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Hubris is defined in my 1952 fourth edition copy of the “The Concise Oxford Dictionary” as: “Insolent pride or insecurity”. This week an unexpected turn of events forced me to reassess my own sense of insolent pride.
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The story of the ghosts of irrigation past - and thus my fall from grace - commenced quite a few years ago at a local open garden. Have I mentioned before that I love local open gardens? An open garden is where a person that owns a garden opens it for the general public to peruse.
From my perspective local open gardens are a great opportunity to observe how other people address many of the same problems that I also encounter. That use of observation, I believe, saves me from repeating other peoples mistakes.
At one open garden in the now distant past, the editor and I by sheer chance met a local lady who we knew. After the usual amount of good natured chat was exchanged, the lady offered to introduce us to the gardener of that particular garden. It was a reasonably impressive garden and the editor and I took up the offer and plied the gardener with many questions, which the gardener was more than happy to answer. It was a very pleasant chat all round.
One subject that I discussed with the gardener was that of the water pipe (or irrigation) systems in the garden. The gardener was very factual about the deficiencies of those water systems and also that the systems required constant maintenance and repair. It is a repeated discussion that I have had with many other people in similar situations and most of those people also recount a tale of woe and water systems failure.
We decided to learn from those many discussions and installed a simple network of buried water pipes which when combined with a water pump, can pump water to seven garden taps and one bushfire sprinkler dotted about the farm. The pipe network consists of about 100m (330ft) of 3/4inch high pressure quality poly pipe and fittings. The system has worked faultlessly for three years. With such a reliable water system, I had been quietly thinking to myself for a while: “Thank God for me!” I believed that I had dodged a bullet and hubris had set in...
Unfortunately, my run of perfect hubris crashed and burned this week, because the water system sprung a leak and before 24 hours had passed, 1,500L (about 400 gallons) of stored water simply disappeared. And that was about the time I realised that with so much of the 100m (330ft) of water pipes buried, I had absolutely no idea where the water leak was in the system. Long term readers may also realise that the winter here has been very wet and damp and so the water leak was not even visible at the soil surface despite so much water leaking at one spot.
The thing that really added insult to injury was that if I had constructed the water system on the cheap using cheap pipes and cheap fittings, then I would have felt better about the situation. However, I utilised very high quality components and installed them correctly.
With the lessons that I have learned from other gardeners, added now to my own sad experience, I am now having to consider the reality that perhaps these water systems should be established in a way that ensures that the entire system can be inspected visually and/or repaired easily. This approach means laying the 3/4inch water pipes on the soil surface rather than burying them and such an approach goes entirely against the conventional wisdom. The unfortunate thing with correcting this problem is that I will have to abandon much of the existing below ground water system because digging all of the components and pipes out of the ground is a huge job, which I do not have time for now. However, the fortunate thing about this situation is that it occurred in late winter rather than high summer when I would require the system for watering and/or for the bushfire sprinklers. Hopefully I will be able to resolve this mess before the hot weather arrives…
Speaking of being busy, the excavations for the new garden terrace continued this week. This new garden terrace which is being dug into the side of the hill – by hand – will be planted out with thornless blackberry and strawberry plants over the next few weeks. Both of those types of berry plants will be enclosed by their own purpose built enclosures.
|Pythagoras’ Theorem is used to define the space for the new thornless blackberry enclosure|
The now long dead ancient Greek mathematician dude: Pythagoras, came up with a theorem which the editor used (refer to above photo) to ensure that the new enclosure for the thornless blackberry plants ended up with reasonably accurate right angles. That mathematical wonder theorem was used by the editor to set out the boundaries for the berry enclosures. And this is a fortunate thing for me as digging holes with the hand augur tool was hard enough work. You could say that that most excellent theorem augured hard work for myself!
|The author digs one of the many holes for the treated pine posts using the hand augur tool|
As the sun dropped lower in the sky and the day got longer, the many holes were eventually dug. Holes in the ground are also wonderful things because you can then refill them! And that was certainly the case that day. The treated pine posts were placed into the ground and then cemented into place. String lines were used to ensure that the posts were all accurately aligned, and I would like to take credit for that, but I would probably be edited to reflect the reality of the situation…
|Many treated pine posts were cemented into the ground on the new garden terrace this week|
Observant readers would have noticed a few things about the above photo. The cement was mixed by hand in the blue wheelbarrow with a shovel. Also, all of the treated pine posts are pre-loved as they were recent rescues from the local tip shop and the former chicken enclosure/current wood shed number 2 project. Plus a path which leads from a concrete staircase and down onto the garden terrace has also been dug into the ground behind me in the above photo. Lastly, you will notice that the two posts closest to the camera are much taller than the other posts which are further away (more on this at a later date).
It has been a week of hard work. But never fear, just when you the reader were getting tired reading about all of this hard work, we also constructed another concrete step leading up to the new garden terrace.
|A new concrete step was constructed this week for a staircase leading up to the new garden terrace|
Actually, I reckon I’m feeling a bit tired reading about all of this hard work and probably deserve a nice glass of ginger wine! Speaking of which, the new cabinet which was purchased to store all of the fermenting home brew, out of sight of visitors, received a day or so of sanding in order to remove the varnish. In the photo below you can see the original colour of the cabinet prior to sanding with the three doors which are much darker and are currently stored within the unit itself.
|A new cabinet for storing fermenting home brew products received about a day of sanding this week|
The coming week here at the farm looks set to be another wet week. It has been a very wet winter here, which followed on from a reasonably hot summer. The humidity most days this week has reached 99% and on some days you can see the moisture in the air.
|This week has been particularly humid and the moisture is visible hanging in the air|
One of the most attractive birds to call the farm home is the King Parrot. It is good to be the King! And of course, being the King, must make it the most attractive bird here don't you think?
|The farms resident King Parrot shows off its colours against the grey late winters day|
This week was particularly special because the King Parrot decided to show off its new progeny.
|The resident King Parrot dines on geraniums whilst keeping a close eye on its young|
I was surprised at what a little chunkster the baby King Parrot was! It has certainly grown up in a good paddock!
The remaining bee hive appears to have over wintered well and the bee foragers are now flying all over the place whenever the sun shines in between the grey late winter skies. I caught this bee harvesting some pollen from the very early flowering almond trees. Observant readers will be able to see collected pollen as a yellow lump on the furry gut of the bee.
|The bees have been out and about harvesting pollen and nectar this week (when the sun did eventually shine)|
The earlier varieties of apricot have begun to produce blossoms this week too! Yay for Spring!
|The earlier varieties of apricot fruit tree have begun to produce blossoms this week|
The antics of the local marsupials whom inhabit the orchard at night never cease to amaze me. A wallaby however has upped the ante and achieved a feat that few wallabies have the skill to achieve. Yes, dare to dream my marsupial friends as the bar has been set very high with this particular feat.
|A wallaby has somehow mysteriously managed to stick a scat on the side of a water tank|
How that wallaby managed to stick a chunk of wallaby poo (scat) on the side of a water tank about 1.2m (4ft) above the ground is well beyond me? Perhaps a giant wallaby is lurking around the orchard late at night and getting up to wallaby mischief when nobody is looking…
The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 8.6’C (47.5’F). So far this year there has been 748.0mm (29.4 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 731.2mm (28.8 inches).