Friday, 20 March 2015

... the day once more ...



by Simone McPherson
My afternoon walks with the dogs have been delightful of late and it makes for a pleasant way to end the day … as I am no longer on the Horse … well at least for the time being until we come across a Horse that is easy going and does not get spooked easily …

When we start our walk, we are all full of beans as Lily pup and Maxi boy trot of in-front of me …

… sniffing here … and sniffing there … 

 …. Looking here and … Looking there ….

… then on the way back some of us, start to lag behind … “C’mon Maxi we're nearly home …. “

We have been on the look out too, for some ‘Rogue’ cows, who had it in their minds that it was best to run away instead of being moved into a new paddock with fresh feed with the other cows …

 … there is only so far we can go in the Toyota before …

… off we go by foot, the cattle really do ‘NOT’ like to see a human being on foot they become very agitated ….

… after an hour or so we have to take a break from crashing, stumbling and running through the bush chasing those cows ... we left El Ranchero quite a while ago to retrieve the old Toyota …

… and not before too long we hear the Toyota … now it's time for lunch, thank goodness.

… and as we get to the gate the cows start wandering through pondering what all the fuss was about … 

The other afternoon we drove down to one of our front paddocks to check the fence lines as we have been having a bit of an issue with other human beings cutting fences to go poaching for Fallow deer and the wild pigs …

… I could not get over the grass growth down there …. 

It has been just over a month since we closed the paddock to give it a rest, though we have been very fortunate with little showers of rain that have been passing through …

… and in that late afternoon glow …

 … it was just so … ‘dreamy’ …. It reminded me of summer afternoons as a child 

 … and the lovely soft colours looking through the gullies …

… with the Knife-leaf Wattle …. Acacia cultriformis … and its beautiful shades of sage green … just gorgeous …

I have also been having a little bit of a ‘trial’ in experimenting with the new addition to the house … being the old molasses drum to catch the water from the veranda for the garden … 


As a child we lived on the Sunshine Coast, and in those days the ‘Sugar Mills’ were still running as well as the little trams pulling miles and miles of little trolleys full of freshly cut sugar cane, we would pick pieces of cane up of the road and start chewing on them much to our mothers horror.  The little trams would go through the main streets of the Town as the Mill was right in the centre of town … though I really think the town grew around the Mill.   And every now and then when it was ‘Crushing’ season … the Mills would put an ad in the local paper for gardeners who would like a lorry load of this terrible smelling ‘sludge’ which was called ‘Mill Mud’.


Well my mother always eagerly anticipated this time of year; ‘Crushing’ season, to get a lorry load delivered free of charge mind you, to your home … as back in those days it was just a ‘bi-product’ from the Mills that they were happy to get rid of … and us kids … well we absolutely hated that terrible smelling ‘rancid molasses puke’ …. 

And now?, here I am forty or so years later filling buckets of water mixed with a nicely fermented molasses brew and that smell, which has taken me straight back to those ‘Crushing’ summer days and my mother in heaven shovelling that sludge onto the garden, and the garden responded by just “powering” ahead with all its new growth, she always had wonderful gardens … I can see my mother right now “up there” having a little ‘chuckle’ about how the tables have turned ….

I have also had time to re-cover the … 

… old kitchen stools …

… and to make a couple of cushions for the lounge … all scraps that I had hoarded for one reason or another, now those reasons are lost in time …
I can hear El Ranchero calling out, we are going back out to finish up another ….

 … yes you guessed it …

… fence …

… though this fence line is only very short …

… infact it is only 34 posts short …

… El Ranchero has built a ‘Trap’ for mustering as now he is one woman down … yes ‘Me’ …
… the cattle are very happy though to be in this part of the paddock …
… and it adjoins into the lane-way which works out even better, as they can ‘smell’ their own tracks in and out of the … ‘Trap’ …
… and before we know it … the day once more has come to an end as the late afternoon light filters through the beautiful gums … 
… the Blakely’s Red Gum – Eucalyptus blakelyi …. and …

… this magnificent Narrow leaved Box – Eucalyptus microcarpa – taken from the Greek word – ‘micros’ – small and the word – ‘carpos’- fruit … such glory in the afternoon light …..

