Saturday, April 28, 2007

Milk Maiden and Crepe Chef

I can now officially tick off yet another of my 101 Things to Do Before I Die. Number 36 - MILK A COW, eludes me no longer. Yes, that's right folks, I finally got my hands milky thanks to Jetty, the beautiful Jersey cow that likes to have her hay and eat it too. I've been at Janine's Place for nine days now - a bit longer than planned, but that seems to be the norm with HelpXing on tihs particular trip. Anyways, at around Day 3 talk at the dinner/cigarette smoking table on the verandah turned to Fraser Island. Julia and Tina, the wonderful and funny German girls that have been staying at Janine's for a few weeks now, were both very keen to go to the sand bar and Janine, who hasn't really left this place in 2 years was easily talked into the idea.

And that is basically how I found myself staying longer than planned and milking Jetty twice a day. Janine was keen to have someone stay and look after the animals and, well, there I was. So it's Saturday night and I am 'FARM ALONE' with the company of many animals to keep me sane - 4 dogs, 3 llamas, 1 horse, 1 cow, and a lot of chickens. I am getting damn good at milking the Jersey if I do say so myself. And yes, in case you are wondering, it's all done by hand. It's all very photoworthy actually - every morning I gather up some hay, a metal bucket and a bucket with some soapy water. I go down to the feeding area, spread the hay out for Jetty, who is always waiting with a cute, innocent cow look on her face. Then I set up my milking stool (a plaastic bucket), wash her teats with a sponge then start the milking process. At first it was really really hard- there's a technique to the milking and for each person it's different. Once I got the hang of it though (on the 3rd day) all was good - except one always has to watch out for a stray hoof that might end up stepping in teh milk bucket. At the moment, Jetty is giving about 4 litres a day.

Anyways, my time at Janine's Place has been fantastic, namely due to the company. I guess I didn't realise it, but I was in dire need of being around other people if only to save myself from my own thoughts/obsessions (namely about my weight) And these three women turned out to be absolutely fabulous and funny. I only knew them for a week, but now that they've all gone to Fraser Island I miss their energy and insights. Perhaps I also miss the distraction from my all-consuming thoughts.

So, although I don't hold them responsible, I would say..if it weren't for my visit to Janine's place I would have been able to keep my resolution regarding chocolate and candy restriction mostly intact. As it was, however, the girls just LOVED their candy and Cadbury's and so I broke under the pressure. Ah, what the heck, it's not like my plan to lose weight by avoiding sugar and alcohol was actually working anyways...

In addition to eating a lot of chocolate, I may also have made a couple of chocolate cakes and volunteered to make crepes on two seperate occassions. In my defense, one of the cakes was for a birthday and one crepe meal was savoury. It seems I am becoming much more interested in presentation and experimentation with my cooking now - I blame it on Jamie Oliver.
I was told on more than one occassion over the week that I should open a restaurant/bakery.

Phew. Less than a week from now I'll be back in Sydney and 3 weeks from now I'll be in the States. I can't believe it. This time last year I was living it up in Miami with Schemida and Ko. Crazy how time flies and things at home actualy change while you're away. New jobs, engagements, new appearances, new names (Rowan Thunder).

I feel like I should do some sort of trip wrap-up post even though I've yet to hit up Byron Bay and I reckon that with be a HIGHlight. I am too tired tonight though - milking cows, chasing escapee horses and trying to tucker out three dogs that are all under two years old has wiped me of any energy I might have had at some point during the day. Next time.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sand, Sunshine and Sugar

Since I last left you in Midge Point, I've been having an absolute blast!!!! OK, so here are the highlights by gepgraphical location:

Midge Point

- I left not a moment too early, having spent 5 days at Cathy & Terry's. Four hours a day I spent cleaning a house that, in my opinion, was spotless. Three hours a day I spent exercising my butt off (hopefully). The rest of the time was spent doing very little and quite enjoying it. But it was definitely time to head south after five days.


