Let’s start off with 7 things I learned in the country last weekend:
- Chickens will actually eat their own eggs as well as cooked chicken
- Sheep raised for their wool eat more poorly than meat sheep
- Not all black cows are angus cows
- Solar panels can cut your electric bill in half
- Kangaroos can be hurt by barbed wire too
- Also, kangaroos can jump over a fence like it’s nothing
- At any point in time on the Mount Panorama racetrack, a racecar most likely has one wheel off the ground.
My study abroad program plans a weekend for us to go out into the country and stay with a family in the middle of the semester and it’s the perfect time. I’ve been living in Sydney for 2 months now and I’m almost halfway done with studying abroad.
We arrived in Bathurst, New South Wales and there was a crowd of families waiting for us. I was assigned to Bonybrigg farm with a few of my friends. When we got off the bus, I found the sign first and as soon as I introduced myself, I was greeted with the biggest hug. I could have turned around right there and had a fabulous weekend.
We stayed with Mick and Elaine and they were adorable. Elaine is Scottish and a huge Manly Sea Eagles fan (rugby). Mick is Australian born and raised. He’s a history buff and he’s wicked smart. They have 3 grown kids and 2 (3rd on the way!) grandkids. They are hobby farmers who raise meat sheep and beef cattle.
Once we arrived on their farm, we settled in and then dinner was served. When you are a college kid making your own food, it’s inevitable that you’re going to eat a lot of pasta. And only pasta. Elaine made this beautiful meal with chicken, multiple side dishes and there was Pepsi on the table. I can’t tell you the last time I had a soft drink!! Any leftovers she feeds to the chickens so of course we had to get seconds.
The weirdest thing about going to bed that night was hearing sheep baa-ing outside my window.
On Saturday, we went to the home of one of Elaine’s friends. Her house is made from an old sheep shearing shed. Half of it has remained as it was originally and the other half was converted into their home and it was beautiful.
We hung out with Eva, who is 11 years old and she showed us around the farm, which animals we could play with, and what the best climbing trees were on the farm. After hanging out with her, I thought a lot about how cool it would be to grow up on a farm.
Then we went to the Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit, which is a race track for V8 cars (which apparently are less crazy NASCARs). Since I went to the Indy 500 this year, it was cool to see how different the racetracks were. It’ll be on TV in a few weeks. I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to watch!
On Sunday, we had everyone over at our farm for lunch. Mick and Elaine have a wood fire pizza outside and so every family made their own kind of pizza and it was so good! While the food was being made, we were able to explore the farm. Mick took everyone around the farm to show us his cows and feed them and to see some wild kangaroos.
Mick’s sheep were literally terrified of us. If you took one step towards them and they were 100 meters from you, they would still run away. Mick had to corral a few so that we could see them. I actually got to hold a few animals. I held a dog (Ned, he’s the cutest) a chicken, a lamb, and a shingleback lizard.
Saying goodbye after this weekend was really hard. I felt like I was just really starting to get to know Mick and Elaine. It also was really nice to have someone else take care of me for a little while. I’m so thankful to have been welcomed into such an amazing home.