About 20 years ago the suggestion was made that country Branches and Groups be “twinned” with a city or coastal counterpart to provide support and foster better understanding. So began the relationship between my Barwon Group, based mostly in/around the Walgett Shire and Northumberland Group, which runs from Hornsby up to Gosford.
Every year we share a meal together during the week of our Annual State Conference and almost every year, since the idea was introduced, several members from Northumberland Group have made the trek (are we there yet mum?) to attend our Annual Group Conference. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we are not so good at reciprocating. Luckily they forgive us and keep coming back for more!
This year our AGM was held in Rowena and when Pam and Lyn told me they were coming up to represent their group I invited them to stay with me. Fortunately we were going to be in town (Narrabri) the day of their arrival so I jumped in with them for the 100 odd kilometre trip to Rowena (easier than directions or a ‘mud map’). On the way we did the “cooks tour” of the farm, detouring through the paddocks so I could show them our irrigated Lucerne crop and how it is watered, whilst also checking the water level as the boys were not going to be home for at least another hour after us.
So begins this week’s tale.
We have a small irrigation licence and the water is pumped from a sub-artesian underground stream into an above ground water storage and delivered to the fields via a series of pipes then channels and finally, syphoned onto the crop. The syphons are lengths of black poly pipe 63mm in diameter (you were thinking garden hose, weren’t you?) laid over the bank of the channel and are started individually, by hand.
The water level marker (aka stick at water’s edge) and the fact that the end of the channel looked like it might spill over in the not too distant future, prompted a call to Jeff during our “cooks tour” to ascertain what I should do. “Just start a couple of syphons at the end of the channel” was the response received. Easy fixed, you say, what’s the drama?
“Do you know how long it’s been since I started a syphon?” I replied. “It will be very embarrassing to fail or be splattered in front of Lyn and Pam”!!! “You’ll be right” said the boss, “the channel’s full and it’s like riding a bike…”
Goaded/cajoled/encouraged by my two companions to provide a demonstration of syphon starting that did not involve the aforementioned garden hose and a mouth full of fuel, I reluctantly agreed.
The action, as you can hopefully see in the video, involves forcing the water up the syphon as you push down and allowing the air to escape at the top by lifting the palm of your hand then creating a vacuum by replacing your palm over the end of the pipe when you draw it up then repeat the first process to draw more water into syphon. Good co-ordination not a requirement but useful.
It’s hard to describe in words and I have mimed the action so many times, trying to write the last paragraph, that a casual observer would think I was an expectant granny practicing my baby rocking abilities and that I am in serious need of some more instruction!
As you can also see I was very excited at remembering my bike riding skills 🙂