So I have spoken about delivering a Bridge, spoken about modifying a bridge, and I refused to write about the joke we get on the radio every April Fools day where some monkey says they are building a floating bridge between Victoria and Tasmania, so how about loosing a bridge? Yep we did that!
It’s not like we were driving down the road one day and the bridge was there and the next day we came along and the bridge was gone, (although we do have a high number of bridge deliveries in this country so it could happen I suppose). No it wasn’t even a bridge suitable for vehicles, it was a sheep and goat bridge.
On the farm several paddocks were separated by a creek, they were hilly paddocks and not the best for us to access every day so they were perfect for the goats, sheep and the highland cattle. But the goats and sheep also make good lawn mowers in the paddocks around the house so having them moveable was always a preference.
When it came to the cows, or us, traversing the creek was easy, even though it was fairly fast flowing it wasn’t overly deep and the highland cattle weren’t even worried about the rough rocky surface. For us we drove both tractors and utes across it without much concern. However the sheep and goats were a bit different, their short legs made it impossible for them to wade across, so they needed a steel bridge.
The bridge was heavy, we couldn’t lift it without mechanical help. After it was delivered to the farm we had to drag it from the road, down the driveway, along the tracks and down to the creek with a chain on the back of the tractor and lots of noise. When it came to putting it in place we had to use the hydraulic buckets of both tractors to lift it from either side of the creek and edge it into where we wanted it. And there it sat until the floods of 2011.
It rained solid for 3 days, more than 250mm of rain fell on the farm and while we were lucky not to loose any animals when we came out to move the sheep, we had lost a generator, a water pump and the massive sheep bridge. We never found the pump but the bridge managed to float nearly a kilometre down river. With the amount of water that flowed down that swollen river during and after the rain we doubt the bridge travelled the meandering path of the river, more likely it cut the straightest line possible but it travelled nearly a kilometre and did not hit or break anything in it’s travels.
The biggest problem we had with that bridge was getting it back. We couldn’t get a crane truck in to pick it up if we wanted to. It took us nearly three weeks before we could even get the tractor in there. When we finally did get in there we could only skull drag it across the paddocks with chains, digging holes where the ground was uneven, leaving tracks and hitting trees etc where the damn thing cut corners the tractor couldn’t.
Damn pampered sheep and goats!!