. It took 3 tries, but i finally went back up the hill with annette and after a bit of coordinated back tracking(we both ran in opposite directions once the hornets came out) we finally found and recovered it. The next hike up the mountain involved a gorgeous view of the plains below, again i'll upload a shot next time I get a chance.

For some reason the computer here won't allow me to upload any photos with this site, so i'll spend some more time figureing it out, but if I don't get anywhere i'll just upload them next time I get at a internet cafe.

As a gesture of incredible hospitality and kindness, the folks here at dukes plain have suggested I use this place as a base to leave/come back to, and that I should treat it as my home. It's really heartwarming to find a home away from home like this.

This past week I've started working at another farm, Gyranda, which is owned by the brother of the fellow that owns this place. I'm volunteering there for the first week on a trial basis, but will be getting paid after that, so I figure I'll be there for a month or two and then jump offand start exploring the rest of the country.

I'll talk some more about that place after i've been there for a while. I don't think i'll have internet access while i'm there unfortunatly, so It'll be a while before I get a chance to stick up those photos or make another post. Catch you then!




Okay, so you said it would be awhile before we heard from you so forgive me if I'm being paranoid...
But it's been months.
Please leave word about how you're doing, or even better give me a call soon.

I'm considering sending out helicopters. Don't make me come to Australia!

  Seth May 8, 2012 3:32 AM

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