Sunday, June 25, 2017

Finished a BIG one.

So this team has been dubbed the 'Infinity Fencing Team' going out each day working down the fence line with directions "just head for the horizon". Then, "turn left and head to the horizon again". Well, 'The Horizon Fence' has been finished. But wait there's more. Just one more "small job". Yeah Right!!! Small on this farm, can't quite imagine that.

But it's all good. Each day there's been lots to see, a
ll sorts of birds and even wild deer roaming the paddocks. There's a great sense of achievement driving through the paddock along the fence, going 'home', counting off the kms of clean, straight fence. 

Yep, wild deer a stag and his girls.

Ah, that's why farmers get annoyed if you leave the gate open.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Counting The Cost

Now that most of the essential farm fences are back in place it's time to muster the cattle and count heads, sort animals, sell some, whatever. And all that stuff the farmer would be doing had there been no flood, loss or damage.

The expectation is that stock could well be mixed up between farms. The neighbours or a down river farms might have some of your stock or you his. Others beasts will be missing and never found.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Not Just Farms - Lotus Creek.

There is not a lot to see driving the old Bruce Hwy from Marlborough to Sarina. A school and camp draft grounds at Clarke Creek and a service station caravan park at Lotus Creek, is about all.

The school and library at Clarke Creek were inundated but the rushing flood waters trashed the Lotus Creek servo and park, washing most everything down the creek. The elderly owner says he will restore the place but his health is not the best. So getting fuel a cool drink or an ice-cream is now a big trip for the locals either to Sarina, Marlborough or Middlemount.

Top soil washed away.

The cabins and dongas from the caravan park.

Lotus Creek servo now.

Not Just Fences - Clarke Creek.

Besides the fences and cattle that are damaged or lost in a flood of this magnitude other infrastructure can be affected as well. In this case, 5 x 22,000-litre water tanks, the pump and a solar array that powers it.

Working with the farmer it was possible for us to re-wire the solar and get the pump going again. The five tanks had previously been found and relocated but not yet plumbed back into the system. The distance between the pump and the last tank is several kms and it's possible to clock up a few clicks driving around this 50,000-acre property, back and forth, as we've done in the last couple of days. Conventional 4x4 cars and utes can't handle this sort of terrain so we've been using single seater 4 wheel motorbikes and the larger 3 seater gator for transport.

The solar array.

The submersible pump.

Plumbing a tank.

Popping the tank lid back up again.

Draw straws. Someone has to adjust the float valve.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Clarke Creek stats

After a couple of weeks, the stats for this camp:

53 volunteers - 459 equivalent days worked
17 properties registered - 11 started - 4 complete
50km fence cleared - 36km rebuilt
and about 1000 meals prepared for the volunteers
The camp has been receiving lots of community support like locally butchered deer and beef.

A BA volunteer had been working this property where the power transmission lines traverse. On the way home one day she directed us in for a look see. Five towers were brought down, domino effect when one toppled after a tree, floating on the flood water, struck the cables.

Giant meccano gone wrong?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Funnel Creek

Doesn't always happen but this time it was true: the talk around the campfire was spot on.

Our first day out and first farm started out with a 70km drive to the farm gate and then a 12km drive down the driveway to the homestead. Meet and greet, shoot the breeze and off to work. Well not quite. Leave your 4x4 and trailer here it won't get to where we need to go, says the farmer. So we load up into 2 quad bikes, a 3 seater gator and the tractor.

A slow drive of 4km through the paddocks to where the tractor was needed to ferry us, our tools, and 3 quad bikes across the Funnel Creek, then off to the boundary fence.

It proved to be a family day out with our 4 BA volunteers working side by side the farmer his wife and two young children.

It was a big day getting back to camp after dark having worked in the paddock and driving about 170km. A new and different adventure tomorrow?

The gator getting a ride across the creek.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Clarke Creek - Yep BA again.

Two nights and three days to get to Clarke Creek, 720km an easy drive. Managed to link up with some Highway Wanderers for one night at Kabra on the outskirts of Rockhampton and get the goss on where everyone is and what's been happening around the traps.

Next day arrived at Clarke Creek to find a small but friendly camp. Some volunteers, about 4 small groups, are camping on properties but most go out from the base camp each day. Talk around the campfire suggests this will be a new experience, these are very big properties. Fifteen minutes to get to the farm/station then forty-five minutes through the paddocks to get to the fence requiring attention.

Not much at Clarke Creek but fortunately, there are communications, not sure I would last long without access to the net.

Early morning Clarke Creek.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

BA Rathdowney Closes

The BlazeAid camp at Rathdowney has closed after 6 weeks. 32 farms were assisted and about 60km of fencing cleaned and repaired. 

Time to hit the road to somewhere a bit warmer, but first needed to make sure the trailers would be right for the next time. The overnight temperatures have been down into single figures whilst the days have been reasonably warm but with what seems is become a regular cold breeze each afternoon.

Back to Cotton Tree for a few days to provision and look after the mail. Then on the road again heading north of course. First night out Gin Gin stopping at the free camp on the north side of town.

8 eight trailers full of tools