What’s the colour of that quartz / granite(?) gravel on country roads? And this Factory lane.
I can still feel how it hurt walking barefoot at the start of summer, before your winter feet hardened.
You know more than I know
you know more than I know
But I know this road, even fifty years later
I’ve been moving down this road a lot lately. Making this. Spacebar to play. Scrub back, Trim to cursor, Spacebar to play
Before that I used to walk, or ride my bike.
I doomed to repeat this slightly downhill journey. I’ve filmed, and photographed it a lot as it has changed over the years.
I don’t get back there much anymore, but the same downhill slope pulls one of the family – my brother or sister towards the river where we grew up, and they send images back in email.
You turn off the bitumen road with it’s broken edges washing away, (always washing away!) The trucks do that.
Cross the cattle grid. It’s there to stop the animals that don’t graze there anymore, and rarely did. Cattle? Maybe. A horse or two, yes. The clatter of the grid was a door-bell that said more than Shop! depending on the time of day,
as the milk trucks scrunched down the gravel road. A fainter version on the other side of the loop as they returned empty, to the main road.
At night it was a burglar alarm.
My father and mother, my brother Phillip and a five year old me, moved here from Melbourne. Our sister Jill was born soon after.
The Butter Factory was then steam powered, driven by a huge boiler heated by wood. My father’s task was to change the factory to electricity powered. No fat three phase feed from local power lines, they didn’t come to the valley until years later. A big well oiled McLaren diesel and a generator that seemed to belong together and to him.
As did the freezing plant. They stopped making wartime milk powder and turned to fresh butter, which needed refrigeration. The trucks shipped out the cardboard boxes of butter surrounded with ice blocks, under canvas tarps.
Burn wood, make steam, separate cream from milk, churn cream to butter, compress ammonia, smell that. Clear river water falls down tall cooling towers, rusty metal ice containers hanging in freezing brine.
Smoke, rust, salt, butter.
I was old enough to feel the shifts in technology over time. Growing up aware, watching what my father did.
And how it felt walking barefoot down that lane at the start of summer, until your winter feet hardened.