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March 15, 2014

I can’t believe how long it is since I last blogged! So much has happened so where to start? Maybe I should begin with the most recent events to make it easy on my memory and work backwards. The new arrivals – Annie, Aggie and Alice arrived from Edgar’s Mission just two days ago. They are three 9 months (or so) old heifers (girl cows) that were rescued from the fires near Lancefield a few months back. Thousands of sheep died in that fire which is the worst fire since Black Saturday. Had it not been for the wonderful Pam at Edgar’s Mission these three would have been sent to market and who knows what would have happened. ¬†Amy has taken them under her motherly wing and now we have to count 7 cows when we go outside to make sure they are all there. All of the girls will live their days eating grass and getting fat. Our current four had to spend some time in the Jenny Craig paddock because they were too fat and this made their feet crack. So we’re hoping the newbies will help keep the grass down and the old cows trim!

4 weeks ago 5 little brown and yellow ducklings hatched in the duck pen. They are now almost grown with little wings and the genetic colouring coming out. The familial white spots and long necks are coming through. Mother is very protective and despite our efforts we can’t get them out and down to the dam. She obviously thinks they are safer in the pen. We want to them have some fun. They are now way too big to swim (all together) in the rubbish lid I have set up for them so it is surely time to enjoy the big swimming pool. We may have to pick them up one by one. mmm.

We have had lots of kangaroos around. More are coming back as the weather gets cooler. We didn’t bother with a veggie patch this season as not enough water. The cockies and rosellas ate most of the fruit on our trees too. They obviously needed it.

On a sad note (for me), my rescue gosling, Babis, was killed by a fox or eagle about 2 weeks ago. I kept him safe from day 2 in the dog pen until he was big enough to avoid being picked off by the crows. He was the only surviving gosling from 2 hatchlings last year so I wanted to try and keep at least one alive. Needless to say I howled when I realised he was gone. He had almost lost all of his baby feathers and the only thing that distinguished him from the others was that he still squeaked. I always said I was glad the flock of geese had chosen us and not the other way round so as I didn’t have to get attached. Wrong! Will I do it again next year? I honestly don’t know. It hurts too much I think and maybe I need to let nature do its thing. It was lovely watching Babis grow and get his confidence and we got to observe the family unit. It was very clear who the mum and dad were. The whole group would follow wherever Babis went. They are wonderful birds. PS I don’t hate foxes because they kill and usually take their kill (at least in our experience) because they have families to feed and it is not their fault they are here.

Lots of guests are coming back to The Hide and we had our first Airbnb guests in February who stayed for 5 nights. We really enjoy the interaction with our guests when they want it. Some people want to have quiet time to themselves and that’s great.

It has been a very dry summer. The sunken boat is peeping out from the dam more and more each day. I think it is the lowest I have seen the back dam in years. Autumn is here and the nights are cooler and there is some dampness in the air in the morning. As I write the clouds are dark outside and I am about to go out and do a rain dance.

Our trip to the Greek Islands in September was fantastic. Sue did a 3 week painting workshop conducted by the brilliant artist Colley Whisson. I dagged along and enjoyed the sun, swimming, walking and just absorbing the Greek atmosphere. Prior to the workshop we spent a week in Istanbul, which included a day trip to Gallipoli. We are so pleased we did this as it was a wonderful place to go and we would highly recommend it. Post workshop we flew to Rome, picked up a car and drove to Le Marche, a not so well known province of Italy, next to Tuscany and above Umbria. We stayed at an organic farm in an apartment. It is a beautiful area and had it not rained every day I would have been out walking and horse riding. Maybe next time.

June 16 2013

I have just spent half an hour sitting on The Hide couch, binoculars in hand, observing the mob of kangaroos crowded together above the back dam. We reckon there are at least 50 in this mob, lots of mums with joeys in their pouches. Last Tuesday, when Jenny and Willie arrived, we watched an adorable joey bravely sprinting away from his mum, then stopping, abruptly turning to race back to her, tapping her on the head when he made it back safely. I was hoping to see this ritual again today but although mum and joey were there in the mob, no running around today. However from the corner of my eye I saw a flash of grey on the hill in the neighbours paddock and sure enough another joey was doing the same thing. Brave new kangaroo world. I also observed some male behaviour today. You can see everything with good binoculars! Some amorous males were keen for some sexy business and once they had chosen their prospective mate they made subtle advances. One large buck even jumped after his belle when she decided to flee rather than accept his offer. When she stopped he circled her to face her then sat back on his haunches and tail to allow him to gently touch his genitals in front of her. Then he reached forward to touch her head. But no thanks, not today. He accepted the rejection with no fuss and went back to eating grass. I saw several attempts at such romance with no union. Perhaps they knew I was watching! Now I am back at the house writing this blog. Idgie our cat is curled up in a red mohair on the day bed and Tully, content after just having her dinner, settles for a nap. The sun is setting behind Mt Franklin and a red breasted robin visited the birch just outside the window. What a privileged life.

