The Bipolar Bum

Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.

Travel Journal – Life on the farm – 19/12/2013


As payment for giving me the motorbike I made my friend Mark a voucher, giving him 5 days labour.  I did this knowing he would never take any money from me, but even after that – he still only wanted three days out of me.


I’ve stayed with Mark, Lilly and Devan for the three days working on their farm that they’re turning into a B&B.


Firstly, even though I was only a fifteen or twenty minute drive away from Malanda, the climate completely changed. It was much more rainy and definitely cooler.  Thank god for it too, because hoeing and hacking away at the farm would have been approximately six million times more difficult with the blazing sun that the lower tablelands are used to.  Mark’s farm (Wagtail House) is near Tarzali, and they get the sloppy seconds weather from some of the wettest areas in Australia under Bartle Frere.


My first job was to demolish some tough grass that was advancing on the baby trees and choking them to death. Mark is a heavy set, bull-strong looking man.  He picked up the small timber handled hoe and began thwacking around the base of the tree.


 “We do two or three blade widths so the trees have a chance”

He then passed me the ‘small’ hoe and, somewhere in the air between his hands and mine, its handle grew an inch in diameter and the tool also doubled in size.  Either Mark had DWARFED the tool or it was pleased to see me.  Not to be shamed by a man thrice my size and eighteen times as strong as me I engaged in an absolutely lunatic effort for about thirty minutes before realising that maintaining the pace would leave me hospitalised.  Still, I finished my work in good time and to a good standard.


Over the next few days I helped gut a vegetable garden, exposing approximately nine trillion tomato plants and corn stalks that needed re-potting.  I also painted and put up a picket fence with my host and built some planter frames.


The work was varied, rewarding and for the most part – fun.  Here are a few photos.




Mark and Lil’s driveway



Time for tubby bye bye


Nursery garden






Phoebe, the Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Fantastic temperament, prodigious appetite.





9 comments on “Travel Journal – Life on the farm – 19/12/2013

  1. I would never have guessed you were a Teletubbies fan H&J…. 😉 Beautiful photos, and clearly lots of jobs very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kitt O'Malley

    Beautiful. Very much like the verdant land of the Teletubbies if memory serves. It’s been many years since my now adolescent son was a Teletubbies fan.


  3. onomatopoeicbliss



  4. Jane de Bat

    Beautiful pictures! I admire you for packing up and seeing the world. Maybe, some day…


    • drheckleandmrjibe

      I don’t really feel like I’m worthy of admiration for it. I just did what felt right and the reason it was relatively simple for me to do was because I was jobless, without prospects and a burden to my family.

      Have done it – I highly recommend doing it.

      All the best,


  5. glenn2point0

    Great work H&J. Looks like a good few days work.


    • drheckleandmrjibe

      I’ll soon have a lot more of it I reckon. I’m moving up into the Cape and will have three months of farm work ahead of me. I only hope for forgiving weather! 🙂

      All the best,


    • drheckleandmrjibe

      It’s mercifully cool up in the tablelands. I’m not sure quite how I’m going to fare down in Hope Vale! 🙂



  6. I love that you found the farm work both challenging and rewarding. Your help had to have been of great value to your friends.


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This entry was posted on 27/06/2014 by in Travel Journal and tagged , , , .
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