Day 18 #100daychallenge

I’m calling another break day. It would appear that my Mondays are so big that my resolve to conduct this challenge is rocked for the Monday Tuesday and possibly a bit of the Wednesday night as well.

Unfortunately I have had three rather large days two of which have been at the Roadhouse. Couple with the large days throw in some very hot Australian summer days and me being tired and the farmer been insanely busy I find myself struggling to donate 10 minutes even of my time to the creative business pursuits. I have had some very big ideas that I’m exploring and some very big compliments that point to myself being a very responsible adult. I am a reliable team member, I am helping to build up all the team members. Those two tasks require lots of social energy from me. And my brain is working incredibly hard on processing numbers and data that it does not need to process like; of all things, the Covid numbers coming out of America. Why? Because my brain likes numbers. The question that I then have to ask myself is am I feeding my brain well enough? Should I go and get more education? And why not?

Enter two lambs who are in need of medical attention: One limpy and one hoppy. Should I get an education in veterinary science to help fix these two lambs? Or am I better off getting some education in the area of mathematics/statistics. I don’t know.

Limpy (previously LambLam or one of the Stew-its)

So on Wednesday afternoon after work, I raced to the swimming pool so that I could do my 40 laps in the pool, which equates to 1 km (just in case you needed to know). The aim being to process some of all that pent up consideration. Naturally I check the mail on the way home from the pool and picked up these three shirts. So I suddenly realised I had fulfilled my task for the blog and the challenge as these shirts will be having the circle skirt put on them in hopes that I can send them to my niece and get good photos to further the “dressmaking” business.

Day 9 #100daychallenge

Ok. I’m using my get out of jail free card for the week. Every week, I set aside just a small bit of money as savings for buying the items/gear/stuff for my hopeful business. I’m saving for way too many things on this particular tiny savings fund: a shipping container, office space on the farm, printers, fabrics and shirts. Way too many things.

So why am I not blogging over on paperthumbtack today? I record it here cos it’s not really art stuff but it still counts as part of the challenge. 100 days of trying to progress my business dreams. I have a few ideas.

More recently, I’ve asked myself if I can resell upcycled rubbish.

Like a catering size mayonnaise container, cleaned up and sold as bulk food storage containers for flour in a small family kitchen.

Or a 12Lwaterbottle that becomes a slow release water dripped as shown below.

Anyway, these are all part of the challenge. I was just too busy to draw today running mad with a bumper day at work and a trip to the grocery afterwards.

Day 2 #100dayschallenge

The internet can be a place where we get sucked into the worm hole of procrastination and distraction, a time numbing warp of nothing much. It gets me more often than I’d like to admit. 

The internet can also be an inspiring place. Every year there is a non specific group of humans who commit to engaging in a challenge known as the #100dayschallenge. The premise being that to become proficient at a task or activity we must do it repeatedly. Some paint, some draw others craft or play an instrument. Some event commit to reading books more. 

I’ve looked on often wishing I could at least have a go. And finally this year I think I might have found a way to do the challenge I’m a manor that suits me; 100 days of sharing how I’m trying to grow. I’m going to Grow my business ideas. Grow my sewing skills, grow my artwork sets, grow my confidence in larger art, grow my savings for business set up costs. Just grow. And hopefully I’ll share it all with you my audience either here or over on according to where the growth fits. 

Today, I showed up and put the ground work in for this challenge over on The text above comes from my art blog. I sat in the storeroom at work where I was on break and hiding from the world, and I put into words the idea that had been mulling for days. 

Once I got home from my 5am-1pm shift, WA experienced yet another emergency: a fire half way between us and Perth that escalated very quickly. I was exhausted already from very little sleep wrapping my mind around this new round of Perth’s lockdown, and from dealing with people at work all day too, and glued to the radio and internet watching a horrible fire unfold. No time to engage with the challenge. 

