Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On the Farm

fence box 1

I’ve always thought that a place like East Timor would benefit from regular country Australians showing the Timorese how they do farming next door.  This week we had a visit from Nick (Darwin Helicopter Pilot) and his brother Chris (Western Australian, Tug Boat Captain).  Great blokes who have their own farms back home.  Among the many adventures they had here in their short stay was building a fence out at Los Palos.  This is part of a farming project to provide work, accommodation and training opportunities for young people who come into town to go to senior high school.  They have been given a piece of land to work and this has been ploughed.  It needed a fence before the rains come.  Nick, with funds from the Palmerston Baptists, bought 8 rolls of barbed wire, pliers and some other gear for the fence.  Then we made the journey out to Los Palos to show them a few tricks.  An important part of a barbed wire fence is the strainer post set up in the corners.  Chris really took the lead here – showing the boys how it was done using sign language.  They set up the two posts, put in a top rail and then wrap thick plain wire diagonally around this – the diagonal has to go the right way for it to work.  Then a stick is poked in the middle of the diagonal and spun around to twist up the wire and make it really tight.  I really wanted to do the job with tools that Timorese had so the challenge was to tension the wire just using a steel bar as a lever.  It worked very well and got the wire very tight.  The Timorese boys were very impressed and I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to do it again by themselves.  They still have a couple more sides to do so we’ll see how they go.  It will be interesting to see if the quality of fencing improves out there as farmers share these skills with others.  What we learnt from the Timorese was to use fresh cut poles from the bush so that when you stuck your post in the ground it would come to life, grow bigger and never rot.  The tree that grows from this would then produce more poles for another fence in a couple of years.

  lunchtimeLunch girls finished section

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