30 January 2013

We had a lovely surprise this morning when we arrived home after walking the dogs down Sawpit Gully Road – a hot air balloon floating over our place and almost landing near the old house. Turns out he didn’t think he had enough room so he put in a bit more hot air to lift him over the trees to our neighbours place. See our video on Youtube http://youtu.be/OjV1c4M0LPs.

This would have to be the driest summer/spring period since we have lived here – even during the drought. We haven’t had decent rain since September. The back dam is very low and the old house dam is completely empty – which we have never seen before.

The horses have finally been released out of their small yard prison and into the big paddocks. They were a little reluctant to go at first but now wander the whole property. We had Monty’s feet x-rayed and he doesn’t currently have any signs of laminitis and the grass is so brown with no green so should be ok. They come back to the shed at night for dinner.

5 September 2012

Spring is sprung! Not only have we had divine weather until today (big storms and winds building as I write) but the bird life is springing into action. The swallows are busy building their nests. I have kept their secrets from Sue, lest she knock down their masterpieces with a broom handle. We have had the geese locked up in the house paddock – the house paddock you question?? Yes, I know we hate them being in the house paddock because of their poo but we had to keep them safe from foxy due to a recent attack. We now have one goose with a name – Gonzo the gimpy goose. We rescued him literally from the jaws of foxy about 10 days ago. All of the geese were doing their usual thing in the horse paddock on Sunday morning when there was a sudden take to flight into the house paddock dam. All but one made it. Harry and Tully sensed something and scratched to get out and in doing so raced to the horse paddock fence, barking fiercely. It was enough to surprise foxy who had a goose (now named Gonzo the Gimp) in his jaws. Foxy ran off up the hill leaving Gonzo alone in the middle of the paddock. Lisa ran to the rescue. We were relieved to see he could walk and resist capture however there was blood coming from his neck. After cornering him and covering him with a chaff bag we managed to get him into the feed shed onto some straw to see how serious his injuries were. Foxy must have just grabbed him by the neck and not penetrated too deeply before being scared off so it didn’t seem too serious. We decided to keep him under observation in the feed shed for a few days to make sure he was ok. I had my concerns over the first 24 hours. He was listless although he was eating some chaff and drinking the water we left him. After two days we felt he was well enough to be released. To keep him safe we have kept him locked in the house paddock and the other geese have managed to fly in and out until the last few days. Gonzo has been named the Gimp because he also has a damaged wing which hangs a bit. He can stretch it out ok but probably can’t fly. We think this happened one day when he went to fly from the house paddock to the back dam but missed the fence and hit the wood box and Hide fence. Harry had nothing to do with it! The other geese call him the Gimp too because they have alienated him from the group. So he has been hanging at the fringe of the families until the last couple of days that is. Spring has sprung as I said earlier. The geese have separated into pairs. It is amazing. They have either been in one group of ten (apart from Gonzo recently) or their respective Sechs and Vier (formerly Seben and Funf – pre last fox attack) families, and now they are in distinct pairs. At first Gonzo didn’t have a girlfriend and there was one female left on her own. You can come to your own conclusions about that. But today we noticed Gonzo has his girl. I guess she didn’t have much choice really! All of the males are being cocky and protective and we’ve decided to open the gate to let them out to the back dam and the island so they can lay their eggs. Two couples have made their way and one female must be already on the island because boyfriend is circling the island making a lot of gander noise. Will we have the patter of gosling feet in months to come? Check out the short video of three couples on our house paddock dam on our facebook page.

13 August 2012

LIsa, Harry and Tully @ Sailors Falls

We took ourselves off for a picnic and walk to Sailors Falls today which is on the Ballan Rd just 5 minutes out of Daylesford.The new picnic area is great and the Falls are “falling” with the winter rain.It is a 1.4km round walk to the mineral springs and back with tall timbers, and great views of the Falls from different aspects. Dogs are allowed on leash. This walk forms part of the Goldfields Track which we are actively helping to promote and on which The Hide is also situated.Please ask us more about it when you book and visit?Goldfields Track.

Check out the reference to The Hide in Virgin Airline’s June 2012 Edition of Voyeur Magazine!

July 28, 2012

My heart is full of guilt. As I sit here at the kitchen bench and listen to the clucking of Miss Lola, Miss Bessy, Miss Scarlet and Miss Gloria outside on the verandah I am reminded of the horrible morning of May 27 when I discovered Miss Bernice dead in the pen, Miss Lola traumatised in the pen and Miss Trixie missing. I had only mentioned to someone the night before at dinner that we had never lost a chook to a fox. I even touched wood. Never again will I tempt fate! It’s our own fault. We were slack in not shutting down the hatch doors between the veggie patch and the chook pen and guess where foxy got in? He/she had to climb the veggie patch fence to get to the chook pen but because he/she had had a good feed on the geese the previous days he/she probably thought it might look further into the larder. We found orange feathers a few days later in the front paddock. Sadly for foxy Miss Trix was not much of a feed. I had only taken her to the vet a month or so prior to fix her flu – poor love. We take on so much responsibility when we keep animals. Being lax is not an option when you think of the trauma they must have gone through. The duckies would have been traumatised too in their pen wondering if they were next on the menu. Needless to say we have now shut down the hatches and secured the whole pen and gratefully nothing else has happened. You have probably gathered that we have new chooks and yes we do. We bought three Isa Browns to befriend Lola and they are gorgeous. It only took them about a week to know that they need to follow us back to their pen at night after a day of fossicking around the garden. We even bought them a “grandpa’s feeder” which is a device that keeps their food secure but allows them to step onto a metal step which then opens the feeder. We had to train them to do this over a two week period. They were stars. Three of them are now laying eggs so our guests have fresh farm eggs again. They are so much better than the bought “free range” eggs. This morning two of them were sitting up on their feed bin near the gate waiting for me to let them out. I really love the chooks.

