Saturday, 27 August 2016

... a freshness a newness ...



By Simone McPherson

A couple of days ago we had rain and not just any old rain this was the rain sent directly from Heaven in was slow and constant and did not stop for two days.  We got so much rain that the horses where soaked right through …


… and even our old Girl Gabby was pleased to see all that rain as she trotted in behind the others for her morning Breaky.


When a little break appeared in the constant down pour we went out to investigate the country to see how much rain we actually really did get and as we stepped outside all we could hear was the roaring of the gullies and the creeks “… I think we had a good drop …” was El Ranchero’s first comments as we both stood there with big grins on our faces …


Firstly, the cattle troughs were a good place to stop for an idea of what sort of rain we had had overnight ...


Then it was down to one of the paddocks that we knew - that we hoped - we would not become bogged in, to explore one of the many creek crossings and as we neared the crossing we knew that we would not be able to cross that creek at all, my goodness it had risen from about 30cm  ...


... which was usually it’s flow to well over a metre and it was gushing like the rapids that you would ‘white water raft’ in …


We then decided to walk up the creek to investigate the thunderous, roaring sounds that we could hear of water and ‘thunderous’ it most certainly was.


The words escaped me as I stood, as we both stood there speechless to the deafening vision before us …


It was just magnificent in a country that can be so dry one moment then to see the rush of the cappuccino coloured swirling mass of water as it raced past us, we all stood there in wonderment of the magnificence before us. 


Then the rain started again and as we ventured back to the old Ute, still in awe of the strength and power of all that water speeding down the waterways I came across the dainty Red Leaf Wattle – Acacia rubida  – that was beginning to flower with rain droplets upon its little pompom blossoms … then it was homeward bound as we could become bogged. 

On the second day we went out again to other parts of the property to explore more of the wonderment that the rain had left behind …


… and after overturning a trough the day before we arrived back to find it filled yet again.


 We came across Dams that were filled to capacity infact they were overflowing …


… even the Dam at the bottom of the house was filled and overflowing which we had not seen for a number of years …


 … we found other sections of creek that were just flowing fast oxygenating the cappuccino coloured water as it rushed over rocks and boulders …

… even Maxi and Lily pup decided that they would have a little dip with some coaxing from El Ranchero …


I came across some more Knife-edge Wattles – Acacia cultriformis – that had too, been weighed down with the down pour with little droplets still clinging to its little bobble yellow blossoms …


 ... as well as some more of the lovely little dainty Red leaf Wattle - Acacia rubida ... 


 … there was the Sticky Hop bushes – Dodonaea viscosa- too that were all starting to flower as well with their lovely burgundy all the way to orange pods …

 … we found another swollen creek that we could not cross and …


… so we just stood there and watched mesmerised by the swirling and the gargling of the water as it passed us by … 


 … and now the countryside has taken on different hues …


… as it silently gave a sigh of relief for all that wonderful water that not only quenched the ground it also washed clean all the leaves and bark of the trees and bushes …


… even my little gardens are now bursting with new growth from all that natural Nitrogen fixing rain …


Before that day came to a close we checked the feeders to make sure that all was dry and in operation for the cattle …


And as the cattle wandered up to investigate what it was that we were up too …


 … they too, seemed to have taken on the appearance of renascence, of a freshness a newness to the way they looked out to the invigorated landscape before them, as we all did …

Saturday, 13 August 2016

... unquestionably speechless ...



By Simone McPherson 

We have had the Dozer here for the past couple of weeks finishing off one of our Northern most Boundaries and the Boundary in question is abound with the White Cypress Pine – Callitris glauca – or is it the Black Cypress Pine - Callitris endlicheri - ? I do get rather muddled over these two species from the family - Cupressaceae - as the differences are very subtle.  

And this particular area of the property was cleared in the early 70’s and with the regrowth , Cypress Pines are colonisers and they have taken over in some areas were you cannot even walk through the forests and if you do manage to get through you then become completely disorientated in the forests maze.

And even the Dozer can have difficulties too; on this particular afternoon we found “J” at a standstill with his machine trying to undo a Hydraulic hose that he had busted making the Dozer completely immobile … 

... the hose had been damaged in a very hard to get to place in the engine so we stopped and El Ranchero lent “J” a hand …

We have been driving out at the end of each day to see “J”s great work as some of the areas that he had to clear, apart from being totally covered in Cypress Pine there ...