However, I did ask the station cooks Facebook group for ideas for creative toasties. I had sold a bacon chicken cheese pineapple and bbq sauce toastie at work. So I was feeling bold. Here are the suggestions that piqued my interest:

  • Vegemite onion and cheese
  • Jam cheese and ham/bacon
  • Banana cheese and bacon 
  • Corn cheese and chicken 
  • Mushrooms and cheese 
  • Use aioli instead of Mayo 
  • Corn chips salsa cheese and mince
  • 2 minute noodles and cheese 
  • Try using sundried tomato 
  • Tuna Mayo and cheese
  • Grated apple almonds and chocolate 
  • Salami and cheese
  • Roasties: leftover roast meat veg and cheese esp with pumpkin.

I also made vegetarian patties for dinner. Lentils, carrot, zucchini, potatoes egg, breadcrumbs, seasoning and deep fried then baked.

An update

In august, Parker and I made a quick dash down to Manjimup for a holiday. It was a snap decision made to fit in some time away before getting too caught up in the remaining farm work.

Since then, Nola has had puppies, I had a lovely birthday, I started a new job in Goomalling, and I’m madly trying to get some art and dry good bulk supple business off the ground on top of moving residence from the shed to the shipping box.

My birthday cake
Mable, Emu, sally, nipper and wombat pup

The oat crop; I’m squatting down a bit
I made the special in September for the cafe
Preparing sandwiches for Goomalling job

Thursday… finally a “day to myself”…

Bahahahahah! Yeah right!

First thing is utilise as much of the miniscule amount of sunshine we’ve had this week to get some bore water. Two loads for the tank as a back up for next week, and a third for spraying next Tuesday.

Naturally, things that I might think will take a short time take three times longer and at 2 pm I gave up on the water collection and moved on the the next task for the day: Sewing. I did some alterations to some mens shirts. I hav found it’s cheaper to but mens flannel shirts, get some extra flannel from Spot light and insert a “gusset” into the sides cos I have hips and guys general don’t…. and apparently women don’t need to be warm. Suddenly Wham! the day is done and I’m scrambling to get dinner made for the chef, put Lam-Lambs away and stay warm.

Getting the other side of the lambs to herd them into the yards.
The oats are taller than the dog
Rock-it demanding her dinner immediately: it was carrots.

My race home against the internal land division closures in Western Australia

Way back in march, I was out through a fairly anxious time due to the unfolding pandemic. I recorded my thoughts and feeling and have decided to self publish them here:

I took on an 8 week stint at Mount House station in the Kimberley. I’m recently married and living and working on our farm in the Wheatbelt. However, no employment for a year left us deciding to let me give station cooking in a relief capacity a go. Finding the Mount House job was a God-send.

I traveled with my dog (Nola). We flew up to Broome and the mrs manager picked us two up. So the return journey is that: drive to Broome; fly to Perth.
In February, Corona was still a joke in the station country. A virus named after a beer you need lime to enjoy. And when I first arrived, I honestly thought the virus, while serious would be like Ebola or sars… Australia will be right mate, we’re an island don’t you know. Anyway, in early March, I booked flights for April 5. As the pandemic unfolded, I started wondering if 5th April would be too late. So I developed a few personal plans for all the what ifs I (and my husband) could think of; Like what if I get stuck on the station all year. At what point should I jump, could my partner just come bore running up here?

However, We felt strongly that we needed to put a crop in this year, and my new family and my sister need us near by too. I discussed the situation with my boss and we agreed I would need to jump when the signs indicated a major lock down within Western Australia.

the zombie apocalypse came to the station:

We were starting to notice the pressure on the economy on the station. Mount House runs on a fortnightly truck delivery of all things fresh, frozen and pantry.
For the last 2 orders I had not received certain things like bacon, snags, cream, pasta.
While these items are still luxuries on stations, it’s not fun running out of bacon. We still had a fair whack of uht cream. But sometimes you just need the fresh stuff for whipping.

I basically switched over to rationing the limited stuff, and impressed myself when I made pasta carbonara using lasagna sheets. We were now completely out of pasta.

