Pumps, Friends, and Barbed Wire


barb wireThe other day, I found myself helping to fix a barbed wire fence in the dark. This is no easy task, as things can get a little ‘prickly’. It was however, fun, thanks to the fact that Bec H and Hubs were right beside me, wrangling with the ‘barb wire tightening tool’ (otherwise known as ‘strainers’. If you’ve ever tried using this tool without a demonstration, it would baffle even the keenest of practical minds, let alone using it in the dark. I myself have seen it in use multiple times, and it’s still a mystery to me… So in fact at this point I should admit that on this occasion I actually just stood there, murmuring words of encouragement to my friends as they ‘strained’ in the darkness that comes after dusk).

Finally, it was done. Hubs got to pull out his chainsaw to remove a branch off a fence (nice handling of that chainsaw Hubs), and 3 holes on the roadside fence were repaired (we have yet to look at it in daylight). Heading back up to the house, we walked in to the smell of a good old fashioned roast pork, cooked by my father in law in the old kitchen he grew up in oh so many years ago.

It was one of those nice moments in life. And it struck me, how much more enjoyable tasks can be made when shared.

2 hours prior to this, I had been down at the creek trying in vain to start up our pump to fill the water troughs for the cattle. My second go at it in 2 days, it goes without saying I was ready to throw the thing into the water (if only I was strong enough to pick it up).

creekThis pump has been a blessing, as well as a curse. 3 years ago, when we fenced off our creek to protect its banks from erosion by the cattle and protect the water from their poo, we bought the high powered pump (it has a ‘double impellor’ you know!) to get some of this clean water up to a tank at the top of the hill. From there it gravity feeds down some buried pipes to several troughs dotted around the property, where it satisfies the cattles’ and horse’s thirst.

Sounds like we knew what we were doing doesn’t it, but it would never have happened without the advice trough and coand practical help of a local farming guru friend (thank you Les!), who pretty much installed it all for us, while we walked behind the tractor pretending to be useful and, again, had quite a nice time.

The system is great, except that the pump is so heavy, and rather temperamental. And as much as I hate to admit it, I do have my physical limitations, and I’m just not strong enough to carry the pump up and down the steep creek bank. So it’s up to Dougal. But what to do if he’s away?

When I was 8 months pregnant with son #2, we had moved the pump up from the creek’s edge to ‘Position #2’ – the top of the creek bank, where we keep it when not in use. Then Dougal left for a stint away for work. By the time he returned, it was Day 4 of non-stop torrential rain and swollen creeks. The pump, needless to say, was not, er, in a good spot (it’s very important pumps don’t get inundated with water. Oops). I will never forget the image of Dougal, having returned late the night before, walking down the hill at 6am in the morning in the pouring rain. Outside the creek line, he waded in to waist high water to reach under and find the pump to carry it up the hill. He’d forgotten his belt so had to hold his sodden jeans up as he walked. The water squelching out of his wellies didn’t help. Oh, and did I mention he was sick with the flu? (There’s a photo somewhere, but I can’t find it).

Then there was the time when, still new to the pump’s machinations, Dougal accidentally dropped one of its caps (lids) into the creek. In he went after it. I still can’t believe he found it.

So you can imagine my relief the other day when Hubs turned up whilst I was struggling with yet another pump episode in our lives (Dougal was away).There’s nothing like a friend turning up to take away the tension of the situation. After all, it’s not sociably acceptable to lose one’s temper in front of a friend… is it?

… Well, when it comes to farming, all I can say is ‘thank goodness for friends’ (look for my next adventure in cattle health, where I will no doubt be expounding on this theme further with neighbours Jimmy and Glenn!) for making farming tasks fun.


This entry was posted in Farming, General, Life in a small community and tagged , , by Bec C. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bec C

I made the tree-change move from Sydney to my husband 'Dougal's' old family property on the mid-north coast several years ago, but only since the birth of my first son have I really lived here. In between raising 2 young sons, I am trying my hand at sustainable farm management... 'Trying' being the important word. Whilst the ability to pat my steers gives me much satisfaction, I love the fact that every morning I awake to space and open sky... even if it is 5am.

6 thoughts on “Pumps, Friends, and Barbed Wire

  1. Bec..we know the feeling!
    Have lost 3 pumps to flood waters over the last 20 years….we are lucky though to have such an abundant supply of water.
    The words ‘resilience’ and ‘resourceful’ spring to mind as I read your tale and yes where would we be without our wonderfully supportive friends and community.

    • Not 1, not 2, but 3 pumps! I tremble at the thought. Water seems to be either abundant or absent. And speaking of support – thanks for being on the other side of our fence! (not the one, incidentally, which we repaired in the dark, thank goodness!).

  2. It was fun Bec, despite the jabs from the barb in the dark. And the barbs from Hubs. A good laugh. And that roast, yummo.

  3. At least I know what a Strainer is; thanks to growing up on a farm! For many years I have become accustomed to the Domestic type. I much prefer the former!! Hopefully, the Fences or the Pump will never cause you worry again! Fabulous photos. Good idea Michael…..the Mini-Tyson- Turbine sounds perfect!

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