In Charge of 15 girls + 1 wife!

Seda: John has gone now for a week and left the farm to us to take care of. There is nothing difficult at all, just making sure Tina and the chickens, sorry chooks are fed and watered, eggs collected and plants and fruit trees are watered. The problem is since Andy is in charge of 14 girls and a lovely Tina, they all seem to want his attention. Especially Tina is not happy to share him with me and sometimes comes to the outside of our bedroom window and settles there looking displeased seeing me next to Andy.

The chooks are lovely and I can’t help laughing uncontrollably as I try to get them back in their shed. There is of course an easier way of gathering them up by just carrying the food scraps bucket. But even then there is the challenge of counting all 14 of them which is never easy! It’s much easier for Andy, he just walk towards the shed and they seem to follow him!

Andy and “the girls”!

You can’t be in such wonderful surroundings and not feel inspired to do some sort of sports. John gets up at 5am most mornings and goes for a bike ride. Eventually Andy and I decided to do a bit of running again. Our first one was a killer and even the sweet fragrance of eucalyptus trees didn’t make it easier. Second time we were still knackered. We had 4 goes before finally getting into a rhythm and completing the 11 km circuit. We needed to get up at 5am ourselves to complete it though because if you leave it any later it starts to gets too hot.

Of course as we are new to this continent, every bird is new to us as well. I remember seeing this pink chested bird the size of a pigeon. I showed it to Andy excitedly and we admired these flying pink beauties for quite a while. Later on when we asked John, he said they were galah, the well known Australian birds. Our admiration slightly receded as we listened to their noisy youngsters day in day out but a flying pink bird is simply too beautiful to ignore.

The Ibis is still my favourite big bird around here. Depending on how early we start our run, we get to see them patrolling their areas most mornings. Farms are a common place to see all sorts of wagtails and this one we often see is wagging it from side to side so much that it imbalances itself sometimes! One morning during our run, we witnessed a group of lovely little birds which looked like wrens, but with a deep red on their back! Here is a photo of them from the internet. They are called red backed fairy wren.

We often get a glimpse of fig birds here on the farm or even in the towns sometimes. They are very pretty with their rather extravagant red eye makeup.

Based on their calls, I gave names to the local birds we hear around us. We have Star Wars bird with a laser gun sound, we have alarm clock bird with an exact alarm sound, then there is squeaky swing bird and of course the laughing out loud kookaburras. Andy told me about this laughing bird before we came to Australia and even played its call on YouTube. You might try that too, guaranteed to make you smile!

As we’re on the Sunshine Coast, having a drive to Sunshine Beach was inevitable. It was also our first seaside visit on this massive island. It’s a beautiful beach but you are only allowed to swim in between flags which is a narrow “watched” area. We had a nice walk on the beach and got our first taste of seaside life in Australia that day.

We are so much of a part of the local life here now, we have even been invited for a BBQ in our second week. Whilst Rachel, John’s daughter, and her husband Richard are just being polite and friendly, we were totally smug about this invite as I sent my mum a message saying “Sorry, can’t talk now, invited to a bbq”. She’s of course given me the reaction I was fishing for and wrote “Wow, getting invites to a bbq eh?!”

Rachel and Richard have and amazing house in the suburbs which has a nice pool in the back garden for their kids to enjoy themselves. I did listen hopefully to hear Richard (An Englishman who’s lived here for 16 years) give us a local greeting of “G’day!” or “how you going guys” but sticking to his English guns, he said “hello”.

We still try and have a little drive in the countryside most days. There are some awesome place names here which we suspect were inherited from Aboriginal Australians. They have a funky repetition such as Kin Kin, Bli Bli, Obi Obi and my favourite Wagga Wagga. There are loads of English inherited names as well. After our visit to Kenilworth, we really have to go and see the Australian Warwick, but logistically we are not really sure how to make that happen yet as it’s a bit out of our way.

