Monday, 21 November 2016

Daughters and hay, running and weeds

Hi everyone,

Life's been a bit quiet lately, so I simply have a short diary post for you tonight.

After the run in the home town on Friday I came back up to the Goulburn Valley with the old boy.  We got back about 2300 on Friday night.

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

Saturday brought me a prolonged case of 'hurry up and wait'.  We unloaded new hay rake the old boy bought the other day and hitched it up to the Fordson in an agricultural old-meets-new.  He then set off to rake the mown grass on the lower paddock, and shortly afterwards Barry happened along to work the baler.  Regrettably, the old boy has never truly accepted that I might be able to use farm machinery without destroying it, so I was tasked with waiting at the house for instructions.  I did this until about 1300 when I was asked to drive over to Arcadia to pick up a mechanic (Richard) and bring him back in case the baler broke down.  It didn't, so Richard, former brother-in-law, and I waited under the trees in the hay paddock for most of the afternoon for something to happen, which it didn't.  Yes, this is how exciting farmlife can be when you're eternally 9 years old.

Sunday rolled around and I was back on 'wait' duty.  I took advantage of the time to Skype with Grace and Rachel, who are doing great and smarter than ever.  Rachel has started writing stories about the "Frost" family (kind of vaguely Frozen meets the Clownarounds).  I got the impression that she writes stories when she's sad or in trouble.  I love that: it was something like that that I did when I was much younger, creating whole little worlds inside my head when I felt lonely.  Mind you, there's a lot of hard thinking going on in that little head too: the Ex showed me a "contract" Rachel drew up.  That is, it had the word 'contract' at the top, then a big blank, then a space for the Ex to sign, and then a series of numbers which were the number for the Ex to call for advice on her contractual obligations.  Why the big blank?  Because Rachel would fill in the details of the contract after it was signed!  Apparently my daughters are now going to John D Rockefeller Elementary!!!  Grace, it turned out, followed suit by preparing a contract of her own, but with a more matter-of-fact approach (the Ex found herself contractually obligated to make gumbo).  Grace, for her part, is loving drawing at the moment.  I couldn't see what it was she was drawing, but I got the impression one of the things was a picture of me.  We rounded out the skype watching a Mickey Mouse Christmas thing together, where the cartoons all appeared to be the old style, two dimensional Disney (or at least, new cartoons done in the old style).  I may be a bazillion miles away from them, but daddy-daughters moments are no less special for that.

There was still nothing to be done as regards farm work on Sunday afternoon, so I prepared vegetables for a stew, dealt with a bundle of SES emails, and set up and 'event' on Facebook for a local fun run where the SES Unit will be entering a team.  Then, it was time for my Sunday long run, of which the details are in the preceding photo.  My pace in running is fairly crummy at the moment.  I seem to start out tired and slow and struggle to get any speed up.  Although that day it may have reflected me being in my older sneakers, which were long since retired but which I put on by accident.

A photo posted by Stephen Tuck (@sdtuc2) on

The clouds threatened rain all afternoon, but nothing fell on the run and only a few spots afterwards.  They were still there this morning, which was kind of a relief as I'd agreed to work with Darryl the Gardener weeding a large yard.

The yard in issue was rather bigger than Darryl had banked on.  It was also a lot worse than the 4 hours work the client had paid for.  The problem was essentially that the house was in one of the new estates, and the yard was simply sand (in a climate like Shepparton, that's either a very good or a vey bad idea).  Being sand, no grass had grown.  Absent maintenance over early Spring, a regular Amazon Basin of weeds had grown up - probably enough to be a solid 4 days work to weed by hand, and really more than could be done with the whipper-snipper and mower.

This is about 40% of the yard

In the end we laid down some spray in select areas and will leave it till the client confirms he's happy to have a rotary hoe hired to turn the weeds into the ground.

Work knocked over for the day I ran some errands in Shepparton, drove to Tatura and attended to yet more SES tasks, and then came back here in enough time for a storm warning to be issued for this area.  I was happy to roll out to callouts, but in the end there was simply two squalls of wind and no jobs to attend to.

The rest of the week should be reasonably active - blood bank and legal volunteering tomorrow, and SES event on Wednesday, and my first stint as a Red Cross Telecross volunteer on Friday.  Thank heaven a busy life is a happy life!

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