What better way to start the day than a full farmhouse breakfast with eggs fresh from the chook house made by your daughter? With an early season strawberry for a nose and a perky porky bacon smile, how could this fail to set me up for the day?
Breakfast over, my penultimate day of annual leave with the family began with a run to the nearest mall for the girls and a trip to the farm store timber yard and hardware store for me.
Back at the farm, the first job was to predator-proof the main window of the chook house. With all manner of local foraging fauna around and recent evidence of rats eating eggs, keeping them out of the almost-finished chook house is a must. To be on the safe side and though we’ve seen few other signs, I have also laid some poisoned bait stations to try and reduce the pest around here.
Next on the list was replacing the rusted-through hinges with new galvanised ones and rehanging the door. As is often the case, the spring weather has brought intermittent showers, so I have been alternating between outside jobs and indoor tasks as the rain comes and goes.
One result of working like this is the mess that comes from chucking stuff undercover and hauling it out again once the shower has passed. The basement store rapidly became untidy, especially in the feed store area close to the door so, while the rain came down outside, I knocked up a platform to keep the feed off the floor and dry.
During the afternoon, a big white power company ute rolled up and out jumped a very jolly and pleasant Filipino linesman who came to check the transformer on our property and survey the power lines all the way up to the top of the hill.
We compared his English to my Tagalog and decided his language skills were far superior and had a nice chat before he carefully scaled the electric fence and marched up the hill onto the neighbouring farm.
Having previously done all the major chook house stuff, the last couple of days have been spent finishing off the detailed stuff outside and in – like the access shutter to one bank of nesting boxes…
…and the sliding storm shutter for the rear window.
Part of the joy of doing this stuff is spending time with Maisie, who is almost always willing to lend a hand and learn new skills. Today, using the one I had already made as a template, Maisie had me to cut the treated timber to size with our new circular saw and set about assembling a second bank of nesting boxes.
Maisie did a fantastic job, checking measurements, making suggestions and showing good control of the cordless drill while screwing the pieces together. Her great grandmother had great carpentry skills and I’m sure she’d be chuffed to see Maisie developing those same skills. After installing the nesting box, we hung the water dispenser, tidied up and headed up to the house for a cup of tea.
As a treat for putting up with me all week and being such a great helper around the farm, we ducked into the local Farmland cooperative store to get her some coveralls to keep her clean while working with the stock in the paddocks. Much to her delight, they stock a great line in Kiwi-made fabulous fuscia coveralls and she’s now dressed to tackle any job around the farm.