Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
As payment for giving me the motorbike I made my friend Mark a voucher, giving him 5 days labour. I did this knowing he would never take any money from me, but even after that – he still only wanted three days out of me.
I’ve stayed with Mark, Lilly and Devan for the three days working on their farm that they’re turning into a B&B.
Firstly, even though I was only a fifteen or twenty minute drive away from Malanda, the climate completely changed. It was much more rainy and definitely cooler. Thank god for it too, because hoeing and hacking away at the farm would have been approximately six million times more difficult with the blazing sun that the lower tablelands are used to. Mark’s farm (Wagtail House) is near Tarzali, and they get the sloppy seconds weather from some of the wettest areas in Australia under Bartle Frere.
My first job was to demolish some tough grass that was advancing on the baby trees and choking them to death. Mark is a heavy set, bull-strong looking man. He picked up the small timber handled hoe and began thwacking around the base of the tree.
“We do two or three blade widths so the trees have a chance”
He then passed me the ‘small’ hoe and, somewhere in the air between his hands and mine, its handle grew an inch in diameter and the tool also doubled in size. Either Mark had DWARFED the tool or it was pleased to see me. Not to be shamed by a man thrice my size and eighteen times as strong as me I engaged in an absolutely lunatic effort for about thirty minutes before realising that maintaining the pace would leave me hospitalised. Still, I finished my work in good time and to a good standard.
Over the next few days I helped gut a vegetable garden, exposing approximately nine trillion tomato plants and corn stalks that needed re-potting. I also painted and put up a picket fence with my host and built some planter frames.
The work was varied, rewarding and for the most part – fun. Here are a few photos.
|Mark and Lil’s driveway|
|Time for tubby bye bye|
|Phoebe, the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Fantastic temperament, prodigious appetite.|