It's more than fifteen years since I bought the property I christened ‘Gerolstein’. Before it was officially on the market, and on one viewing. I took everything at face value and didn’t ask any questions … there was no point, I knew nothing about rural properties and their little quirks. What would I ask? I mean, how nice! Bounded on two sides with a waterway apiece. How great! tight shelter belts of tall trees and a forest of bluegum. 35 acres of green, green grass for horses … Well, over the years we have discovered the little oddities amongst the joys of our little kingdom.
The forest is gone, blown away by an inopportune cyclone, we are intermittently part-flooded by one of the streams, the trees have to be trimmed savagely each year … but, hey, that’s farming.
That’s the country. And these things can be solved. But one solution has evaded us. The property (and its race track) may look pretty flat, but they aren’t. There is a slight slope from back (they hay paddocks) to the front (the houses and the drive). And where there is a slope, rainwater will run. Every autumn and winter our drive becomes a series of torrents and fish ponds, and the front paddock is a lake for paradise ducks. Five or six contractors have had a go at diverting all this unwanted water the few dozen metres to the boundary river. None succeeded. So this week was last chance corral.
Today, 7 year-old Bradley Rose and his father attacked the area with a big, blue digger. And we now, at the end of the exercise, have a large open ditch, the Rose River, all the way from the track to the river.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, nothing will. We’ll just have to go in for breeding paradise ducks in the front paddock!