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Day 29 “Farm Hand” (Thursday 4th March 2013)

Today Avril woke me up at 11am because we were heading to Hollie and Anthony’s farm. It’s roughly 2 hours away and we wanted to be on the road at about midday to make it there for around the time Hollie finishes work at the jewelers. So I got up, dressed, ate breakfast and packed an overnight bag and we headed off just after 12pm.

On the way Avril wanted to stop at a land sales office to check out another block of land (Avril is keen to sell and move into a place that doesn’t need any renovations, plus get a new similar sized house for the price they’d get for their current home) but unfortunately the office had a note on saying “Be back later but if you need me now please call *number*” so Avril decided to leave it and maybe pop in another day. Conveniently there is a service station almost bang in the middle of the journey and after about an hour and 10 we passed it meaning we only had an hour left. (This means the stop at the land office was only about 10 mins) Also there is a tree that looks like a Chook (chicken to the English) on route and Avril said it had been there ever since she was a child! Although the journey seemed long, there is a similar 2 hour journey I do back home to see my Auntie and Uncle in Northampton that feels longer… Maybe its because here there were new sights to see on the route and less traffic on the roads.

As we were getting near to Hollie and Anth’s farm we decided to save Hollie and journey and pick up Harry from day care, after a quick Google to find the place and a phone call inside by the staff to make sure Avril was authorised to collect Harry. As I hadn’t been authorised I was unsure if I was allowed in the class room but luckily Harry recognised me and said “It’s Jack” this made me feel better and the staff said I could come into the room- loitering outside with this beard wasn’t a good look! But as I’m much taller than the children in the room I got a lot of woah type of looks but we collect Harry’s things and headed onwards to the farm.

At the farm, Avril showed me around the house and to my room so I dropped off my bags and then Harry, Avril and I played outside for a while before Anth showed up on a motorbike. He’s such a nice guy and we all stood talking before he said he had to go and help milk the cows. The farm has about 350 dairy cows so a machine does the milking but it still takes a lot of effort to organise and clean up after that many cows. (However there is only 3 people [Anth, his Dad Ken and a new farm hand from New Zealand, Andy] that work on the farm which also grows crops and raises calf’s and that’s why 7 days a week its pretty much a 12 hours job) Hollie was now on her way to the farm, so once she arrived the 4 of us headed to Anth’s parents place’ which is closer to the milking area so I could look around.

PHOTO

After a brief drive Harry and Hollie went in to see Ken at home, while Avril drove on an extra couple of hundred metres to I see the cows being milked. The only way I can think to describe what I saw was a Merry-Go-Round that feeds and milks the cows scientifically. The cows are all chipped electronically and read out by a computer as they enter the spinning contraption, then the computer knows how much milk to take from the cow and how much feed to put in its trough. Andy is there there as well to supervise, controlling when the machine turns and apply the suckers to the cows udders. Also Anth’s was behind all the cows on the motorbike to heard the cows towards the milking area, this lengthy process is done twice a day and then the area needs cleaning afterwards, although there is still a strong smell of cow pat and loads of flies buzzing about. Once the cows are spinning around (very slowly I might add) they eat their feed and the suctions drop off when enough milk hands been collected, then they leave the machine after they complete the circle but down a different ramp so they don’t get mixed up with the unmilked cows. The whole process is really interesting but we soon headed back and I met Ken quickly then Harry, Hollie, Avril and I returned to Hollie and Anth’s house.

We then all chatted and played with Harry for a couple hours before Anthony returned home, it then wasn’t long before Harry went to bed. Also Hollie had been cooking a roast on and off since we had been home and in about 30 mins it would be ready so Anth decided we had enough time to irrigate a plot of farm land. He took me on the quad bike to the land and there were about 6 or 7 plots ploughed and seeded, with a trench of water and gates one end. Each gate is then opened and water runs down the slightly angled field (its again very scientific and all mapped out with lasers and computers before work even starts on the land) the gates then need shutting about 20 minutes later after the plot is fully watered. Any extra water on the plot drains into a trench at the other end and runs around and is pumped back into the first trench. We didn’t wait 20 minutes there instead we headed back to the house on the quad bike and Anth went back on him own just before dinner. The reason I didn’t go was because Daryl had rung Avril’s phone to speak to me about his internet and router and I suggested it could be a conflict of security so Daryl went away to Google it and managed to fix it. With Harry in bed, me off the phone, Anth’s back from shutting the gate and Avril waiting patiently, Hollie served the roast beef with plenty of veg, yet another great cook in Oz!

After dinner we sat around watching TV for an hour or so, then at about 9:30 Anthony went to bed as he would probably be up the following morning around 4:30am! Another hour later Hollie, Avril and I went to bed where I wrote a diary entry and then called it a night because I knew I’d be up early (well about 9am, but early for me) tomorrow with Harry and the fact Avril wanted to start the journey home at about the time Harry needed his nap.

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