I woke this morning to dew dripping thickly off the roof, landing in fat drops on the grass. Everywhere I looked, droplets collected and clung, looking for all the world like frost. It’s mornings like this that I wish it got just a touch cooler up here – cold enough for a few icicles to form. Still, once the veggie garden is up and running I’m sure I’m going to be thanking my lucky stars that the property is frost-free and not killing off the tomatoes.
The last few days have been very busy around the farm as we’ve replaced all the old fencing with new posts and wires. The sight of the tractor bashing gigantic logs into the ground has piqued the interest of people driving down our quiet lane – the neighbours’ cars slowing down to a crawl as they wind down the windows and survey the goings-on. I wonder what they make of the fencing.
We did a dress-rehearsal for this tree-change about five years ago in a very tiny isolated town in country Victoria. We rented seven acres on the edge of town, surrounded by very large commercial beef and dairy farms. In that area fences were all-important; “good fences make good neighbours,” we were often told. And, judging by the standard of fencing, the neighbours were outstanding. Those farms had every post vertical and slick, row upon row of perfectly taut wire with a strand or two that was ‘hot’ (electric) for good measure. Stock escaping was virtually unheard of. Our fences, by contrast were, ahem, amateurish. I will never forget the neighbours’ expressions as we chased one of our escaped sheep up the street in an effort to shepherd her home. (A rookie mistake – as it turns out, like Little Bo Peep, if you just leave them alone they really will come home…in a day or three).
Anyway, after the last debacle with fencing, this time we were determined to get it right. So we consulted the experts and were told that in this climate metal starpickets would rust out within five years therefore wood was the way to go. So wood it was – a locally grown termite-resistant species to be exact.
The full sized logs, bark and all, were trucked onto the property and then hand-stripped of bark before being split to size. Three days and much banging later, we now have two freshly fenced paddocks – all ready and waiting for the arrival of the moos…