Today was a good day.
It starts with The Boss loading stuff into The Ute. I wonder if it means we are picking today. Some bins turned up yesterday, but where are the young people who smell so interesting and camp Over The Back when we are picking?
We take The Ute to the vineyard and then we go and get The Bike and the picking trailer. The Boss starts opening up the ends of vineyard nets – its looking promising. Sure enough, cars start arriving. I know most of them, they have been here before. Mum comes over and The Young Bloke turns up! I haven’t seen The Young Bloke for weeks, it’s like he’s been deliberately staying away. I am overjoyed to see him, and he makes a big fuss of me.
It’s a bit odd, everyone seems to be keeping their distance from each other, like we aren’t all old friends. I take the initiative to go round everyone and give them a reassuring lick. Some of them pretend that they don’t need reassuring, but its better to be safe than sorry I reckon.
We get started. The Boss is doing buckets and bins, I’m riding shotgun with him on The Bike, hopping down now and again while he’s tipping buckets so I can join in the banter. The pickers are further apart than usual. I feel like I want to gather them into a tighter mob, but I just know that The Boss wouldn’t be pleased, so I don’t.
At smoko I do the rounds to sniff out what’s on the menu. I keep an eye on The Boss though, he’s got eyes in the back of his head and I know he doesn’t like me fishing for food.
We only stop for smoko when we are picking or shearing. Usually The Boss and I work straight through to lunch time, and I can tell he’s impatient to get back into it.
Back to work. The big bins gradually fill up with the sweet black bunches of grapes, a few wasps hang around them drinking the juice. It gets a bit sleepy in the warm sun and I have a bit of a snooze on the back of The Bike.
After lunch I can sense the pickers need a bit of encouragement. One of the girls makes a fuss of me and we have a bit of a wrestle. She gets the giggles and we wrestle some more. Others are watching and laughing, then The Boss calls out “Jet, on The Bike”. I can tell he’s not really annoyed, but I reckon it’s wise to be a Good Boy.
Suddenly, we are at the end of the rows and the empty buckets are being stacked. The pickers head back to their cars. Me, The Boss, Mum and The Young Bloke load the big bins onto The Trailer with The Tractor, they are all strapped down and The Boss heads off with them. Me, Mum and The Young Bloke gather up all the buckets and other stuff. Everything is sticky. The Young Bloke washes buckets and I check what the pesky rabbits have been up to while we’ve been over in the vineyard all day.
I’m disappointed to see The Young Bloke drive off, I hoped he would be staying. The Boss isn’t back yet and I’m expecting a boring wait until dinner. But just when I’m not expecting it, Mum lets me out and we go for a walk. I haven’t thought about The Sheep all day, so its good to see the ewes and a couple of paddocks of lambs all present and correct.
The Boss comes back with more empty bins. I reckon the pickers will be here again tomorrow. Maybe The Young Bloke! Maybe even The Big Fella!! Hope so.
Today was a good day.