More time on the farm

Monday December 28th 2009 - Monday January 18th 2009

We were on the farm for Christmas and New Years - both passed by pleasantly enough. We had to work a lot over the holidays as our supervisor was trying to get a lot done as the owner kept calling him with new tasks to do. Tyler was working pretty much every day, and Anja and I alternated days as we were both doing the same task - herbicide. All 3 of us finally had a day off together - New Year's Eve - so we took the bus in to Darwin (as we weren't allowed to take the car past Humpty Doo) and spent the day in 'the big city'. It was a nice day, we got a lot done that we had waiting and managed to see our first movie in 6 months - 'Sherlock Holmes'. We played cards and made a big dinner for the 3 of us, drank sparkling red wine and toasted to the new year while watching the huge fireworks display taking place in Sydney on tv.

The next few weeks were pretty rushed as Darryl wanted us to get everything done before Tyler and I had to leave (Jan 19th). Since all the herbiciding and insecticiding was done we got new tasks in the new year. Tyler got the hardest job of all - centuring. He had to use a chainsaw and bend down low and make a ring near the base of each mango tree. This makes the tree flower later so that the fruits don't come out too early. The farm had 11,000 trees so it was a pretty big task for just Tyler and Andrew. But they got it done!

While the boys did the chainsawing, Anja and I got to do cultarring, which was also pretty difficult. Cultar is used to stop the trees from growing too big and to make it easier to pick mangoes from them but have more mangoes in a small area. We basically just had to carry 10 litre buckets of the special cultar potion and pour the designated amount on each tree (depending on size, health and type of mango it produced). We got very strong shoulders and arms from pouring and carrying the buckets up and down every row. Darryl drove the truck and filled the buckets with the magic potion, but it was mostly Anja and I that did the carrying and squatting required for the job. We had to pour the liquid at the very bottom/roots of the tree. We also had to fight a lot of ants and try to pour the liquid before they climbed up your leg in order to defend their homes. Very vicious!

The rain ruined a few of our days but not enough that we couldn't finish on time. And since we finished on time we got rewarded with a fishing trip in our boss, Barry Albrecht's boat. That was lots of fun. I was not a very good fisherman, but Tyler caught the biggest fish of anyone on board. And the fish was delicious, Barry even cleaned all the fish for us and we got to eat fresh fish for the last of our days on the farm. So tasty! The type of fish that we mostly caught was Snapper, and it's one of the best in Darwin's waters. Definitely going to try fishing when we're back home in Canada. Anja ended up getting seasick during the voyage, but she did catch a little guy that was big enough to eat. The only fish I caught was a throw-back... but I did manage to catch a lot of other people's lines. So that counts for something....

Our end on the farm was kind of anti-climatic as we were planning on going into Darwin to spend time with Anja and look around in some stores. But since she was staying on the farm to work for a few more weeks, Darryl told her she had to work that day so even though we'd made other plans, she was stuck working all day and we just relaxed and got ready for our night at the airport in preparation for our flight to Brisbane.

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