IT'S HARVESTER DAY!!!
Can you tell I'm a bit excited? Our new (to us) automatic harvester arrives today. This beautiful bit of miraculous mechanics will mean Bearhands can harvest turf all by himself.
No one folding.
No one stacking.
Just a bloke in a machine pressing buttons and making perfect little stacks of turf pop off the back.
How I wish I could tap my pregnant self, standing on the side of the harvester while the Big Sister gently shaken not stirred, on the shoulder and tell her that this glorious day was coming.
It goes without saying that mechanical miracles come at great cost. So while we're standing on the precipice of a new, more productive, era for the farm; we're also toe-to-toe with a new loan. Luckily Mum and Dad always taught me to bite off more than I can chew and chew like hell.
The mixture of emotions around today are reminding me of our early days farming when we decided to buy the growing rights for a new variety of turf called Sapphire. Bearhands chose the variety deciding it was a great compliment to the other turf we were already growing. I signed the contracts with the breeder sight unseen.
We had to source plant stock from a paddock certified by the breeder, then ship it from Victoria to the Sunshine Coast. We spent a lot of time and money getting the paddock prepped ready for planting, then we gave the go-ahead to cut the plant stock.
The message arrived. The plant stock was cut. We arranged for it to travel overnight on a curtain sider truck, and then it started to rain.
It rained and it rained.
We got 40 mils that night. The paddocks were soaked and the lovely fluffy soil in our freshly prepped paddock turned to soup. We couldn't get the planting machine on the paddock without bogging it.
All the while our very expensive grass gamble was flying up the highway to us.
Not discouraged, Bearhands and I together with some farmer friends formed a plan to lay the pieces of turf on the top of the soupy soil for a few days until it dried out. That way we'd keep our precious plant stock alive until the soil firmed up. Then we'd pick the pieces back up by hand, run them through the planter and we'd be away.
The truck arrived early the next morning. We directed the driver to a spot in the back paddock firm enough to unload it. The driver got out of the cab, rolled back the curtains, and I got my first glimpse of our great grass gamble.
It was brown (and not just on the soil side).
Apparently country Victoria had had a series of big frosts that year. No one had mentioned to me that our great grass gamble wouldn't be green.
We spent the next few hours laying the turf in the paddock. Using the already laid pieces as bridges to reach further into the paddock without sinking knee deep in mud, all the while I was wondering what the hell we'd done.
The grass greened up in it's new temperate home and a little over a week later the paddock was firm enough to plant, so piece by piece, we picked up our great grass gamble and planted it.
The rest, as they say, is history. We still grow Sapphire today. The great grass gamble paid off and is one of the reasons we're in the position to take our next big bite.
I'm as excited as a kid on Christmas Eve. The new harvester should be here just after lunch. Keep your fingers crossed it's not brown when it gets here!
ever bitten off more than you could chew?