It’s nearing the end of the cane cutting season in Cairns and the ground is dusty as summer bears down on us. Yesterday morning, as I rode into Cairns on my pushbike, I could smell the cut cane long before I could see the harvesters at work. The sweet, green scent in the air is deeply ingrained and instantly recognizable.

As a child we used to head over the border to Murwullimbah and the Tweed Valley during cane cutting season to watch the immense fires as the fields were burnt prior to cutting. It was a spectacular sight, the fire flaring as the sun setΒ behind Mt Warning and the Great Dividing Range.

The hills around Cairns have a similar bulk and grandeur but with cane being cut green now there are no fires to light the night skies in North Queensland.

And, as always, the opportunists in nature arrive to make the most of it!


21 thoughts on “Sweet!

  1. I hear you on the triathlete front, Amanda. Girlfriend of mine has completed three ironmans. She used to tell me stories about the marathon leg how she’d cruise along behind a couple of men just admiring the, ah, scenery! πŸ™‚

  2. You and me both, Amanda – I love that my blog has parties all by itself. It’s kind of like watching a child grow up and become independent πŸ™‚

    I’ll concede that athletes train very hard to hone those muscle and that qualifies as ‘work’ in my opinion!

    Shekilda is less than a week away! Looking forward to being a writer for a weekend again!

  3. Sandy, yours is certainly well trained and the crews love flying with Capt B! I doubt there was any wood required in his training Cathy – he’s the perfect gentleman!

  4. *laugh* I miss the blog for a couple of days and wow, what I have come back to!

    Yes… I am much more interested in muscles honed with good honest work, rather than those worked on whilst eyeing one’s self in the mirror!!

    And yes, we are stereotyping… but my husband was a triathalete when I met him, and that is damn hard work to hone the muscles – and although not on the land, I’ll pass that as hard work!!!!

    How’s everything rolling along for SheKilda?!

  5. All any wman can ask for. Just remeber to hit him across the head with a heavy peice of would to attract his attention when training πŸ™‚

  6. The Candy gets stale, Whe I last saw the captainof the 1st Fifteen, he was 41, with a pot gut, still working at the freezing works, boning out, and going bald

  7. I so agree, Helene! Capt B had THE best biceps back in the day, *sigh*, when he was an aircraft maintenance mechanic and had to use his arms a lot.

    Of course I was a whole lot slimmer then, myself…

  8. Lol, it’s probably both, Sandy! Cane cutters look like pretty fit blokes in all the photos I’ve spotted!

    Amanda, there is something extra appealing about muscles that are honed by hard work not another hour in the gym. Call me old fashioned call me strange but I still think a fit tradie beats a buff hedonist any day πŸ™‚ (Oh dear but I’m using some stereotyping…)

  9. Some of them Amanda, I was raised in a farming and fishing village in New Zealand (Picton) I went to school with some of the “men who work the land” most where mighty thewed, and empty headed. Good on the Rugby field, no brain to injure πŸ™‚ One of my classmates was NZ cricketer Lance Cairns, Nice guy, worked as a slauhterman at the freezing works, thick as two short planks!

  10. Manual cane cutters…. mmmm… do have one of those fine specimens in my story!!! Nothing like those shoulders… bit like shearers! I am sure I was born in the wrong era and place – men who work the land are a sight to behold!

  11. Yeah, one of my grand-dads was a cane cutter (by hand) and one of the things I remember most about him was his big shoulders. Of course that could have been because I was a wee snapper myself at the time. πŸ™‚

  12. Sheesh, Cathy, Sandy beat me to it πŸ™‚ Spot on, they are egrets and ditto to all the reasons for burn offs.

    I understand it started when cane was manually cut – and that’s a blog post on its own. Once they started mechanising cutting the blades on the harvesters went through burnt cane more easily, and there was less weight to cart around with just bare stalks.

    Personally I think there’s a little pyromaniac in all of us and a cane paddock on fire is spectacular. Several farms up here still burn the slag off after cutting as it apparently puts nitrogen back in the soil. I think they like to watch πŸ™‚

    They now have harder blades on the machinery and as Sandy points out air-conditioned cabs -no doubt with iPod docks – and the job is done much more efficiently.

  13. Thanks Amanda, but I suffered all day from that ride… Not as fit as I’d like to think I am… sigh…

    And I miss clogging this week as I’ll be in Port Moresby or at least on the way to and from!

  14. Hey Cath, they look like Egrets and they used to burn the cane to get rid of the excess foliage – not to mention clear the paddock of snakes, pigs and any other nasties that could injure the canecutters. (Pardon me, Helene, for barging in here πŸ™‚ )

    Check out the airconditioned cabs on the equipment, very civilized.

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