May 26,2012

Tully averts 3rd goose death in as many days!!

On returning from our walk this morning Tully set off at high speed down the drive way and into the horse run ( over the fence I think). I caught a glimpse of THE fox in the horse run where the geese gather every morning to share Monty’s breakfast. Great commotion as Tully like a “cat amongst the pigeons” creates confusion and mayhem. Most geese fly to the back dam, another is chased by the fox. Tully loses sight of the fox which is now at the end of the horse run but then it moves and Tully with great encouragement from me sets chase across the paddock to the old house! Wow…that deserved treat! Go girl.

May 25, 2012

The cycle of life is operating as intended but sadly for the Funf and Seben families we have had to rename them the Vier and Sechs families. ?Yesterday I found a lone goose in the house paddock down near The Hide desperately trying to get into the back dam paddock with the others grazing behind the dam. This was unusual and I suspected that they had all taken flight from the top horse paddock for some reason and lone goosey had missed the mark and landed a bit too early. I went for a ride around the property on the horses, and counted the geese when I went passed. Only 11 – one brown one missing. I was hoping it was the one I’d let back into the paddock, who’d flown onto the dam as was heading for the island. When I was returning the horses to their run I could see a white blob in the top paddock and I was hoping it was a plastic bag. But sadly, upon inspection, I found a brown goose. It turns out it was the mother goose of the Funf family and she had probably tried to protect her babies (now fully grown mind you!). There are all the tell tale signs of a fox kill and we are hoping that either fox family will come back to eat the rest of the body or our wedge tail eagles will find a hearty meal. This all happened early yesterday morning when the geese wander up to the horse run to share in Monty’s breakfast. Then just now, late morning, as we were having our morning coffee, we watched some of the geese take flight and land on our front dam. The rest ended up in the north paddock below the gate. Could it be foxy again? Only four geese on the front dam and when I counted the rest – only six. Despite the rain and poor foot ware I walked out onto the lawn to take a closer look and sure enough there is another white body further up the hill, but this time with foxy still hovering. Our brand new binoculars allowed me to watch a very small fox attempt to drag a very large goose up the hill. It gave up in the end and most likely just took the neck and head with it (this is their modus operandi). So both of the goose families have lost a member in less than 48 hours. Thank god I didn’t give them names! When Lucky (the duck) was taken by a fox I was inconsolable for days. Maybe I am just becoming cold hearted?? I guess it depends on your point of view. If you are barracking for the fox family you would be happy with the win. I feel sorry for foxes. It’s not their fault that they were taken from their homeland to be sport for the English gentry here. They have to eat and our local fox family has just realised how easy it is to get dinner. We actually thought that the large group of geese would be a force to be reckoned with. Not so. We were actually a bit worried that we might have a goose population explosion. Not at this rate!

On another note – it has been raining since the middle of the night which is fab. Since I last wrote the blog we have had bugger all rain and we were starting to worry. The bottom tank was getting quite low. We have never been worried about running out of water as this is not likely but I like to have full tanks – there is something very comforting about that. It’s still raining and the two geese families are talking to each other through the fence. I wonder what they are saying? I can’t bring myself to chase the Vier family out of the house paddock. Let them feel some security for a short while. Have to go and get The Hide ready for our next guests arriving this afternoon. We had a lovely couple and their rare Scottish breed terrier here for the last 3 days and they have just left.

