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.
After some lovely spring weather, summer has arrived with a cold snap. Plenty of rain, high winds and even snow on some peaks. It is not unusual to lose a few trees during these storms
and a few months ago we lost a magnificent eucalypt along one of our forest paths.
We cut enough wood to clear the path and decided to leave the remainder of the tree where it lay, as nature’s retaining wall.
No surprise that the mosses are thriving
but rather than just giving up, there is new life along the trunk.
The majesty of our surroundings never ceases to amaze me.
Sadly, our peaceful walks in the forest are becoming less and less enjoyable due to the ever increasing presence of a group of dogs who are free to wander and hunt, torture and kill wildlife on our property. The accompaniment of constant manic barking echoing through the trees is far from tranquil. Unfortunately, the owners consider it is a dogs right to roam freely, despite legislation that clearly states, among many other requirements, “The owner or person in charge of a dog must ensure that the dog is not at large.” It is, however, a farmers right to dispatch marauding dogs threatening livestock.
It would be nice to wander our property without the prospect of being confronted by five dogs with their blood up, we all know what animals hunting in a pack are capable of.
Some of you reading this may consider me “precious”. Whether I am or not, my dog certainly is and she is treated with the care and respect she deserves.
We have had some perfect winter days this year. Clear, blue skies; crisp, clean air; nothing but the slightest whiff of a breeze. One such Sunday, we put Cooper’s top down and took her for a spin along our favourite coast road.
Preservation Bay looked particularly stunning.
We joined the highway at Ulverstone and continued east. There is a park, just before the first exit at Devonport, that we have been meaning to investigate for years. The trees are beautiful any time of year but especially when showing their autumn colours.
This was the day for a closer look.
Fallen leaves, still damp from the morning dew, confirmed nature’s artistic talent.
Straggly Eucalypts portrayed an elegant appeal in the morning sunlight,
some fascinating fungi camouflaged in the shadows.
Our day out didn’t end there, but that’s another story.