With Michael recently sidelined sporting a badly sprained ankle, I stepped in for Poppy-walking duty. Saturday is always the long walk down the steep hill into our forest. It had been quite a while since my last venture this way and I was amazed how much had changed. The tree ferns are enormous and every shade of green.
If Michael hadn’t pre-warned me about the crayfish burrows on the path, I probably would have stepped on them. Freshwater burrowing crayfish live in tunnel systems in muddy banks, only venturing out at night or in damp, overcast conditions. The Tasmanian genera has claws that open vertically to the body rather than horizontally to allow for larger claws in narrow tunnels. Characteristic ‘chimneys’, some as high as 40cm, announce the entrance to the burrow.
Remnants of an overnight rain shower sparkled on foliage
while contorted trees danced amongst their lofty companions.
I dutifully followed Poppy along the boundary of adjoining farmland
where we attracted the interest of neighbouring cattle who didn’t hesitate to take a closer look.
Our circuit returned us to the forest, the winter season has delivered more firewood from nature,
the manferns are thriving
and the stream is bubbling its way to the Blythe River.
I wisely chose bright red socks for my pilgrimage, all the better to see the leeches that abound in the damp conditions.