The unromantic aspect of farming …

There is always something to do on the farm.

This weekend, like most weekends, was spent erecting fencing. As a change, we were not erecting new fencing, but repairing old fences.

Having a mob of 70 Wallabies that traverse and utilise our farm might be scenic, but other than consuming feed they can run havoc on fences. Smaller females and joeys tend to prefer pushing through underneath fencing – which tends to push up wires and creating gaps … but the larger males often mis-judging heights or distances when jumping over and end up either catching the top wire or crashing through. This often results in a broken section of fencing that needs patching and re-straining to correct.

This week we had the added benefit of an overly amorous bull who also decided that his interests were in a heifer that wasn’t on the right side of the fence, so simply charged through the wires and trampled them down to remove the problem. That required the complete rebuild of 50 metres of fencing.

Finally, due to the amount of rain we’ve had over the last month, one section of fencing had the soil under it washed away by a small land slip, causing a crucial corner post for two fence-lines to come up and almost out of the ground. Managing to catch it in time, it took a few hours to sledgehammer it back into place, re-anchor the bottom of the post with some star pickets and a bag of quick-set cement.

We thought we were done when we see a mob of 15 sheep casually walking and munching their way across a paddock … we don’t have sheep. Neither does the gent we allow to agist cows on our property. So, we lost another hour as we chased, herded and cornered the beasts to call the neighbour and push them back over to his side of the fence line.

So all of this means we are behind on the fencing project we had set up for ourselves to finalise a paddock tree protection zone and restart a regeneration zone after the horrendous results of the last project where the unexpected drought and heat wave killed off all of our saplings.

The irony of going from super-dry drought to waterlogged soil in under three months isn’t lost on us either. The biggest issue of course being the impact our vehicles are making on the land. We try to minimise the impact by sticking to existing ruts, but that isn’t always possible. We will soon be needing to look at some type of grader and compactor to clean up the main track and to try to remediate the other areas where we have made an impact before the dry comes back and bakes them.

We are a month away from moving into our new place in Broadford, so the distance between farm and home will be 15 minutes rather than an hour as it is now – and hopefully that will mean we can start making a few more trips mid-week and not being stuck to weekends only.

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