Saturday, 5 April 2008

Never ride shotgun on a tractor

One of the things I was hoping to achieve in my time here was to regain some of my physical fitness after a very flabby, sedentary winter. Today must have been my most physically gruelling day of the trip. Straight after breakfast we headed out to clean the remainder of the bricks. Sounds like something I would get time off for good behaviour from doesn't it? It was saved by the setting, however, down on the 'common' which is a small area of river flat surrounded by towering gum trees. Kookaburras were making a deafening sound calling from tree to tree and the sun was breaking through after the recent stormy weather.

Best of all, some of the trees on the far side of the river are ones that I helped to plant five years ago and are now over twenty feet high. It gives me a wonderfully warm feeling to see them.

By lunchtime we had cleaned all but fifty or so bricks but rain sent us scurrying for cover. There is even pleasure in this ostensibly ghastly task by finding ways of hitting the mortar gently in just the right place to make it all fall off in one place.

Even the discarded mortar is not wasted here. After lunch, after finishing the cleaning and stacking, off we went to the top of the hill where the sheds and rainwater tanks are to get the tractor. I got to ride sidesaddle on the mudguard which was not a pleasant trip. Despite seeming to travel at snails pace, the ponderous machine pitches and tosses such that I was more exhausted from hanging on for dear life than by smashing up cement. We filled the tractor's bucket with the surplus concrete and took it up the track to form hardcore in a muddy and unstable part of the surface. I was very glad to finish that task but can definitely feel my muscle strength returning. I just hope I won't be too stiff tomorrow!

Knitting related activity took a slightly different turn today. When I brought my sock blockers with me (only one pair...) Leon. who is a keen woodworker was very keen to see if he could make a version so today we put a piece of native hardwood through the thicknesser until it was thin enough, marked out a pair of blockers for me and one for Jess and cut it up ready for the next process. It will be a really wonderful reminder of this very special place.


Mandella said...

It sounds like you're working harder on holiday than at home, but I'm sure the benefits are worth it. Looking forward to seeing the sock blockers. Like you say, a lovely reminder.

Jenny said...

What an amazing adventure you're on! ....the outdoors, the fresh produce, your good cooking, rain on a tin roof, and knitting. What's there not to love?