13 May 2009

Farmstay fun!

Late last week we went on our farmstay trip out to Bathurst, NSW. We stayed at Barcoo's Barn, just south of Bathurst, and it was great!

Our host was Ken and he was only too happy to have us there and show us around. His wife, Elaine, was away horseriding, so normally she would be there to be hospitable (and by all accounts in their guest book, she certainly is!) too.

We came in late in the afternoon, and didn't get the chance to look around. But there was a good spot right outside our room for John to set up the telescope and have a good look up into the sky. It was a lovely clear night, and was certainly darker than Sydney, as we could get a good view of the Milky Way. After he got rather freezing, John eventually came in.

The accommodation was warm, and the beds were good. (There was space for 11 people, plus two futons... Got a LARGE family?) There was heaps available self serve for breakfast - all we had to do was open the cupboards and find it!

After breakfast and packing up our stuff, we went out and met one of the other guests up in a paddock, who introduced us to the Clydesdale horses, Clancy and Barcoo. They're both about 15 years old, and each weigh a tonne. Wouldn't like to have one of them step on our toes.

Ken had gone off over the hill in the truck, and when he came back, he let us into the chook pen to feed the chooks. The Bookworm got right into it immediately, though Bendy was a bit scared of the chickens. Eventually she thawed out and was happily feeding them also.

After that, Ken took us around to the sheep paddock (where we had met Clancy and Barcoo earlier), and The Bookworm helped him feed the sheep, the Clydesdales, two very unfriendly alpacas, and another horse called Prince. She wasn't real sure about patting the horses, but she did it anyway. I used it as a teaching moment (!) and said that if she didn't brush her hair each day, it would end up feeling that rough too! :-)

Bendy was absolutely terrified of the sheep. She was screaming, and Ken was rolling his eyes... She insisted on being picked up and carried around, in the hope that that would keep her out of their reach. She really only relaxed when we closed the gate behind us.

Ken showed us all the bits of equipment lying around the paddock, each with their specific purpose for farm work. Some were for making bales of hay, others for wrapping them in plastic, others for moving them about the place etc.

Then Ken showed us the shearing shed. He weighed the girls on the big old scales where they weigh the bales of wool. It was a bit meaningless for them because it was only in imperial weight, which they don't understand (well, actually, neither do I!), but they enjoyed it all the same.

Then we had a bit more of a chat with Ken outside, before he went off for his morning tea, and we went off on our way home. If we'd had longer, I've no doubt he would have been happy to take The Bookworm off in the tractor with him on his rounds.

Ken was in no hurry to get rid of us, and you can see that he loves having people to show over the farm. If Elaine had been there, Ken said she would have been pleased to hook up the sled behind Barcoo so that the girls could have a ride.

So we highly recommend staying at Barcoo's Barn if you're looking for a farmstay, or even if you're just in the Bathurst area.

Pictures coming soon...

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