Archive for the ‘Around the Town’ Category

The Daffodil

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Written by William Wordsworth in 1804, this is a poem that most of us learned at school, I certainly did and can also remember my Father often quoted it, but usually in some mangled humourous form as well as the real thing.  This area of Central Victoria is awash with them – gardens (mine included) and fields are sprinkled with patches of gold, bunches are being sold cheaply at roadsides, and as mentioned in the last post, a nearby town is having a festival in their honour, which included a daffodil themed Scarecrow competition. To me they signify that Spring is really here and their gorgeous colours are a welcome sight after the wet and dull winter in this very cold climate.
These are some more shots from the Daffodil Festival in Kyneton, and around the area.




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Cute Overload

A friend who lives nearby is agisting a herd of goats for another local farmer who no longer has a farm.  They are Boer goats, which were indigenous to South Africa, but are now being bred for meat production.  The females often have twins or triplets, so financially they are a success.  This herd numbers about 50+, and they are currently dropping their kids, so yesterday when I visited there were about 20 week old kids to enjoy.  The mothers were very docile and did not mind me getting close, while the kids were curious and kept nibbling at my jeans or shoes.  They were absolutely gorgeous, but did not stay still for long – I was only sorry I did not capture any of them leaping and frisking with each other, which was most amusing.

As usual, click on any image for a better view which is not greyed out.  I changed my blog theme to this one, and am not sure I like the way the photos appear.

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Clearing Sale

This morning in Woodend, there was an auction of wonderful stuff – old textiles and embroideries, vintage clothing from Victorian times to the 70’s, wedding dresses from all eras, dolls, tin hat boxes, wooden hat blocks, small items of furniture, antiques, collectables, paintings and jewellery, quilts, boxes of linens and lace, buttons, shop fittings, dress maker’s models, shop dummies and fur coats.  Many had come from a store in Greville St Prahran, and various deceased estates.  It was a treasure trove of goodies, and very well attended.  The auctioneer was Steve Graham – fast and funny, making the whole experience a lot of fun.  There were a couple of things I would have loved, such as wooden cotton reel display cabinets or sewing notion drawers, but they were far too expensive, all three of those I hankered after sold for around $400 each!  Each of the hat blocks pictured below were over $300, but one could have purchased a mink jacket for less than $100 if so inclined.  The hexagonal quilt was fantastic, each hexagon was less than an inch, and the fabrics appeared to be silks.   There were over 700 items, and I bought nothing.  These are photos taken by my phone, so apologies for their poor quality.

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The Kangaroo is used as a national symbol of Australia, its image is on some of our currency, it is on the national coat of arms (together with the emu) and is the red flying kangaroo is the proud emblem of Qantas our national airline.  It used to be that anyone from overseas expected to see them hopping down the roads in the major cities, as I did when I arrived in this country as a teenager, but this is of course not the case.  Living in the country, as I do, they are quite a common site in the surrounding paddocks, and there are certain roads one is advised to avoid at dusk due to the risk of hitting them as they move from different areas, and crossing roads as they need.

This is a very common sign on roads around where I live – a warning of their presence and advice for drivers to slow down.  One never wants to collide with a kangaroo, because apart from injuring or killing it, impact with a large animal travelling at up to 40-50kms an hour can cause major damage to the car and passengers.  I have hit a kangaroo, luckily neither I nor it were going very fast, it escaped unhurt, but my car needed new headlights.

When I moved here seven years ago, there was a small mob of about 6-8 Eastern Greys which lived in the local area and which I would see occasionally.  They tended to stay under cover by day, but come out of the forest to feed by night. They would often come through my property as they grazed for food, and were always more obvious through winter. They are not tame, but are flighty and will usually hop away from people, one does not get close to them as they can be aggressive if threatened, doing terrible damage with their hind legs. They are know to be able to kill dogs that harass them in the same way.  I have been aware of increasing numbers for some time, but this morning I saw the whole mob in a paddock about 100 metres from my gate. Having my camera with me as usual, I stopped to try and take a photograph of them, but they did not stay for long as I got out of the car.  The header above shows only some of them, I estimate there were well over 30 in the whole group.

Sometimes there are single animals which live apart from the mob, often older males who may have been replaced as the alpha male by a younger fellow, and one needs to be particularly wary of them.  I was told recently that if you unexpectedly come face to face with one, the best thing to do is to lie flat on your face on the ground, as the animal cannot then sit back on its tail and rip you with its legs.  I hope I never have to test this out!  This week though, twice there has been a young male on its own in my front garden when I opened my curtains.  I managed to open the front door quietly, creep outside and take these shots of it from the safety of my verandah.

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My dear Daughter, now all grown up, once had one of these doll which she loved dearly – much to her embarrassment now!  This was taken at a local shop which sells full size hideous fibreglass animals – wombats, sheep, crocodiles, gorillas, and most recently a huge dinosaur.  No doubt this image may distress some little girls, but it made me laugh.

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One knows one has been gone too long, when readers grumble at one’s absence!  So in response, I thought it was about time for another post on this much neglected blog.  Originally set up to share my stitching and other textile activities and creations, it has really taken second place to my other Blog, and my passion for taking photographs.  I have been busy living life here in the country, having some minor renovations done to my home, participating in an online photo based course, taking photos when the weather is cooperative, and staying hunkered down inside when it has been wet, windy and most unpleasant.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about some of the events that happen in the country that urban dwellers may never have experienced in person, or even know about. Recently I attended  a vintage tractor pull at a small town called Bullarto, with vintage tractors from all over the state, competing to pull a water tank over a specific distance.  There were also some vintage cars and motorcycles, exhibitions of shearing, competitive wood chopping, a blacksmith and a grand parade led by a small pipe band.  Great photo opportunities of course, as well as fascinating, but I did not have the courage to take any shots of the wonderful old farmers with weather beaten faces, who attended in battered hats and checked shirts!

Here are some I took during the day.

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One of the absolute joys of living in the country is the opportunity to attend events that city slickers may have heard of, or seen on television, but never experienced themselves. Once I was one of those, but having been living here for almost seven years, there are now many things I have done, that I had not when I lived in Melbourne.  One such happened on Friday last, when I accompanied a dairy farming friend to the Sheep Dog Trials that were held in Ballarat over four days. Over 250 highly skilled dogs competed – each started with 100 points, and each dog had to attempt to put three young and inexperienced sheep through four different obstacles within 15 minutes. Those with the least number of points lost, progressed to the finals which were held the next day, and a winner was then determined.

I had expected to see a lot of black and white Border Collies, but there were a wide variety of breeds, some were light coloured, some looked like Labradors, some were Kelpies and some that one could never have guessed their parentage as they just looked like mongrel mutts.  Most had short hair, some were obviously more clever and experienced than others, but all were very skilled at their job – a credit to their owners and trainers.  We met a farmer from northern Victoria who breeds working dogs and who had competed earlier in the day.  He was a lovely man, a farmer all his life, having left school at an early age, happy to chat and explain the course and how various dogs were performing.  He was also a jazz man, self taught, he made banjos, and played banjo with his own group for many years.  He also made the whistles and batons that many of the competetors used to control their dogs, and he gave me one as a momento.

It was a great day, I took heaps of photographs of the dogs working, as well as a few of the characters who attended – there were lots of wonderful weather beaten farmer’s faces that I would love to have shot, but did not have the courage to ask permission.  I did sneak a couple though – I hope you enjoy this slideshow.

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