Today our time at Pyramid has officially come to an end. Sitting here in Bowen, walled up inside the hostel (with tropical cyclone Oswald and associated monsoon rains battering us from all angles), I can’t help but feel thankful for the wonderful experience I have had living on Pyramid Station over the past three and a half months. While my last post about Pyramid was factual, it was also a bit of a downer.. SO I’d like to balance it out by showing you ten things I loved about life on the station.
1. Getting to ride dirt bikes through the bush – This has to be my number one. I love dirt biking but it’s a pretty expensive hobby in any other situation. I had a great time mustering on the bikes. For the most part, I got to ride a Yamaha TTR 250 and on my last day, I rode this ag. bike back to the house….. it’s technically a Honda 250 but I think ‘washing machine with foot pegs’ is a far more suitable description.
2. Finally having our own place – Having lived together for over a year in houses, with various different people, Rich and I couldn’t wait to finally have our own place. We decided that if we could live together, alone, with no means of escape in the Australian bush for a number of months, we could almost certainly make it anywhere. As it happened, it was awesome.
3. The sun, the moon and the stars – The complete lack of light pollution out in the bush atributes to the magnificence of the night sky and it’s vast superiority to any other night sky I’ve seen. Just before Christmas we were lucky enough to witness a total solar eclipse but as we were a little too far south, we only saw about 30% coverage. You can’t really tell in the picture but in my defence, I’ve not had much practice taking pictures of solar eclipses! As you can see from the oh-so-attractive picture that Rich took of me sleeping through my alarm, at 4:29am, we usually got up either with, or before the sun. This was awesome as we got to see the fantastic sunrise daily.
4. I got quick, healthy, colourful and inexpensive meals down to an art – Buying two weeks worth of groceries and living 3 hours away from town is not something I’d ever done before so this took a few weeks of practice. Once I’d got the groceries down the rest was easy. The real key for us was sticking mostly to asian food, making everything from scratch and bulk buying meat (further reading: A Reasonably Priced Piece of Arse). We made coconuts a staple in our diets and feel all the better for it! (further reading: I’m Cuckoo for Coco….Nuts?!)
5. The freedom from life’s distractions – It’s amazing what happened when I made the transition from living in town to living in the bush. You would think it would be boring and there would be nothing to do but in fact, the oposite is true. I realise that I was only there for three and half months, but I was always doing something productive. From the moment I woke up in the morning (or the middle of the night) to when I crashed into bed in the evening, I was working, cooking, taking photographs, writing my blog, reading, planning a trip to Asia, experimenting in the kitchen creating all manor of ridiculous confectionaries and spending time with Rich. Not to mention all the housework, washing, cleaning etc. Imagine if I also had to pop into town, drive or get the bus to work, chose and outfit to wear to work, put on make up, do my hair…. there’s just no time!
6. Not having to wear makeup (and getting a tan) – I’m not usually one to slather on the make-up anyway, but it was such a relief to get up in the morning, throw on a shirt and some jeans, splash my face with cold water, pull my hair into a plait and go. Five minutes, done. Plus, having only worn makeup about four times in the past four months, I am totally used to (and loving) the way I look without it. It just seems like a weird thing to do now. Until my time at Pyramid I never knew I could get this brown! Thrice daily I slathered myself with SPF30 (slip, slop, slap and all that) and I’m stil brown as a… well, really pale person with a decent tan!
7. Gaining an in depth knowledge of all things cattle – Before I arrived, I’d seen my fair share of cattle but mostly Friesians, Highland Cattle and Jersey Cows. I’d never heard of a Bramen, let alone knew what to do with one. I freely admit that more than once, I let them muster me, instead of the other way around! I learned how to brand, how to ear tag and mark, how to muster, how to draft and how to attempt to guess what they’re thinking. They’re beautiful animals… except the bulls that is. Every time I saw a big, humpy, Bramen bull, all I could think about was that Black Eyed Peas Song… “my humps, my humps, my humps, my humps, my ugly Bramen humps, check it out!”
8. Being surrounded by wild animals – During my time at Pyramid I saw an echidna, a camel, a python, a whip snake, a tree snake, green frogs, cane toads, emus and their babies, kangaroos (grey and red), cicadas, mud dauber wasps, rainbow lorikeets, frill neck lizards, gekkos, red-back spiders, cockatoos, rare red tailed-black cockatoos, and (even rarer) yellow-tailed black cockatoos. We saw praying mantises, baur birds, kookaburras, sac spiders (vom!), cows, cows and more cows, ferral pigs, piglets, rock wallabies, crimson wings, wild horses just to name a few!
9. Learning what it means to be a grazier – It’s a tough life for the grazier. They face low wages, constant criticisms from the public and never have time off to play. As with any lifestyle though, it has it’s perks. For more info on this check out: View From A Bush Verandah)
10. The natural beauty of the surroundings – Wether it be flowers, mountains, red dirt, tropical trees, wildlife, huge open skies, Pyramid has it all. It’s just a shame that I didn’t get to see it after the rains came.
AND one more for luck…..
11. Shelley’s epic chocolate cake – Last, but most certainly not least, Shelley’s chocolate cake is to die for. She made this one for our last smoko and drove it down to the cattle yards. A sprinkling of coconut topped it off – it’s the stuff dreams are made of! Thank you! x