Our first outback stint was on a cattle station. Over 150kms to the nearest grocery store but maybe 30kms to the famous Mckinlay bar where they filmed the Crocodile Dundee Movies. The owner had 2 farms, 1 for him and 1 for us. We had a little house with a big screened in veranda that over looked a watering hole. A big shed and 2 barns full of equipment. It was so quiet and the sunsets were dwarfed but the vastness of the sky. When the stars came out it felt like you were standing in the middle of the universe. During the day a dozen wild horses would stop by the watering hole for their daily drink and swim. I could have sat on that veranda for hours painting away (I packed some paint for this stint) and watching the world pass by. To me it was heaven, it was peaceful and beautiful.
The work was good too. The boys would get out and start work before the sun rose then stop by the house for a lunch I would put out for them. In the afternoon I would join them and work till around 6. We did everything from mustering the cattle with ATVs (very fun), fix and clean fences, work on the watering systems for the animals and the plants, and working in the stockyard. The work was long, hard and hot but it was fulfilling. I even got my own orphaned calf to take care of. She, Matilda, needed to be fed twice a day by hand and that became my job. She was such a sweetie, as all the cattle are. They remind me of giant dogs that will be playful when they feel and follow you home if you let them. I really enjoyed my time at the station (for the most part).
As I have said before, with every good there seems to be a bad. Light and Dark. Yin and Yang. We had 2. One was that we found it difficult to work with the owner of the station. He was a headstrong man with no filter. He talked with a Queensland accent in outback riddles and expected us to understand (we actually thought we did understand but it always turned out we didn’t somehow). Unfortunately we ended our stay sooner than planned because of this. Note to others: if you don’t understand a farmer make sure you get clarification in a few different ways, cuz they don’t like it when you don’t do as told. English is our first language and we had a very difficult time, I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone who speaks English as a second language (we did have a German boy with us and he had no clue what was going on). Nuff said. Our second issue was a much more personal one. This one will take a full entry so stay tuned for my advice on traveling with your partner.