Up close and fairly personal.

You know,  I want to thank everyone who takes the time to leave a comment on this blog.  A big arm flinging sort of a thank you.  Sometimes it can get to feeling  like I’m wittering away to myself in a corner.  But then  someone’ll pop up and suddenly it’s more like a conversation and all is well.  So thank you, those what does.  Especially those what does regularly.

So anyway and anyway, while the rest of the world is sliding into all that mist and mellow fruitfulness ( please can I come and stay? in about a month?  for about three months?), we in the antipodes are enjoying a brief and lovely seasonal interregnum before we hit the glass wall of  Summer.  When the sun will press the days into flat, metallic discs and the heat will stretch and shimmer as far as the mind can see.  Further, even.

I have been getting up close and personal with the beasts of the land recently – and I must tell you, it’s better than a shot of vitamin B, or a night at the disco.  It fair plumps up the old membranes with cross-species joy. Indeedy.

At the farm the other week, the weather had started to warm up and  so we had the annual procession of the reptiles into the sun. All very stately and solemn it was.  Our resident Carpet Python, a very suave McLaddy, staked a place in the purple herbaceous baxon to sun himself.  Until, that is, the Herberts and all the birds took great umbrage and wapped him with a crescendo of barking and claxoning until he slithered off in search of a quieter life. (His parents, you know, used to over-winter wrapped around the hot water tank in the roof, until the plumber came across them one day, two pairs of yellow eyes regarding him in the dark.  The neighbour was called (we being away), who summarily stuffed them into a hessian sack and dumped them in the Strawberry Field.  Whereupon they went off in a state of high dudgeon, never to be seen again.  They did, though, leave us their offspring; he of the buttery yellow belly and lazy ways. This is not his picture – he is too camera shy and I am too camera slow, but it is a relative of his.

There were also sightings of the Lace Monitor who has taken up residence under the house and is the cause of great canine clamour every evening, the dogs seeming to believe that obsessive licking of the floorboards will deliver him to them. He emerged one afternoon for a stroll and  was promptly chased up a tree by, once again, the Herberts, fearless defenders of the ancestral acres they, whence he stayed for the best part of the afternoon, motionless, pretending to be a branch.  At dusk, when I had distracted them, he gingerly inched his way down, only to be mobbed by a parent magpie as he  trundled with utter dignity and as fast as his stumpy little legs would carry him until he was only a speck at the far edge of the field.  I did photograph him, but the sun was in the lens and he looks nothing more than a very large twig in a very large tree, so here is his cousin who lives somewhere on the internet.  You can see how beautiful he is:

 There were delights of a somewhat more ambivalent nature when I emerged from the house one afternoon to find two tiny red and green finches sitting on the verandah.  I spoke to them politely, as one does, and they seemed to regard me with little surprise or alarm and so I got down at their level and conversed a little more.  Their beaks opened and shut, red little beaks, but no sound came and it finally dawned on me that they had flown into the window and stunned themselves. They allowed me to place them in my hand (oh!) and from there I transferred them to a bush for safety (the tireless Herbs being just around the corner, lounging, but not for long).   Later they were gone. Flown off to safety.  You know that somewhat mawkish sticker ‘Magic Happens’?  Well, apparently it doth. In the garden.  When you least expect it.  And are wearing your scruffiest wellies.

But wait, there is more!

When we arrived we found the dams perilously close to dry and the cows up to their knees in mud, drinking from the puddles still left at the centre.  There followed much unhilarity with ancient and new pumps and finally  a hose spurting fresh, clean river water was taken up to them.  I’ll wager a bet that when you think of water fun, your mind doesn’t turn automatically to frolicking with Belted Galloways in the mud, but I am here to testify that you’re  missing out.   Afterwards I felt as good as if I’d been to the seaside for a day with old friends. You know, buckets and spades, sandy sammies and feeling sick in the car afterwards.  Joy!  They’re excellent sports, cows.  Gawd love ‘em.

Other than that, there was the usual Spring parade of floriferous glories and olfactory delights:

And at the end of it all, there was honey still for tea.  Because the farm’s that sort of place.

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14 Responses to “Up close and fairly personal.”

  1. It sounds like utter bucolic bliss PP – you can come and stay on San Francisco Bay in ceaseless winter rain if you like, and I’ll brave a little slice of Sydney summer…

    • It was utter bucolic bliss Tricia Rose! I love it more than almost anything when I come into contact with the natural world. (Though I also love me a copper bath or a wall of beautiful tiles etc!).