Not a sign you‘d see everyday!

Another close by market that we would be able to visit without hopefully getting a parking ticket was at Noosa. After a quick check of our options, Andy spotted a Turkish food stand, where I had a good chat with the couple running the stall.

Once we had our “pide” and were about to move on, he asked me where in Turkey I was from. I said Bursa and he pointed out a cake stall nearby saying the guy there is also from Bursa. We went over and started chatting he told us he had a very good exam result that day that will allow him to work in a field that he wanted to. He was so very happy, he gave us the cake we bought at half price! Further conversations revealed that our neighbourhoods are incredibly close in Bursa. I was saying Andy on the way to the car that I already had found a little community of Turks here on the Sunshine Coast.

It’s generally my job to plan places to visit and remembering how much Andy enjoyed the Lake Borumba visit, I knew I’d get brownie points by choosing another lake/dam visit combined with a pit stop at a coffee shop. Our destination, Lake Baroon was a bit further so we had our coffee stop a little earlier than intended. The roadside place we ended up had “Devonshire Tea” advertised which was far too difficult to refuse. So there we were having this pre-lunch cream tea at a very English looking tea shop enroute. Learning they had no connection to England whatsoever, we didn’t bother to pretend that we were from Devon!

Lake Baroon is in South East Queensland. Andy was concerned how he would get a boat on those steep hills and finally determined that he’d need a powerful 4×4 to pull his imaginary fishing boat that he doesn’t even own. I was delighted to see a flock of pelicans and watched these majestic birds for a long time. The area we sat and enjoyed the view was the designated picnic area. It is amazing that a gas barbecue was provided in this picnic area for public use. Aussies really like their barbecue.

The nearby town called Maleny had a big significance for me because it has a lovely cheese factory! I have had so very little cheese in the last 6 months, I was really looking forward to this visit. Maybe knowing I was coming, the owners have kindly provided a bowl of cubed samples of each cheddar type with a separate set of feta cheeses. I first ate my way through the cheddars and then sampled each feta to try and decide if it was feta or cheddar that we wanted. Once cheddar was selected, then all of the types had to be tried again for choosing the right one. Well, when we had shortlisted 3 candidates, we had a few back and forth testing them again as well. It is an important decision you see! After purchasing our winner of “Vintage Cheddar”, as we walked to the car, I told Andy that I had picked the biggest cubes in every taster bowl and he said because he couldn’t see any big ones, he had to fit 3 cubes into each tooth pick! We were laughing like naughty kids at this point trying to work out if we could get away with going back to the shop with a change of appearance, wearing glasses and a fake moustache.

Back at the farm, we took Tina for a run around in the fields. She chased kangaroos and birds and got the excessive energy out of her system. The sun was setting soon and I got some nice shots from the hill.

Andy: One day whilst hanging some washing out on the line I was walking back to the house and nearly trod on a snake! The first sighting of our time in Australia. It was quite small and black as you can see below. After shouting Seda to come and look at it, and posing to the camera near it, we went about our business in the hope it would disappear! Sure enough when we came back about 20 minutes later it was gone thankfully. It was only later that we found out from Richard and Rachel that it was highly venomous! Also, when we told John he informed us that in the 5 years he’s lived there he’d never seen a snake on his garden. Just our luck huh?!

Seda: Our days were so very relaxing at the farm. Even though John thought it was far too organised, I made a little table for our daily tasks and marked it as and when a task was completed. I was tempted to include some graphs showing our effectiveness but Andy’s reminded me that I was no longer working at JLR!

Very organised!

We had some odd tasks such as cleaning the toads out of Tina’s water bucket or removing a dead rat from the lawn but a calm sets over the place later in the afternoon when the horses wander about and the chickens dig around the same old tree while we sit on the veranda and sip our coffees.

Cane toads

We really enjoyed our time on John’s farm and so we were very sad to leave when the time came, but hopefully we will see each other again soon.

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