We ploughed a hilly paddock with intentions of sowing oats. We realised that ploughing this previously untouched country would bring up stones and rocks galore, but not as many as we could see in front of us now. The size of the rocks didn’t lend themselves to a mechanical stone-picker, which we didn’t have anyway, so the only option was the human kind of stone picker—us! The problem was do we start this, or put it in the “too hard basket”? We decided we’d do it ourselves with the help of our kids, and some paid help. Who wants to pick up rocks at any price?
After the first few days we realised what a daunting task we’d taken on, but we had to continue.That old saying “No pain, no gain” haunted us, especially at the end of the afternoon.
We used a Fergie tractor and trailer, which mostly I drove, while the others tossed rocks onto it. Up and down the paddock until it was loaded, then up to the top of the hill where we all unloaded it, drank a well deserved cuppa of thermos tea and renewed our energy with biscuits or scones, if I'd had time to cook. The pile of rocks and stones grew steadily. Some nights I had dreams of driving that tractor!
Eventually the paddock looked reasonably stone-free (that is of the larger stones), the oats were sown and a good crop was grown. Next year more ploughing brought up more stones, but the second year of rock-picking was easier, and the land looked so much better.
Our rock heap on top of the hill was huge and could been seen from a long way off, a monument to our hard work! I don’t doubt the neighbours said the Nelsons had lost the plot, but we had no regrets about not putting it in the “too hard basket”! We had a vastly improved paddock.