Discovering the highs and lows of rural life

THE BACK UP GIRL: Margot Tesch in action fixing a windmill platform.
THE BACK UP GIRL: Margot Tesch in action fixing a windmill platform. Contributed

FIXING things is an ongoing theme in the bush. You have to be a jack of all trades.

While Chris is the keen mechanic, auto electrician (the list goes on) and general fix it man, I'm the backup girl.

When a job needs two people, I'm it … regardless how I might feel about it.

For example, one of our windmills was leaking oil.

Chris had been working on the gearbox and decided we needed to refill it.

This meant I had to climb the windmill frame almost to the very top carrying a five litre container full of oil.

Once at the top, I had to somehow hang on while I passed the heavy container to Chris who stood precariously even further above.

I think back on that day and wonder why the hell we decided to use an open container … it just made the job so much more difficult.

All my muscles were trembling with the terror of being about 10 metres above the ground while balancing on a thin steel frame and straining to hold on.

We somehow managed it and Chris refilled the gearbox.

Due to the leak though, the oil promptly poured back down on top of us. My much-loved Akubra - now spotted with oil.

When I climbed down I had to admit … I never wanted to do that again.

But a worse scenario was in store for me… a strong wind had blown over another windmill which stood over a well.

This meant, after rebuilding the timber platform covering the well and repairing the windmill frame, we had to stand it up again.

Windmills are extremely top heavy and very tall. It was an engineering feat of significant magnitude.

We had the tractor, the Nissan Patrol, the dozer, and a system of pullies through some nearby trees. We actually tried a number of scenarios and techniques over several days.

Chris is not easily beaten and he never gives up so, due to his unfailing persistence (and of course my critical assistance in problem solving), we actually did manage to re-erect it but not without some scary near misses and close accidents along the way.

Another thing I hope I never have to do again.

Oh, to be back sitting behind a desk on days like these...

Topics:  columns margot tesch rural lifestyle tree change women on the land

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