2020 Aus Taking a Turn with Tess
Taking a Turn with Tess around the Homestead
(Day Pod 28th March 2020
There is a change in the weather as a front passes south of us and Zoonie wobbles very slightly in her cradle. We have had two treats in the last 24 hours. Rob was returning from town where he extended our internet account and noticed the little café around the corner was open for takeaways. This was good because it not only kept their business going but also pays the fishermen and other suppliers and we enjoyed fish ‘n’ chips in tempura batter in the evening. Second we shared a messenger facetime call with Richard, Sue and James which was fun although due to the time difference we were stone cold sober!)
On the first morning at Te Opu, Malcolm and Christine’s’ farm, I awoke to the sound of birdsong and with the desire to explore in the cool of the early morning. Tess was walking purposefully around the house and I didn’t think she’d mind if I tagged along. Last night she had barked a few times to tell the fox he was to leave the chickens well alone or he would have her to contend with. Which at the age of 17 doggy years, 119 human years is admirably ambitious.
I crept through the dining room to the inviting crazy paving path outside where Tess waited and she showed me her shady little walk that keeps her fit before the sun gets too hot.
It being the end of the summer the grazing and arable land is looking parched and dry but around the homesteads the cool mornings are creating dew on the well cared for grass resulting in an oasis of lushness. The house is built largely of stone and block with a tin roof overhanging generously to provide outside shade. The inviting open cellar door had a particularly romantic French look about it, nice to keep some wine and preserves in there. The vine that covers the posts supporting the veranda roof at the front of the house must have found its own supply of water, see how it thrives. The multitude of windows Malcolm rescued from a building site to build the enclosed dining and living area.
He loves to make alternative use of things that have been discarded and the towel hooks in the bathroom are ceramic power line insulators, they looked deliciously art deco.
The strength of the walls reflects the strength of family love that has been present in this home for years. The two daughters are now grown and gone with families of their own but there are still signs of their happy childhood. The tennis court and BBQ area and little tokens you can spot in the photos make this a warm and welcoming place to stay. Best of all of course was Malcolm and Christine’s company.
The Beetle Beneath my Back
Last night while back aboard Zoons I felt something crawling beneath my back. I sat up, brushed myself off, laid down again and went back to sleep until the same thing happened again. This time I turned on the light and there was a very alive black beetle about half an inch long. Rob carefully gathered it up and popped it outside through the hatch and I pondered how glad I was it wasn’t a black spider with a red spot in which case I wouldn’t be writing this now!
While on the subject of bugs, at Te Opu I commented on the size of the ants on the crazy paving path and Malcolm asked “You want to see some really big ants?”
We bounced along on the quad bike down a gentle hill towards some trees and what looked like a dry stream bed. Well the ants were about an inch long and as you can see and had pink heads, abdomens, legs and antennae and shiny black/red abdomens. I thought Malcolm was quite brave to put his phone down to give an idea of scale and we did not hang around long enough for them to find us!
The skeleton of the dinghy you see next to the dam shows the harsh nature of the climate over a period of time. The stripped plywood skin was lying beneath plant growth next to the hull which was once painted and used by a generation of youngsters to explore the fun of life on water; I could almost hear the screams of delight and lively chatter from years ago.
The sheep match the colour of the earth and the little flock raced towards the hopper of grain as Malcolm spread it along the ground to give them all a fair meal. Rob helped him take some fence posts out of the ground so that once the track into the station is graded rain will run off it into the dam. Brilliant. All they need now is rain.