Handywork

Fortunately I didn't have to work until noon on Friday.  I slept until 10am, got dressed, then worked on my blog. Matthew came back from a run and enjoyed the wifi with me. Matthew read outloud some of the reviews of our resort on TripAdvisor. One said the food was managed by a bunch of amateurs and another said the bedding was mismatched. Though there were plenty of good, positive reviews, it was those two that stuck out to us.

 

We did this until it was time for me to go to work at noon. I ran into the kitchen to hurry and grab a slice of toast but when I got there Alex was heating up soup and she said the cafe was super slow. So I slowed down and ate soup with her.

 

We hung out at the cafe but no customers came. After a while Yollana came and told Alex to go clean the hostel and she gave me a job of ordering phone batteries.

 

When I finished that there were customers: a couple from Perth. I delivered their meal and talked to them throughout the whole thing. We talked about Perth and agriculture.  I told them I wanted to visit Perth and they explained the area around them regarding agriculture.  They explained that as you move east of Perth you hit family farms, and if you continue east you hit corporate farms. I asked them how long I needed to stay in Perth in order to see the sites.  They said for Perth I only needed a week but if I wanted to work my way around on the farms I would need a month or more.

The man mentioned that the entire state of Western Australia is the size of Texas. They warned me about the weather and suggested I go during the warmer months. We talked about Seal Bay Cafe and the 35 acres it sat on. I told him I found it interesting that so much of the beef in Australia is exported, he said it mostly goes to the middle east because the prices are better there. He also told me that 80% of the crawfish in Australia is exported to Asia. I asked if that was why I had yet to see crab or lobster on an Australian menu and he said yes.

I told him my Dad was a farmer and he thought that was interesting. He asked how long I was staying and I said a few months because I am managing. His wife recommended that I get a car to explore the island. They said KI was as beautiful and diverse as anywhere they had seen in Australia. He explained that the wool market had taken a big hit in the 90's so many smaller sheep farms like the one we were sitting on closed back then and have never reopened. To reopen a farm operation like this it would take lots of money, I said we had the same hurdle in America. 

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After they left I found Matthew out back shaving the sides of the new mirror for the car. Until now it had only had one rearview mirror.  I watched for a while before he asked me to lend a hand in holding a block of wood and a piece of cloth while he taped it to the mirror because the clamp wouldn't work.

 

After that we worked on the wood pile. Matthew had built this huge contraption out of old benches and pallets. It was designed to keep the wood off the ground to avoid moisture and snakes. It was a nice design but it needed to be placed inside the shed. We tilted and shifted and moved and scooted until we got in there nicely. Matthew had to crawl up under the contraption to fix the back legs. We took pictures and admired our hard work. I wished there was another boy on staff to help with this kind of thing.

 

After the wood pile we went to fixing the signs up front. I pulled out the sign Yollana and I had uprooted for the tour group. There was a couple drinking tea and watching. They recommended that the ordering be next door in the cafe. They said your eye naturally goes to the cafe and dismissed the cottage. I agreed but we explained that the kitchen was still in back of the cottage. After the couple left we decided to swap the flower pots. While moving the empty one Matthew set it down too hard and broke it in two. He freaked for a minute but I assured him it wasn't a big deal. Julianne sat watching while she drank her tea.

 

In the middle of fixing up the area around the pot it suddenly started raining and we remembered the laundry.  Matthew and I took off running through the cafe and out to the laundry line where Yollana was already taking stuff down. We each went to different lines and collected the clothes as fast as we could. Everyone took their piles to the couch and I got to work folding. Yollana ate some soup and Matthew went back outside to move things that didn't need to get wet.  When I finished folding the rain had stopped and I went back outside to finish the sign work with Matthew. We moved the second pot and though it was super heavy, we didn't break it.

 

Next I then put some WD-40 on the squeaky door that held the linens. After that I saw a mouse going in the dry storage; it was the second one I had seen there this week so I found one of the $7 mouse traps we had bought on our first day and I read the instructions. It said to place a bit of peanut butter the size of a pea on the trap. I got the peanut butter but didn't trust myself with a painful contraption so I got Matthew to open it while I baited it. We got it baited and then sat it at the back of dry storage to do it's job.

 

After that I went to the front of the cafe and fixed the screen door with a butter knife and a hammer. Around that time Yollana's mother arrived with the groceries and kids. They had been at Kingscote all day and the silence had been golden. She handed me a package of Whiting and Matthew and I sat to work deboning the batch. He deboned and de-whiskered while I wrapped in plastic wrap and put them into a freezer box.

 

While we worked we talked about our latest ideas. I decided that the black shirts would make our staff look a lot more professional. I also told him I thought volunteers should really strongly be recommended to stay at least a month to cover the energy of training and such. Matthew talked about the bedding still being an easy fix and I agreed. We talked about how six more months would be a while and though we wanted to get on with our travels, it was a good job and we needed the money. We agreed that if Yollana switched up the menu to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free friendly items like she wants, she would have a lot of success. We also thought a full-time hired chef would not be a horrible idea.

 

We talked about asking her for the old Festa and wondered if she would trade it to us for our time here if we paid for gas and maintenance on it. In exchange we would be using our own phones and laptops for admin work.

 

Finally, at six o'clock, Alex and I sat down on the front veranda of the cafe and played on our phones. I was taking a survey about gap years for a chance to win a two hundred dollar travel voucher. The survey asked me if I was in between education, jobs or life stages. It asked me what my biggest obstacle was and I selected the choice about concerns for family health problems because I did indeed worry about my grandparents. It asked me if I had chosen a travel company to work through and I said yes. It wanted to know why and I said peace of mind. At the end of the survey Yollana came outside and said we could close up. Alex was off the clock so she went to the hostel and Yollana and I got busy closing. She did the dishes while I did the odd jobs.

After work Yollana made pasta with pumpkin soup poured on top and we ate as a staff while the kids watched TV.   Despite the lack of customers in the cafe, we had been a very productive crew around the property today.