Saturday, 26 July 2014

Got wood?

This is supposed to be the post where we say that since the kid was born we have been getting no sleep and the farm projects are falling behind, right?  But no, Cor’s parents came for a visit and have been world-class helpers with the cooking and childcare.  This has allowed me to get decent amounts of sleep and into the full swing of milling our own timber with Ernie (our builder), Steve (his off-sider) and a Lucas Mill.  We need timber for vertical boards and decking for our new house, a new set of cattle yards, sheds and barns, and farm stay cottages sometime in the off in the misty future.

We used an experienced tree feller to bring the selected trees down and while it was quite the challenge to get the trees cut up and pulled out of our scrub, like most things on the farm a bit of ingenuity, some sweat and a tractor made it possible.
The mill at work
To those unfamiliar with the Lucas Mill, it is a mobile mill that can be setup on almost any flat spot, allowing the milling and racking of timber where you want it, with no need to transport logs or timber off and on the property.  And together with some judicious use of our new excavator we have developed a system where the logs can be loaded, milled and unloaded in no time at all.
One of two blue-tongue lizards resting on our milling site

Loading up the logs onto our rail system for sliding into the mill
We are predominantly milling eucalyptus obliqua, or stringy-bark, one of the three trees classed as “Tasmanian Oak”.  It has a lovely reddish hue to the wood and mills beautifully.  We are even contemplating putting some aside to dry for making furniture out of in a few years.  It should weather nicely on the front of the house and we look forward to seeing it go up in a few months.
The beginning of our wood stack
The milling on its own should be enough for any man to deal with, however we have also had our new fencing started.  We have a contractor installing wallaby-proof wire around our orchard to keep our animals in and the free-loading wallabies out.  We are fencing off the majority of the bush from the orchard, leaving the bush area for wildlife, while protecting our orchard trees and pasture from the plague-like numbers of wallabies and pademelons in our area.  We are only in July and are already seeing a number of apple trees being ring-barked by the fauna.  We are planning to acquire some firearms to initiate a pest management program for those animals that remain within the orchard area.
The fence starts to go in
We also took advantage of Cor’s parents being here to leave the bonnie lad at home and attend the inaugural Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival at the Apple Shed.  My god what an amazing event.  Inspired winter food, cider in full flow and a massive bonfire, all to a great live soundtrack provided by a bunch of skilled bands.  We caught up with stacks of folks we hadn’t seen in a while, and had a great time on a lovely clear winter night out under the Southern Cross.  We will definitely be going again next year, and next time the boy can come.
A cold winter night at the Apple Shed

Which brings us (finally), to the boy.  Julian is now three weeks old and has finally started putting on some real weight (he was a bit lazy on the boob initially).  We have been not just leaning on the support of Cor’s parents, but the advice of everyone we speak to including our wonderful GP, midwives and our friends.  Pretty soon my mum will be here for a few weeks too.  There’s not much else to tell except it was a bit weird to realise on my birthday that we aren’t just a partnership any more, we are a family.  We aren’t just building Our Mates’ Farm, we are building our family farm too.

I surrender!