Friday, 23 November 2012

Farms, Roasts and Sprinklers

We had lined up to go and meet one of Glenn’s mates from work, Matt.  Matt had grown up in Swan Hill and now has a ‘hobby’ farm there on the Murray.  We did the 150km backtrack to Swan Hill and rolled up to the farm.

His place is a beautiful property on the NSW side, with river frontage and a few acres to play with.  There are a number of sheds and caravans set up, and some lovely grass to camp on.  After catching up with Matt, his wife Katie and son Cooper, we set up the camper in amongst the trees and kicked back in front of the fire.
Matt and Katie's farm

Murray River

What a fireplace set up!
 We then had a few drinks, and cranked up the BBQ.  Matt and Katie had been to a lot of the places that we’d been to, so it was fantastic to share travelling stories.  We also met Matt’s mum, who had travelled extensively with Matt when he was a young kid.  Some of the places they went to back in the day would have been pretty remote, so it was very interesting to hear the stories.

The next morning, Matt showed us around his place, including the old trucks he was slowly doing up.  One International Semi was as old as Matt, which looked like it had weathered quite well and looked in great nick, perhaps even a little better nick than Matt himself! J
An old beauty

Cruising around the farm

Enjoying the Murray River
 He also showed us around the paddocks and an old pumping station on the property next door.  There was definitely some history there.  It was easy to see how Matt and Katie could spend a lot of time up here and how the list of jobs could just keep growing.  Lots of fun though. 
The fireplace inside the old pumping station

Someone's table and chair

Not much left now

Sunset on the pumping station and the Murray
 That afternoon, Matt bought out the big daddy camp oven, a huge hum-dinger.  We cooked up a huge beef and lamb roast, heaps of vegies and some pretty delicious gravy (from our gravy stores!!!).  It’s pretty hard to rate camp oven roasts, as they are all good, but this was definitely a winner!

The next day, after lunch, Matt and Katie had to go back home.  We tried very hard to convince them to stay and that work wouldn’t mind.  All our efforts were in vein and they did the pack up.  Given we were not in that big a hurry, we had asked if we could stay on another night.  It was a bit weird having Matt and Katie pack up and drive off, leaving their little piece of paradise whilst we stayed there, but.....we got over it.

Around the fire that night, we discussed our next move.  We were in the chute towards home, but had to manage the landing carefully, so as to not totally crash and burn.  We had planned to go back along the Murray around Echuca and sit for quite a few days, just bush camping, watching the river go by, and steal ourselves for home-life.  This was still the plan, but we figured we had an extra day.  After a few SMS’s we negotiated an extra days stay on the farm - how lucky!  After all, this was one of the best ‘caravan parks’ we’d been in.  Had the place to ourselves, had water, a bathroom and Matts wood to burn.  Sensational really. J

Our dream woodpile

Damper on the go

Another beauty
The next morning, Glenn was straight up and into setting up the sprinklers.  Matt had available water and was trying to keep the grass and trees growing, especially given how dry it was.  This was an important job for the day!!

After breakfast, we drove back into Swan Hill for a few jobs, like our final shop for supplies.  Before any of that though, we followed Matt’s tip and went to a local cafe for coffee and brunch.  ‘Spoons’ looks out over the Murray from an outside deck, with an old historic paddle steamer on display beside it.  It was a beautiful morning and sitting in the sun we had a scrumptious meal as well as two coffees.  What an enjoyable morning!!  We were also into soaking every last minute in by this stage, making sure we appreciated every element, knowing that it was coming to an end soon.  What a way to spend a Monday morning.

We went and did our shopping, which was pretty relaxed this time.  No great rush and no huge buy up, thinking about how were we going to fit it all into the car.  We took our goods, and drove back to our... er, no, to Matt’s farm.

Relaxing and blogging on the farm
Glenn was straight back on sprinkler duty.  There is something about sprinklers which is surprisingly relaxing.  Our last sprinkler interaction was way back in Mataranka Hot Springs.  We’d been on the go pretty hard up to that point in the trip, (doing Cape York etc), and getting into the swing of travelling, (not to mention having the kids work us over).  We were camped in the National Park, where some sprinklers came on around 1.30pm every day.  After a while, Glenn realised that he’d been sitting there for over half an hour watching the sprinkler go around and around!!!!  What a way to relax! J

This wasn’t quite as relaxing, after all, there was thinking to do.  Is that sprinkler ok, has that part of the grass had enough, is the ground flooded there, where should the sprinkler go next.  All important questions.  Now that is the kind of ‘work’ that is enjoyable.

We did remove ourselves from the farm the next morning, although we could have stayed there for a week!!!  Thanks Matt, Katie and Cooper for your hospitality and letting us stay on your beautiful property.  Hopefully we’d be back one day.

Time for a cuppa

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