Tag Archives: lifestyle

…we all know frogs go…

I’m constantly amazed and delighted by the variety of wildlife with which we share our home.  If I tried to name all the types of birds, for instance, that come by our garden (let alone the rest of the property), I’m sure that I could fill a page easily and still miss some out.

I love listening to the bird calls, starting with the kookaburras in the early morning, right through to our boobook owls well into the night – although I was a little less enamoured of a male common koel that spent last spring singing most of his way through a full octave then stopping, leaving me waiting for the last note, before repeating his call incessantly – all night!  It took a couple of sleepless nights before I got used to that call and slept through his noisy courting.

On the other hand, I never tire of the song of our magpies, nor the cheeky chirping of the blue wrens or silvereyes.

Another sound I love is the chorus of frog calls that serenade us through the evenings during spring and summer.  One of my favourite memories of our first year here at Seventy Seven Acres was the night we decided to go up to the little dam (probably better called the reed pond) by torchlight to see what we could find.  All through the reeds were little clumps of frog spawn, while adult frogs clambered up the thin stalks or nuzzled into the soft dirt beside the water.  Wherever we walked, silence would fall, but the calls from all around the rest of the dam echoed back and forth, a bit like a tennis match.  I was particularly struck by the sound the pobblebonk frogs made – it really does sound like “pobble-bonk”!

Just recently we’ve had a few frogs come visiting us, like a little brown tree frog that moved into the breezeway where we had just installed a couple of Dicksonia Antarctica plants and were watering them every evening with a fine haze of dam water for a couple of hours to help them settle in.

Little brown tree frog... enjoying the mister during a recent hot spell

The little brown tree frog… enjoying the mister during a recent hot spell.  The actual frog was only about the size of a twenty cent coin.

An even smaller tree frog came a-hunting on our bathroom window a couple of nights ago, too.  It was fascinating to see him from underneath, as he reached up onto the glass, chasing minute insects.  Alas, he was gone before I could fetch a camera, but he provided a few moments of enthralling entertainment before he slunk off into the darkness.

I suspect we won’t be seeing – or hearing –  too many more this season, as our evenings are starting to cool down, and our mornings are definitely feeling a little chilly.  I don’t know a lot about frogs – despite a childhood obsession with tadpoling – but I think they sleep the winter away, tucked up cosy somewhere until the growing warmth of spring wakes them up and gets them on the move.

Hmm.  Something else I’ll have to learn about.  I wonder if there is a handy, pocket sized field guide for the frogs of our region…

Morning has broken…

…like the first morning, although, it’s still dark outside as I write this… and totally quiet, except for the hum of my ageing computer. No blackbirds. It’s nearly six o’clock in the morning, and only a few weeks ago, it would have been light outside by now – that soft morning light that touches everything with a silvery glow. I find myself listening for the kookaburras who always herald the start of a new day with a chorus of laughter that echoes from one tribe to the next.

 

...the view from my writing room window

…the view from my writing room window

I love morning and I love watching the dawn creep across the hills. This is not a new thing, I’ve always been a morning person, but since we have been at Seventy Seven Acres it has almost become a ritual.

This is my time of day, and I treasure it.

It is so peaceful to have the house to myself for a few moments, while Matt and Will (both night owls by nature) sleep on. It’s a time when I sit and write for a while, maybe meditate, and add in a bit of gentle exercise before I start getting school lunches ready and making the morning cuppas to ease the Boys into the day.

I’m really enjoying this morning, and, as I look out the window now, I can see the trees as dark silhouettes against a richly blue background. Even as I write, the light gets stronger. Now I can see that the sky is cloudy. The Hill across the Valley is hidden behind a blanket of mist. Slowly, I watch the grass beyond the veranda become green.

Everything is so still. There is not even a breath of wind.

It’s cool this morning, too – a hint, perhaps, of the approaching autumn?

This is the first time in the last couple of weeks that I’ve had time to appreciate the beauty and calm of the pre-dawn stillness. School is in session again, with all the frenetic activity that surrounds the beginning of a school year. At my school, too, there have been some changes to the way we are delivering our program, and new teams learning to work together. There is so much to prepare… so much to get done before the day starts. My precious morning time has been stolen. As well as my evenings.

Then, yesterday, I left my USB at school, and didn’t realise until I was home.

I did what I could last night, but this morning has been all mine.

The way it should be.

Outside my window, Beatrice and Eugenie have arrived and are quietly grazing their way across the back garden. I can see the colours of the tree trunks, and the different greens of their canopies – a pale green for the brittle gums with their grey-white trunks, darker for the iron barks, and darker still for the black wattles. A pair of young hares have just arrived and are gadding about the garden. Bea pauses in her eating to watch them, and check on Eugenie, who is joining in.

Still no kookaburras.

I told myself that the morning was mine until they called, but the clock is saying otherwise.

If I don’t start to get Will up soon, we’ll be late for school.

Ah, there they are, the first distant chattering across the hillside… if I’m quick, I might get a morning walk in.

... heading out for a morning walk, the gate open to a whole new day of possibilities

… heading out for a morning walk, the gate open to a whole new day of possibilities

 

 

 

 

Thunder Drops and Passing Storms

 As I sit in the family room listening to the thunder drops on our tin roof and the rumble of the storm as it passes overhead, and smell the the tang of eucalypt in the air and the wet earth, I still can’t believe that I’m here. It was raining the first time I came here, gentle rain, and I stood in the back garden completely oblivious to the real estate agent pointing out various features of the property. It didn’t matter. I was in love.

...a stunning view down into the valley from just above the house

…a stunning view down into the valley from just above the house

All that I could hear was the rain – on the roof,on the ground, splattering on the trees – no cars, no neighbours, no dogs barking, and all around me were trees. It wasn’t until later that I discovered the amazing view across to The Hill or down to The Valley, where grapes and olives cut across the paddocks and large, docile cattle grazed beside The Creek. No. At that point there was just me, the house, and the bush.

And, at that point, I knew that this was a dream that had no chance of coming true.

Except it did.

That was two years ago. Somehow a miracle happened and we were able to buy the place, despite not being ready to sell the house we were renovating in the suburbs. We weren’t going to move in right away. Uh, uh. We were going to finish the other house, first, and make sure that we would get a good return when we sold.

I think we were still in denial.

How did it happen?

How could we have become the custodians of this little piece of bush paradise?

It couldn’t possibly be true, so moving in was… something to look forward to. After all, we’d been waiting over twenty years already.

So, explain how it was that we came up here ‘just to camp for the weekend’ and never went back? Bit by bit our stuff migrated out of town, the old couch we were sleeping on was replaced by our bed, we bought a new fridge, we bought an old Landrover… and here we were. It was the cat that did it – he hated being in the car, so we couldn’t put him through the torture of taking him back to town. Could we?

Every morning I still wake up enchanted.

I drive through the valley totally awed by the beauty, ever changing through the seasons.

I’m still in love.

And I’m here.