A storm pummelled The Farm in December, ripping tree limbs from giant ironbarks and flinging them about the paddocks, one crashing to earth across our front fence. A kind neighbour ‘phoned us with the news and another local ventured up the road with a chainsaw to assess the damage. He dislodged the offending branch and cut it into manageable piles for us to use. Today’s job involved transplanting the piles from the top paddock to a spot beside the fire pit.
The Husband used his tractor to roll the timber, a warning to any snakes which might have taken up residence. Earlier he’d nudged a hollow log and a small bird with a flat, swivelling head flew out, startled. On closer inspection, The (dismayed) Husband found three eggs in the log. He did his best to return it to it’s undisturbed state, spreading camouflage over the top but leaving room for the nesting mother to resume her perch. He’s knocked off for the day now and is poring over his bird book, trying to identify the victim. (Post script – he thinks it was an Australian Owlet – nightjar.)
I played a support role in today’s Farm shenanigans. I loaded and unloaded the piles of wood. I wore big gloves and drove the ute, a 20-year-old manual diesel which turns like the Queen Mary. I tramped about in the grass and got scratches on my arms. But that’s about the extent of my country living. I like the space and the view and love planting trees. If I lived here permanently I’d grow veggies and raise chooks. But I’m no farmer.
For the record
Yesterday’s late storm and persistent evening rain have given us a reprieve from the hellish heat. Now it’s blowing hard, so drinks on the deck will be tricky. I think I’ll manage. Inspired by Don Watson’s chapter on Australia’s early shepherds we’re having lamb for dinner. Not salted mutton like my pioneering forbears, but loin chops served with tatziki dip and a heap of veggies: potato, sweet potato, onions, capsicum, carrots, corn and zucchini. It should be good.