Good Things Only #16

OK, so it’s a beautiful morning. Cold, about 1 degree when I got up. Just a touch of frost. The grass is very green and I can’t see a cloud in a very blue and crisp winter sky. The air is sharp, crystal and the light breeze has a bite that penetrates. Nonetheless (I love that word), it is a beautiful morning with the stripped bare deciduous trees revealed in their all their steak naked glory and the evergreen indigenous trees contrastingly clad in their full, puffed up grey green winter coats. It is a beautiful morning. It is silent except for the gentle rustle of that surprisingly penetrating soft wind. Oh, and the always there hushed background tumbling sounds of water spilling and falling, running and spinning, turbulent and dashing over flat granite shelves into rocky hollows and against small stray boulders pushed along by the intermittent pressure waves of variable winter flows as they surge with irregularity down the creek. It is a beautiful morning.

Against the cold I am wearing my favourite jumper. There is no heater on, just the layers of clothes capped by this marvellously insulating and cosy thickness of wool are keeping me warm. Lovingly knitted by my loving wife, it only really gets a look at the world in winter. It is too warm most of the time for wear in other seasons. I think that is what makes it all the more special. The built in love and warmth reflect its specialised purpose.

It is big and old, enveloping, creamy and embossed. These days it is a little on the stretched, sagging and droopy side (giving it a 10 on the affection scale – which as everyone knows is the top score for a jumper). It sort of hangs around me rather than is worn by me. In fact it could be called an affectionate jumper. The first of its kind and a quality to be aspired to and emulated by all knitters who learn of it.

The crew neck now has a cute little “V” shape from under which diverse collars can peek. Otherwise the knitting has held its pattern for years, making it sort of tight and loose at the same time. I love the detail of its repetition. This jumper has character. Maybe it even is a character in its own right. Yes, i think that is right, it has become a character in the story of my life because I have an emotional attachment to this jumper. We belong together. And that’s the way I like it.

Storm wind

 
 Such a turbulent, pitiless, brutal battering.
 This powerful storm wind pushes relentlessly through 
 the defenceless trees of the creek.
 It lashes most at the isolated and vulnerable,
 stripping them bare of grey green winter cloaks, 
 whipping the fabric of canopies to ragged threads,
 blasting layers of protective cladding away into a roaring tempest.

 This scouring wind probes incessantly for weakness,
 fissures in the gnarly bark skins,
 cracks in the very bones of each noble specimen
 mercilessly exposing deficiencies
 as it flails and lays bare its victims 
 with neither remorse nor respite.

Over extended over and over, flawed limbs fail first
fracture, snap and drop.
Crowns too heavy with water shake and quiver.
Sodden feet lose their grip on the world. 
Once stately trunks twist, rock, waver, shudder 
and fall.
And the sound of the final defeat is an explosive crack,
the collapse a mighty crash,
and the thud at the end is dead.

For today’s dVerse poetics Sarah prompted us to think and write about the elements. I chose air/wind because I often find myself contemplating the fierceness of a storm’s breath as it can turn the tranquility of our peaceful riparian zone into a deadly maelstrom.

Fooled

 
I saw a creature in long shaded grass
Apparently brown and moving fast
It turned and twisted while trying to pass
Through slender grain of yellow cast

I looked some time at its bobbing head
At its swinging tail strange pointed red
The smooth curved back came round again
Fluidly rodent it looked up at me then

To my surprise it turned out to be
Not a snake or rodent looking at me
But of avian descent with full head to see
A juvenile rosella stared knowingly

Who’d have thought such bright disguise
Could cloud the vision of observer eyes
On the ground coloured plumage denied
Flashy brilliance so vivid in the sky

Droplets

I was recently asked to deliver these photos of gorgeous droplets after a sustained misting rain – taken at our place a while back. I haven’t had much time for writing lately and thought these might be a good blog alternative to the written word until I get back to it. I hope you like them.

5 Good Things Only #04

The Blues Brothers Soundtrack

1. The Blues Brothers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. If Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and The Blues Brothers can’t make you want to shake a tail feather – nothing can. Music makes my day, every day.

2. A fresh celery stick smeared with crunchy peanut butter along its middle. Groovy!

3. Watching seedlings grow in the greenhouse. I had forgotten how fascinating it is to plant a seed, check it regularly, see it emerge and leaf. Such an everyday occurrence and yet so incredible.

4. Taking the time to get informed and then complete a significant survey with objectivity. I am confident the Euroa underpass surpasses the overpass. The Euroa Connect volunteers have done a very professional job of campaigning accordingly.