- I spent a non eventful night in Rockhampton in an attempt to avoid the overnight Greyhound bus trip, but my clever plan was averted by my brain which decided I was not going to sleep well at all. On the upside I did meet a bonafide cowboy who was driving a herd of 1500 hundred cattle to the death (but at least they were getting the scenic tour to cow heaven)

Hervey Bay/Fraser Island

- I arrived at the Friendly hostel and enjoyed a quiet afternoon in this bayside town. I was enjoying my own thoughts whilst looking out over the bay from a jetty when a random Australian dude carrying a can of XXXX beer decided to start a conversation with me, which turned into him walking me to the grocery store and then back to my hostel where I bid him farewell and enjoyed a quiet evening at the hostel

- The next morning I boarded a HUGE ASS 4WD bus for my Fraser Island 2 day /1 night tour. WHAT AN AWESOME TIME I HAD!!! This was definitely one of the major highlights of my trip so far - everything about the tour was fantastic - the Island is something special - it is totally composed of fact it has enough sand to fill the Sahara desert. It is pretty much a green oasis with random, clear blue lakes that beckon you to take a dip in their warm waters. We walked through rainforests, stood 5 feet from a wild dingo that was walking along the beach, drove through tracks of sand and down the island's highway - the eastern shore of the island. I decided to go all out and splurged ona scenic flight with a beach takeoff and a landing - oh it was wonderful. We also walked through rainforsets and had a fabulous meal at the campground before enjoying a fitful sleep in luxury safari tents.

If anyoe is thinking of going to Fraser Island I highly recommend the Fraser Island Company's tours and Captain Kirk in particular as a guide!!!


Well, that's where I am now - my seventh Helpxing experience and it has been brilliant. Janine is a lovely woman in her late forties - very relaxed about life and a wonderful spirit. She has all sorts of farm animals including a horse, a cow, llamas and chickens. She also has two chiuauas, a poodle, and Italian greyhound and two Siamese cats. Awwwww. There are also two very funny German girls staying here. We've been having a ball and yes, I finally broke my No Sugar resolution - screw it. I have not been drinking or eating sugar since I started thi trip and I STILL managed to gain weight so I've decided to give in and accept that the only place I can lose it is on PEI. Hey at least that's one thing that will always draw me back! So yah, we'ev been enjoying our chocolate, good conversation and some lovely days out and about. Right now we are preparing to have a Hair Night which involves pink adn purple colours. I am being boring though and going for some blonde and caramel highlighs.

Less than two weeks of travelling left. SOB!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Midge Point, Midgies and Other Matters

Since last I wrote the following interesting and less-than-interesting things have occurred in my life:

  • I got to hold a koala (it pooed on me), a snake, a lizard, a big bird and a crocodile
  • I survived a tsunami warning, despite choosing to board a ferry whilst the country was on alert
  • I went on a two-day, one night sailing trip around the Whitsundays on the Tall Ship Defender
  • I went snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef
  • I got really burnt on just my knees and cheeks- very sexy looking
  • I was picked up from Airlie by Carl, my latest Helpx host and, despite a slight sense of apprehension at hopping into his old Landrover and being taken into the wilderness of Midge Point, I was pleasantly surprised to find that 'Carl's Place' was a little piece of heaven on the hill - with spectacular water views and a hammock for lazing the afternoons away.
  • I spent five days at Carl's Place (over Easter). I spent the majority of my time playing chess and cards with Carl and walking up and down his steep driveway/lifting free weights in a last ditch attempt to get in shape before I head home.
So, yah that leaves me here, in the present. I left Carl's today, but only to go down the street to stay with his neighbours who have a sprawling house, complete with pool, spa, pool table, etc. It's gorgeous. I get to clean it. I have a feeling Mom ( and former flatmates) would be very surprised at how much of a domestic goddess I've become since starting my travels in AUstralia. It turns out people like my cooking too, which has been a blessing and a curse - see above attempts to lose the freaking weight. Speaking of which., yeah I'm having a rough time with the whole weight thing. It seems that giving up all the vices (drinking, candy, chocolate, cake, etc) is simply not enough! Argh. I am soooo frustrated :( On the other hand, I am assured by the knowledge that once back on PEI it will all fall off....

In other news - the midgies are absolutely LOVING me. MIdgies are little insects that like to bite - and they really like to bite me. I am absolutely grotesque at teh moment, between my weird sunburn marks, midge bites, various bruises that I don't know how I got and with the excess cargo on my derrier, thighs and, well, pretty much everywhere. Sigh. It's a good thing I don't have a digital camera....

K, well I must go for a dip in the pool! Next up for me is Fraser Island/Hervey Bay in case any of you are tracking my progress on a map :)