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Development - Let's start at the very beginning...

The first six months (January - June 2004)

January 2004.  The manual way isn't really sustainable, we soon learnt.For the first couple of months, the main work effort was to have fences installed on the road, western and eastern boundaries, and a culvert built across the stock race running along the road at the front of the property. This was the easy bit, as it was done by contractors... The next issue was what to do with the grass that had grown to knee height. That was easy - cut it for silage. Of course there's an easy and a hard way of doing things......

Actually, this is where contractors come in real handy, with big toys to do all the hard work. So a silage machine came in and cut and baled it and off it went to the neighbour's haybarn for winter feed.


January 2004Somewhere along the way, damage was done to the side of the stock race. Our first jobs outside the main development plan were to rebuild the bank that was allowing water to flood in, and to backfill the pool that was growing by the side of the stockrace. The race was also silted up, with approximately 70 metres length, by two metres breadth, and a foot of silt... that's a lot of material to dig out by hand. I guess when the novelty wears off we'll get machinery in to do it. But for the moment, Project Stockrace is keeping us gainfully occupied.

The development plan has us currently marking out the boundaries of the blocks ready for spraying and ripping shelter belt lines, and also ploughing over the land ready for sowing fescue in winter. No such simple solution as GPS, the ones we can justify buying aren't accurate enough... so its the wheel and the Mk I Eyeball to get the lines straight.


February 2004The cultivation started on 4 February, with the first ploughing of the north western half of the land, which will be used primarily for hazelnuts, but also for two walnut blocks and the house block. By the weekend a second ploughing had taken place. Cultivation was interspersed with marking out block boundary points, the well, and ripping lines.

Of course, the original markers managed to get moved during the ploughing, so more marking had to be done. Our consultant Stephen used his measuring wheel during the first marking session. The odd bumpy bit made that a tad inaccurate. We tried using our new GPS unit but with a 5m accuracy it just wasn't up to it! Oh well, we've accepted the imitations of modern technology and gone back to the good old 30m tape measure....


28 FebruaryFebruary 2004Well, well, well. That's an expensive accessory for cleaning your boots on. Ok, actually it's our well, which went down in the week of 23 February 2004, to a depth of around 30m (and was deepened in April to 50m, and was removed and redrilled in July after a stone dented the pipe to the extent the pump couldn't be installed...). In the background you can just see the power pylon from which we will have to carry electricity 300m...



late March


This trench runs through the middle of the front blocks and down to the front fenceline, for power cables to be run back to the nearest pylon. After very many delays, cable finally went in some time around 10 April (after a start of March expectation).


9 May 2004

By May, the grass seed had just started sprouting (although you could only see the faint green haze from directly above). Malcolm had also made an important additional investment with the purchase of a second-hand ute.

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