      I’ve been to San Francisco – loved it. Thought it not totally dissimilar to Sydney in some ways. I would willingly trade you a slice of our summer for a slice of your rain. I love rain! I also love the sound of your place. PP

  2. Margaret Bishop Says:

    At five thirty this morning Jo and I met in the dark of Lower Fort Street for an unimpeded drive down a very quiet Parramatta road to the Sydney flower markets. Parking was very difficult at the markets on a friday morning, even though I said my usual prayer, “Hail Mary full of grace, please find us a parking place.” We had to risk parking in a reserved zone in a third world parking station where cars had decided that they could park in any space available including the exit driveways.
    The joy of the markets is that you can not decided what to buy. I sagely told Jo to decide on a colour scheme and stick to it. She is preparing for a friends fiftieth birthday. I went with the intention of buying some waratahs and came home without any. I just responded to the flowers that I couldn’t leave behind and returned with great bunches of soft pink and white with touches of of apricot, peonies, tulips, roses, flannel flowers and gum blossom. The whole thing showing no restraint but full of pleasure.
    Although it was not as sublime or as earthy as your country pleasures are it was a bit a heaven on a stick, a twig or stem.

    Our thoughts are with you frequently and your writing gives us both great pleasure.

    Heritage house plans:
    The amendments to the DA have still not been approved and it is five months of waiting. Although we have shown a respectful attitude to the folk who hold the strings it’s an insidious strain on personal relationships and even at the best of times I’m impatient. We are trying to maintain a dignified approach and keep sending details of our plans and anything else we think they might need.
    Rather than plunging into the abyss you suggest avoiding we are living in one created by our imagination which is no less scary because we have too much time to doubt our intentions.

    • How lovely to hear from you – I’ve missed your voice on this blog. And as usual I had a good guffaw at the earlier bit of what you wrote. Hail Mary full of grace, please find us a parking space?!! XXX

      I was awake at five this morning – I could have come! I have wanted to go the flower thingoh for aeons. Maybe soon, after the auctions and all the other things on the list. Your haul sounds divine and delovely. Especially the peonies. Mr P would kill for peonies. And tulips. I would kill for roses. Haven’t a clue what flannel flowers are. Not for face washing, I’ll hazard. Or the making of suets.

      As for the second part of what you wrote – no laughing there. I know so well what a strain it is on personal relationships and what a stress it is on one’s sanity. Five months seems just ridiculous. If they can’t give you an answer then cannot they tell you WHY they can’t give you one? I frankly don’t know how you manage to be polite and respectful. I hope to talk to you about it soon rather than here. For us, things are, at the moment, sailing off to hell in a hand basket, and more of that too, if you can bear to hear.

  3. penelopebianchi Says:

    I love your blog! LOVE!!!

    Those reptiles eat the mosquitoes that might kill your family and others with West Nile Viru! We love the lizards, the snakes and especially the bats!

    LOVE THEM!

    I ,especially love those divine cows…….they are the most beautiful cows! And the calf that got the “tick paralysis”!

    I think they are the only thing I am lacking here in Santa Barbara!

    You are doing your part! Improving where you live (you are ahead of me! Two places!)

    Courage! You are doing a wonderful job!

    Penelope

    • I love your comments Penelope – they leap off the page! I think you might consider a Belted Galloway or two in Santa Barbara (for some reason we call the whole herd The Piggies – don’t ask me why; I can’t remember). Can’t you have some? Honestly, they are small, they have these crazy belts and Minnie Mouse ears and they are beautiful natured. Beautiful looking too – especially the brown and white ones.

      • penelopebianchi Says:

        Oh if we could! Unfortunately; we are part of a “development” (though not behind the “gates”; and we are not to have any “cloven-footed animals” (who writes this stuff?); and aren’t supposed to have chickens either! (but we do!!)

        “Cloven-footed animals seem to be all of my favorites!)

        I adore those cows…..cattle? They are completely charming and delightful!
        And you do write beautifully!

  4. I love your blog – so beautifully written. I get a little leap in my heart when I see you have made a new post! We recently bought a small farm with a converted barn here in the UK, and have discovered there is MUCH more that needs doing than we thought… the builders should be finished in a year or so…

    Your posts cheer me up enormously, so a big thank you from me and keep on keeping on!

    Debbie

    • Hello Debbie and thank you for what you say. I’m very intrigued by your farm and converted barn…you know, where in the UK it is, whether you’re going to farm it etc etc. Maybe you should consider a blog!

  5. sounds like pure bliss…I would have loved to help water the cows …

  6. By all accounts it sounds as though you did have one! celebrating the water, the cows, the lizards, the birds, the flowers and the snakes!

  7. I absolutely enjoy reading your blog . There is always something new and interesting in it, and your way with words is so unique and lovely. Keep spreading the words (and photos – of course)…great selection P
    xx

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