A ‘Grand Design’ it isn’t, but the Yarnauwi farm shed has seen enough delays to make even Kevin McCloud blush. After 14 months, our simple 4-bay equipment shed is finally done. Ordered in January 2016, with the shed company suggesting an initial completion date of June 2016, this modest structure was beset with delays ranging in scale from an apocalyptic winter through to urban tradies that couldn’t quite stomach the prospect of venturing beyond suburbia.
2014 was a year where the dry season came early and stayed late. It seemed as if the rain barely had a chance to soften the ground and throw up some soursobs before our clay soils began to crack again and the pasture browned off. Despite this, after two years observing the rhythms of this patch of ground, I feel like we’re becoming more resilient and optimistic: where previously we despaired at every lost seedling, now we celebrate every survivor.
In the spirit of permaculture, this year also marks a transition from our observational period towards beginning to implement infrastructure for a sustainable farming enterprise. With fencing and water infrastructure for livestock, our appreciation of the need for water only deepens, and despite its challenges, we’ve learnt to stop worrying and love winter.
A little while ago, some very generous friends offered us an old tractor that wasn’t suitable for their needs. We took delivery of the 1960s McCormick International Harvester A414 a few months ago, and while it mostly seemed to work, shortly after arriving some hydraulic lines blew-out, leaving the tractor unmovable. We contacted a couple of local mechanics to come out and have a look, generally receiving a response along the lines of “Fix it yourself.” While I’m not sure about how that works for them as a business model, it’s definitely in the spirit of the tractor, designed to be maintained, fixed and customised indefinitely with the assistance of a manual and some creativity.
After several weekends of tinkering, evenings of poring over manuals and the occasional visit to auto-parts shops, the mighty A414 roared into life. It handles like an ocean liner, sounds like a freight train and gets from 0-10km/h in a time comparable to the entire Jurassic Era, but boy, that slasher sliced through the dry grass of next winter’s reveg plantings like only spinning steel can. Continue reading