It’s the middle of winter and fuel for the fires is running a little low. At Totara House, there are fires in George and Emily’s bedroom (Tatty’s parents), the living room, the kitchen’s wood stove and under the laundry copper. At this time of year, some of them are burning all day, every day……and that’s a lot of firewood! Tat’s mum, Emily, has decided that it’s time Tatty did something about it and she will come and help him. Down the path through the bush, past the dam that provides water for the garden and on into the next paddock. Here the farm’s outbuildings are spread across a flat area. There’s the cowshed, the covered yards, the potato house, the chicken run and the corn crib. Nearby is the shed that holds the Tangye engine which provides the power for the circular saw used to cut the firewood for the house. Tatty has already left a pile of wood here, ready for cutting day. So he cranks up the Tangye, the belt’s rolling and they’re ready to go. Mum holds the end of the piece to be cut while Tatty pushes it through the saw then throws it onto the tray of his truck. No belt guards and saw blade protection, no earmuffs or safety glasses, no safety boots or high-viz vests! Health and safety considerations were far off in the future. Anything too big for the kitchen stove firebox will be split with the axe that is standing behind Emily. When he has enough for a decent load, Tat will deliver the firewood around to the house and the fires will keep the household running. Tatty can turn his attention to something else for a while, until he gets his next call from Emily and it’s all to do again.
August 23, 2018