During our three weeks in Emerald I did a variety of jobs. I did everything from spring cleaning to gardening and from mustering cattle to staining furniture. Matthew kept even busier than me. He ran a chainsaw, sprayed fertilizer around the vineyard, built a pond pump and designed a mulching area as well.
For me, I think the most rewarding job was helping Chris in her flower gardens. I have wanted to learn more about gardening flowers but haven't yet had the time to do the research. With Chris I learned the art of gardening and how it can be done by anyone with a willing hand. She taught me about pruning and retraining vines, transplanting plants and mulching. I also learned how to move plants around so they are appealing to the eye. Many afternoons we would look at one flower bed, find the plants that were overgrown or clustered and then move them to a less crowded bed where they could shine brighter. At the beginning of our stay I didn't know many flower names at all, but now I feel as though I know most of the names of Chris's flowers and I have begun my own list (complete with a Pinterest board) of the types of flowers and herbs I'd like to plant when I return home.
My enthusiasm for gardening only grew throughout our stay in Emerald. I caught myself dreaming of walking through beautiful flowers and plants and I even painted several watercolor paintings of different types of flowers (Check my Instagram). Yes, I think Chris might have awakened in me yet another hobby.
Each day we'd come home from work at five and I would cook dinner for Matthew and David and I. After which we would watch a show or two on TV, play ping pong with Grant or sit around a campfire. We didn't do anymore touring because Matthew and I were trying our hardest to save all of our money for our upcoming east coast trip with Jacob and Patricia. They would be arriving in just a few short days and we would be partaking in another three weeks of travel. Every. Dime. Counts. When you're budget traveling.
So on our few days off we were happy to sit around the accommodation, making phone calls to our friends back home and reading whatever books we had left from our last hostel visit. This was particularly easy to do because for the first time on our seven month journey, we had our own private rooms! Mine had a desk, a closet and everything. I haven't been so excited in a long time (okay, since I saw the huge easel). This small gift of privacy gave me plenty of time to read and write, things I had missed enormously while rambling around the top end of Oz.
In my little room, I finished reading Eat Pray Love. Though I had to make myself read it, (I'm not usually a fan of best-sellers) it was actually a really good book. To my surprise I found Elizabeth Gilbert's journey quite similar to my own in many aspects. I have spent many hours laying out the structure for my book about my travels and Eat Pray Love mimicked that closely. I'm not sure if that is a good sign, meaning I know more about writing than I thought, or if it is a bad sign, meaning my storyline may be too similar to other books that have already been written. Either way I will spend a month putting my words on paper beginning in October. But first I must head north to Cairns for a three week road trip with some AWESOME American friends!