And then, there is the heat factor. When we get to work at 7:45am, it is already 26 degrees or HIGHER
... and that's according to the radio, but Anthony - supervisor/son of the boss - says it is typically about 4 degrees warmer out on the farm than it is in town! You can't imagine how much sweat pours off our bodies in the course of a day. Basically, we have been drinking nearly 5 litres of water per day each during work hours, without having to pee ONCE. It's not a pretty site, anyway.
As horrible as it all sounds, mostly it's not really that bad... though I may feel differently by the end of next week... It's nice to be out in the fresh air for work, and the farm is on not a bad spot, surrounded by a couple small mountains. We're also technically near the river, but there is very little water in it - we actually drive across it and down the river bed a ways to get to the other melon fields on the other side. Apparently it only really flows enough that they can't get across for about a month out of the year. That seems to be the way it is with a lot of rivers in this state!
Not surprisingly, the fields seem to be humming with insect activity. I've seen winged grasshoppers (locusts) that are about the size of hummingbirds. And I've never seen so many dragonflies as I saw in the pumpkin patch today! We've seen a couple before but not so many at once! Some of them are an incredible electric red colour, while others are a brilliant shade of blue that could out-rival even the bluest of the '80s eye-shadows.
The people we work for seem really nice. We haven't seen too much of John, or "Big Daddy" as our German co-workers call him, who is the man in charge. Anthony, who we have worked out to be in his early 20's, is the one who takes us out to do the picking. They both seem to be fairly typical farmers - they don't do a whole lot of talking and they certainly don't beat around the bush when they do! John appears to have a wickedly short temper as I witnessed the other day when his circular saw was not co-operating ... rather entertaining to watch, but I'd hate to be on the receiving end!!
Anthony is a good bloke, and Dave and I are quite enjoying working with him so far. He is definitely an Aussie, through and through! :) I have actually heard him say "fair dinkum" several times now! He's the first Aussie I have met to actually use that stereotypical figure of speech. I have to stifle a giggle every time he says it :) And he wears this old hat that looks like the dog might have mistaken it for lunch one day. Apparently he's had it since he was 14, which is really not hard to believe.
Tomorrow is Friday which means only one more day of physical anguish before we have two whole days to nurse our bruised ad battered bodies back into relative health before it all starts over again next week!
To end on a brighter note, let me leave you with this fascinating tidbit of information that we heard on the radio the other day: The proud producers of Vegemite have rolled out their ONE BILLIONTH jar of the iconic concentrated yeast spread since it's beginnings in 1923!!!
(But who's counting??)
Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside doesn't it? Or maybe that's just nausea... ;) But if you want to know more... http://www.vegemite.com.au
(it's very informative!).
Everything hurts. We have now completed our third full day of picking butternut pumpkins (a.k.a. squash) and watermelons. If it sounds like a rough and exhausting job, that's because it IS. Quite possibly worse even, because on top of the purely physical aspect, is the fact that the melons and pumpkins are often hidden in a tangled mess of vines and weeds, including thistles up to 4ft. high and these other nasty little bushes with very sharp and sticky little burrs that attach themselves to every article of clothing they come in contact with, as well as your bare skin. In the melon patch, the vines are so thick in some places - er, wait, make that most places - that it is little more than a mystery as to where the actual ground is to put your foot down; and whether or not you might step on a melon - which is not a good thing if keeping your balance is a priority, but sometimes stepping on them is actually the quickest way to find the melons!!