Category Archives: wildlife

A season of mellow fruitfulness…

…autumn seems to have arrived while I was otherwise engaged. Mornings are getting later and are imbued with a briskness that invites activity, while the afternoons are pleasantly warm with a golden radiance which positively begs some quiet time enjoying nothing more than to sit and contemplate life and the wonders of nature.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks, though…things seem to happen in threes.  First, I caught the bug that’s going round and I’ve been a bit under the weather, and not enjoying anything much.  Then my camera seemed to catch it, too, and then, just as I was starting to feel on top of things again, my poor old computer gave up the ghost.  She’s running now (thank you Matt), but I’m thinking we might be on borrowed time.

Anyway, this morning I managed my morning walk for the first time in way too long.  It was beautiful… cool but not cold, misty but not wet… still, serene, healing.  It was not a long walk, but it took me a long way.

Why don’t you come along, too?

First signs of autumn splendour as the forsythia outside our bedroom window begins to adorn itself in seasonal hues...

First signs of autumn splendour as the forsythia outside our bedroom window begins to adorn itself in seasonal hues…

Down the track... trees in the mist...

Down the track… trees in the mist…

 

... mist rising off the dam...

… not to mention mist rising off the dam…

 

... reflection in the still water...

… reflections in the still water…

 

...the little dam... not much more than a bog after the summer heat... hard to imagine that we were frog watching not all that long ago...

…up the hill to the little dam… not much more than a bog after the summer heat… hard to imagine that we were frog watching here not all that long ago as spring was springing upon us…

 

...sunrise... just peeking over the ridge...

…sunrise… just peeking over the ridge…

 

...one of our more colourful residents... a crimson rosella

…one of our more colourful residents… a crimson rosella watching me carefully as I wander past…

...poa grass taller than me in the flush of autumn growth...

…poa grass taller than me in the flush of autumn growth (that is, the grass not me)…

 

...last year's clearing of dead wattles.... this year's kindling ready to be taken up to the house...

…last year’s clearing of dead wattles…. this year’s kindling ready to be taken up to the house…

 

...view up the hill towards the house from the bottom dam... our plans are to clear this area of shrubs and grasses and 'lift' the trees to create a park like area where the 'roos can graze... one day... soon...

…view up the hill towards the house from the bottom dam… our plans are to clear this area of shrubs and grasses and ‘lift’ the trees to create a park like area where the ‘roos can graze… one day… soon… (you can see where we have started at the top of the hill)…

 

... this year's clearing...

… this year’s clearing at the top of the rise above the bottom dam… we’re half way there…

 

... part of our water clarification exercise... mulch pile and garlic plants below the septic...

… part of our water clarification exercise… mulch pile and garlic plants below the septic…

 

...view back down tot he bottom dam...

…view back down to the bottom dam…

 

...moss growing amongst the shale...

…moss growing amongst the shale… the soil here is very thin, but we are hoping to encourage a light grassy covering eventually…

 

...lilies...

…lilies… also part of the water clarification plans…

 

.... from the garden, downwards...

…. from the garden, downwards…

 

... looking back towards the garden gate... home again

… land ooking back towards the garden gate… with the promise of adventure beyond, just waiting for another time.  Åh, well, home again for now…

I hope you enjoyed our little excursion and feel as refreshed as did I.

This is my favourite time of year, a season of mellow fruitfulness (as some famous poet or other once said) with fresh mornings and sun-warmed afternoons, perfect for enjoying a glass of something on the back patio as the sun dips over The Hill…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possum magic?

... a peaceful night at Seventy Seven Acres

… a peaceful night at Seventy Seven Acres

One of the many beautiful things about life at Seventy Seven Acres is the peace and quiet of the nights here.  Often, all you can hear is the whisper of the wind in the trees, the croaking of frogs over at the pond, and perhaps the haunting cry of an owl…

… but not on this occasion.

I’m a light sleeper at the best of times, but this had been enough to drag Matt from his deep and dreamless repose. I know, because when I said, “What was that?” or words to that effect, he said “snffndon’know…”

If, as my immediate thoughts had brought to mind, an enraged, escaped bull had burst through our living room door, then it had now gone suspiciously quiet.

My heart was pounding and all my senses were poised ready for fight or flight, but my breathing was slowly coming back to normal.

Logic told me that it couldn’t be an enraged, escaped bull – nor, my second choice, a steam train – so I slipped out of bed and went to investigate. Cautiously. In case it was an enraged, escaped bull, and was wondering what to do next.

The moon lent a pale, shadowy light through the window, revealing little in the way of bulls or steam trains. In fact, all was quiet. I continued into the kitchen-family room, but all was still there, too.

Puzzling.

I know I didn’t imagine it. My dreams do tend to be highly realistic, but don’t usually impinge on Matt’s consciousness (apart from the time I tried to rescue him from a helicopter that was about to land on our bed – well, I was convinced it was, anyway, when I tried to pull him out of the way).

I shrugged, and wandered back towards the bedroom, and had got as far as the door when something strange registered on my consciousness.

I padded back down the corridor.

