A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary

After about a week of these diary entries, they go to the archive.
13 August '05
I came over the Smiths Gap hill from Collector about 9.00pm and could see a fire with flashing lights around it. It was just a bit over from 'the new suburbs' and I guessed it was the tip.

I've seen the smoke from various self combustion or suspiciously lit fires but always missed recording them for the diary. I stomped up from the locked gate in the dark this time to see what I could see. That including a whole lot of our local brigade guys staying toasty warm on a freezing cold night. The heaps were safe enough so they were just watching for breakouts.

You can see from the figures here that the heap was huge, so maybe it was a controlled burn off to reduce the wood pile. It's when the pile of tyres are lit that the smoke gets dangerous and stinks the town. Tonight it rose pretty much straight up.

10 August '05
Snow. Down at our level and it went on in patches all afternoon as I drove around. The heaviest fall was as I drove beside the Canberra airport and onto the Federal Highway. Trucks slowed, dry snow whipped across the road like it does in the movies. I was running late for an appointment so I only tried a photograph while moving, not very successfully since I was trying to stay on the road in the wind.

I was heading to take a portrait of Brad Schafferius at his Tallagandra Hill winery and while I was doing that it started to snow again. I coaxed him outside for a few shots (the best one you'll have to wait for the next edition of the magazine to see, sorry) but this gives you the idea. The next day the Brindabella's looked very pretty.
30 July '05
Up early with a minus 5 deg frost, Jan's freshly planted polyanthus begged for a photograph. I stood in the cold in my dressing gown and photographed until the sun came up and just hit them. Took a few more and then ran inside to warm up. You hafta suffer sometimes for the art. (Getting dressed first is another alternative.)
24 July '05
At the Fyshwick Markets the roast chestnut seller was doing a slow business. I'm not sure why the Chinese influence in the signage (although roast chestnuts are popular in China,  there was a very Western stall holder). I did notice one dad with two young daughters, who nagged until they both got their own small bag of hot nuts. Maybe the next generation will be more appreciative of a custom and seasonal food that is a permanent part of European street life. Like this stall near the Spanish Steps in Rome.
With green patches of grass appearing after the rain, there's obviously a competition for the best bits. These two however don't seem too competitive.

I have noticed a lot more bloody patches and mangled roo carcasses on the roads around here though. The growth must be slower to kick in in the bush and they're down in the paddocks and roadsides.

22 July '05
A chimney duck. For the last two mornings, we've heard noises from the chimney in our bedroom (it's an old house with five fireplaces). Jan said there was an animal maybe a possum, making moaning noises trapped inside which stopped when I removed the cardboard baffle that stops a bit of the cold and the flies in summer. The next day, I thought it sounded more like a bird and when there was clearly nothing there, I went outside. I ducked (sorry) back inside and got my camera to take this one photo before it flew away. It hasn't been back. My guess is that there was enough warm air coming up the chimney, and patches of early sunshine to make it a good place for a duck to roost.
14 July '05
Driving back from Braidwood, the fields were green, the sun was shining, the lambs playing ... until I got out of my car to photograph them and then they ran away. It's lambing season all along the valley, and after a few milder winters, we've now got 'sheep grazier alerts' on the radio weather reports. They're going to find it a bit tough on these next few cold nights. Rain, sleet and snow down to 800 metres.
10 July '05
Dark skies promise more rain.
The power shut down for hours, and since I couldn't use the computer, I went driving with the camera.

Yesterday as I was delivering magazines over to Collector, travelling down the Federal Highway Lake George had an almost complete layer of water on it. Just puddles I realised but as I came over the hill, it looked great to see it 'full'. In a stream of traffic and in the rain, I didn't stop and mentally picked out a spot to photograph from on the trip home. However I then decided to go to Gunning instead ,so it was today before I got a chance to record it, and it wasn't as spectacular.

There was however a woman stomping around in distress, way out on the flat beside a bogged 4WD. I could see her talking on the mobile phone through my tele lens. "Damn, it was ok a few days ago, what am I going to do now honey?". I'm not sure why 4WDrivers think they're invincible, it looked an awfully wet track to me. It's been a great shortcut for the farms on the other side of the dry lake.

6 July '05
Jan (right), Mark Kelly (centre) and the Offset Alpine staff when we did our press check (matching colour, density of the images) and watched the first copies 'roll off the press'. Pretty exciting really. This is what I hope to do for the next ten years of my life.
It's my Country Diary, our Regional Food magazine and I'll make the cover as big here as I like! Have a look at the contents online if you haven't seen an issue in print (which is much nicer). I'm pretty happy about how it looks, I'm a bit critical about how it reads but there's always the next issue.

Gasp. We did it.
5 July '05
The carpet of autumn leaves have packed down and created a stylized carpet for the old bank building on the corner of the Tarago /Macs Reef Road at the end of Gibralter Street.
That corner serves as important a purpose as any town square, it's where they private sale secondhand cars are parked for display. It's where the hay trucks sell and today's turn was a potato grower selling his spuds 'cheaper than chips'. I don't know how local they were, I didn't stop and ask. 
4 July '05
I was tired, it was the last days of getting the magazine tio the printer. I'd flown twice to and from Melbourne in three days to collect files and deliver them to Sydney. I was a courier rather than an editor. Then I had to fly back down to collect my car and I drove home, leaving late in the afternoon. I was pretty tired but stayed awake with some strong coffees and a walk at Albury, at Gundagai and Yass.

I arrived in Bungendore around midnight, feeling ok, slowed down by a few patches of heavy fog along the way. Coming into the valley, the fog got thicker, and I wound the window down as I entered Bungendore, smelling the woodsmoke mix in the smog. Since I hadn't checked the post box for a week, I drove first to the Post Office.

The football field lights were on and in the fog, the glow was like a Close Encounters scene as I approached. The Anzac memorial in the pink light mercury lights became a surreal object. I had to take some photographs even if I was tired.

When I saw this object in the car headlights as I turned into my driveway, it didn't look familiar. I got out of the car and realised it was our mailbox that had been ripped off the stand. Because I had the camera on the seat. I photographed the crime scene.

The next day I heard about the Saturday night vandalism down Ellendon Street and the clowning around with the street barriers in the main street. I must have missed it by just a few minutes. I could have photographed it all. Beware you dickheads, there's a surveillance camera about.

1 July '05
Rain, not just a little bit but a whole lot.  Wonderful. Suddenly a real winter. Creeks with water, the worms are rioting in what was once our lawn (before it died). It may live again (but then you have to mow it.)

These are the berries on the spindle tree. I wrote about discovering it here.
Fred Harden
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden