The girls and I drove off to the Bush last weekend. We went to stay with Bs’ Aunt, Uncle and Long Lost Cousin. Hoping to get up the Hedley Ranges toward Binginwarri by early morning we made the mistake of ‘dropping into’ Bs dads hobby farm near Loch. Within 5 minutes i was up a ladder measuring a barge board for a new porch. No one could find the tape measure so we used a piece of string… I was cold, it was damp… there were wolves after me…
Leaving Loch the Gippsland highway winds on past Leongatha. Past Koonwarra and its ‘foody’ organic shops. Over a big hill where Wilsons Promontory slams into view. Amazing. Lonely cold waterways. Huge hummocky hills. Slabs of rock.
However, little Z was being a tad un-serene. This was the longest car trip she had been on and she wasn’t in the mood for sleep. So I turned off up into the hills along some forgotten dirt track in the hope that a bouncey ride would ‘do the trick’. The views became very ‘sound of music’ and the farms became very ‘Deliverance‘. I got out and walked her but what should we find but a sparky little calf on the track. Z had found a new pal and any sleepy ideas were gone.
More songs and more slipping along wet tracks high up on the Hedley Ranges. Awesome country. Hodad territory. Caravans in the bush. Trees through sheds. Cows on the road. Paddocks full of old cars. My type of playground. Green valleys fell away for a km off the side of the road. I must have Tourette’s Syndrome for I thought constantly about driving off the road and down the side of the hill. Maybe I just miss my trail bike.
We got to our digs. The last house on a dirt road surrounded by forest. The house is a rambling country home with wrap around verandas. Cooking is done on a stove and in an oven that is powered by wood. A huge iron ediface that once bridged the gap between cooking on a fire and… anyway, the rooms smelt of wood and cooking. Yum.
Aunt K is a natural historian with a penchant for Stones Green Ginger wine. She has frozen Bats and bits of other other animals in her freezer for future taxonomy. Not taxidermy but the ‘categorising of the natural world’. A passion of hers. Families of native birds came and went all weekend. She not only knew their zoological names but also when they were born and where they live and what they are up to. They were unafraid so obviously didn’t know about the freezer. Nooks and crannies around the house and sheds are festooned with punnets of native grasses and hundreds of trees ready for planting on other properties. All scientifically and precisely labelled.
A remarkable thing is that she is matter of fact about her vast knowledge and you only get an insight into what she does and thinks if you ask. One of lifes rare humble people. B found out that she is acknowledged in the uber cool Sean Dooley book ‘The Big Twitch’. Whoa! I can claim I am famous on the flimsy premise that I know her!
I could have stayed on the couch and read for a year. There is a complete set of Grass Roots magazines… drool. References and weighty tomes on the natural world were scattered across every table and bench. I would have too but dinner aromas got my attention. The food was divine. Bs Long Lost Cousin is chef aboard the Pelican Expeditions vessel. A
63′ sailing catamaran. She spends a lot of time at sea up and down the east coast of Australia so we were lucky to catch her. I am into sailing and it was good to gab about it with her. I devoured all her coastal cruising snaps. She is a gun photographer but any photo with the water or a sailing boat gets my attention.
Bs uncle adored little Z and little Z adored him. I adored his vege garden. The compost bin is the capital of Wormworld. It writhes! His tricked up vege garden is growing most everything you can this time of year and has inspired me to plant my sad Spinach into our somewhat suspect soil to see what happens.
Actually, Z was adored all round and lapped it up. She cooed and smiled all weekend. It is fun to splash her around the other pink monkeys. She is good for a laugh.
After a toasty night in one of their two guest caravans, Z and I and Bs dad (who came down too) walked toward the local forest where she gawked at a mob of roos and I pointed out various ‘cuts of meat’. We eat a lot of roo.
Lunch was a huge country spread but then we had to bail. (not before getting Long Lost Cousins’ recipe for sour dough bread. Bs dad actually got hold of some of her precious starter yeast I think) The trip home was another cartoon of us singing as Z refused to sleep in the car. She never cries about that sort of thing, or anything much, but gets fairly ratty if she misses a nap… I ended up stopping in Korumburra and whispering her successfully *whew* in my arms.
It was a sweet ride home from then as the girls slept and i drove on under the sunset and into the night.
Photo by Samantha Proudley