 ... were other areas that had to be Dozed that where rather steep, rocky and hard to get to …

 … and on this particular afternoon we got as far as we could safely get in the Ute 

 … before heading the rest of the way by foot, then as we slowly climbed higher and higher ...

 ... the vista suddenly  unfolded towards the top of the hilltop and it was magnificent 

… as we looked over gentle grassed hills, envious at the sight as that piece of land belongs to our neighbour ...

 ... with all that lovely pasture for as yet they do not have any stock on their land …

 … where we could sight gullies filled with beautiful stands of Gums mainly the Tumble Gums that we could see as well as …

… some Smooth Barked Apple Gums – Angophora costata – which are at present shedding their old bark  

There were virtually areas along the old Boundary where the fence line was non-existent and then …

… other places where you could just see the remnants of the old mesh fence line from a time long gone now …

… after climbing to where “J” was working El Ranchero stopped for a quick “natter” to see how he was going …

… then after a couple of weeks he had completed the job … “J” disappeared a few times in the week to do some odd jobs for neighbours as there are always odd jobs needing to be done on these remote rural Properties with such a useful, valuable and prized piece of machinery as a Dozer and ofcourse it also makes it worthwhile for the Operator driving his machinery all this way on his Semi Trailer along with his own vehicle which he uses to return home at the end of each day after a his long hours of work on the Dozer.

We have also been out and about looking for more cattle that have vanished into the Bush … and usually on these quests, as they are a quest of sorts as we all scramble up and down rocky, steep rivens we make sure that we find a dam or ...

 ... in this case one of the many Creeks that snake through the property …

 … and it’s always enjoyable for both of us as we watch the dogs who at the end of the day, after searching for the cattle, go for a lovely dip …

… and at this time of year with the winter rains the creeks are once again flowing …

 … on this occasion however Maxi and Lily pup did mention though, that the water is rather cool, almost icy in places … but lovely and clear as they swim around like two Otter’s in the afternoon light …

 … then it’s homeward bound …

With all this good  weather I have also managed to complete; well partly complete a number of projects that have been on hold since November 2015 and one of those projects has been finishing one half of my large circular garden bed as I can now bend down and lift up the rocks … and …

 … I have also started on the steps up to the shed, which I am very excited about … 

 I have also been busy making Marmalade with the Villa Franca Lemons which have been prolific this season, and …

 … the two little Kumquats? … well I have gathered over three kilos of Fruit? Can you believe it? The more I harvest off the little trees the more fruits seems to appear the following week … just wonderful! So I could not bear to waste all that lovely produce.  Subsequently Marmalade was what I came up with, though rather tart I can still taste the lovely fragrance of the blossoms of the little Kumquats coming through the Marmalade as we spread it on our toast in the mornings … and luckily for us we are not Diabetic – Yet! Goodness I had forgotten how much sugar is needed for the making of Marmalade, it’s been years since I’ve made a batch and it’s not something that we buy, and I am happy to say that out of – over nine jars so far that I have made to date not one is in my Pantry … they have all … “walked out the door…”

… I have also been busy with the baking of Biscotti’s as they too seem to be “walking out the door” … for at this time of the year we do get a few visitors popping by for a stay whose company has been entertaining and it’s always fun to catch up with all the gossip and news.

The other thing that has been “walking out the door“ too … have been the Mushrooms … for one reason or another we have had mushrooms everywhere this year.  They have been prolific and some the size of saucers and so delicious cooked in the frying pan with lashings of butter, parsley, garlic and salt over a slice of toast, delicious in the mornings …

 I have also come across some lovely old entrée plates on one of my visits to one of the Thrift shops whilst in town … the design is English called “Asiatic Pheasants” by Enoch Wedgwood that we now use as our Breakfast plates …

  … however my plate collection is getting a little eclectic with these beautiful plates from the 70’s made in Japan that … “I had to have” and we use for our everyday usage.  I found a set of eight main plates with side plates and saucers for $16 Australian dollars, however there were no cups, which I’m still searching for.  I wonder if the set had bowls as-well? 



 More than a few years ago now, I also discovered in another thrift shop this old DENBY Stoneware set of only six entrée plates in the ‘Arabesque’ design very 70’s that I nearly died over for $2 Australian dollars each and then only last year to be given six cups and saucers that a girlfriend came across at a garage sale. The cups and saucers were in a box of knick-knacks that she paid a couple of dollars for, I was unquestionably speechless and in heaven …