We had plans, we had council consent and the logs were on their way. We could now start to level the house site. We measured and The Man of the House dug the first ceremonial sod.
Then followed weeks of bone juddering tractor work to level the site.
The logs we ordered would be at least 9 meters long with a minimum butt size of 250mm (about the circumference I can make with my arms) and heavy. There was no way we could lift them even with our little tractor. We considered a front end loader but decided it wouldn’t get them high enough and a block and tackle scheme that was really far too cumbersome.
Then one day The Man of the House saw an ancient crane in an engineers yard. It didn’t go, not surprising given the state of it but the bloke said we could have it and named a reasonable price. We only had to get it going and get it to the farm. The Man of the House spent a week of nights working on it, got it going and organised a friend to truck it to the bottom of our road. He would take his chances with the law and drive it the 5 1/2 kilometres to our place. We borrowed a truck to bring up the boom and the next day the crane chugged down our drive way, spewing industrial amounts of smoke into the pristine environment.
The crane was built on a mid 1900s International truck with ‘Pakistani Cane Works’ painted on the cab. It was going but in all the years we used it, it never had brakes. On delivery day, The Man of the House’s brother followed the crane down our driveway on our tractor, tethered to the crane by a chain. The plan was for the tractor to stop the crane running away on our down hill driveway but half way down the chain came loose and the crane free wheeled and slowed to a halt in the middle of the house site. Whew! Later, whenever we had to move the crane, I would walk beside it and throw a fence post under the wheels when we wanted to stop. I was not willing to drive something so big that had no brakes.
So now, the house site was almost ready and we had the means to lift the logs. We just had to wait for them to arrive.