The first stop on our trip was a visit to a friend of mine nicknamed “Hungry”. He reckons he’s a bit of a foodie and enjoys his tucker.
Farmerbf and I drove out of Perth headed North after catching up with a friend of ours who was in Perth to try and find himself a TV to watch the nightly news on in his kitchen while he cooks dinner (by the way ladies, he’s still single!)
Farmerbf and I headed up the Great Northern Highway towards New Norcia. We were shocked at how little traffic was along the highway headed north. The road was in excellent condition and after Farmerbf panicking and purchasing a cable to plug his phone into the aerial on the front of our vehicle to boost reception was mildly annoyed that my phone also retained full reception the whole way to Hungry’s farm.
We stopped in at the Bindoon Bakehaus for lunch, because it would be rude to drive past it and not get one of their amazing pies. It had changed a lot since the last time Farmerbf or I had been up that way. Farmerbf and I both had a pie for lunch. They were divine. Although we had to wait for them, they were definitely worth the wait! We were even impressed that they had a gourmet pies range. I sampled a pie from the gourmet range while Farmerbf had a basic Steak and Cheese pie.
We had been given instructions as to where the driveway was and after having no trouble finding it set off down the drive way. And what a driveway it was! It had hills and dips that would have embarrassed some of the best rollercoaster designers in the world! Farmerbf was changing gears up and down like they were going out of fashion and with the camper on the back of the Landcruiser we were really testing its power out. In the paddocks alongside the road there were kangaroos everywhere.
As we neared what we believed to be the end of the driveway over the hill popped another two Landcruisers of varying ages. It was Hungry and his worker Big Guy. Hungry suggested that we pull up our vehicle and jump in theirs. So I jumped in with Hungry while Farmerbf jumped in with Big Guy. Hungry quickly explained that they were heading over to another plot of leased land to move a field bin back to his home farm. I wondered how we were going to get the field bin along that driveway without it tipping over.
When we got to the plot of leased land Hungry explained to me what it had been used for by the previous occupiers. It had been a honey farm and so the people who had run the land had left most of it either uncleared or had planted more native species that the bees favoured. After the owners children showed no interest in taking it on they decided to lease it out so Hungry was using it to graze sheep.
We had to shut a couple of gates while we were there. Hungry turned to me and said “It’s mountain goat time” as we headed towards a rocky looking hill. “Mountain goat time” it certainly was. The hill in front of us was both steep, rocky, gravelly and had some delightful twists and turns around trees and overhanging branches. This was definatley a property for your serious weekend warrior four wheel drive enthusiast, not just your “Head up to Lancelin and bash about in the sand dunes” type. On more then one occasion the hill almost got the better of us but with perserverance and skill Hungry got the Landcruiser to the top of the hill. Once up there the view was pretty special. It looked down into a valley where the neighbours property was. It was very pretty. While we were up there there were mobs of Kangaroos. About fifty animals or more altogether. If anybody ever believed that kangaroos were endangered, they would only have to travel up to Hungry’s patch of the earth to see otherwise. There would have been hundreds just on his properties alone.
After managing to get back down the hill again we went to the front of the property where the field bin was situated. When we got there Big Guy and Farmerbf were fixing yellow “OVERSIZE” notices to the field bin as well as flashing lights and an “OVERSIZE LOAD AHEAD” sign to their Landcruiser. When Hungry and I pulled up we also affixed an “OVERSIZE” notice to our vehicle and flashing lights as well as the field bin.
Now towing a field bin along is a rather slow going process. As it was an oversize load we were speed limited. We were lucky to have people on the road who were either not in a hurry or understood that the best thing for them to do was to pull over onto the side of the road. Fortunately we didn’t have to take it along that driveway but rather took it the back way into the farm through another neighbours place. After returning back to the farm we checked out a few other bits of machinery that Hungry had and had a bit of a chat.
A little later on Farmerbf and I assisted Hungry in shifting an auger down into one of the paddocks so that he could load grain into a truck in the morning. We also met his neighbour there who was busy seeding while one of his workers sprayed the paddock. We stood there having a chat until it started getting dark. While we were there we saw a bit of activity on the ground. On closer inspection they were dung beetles shifting the sheep manure around. Dung beetles are always something that a farmer wants to see as it shows them they have good soil health. Dung beetles generally don’t hang around it the quality of the soil is not any good.
When we got back to the house Hungry’s wife had dinner ready. We decided to partake in a few drinks and a chat before dinner. Farmerbf showed videos and photos of the work he had been doing on some of the live export boats. It still amazes us how interested people are in the videos and photos that we have. The videos and photos that we have show the animals eating, drinking, laying down, sleeping, having a look at what’s going on around them so to us they are nothing unusual, but people who haven’t seen onboard a boat before they are really interesting.
After having dinner at Hungry’s place I can see why he is a bit of a foodie and loves his tucker. His wife cooked an amazing meal of lamb tagine, couscous and some veg. It was absolutely delicious. The lamb was melt in your mouth and full of flavour. I believe it was also lamb from on their farm. We also eat our own lamb that we grow on farm and often go through a bit of a paranoia that when we have other sample our lamb that it might not be up to standard, if Hungry was worried about that he didn’t have to, it was delicious.
The next morning we took a drive around the property. It seems to be standard that when you visit another persons farm that you get a farm tour. Hungry took us and showed us where he has fenced sections of bush off so that the sheep can’t get in there and eat it as part of a rejuvenation program that he is running. He also showed us patches of subterrainean clover that stood inches off the ground.
When we left Hungry’s place he took us up to the local feed works. Farmerbf had been in a pelleting plant before but I hadn’t so was interested to see how they were made. We donned hard hats and high-vis vests and went into the plant.
We saw the machine where the grains and hay that make up the pellets were put onto a conveyor belt before being moved along and dropped into a chute that fed through to the machine. Once in the machine the grains and hay were mashed up into a crumble mix. Then it would go through and be steam pressed at 100degrees to ensure that the crumble mix bound together. They then went along a conveyor belt and dropped into piles in a shed. The pellets would then be either shifted into trucks for bulk transport or bagged into bulker bags or smaller bags and put onto pallets for transport to other locations.
While we were there they were loading bulker bags on pallets into stock crates . They explained to us that they had pallets specially made up to fit into the back of the stock crates so that when there was a load of cattle driven south, the road trains would then have a back load to be taken back up north to the feedlots and stations that the cattle had come from.