Will you look at that!” I said. Perhaps a bit more explosively than was absolutely necessary.

Wha..?” came a bleary voice from the bedroom.

I laughed – because what else can you do? – and Matt appeared groggily, carrying a torch, which he proceeded to shine through the glass door.

Instead of a peculiar shadow, I could now see a possum clinging desperately to the door frame and regarding us with startled eyes. When it shifted position, its claws scraped loudly on the fly screen. Not quite like the enraged, escaped bull sound but with certain recognisable qualities. I can only imagine that what we had heard was the possum flinging itself against the door frame, leaping over the pot of mint to get a good purchase high enough off the ground to feel safe. From what I could not say, although we do have foxes and owls in the vicinity.

...the possum looked away at the precise moment my camera reluctantly agreed to work

…the possum looked away at the precise moment my camera reluctantly agreed to work

Good luck to them actually catching this possum though. Well, they might catch it easily enough, but carrying it off afterwards could be a problem. As you can see, he – or perhaps, she – is quite a chubby little animal. Well fed. Mostly on our veggies, enjoying a sweet tidbit of new rose plants for dessert.

A little gentle persuasion later, Chubs lowered him – or her – self to the ground in a dignified manner and waddled off into the darkness. Probably to munch on our roses again.

Sadly, my camera also objected to being woken up in the wee small hours of the morning and could only be persuaded to take one picture. Just as the possum looked away. So, instead of the rather sweet face of our midnight visitor, you see a headless rendition that reminded me of a certain well known Australian picture book. I didn’t think I had any lamingtons on hand, though, so I just had to resign myself to finding the new buds nipped off the roses again come the morning.

We’ll get there. I’m sure we’ll reach a compromise.

Like, I’ll fence off my veggie patch (and roses), but maybe leave out some fruit (or lamingtons) for Chubs.

... our resident possum retreating to safety after being caught in the act of feasting on our young broccoli plants

… our resident possum retreating to safety after being caught (on an earlier occasion) in the act of feasting on our young broccoli plants

I just hope he won’t make a habit of impersonating enraged, escaped bulls in the middle of the night. Once was enough.

Our garden or theirs?

One of the amazing privileges of having ‘gone bush’ is the proximity to the wildlife with which we share our home. When we first arrived at Seventy Seven Acres, one regular visitor was a small kangaroo of the Eastern Grey persuasion who had obviously suffered some trauma in the past. She had scars on her hip and an extra bend in her tail.

She may well have been a rescue ‘roo, because she showed no concern at our arrival, and turned up most evenings to munch on the grass and clover in our lawn. We knew nothing about kangaroos, really, but had been used to the mob that hung around our old place in the suburbs of Canberra. This little lady was quite a bit smaller and had some dark markings that we didn’t recognise. Perhaps she was some sort of wallaby?

Didn’t matter.

She provided hours of watching pleasure, especially since she had a joey of delicate build and cheeky nature who often had a ‘mad half hour’, leaping joyously around the garden. Sometimes she would curl up under the grevillea to have a nap, and, in the rain, she would hide under the eaves right outside the big glass door of our bedroom.

Yeah, I know it seems stupid, but we ended up giving her a name… although we simply called them ‘A’ and ‘B’ to begin with. But ‘B’ came to be Beatrice (Bea for short), so we had to give ‘A’ a name. She became Anastasia, or Annie, and what a calm nature and self-contained character she displayed.

No, we couldn’t exactly approach her, and, no, we didn’t want to do so, but she wouldn’t run away if we went outside to, say, bring the washing in, pick some fruit or veg from the garden, or put scraps on the compost heap. She would maybe look up, check what we were doing, and then return to concentrating on her meal.

Once, she was visiting the garden early in the morning and an admirer had followed her up. Big, muscley guy, he was. All boy. I turned the tap on in the kitchen to fill the kettle for my morning cuppa, and he turned and ran.

Annie didn’t even blink. The fella stopped at the back gate and looked back, and you could have sworn he was saying something like, “Come on, I’ll keep you safe!”

Annie’s response? Well, if she could she would have rolled her eyes.

Bea didn’t move either.

The following year Annie had a new joey, and I nearly expired with impatience waiting to see little Cherise eventually appear from the pouch. If anything, in the end, Cherise was madder and even cheekier than Bea, now a young ‘teen’, sometimes there with Annie, more often running with a mob of young bucks.

This year, Annie had another joey, Desiree, to keep Cherise company.

And Bea came back, with Eugenie.

Bea and Eugenie calmly enjoying their evening meal, taking advantage of the spray from our sprinkler during a recent heatwave...

Bea and Eugenie calmly enjoying their evening meal, taking advantage of the spray from our sprinkler during a recent heatwave…

We actually see Bea and Eugenie more often than the others at the moment.

Okay, we know this naming thing is going to get way out of hand, but these ‘roos are kinda like family, now. Others come to visit (I once came home to find a whole mob of young males occupying the back garden), but these girls are part of the scenery.

We talk to them, they twitch their ears, look at us placidly as they chew their cud, and gallantly let us live on their patch.