Since leaving England, I’ve been thrown into a world I would have never imagined myself in. Working on a dairy farm wasn’t on my list of things to do in Australia, but here I am, having spent almost 6 months milking cows for a living. I am covered in cow poo on a daily basis and will probably never get the smell out of my clothes, but I wouldn’t change one day of it.
Being out of my comfort zone has taught me about the things I am physically capable of doing (and the things I’m not). I now know I can stare down a 500kg+ bull with nothing but a small plastic stick and get it to do what I want. I now know I can drive a tractor, not well, but I can do it! I can’t however get over my fear of heights to take the roof off of an old shed.
My plan when I came to Australia was to find a job in between travelling the country that I’d done in the past; bartending, customer service or even going back to Delta Force Paintball. I’ve now realised that would have been the worst thing I could have done. Travelling, for me anyway, is meant to be about pushing your limits, meeting people from a different way of life and figuring out what you are capable of. Working here has opened my eyes to a lot of things that are not only about myself. I’ve seen how hard working and kind Josh really is. I’ve seen where the milk I put in my tea comes from and in the future, when I actually need to buy milk, I’ll think of the farmers that get up at 4:30am every day to make sure I can have that. I’ve seen that sometimes it is easier to do the things yourself that you would usually hire someone else to do.
I know that I’ve only experienced one aspect of farming on a single farm, but a day would typically go like this:
4:30am – the alarm goes off, Josh makes coffee and breakfast for himself.
5:15am – I get out of bed and begin to function as a human rather than a sloth.
5:45am – milking begins! 350 cows line up outside the dairy waiting to be milked and to poo on me.
8:30am – we get home from milking, have some food and another coffee.
10am – the work day starts, this can be anything from chopping wood for the winter, ripping apart sheds, taking stock of the lambs or moving the calves to a different paddock.
12:30pm – a quick break for lunch and then back to work at 1:30pm.
3:45pm – milking again… The cows need to be milked twice a day and from what I understand this is to stop them getting infections in their udders from a build up of milk. I could be wrong so don’t quote me on that.
6:30pm – the day is over and we can eat dinner and hopefully be in bed by 8pm.
The days are long and the work may not be extremely physical but by the end of the day we are both so tired that going to bed as early as possible is the highlight of the day. We have only been doing this for 6 months, with 2 days off a week – imagine doing this 365 days a year!
Although I am so excited to be leaving here, and I am praying that I won’t forever smell like cow poo, this farm, our bosses and Josh have shown me that I can do anything I want to if I put my mind to it. Definitely worth sacrificing 6 months of sunshine for.