March 18, 2012

Well how things change in such a short time. Since my last blog we have had over 150mm of rain which is 6 inches in the old language and everything is starting to green up, the back dam is full and the front dam is almost full. We’ll have to mow the lawn again soon. Harvesting of fruit and veg is almost complete with just the old apple tree to be picked and I reckon they are just right. Will start picking tomorrow if we get time from all of the other chores on the list (spray blackberries, cut up tree lying across fence, fix fence, remove tons of horse poo from horse yard and put in vegie garden-yum). We have given the geese family names – Funf (Foonf) Family and Seben Family. This means 5 and 7 as one family has five members and the other seven. Now we can have alerts like “the Funf Family” have managed to find a way into the house paddock – get them out! Or, the Seben Family are on the back dam but don’t know where the Funf Family is. We have only one weekend free left in March (the last one) and all other weekends have been booked and we have had a couple of weeks of midweek bookings too – fantastic. Some guests staying for a week commented that even a week wasn’t long enough to do all the things they wanted to in the area. Very true! I have been riding a couple of times a week at least which has been great. Both horses seem to be coping well and I have just put some more rubber in their boots for extra padding so this should help. Nights are getting really cool now so it won’t be long before the rugs go on. For my big birthday present I received a voucher to do a Tandem Sky Dive and so took the plunge (sorry) and went last Wednesday with my brave friend John. I highly recommend it especially over the city as the view is fantastic. We landed on Moran Reserve next to St Kilda Marina. 45 seconds of free fall at about 200km an hour is a buzz I can tell you. I am in search of 4 people who will do it with me again so I get to do it for free! Any takers? Miss Bernice is malting poor love. She really is a beautiful looking chook except when she is malting. The ducks have not layed an egg in their box for months so I wonder where the stash is. Glenlyon General Store has been missing its weekly delivery for the mayo. Jimmy’s Bar opened about a month ago and I have had lots of work. Locals seem to love it and Sue and I have been there a few times for dinner and going again tomorrow night – so that’s saying something. I still love working at the Glenlyon General Store as I get to do lots of different things like make biscuits, zucchini fritters, wash dishes, make coffee and serve but no cleaning -yeh! Our gorgeous friends Marion and Elizabeth from Wellington are visiting us from May 1 and we can’t wait. They are into their 80’s and are an inspiration. They will stay at The Hide and we are taking them to Apollo Bay for a couple of days. We’ll have lunch at Chris’s at Skene’s Creek which should be nice. Sue and I took the time last night to stand outside and look up at our amazing sky and to listen to the orchestra of frogs on the back and front dams. What a treat!

February 20, 2012

I can’t believe it is that long since I have added something to to this page! So much has happened since December. Firstly, the house concert with Lucinda Peters was fantastic with 50 plus guests enjoying Lucinda’s vocal and double bass talents. We closed The Hide from December 13, having had a guest for the first two weeks in December with two lovely little dogs, to start building the second bedroom and extra living space. Phoebe Everill worked with us like a Trojan to have it all finished on the eve of Christmas Eve, with very little time off. I have to say we were all pretty “tired” by the end of it. The usual person did the usual dummy spit. Some people just can’t handle the pressure- ha ha. Christmas Day was great fun with the mothers, sister and three fab friends. Some lovely people stayed over the New Year and early January and we had some quiet time until early Feb. Daylesford is really busy the first two weeks after Christmas so our jobs in town were full on. Our land has really browned off now. It took longer than usual but as we have had very little rain over several months it is understandable. The back dam is as low as I have seen it in a while but the geese are spending a lot to time there and using it as a landing pad for their training flights. One day recently I watched as one family took off from the top of the paddock, squeaking and squawking at each other only to land nearly on top of the other family already on the dam. I wish I could understand geeseese because I reckon they were having all sorts of discussions about the standard of flying and who was better than who and next time land on the other side of the dam please. We let the horses out in to the top paddock for the first time last night to have some freedom after their almost year of incarceration in the yard. The laminitis has meant they can’t eat anything like green grass so we had to wait until there was little green anywhere. There is still a risk their feet soreness will come back even eating only a small amount. They were so excited to be let out, snorting and prancing around as if they had never been there before. Overnight is the best time to let them out because any green grass there is doesn’t let out as much sugar overnight and it’s the sugar that causes the laminitis. I have been riding the horses down the road a few times a week which has been really fantastic. They don’t seen to be lame with their new “boots”. I’ll ride more with our neighbour Mel now and gradually build up the distance. We had another house concert on Valentine’s Day with our guest artist being Geoff Achison. He was extraordinary the way he could play his guitar and make the most amazing sounds from it – so different to the usual strumming or picking of the guitar. He was very generous with the length of time he played and the audience of near 50 really enjoyed the night. Bookings for The Hide have been great with all weekends in February booked and nearly half of March already booked, including midweek. We even have a booking in September, so word is spreading. The guests are loving the extra space which also gives greater views over the back dam. We’re still waiting for someone to book the second bedroom too! One last thing – our fruit trees have been great. Lots of beautiful blood plums which we sold via Glenlyon General Store and I made the most yummy jam. We have dropped off 3 large boxes of nashi pears and apples to Florian for his organic boxes and the old tree by the old house has apples still to ripen. I ride over once a week and Birdle (my Arab) and I check them for ripeness. The quinces will be great too once ripe. Oh yes – the corn has been sensational too! That’s living in the country for ya.

November 25, 2011

I am gearing up for our fourth house concert on December 1. We are expecting at least 50 people and our performer is Lucinda Peters who is based in Sydney and is a fabulous solo jazz performer. She plays double bass and guitar and sings her own material. Check her out on YouTube.

