Once we arrived at Ewan's everything seemed to happen so fast. One minute I was sleeping in the parking lot without a clue as to where my next meal might come from, the next I was sitting around a table full of warm and friendly people who already felt somewhat familiar. Today I would live and work in a place I knew well, the farm.
As expected, work on the farm began early for us. We would each have a small breakfast at 7am and then reconvened for morning tea around 9:30. Most farmers I knew back home ate breakfast early and didn't take another break until noon. My father often went even longer without a break—waiting sometimes until two or three in the afternoon for a snack or meal. Aussies were different. It seemed like every 2-3 hours we were breaking for a snack or a drink. I didn't mind it. It was nice to have such laid-back work, especially as a volunteer and meal times were great because it provided opportunity for us to all sit at the table, discussing popular issues and learning more about each other.
The more I got to know Ewan the more he reminded me of Pa from little house on the prairie. He was a very wise and patient man, gentle with everything he came into contact with and always willing to take time to instruct his children and helpers. He lived off the land as much as any outback man, and he was careful to take care of his livestock and family.
When we weren't sitting around the table we worked around the property preparing it for the real estate photographers who would be coming next week. Fiona and I cleaned windows, washed the veranda and mopped floors while the men moved hay and worked cattle.
In between jobs we'd all pitch in with daily duties such as feeding the chooks (chickens), watering plants and making sure the donkey and goats had plenty of water.
Ewan's place was wonderful. He had a beautiful farm house he built himself from the ground, up, complete with 500 acres of land filled with two hundred head of Brahman cattle, fifteen chooks, five guinea fowl, two dogs, sheep, goats and even a few buffalo. His house sat upon a hill that overlooked the rest of the property and a nice large wrap-around deck provided the most excellent space for meals and socializing.
At the end of day one, the David and Matthew went with Ewan to shoot a cow that needed to be put down. When they came back to the house Fiona and I watched as they stripped the meat and hung it up in a home freezer so Ewan could butcher it later. I had seen this with a deer and a wild hog but never with a cow fresh from pasture. It was a fun experience and it reminded me of Hooverville, only it was a bit different.
After dinner Campbell and Isabelle entertained us with dance and music. Isabelle has been taking Irish step-dancing classes and we were all impressed with her demonstrations. Campbell loved to break-dance and together they were very fun to watch.
By the end of day one I knew we were in good hands. Ewan was a good man and his family was lovely. Tracy was always pleasant and sweet and Isabelle and Campbell were happy, easy-going kids. They were anti-vegitarian, anti-welfare and believed in guns, knives and meat. I was home once again.