Saturday, 28 December 2013

... eager to see us both ...



by Simone McPherson
As we move into the last days of December and towards January the days are now very hot and dry, so much so that …

… I have salvaged my old Beach umbrella from the depths of my storage cupboard and put it to good use in my little gardens ….
 
The Cockatoos have turned up too which indicates that we are once again into the throws of summer.

Nevertheless we are off for a few days to stay with son number two, which after this hot weather is a great respite for us both.  After organising the dogs, the cattle, the horses and El Ranchero I packed up the Landcruiser and we were off …. 


We drive through some wonderful cropping country and become so envious of their magnificent soil … we drive for another six hours and we finally arrive at our destination.

We took time out to visit the local botanical gardens and …


… the picturesque tidal river that runs through the old Sugar town, the Sugar industry no longer supports the town which must have been magnificent in its time ...

We also were taken to the seaside which was delightful, neither of us could remember the last time we saw the ocean …

… the beach was so uninhabited, then again for only a few people and their dogs, the beach was a ‘doggy beach’.

And it was for this reason that we came down to this particular part of the beach for there was one in our company who was going to make full use of all that space …


It was Bailey the dog ….

… and, so with number two son and his girlfriend they had a pleasant time splashing around in the sea …

We took a walk up the beach … the sea water was just beautiful on our feet and to have the sand between our toes, precious.


The beach was full of seashells that had been washed up upon the shore …

… and most of all it was so wonderful to see El Ranchero so relaxed even for just a few days.  Then all too soon it was all over, before we knew it we were on the road again and heading back home, we were now refreshed and ready to tackle work once again. 

And once home we were met by two happy ‘waging’ tails eager to see us both …

Sunday, 22 December 2013

... my fond recollections of ...



by Simone McPherson
Yes, I love the colours that a thunderstorm brings about at this time of the year.  

The clouds become heavy and sombre looking, taking on all the tones of Payne’s grey.


Then as the light changes the grasses take on all the hues of viridian green ...

 ... mixed with shades of a, light cadmium yellow.

The darkness then alters again revealing the beautiful shades found in the once hard surfaces of the land ... 


...the once unforgiving ground yields to the earthly tones of yellow ochre, Turner’s yellow, Naples yellow and the stunning tones of parchment and Davy’s grey, I bet you never thought these to be colours, though to me they are in this interpretation, just beautiful.


The wind gathers swirling and whirling in all directions as a few rain drops try to fall from those dark heavy clouds, 


then at that point in an almost strange stillness, the silence is broken as the surroundings reverberate with a loud “crack” as a flash of lightning hits the earth followed moments later by the sound of thunder rumbling, as it echoes through the landscape … yes I do love Thunderstorms!



We, on occasions try to outrun the Thunderstorm … usually to no avail …

Being the Thunderstorm season we get the “build up” of the storm, over a number of days.  These days can be days and days of, very dry hot heat where everything just withers … that includes us! … especially me. 

The Horses just stay stock-still under the shade of the gum trees with the occasional swishing of a tail.


The dogs find the nearest shade and stay there motionless excepting for their panting or ...

 ... if they are lucky enough to be near water? Well, where else would you want to be?


The cattle …


… we don’t see at all as they have decided to stay close to a creek somewhere down, below in one of the gullies where it is nice and cool. 

 And as for us, 


well we are up early before the heat and have most of our jobs done before 11am and then …


… go back out between 2 & 3pm into the afternoon until dark which is around 7.30pm in the summer time.

At this time of the year too; the Callistemons start to flower down in the dry creek beds, with their vibrant red hues against their lovely green foliage. 


The Green and Red flush are; a reminder too, that it is that time of year again when Australians, start to celebrate Christmas. 



These are the lazy, hazy summer Christmas days spent by the sea, by a river, a creek … 



… a dam, a swimming pool or just spent running through the sprinkler in a lovely shady garden somewhere.  These are my fond recollections of Christmas in Australia, a Summer Christmas with family and friends … wishing you all a Joyful Christmas with those that you Love, all around the World …

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

...giving us nourishment ...



by Simone McPherson
We awoke this morning to the countryside covered in a hazy blanket of smoke and  that distinct waft of a Bushfire … usually this is not a good sign especially as we move towards our summer month of January.  Bushfires can be a devastating thing, in this dry country …

… and at this time of year with dry Thunderstorms moving around the landscape, all it takes is one lightning strike and they’re off with the fires fuelled by ...


...Eucalyptus trees and Cypress pines, they burn hot and fast. Then as we looked towards the East we could see the National Park ablaze.  The National Park that we back onto, have commenced their ‘Burn-off’.

On another note, on our return from town last week we picked up our new? work vehicle well she is quite old, an old ’79 model Toyota tray-back Ute which has now become a new addition to our working team. 

The old Toyota’s past life was one of driving through potato paddocks carrying chemicals for the eradication of weeds and such, so she came with quite a bit of surface rust but that did not deter El Ranchero’s resolve in choosing her out of all the other old work vehicles in the yard, she was mechanically sound and in good working order for what we need her for.


After our goodbyes to the old Landrover with salvaging what we could off her, El Ranchero jumped into the old Toyota and off he went in a cloud of black smoke.  I followed in the Cruiser as the old Toyota was unregistered; luckily the Wreckers are on the edge of town on the same road we take on our way home. 



It was a rather slow journey for 83kms or so that we had to travel through a very rough back gravel road, in-fact the top speed reached was 90kms, and the black smoke did not dissipate, it just kept coming.   Well it gives one the time to enjoy the countryside on the way and listen to some music of my choice, in this instance Gloria Estafan singing Mexican Love songs.

Once discovered it did not take long for the dogs to feel at home on the back tray.

So the next day it was off to work and to get her acquainted with our daily routine.

First stop, the Shed and load the feed to …

…feed the Bulls, they need a little extra fat in their diet at this time of year before they go out and meet all the girls again at the end of this month being December.



The Horses, they too get a little extra in the form of Lucerne hay and some cereal grains …

Then we are off for a drive through the paddocks to see how she manages the countryside and …

… to get all those posts in, so that those lines can be put up …

… of course this means we have to make a pit-stop ...

 ... for Lily-pup to go for a swim along the way …

El Ranchero is very pleased with his new acquisition; 

the old diesel motor is perfect for our hilly country and …

 … the tray is a godsend with what we can now put on the back.

It has also been that time of the year again where I have  been busy making Pesto, trying to keep up with the Basil bushes as they just keep producing more and more  for me; and I cannot waste one single leaf of its precious-ness ….

… the Wom Bock too, is ready to be harvested … yum! so it looks as though stir-fry’s are back on the menu again, no complaints from El Ranchero there …



The beautiful Silver-beet has been plentiful as well.  With the Silver-beet I make a Spinach soup with bacon hocks as the base, which I put through a food processor and freeze – very delicious served with lots of fresh Parmesan and a dollop of yoghurt, hot or cold.


… and those  little gardens, they just keeps producing life for us to enjoy visually as well as giving us nourishment which we are both thankful for in this rather harsh environment, there is something blissful and delightful about devouring fresh vegies that you have grown yourself