Drilling Rig Aftermath May 2012

  So this is what the long weekend of diesel fumes, noise and mud produced. A pile of sand and ground up rock, and a big steel tube sticking out of the ground with a sack wrapped around it.

Early Monday morning when the rig and crew had left we gazed at it all in amazement. Well, we had good water - in quantity and quality - but still couldn't use it. So what now? We needed to drop a submersible pump into the steel tube to pump the water up to the surface. To do that we needed power. Then we needed a pumphouse to mount the solar panels and keep the batteries to power the pump. And finally we needed tanks to store the water on the ground until we want to use it. We still had a long way to go on this project. We packed up camp mid Monday morning and headed back to civilisation and work.

  New Road Garden

Back to some smaller projects. That tree in the middle of the new road was just looking for an accident to happen so we got going on making the little garden we had planned.

We decided on a small stick edging around the tree in a semicircle to butt up against the log fence and then to fill the garden area with sand dug out from the lapa foundations mixed with some of the compost stuff (twigs and leaves) that we saved when clearing the lapa area. The "compost" layer about 10cm thick was scraped away into a heap from under the lapa black wattle tree.

Garden marked out and little trench dug for stick edging
  We looked at the commercial stick edgings at the nursery and although they looked great, that solution was just too expensive. So, we had wood, we had wire and we decided to make our own. We went on a stick hunt into the forest and pulled out lots of sticks roughly the same thickness and I cut them to equal lengths with the chainsaw. Then we drilled two holes in the same place on each stick and threaded a strand of galvanised fencing wire through each of them, one stick at a time. We did the entire 6 meters in one length and then dug it into the ground. We then ran some thick garden edging plastic around the inside to prevent the sand from escaping between the sticks.
Building up the stick string
Martie doing the stringing
Garden fenced off ...

... filled with soil ...

... and ready for plants
As we often do on the farm, we worked until it was dark (photo on left taken with flash) but got the stick edging done and ready for filling before heading off home.

Two weekends later we mixed up some sand and "compost" and filled the garden. The soil texture was good and we watered it well in preparation for planting some shrubs and seeds. We also put in an old log along the back to hold the soil away from the big hole in the ground where a very big tree had fallen over and the roots ripped out of the ground.

The massive tree roots are a feature backdrop to the garden and of special interest is the original steel fence pole visible in the hole. The tree had grown around the pole and enclosed it completely. The hole left by the uprooting was probably home to porcupine and other small animals over the years but now home only to a small hive of bees.

The next weekend we planted some little cheapie shrubs just to get something green in the drab winter vegetation.

At any cost I wanted a big delicious monster in there so we took a cutting from our one at home. We've had excellent success with cuttings at home in the garden and were hoping this one would take. Being mid-winter, it was not really the time for this operation, but we had the garden ready so just went for it.

  Temporary Fence on the New Road

Where our new road passes through the lowest point in the forest we did not put up the normal log fence. We will decide later what we will do there. The problem is that during heavy rain storms we have seen the water rushing through that area up to 200mm deep. By clearing the vegetation for the road there will be erosion in time and we will need to be able to control that water flow in some way in the long term.

We are thinking along the lines of building a "dam wall" across where the log fence runs and dig away some ground on the other side of the fence to raise the road, running overflow pipes under the road to allow water to flow "through". This would mean there would be a small dam where the ground is dug away. One problem there is firstly the dam would need to be sealed as standing water seems to seep away very quickly through the soil in the area and secondly, if the water does stand for a few days it would become brackish very quickly due to the leaves from the forest.

We'll tackle those problems later but in the meantime we knocked some Y-standard poles into the ground instead of planting upright logs and wired some crosspieces taken from the forest to complete the fence.


We had a very good relationship with our neighbour Kallie and were planning to break into the game fence separating our farms and put in a gate wide enough for a vehicle to pass through. As we were only on the farm on weekends, this would allow Kallie to access the farm if neccessary for firefighting and to check out any unusual activities. It would also be a convenience once we are on the farm full time.

We bought a little inverter welder keeping in mind it would eventually need to be able to run from our generator. We bought two steel poles and top caps and bases and I successfully "welded" the top caps and bottom bases to the poles. I then painted them with a good aluminium paint and they were ready to erect . And no, I'm not going to put up any pictures of the welding. I need more practice!