November 25, 2011

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. The cycles of life are more evident here it seems (or I just didn’t take any notice when I lived in Melbourne). The fruit trees are teasing us with the fruit gradually maturing – the pear is going to be magnificent again and it looks like the quince is going to have a bumper harvest. The apple babies are in abundance and even the new pear and apple trees have some fruit on them. The swallow babies are entertaining us learning to fly. The other day I unfortunately disturbed a nest in the hay shed and caused three fledgelings out prematurely. When forced to fly one of them went zooming off (albeit it very low) down the horse run with mum and dad escorting it for support until it got tired and dropped to the ground. I saw two of them in the hay shed yesterday sitting on a ledge jabbering away to each other. ? The goslings are growing at a great rate with their “big” feathers starting to appear and the “baby” ones being left in the paddocks for me to collect for my fairy pillow. ?The swallows have lined their nests with the beautifully soft down left by the goslings – luck baby swallows (who knows that the name for baby swallows is – excuse my ignorance). ?We’ve planted some veggies and I gave one of our recent guests a lettuce straight from the garden. We have had so many lovely guests. When we wrote that we wanted to share our lovely property with others we really meant it and it has clearly been appreciated by our guests as substantiated by the review comments. ?I’m looking forward to tucking in to the plums when they ripen!

November 13, 2011

Ten kms more to The Hide?!

Well being on the Goldfields Track is proving to be of benefit to some people. ?Recently we had two gorgeous guys, Cameron and Ben, stay with us as part of their bike riding journey from Ballarat to Castlemaine along the track. Cam is writing a story about the ride for the Virgin Inflight magazine and Ben is taking the photos. ?Ben enjoyed his stay so much her brought his fiancee back on the Saturday night. ?I reckon it was the prize winning sausages!

October 17, 2011Day 1 of three new goslings

Yesterday I noticed husband of other brown goose, currently sitting on the island nest, hanging close to the island and not going off with the other clan. ?I sensed something was imminent. ?This morning he only went as far as the horse yard with the others and then made his way back to the dam squawking away. ?At around 9.30 he was swimming close to the entrance to the island like an expectant father waiting at the doors of the delivery room. ?Sure enough, when we got back from our walk with the dogs there was the mother and father goose on the edge of the dam. ?We couldn’t quite see at first, but on close inspection and with the help of the binoculars there they were – three freshly hatched yellow and brown goslings. ?As we got closer they all escaped to the dam and swam to the furthest side to keep their distance – quicker than walking there! Ain’t love grand! How did he know the eggs were about to hatch? Whilst the males don’t appear to go on the island much I did see one female take her partner onto the island one day – perhaps to inspect the eggs and to discuss when they thought they would hatch? From our experience with the ducks, they don’t all hatch at the same time and it seems they don’t leave the nest until they are satisfied that all that are going to hatch will. ?I’m glad that the island is not accessible to us because I’d hate to think of what it smells like – eggs that didn’t hatch going off, half hatched eggs going off – but let’s focus on the beautiful new life. We’re wondering whether the two families will join up when the new goslings are ready to explore the property – safety in numbers I would have thought. ?We’ll know in a few days. ?On the swallow front, I have enjoyed taking photos of the babies waiting patiently for their dinner sitting on our garden furniture. ?I let my hot chocolate get cold yesterday waiting for a shot of baby with mouth open and mother flying in to feed. ?I didn’t realise I actually got the shot until this morning we downloaded the stacks of shots I took. ?Check out our Facebook page for the photos I took yesterday and today.

October 13, 2011

Cycle of Life

I feel like I am writing a lot lately but Spring is a time of activity after all. ?I have enjoyed in recent days observing the new baby swallows. ?They have emerged from the nest and are perching on the rafters just above our double doors. ?These are the babies of the swallows who were born in the nest above the bay window on the other side! ?My observation is that they are handing down the lessons of swallows. ?Today, under the watchful eye of mum and dad, the babies are flying close to the house and landing on the outdoor furniture and then they all meet together on the pergola. ?This is what I observed with the parents when they were babies. Fascinating. ?How can you tell the babies from the parents? ?Babies have yellow beaks – cute.

On a sad note, yesterday when H, T and I left for our walk, the geese and goslings were in the top paddock above the horses and I noticed one missing. ?I thought it must have been the one I saw straggling the day before. ?Whilst I have always said that the good thing about the geese is they have no names and we don’t care if they die, I do really, even if they are only babies. ?I decided not to go looking for a body because it would only upset me. ?An hour or so later I was up preparing to exercise the horses when I saw a little yellow body in the middle of the yard just in front of the hay shed. ?I went over to pick it up and to my horror/temporary joy it squeeked. ?However I soon realised something was seriously wrong. ?My initial thoughts were it had a broken neck as it was a bit wobbly. ?I carried it gently to the house and we gave it some water via a syringe in case it was dehydrated. ?The stressing thing was that it appeared ok apart from its inability to stand or walk. ?It was alert and squeeking. ?We decided to see if it would come good before we intervened so made a little bed in a box and Sue kept a close eye on it while I went to the dentist. ?The whole time I was at the dentist I was hoping it would either have a miraculous recovery or die before I got home as I didn’t want to have to euthanase it myself. ?Sadly it died when I was at the dentist. ?So how did it get injured? ?We suspect that the family were in the horse yard, as usual, hanging around for the dregs of the horse feed and one of the horses has either kicked or stood on the gosling. ?Very sad as it was healthy and looked to be growing well. ?I have to keep telling myself that this is life in the country. ?The more animals you interact with the more death you have to face and accept. ?We are now waiting for the other goslings to hatch and bring more joy to the farm.

