Chapter 3
From Not Everyone Can Claim An Uncle Tom by Grace & Peter Ireland (2002)

Uncle Tom on Horseback

Tom was a conservationist long before most people had heard the word. He would not harm a snake and had an absolute passion about conserving water.

On one tank at "Carlyle" there was a great contraption set up to save rainwater. Attached to the overflow of the tank there was the old brown teapot. Attached to the spout of the teapot was a long hose. The water flowed from the tank overflow through the teapot spout and through the hose down into drums and buckets where, when they were filled they were dated and used at appropriate times on the garden.

During one wet season an avenue of four gallon drums full of water reached from the back gate to the laundry! When the drums were all full an even longer hose was attached to the teapot spout to allow the water to flow out into the huge vegetable garden at the back of the tennis court.

The water for the garden came from the dam about 100m away.

When the windmill couldn't keep up with the demand for water, poor Mum was always in trouble for watering her lawn and flower gardens when Tom needed the water for his vegetables. He would just turn off the taps to Mum's garden and turn on his own taps — generally without telling her.

Tom didn't believe in picking nice young vegetables. Everything was left in the garden to "fully mature". Sometimes we ate the largest turnips, carrots and cauliflowers imaginable.

Life was made more bearable when a high tank was installed at the front of the house near the tennis court. There was enough pressure then to have several hoses running at once.

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