In my previous blog post (which you can find here) I began discussing the Lessons of The West. All the things that I learnt while living and working on a cattle station in Western Queensland. Today, I continue on with my lessons learnt.
Living on the land you are exposed to the elements; dust, wind, snakes and bugs. Sometimes, the latter make their way into your home. In the middle of February, about the same time we began the mammoth clean-up of the 2019 North-West Queensland Floods (which, for those unaware, has been labelled as the largest natural disaster North-West Queensland has ever seen) we got an infestation of moths. Moths found their ways through the cracks in the floors, between your bedsheets and in some unfortunate circumstances, in your ears (I can vividly remember filming the video below and a moth flying into my eye – hence the squeals). Now, I’m not just talking about a couple of months, I mean hundreds and hundreds of moths, everywhere, every night, for about a week (proceeding this moth infestation we had an infestation of small gidgee bugs and then stink bugs). (Lesson 4:) In the instance of a moth infestation, just vacuum them straight off the wall. One night, in pure frustration, one of the helicopter pilots had had enough, in a fit of rage, he grabbed the vacuum, turned it on and started to suck the moths straight off the wall. We were all in stitches at the time, doubled over, clutching our stomachs in laughter but I was the unfortunate one who found (or, more accurately, smelt) the full vacuum bag of dead moths a week later…
I think one of my favourite lessons from the bush is that (Lesson 5:) Country people have your back and love you hard. In one of the country’s most isolated environments you’d think it would be difficult to make friends. Population density is extremely low and sometimes there can be 10’s of kilometers between you and the next closest person. However, bush people love in such a way that distance is no barrier, and everyone is your ‘mate’. It’s nearly like comradery. We’re all living in this harsh environment and work together to make sure it doesn’t get the better of us. It’s knowing that if you found yourself stuck on the side of the road with a flat tyre you would confidently know that the next person who drove past would stop to help you. It’s travelling for 6 hours to attend a spring racing event just so you can have a few beers with your best friends and its being offered a feed and a bed wherever you go (and doing the same in return). Living in the city we are surrounded by people, but seldom are we surrounded by people who are so willing to lend a hand and have your back.
One night I was sitting at the dinner table with Mr. Boss and the two helicopter pilots that worked on the station. The boys were discussing the good places to eat, sleep and party in Mount Isa (our closest regional center). As they throw their recommendations back and forth Mr. Boss says (Lesson 6:) “There’s two ways to judge a food outlet. How cheap the beer is and whether you’d take a girl there on a date.”. The pilots nodded their heads in agreeance. What a simple dictation method to differentiate between good and bad places to eat. Unfortunately, rarely do the places with the cheap beer also meet the standards for a date.
This marks the end of my second installment of Lessons from the West, Part 3 coming your way soon! Until then, make sure you let me know your thoughts in the comment section below and subscribe to my mailing list.