5. Removing a scourge of our bushland – Blackberries. Here, and in many parts of Australia, there are no constraints on their growth. They can smother vast tracts of indigenous flora. This particular work has been four years in the making. It felt so good to finally start mulching these dead canes. Once this area along the Seven Creeks is revegetated it is going to look its natural self and amazing once again!

From this …..
To this.

Strathbogie – Mt Wombat Cycling Return

What is so secret about Mt Wombat? You would think every local knows about it, most have driven up to the summit to take in the magnificent views and returned home again. Well, maybe the question should be rephrased. How many have really seen Mt Wombat? The views are only part of the story. When driving you miss so much. You have to either cycle or walk for the full forest, granite and wildlife experience. If you are used to time on a bike, a mountain bike or hybrid will do the job. The 16km return from Strathbogie Township is a great way to pass a rewarding half day of exploration. Granted it is a steady incline and the final approach may require some walking your bike. You will not be disappointed and it is all downhill on the way back.Otherwise, ebikes are perfect for this route. You will still get your workout, granted with more comfort. That final steep approach will be taken in your stride. Stopping along the way to soak up the forest experience will be hard to resist. If cycling isn’t an option or you want an even slower immersion in the landscape, walking is the way to go. Park at the intersection of Mt Wombat Rd and Mt Wombat Lookout Rd for a lovely 5.5km summit return. It is truly as pretty as can be.See what secrets you can discover in Mt Wombat Forest.No matter which method of transporting yourself you choose, make sure you are appropriately equipped for self reliant cycling or walking. Carry food, water, First Aid, nav aids and be SunSmart.

Garden Range Pocket Flora & Fauna Reserve, Euroa

3km loop. Difficult terrain. Take food, water, first aid. Be SunSmart and equipped for self reliant hiking.

Opposite the gate to Waterhouse Reservoir is a small, outcrop seeking dirt track of a few hundred metres. There is plenty of room for parking at its beginning. Walking up is the best way to engage with the site. Despite the early stretch of track being partially littered with dumped rubbish and trees vandalised by illegal firewood cutters, walking is the best mode to discover the promise of this Reserve. Once you get to the rocky crown things change. The promise of natural world beauty and great views is kept.

Beyond the crown the track gives way to rocky open woodland. Follow the fence-line on your right to keep within the boundary of the Reserve. It will return you to the Euroa-Strathbogie Rd at the base of the hill. Take forays to the interior whenever you see something interesting to explore.

Once you get back to the road you have 3 options to return to your beginning point. 1. Return the way you came. 2. Clamber up the rocky slope on the eastern side of the road. 3. Walk up the road itself on the outside of the safety barrier.

Neglected Reserves can be subject to abuse. This little known Reserve is one of those. Infrequently visited by those with good intent, it has fallen victim to abuse by the unobserved. Rubbish dumpers, illegal tree fellers and firewood collectors, more recently those intent on damaging vegetation for dirt biking. On top of this, there is also a Prickly Pear infestation. What can be done?

One answer is to alert environmentally respectful observers and walkers to the natural world beauty of this place. Encourage visitation that promotes conservation, advocacy and discourages the minority who think these places exist only for them to covertly exploit and damage.

Mackrells – Spring Creek Loop, Strathbogie Cycling

Good for MTB, hybrid or ebike, this is a 14km loop starting from Strathbogie Township. Head out of town along Euroa – Strathbogie Rd, turn right into Mackrells Rd (dirt), right again into Creek Junction Rd, right again into Spring Creek Rd. The roadsides are heavily treed. The vistas are of the rolling hills and pasture atop the Tableland. It is very pleasant cycling.

Hills Road, Strathbogie Tableland

Walking anytime is great. Walking during lockdown is even better! As we continue our quest to walk all the roads, tracks and trails of the Tableland, we continue to enjoy the pleasures and surprises of the task. Hills Road made for another pleasant local walk.

Broughtons / Gregsons Roads, Strathbogie Tableland.

Another pretty Tableland walk with plenty of winter ambience. It was cold and wet with a constant misting rain. There was a low and heavy cloud cover. Everything around us was beautifully sodden. A perfect day for a winter walk on the Tableland. We did a 6km return from Harrys Creek Road. Next time we will come up from the Fern Hill Road end to further close the gap in our ongoing quest to walk all the roads of Strathbogie Tableland.

strathbogie walks #strathbogiewalks strathbogie photography #strathbogiephotography