It was a home also to thoroughbred racing horses, some sheep, and many cows, including some baby pet cows called variants of Daisy and April. It is a hard life, running a large property, there is always something broken or leaking, something to fix, some cow giving birth in a back paddock, a phone line out due to a storm or hawks feasting on the hens which my mother has given up trying to keep. The winters are long and cold, and the summers baking and bushfire prone. It is all a bit much to manage at almost 70 years old, and as a result they have sold the farm and are moving to the nearby town of Benalla.
So this visit was a swan song of sorts. And although I have not visited nearly as much as I should have over the years (or maybe that is why) I felt really sad over the weekend, at the thought that I will never see this vista again:
(sunset over the front paddock)
And of course, now having children at the correct age, I can see just how much they would have loved to come back here over and over again. My daughter was quite upset when we left to come home, and I now wonder how I can fill the farm void which is left there. The local park is not nearly as much fun. And I loathe those places anyway.
After all, is there anything better than running with no boundaries in the sunshine:
(if you look closely you can see a small Spiderman on the tennis court)
Swinging on the swing:
Eating special blue and yellow desserts made by my mother:
(pineapple jelly, blueberries and meringue)
Or sitting on the stile and contemplating the wonder and magic of life at 3.5 years old?
My mother is a strong believer in pot, vase and bowl gatherings, they are just everywhere in the house:
And she loves buddhas just as much as I do:
She also loves a spot to sit, preferably, for her guests, with a Pimms and book:
And most satisfyingly for the children, the animal count was quite high: cockatoos and wedge tailed eagles in the sky, tiny lizards in the driveway, a pelican and many ducks on the lake, frogs at night, a dead sheep by the roadside (well that was not so nice especially when my son wanted to touch it badly), black and brown cows and bulls everywhere, hares jumping through the paddock and also some smaller rabbits, and Nellie my mother's little terrier dog running and yapping beside us all the way.
On the way back we were driving along the road above, when I saw a tortoise on the road. Yes, a tortoise. I didn't even know they were native to Australia. But there it was, slowly crossing the road. I stopped the car and reversed back, and went to pick the tortoise up as I was concerned about him getting squashed by the next car. He had a 25 cm long shell, quite large, and a scaly long neck and clawed feet. Just like a dinosaur. The children loved him and peered intently at all his bits, neatly folded under his shell.
And when I picked him up again to carry him to the other side of the road, what did this tortoise do? He weed on me. All over my hands. And that, dear reader, is something not many people can say has happened to them.