Jackie, the cook awoke Sunday morning looking quite crook so we offered to take over the cooking as from Sunday. We don’t officially start work here till Monday and we’re supposed to start cooking on Thursday morning but we’ve already been working since we got here so we’re pretty much in the loop now.
There are two garden beds out in the camp area and we wanted to get some plants started. We bought some seedlings on a run into Moree so we decided to dig over the garden beds and plant.
The soil out here is the notorious Black Soil of which many songs have been sung and stories have been told. It is impassable by humans
either by wheel or foot after rain and is rock hard after being baked by the sun for awhile.
Our garden beds were at the latter stage.
With only my small mini shovel and a star picket as garden tools we dug over the rock (I mean soil) and dug in some hay. We would drive the star picket in as far as we could then lever it up then smash it up with the shovel.
I’m sure the farm’s inhabitants thought we were nutters.
There is easily $50,000,000 worth of equipment on the property but no garden fork, shovel or rake.
The garden was eventually planted and after two days it looks like it will survive. We planted carrots, cabbage, cauli, broccoli, snow peas, lettuce, onions and some herbs. They’ll probably start to yield fruit the day we leave.
We’ve been attacking the kitchen and mess hall as well to try to get it up to an acceptable level of cleanliness before we start.
The cold room’s shelving was collapsing and as a consequence goods were piled in cartons on the floor making it stupidly difficult to get at things and rotate stock. We pulled everything out ripped out the ropes and star pickets that were propping everything up and with a decent length of number 8 fencing wire and some pliers I was able to remodel the coolroom shelves to an acceptable sturdiness. Kerrie scrubbed the shelves and the walls and we sorted out the conglomeration of bits and pieces.
We’re now satisfied that we have a coolroom we can work with.
We started cleaning the stove top which is going to be a long task and we reorganized the vegetables that were lying around, some were actually sprouting and growing in their boxes.
When we take over on Thursday we’ll get the rest of the kitchen done.
The first night we cooked we prepared what we thought was a “minimum standard” meal of chicken breast fillet that we made into a cacciatore, Roasted herbed potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Fresh Honeyed Carrots, Garlic Bread, Pesto Pasta and Sticky Date Pudding and Fresh Cream for Dessert.
We simply could not believe the reaction to the meal. To a man they were mesmerised by it and I’ve no idea why, it was just a good but plain meal.
Fuccundo, a really pleasant young Portuguese bloke was running through the camp yelling, “Food revolution, Food revolution”.
They couldn’t believe that they could have chicken AND some pasta AND dessert.
It was a real pleasure to cook dinner for this crew of young fellas (and one young lady).
I told Jackie I would cook for the next four days until she left so she could shake off a persistent cold before she travelled down south for her 6 weeks off.
On entering the kitchen at 4:00am next morning I was absolutely overjoyed to find a handwritten note left on the counter – “Lovely Dinner. Thanks!! From: Everybody.”
The crew here are an exceptional bunch of young people. Every one of them has great manners, and they’re all pleasant and courteous.
Sunday night’s meal was no different but this time we had a succession of questions we had to answer as the young folk wanted to know all about us, where we had learned to cook and what we were doing. Kerrie was in her element chatting first to one then to the other, then to the whole group, except she found it really difficult to understand the Irishmen who are really broad and there’s more Irishmen that any other nationality.
Fucundo was again running around with his, “Food Revolution”, cry and the whole camp seemed to be a buzz of contented conversation and laughing.
The Irishmen are threatening to “Review our Contract” as they say we are not to leave after 6 weeks.
One of the Farm Managers, Dave, came in to see if we needed anything and it was great to have this obviously tough and hard man showing such a willingness to assist in any way possible.
I had been on my feet from 3:45am till about 8:00pm and this was a bit of a shock to the system but we couldn’t help thanking God for guiding us here to give us the steady build up we needed physically to get back into the routine of cooking both in preparation for the rest of the time here
and then for the exciting outback job with Sandrifter in May.
Kerrie gave me one of her Magic Woman Touch foot massages before we watched a movie and settled down to finish off a great and rewarding