You don't have to understand the world. You just have to find your own way around in it. - Albert Einstein

Monday, 12 March 2012

of a Visit to my Mother's House

We went on a long drive through the country, to visit my mother's house. Hours of wide open spaces, the landscape so typical of the Western Districts of Victoria. Endless rolling fields, the wide brown land that Miss Mackellar loved so much, and a big blue sky that just goes on forever. I'm not sure what it is about this spot that it qualifies as a 'Significant Roadside Area.' It looks pretty standard to me. And this is what it looks like when we're NOT having a drought.

Just in case you're thinking that maybe there's something else outside the frame of this picture, I turned around a took a shot of the other side.

I admit to experiencing an urge to commit an act of public vandalism, specifically, to efface the last letter of the village named on the lower of these signposts. I can't imagine why. I did manage to restrain myself.

The surreal geometry of European trees planted in straight lines.

I found this crop of box-cut gum trees, in early stages of regeneration, quite a striking sight. They seem to me like little dwarves popping up out of the earth, but in tree form rather than homonid.

A young gum tree would have a completely different shape to these, and different leaves. These trees have adult leaves and the growth force of a mature tree but they are so close to the ground!

Box-cutting is a technique by which a mature tree is lopped off close to the ground, but leaving enough room for suckers to grow up around the sides of the trunk, which then grow into several auxiliary trunks. This is handy if you want to harvest firewood - you'll get a greater quantity of firewood in a given growing time from box-cut trees, and they come in narrower pieces that might not require a blocksplitter. However, this comes at a cost to the strength of the parts of the tree - box-cut trees are vulnerable to being brought down by strong winds, storms, or even just the forces of gravity, if damp and rot set in at the junction of the auxiliary trunk from main trunk. Tip for campers and backpackers in Australia - think twice when camping amongst box-cut trees - look for signs of weak limbs. This is what grown-up box-cut trees look like. See the multiple thin trunks coming up from one set of roots.

Lots of wonderful things live at my mum's house. Like the chickens and the ducks.

Rampant tomato bushes.

This is for dinner - tomatoes and silverbeet fresh from the garden, and eggs 'fresh from the chook's bum,' as Mum would say. The two larger, whiter eggs are from the ducks.

Little animals guard the doorways, and kindly sit very still for me to take their pictures.

Knick-knacks and pretty plates.

And, most special and wonderful of all, Sappho the cat.

I found Sappho when she was a kitten and gave her her name for the ancient Greek poet, Sappho. Now she lives with my mum in the country. She is absolutely a princess and the whole world revolves around her.

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