Monday, May 23, 2005

Doing the farm thing: gravedigging

I had to bury a heifer** today. I found her dead yesterday afternoon, and then spent all night worrying about having to bury her today. She was beyond and below the dam in this pic...


...and most of the paddock involves going up, down or across a hill. I hate driving on these slopes, after once sliding the damn tractor through a fence (hillside / damp ground / brakes had no effect). I particularly didn’t want to have to dig the grave on an angle, because the tractor tyres churn up the grass and soil and it gets slippery, even on flat ground, and especially after the sort of rain we've had recently.

But, as usual, all that worry was for nothing. I managed to get the poor dead beast into the bucket of the tractor (the scoop at the front) and was thus able to carry her back up to a flat paddock at the top of the hill.

It took more than two hours to dig the hole to bury her in. This pic makes it look like I was digging through to China...


... but in fact the hole was only a bit more than a metre deep. It should have been more than that, but I gave up once it reached the level of adequate. The hydraulics on the tractor are useless, so I'm told. I don’t know what this means specifically, other than I had to lean on the lever with both hands to raise, lower or tilt the bucket, every single time. And digging a big hole involves an awful lot of raising, lowering and tilting the bucket... Aggravating. Very.

Still, big sigh of relief from me. The deed has been done: poor dead No. 012 is buried.

**A young cow who hasn't had a calf.
++This part of the farm now belongs to other people. My parents continue to graze their cattle here until the new owners build their house and move in.