For the last couple of weeks we’ve been very busy. We thought by now we would have the place all cleaned up and been in a routine.
No… we’re still doing long hours.
Chris, as usual, convinced Martyn (our boss) that they needed new equipment out here if the place was to work efficiently.
They had an oven that was beyond cleaning and would periodically blow the gas out. The temperature was never right and took forever to cook anything. There was only cheap Crazy Clark type kitchen frypans for cooking steaks, egg etc., no grill. The fryer was a saucepan on the stove. This was covered in oil on the outside and you could never get the oil temperature right.
They had a dishwasher that had no baskets and didn’t work and smelt putrid. We were told they would “get it looked at”.
So Martyn went to the big boss, Toby, and told him straight what was needed to produce a workable kitchen. Toby said “Whatever we need, get”, and try to convince Chris and Kerrie to stay. “Give them whatever they want”, was his instruction.
Think about that…they were spending $15,000 on new equipment on the say so of Chris, someone they didn’t know and who wasn’t staying. I’ve seen him do this before at other sites when we were with Spotless. Don’t get me wrong they needed it and it would improve the catering out here dramatically.
I suppose $15,000 is not much in the scheme of things out here but, like everywhere it all counts.
One of the guys on the new pickers lost concentration and dug the front cutters into the dirt. This part is worth $47,000 but they got a 2nd hand replacement out the next day for $15,000. But that is another story we have to write about.
So when Toby gave the ok to buy new equipment, Chris was on the phone to CFE in Brisbane with Martyn’s credit card ordering the equipment he wanted. He then traveled to Brisbane and bought the smaller equipment we needed. Tongs that are not from Crazy Clarks, proper catering spoons, pots, filters, bowls, whisks. Baine Marie dishes. There is a 6 bay baine marie on the counter but they only had 5 dishes to fit it. They put a piece of alfoil over the space that was missing to try to keep in the heat. We ended up using a dish from the van to fill the space, but now Chris has bought ½ trays, full trays, ¼ trays. We have enough not only to fill the baine marie but cook in them as well to save on other baking dishes.
He bought a mixer that Jacquie can do cakes, deserts, whip cream, knead bread rather than use her hand mixer. Another useful item was a commercial food processor. Left over’s can be chopped down to make pie’s, sausage rolls, burrito’s that are put on as a second dish. The guys love these and as most don’t eat any other veggie except potatoes they’re not aware that any left over veggie is put through the food processor and they eat them the next day as something else. So we know they are getting their veggie intake.
Chris then had the task of getting the equipment out here. The farm uses a freight service that only runs to Moree and we had to get it from there.
Now organise the plumber, get some of the guys to help pull out the old equipment and lift the new ones in between cooking breakfast and dinner and hope it all comes together.
Well the day finally arrived. The new equipment arrived in Moree and Toby (the big boss) bought it out from Moree on the trailers. Toby lives in Moree and does the 126km each way every day. He travels over 100,000km per year. He does have a house on the farm down by the river but uses it as a holiday home to go fishing. Toby is only 35 and has children, if he lived on the farm it would take 20min just to drive the kids to the front gate from his house for them to catch a bus to go to school then 126km to school.
We really like Toby. He will make a decision on the spot and stick to it. We really haven’t found anyone here on the farm we don’t like. They all seem to smoke and use colourful language that wouldn’t be used in most work places but there is no “Bulls%#t”. If there’s a job to be done, it’s done.
The equipment was lifted off the trailers by a forklift (of course they have a forklift) and placed in the dry store area awaiting installation. There was my dishwasher I had been eagerly waiting for sitting 5mt away and I still couldn’t use it. My hands are cracked and worn away from scrubbing. I tried using gloves but they still fill up with water or sweat and wreak your hands. Like every other part on this old body they’re falling apart.
Today’s the day Monday 16th April is a special day. We finally get to put all the equipment to use. The plumber has to change all the pipes over from ½ in to ¾in and add a gas regulator that is now mandatory. But otherwise everything goes in smoothly.
The only hic up was when the plumber wanted to test the dishwasher so he put normal detergent in. As you can see… not a good idea. We walked in and he was madly trying to get rid of the soap suds.
But by the end of the day the place was back to normal, clean and all working. Chris had been on his feet since 4am and we still had dinner to cook. We dragged ourselves to the Aussie Wide at the end of the day, had a shower and then collapsed into bed asking the usual question of “Why do we do this to ourselves?”
It was a fill in position for 6 weeks. Here we had changed the kitchen around, cleaned and scrubbed everything and Chris was building a program so Martyn can keep and eye on everything from his office 112km away. Another story I’ll to tell one day you is what we have done around the compound with the mowing and cleaning.
WHY DO WE DO IT? Because when we leave we know we have done the best job we are capable of. And that is all God asks of you. We’re here for a reason, don’t know what the reason was but knew we didn’t have to stay as we already had the job in Alice Springs.
Trust me, that was a nice feeling knowing we could say no to their offer of “Pay them what ever they want to stay”. God has already planned the next step of our life and we are looking forward to the next door opening.