Thursday, March 24, 2011
Down on the farm
There are a few skills I’ve learned during my life, one of those skills was Oxy acetylene cutting of steel, a skill nearly lost these days as it costs a great deal in gas and time to teach the skill. Back when I was considerably younger and working under a couple of very fine ‘old time’ boiler makers I foolishly thought it was cool to learn to cut steel with hot gas...stupid boy!
Of course I've done my best to forget the skill but copious amounts of scotch and beer simply have not done the job.
The worst of it is that some people who have known me for all those years know that I can still do it… and you just cant kill them all!
A few weeks ago an old mate who now owns a farm down the coast a bit rang to coerce me into coming down to oxy cut for him.
Do you have friends that call from time to time, and when they ring, you kind of go… ‘Oh no!’ ? He’s like that, a good friend and a great bloke but…well, he owns a farm and works like a dog.
Anyway… I get there to find two huge air seeding machines waiting for me, a combination of over one hundred plough points to cut off as well as a similar amount of holding plates and rusted bolts, and all of it had to be done without any damage to adjoining parts. (my adjoining parts somehow don’t bear consideration)
As you can see the machines are so low and so heavy that they cant be lifted, you must crawl under it, between sharp and nasty bits.
As soon as you light the torch the spiders who have taken refuge in the equipment in the preceding nine months start dropping off everything above you…angry spiders!
So there you sit, in the dirt, with Red Back and Orb weaver spiders raining down on you, you don’t worry too much about that however because the red hot steel is also raining down on you. If you twitch or move suddenly you get a plough shear in the head, or back, or somewhere and of course the melted steel ends up on the ground where you're sitting.
I felt something crawling down my back and nesting between my buttocks…probably just another ant. Half an hour later when I got out from under to learn to walk again I found a Red Back dropping from my shorts on a web. (note to self: Next time wear long pants) (Further note to self: make sure there is no ‘next time’)
I ended up spending two twelve hour days sitting under those machines collecting melted steel in my undies… and I've got the burns to prove it.
Then I spent another day bolting on new sharp bits and scratching, scraping and impaling myself on those as I did… and I've got the wounds to prove that. (the things you do for friends)
A few restorative welds here and there and the mighty machines are ready to put the next crop in…any day now.
If I were a bit younger I could make a very good living working the farms, but this old body is simply not up to the task.
After my holiday down the farm I need a holiday!