Finding life a little tough at the moment? Having a bad day? Things not going quite right? Well grab a cuppa, pull up a pew and come and have a laugh at our expense.
We have a water medicator on Rocky Springs. This we use to deliver nutrients to the cattle via their drinking water. Think of it as putting vitamins in a glass of water. Usually we only put protein and trace elements through the medicator but we are in drought and it has burnt out most of the energy remaining in our grass, so we came up with this brilliant idea of giving the cattle sugar.
Brian got on the phone to the sugar factory on the coast and gave them an education. Seems they couldn’t get their head around a farmer wanting a tonne of sugar, and yes he would pick it up in the old ute. Brian spent nearly a week convincing them it would be OK and then made a mad dash to Grafton before they could change their minds.
We now had plenty of soluble energy and into the medicator it went. Very, very, very bad idea.
Sugar may be soluble but it is also sticky. Extremely sticky. The sugar clogged up the medicator, which then had a hissy fit and injected four times as much nutrient as normal, with the potential to kill every animal on the place. Thank goodness we realised we had a problem before it got out of hand.
We flushed out the medicator and got it working properly again, and patted ourselves on the back for being observant.
But then problem number two raised its ugly head. The sugar was in all the pipes and tanks and troughs. And it fermented. Just like beer.
Again we were thankful we had changed the lines over so the contaminated water couldn’t get to the house. I was watering the dogs at the end of the day when putrid beer came through the tap. We had forgotten about a leaky valve.
This was the night before I flew out to Sydney, for my once a year writing course and meeting with editors. Now I am quite fond of a cold beer at the end of the day but the warm, foul, amber liquid coming out of the house taps was nearly enough to put me off drinking for a long time.
I was buggared if I was going to shower in stale beer and smell like an alcoholic and more than likely get kicked off the plane to Sydney before I got on it, so I took ten litres of precious rainwater and had a sponge bath on the one square metre of green grass we call a lawn, watched over by Bonnie, Clyde and Bo who was chewing nonchalantly on a bone. What a felfie that would have made?
The next morning I did the bolt and left my poor husband to one house, two tanks, a dozen troughs and nine kilometres of poly pipe, all filled with filth. It was the best and the worst time to leave.
While in Sydney Brian rang to say it was only getting worse. The fermentation was setting off all sorts of chemical reactions and he had to start on a complete flush of the entire water system – in a drought. With no back-up.
The red tank above the house has only a small man-hole so usually I get the job of getting in there when it needs cleaning, but hey, I was away. We decided to employ two teenage boys from Coolatai to get us out of trouble. “Only put one in the tank at a time,” I suggested, “just in case something goes wrong and you need a spare.”
For two days the boys and Brian worked and on the second day the lads were wearing out and starting to complain. “You’re not going to let a fat bastard like me outwork you” Brian cajoled to be answered with “but Brian I’m only 14.” Brian then played his trump card – “well I was going to pay you each $150”. He reckons they then worked so fast they almost busted him.
Eventually the tanks and the critical troughs were clean and I came home.
Just in time for something to die in the house tank.
And so now our shower water doesn’t smell of stale beer.
It just smells like a rotting carcass.