Saturday, January 30, 2016

Life goes on.

Looking forward to a day off again on Sunday. We were rained off the other day but hey that don't count -sitting around the camp wanting to work. The tally is now ten farms I've been involved in clearing.

The land has responded to the decent bit of rain and looks a lot greener. The farmers appreciate our efforts and seem generally brighter than weeks ago. And the burnt trees are sprouting their Epicormic shoots. Life goes on.

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 Trees sprouting.

1000m fence-line. Pulled up, cut up, rolled up.

Woorragee -bushland reserve on the horizon.

Nine farms

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Watchbox Rd

Had a good team working on a tough job in the dust, the dirt and ash.

We looked like black and white minstrels at the end of the day with white only showing where the sun don't shine. Working 5+ hours on each of two days in the midday heat. Chain-sawing, felling, dragging and stacking trees to create a clearway two meters either side of an overgrown and burnt 400m fence-line.

These were young guys, up from Melbourne for the long weekend, to help BlazeAid, help the local farmers. Trial by fire, I thought, and they passed with flying colours. Showing true digger spirit on Australia Day. Tom, on the chainsaw all day, exhausting. Eliza an Aussie who lived most of her life in the USA and Siobhan, her friend, is a native Californian visiting Oz. Together they dragged and stacked logs all day. Well done guys. Joe and Gloria (farm owners) were extremely thankful.

The before shot. - The after shot is black and white :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Black Dog Creek Rd, Chiltern.

Yep back to the fences. Hot but going to be cooler from tomorrow, now that will be welcome. The farm we were on today, the farmer lost his machine shed and as a consequence his off-farm job and income.

All sorts of tools and equipment in this lot.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cottadidda NP

Time for a break. Stopped at Rutherglen for morning tea then on to Mulwala to do the laundry and get a few items from the supermarket. Next stop Barooga and a camp spot on the Murray River at Quicks Beach in the Cottadidda National Park. Love this spot -when it's quiet. Sadly not the case this Sunday but not too bad, ski boats and families, should be OK at night. Actually next day the tents and caravans are still here but all the people have gone. Locals gone to work?


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chiltern and Barnwartha

Day off. Housework. Provisioning and a bit of touring about. Drove around Barnawartha and over to Chiltern for breakfast. Intriguing main street, old buildings and antique shops. Came across some interesting street art in and around both towns. It can be rewarding venturing of the main hwy. Both towns were bypassed by the Hume upgrade back in the late eighties and today are probably quieter but still interesting places to visit.

Expecting some BIG mail?

Nah not even if I was busting.

Interesting, better than the ones in Bunnings.

Chiltern -full of old stuff.

Don't touch my mail!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Barnawatha T3 F2

Team 3 - Farm 2

Moved on to the next farm. Same area but up into the foot hills a bit. The vista is breath taking and makes us stop just to take it all in. Weather has been nice but expected to warm up significantly in the next few days.

This is a very big farm and the work stripping fences will be extensive. Undulating fence lines with downed trees, branches and foliage, slows us down. These fences are mostly in the sun, hot work, slow progress, tiring. 

Same country hospitality. The farmer and his wife providing morning tea and lunch. Again a monster size spread too tempting to resist. Doing all this physical work, all the walking up and down the fence line, pulling, cutting, bending, dragging, rolling. You might expect to loss a bit of weight and gain some condition but that may not be reality. Gain some condition yes...

Saturday night, tonight, is Farmers Night in camp where BlazeAid invite the farmers to dinner. A chance to socialise and talk about things other than fire and fences. And of course indulge in more food and drink.

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Not all houses were saved.

Looks like autumn came early, but they are gum trees.

Atop Jessies Lookout (on the property) - a grand view 

The previous fire - 2003

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Barnawartha -BlazeAid

T3 First Farm:

Seven new volunteers today. Now there are four teams of four going out to work. Team 3, including me, head south about 8km across the Hume Hwy and along the Indigo Creek Road to a farm with cattle and vineyard. It's exclusively red wine grapes. But hey they just supply the industry with grapes, no finished product or samples here :(

It's very picturesque at the foot of rolling hills, out of the way and quiet with lots of bird life. I can see why people choose to live here. So we meet the farmer and his wife, shoot the breeze for a bit, then get down to it.

The first bit, the messy bit, pull out the burnt fence posts, some steel some red gum, and all the wire and ringlock. Could be here for a week just pulling up fences as all the paddocks have tree lined wind breaks that went up in smoke and the fire and heat has trashed the fences. Pull it up, cut it up, roll it into bundles.

Morning tea and lunch are provided by the farmer and his wife and it's a decent spread. Gunna have to work it off before the evening meal from the Lions club, roast chicken and veg tonight.

After four days the job is done, well the first part anyway. Over 4km of fences removed. Tomorrow another farm, another fence.

A wind break - and where a fence was.

Golf course camping -need to call a golfer through now and then :)

More than 4km of burnt out fencing materials.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Gunning Narrandera Wagga

Crossed Sydney and on to Pheasants Nest for a night. Next night off the highway at Gunning. Woke to just 7deg. Not expecting that! And me with my summer weight bedding, brrr. A day later in Wagga it wouldn't get below 20 overnight.

Gunning is a great stop-over about 1km away from the noise of the Hume Hwy. A picturesque little town with old buildings and a small camp-site, down by the creek. If you are not early you will miss out but there's always space at the showgrounds.

Then Narrandera for 5 nights. Did some "farmer Brown" stuff with a tractor and slasher and caught up with friends and family. Lived in Narrandera for 7 years, 5 years ago. Met some nice people, made some good friends and am still paying rates on about 10 hectares there.

Wilks Park Wagga. It's decision time again: Barnawatha, Ballarat in Victoria or Hamley Bridge in South Australia? Hmm will use mathematics to solve this one. Respectively they are ~150km, ~500km or ~900km from Wagga. Looks like BlazeAid in Barnawatha wins out.

Yep cropped and recycled but still Gunning by the creek.