Recovery begins

Now the excitement is over and we are supposed to recover.

So why are repairs so extremely slow?
Every simple task now takes a lot longer than it used to, a lot longer than expected and certainly a lot longer than it should.

More than 4 months after the fire we have very little to show for our recovery efforts.

Rebuilding what the two of us had built quite by ourselves seemed easy enough at first.
Yes, we are 30 years older, but we have better machinery, more tools, a lot more experience and certainly more resilience now.
But we never before realised just how much we actually did build over all these years.

Before the fire: The cattle yards the two of us designed and built more than a quarter of a century ago, when we ran up to 90 cattle (down to 10 due to the drought now.)

And the normal work goes on, with little spare time for repairs.
Looking after the wine, topping barrels, racking, bottling, labeling and packing takes more time than usual because the winery needs constant cleaning.

Ash and dead leaves blowing around with every wind gust dirty the winery, the house and contaminate our drinking water.
Weeks after the fire the water from our rainwater tanks suddenly turns black (yeah, yeah, did all the disconnecting, gutter-cleaning and so on). Our water-filtering system and other water-cleaning techniques do not seem to help, and for coffee and cooking we live out of a camping water container, filled from the winery tanks which are fine but don’t connect to the house.
No big problem, but again, time-consuming.

My chookies have to roost in totally unsuitable, but fox-proof places during the night. Cleaning these every day is a nightmare.
During the day they are not safe. The foxes roaming the vineyard for grapes hide in the high grass, kill 4 and injure 3 more in a dozen brazen daylight attacks very close to the house.

hopeless roost situations
Chooks injured by the fire or foxes live in the garden shed

Still, with the help of two friends we start to dismantle some of the burnt fences and repair the stockyards.
The stockyards have highest priority because we have to load and return a borrowed bull, and there might be an injured or sick animal requiring treatment any time.

A friend knows where to find replacement posts, where a firebreak was cut and the usable posts separated.

Another friend gives a hand with dismantling the old boundary fences, now just burnt posts, burnt droppers, nails, staples, clips and lots of wire.

We’re all set and begin the repairs, but now the corona virus hits, our friends work from home, and everything is even slower.