Poor wombat

This morning we discovered our poor resident wombat had been hit by a car. We live on a dirt road and it can be quite slippery but everyone is aware of this lovely boy making his slow pilgrimage each night. He had three burrows on our property.  We are all devastated.

Wombats are nocturnal animals and lack the reflective eye shine that most animals have when headlights appear. They move so slowly and sometimes look like a large grey rock on the side of the road. They are adorable, everyone loves them. We will miss this fine creature. Be careful when you drive at night and early mornings. We love our wombats here on the mountain.

He’s back!

Our resident kangaroo has returned for the summer.

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This time he’s made a friend – our middle cat Albert. Enjoying an afternoon relax under the weeping apricot.

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Just don’t eat the roses, mate!

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He’s such an old boy. He can sit in our garden anytime 🙂

The Caves

We have left our garden, cats and chickens for a short time to travel to Western Australia. This much awaited second trip will take us form Perth to Albany, about a six hour drive, south, staying in various locations in between. Currently, we have nestled into a beautiful bush setting overlooking Bunker Bay near Cape Naturaliste.

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After a track walk to the lighthouse with spectacular views and a fright – a little brown snake crossing our path – recovery, we reached the lighthouse with a further surprise – whales in the distance.

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Our surprises for the day, however, were only to increase.

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Who would have thought a spectacular ancient cave was just down these inconspicuous steps?
As a child I visited some caves in New Zealand but nothing like this one. Ngilgi Cave (pronounced “Nilgi) a show cave which opens up for kilometres! In a classic tale of good and evil, the aboriginal dreamtime spirit of Ngilgi now resides in the caves.

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I can tell you that it was a privilege and a rare experience to spend an hour down in these caves. The air was heavy with humidity but the main chamber was a colossal experience with stalactites from the ceiling and stalagmites as well as straws and shawls – highly recommended.

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If you ever get the opportunity to visit a limestone cave don’t pass it up.

A sleepy seal

It was one of those serene and surprising weekends. We were fortunate enough to be able to visit a charming little cottage by the sea. Its owners had kindly allowed us to stay in this place where their own children had spent many happy summers – long ago.

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As we embarked on our little trip, a mere hundred kilometres from the Mount, I did not expect that I would receive two surprises that day.

Daughter Number 2 was to arrive unexpectedly to share this weekend with us. Colin had kept that secret well! It was wonderful to see her especially as she was to spend a precious weekend with us by the sea.

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Seaside walks are a must, even in winter and we had a much needed chat-shop-coffee time. Our walk saw us reach the iconic bathing boxes of the Mornington Peninsula. These colourful sentinels look out over Port Phillip Bay. Blue, yellow and green boxes create a novelty appeal by the sea. Surprise number two. Something caught our eye. Was that an injured animal? A large animal. It was lying lifeless on one of the landings.

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As we gingerly drew closer, a row of plastic tape revealed an important notice.

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A resting seal. Wow! This poor fellow was all tuckered out and had found its way to a most amenable residence. Clever seal! He was gorgeous and oh so sleepy.

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We returned the next day and he was still there, stirring slightly. A wildlife ranger watched patiently over his sleeping state. The ocean, the sand and the bathing box buffering his dreamtime state. Isn’t nature truly beautiful!

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Thanks to everyone who made this weekend a very special one indeed.

Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret friend

We have a tall, dark, 6 foot stranger living in our garden. We thought we heard him a few weeks ago. We thought we saw him a few days ago. Then today, here he was staring straight at us. He kept looking at us as we stood in shock. He had never been so close before. We were a little frightened at his stillness. He was hungry and thirsty; he was big and strong. He looked straight at us today, on Valentine’s day. He even left a few deposits!

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Due to the recent bush fires in our area, kangaroos are coming closer and closer to houses seeking a little fresh grass. Colin came out to look; Whitey cat was too use smelling the flowers to notice.

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See you later big guy, but please don’t surprise me behind the camelias!

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I thought I saw a puddy tat – or was it a mouse?

