8 Realities of Farm Work - The good, the bad, the eight-legged
It's one of the few ways you can obtain a 2nd year visa in Australia, and for some, it is a bit of a scary prospect. It can be a completely alien environment for many, especially those not used to outdoor work or Australia's heat. But now, nearly at the end of our 88 days, we are no longer scared of it, or apprehensive about what's involved.
So do you fancy living and working on a farm in rural Australia? Well here's some useful stuff we've found out along the way....
It will be hot, and you will pray for cloud cover when your out in the fields. But not the grey kind, cause rain means mud! Of course the crops need a nice shower now and again, and drout is a terrifying reality, but if it does rain, you will struggle to have anything to do. Although if your house relies on water in the water tank, rain will be a mixed blessing. Basically you will experience the extremes, and you will celebrate the rain and the sunshine, as long as they come in balance!
Early Morning Starts
Because of said hot weather, you do have to begin your work whilst it's not yet horrifically warm. At first waking up at 6am will seem beautiful, the farm is always a pretty site just after sun-rise. Maybe 5 days in, you will be thankful for even an extra hour in bed. But soon enough you get used to it. Your body clock adapts, and even at the weekends you want to get up early enough to make the best of the day. Plus sleep will be a warm blanket of beautifulness each night.
Whether it's moths trying to invade your house at night, spiders trying to sneak in with your laundry, or frogs hopping on your veranda, you will share your farm life with a whole host of nature. There's also the cuter ones; the roo's, the wallabies and maybe a farm dog.
By the end of your time you will be less likely to want to squish each and every little bug that harasses you. You will become a better more tolerant person for allowing these guys to share your house and your bedroom curtain.... Who am I kidding this spider dude was removed from the house, but not killed. I'm getting there!
Sweat And Dust
Never will be a hot shower be so welcome as after a day where sweat and dust fuse to create an extra new layer of skin. But you will shed it and regain it by the end of the next day. Just embrace it. Revel in it. You will be clean again one day. Definitely bring a lot a bumper size of body wash and a nail brush.
We were quite lucky at our farm, as it's only a 40 minute drive from the nearest big town, and ten minutes from a small one. A lot of farms are much farther in-land, and this can lead to a bit of cabin-fever over time. Food shopping will be a bit different too; it might be weekly or even monthly. It just takes some getting used to and some well-though-out shopping lists.
The best way to push through the remoteness is to enjoy all the relaxation that can come with being in the middle of nowhere. Look after your home, enjoy it, walk around your farm and explore it. Sometimes you have some beautiful local gems, like our farm, that has a lagoon about a 20 minute drive away, as well as Fraser Island and other beaches an hour down the road.
If you aren't so lucky as to have lots of attractions nearby, use the time differently. Maybe read or learn a new language. Make time to truly rest. You may want to invest in a wifi dongle and some data though, staying connected to those you love will still be important, and will help you through the weeks or months.
Pump Those Muscles
It's part and parcel of farm-work, that there will be some lifting, throwing, chopping, digging and then there's the old vehicles with temperamental gear sticks. I hate to admit the amount of times I tense my right bicep to see how it's coming along. It's worrying, but so satisfying to see your body change and strengthen amidst the hard-work.
Bum-Fluff And Grease Those Nipples
Yes these are actual farm terms, this post didn't take a weird turn. As you'd expect, your face, hair and clothes will inevitably get a good coating of dirt, but your hands too, these bad boys will be the hands of a mechanic by the end. Be prepared to work on the vehicles and tractors you use; before you know it your changing oils, and greasing nipples, which is as it sounds, applying gooey grease to certain parts of the machine to keep it all moving smoothly.
If you find yourself doing a tree-pruning job, remember to bend your knees when you bumfluff; the water-shoots or weeds around macadamia tree's will sometimes need you to hand-prune them, and so bumfluff, you must!
We wouldn't swap any of the sweat, spiders, 6am starts or greasy hands for having been anywhere else the last 3 months. It's been a really awesome experience, made even better by living on the farm, getting to admire and enjoy the results of our labours from our veranda, with a cold cider
It's natural to be afraid of the unknown and to want to avoid the difficult, and farm-work isn't always easy. With positivity and a good attitude, you can get out as much as you put into your farm-work, and it will end up being a really memorable phase, where you at first adapt, and then thrive.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!