Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary

Lots of people have said (well both of them) that they liked the small notes format of the earlier entries to this diary. Yes, I found them easier to keep current too, but often felt the need for more space and/or bigger images. So, I'm now going to do both, this format for quick hits and an occasional larger one.
I'll try and add links to bigger images for photographs in this style that I think need them.

After about a week of diary entries, they go to an archive.
15 July '04
Before I went down (Bungendore is up) to Melbourne and Ballarat last week, I transplanted the winter salad greens I had in trays.

While I was away Jan watered them, and when she joined me on the weekend said we had apparently had a welcome shower of rain, so I wasn't worried about them drying out. My main worry was about frost. We had one -5 C day Jan said, but they looked ok when we returned. This morning there was another frost, just as cold and although they're covered in white frost crystals, they haven't turned black so I'm guessing they'll tough it out.

There's mezzaluna, rocket, endive and a couple of Chinese lettuce varieties. There's four rows of about a metre long in a slightly raised bed that gets a lot of sun. At the same time I've transplanted some in pots and put them in our new, (slightly tacky), plastic covered $40 green house shelves. Looking at both, there's little difference in size between them, they've transplanted well.


This poor guy isn't doing at all well. We have a feeder for the parrots that sits near the cherry plum tree which hides it in summer. In winter we put seed out for the rosellas most mornings and we've trained Max, the smallest dog, to leave them alone. But when he sees a cockatoo or we say 'White bird' he knows that he's supposed to chase the cockatoos away.

(I'm not sure what the neighbours think especially when the birds call his bluff. There's been standoffs with white dog and cockatoo trying to stare, screech and bark each other down.)

The cockies chase off any other birds, even the currawongs, so we figure they're way too bossy and can stick to dropping cedar pine cones on our roof if they're hungry.

Well, this time I had to tell Max not to chase the 'white bird'. I had to pity this single (probably an outcast) half naked old bird on such a cold morning. It was very cautious, and flew up into the cyprus tree and sat in the sun, when I added another handful of feed to the tray.

From what I've read, losing feathers in wild birds is usually due to disease whereas in caged birds it can also be due to stress. The flock has no sympathy for a bird that 'looks different' and even if it finds feed, I guess it will be one of these cold winter nights that will kill this one.

  17 July 04
I've been thinking about that bird. A few days earlier when the tree was filled with feeding cockatoos, there were three birds (from what I could tell) clumped strangely together (I didn't get a clear picture of them they were off to the side of this one). Now I'm thinking that this may have not been an old bird but a young diseased one, and that clump was the parents looking after it, with wings wrapped around it. They stayed there for a few hours after the main group left, and then they were all gone.
Leaving out extra seed seems to have attracted more than the birds. The dogs raced outside tonight and were barking, when Jan went to look, there was this fat possum on the feeder. I've wondered why the feeder seemed to be all cleared recently with just husks, when there is usually bigger seeds the parrots don't like left behind. Possums however seem to like wheat and corn.
18 July 04
I took these pictures last weekend when we took the dogs for a walk along the railway line. Being right in the town we don't get a view of the surrounding hills other than arriving and leaving. I enjoy walking the dogs that way as I think the view down the valley toward Captains Flat is very pretty. This time I noticed that there were hundreds of shiny metal railway sleepers lined up along the bank as far as I could see, so a replacement exercise is planned from the look of it.

You can see the twists in the rail from this photograph and the goods trains seem to slow down more along that section as they come into town. There's still something very basic about metal wheels running on metal rails in an age of modern transport technology.

The light on these winter afternoons is colder in colour temperature (that's blue-ish) and the air must be cleaner when chilled. It seems that everything is sharper and more defined.

The sun being lower in the sky casts longer shadows, and the pale dry grass seems to make those shadows look even more blue by contrast.

All the rosehips on this small bush beside the railway have been missed by foraging birds, I guess because the small branches are very spiky and it's not easy for a bird to hang on. However the rose that climbs on the corner of our shed has been stripped of all its big glossy fruit, because the shed makes an easy platform for even the currawongs to reach it. Good winter food.
Fred Harden  
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