October 11, 2011

We’re finding more and more birds visiting our garden. ?This morning we had a Grey Shrike Thrush calling. ?Click here to hear its beautiful call.

October 10, 2011

The other brown goose emerged from the island on the weekend which was great to see as we thought she might have gone missing. ?She called hubby and he rushed down to greet her and make a big fuss. ?So we are likely to be in for another flock of goslings soon. In the meantime the goslings are being shown around the property by mother, father and the other two drakes. ?Also on the baby news – swallows are hatching in the numerous nests around our verandah. ?We think ?the swallows pictured above January 25 below are the parents of the eggs in the nest closest to our double doors. Lisa loves the swallows but Sue hates them because of all of the poo they drop!

October 8, 2011

Lisa did a great walk courtesy of Secret Forest Walks. ?It was the Tarilta Walk and it started just down the road from our place. ?She was supplied with GPS, map, day pack with water, snacks and other essentials. ?The GPS makes it so easy to find the trails. ?Brendan gave her instructions on how to use the GPS and off she went. ?The campsite on Tarilta Creek was a great spot to stop and have a snack or lunch and then the walk back had great views of the creek and panoramas of Mt Franklin, Porcupine Ridge and to the north. ?There was also a good article about the Goldfields Track in The Age featuring Dry Diggings section (we are located on the Dry Diggings section of the track). ?See the attached article.?THE AGE TRAVELLER_1 OCTOBER 2011?or visit The Age article site

October 6, 2011

Feeling more adventurous - out in the paddock

Spring Is Sprung
The goslings have hatched! Two days ago daddy goose was up with his buddies waiting for horse scraps when the call came from mother goose from the island. Whatever she said to him caused a fast exit from the horse paddock and a quick flight down to the dam. She didn’t emerge from the island whilst I was observing but I can only imagine she was announcing that the eggs were hatching! Yesterday I noticed all three males and a brown goose (we haven’t seen the two brown geese together for a while -hoping the other one is sitting on eggs too.) sitting together on the grass. Because there seemed to be something else there I got the binoculars and Voila! Babies. I managed to get within 5m of them before I was bothering them. There are five in all and they are yellowy brown and oh so cute. The three males protectively moved with them as I approached. Today, when I got back from Melbourne I found all of the geese including goslings up by the horse shed and then in the paddock near the horses. ?Sue got some good close up shots of them. ?They are already grazing and no doubt learning how to steal the horse food.

September 25, 2011

Just clipped Miss Bernice’s wing to stop her flying into the vegie patch now that we are about to plant seedlings! ?She got in there yesterday despite wiring the gap in the fence that I thought was her entrance. We watched several instructional Youtube videos on how to clip a chicken’s wing, including one starring an Australian vet working in the UK. ?Beautiful day here today which is a nice change so no excuse not to get into the garden. ?As it is school holidays the next two weeks we are expecting some midweek guests which is great. ?We have just set up everything to be dog friendly and have our first dog guest arriving tomorrow (an old kelpie). Harry and Tully will be on best behaviour (locked in the house!). ?We just hope our furry guests don’t chase the new goslings when they arrive. I better get out there.

September 16, 2011

Getting chummy

We’re hoping in the near future to see a gaggle (one of the many collective terms for a group of geese-I love collective nouns don’t you?)of baby geese (goslings for those interested) on the back dam. ?The recent immigrant geese have paired up and mother goose keeps appearing and disappearing to the island we assume, to sit on her clutch of eggs. This is very exciting as this is the first time we will have goslings in the eight or so years we have had geese wandering the property.

September 12, 2011

I’m just back from a couple of weeks in Bali. ?Whilst the weather is great and I love the people and the culture, it is so great to be home. We live in a great part of the world, where we can feel safe about what we eat, what we do, what we say. ?The contrast of space is enormous. ?There’s a lot to be learned though about living harmoniously and caring about each other. ?The Balinese are superior in this regard. ?Our driver Made, who has looked after us during all 5 trips to Bali, is so sweet, trustworthy and a beautiful person. ?He lives with his extended family in a compound about 20 minutes from Ubud. ?They share what they earn and look after their elderly. ?We learnt lots of new things about Bali life this trip which was great. ?Made is always greatful for any driving work. ?We were his only clients for a month so if anyone is going to Bali please ring or text him to arrange excursions or transport or shopping trips. ?He’s been driving for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know. ?His English is very good also. ?He teaches me Indonesian each time we go driving together. ?His mobile is +628123929330.

July 31, 2011

Lisa had a little lamb!

On our way out to test ?Wombat Hill House (new cafe owned by Lakehouse) we drove past our neighbours’ place and Lisa spotted a sheep lying flat out, and given she had seen a dead one only a few days before not far away, she assumed it was dead. ?But then she saw a lamb sitting behind. ?We stopped the car and Lisa got out to investigate. ?The sheep didn’t move but she was still alive. ?After further investigation it was apparent the lamb was just born as its wool was wet but warm. ?Poor mum couldn’t even clean the little darling. ?Surveying the area in which mum was lying we could see that her head and legs were facing uphill and she was on her side. ?Logic said it would be hard for her to get up because she was pushing against gravity. ?So Lisa grabbed her legs and rolled her over so her legs were downhill. ?We then thought that maybe she had another lamb to deliver and if so, her uterus was uphill and delivering a baby is hard enough let alone pushing uphill, so Lisa again grabbed her legs but this time rotated her so her head was uphill and her uterus downhill. ?Bingo! ?Mum got up in a real hurry and ran off leaving Lisa holding the baby, rather the lamb, wrapped up in her lovely alpaca black and grey scarf. ?Sue in the meantime had reached the farmer who owned the sheep and he was on his way. ? Sue thought Lisa was being her usual interfering self and that the farmer would be annoyed at having been called out at tea time. ?But no, he was very grateful because the lamb wouldn’t have been fed and it could have died from the cold. ?He took the lamb, leaving Lisa with the soggy alpaca scarf to deposit into the boot of the car, and said he would catch the mum and take them both home to his place. ?Happy ending but soggy scarf! ?Oh, and pizza and glass of wine at Wombat Hill House was enjoyable with our good friends.

July 13, 2011

Farm life and fences!

Frank on the way to the wild life shelter

This morning Harry, Tully and I ventured up our driveway for our daily walk. H and T were ahead and I could see all of a sudden their agitated excitement. ?As I came around the bend, hanging on the fence, was a small kangaroo. H and T did their very best and stayed away as I tried to release the poor thing having caught its foot in twisted fence wires! I had no luck and phoned Lisa to get wire cutters as I held his tail and leg to take the weight of his leg. ?Lisa came screaming up the driveway, got H and T in the car and we snipped the wires. ?I had hoped that after being released he would be able to hop away but his leg was just straight and useless.

What do you do at 8.15am? No vets and the wild life shelter not answering. ?Eventually John called us and we made our way back out to the wildlife shelter. ?”Frank” all the time was wrapped in a sheet in the car in the back with Lisa. ?John ascertained, and we felt too, that “Frank” hadn’t been there too long as he wasn’t cold or wet. ?His hip wasn’t broken and there was still good blood flow to his foot. ?John referred to “Frank” as a “hanger”…John and Gail have a number of them in rehab as it is very common for them to become twisted in fences like this. ?The muscles get stretched and it takes some time for the nerves to recover so we are hoping that he will do OK.

We left him sedated and in front of the fire. “Frank” is about 2 years old and for a kangaroo that has never been in a car let alone sit on the lap of a human being for an hour he was very relaxed!!!

So you never know what is around the corner…literally!

Don’t mind Lisa…Monty the horse banged his head down on her nose a week ago and gave her two black eyes!!!!!

PS “Francine” our rescue wallaby is apparently doing very well!!

July 5, 2011

Discovered the Goldfields Track website. ?Great for people wanting to bikeride or walk parts of the Great Dividing Trail, including the Dry Diggings section, which we’re are on. ?Visit www.goldfieldstrack.com.au/Pages/Goldfields_Track/Dry_Diggings_Track.aspx

June 25, 2011

You should see the mist. ?Mt Franklin is hiding but the kangaroos were outside The Hide this morning right on cue. ?The cows have been moved to the top paddock to eat the grass down so we can let the horses go in there so they don’t die of boredom. ?Unless the grass is short they can’t go in there. ?As it is we may have to fence part of it off.

June 19, 2011

The Truffle Festival is on in two weeks. ?There will be truffle tours and tastings and a lot happening. ?It will be a good weekend to visit.

June 18, 2011

There are so many kangaroos in the back paddock this morning! ?One was right outside The Hide. ?They are breeding like mad due to all of the grass. ?Drizzly rain and quite foggy. ?The geese are loving the wet weather. ?We have given up trying to keep them out of the house paddock and they are eating grass and insects.

June 12, 2011

Daylesford was full this long weekend. ? Businesses say it has been the best weekend in ages, even better than Easter. ?Our guests just stayed put and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

May 30,2011

Today Marley connected a TV aerial! ?We can now offer our guests great digital reception from Bendigo. ?There is a point in both the bedroom and living area. Happy viewing!

Also..forget the penguin parade at Philip Island. We have the duck parade at Mt Franklin. On cue our ducks which number 6 waddle their way to their pen at sunset! We have two new female ducks Carmen and Clarisse. The others are Caspar, Cocoa, Cinnamon and George.

May 21 2011

Sue has just created her art website. If you are interested in viewing art @ mt franklin please visit her website.

