Having a gravel quarry of our own has been a boon, but to use it we need something to dig the gravel up and something else to transport it. Hiring that comes at a big cost – and includes travel time. Buying a truck means storage and servicing issues.
An ingenious local – and we’ve found lots of them – came up with an answer. A pranged farm ute has been idle for a couple of years, but still can do good 4-wheel drive work.
“I can turn it into tipper for you” offered Ron, who runs a truck repair business. Just three grand later, and we have a perfectly good vehicle for transporting and tipping gravel and topsoil. It has been put to good use in completing our pathway around the oval.
A good tip – talk to the locals when trying to solve an issue!
Now on the western side, past the Bradman roses and on towards Bay 13, we’ve built a gravel path, erected an arch, planted four more rose beds – each with 10 roses – and placed garden benches on a gravel base in between. Recently we’ve added topsoil to cover areas of bare clay, and the grass seed we’ve planted is beginning to sprout.
Back on the eastern side, our tree grove is becoming a gorgeous, tranquil spot, especially at dusk. Garden beds of agapanthus are thriving where previously nothing would grow under the trees, creating a shimmer of green interspersed with attractive gravel paths. Going down there early morning or late in the evening is a real pleasure.
Rain, lovely rain – 55mms of it since May 2. And from almost a dust-bowl, with help from a touch of fertiliser, the VG is rapidly getting back its green colour.
Apart from a quick sudden storm on the last day of January, it is the first proper rain since mid-December. The locals say it has been the driest they have seen it since last century.
Like all people on the land, the rain always seems to miss us, sliding past down towards Melbourne or coming past us from Melbourne to hit the high country.
But all that changed in May. And the kangaroos are out in force. Mostly they are hidden during the day, but with a green tinge in the field they are out in the daylight re-stocking their reserves.
At 8am this morning a huge old grey roo was grazing within 10 metres of our back door. As I write this I can see a dozen grazing on the hill. The wombats have been digging away under our cricket fence. And once I finish this I must go chase the ducks off our cricket oval. They do little harm to our grass, but what they leave behind is something of a pain.
Our Glampers have been full most weekends, far exceeding our expectations.
Last week a young engineer called Josh who works on mining camps all over Australia arrived with his French girlfriend not long before dark.
“We’ve got to climb Mt Buggery at dusk,” he declared. An hour later after sunset I notice lights up near the top of the hill. Josh had left it a bit late, and descending the hill in pitch black was not a good idea. Taking our dog Angus, I headed off to wait for them at the bottom in case of disaster, and eventually they emerged and were shocked to see us waiting. “Wonderful,’ was all Josh could say. “It was hairy, but we loved it.”
And off they headed for their glamper, knowing the fire-pit in its 44 gallon drum was ready to be lit and the panel heater meant inside was nice and warm. And not content with that, Josh was keen to get out in the dark and spy a wombat in the big burrow not far away!