Thursday, October 7, 2010

Farewell Rowan Springs

Last weekend we visited my mother and stepfather at their farm in the northeast of Victoria. After a long, straight and boring drive up the Hume Highway, we turned off left near the mountains to an idyll with a wonderful garden and home which my mother has made hers over 19 years. 

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. 


Ange said...

This post has left me feeling quite nostalgic. As a child I used to visit my Uncle and Aunty's farm and to this day have very fond memories. There is a "feeling" that goes along with the memories especially when I see photos like the ones you've posted.
Your Mum certainly has great taste in home decor. Obviously this has rubbed off on you:o)

Jane said...

Wow, Jane, that was very evocative. I could feel your wistfulness. Thanks for sharing. J x

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

so true, and all so bittersweet, and I do understand this feeling. it is a part of growing older for us all, no less harder. your photographs are such perfect memories for you, those of spiderman and the little one by the fence, and that first vista. pgt

brismod said...

You do a tortoise a favour and look what happens! It is a shame your children won't be able to enjoy the farm as they grow older, but they'll have lasting memories of it I'm sure. x

Jane said...

Anita - I was curious about that tortoise wee so I just googled it and (1) the tortoise is a common long necked tortoise and (2) it was not wee it was a scent gland juice thing which they expell when they are under threat. You learn something new every day.

Just Martha said...

What a beautiful post!! Thank you for sharing your memories! Even I feel sad at you leaving as you are right, the children are at a good age! More time with grandma maybe?

Glamour Drops said...

What a beautiful and sad story. When my children were very little, my parents had a wonderful farm on the Fleurieu Peninsula which was magical. It was so sad when they had to sell it - also because of age, as they were in their late 70s. I often think how lucky my children were, though, to experience farm life at a young age - as it is so hard to replicate the experience any other way. I hope you have lots of photographs of the children at the farm to keep their memories alive as a reminder.

Elsa May said...

oh how sad to have to say goodbye to such a wonderful place... you must have many a happy memory of growing up there. And as for the turtle - no I dare say that not many people could say they've experienced that! :)

Monika said...

Jane, I enjoy reading your stories so much!! WOW, this place seems to be magical, I am sorry that your kids will not be able to enjoy it any longer.. but it is good that you have these beautiful memories attached to it.

Jenny said...

The farm looks gorgeous but I can understand that it no longer suits your parents lifestyle. I hope they enjoy Benalla. How interesting about the turtle. I will always have a nagging guilt for not moving a turtle I saw on the road. I said to myself that I would do it on the way back but tragically it was squashed... ;-)

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Jane,
Your mother and stepfather's home is beautiful and I can see why you are sad that they are leaving it. .... and, I can see where you get you decorating ability from and your cookery skills. I would love to sit on that verandah with a Pimms !! .... and, such beautiful wide open spaces for the children to run and play in. Such an exciting place for children to play. They could make up some wonderful games to play there. I think that the spiderman's suit is your son's favourite thing, isn't it ?
....and,if that's the thanks you get for saving a tortoise, remind me not to save any !! XXXX

Millie said...

How lucky will the new Owners be to enjoy this wonderful property Jane. I'm sure your children will always keep the lovely memories of the farm tucked carefully away.
Millie ^_^

Julie@beingRUBY said...

What a beautiful farm Jane
I can understand your sadness at it being sold..It looks like somewhere all can relax and spread their wings.. little and big kids alike.. and yes I did see spiderman.. hehehe...

Well you mum's decor looks lovely too... I have the same chair covers although i tried to die mine darker with a tea stain so they are sort of blotchy now.. haha I hope you took lots of gorgeous photos for memories.. those you shared with us in this post are wonderful.. love the first and last... great editing!!

So... I do believe a tortoise peeing on you is good luck!!! Must be... I'm sure not many ppl can lay claim to such an event... Have a lovely weekend.. xxx Julie

24 Corners said...

How I wish times like these didn'thave to happen to anyone...that beloved homes could stay in family's generation after generation, but that doesn't seem to be a reality for most.

Blessings to your parents in there new home...and thank heavens your children will have these wonderful memories and experiences to look back on (and you as well!).
xo J~

Genuine Lustre said...

It's the end of an era. I felt that way about my grandmother's house.

That tiny spiderman is killing me.

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