May 1 2011

Our swamp wallaby joey

STOP PRESS #1

You never know what is around the corner literally! Sunday was eventful in more ways than one. ?Just down from the our?mail boxes at 6pm we happened upon a swamp wallaby that had been hit by a car. Out of respect we stopped to move her off the road. Lisa thought she was still alive having felt her but indeed she was dead and the life she felt was the pictured 4 month old wallaby joey! We took her to Gayle at Hepburn Wildlife Rescue. ?PLEASE SLOW DOWN ON SAWPIT GULLY ROAD! Traveling at 40km/hr will not cause you to be that much later and if you do hit an animal PLEASE STOP and CHECK. Swamp wallabies are vital to the forest ecosystem as at this time of year they search for truffles and relocate the seed/spores via their scats. ?Thankyou.

STOP PRESS #2

Sue sold 3, yes 3, paintings at the Glenlyon Art Show!

April 17 2011

We had our second house concert in less than two weeks last night. ?It was an opportunity too good to miss – Kristina Olsen! Carl Pannuzzo also played piano and guitar and displayed his unique ability to improvise with Kristina. ?Kristina was warm and witty and her songs told wonderful stories. Over 35 guests enjoyed a night of music, jokes, great food and wine – and of course socialising!

April 6 2011

 

Australian Youth Orchestra String Quartet

How lucky were we to have the Australian Youth Orchestra String Quartet play for us last night at our first house concert for the year!

Rebecca Gill and Allana Wales on Violin, Matthew Laing on Violo and Adam Szabo on Cello. They played a selection of Fantasias by Purcell and the String Quartet No 3 in F major, Op.73 by Shostakovich.

They had only come together the week before and were very pleased after a week’s rehearsal to play to an audience before playing at the Castlemaine Arts Festival, Benalla and Montsalvat. To say the least the Shostakovich was awesome and left our audience spell bound and charged with such feeling and admiration for these fine artists. To be so close and observe how hard they work, how skilled they are and be able to engage with them on such a personal level before and after the performance was a fabulous experience for us all.

As a result our guest donations were made to the Australian Youth Orchestra and we have registered our interest to host another performance by one of their groups. Stay tuned!

April 3 2011

We discovered the two brown and white female geese on the house paddock dam. leaving the 2 male white geese behind in the back paddock. ?We think the girls decided to have a night out!

The deciduous trees are beginning to change to their brilliant autumn colours of yellows and reds and soon our view will expand as they lose their leaves. Winter preparations are beginning although we already have our wood stacked for the year. ?There has been a lot of growth and a number of plants need to be tidied up especially around the chook and duck enclosure so we don’t get wet as we open the gates. ?The vegie patch will need to be cut back and the chooks let in to do their thing. Couch grass is beginning to spread out over some bare patches and we need to pot up the lavender and birches that have self seeded in the gravel. Always something to do and the list goes on but it’s all good! Cheers.

March 21 2011

It has been a bumper year for fruit with the great rainfall we have had over the past 12 months. ?Our trees have been laden with plums, apples, pears and nectarines. ?We have William and Nashi pears, Bonza and Gravenstein apples and blood and red plums. We have made chutney, stewed and frozen a great deal but also gave away much, much more with our neighbour taking 5 fruit boxes of pears!

The humidity continues and rain is threatening as I write with the promise of a thunder storm.

March 11 2011

Kevin paid a visit.

February 10 2011

Unlike many other parts of the state, we only got 39 mm of rain last weekend. We feel sorry for our Creswick neighbours who have been flooded out multiple times over the last few months. Lisa went to beautiful Coast Cottages, Apollo Bay with mother and sister for the weekend and luckily had no trouble getting to Geelong. ?Sister had a bit of an issue early on as the Geelong Road was closed but luckily reopened late morning. ?Coast Cottages (www.coastcottages.com.au) is one of our most favourite places in the world. Seriously. ?You can’t beat the view from each of the cottages (and we have stayed in them all) and you are right on the coastline with no roads to cross. Even better, they welcome dogs with open arms. ?The Great Ocean Walk is just out the gate and there are great short walks too.

January 30 2011

Last night we had our anniversary dinner at the wonderful Lake House in Daylesford. ?For the first time in eleven years, we ordered the Degustation menu and we’re sorry we didn’t do it sooner. ?The whole atmosphere was great, starting with the kookaburras and babies on the balcony and the warm balmy evening. ?The service was excellent as usual. ?So for a special dinner we highly recommend it, and of course a taxi back to “The Hide” afterwards.

January 25 2011

Our first guests left this morning.? Our staff all performed at their best – Birdle and Monty dropped by each day to say g’day and were lucky to get some bread.? The geese perched on one leg and slept by the dam.? The wild ducks scheduled a timely landing during pre- dinner drinks.? Even the roos were out on the first evening.? Well done all!? It was great to get feedback and have thus included a butter dish and sugar bowl in the kitchen.? I am sitting now at the dining table looking out across the dam at Monty & Birdle grazing.? Half an hour ago they were standing end to end doing mutual fly swatting.? How clever are they and they don’t even speak (or do they?).

January 16 2011

Guess what! ?The baby swallows have flown the nest. ?I have discovered that you can tell the difference between the adults and babies by their beaks. ?The babies have yellow beaks. ?It would seem that they aren

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