It’s the time of year for remedial works around the farm and also around the house to be undertaken. There’s always a list of things to be done and the only way is to start at them. It can be difficult to get the house prioritised. That’s why the list is important. Our house was built in 1995 and is now starting to show signs of wear and tear. We’ve already replaced a set of French doors with a sliding patio door. They were a bad decision for a south-west facing aspect. There’s at least one more window that needs replacing soon. It’s an awkward bay window that runs to the floor. It’s lovely to have features until it’s time to replace them. In hindsight, we left a break in the patio for garden plants at the base of the window. I planted a Wisteria and other things. I didn’t think about the damp conditions that plants would provide around the window to encourage rotting. That’s something for new house owners to note. So the low down window board and base of the window is rotting. We opted for teak windows because we wanted to use as many natural materials as possible. They do require ongoing maintenance and do suffer in the south facing aspect of the house.


There was one pressing issue to be addressed. Our kitchen and back kitchen shores were blocked and were spilling out across the patio for the last month. All possible quick fix actions had been tried; nothing worked. The soak pit was in trouble. It had been in place 28 years and had just silted up. Lawrence Burke Agri-contracts had been spraying the grass seeds and Tim asked him if he’d bring on his machine with his neat, shallow drainage bucket to do the job. We didn’t want to wreck the lawn. Lawrence said he’d be on at 11am the following morning. We’ve a fence around the garden to keep Ricky safe and we didn’t want to dismantle that. Lawrence reached in with the drainage bucket and began to scrape. He firstly took off the sod and put it neatly aside. Then he began to scrape carefully until he met the stone that had been put in for soakage. Gradually he uncovered the pipe. It had a longitudinal split in it and was blocked solid. Tim and I were both peering into the hole. It looked like the pipe went all the way out to the fence. So, Lawrence started at the other side of the fence. There was a blue water pipe on top of the ground buried in grass. Tim was making sure Lawrence saw it. Lawrence did the neatest job. The pipe stopped exactly at the fence. Typically, when you least want it, it started to rain! I left the scene. Lawrence worked on. I saw Tim back in his place with some kind of contraption to shield him from the rain. I realised he’d whipped the cover from the barbecue and was using it as an umbrella. That’s men for you! Tim got a saw and cut off the broken pipe and went off to get replacement pipe from the yard. Laurence got the water hose and worked it up about two meters into the pipe. The black goo from years of washing pans, dishwasher detergent and washing machine waste was not a pretty sight. In no time Lawrence had the pipe cleared. The rain was down for the evening so the job was paused.


The following day, Tim did the remedial works necessary and filled the holes with the loader. He put back the sod neatly. A few lawn cuts and all signs will be gone. There was a bit of red ground left bare on the far side of the fence. The cows were in that plot to graze it a few days later. I looked out from my bedroom window to see three cows rooting in the little bit of bare ground, pawing and throwing the soil up on themselves. They were having a great time and it reminded me of a time when the cows broke into my garden when we were just starting out. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Now I can smile about it and cross fixing the shores of the to-do list.

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