The stables have a tack room attached to them. I hadn't been inside since the daughter's horse, Tayah, died over 8 years ago. But I was looking for something in there and found more than I bargained for.
Termites had invaded and built a huge nest from the floor to the ceiling.
I could poke my finger through the wooden interior wall lining.
Neighbour Bob is an all round handy man and was looking for a job so he volunteered to help me do some remedial work.
We stripped all the corrugated iron outer wall off the frame and were met with the sight of a huge infestation and what appeared to be lots of damage.
So off came the affected wall lining and up came the suspended floor boards.
One hardwood corner post had been completely eaten out and a number of rails too.
The termites had tried in a number of other areas which had proven too tough so it was not a complete disaster.
The main nest was under the floor. It was a huge ball of chewed and 'glued" wood about 1m into the ground.
We had built a fire to burn the damaged timber so the nest, complete with inhabitants, was carefully removed to prevent any disturbance and committed to the flames.
We didn't need another tack room so the space was repaired as a storage unit for hay.
New posts, rails and recycled timber for the floor were put together and the corrugated iron reattached. All that is missing now is a wire gate for the front which is being custom made.
As work continued, Bob began referring to the project as the 'stable complex'. In the end it had become the 'Equine Centre'. But no equines around here, however, only bovines.
Termites (white ants) are a real problem in Australia. We get a house inspection done every few years and the beginnings of an invasion were discovered a little time back and quickly dealt with.
Thankfully we don't have the problem with them on the coast as they have in the outback. Nests can grow to an amazing size and height.
It was obviously a working with timber week. The road into our valley is a private one and is unsealed. The residents maintain it. This is a matter of filling in potholes, grading with a tractor and making sure the drainage system is kept clear and working.
A lot of wet weather can cause a fair amount of damage.
There is also the bridge across the creek. Ours is a classic wooden beam bridge design with four huge logs covered by planks spanning the water way. The timber planks tend to rot out over time and need to be replaced. These are large and heavy hardwood, usually iron bark. The old ones have to be lifted out and the new ones inserted.
Luckily we have a few tractors around with front end loaders to help with this.
But a fair amount of manual labour is always required. Everyone pitches in and it takes a few hours to get things done. This time we only had 11 to do.
The old timbers are cut up and used for firewood.
Now the bridge is OK for a few more years.