Trip Start Dec 03, 2004
85Trip End Nov 31, 2005
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Sadly the pet kangaroo they used to have has gone back to the wild, but they still have many other animals: dogs, a pig, four horses, sheep, cows, and a pet emu. I learn that emus make a strange noise in their throats, especially late at night, that sounds a little like someone monotonously banging on a bongo drum; standing out under the spill of stars at night, it sounds like war drums beating in the distance.
On the first day after work Peter drives me down to the see the cows on the ATV (which the Aussies call a "quad-bike")
My birthday passes quietly, mainly unremarked, mostly painting. The third day of work I only have to work a half-day because the job we're doing is so tough, and in heavy, direct sunlight (out of the rain and into the fire; it's 37 degrees for two of the days). Kym drives me on the ATV out to a distant area of their property---and you get a sense of how big 2000 acres is when you drive for 30 minutes on a motorized vehicles and aren't out of it yet---to cut the tops off a flowering weed that makes the sheep prone to sunburn through their wool. We see the sheep on the path on the way, all cowered together and staring at us as we blaze through, then turning tail and shambling into the bush. Three kangaroos hop by as we drive along, as well; the way they jump makes me laugh, with their feet and hands held so close together and their tails wagging up and down, they seem almost like a chid's parody of the way a kangaroo jumps, instead of the real thing. Never ride passenger on an ATV if you can avoid it; there's nowhere to put your feet and so you're stuck using your arms to balance by holding onto metal struts behind you, which puts great strain on your shoulders as you jounce up and over big rocks
On Sunday, because the family is religious, they take a day off from work and invite me to church with them. Now, I'm not religious, but I agree to go because this Sunday, their church is going to be outside, up in the mountains, and having a BBQ after the service. I go for the BBQ. I hope their God doesn't mind. I sing along with the hymns willingly enough to earn my lunch as we overlook a brown pond ringed by eucalypts. After, Peter whips out the supplies for a fire, has one blazing in twenty seconds, and Lynda begins to prepare lunch: we're having "jaffles." (Not pronounced to rhyme with waffles, but with a JAH sound at the beginning). This is a type of toasted sandwhich made in a fire with a small, square iron. You make a sandwhich, close it in the iron, trim off the excess crust, and leave it in the fire fore five minutes. It comes out with the edges closed by the heat and the innards melted, and works well with cheese and tomato.