Sharing's Caring

Thank you to everybody who has shared this blog. Sharing is the way these things work, otherwise I'm justing talking to myself. If you like what you read please tweet, Facebook or email it to your mates. The more people outside our agricultural circle we can reach the better. Don't forget to have a look at the other blogs I'm following too. Everyone has a story to tell.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Good Erection aka Mother Natures Second Cousin

I had this story all written out in my head before we'd even started,. It was going to be hilarious, full of what went wrong, what fell over and how husband and wife nearly came to blows. I don't know why I thought that, we work very well together most times. Maybe I was just thinking of what would be easiest to write about here. Maybe I was going off our previous experiences. Either way, what transpired was not what I expected.

While we were at the Mingenew Expo last year, we bought a skid shelter, at the once off, never to be repeated, special Friday showtime special price. "Good luck for you, good luck for me." (Bali regulars should understand that last bit, basically means we paid too much while thinking we got a good deal). The skid shelter is a metal dome frame, with a large canvas tarp stretched over it. Great for machinery covers, or as we were planning, trough covers or shade for feedlots. We already had a 12 x 24 metre permanent shelter we use as a machinery shed. It's been up for eight years, and only lost the tarp last year in a huge storm that started north of Geraldton and shellacked it's way down south before uprooting pretty much all of York and Northam. So not too bad, considering the constant wind we get here. But we did have a few dramas building that one. The frames had the wrong spiggots on, a couple of pieces were missing, and when we had to put the replacement tarp on, we were short staffed and struggled to get it up.

After buying the skid shelter, due to the non mentioning of a fairly crucial piece of info by a client, it turned out we didn't need it in the feedlot after all. Rather than carting it back down to Popanyinning (yes, that's a real place), we decided to take it up to Gabyon as a shade in the yards for our goat pens. It gets stinking hot out there, and some shade for them would be nice while they wait in the yards for us to find their other mates and organise trucking.

First step. The shelter had been delivered in pieces to our place after the show.  It came as a bundle of pipes and a folded tarp. We loaded it up onto the car trailer we hired to bring back one of our many clapped out station utes for a service. This involved me guiding Gemma in the loader while she watched and ignored my hand signals, as every good loader driver does. All the bits were stacked on and we tied it all down, and this is about where my ideas for the blog were forming. If we make it out our corrugated drive without losing something, I'll eat my hat. The load looked like the leftovers of a game of pick-up-sticks, but minus the fighting over who moved which bit. Loaded and semi secure, we hit the road, only stopping just down the road at Moonyoonooka Store (yes, that's a real name too) to check the straps and get a drink to wash down my hat. The load hadn't moved. And nor did it. We arrived safely at Gabyon with everything still on board. Unheard of.

Next morning Gemma and I were left to tackle the shelter, while her Mum, Dad and Kieran (our young worker) went off to check mills and trapyards. We started to unload the pieces, trying to work out the best way to position the shelter so as to give shade to both pens without having to alter the fence between them too much. We decided the best bet was to start putting the thing together and see what happens. I reminded myself to take mental notes of what went wrong and how.

That needs to go on there.
An hour later the frame was complete. We were still married and wondering how far the others were away so we could get this tarp on. The thing went together beautifully. Gemma couldn't understand why I wasn't over the moon. We started to unroll the trap in readiness for the others to arrive to give us a hand. When they turned up they were suitably impressed. We threaded the pipes and tension cables through the ends of the tarp and prepared to haul it over the dome frame with ropes. Now, ideally, this is done with a gentle breeze at your backs, so as you  pull, it catches the tarp and helps lift it over. Ideally. What usually happens is it is either dead still, meaning the entire weight is dragging on the framework, or a gust comes out of nowhere and slingshots you and the tarp across the yards.

Heave away, haul away, me hearties!!

We got lucky. A nice breeze wafted over as we pulled, and the tarp was on and secured in minutes. Some final adjustments and tightening and the job was done. We drove eight steel pickets into the angles tubes to stake it down and covered the exposed bits with poly pipe. That's not going anywhere. The goats will be pleased.

I was too. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work so well with Gemma. We get most things done without any arguments. Not always, but more often than not. I am often reminded of our neighbours, who drove past one morning only to see a mass of B-Double sheep trucks lined up in our drive. The photo is on the right of the blog, just scroll down a bit.  There was three of them in three vehicles, and they all got out and said the same thing at their yards. "Did you see all the effing trucks Gemma and Michael's? Effing hell. Eff that, that's effing crazy." Or more or less. They then proceeded to weigh and draft 300 little crossy lambs. Within half an hour they were at each others throats, until one said "Look. Gemma and Michael have to load all those trucks. Then they have to go home together. If they can do that, surely we can bloody well do this!" So we are lucky in that regard. But I was left wondering as to how to write this story out.......

You stupid, stupid man.

All this all happened in November. The December fires (and the January and February ones) delayed the story. I was about halfway through the third paragraph of writing this last week when the phone rang. It was Helen. She sounded shaky. "What's up?" I asked. "Ooooooh, we've had the biggest wind here I've ever seen!!" she said. Bear in mind she's moved up from Geraldton, so that's saying something. "The woolclassers hut has lost it's roof, the patios gone, the plastic tank leaning on the fence has bounced off the generator shed and hit the windmill tower, and the lino in the kitchen has all lifted off the old floor boards.  And the goat shed is on top of the shearing shed."

Of course it is. Irony is the second cousin of Mother Nature.

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No, not a wayward paraglider, unfortunately

That used to be straight.

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