We are experiencing a heat wave, not unusual for this part of the world in January. However, during this time some strange things are happening. Apart from our broody Plymouth Rock chook who has nestled down to nurture her potential chicks – it always amazes me that hens can exist almost trance-like for twenty- one days.

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We placed a small bowl of water near her just in case she got thirsty. She’s in a cool house.
The other chickens and Long John Silver, the feisty rooster, are searching for a cool place too.

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However, the strangest occurrence today happened this morning. Our oldest companion cat, Sarge, yes, he is quite a bossy cat, had to go to the Vet. After the consultation, I began to rummage through my handbag for a pen to write some instructions, I wondered what the furry thing was in my bag. Then it hit me, it was a little brown mouse. Shocked, I quickly closed the opening and declared to the vet and Colin, “There’s a mouse in my bag”! They both looked at me suspiciously.

Convinced, I wasn’t deranged, the vet took my handbag and after a few minutes returned with this
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He’s a carnivorous native mouse – Dasyurid Antechinus, a relative of the Tasmanian Devil – as the vet excitedly told us, as he pulled out a text book photo. We packed him in a little box and returned this little marsupial to the bushland on the Mount. I wondered why our little white cat, this morning was digging in my handbag. Poor mouse, just wanted to stay out of the heat. A tip, keep your handbags off the floor in summer!

Keep cool everyone,

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I guess ratty has the last laugh! LOL

Australia Day

26th January commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 in Sydney Cove. Therefore, it is a public holiday for Aussie citizens. We also must take into account indigenous cultures who often do not see this as a day to celebrate,

As we are part of the Buick car club, we take part in the RACV display bringing our 1982 Riviera to the gardens. With milder weather setting in, there were countless classic cars to peruse. Some of my favourites were

20130126-130931.jpg 1929 Pierce Arrow which always reminds me of the Robert Lowell poem, Grandparents.

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20130126-132113.jpg even teddy got a ride!

20130126-132210.jpg there were some quirky exhibits….

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No Australia Day is complete without the local wildlife: possums, dingoes and snakes

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20130126-132511.jpg Government House is open today for those who wish to view its splendour and for me that was the magnificent magnolia!

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No doubt we live in a vast land of many contrasts and today’s outing was no different. What did you do for Australia Day or how do you commemorate your national day?

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Tractors, Trains and Automobiles

Our first extra warm day. The country towns which surround us are easily accessible and peaceful. If we were to choose the fourth reason why we live here it would be the close proximity to these regional centres. The weekend saw us off to a Buick car run – we have a 1982 Buick Riviera convertible but others in the club have much older ones, ’38’s and ’39’s!

20121028-213039.jpgThe roof went down to capture the much missed super sunshine. Our neighbour hitched a ride with us as we travelled to Muckleford. It sounds like a strange place and there’s nothing there except for a railway station which hosts steam train rides on weekends. These carriages have seen some sun!

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20121028-213529.jpgTractor Pulls are a fascinating pastime. Some of these managed to pull their loads for nearly 80 metres!

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20121028-214726.jpgNow I don’t know much about tractors but I do appreciate their raw power and earthiness. You can tell it’s nearing summer when the flies begin to descend on your lunch – salad nicoise – tuna, egg, cos lettuce and potato with extra virgin oil, grain mustard and apple cider vinegar! All this in a far away place away from shops and restaurants. At this point a horse and cart and its passengers meandered amidst the cars and trains and I wondered where I was! And there goes that steam train!
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The Backyard Deck

The great Australian bush property or indeed city dwelling is incomplete without a deck. For us, our deck serves many purposes. It is an extra “room” where we can stop and sit under the shade of a leafy tree, enjoy the company of our neighbours and friends, observe the birdlife and even dry our clothes. This is the third reason reason why we live here: the opportunity to share our unique setting with others.

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20121028-194909.jpg Over the years, the deck has hosted Christmas lunches, friendly afternoon teas and smokey barbecues. It looks down over the bush setting of eucalyptus trees, the chicken house, the bird bath and the weeping cherry. Ever afternoon casts a different atmospheric effect. Here is today’s view.

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20121028-195602.jpg The colorful bird is called a king parrot: orange chest and green feathered back. Do you have a deck, verandah or patio?