Despite carrying my camera with me all the time, I have some stories for which I have no images.
So I thought I’d end the year with a few of the recent ones that have made my heart full and happy, in one case after weighing heavily upon it…
For the first time ever, the pair of swallows who always nest on my house raised a second family this year. I had noticed that the family of baby swallows that I wrote about in my post Welcome baby Welcome Swallows flew the nest one whole month earlier than in past years. But I was surprised when the parents returned to the nest and started to spruce it up again. Then it became clear that they were gluttons for punishment and had laid another family of eggs. Then there were tiny mouths to feed. I never got to the stage where I could count how many. This second little family was raised while I was traveling away from home a lot and my husband was very busy there on his own. The next thing we noticed, the nest was empty except for the babies dropping by every now and then to rest for a while, as they always do. That was all, except for the flock made up of all the swallows in the district, that always comes by and executes fly-pasts outside our back door when new babies join the flock.
The second wonder of recent times is wombats! Back in September my neighbour saw a small wombat out on Windy Ridge, high up on our property. We were amazed, as we’ve never seen wombats anywhere around here. He said that there were wombat burrows far up on Staircase Mountain, beyond our place. But he said they were all long disused and that it was decades since he’d seen any sign of live wombats.
Not long after the late Spring rain, my husband and I took a long walk up the creek to the waterfall. It’s a beautiful rainforest area, a little microcosm, with maiden hair fern that even survived the long period without rain. On a little island in the almost dry creek we saw lots of strange, unfamiliar animal poo. Bigger than roo poo and rectangular, oddly chunky and cube-like. What could it be? We didn’t know. I took some pictures but somehow deleted them by mistake.
My sister-in-law is minding the farm now, between Christmas and early New Year, so we can have a break staying at her place, which is only an hour from the beach. When I spoke to her last night she said that on Sunday, she and her mum walked out to the dry waterfall and as soon as they sat down to rest on a rock, a huge and fat wombat charged right in front of them before diving down its hole. She said it was the biggest wombat ever and that when they looked around there were lots and lots of wombat holes and piles and piles of wombat poo, all chunky and cube-like. It’s so wonderful that wombats are back on this land, after untold years absent. In terms of the cosmos, we must be doing something right!
The third story for which I have no pictures, is two weeks in the making. I’ve not told you before, but we lost another cow. She was very old and had a three week old calf. I won’t tell you the story of how she died. It is too hard to tell and for you to hear. We did our best but it was as bad as it gets. Awfully sad and terribly distressing.
So we had another orphan on our hands. But we couldn’t catch him. We couldn’t get close to him. We tried many different strategies. But he’d just run when he saw us. He was nibbling grass and drinking from the dam but to thrive, he needs more. Morning and day and night we’d track his movements. We finally moved a small mob of cows and calves and Johnny and one of the bulls into the back paddock where Paddy, as we’d named him, had seemed to settle. We hoped he’d pal up with this little herd and then we could move them all down the valley to the yards. We watched and waited but he still stayed a loner. There was nothing we could do. We’d have to be patient and wait.
Last night my sister-in-law told me that at the end of the day she’d seen him hanging with one of the cows and calves. So she asked our neighbour to try to bring the herd down the valley. He immediately came to help and brought Paddy and the little herd all the way to the yards! It was wonderful of him. So lucky he could help. It was near dark by the time they reached the yards, but Paddy had his first taste of bottle feeding.
This morning, Paddy took to the bottle like a duck to water. My sister-in-law said he also wanted to nuzzle a bit too. So she rubbed him all over, just like his mother would have done. He is surprisingly docile now after all that running away in fear and was looking for attention and affection. She said Johnny is delighted to have a friend too.
What a relief! Poor little Paddy had weighed on my heart and mind.
All safe. A good end to the year.