Mrs boss also started contacting her Perth distributors to order what she termed a zombie apocalypse order. About 3 weeks ago, the station owners decided to implement some really strict lockdown policies and she wanted a kind of big wet season order in like we station cookies all know about. Unfortunately even at that stage we were told there was stuff all tin food available.

And then came the beer restrictions… Mount house had literally just started a social club this year and all of a sudden, it looked like they couldn’t get grog. (Not that I drink much). A neighbours came to our rescue and is letting us use their license to order. This past week there’s now a restriction on smokes. Would anyone like to explain to either a black fella or ringer that they can’t smoke anymore cause they’re not allowed to go to town or order a week-months supply? I remember the moment the outbreak became very real for the men in the camp; just before the 500 people gathering rule and they realised that rodeo was cancelled. It was a Friday smoko time. They were not impressed but still a bit blasé about it. They know it’s real now.
The new cook arrived and was put in quarantine. We made it a game of cooties. The manager has also ordered chicks and veggie seeds. They don’t want to be caught with no veggies. The station has a full time gardener so it shouldn’t be too difficult to grow some. I hope their garden goes well. Frankly I’m glad I don’t have to be a station cook in this part of the pandemic.

The departure

Then came at big press release on a Friday: they are closing the land divisions within Western Australia. I read the rules, Mrs Boss read it and we both said it was time I jumped. I got on to Qantas and changed flights to the Monday, 30th March, including Nola. Truthfully, I had been quite anxious about it for about 2 weeks. I wanted to earn good cash. I wanted to hand over to the permanent cook in person. And knew I was going home to even less jobs available than before. But when do you jump? I honestly wished there was someone I could call to ask advice! Dr Norman Swan? ABC Radio? My local member for parliament? I had know idea so I just bottled it. And raged at every restriction placed on station workers that city people need but cripples station workers lives unnecessarily. And quietly freaked out about my family in other parts of the country. I might be in the safest place on earth but there is more to my life than just me.

On Sunday, I was sent a message that my flight was cancelled, that I was booked on an evening flight and then they messaged to say Nola couldn’t go please call this number. So I did. Only operational Monday to Friday, 9am Sydney time. I’m a bit panicky now. On Monday at 6 WA time, I call and join the queue for sorting out Nola’s flight. She goes as freight. We agreed to an afternoon flight. 2 pm.

Then 4 hours later, it’s another cancelled flight. So I call again and I’m relieved to here that Nola can fit the last flight out. Ultimately I had three flight changes before even leaving the cattle station. I had reached the point where I was preparing to leave my companion animal behind. I even shed a tear at the thought and I’m not a crier.

We left in the morning at 6 am. My driver, was not allowed out of the car for anything. She has to refuel herself out of a pod on the ute. And can only use the bush to relieve herself. So there I was. From midday, Sitting under a tree with my dog in the airport carpark, waiting for a 7 pm flight out. I know there are 6 cases of covid19 in the Kimberley and I figure they’re probably all in Broome, so I’m not going anywhere. I’ve checked in. It’s the last flight before curfew is enforced but I was anxious even this last flight will be cancelled and ill be lumped with trying to sort the paperwork to get home.

Then I boarded. Feeling anxious but grateful. I had just read that a plane in South Australia got turned back to it’s departure airport due to baggage handlers testing positive. My air hostesses have added a hand washing reminder to the safety speech at take off. And an assurance that Qantas takes our safety seriously. Meanwhile the passengers queued pretty close together when boarding. (I didn’t). I decided that best practice for plane travel was to maintain as much physical distance as I can. I only touched my seatbelt buckle and concluded that I didn’t need water or a biscuit from staff. I sat until most people were off. I wore gloves to handle my bags when putting them on the ute. And I showered as soon as I got home. I was both filthy from a windy day outside and exhausted after such a long and emotional day.

I feel really great to be home. And it’s good to be with my husband. So I’m actually grateful to have worked as much as I managed. I will now quarantine at home for 14 days because that is best practice.