We had an amazing day which turned out to be rather special. We wanted to spend the day with our eldest son, D & his partner H on their 11 acre block. We were supposed to stay with them last week but they are disfuctional in the sense of being extremely disorganised. I don't want to say much but to help you get the picture TWJ told D their place was like going into the 3rd world. I would term it more like the messy places one finds in some native communities, be it Maori, Aboriginal, N. American Indian, etc. I'm trying hard not to be racist about this but I think we all have seen the properties covered in car wrecks and other rubbish scattered around a house that needs maintenance. Our beloved eldest son is one of the people who lives that way.
We had a borrowed caravan to sleep in but we would have needed to share their facilities in the house and we agreed that this time it was too much for us. It was a very sad moment. We grieved or a few days, in fact still feel some grief but I know it was beyond time we made it plain that the way he lives is not acceptable to us. Nothing had changed today. The dishes were still overflowing the kitchen, the same rubbish lay about. We bought picnic food including our own drink and plastic cups. So why was the day fun?
We spent a large part of the morning hanging around while someone bought a few of their sheep. Finally after lunch D was organised and we travelled down the road in convoy behind the tractor and haybaler, TWJ & I in our borrowed car, and H towing the trailer with their old work horse, a Safari 4WD. About half an hour later we found the paddock where D had straw to bale. It was very fine straw, the remains after being harvested with a heading harvester as this was a seed crop, linseed to be precise. the straw was free for the baling of, and they will put it to good use in their garden. It will be excellent as is weed free. When the crop of linseed was harvested the straw was left in rows ready for baling. D should get 100 bales but today there were about 20 before he ran out of baling twine for the machine. That didn't take long and now the tractor etc. are on site so he can go in each evening after work until finished.
Our next stop was D's old flat mate and good friend, who has a normal sized garden neatly laid out and a nice tidy workshop where he does some very clever things with wood. After a pleasant visit we were on our way to the final stop to collect the Aviary. Sometimes my children amaze me, fill me with awe and admiration. This turned out to be one of those times. The Aviary is 6 sided, 2 of very good netting, 4 of aluminium siding. It was about 10 feet wide and high, the roof coming to a pointy apex about the same height as a stock truck. D had raised the Aviary off the ground, no mean feat in itself, and tied it neatly down on a trailer with extra steel and packing underneath to prevent the structure from twisting. This looked very professional. He hooked the trailer up to the Safari and began the journey home. First he negotiated the long drive with next to no clearance and some overhanging trees, fortunately all soft growth, then under a sagging power-line onto the street. Low slung power-lines were my greatest fear so it was a relief to see the first one cleared with plenty of room to spare.
We acted rear pilot. That meant following with hazard lights flashing and a warning system, several loud beeps of our horn, to warn of traffic coming from behind. The travelling Aviary took up the full width on the narrow roads. We were 100% illegal so were being as careful as possible to avoid 'incidents.' The roads were all flat with few corners and wide grassy strips down each side. Whenever a car came D was able to pull the whole thing off the road onto the grass and stop. He would wait for an all-clear signal from TWJ before pulling back onto the road. He couldn't see a thing behind him, we couldn't see anything but this monstrous shed on wheels in front of us. All went well as these are rural roads with minimal traffic. Maybe we had to give way to 10 or 15 cars in the 40 minutes or so we were on the road.
Bridges were also a concern and there were plenty but D had done his homework and crossed each one problem free. The narrowest was closest to home and we watched carefully but he centred his load perfectly. I wish I could show you a video of the skill and some hard labour that went into this project. Ay home, D continued to tow the aviary on wheels through their 'garden' on a miniature slalom course until a crooked post prevented passage by less than 2 inches. He backed and re-aligned many times. His patience is world class. Finally D & H decided the only way through was to move the post. This post is part of the frame of an incomplete pagoda. The posts have stood alone with no connection or bracing timbers for 2 years. Subsequently there has been some twisting and warping. The offending post had an extreme lean. First it had to be loosened in the ground and that is hard yakka on this stony land. Out came shovel, crowbar to loosen stones and trowel to lift out loose dirt. TWJ was given some truck tie-downs. Once there was a substantial hole around the post TWJ tied it back to the next post and pulled it straight using the tie-down. Click, click, click and yes, I think the post moved a little. At last D decided he might just about get through and it was all over in a moment. The Aviary continues to rest on the trailer adjacent to what will be it's final resting place. They now must build a foundation to set it on. I wonder how long it will sit on the trailer. D should be proud of himself, he certainly amazed us today. TWJ said he would never have considered moving such a large strusture himself. They have got an excellent bird cage. It can be used to house ornamental birds or their hens when it is completed.
We stayed on a while and ate tea, watched a little TV and played my movie of the ;Aviary On The Move', with them before coming home. At last I am winding down and ready to sleep. Tomorrow will be a very lazy day after all the weekend ecitement.