Sunday, 1 March 2015

... I hope to do the same ...



by Simone McPherson
Last week we had some wonderful rain that swept across the landscape turning the Blue grasses a soft ocean of pale green.


… even the ‘Veined verbena’ – verbena rigida – which is a perennial herb here and classified as a “pest” of which it can be … had taken on a lovely purple hue in the late afternoon overcast light …

…the leaves on the Eucalyptus trees became a washed, soft silvery green, the bark became that wonderful colour you get when mixing Payne’s grey and Yellow ochre rich and earthy and almost a black on some of the Ironbarks.  I love walking the country after rain and seeing the colours of the cleansed countryside in all its splendour …


With the rain it gave me the opportunity to get into my little gardens … 


… I potted up some little succulents that I found …


… and planted out some bigger succulents … 


 … I also potted up some wonderful Begonias … 



… and I pruned what I had been wanting to prune for a while 

… I completely cutback the Basil as it was very much in seed, and I also received a surprise! … by the way that is not an OIL slick …. It’s a …

…. MOLASSES slick! … I got given an old drum that used to be used for molasses for cattle, and I was told by El Ranchero, that, “ …it’s empty, and if there is any left in there it will only be a couple of litres … ? “ I think he meant to say a couple of Hundred litres … so now I have a huge big drum that has been hooked up to the veranda roof and I have molasses water for the little gardens! 

… I pruned the Kaffir Lime; took the fruits off the tree and cut the Thyme back.  The Kaffir Lime leaves I cut up finely for drying … and to use later in cooking …


… the Kaffir Fruit …


… I grated and it too I will use in cooking ….

… the Thyme was stripped of its leaves and along with all the others I put them out to dry along the 'old shearers' bench in the kitchen …

… I also baked an “Egg and Bacon” pie as “ … real Men don’t eat Quiche … “ so El Ranchero tells me … and it may look more yellow than usual, that's because I use Turmeric in the egg mixture … the ‘Real Man's' egg and bacon pie will be then cut up and stored in the freezer for later …


Whilst out and about checking one of the mobs the other day



 … and not before making a ‘Pit Stop’ for Lily-pup …  




 .. and Uncle Max, the Black dog …


… we also came across this little fellow sunbathing … a Frilly-neck Lizard …

And this incredibly ‘Huge’ Snake orchid – Cymbidium suave – It would have to have been one of the largest I have seen … I would have loved to have seen it a few months back when they were all flowering … what a sight that would have been ... My Goodness!



We also came across this beautiful Old Box Eucalyptus …



 … now this splendid old tree had some markings on it …

… that I thought may have been markings from perhaps the Aboriginal Peoples who once lived in this region … I contacted my lovely friend “J” who has knowledge of these things and I emailed her some images that I took … 

The markings on the old Box tree turned out to be just a mutation in the bark … What I was told by “J” is that there are trees found throughout Australia which have had their bark removed by Aboriginal Peoples – Indigenous Australians – The bark is removed for fashioning canoes, shield and even shelters and ofcourse many of the trees were markers indicating boundaries and signs to signpost where water could be found as well as Spiritual and Ceremonial uses.

The trees are called “Scarred Trees” the bark would be removed by making deep cuts into a tree with a stone axe … 


“The area of bark removed is typically regular in shape, often with parallel sides and slightly pointed or rounded ends, and the scar usually stops above ground level. Australian native Eucalypt species such as Box and Red Gum were commonly used, and the scars remain in trees … “ from Wikipedia

 Now this marking here … I do believe was made by the ‘White fellas’ and not the ‘Black fellas’ of this country … it is a marker made back in the 1970’s indicating the Flood depths of the Dam, to which we have a boundary on the creek that feeds the Dam … El Ranchero is wondering about the 'marker' …

The story that “J” passed on to me about the ‘Scarred Trees’ I found totally intriguing and now …
… as we are out and about doing our work I have become more vigilant with what I see around me and I have become more aware of my surroundings. I have also become more respectful of “Those Unseen” who, were here long before my Forefathers were; living on and taking care of this beautiful country of which I hope to do the same ....