What a learning curve – what an awakening….
This will be just a brief introduction into the initial stages of life for us on the cattle station. We haven’t had time yet to take any photos. Hopefully by our next weekend off ( which I think will be next week-end) we’ll have photos, and a better idea of whether we’re coming or going. I mean that literally. Our settling in, (or should I say my settling in) hasn’t gone that smoothly, enough said…..
I must say, getting up at 5am and working till nearly 8 pm has been a bit of a shock to the system. We haven’t done those sort of hours since we owned the cafe 21 years ago. Not to mention that we haven’t done any work at all for the past two years. So, we are both tired and a bit ‘shell shocked’. But the work will get easier.Our backs and feet will adjust, as will we.
The cattle station is 670,000 acres (yes, my dear UK readers, you’ve read that correctly, 670,000 acres) , and has 28,000 head of cattle. By station standards, Glenore isn’t a big station, but it’s nothing like a James Herriot, Yorkshire cattle farm. There’s a population on the station of around 17, not 17 thousand, not 17 hundred, not even 17 dozen, just 17.
My day starts at approximately 5.15am when i drag myself out of bed to commence breakfast for the station hands. They either come in at 6am or 6.30am. Yippee to the 6.30am starts, I get an extra 1/2 hour in bed. I put cold meats, cheese, bread etc out, and the guys and girls make their own lunch if they’re going to be out for the day. For those remaining near the station house I make morning tea and lunch, feed the chooks and pigs, burn the kitchen rubbish mid morning, clean the kitchen and dining room, and cook dinner. Dinner is at 7pm. Then there’s the after dinner clean up, so my day finishes between 7.30 and 8pm.
Once I’ve settled in, I’ll get time off after lunch, but for now I have too much to learn, so by choice, aren’t taken much of a mid afternoon break. Perhaps a mistake though as tiredness makes everything that much harder, and makes me a bit of a cranky pants. But the hardest is now hopefully behind me.
The main thing I have to learn and get comfortable with is how to make big station type cuts of meat resemble the cuts of meat I buy from the supermarket. The head stockman does the kill and initial dissecting. The cuts then get hung firstly in an air conditioned meat room for a few days to set, then the meat trolley is wheeled into the huge cool room. I have a lot to learn, but am looking forward to learning it.
Paul has been out with the Borerunner doing something with solar panels to operate the pumps and bores. Apparently there’s water provided at distances of no more than a 6km walk for any of the cattle, as 6 kms is the optimum amount of distance cattle should be travelling in any one day. Next week though I think he’s going to be delivering cattle lick – we gather that’s some sort of food supplement booster. He’s hoping he doesn’t get lost. There’s a big map of the station with all areas on the station named and posted in the map. Only trouble is, when you get to a place it’s not signposted. Apparently all clear to the station hands, but to greenhorns like us, about as clear as mud. His truck will have a two way, and he’ll have water, so should he get lost, I’m sure he’ll get found again.
We have very little in the way of Internet at the station, and no mobile phone coverage. So emails sent and received are very hit and miss, as are blog posts. This post is only able to be posted because we’ve come into town, almost a 300km round trip.
Keep watching this space, hopefully the next blog will have photos, and hopefully we’ll have settled into the rhythm of station life and be enjoying the experience. Hopefully I’ll be finishing off with, ‘what a pleasure’.
4 thoughts on “The work adventure begins”
Yes, it’s hard work and long hours, particularly hard, hot days for Paul. The days are longer for me, but the works easier for me. The pay – if equated to an hourly rate, neither of us has earned that small an hourly rate for many, many years, but because we can’t spend anything while we’re here, and because our keeps included, it’ll put ok money into our bank acct by the end of our time here. More than anything though, it’ll be an experience that I think we’ll treasure. We’re still finding our feet, but we’ve found out the cattle lick that Paul will be taking out to the cows isn’t the salt licks, it’s proper food. And yes, by November when we should be finishing up, we should be Cruisin’ , with a real cruise perhaps on the horizon sometime.
Wow, that sounds amazing, really hard work, but I am sure you will settle in. Hope the pay is good. Happy cooking and rustling – no, maybe not rustling 😉 Jill
cattle lick will be Salt blocks
A good size station
By the end of your time you’ll be cruising! Look forward to seeing the pics.