Slices of Life

Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
Trip End Nov 31, 2005

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Friday, September 9, 2005

A relaxing week in the countryside enjoying the company of trees has been the perfect antidote to the somewhat hard-drinking atmosphere of the week before. Three other WWOOFers---Nina and Annica, German girls, and Sylvain, a French guy---are also staying here, at the Tye Estate an hour north of Melbourne. It's 1100 acres of bushland owned by John Marsden, Australia's bestselling young adult author. He lives here and runs school camps and writing clinics and the like on the property.

My duties here have ranged from helping in the kitchen to my old favourite, weeding. I've made chocolate-nutella muffins, lemon slices, salads, pecan slices and washed a lot of dishes (another old friend, that). I've dug grass out of the driveway and pulled broom out of the bushlands. The work has been pretty easy, actually; they only put us to it for about five hours and the rest of the day is ours.

Yesterday Sylvain and I went for a walk in the forest with the map of the Tye Estate in my back pocket. Then after the third turning the map fell out and we were left to navigate for ourselves. When I say "bushland" here I mainly mean a forest of extremely tall, straight gum trees with an undergrowth of ferns and grasses, so even if we strayed from the trail it's easy enough to walk straight through. We found a fence line and followed that for a while and surprised a group of twenty-five kangaroos having some sort of hopping race along one of the trails. Strange to see so many at once. Finally we tired of following the fence line and failing to find a trail that would take us back, so we cut across country and climbed a steep hill to the highest point of the property. From there we oriented ourselves and went down towards the homestead. We'd been walking for almost two hours at this point so we can be forgiven for getting lost again (I forced Sylvain to take a wrong turning; he had a better idea of where to go than I did). But then we found our original trail, and the map! But it didn't help because we turned wrong again and found ourselves on the wrong side of the creekbed from home. By now it had almost been three hours so we were like, screw that, walked down into the creek, crossed on a log bridge, scrambled back up the other side and found the house right there.

Last night huge thunderstorms and fitful rain today. I leave tomorrow at seven in the morning to return to Melbourne and my bus tour to Adelaide.
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