Toad Jerky Anyone?
Trip Start Sep 09, 2008
18Trip End Apr 2009
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Having good people to work for and with makes a big difference for getting through each day though. We seem to have settled in well with John, Roz (his wife) and Anthony; and the English couple that replaced the German couple after our first week keep us well entertained. Vicki loves to chat and his forever cracking us up with her random musings ("I think I would be really good with a sword"); and Michael - who is also very fond of talking - is never at a loss for some anecdote to contribute to the conversation, though the relevance of some of his stories is somewhat questionable ;) Meanwhile, Anthony and John have opened up, and seem to be quite happy with their workers (especially Dave, whose tractor and forklift skills were a rather unexpected treat for them).
Aside from having good co-workers, I think the only other reason (well besides the obvious one -- $$$) I am determined to stick it out is because I reckon that if I can't lose some weight picking up watermelons all day for a couple of months, well then I think all hope will be lost forever! :( Meanwhile, my pipes are getting MASSIVE ;) Now if only I could just get rid of that saggy fat layer AROUND them...
Basically all of our time is spent in the melon patch with only the occasional couple of hours or maybe a day to pick the pumpkins. While the butternuts are much smaller than the melons, it's actually harder work picking them. Firstly you have to cut each stem which gets hard on the hands; but mainly it's because you have to bend over about 5 times as many times (or more!) to get the same volume of produce. And the bins seem to take an ETERNITY to fill for that same reason! So now we all dread the pumpkin picking and eagerly anticipate our return to the melon patch after even a short while doing pumpkins!
Last week we had our biggest picking day yet. On Tuesday we managed to pick 10 trailer loads of melons (an average day up until then would have been about 7). That is roughly equal to about 40 tonne of melons, and, as there are only 3 of us doing the actual picking, that means that I ALONE picked roughly 13 tonne in ONE DAY. No wonder I am so bloody knackered. Even on an 'easy' day I probably pick up about 9 tonne.
Dave, meanwhile, because of his aforementioned skills, has landed a job in the shed - organizing bins with the forklift, making the bins and stapling them onto pallets, loading and unloading the trailers, and driving the empty trailer out to us when we're full. We affectionately refer to him now as "the Shed Bitch" :) He really enjoys that of course.
As I mentioned in the previous entry, we see a fair few critters out in the paddock: lots of grasshoppers and locusts, a few flies and bees and other winged little fellas of various descriptions; but mostly we see cane toads. They'll give you a bit of a start sometimes when you reach down for a melon and the dirt starts moving. Cane toads are an introduced species (a.k.a. "farrels" to the Aussies) to Australia brought in from Hawaii to control the cane beetle (or some such critter). They're probably one of the ugliest creatures around. Basically they look like... um,... well, a pile of excrement with four legs (too graphic??). Yep, they're not pretty. And unfortunately, not only did they fail to do what they were brought into do, but they proliferated uncontrollably because there is nothing to kill them (aside from the odd one who meets his unfortunate death beneath the tire of a passing vehicle) because they're poisonous. Apparently if you lick them it will cause you to hallucinate, though how someone came to discover that fact I don't wish to know! (It's nearly impossible to see a cane toad without Dave pointing and crying out, "Lick it LICK IT!!"). Anthony tells me that dogs get high off the toads sometimes. They'll find a dead one, stash it somewhere till it dries out, and then eat it. Mmmmm, cane toad jerky! Could you imagine if your dog became a cane toad junkie? Would you have to stage an intervention? Is there a rehab centre for pets??
As for snakes, we've only had one close encounter in our four weeks. As we were trying to get the boom on to the empty trailer, a King Brown that was apparently taking refuge beneath our shade cloth, went straight through Anthony's legs, past Michael and under the trailer. He says it's the biggest King Brown he's ever seen (and he reckons he's had about 10 of them go through his legs like that throughout the course of his life). Not to worry though: a King Brown is only the THIRD deadliest snake in the world!! Small potatoes... ;)
Pretty much every day after work Dave and I head straight for the pool. It's nice to swim a couple laps to stretch out our aching bodies, and, of course, it's just so darn refreshing! And Dave has been practicing his handstands with my helpful coaching tips ;) There are some days however, when no matter how refreshing it may be, I just can't drag my ass into the pool for fear that I just might sink for lack of enough energy simply keep myself afloat.
Where I stayed
Myra's Bed and Breakfast