The yellow powered wheelbarrow is beyond economic repair. It’s always a tough decision to walk away from a farm machine, especially when the thing has performed sterling service over the years. Some of the blame can be placed upon the economics of the situation. Blame however is also shared with the design and construction of the machine. My gut feeling suggests that the thing was never intended to be heavily repaired. And we also share part of the blame. The thing was serviced, but at times we could have been more gentle with it. And here we are today with a near dead machine. What to do?
The machine still has work to do, but alas in its present condition that is impossible. A decision was made to replace it. Turned out that there isn’t much of a market for these types of small farm machines. Most farms employ much larger machines, and there are plenty of those to be had, but they’re way beyond our needs – not to mention budget. And yet, the property here is too big for hand tools, given the distinct lack of hands available to do work. We looked around, discovered a paucity of options, and purchased the next model up of the yellow power wheelbarrow. The older machine will be retained for spare parts.
With any machine purchase, we tend to purchase the cheapest, no frills thing that will sort of do the job. It’s really hard to know how and when you’ll use a machine, and even when cheap, neither are they free. So, it makes little sense to start with the best, especially if you don’t know where the weak points are with the machine. It’s one thing to have to replace a fairly cheap unit. It’s another thing entirely to explain to Sandra that you’ve unintentionally destroyed a very expensive bit of equipment (fortunately in this instance, Sandra was there at the time!)
We have a rule of thumb to guide decisions when faced with this predicament. If there is a continued need for the machine, but the original item wasn’t much good and didn’t last, get a better version, if you can.
That’s what being prudent looks like.
But even with the best of intentions, the greatest of attention, and the nicest of care, things still just break. And there is always an economic dimension to the predicament.
Speaking of economics, there’s been a lot of talk in the news of late of things breaking and changing. It needn’t have been this way, but that’s the way of predicaments.
Some moments are pivotal, events turn around them. Over a quarter of a century ago, the country seemed to be dragging its sorry carcass from the depths of a five year recession. The statistic: 10% unemployment, strikes fear into my heart. By 1997, things were on the up. Part time study at University had been completed. The debt collection job which was utilised to get through the tumultuous times, was two years in the past.
The day was sunny and cool, it may have been early spring. A house auction in the up and coming, but in reality gritty inner urban industrial suburb of Yarraville, was being held. The weatherboard house up for auction had two street frontages and an enviable garden.
Crowds have an electric vibe you can almost sense. The auctioneer held the attention of all. Bids were made, then accepted. The sun shone on the quiet, tense in-between moments. ‘Going Once’ was called. ‘Going Twice’, then ‘Sold!’ The crowd applauded the performance. The house sold for $215,000.
In between work, friends, study, fixing old houses and having fun, we didn’t have a lot of spare time. Certainly there was no time for television. Late at night we used to walk the dogs around the suburb. We knew every nearby street, and the dogs sure knew every street too.
Late at night the streets were quiet. Despite the recent claims to pretension, it was a working class suburb, and most people who lived there, had to work. We had to work too, there was just no other free time. But those quiet late night walks were the perfect time for hatching plans and discussing ideas. Why did that house sell for more than it was worth? And what did it mean? The ideas were pondered, explored and debated.
A quarter of a century later that same property is probably worth around $1.5 million. We’re now at the beginning of the end-point of that story. The system looks broken, with no easy fixes. What to do?
Now that the greenhouse project is complete, we’ve been toying around with the idea of establishing a much larger vegetable garden. Inside the soon to be created fenced and gated larger vegetable garden, there will be two rows of citrus trees. The local wallabies (a slightly smaller forest dwelling kangaroo) destroy citrus trees, and the trees themselves don’t grow large enough to escape the marsupials reach. The wallabies can’t accept any reasonable middle ground for their activities, so we’ll fence those trees off.
This week, we began the process of moving about half of the citrus trees to the new area.
The trees are planted 3m / 10ft apart, which should be fine for the small shrubs which they are. And the rows will incorporate a 1.8m / 6ft path going up and/or down the slope. Such a path will be wide enough to get any of the machines into the area, for whatever purpose. The fencing and gates will be installed over the next year or so.
Plus the area has the benefit of being sunnier around the winter solstice when the sun is very low in the sky.
We have an enormous amount of available land in that part of the property, but to date we haven’t used it. Basically, the mountain range was logged from around 1860 until the 1960’s, and the loggers have left a right mess in that part of the property. We’re in the process of cleaning it up.
Rocks are being removed from the paddock. Old tree stumps left behind are being ground out. It astounds me to see that the guts of the stumps are pristine after so many decades.
I’ve said it before, but it really is hard to fathom what the loggers were thinking to themselves when they left the mess behind. No natural process can explain a tree stump left in this position:
I suspect that they had two bulldozers and chains, and maybe they intended to burn off the stumps but discovered for themselves what a hard job that is. Dunno, a true mystery. Here’s another:
I tend to treat trees with the respect they deserve, after all, they can kill you. Near to that area are a couple of 30m / 100ft trees leaning on a complicated angle. They were knocked off vertical in the crazy wind storm mid last year. There wasn’t much damage here mostly because the property is sheltered from the south east where the unlikely winds originated. Not much damage does not imply no damage though, and these two trees are now very dangerous.
The clean up work is hard, but fortunately there is no great hurry to do the work. It can be taken at a leisurely pace (leisurely for us anyway!)
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10.00am is 4’C (39’F). So far this year there has been 549.2mm (21.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 524.8mm (20.7 inches)