Arriving into Darwin I was met with an unfamiliar sight… A woman in shorts and t-shirt! A haze hanging over the fields as we drove along whilst the sun rose, it was a pretty impressive welcome to northern territory. Red roads lined with green trees, many bush fire worn, this was reflected in the sun's colouring. A couple of days were given to me to reacclimatise, during which I was taken to Litchfield National Park for a swim. Some beautiful waterfalls, I can see why it is a popular spot. Asking what rock outcrops I could see, I was told that they were termite mounds!! At least 4/5 foot high, I was informed that flying, yes I said flying, ants will be released out of these when they are good and ready!! Waking up in the morning to the sound of birds in the trees, watching the sunrise as I have breakfast, I have the fortune to fall asleep each night having seen the beautiful red sunset, stargazing from the comfort of my bed.
Working on a farm surrounded by guinea fowl, chickens, a guinea pig, birds and some very friendly beautiful dogs, I have been put to work on a variety of different tasks. Soil mixing and potting plants and seeds serving as a reminder of similar tasks on kangaroo island, me and fellow wwoofer Go have also been constructing a chicken coop. Having a lot of fun and banter the old familiar 'whaaaat' which my Tasmanian buddies know all too well, has been uttered many a time! So many in fact, Go and my host family have started saying it themselves :-).
Learning a lot already in the short time I have been here, just some of the things I now know include:
-> That the nuts from pandanus trees are poisonous unless you cook them
-> That lavender is a good deterrent for mosquitoes
-> How to peel a coconut
-> How to tie a trucker's hitch and a half hitch knot
-> How to make good soil mixture (peat, perlite, lime, gypsum, phosphorus, sand and dirt)
-> That courgettes and zucchini’s are in fact different. It's all in the timing of when they are picked.
-> That Northern Territory does not have water restrictions. Somewhat novel to me from all the previous states I have visited, and in contrast to what I thought, with good storage for the abundance of rain from the wet season, there is plenty to go around!
A week of some 'first's', it has been somewhat of an interesting but very enjoyable introduction! Not an exhaustive list, here are just some of the crazy moments I have experienced this week:
-> I have tried custard apples. They were actually amazing. We are keeping the seeds and are going to replant them 🙂
-> I ate my first kangaroo steak. Not to be overcooked they should be done rare-medium. Served with potato and pumpkin mash, it was delicious
-> I have driven my first 'ute'. After my two automatics, this is my first clutch driven car in Australia. I quite liked it! I am most determined to aim for a tractor next…!
-> With Go heralding from Japan, he has been teaching me Japanese. Learning how to count to 100 (it's very easy after 10!) and to use 'ka' if asking a question, we say itadakimasu at every meal 🙂
-> Chat about birthday's resulted in the revelation that me and Go share the same birthday! As if that isn't weird enough, the entire house are virgo's too!
-> Every day I gain a tan! After work I then shower it off!
-> I have seen my first snake in Australia!!! A beautiful python, held by our host, me and Go were able to touch it. It was softer than I thought it would be
-> I found out that Japan allegedly has 200 different kinds of kitkat! Who's up for the challenge?!
-> On Friday, I saw the solar eclipse. The sun low in the sky at 8.04am, I was able to see a very funky crescent sun as we stole the moon from the other hemisphere! I wonder if this was seen far and wide?