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Rust! It’s irresistible. I see the possibilities of the old rotary hoe as J and I sit near it with a beer keeping an eye on the small piles of leaves he’s burning before they scatter again. I use it to refine photographic skills. I return three times, trying to capture the things I didn’t quite capture the last time, so it’s not strictly speaking the result of only 5 minutes. The problems arise with depth of field and the wire, which I solve by standing back a bit and then cropping. The rust with remnants of paint is far more resistant to my skill.

Once upon a time we were poverty-stricken market gardeners. J bought this machine to turn the soil of our five acres of river flat where we grew potatoes, peas, zucchini, spinach, parsley, beans, capsicum, carrots, corn, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbages, lettuce, beetroot. We sold them from a ramshackle stall with an honesty box (once containing two bullets) at the garden itself; and at the Saturday markets 25 km away from an old door mounted on crates. Now it’s a piece of decaying bush sculpture on the block where I spend weekends, its engine stolen long ago, and the market garden sold when J returned to study.


This is my companion piece to DJ’s decaying peonies. It’s not as delicate – or as beautifully photographed – but there is a similar sense of beauty in decay.