Sunday, April 17, 2005

Doing the farm thing: going for a wander

A little farm tour for you, Grannyp! :)

Looking over neighbouring properties towards some rain coming in from the coast. One of the trees in the foreground is a favourite perch for a family of
wedge-tailed eagles who fly around this valley from time to time. Last time they were here I took some photos, but couldn't get close enough - they looked like tiny smudges in the distance.

Rain on the way, and a rainbow on the right-hand side (difficult to see, sorry).

Standing under an umbrella and looking over what we call "The Back Hill" (one end of the farm). The creek is down there in the trees, but the long grass and weeds are still too scary to get through. At this point, you're halfway down the hill.

The head of the aforementioned creek. This is a neighbouring property that's been left to itself for about 30 years or so. At the moment it's covered by camphor laurels (a weed tree) but now some other species are pushing up through the canopy. On a clear day you can see mountains in the distance (or what passes for mountains around here; I've got a good imagination) and the forests saved for eternity by those smelly good-for-nothing hippies. (Do I need to say I'm joking? And grateful?)

Here I've strayed into another neighbouring property, but until recently it was part of this farm, and it still feels like mine. The new owners don't live here yet, so what they don't know won't hurt them, or me. Legally-speaking, none of the farm is mine - it's my parents' place. I moved back here several years ago and they promptly up and left... (Well, yes, to get away from me, obviously.) I'm living here as some sort of useless caretaker or something. It's not supposed to be permanent, but for one reason or another I'm still here. Lucky me, though. I'm not complaining.

These trees are part of a stand left by some earlier farmers (we presume) as a tiny forest, in the days before fences were common. Dairy farmers had two paddocks - one for day, and one for night, and there was a clump of trees in each for shade. This is my father's theory, anyway. It seems reasonable. This is the only such clump on the farm; the rest of the place was cleared, apart from shade trees along the creek and road.

The long and winding track to nowhere in particular.

Big Pup in the foreground; Little Pup beyond. They like to sit in the breeze and smell the air. I mentioned somewhere that we might be headed for another drought year. Looking at this grass, you'll find it hard to believe. But from about May to late October we'll get barely any rain at all. In most years we would've had a lot of rain from about February to April - often it floods during this time - which fills dams and creeks and (presumably, I don't know how they work) aquifers in preparation for the dry months ahead. It hasn't happened that way this year. We're lucky here, being close to the coast - rain is more plentiful. But go just a bit further west and it's very dry already.

The end of our tour, and time for a cup of tea. Cheers.