Today was my first Mustering (aka cattle herding) experience! I was saddled up on Buster and we walked out the Weiners (younger cows) into the yard for a feed. They are chilled, playful and not too dangerous at all! Between Sean, Molly and I, we kept them all rounded up whilst they fed. When one calf made a run for it, we chased after it and brought it back to the mob. Easy. Ish? Turns out Buster had other plans and just wanted a little gallop around. Fine by me but it turns out this western style riding with one hand on the reins like a cowgirl is tougher than it looks!
We made it back to the Homestead and time for our own feed. Today they got a 'Killer' - yes that is a freshly killed cow hanging from a tractor! Despite seeing quite graphically exactly where my food was coming from - dinner was delicious! Less fun was being woken at 5am the next morning whilst the carcass was chopped up with a chainsaw and hung in the Coolroom (giant fridge). Yum!!!
13 May 2017
To set the scene for you a little, Sean and Cath's farm stretches over a million acres, with over 30,000 cattle! From the oasis of the Homestead, red sand stretches for miles in every direction and the temperate reaches around 35 degrees in the midday sun (and this is Winter!). The other people who work here are jackaroos, jilaroos, shooters and a teacher who home schools the kids. Most of them have grown up on remote stations or farms too so I guess they are used to being so far away from any town or city. Mail arrives once a week, and a whole variety of visitors drop by, but mostly there are only 14 of us consistently here. And of course 11 horses, 14 chickens and the Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lulu.
On my first evening, we all sat around the huge dinner table on the Veranda eating steak (of course!) It looks like beef might feature on the menu quite heavily over the coming months! After, we sat around the fire drinking a few beers and I started up get my first glimpse into station life.
It turns out that that fire is our source of heat for warm water -so if I want a shower later I'll have to make sure the fire is stacked with logs! The farm is fairly self sufficient: solar panels for electricity, a bore hole for water and rainwater is collected for drinking. Everything is also organic so there are bugs everywhere. Frogs in the sink, cockroaches next to the toilet, and a Huntsman on my bedroom door. However I've learnt quickly that unless its poisonous, it's best not to worry too much. Although watching a snake fall out of a hanging basket whilst I was having my dinner certainly did not allow me to relax! I was assured it wasn't venomous but I don't think I'll be looking too closely to find out for myself...
Life moves at a slower pace, and I'm relieved to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sydney for a little while. The escape from technology is also bliss. There is zero phone signal, and limited wifi. So we put down our phones and tell stories instead...
Moving from city life in Sydney to a remote farm in WA is enough of a culture shock for anyone! I've moved from living above a hostel (shout out to the Penthouse Princesses 😘) to a cattle station 1270km north of Perth. No more midnight adventures to Woolies for chocolate and goon, as the nearest grocery store is over 200km away and the nearest neighbour 40km! No bars. No clubs. No Deliveroo. And certainly no hope of swiping right on Tinder...
But if the first few days of farm life are anything to go by, the next 3 months should be great! My job here is to clean, help out with the horses and other animals, and most importantly to feed everyone here - including the family of 7 that own the farm (yes that's 5 kids to look after!), the 5 other employees and anyone else who happens to pass through the station, from Farriers to Family friends...
11 May 2017
Sydney to Melbourne
Melbourne to Perth
Perth to Carnarvon
Carnavon to Lyndon Station
And 39 hours and 5058km later, I have arrived!