This week I had my first agricultural experience.
After the very slow and painful task of texting and calling contractors on a daily (sometimes twice daily) basis to beg them for work, we finally got offered a job with Kings Labour Hire. They’re the big dogs in town so it was a pretty big deal. No CV or interview required, just show up to the pick up point at 7.15am. Beetroot shed. No jewellery. That was literally the reply I got.
7.15, beetroot shed, no jewellery
So needless to say 7.15am we showed up to the pick up point and got shipped over to a big beetroot shed. I didn’t really know what to expect. All I will say is it was worse than any expectations I did have.
The beetroot came down on to the conveyor belt so fast that you literally couldn’t take your eyes off them. For 3 and a half hours straight might I add. It was the girls task to bin the rotten ones and sort the big from the small and then the men bagged them and stacked them onto the crates. There was a couple of technical issues with our conveyor belt which meant that at one point there was literally beetroot flowing down the belt like Niagra Falls. Fucking beetroot everywhere. I don’t know how many beets I touched that day. But I know it was a fucking lot.
That night we sent out the routine ‘any work tomorrow?’ text to our contractor and got no reply. I was both worried and absolutely thrilled at the same time.
The following day we got a reply, so that was a (kind of) sigh of relief. Ludo had already confirmed the chicken chasing work so it was just me and Kerry for this job. Celery and garlic weeding. Thrilling.
We were picked up at 6.50am and driven to the other side of Toowoomba, so a good hour and a bit drive from Gatton. Which was nice as we got to put our feet up and relax for the duration of the journey. When we arrived we were greeted by a very friendly farmer called Mark. His crops were all organic I’m led to believe which is why (I think) weeding is done so often. The weeds in the garlic field were big mammoth weeds, but actually very easy to pull out. So it wasn’t quite as strenuous on my back as I thought it would be. Once we had finished the garlic field however we moved over to the celery field. Now because the weeds were much smaller and closer to the ground, it meant bending over much more. Or, like we decided to do, get on all fours and literally crawl through the mud.
I’m so glad I obtained a degree to end up in this line of work. But there we have it. After a 7 hour shift we were driven back to the caravan park for a well-needed (4 minute) shower.
It looks idyllic but it was bloody hard
We text again that evening to see if there was work the following day but we had no reply. We were secretly happy. It was Friday, I had received my tax return and there was beers to be drank in the local pub.
So, not even a week down of farm work and I’m already starting to question whether a second year in Australia is worth the back pain. As much as it pains me to say though, I think it will be. 2 down, 86 to go. Fuck. My. Life.