How green is my valley!

View of 'Euralie' and Black Range beyond, via Yass, New South Wales, Australia

Drought broken!

How would you like to wake up to this view? Or sit with a cuppa and watch the sun sink in crimson streaks across these hills?

We drive here quite often and sit and watch, with a steaming coffee in hand.

After weeks and weeks of rain, the dead grass is gone and the hills and creek valley are green felted. The dams are full and the causeway gushing.

The black polka dots of cows across the creek are still, until the farmer’s ute turns up, then watch them gallop!

View across to 'Euralie' from Shearsby Crescent, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

50 shades of green

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Home among the gum trees

I was born on an acre bush block in a sea of gum trees.River gum (detail), fallen into Murrumbidgee River, Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

Our little green fibro* cottage was at the end of a long, steep, dirt driveway. The bush surrounded our house to the front, back and left side.

We were only 10 minutes from town by car but we had only one neighbour and an outside pan toilet.

We had bee hives and native birds on the block. Our neighbour had goats, chickens and a horse or two.

As kids, we stayed outdoors most of the time and could walk to the local park at the end of the street to fish from the jetty with hand lines.

Kilaben Bay Park, Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia

The jetty

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After all the places I’ve lived – in country towns and villages, the bright lights of Sydney, and in Canberra suburbia – the bush has always been my home.

When I lived in the towns and cities we spent many, many hours driving in the country, and camping and walking in the bush.

Now I’m back to my roots – a new home among the gum trees.

Ironbark tree sapling planted 2014

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We live on a 2 and a bit acre block ringed by gum trees and a native garden. We have rosellas, owls and magpies nesting in our trees. Galahs, cockatoos and kookaburras visit to feed. We have an occasional possum growling in the night. Cows and sometimes kangaroos come up to our back fence.

It’s a short walk to the river at the end of our road and a short drive to the town shops.

Again my house is at the end of a long, steep driveway. But thankfully now we have an indoor toilet!  ♦

Our new ironbark tree with views to the ranges

Ironbark with a view

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* fibro – fibrous cement sheeting or cladding boards

To mark Australia Day on Monday 26th January

Christmas lights (Unplugged) 2014

Storm front at sunset, Yass Valley, New South Wales, Australia

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Here are our Christmas trees and Christmas light show … the natural way!

‘Tis the season to be hot and stormy fa la la la la, la la la la!

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To all Daytrippers and Sippers

I wish you a very bright and Merry Christmas!

Cheers! from CC

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Photo taken 1 December 2014, with my trusty old Canon PowerShot A550.

Lazy bend in the river (Yass river)

View of Yass River bend beyond Joe O'Connor Park, Laidlaw Street, Yass, New South Wales, Australia

La rivière?

On a sparkling afternoon in September we went for one of our ambles along the Yass River at Joe O’Connor Park.

I was in a snap-happy camera daze of ‘Oohs’ and ‘Ahs’.

Another afternoon walker was also entranced by the green pasture on the banks after a rare, good fall of rain. Cows grazed on the far hill, wandering placidly. Willows trailed their leaves in the water, teasing the fish. The fish jumped occasionally, splashing circles across the mirrored surface.

In her admiration of the enchanting view, the lady said wistfully, “It looks just like France.”

That’s a very big call to make! I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never been there.

I’ll leave it to you to decide.  ♦

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‘One Shot Wonders’ series

One of my favourite photos, from the post of 8 January 2014. Photo taken 29 September 2013.

‘Woo Back!’ World Record

WE DID IT AUSTRALIA!

Heavy horse ploughing for the World Record near Yass, New South Wales, Australia on 4 May 2014

On Sunday (4 May 2014) the World Record for Heavy Horses Ploughing was set at the “Woo Back!” Event on a property in Yass Valley, New South Wales, Australia.

Twenty-eight heavy horses, in pairs or singly, tilled the ground with antique ploughs. A crowd of over 5000 spectators braved the autumn chill to watch the record go down in history!

The feat has now been set in the Guinness Book of World Records for “The greatest number of horse drawn ploughmen/women to plough a paddock at the same time.”

A two year old heavy horse in training with a young handler.

They came from near and far across the country – from the city and the town, across the ranges and the paddocks – and that was just our family!

The giant horses lined up before the crest of the turned paddock, facing into the chill wind. Leather collars and harnesses with brasses and silver shone under heavy skies.

 

The crowd huddled by the marshal’s stand and stretched down the paddock, lining the fences.

Bagpipes echoed across the green hills. Then a young voice’s sweet tones called a hush over the crowd singing “Amazing Grace” and the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”.

A school bell rang out to mark the start.

 

Heavy horses ploughing for the World Record set at Yass, NSW, Australia on 4 May 2014

Twenty-eight Clydesdales, Shires, Draught Horses, Cobs and other heavy breeds pulled at their horse collars and plodded over the rise to the edge of the paddock and then turned back on their own furrows.

 

Heavy horses ploughing for the World Record at Yass NSW Australia, on 4 May 2014

All manner of reconditioned ploughs, harrows, and scarifiers tasted the dirt again, some after lying idle for a generation. Some of the ploughs had even been used on the “Willow Vale” property by the father of the current owner.

Woo Back! 2014, Yass NSW Australia_15_cpyrgt

What  a truly magnificent sight! History in the making and living history.

A glorious tribute to the farming pioneers of this country and a fascinating showcase for the beautiful horses.

Congratulations to all four-legged and two-legged participants!!

More photos of the “Woo Back!” Event will follow, including antique farm machinery, carriages and vintage tractors.

The Woo Back! event was held at “Willow Vale”, Hardwicke Lane, Yass, NSW, Australia on 4 May 2014

"Willow Vale" property near Yass, New South Wales, Australia

“Willow Vale” property near Yass, New South Wales, Australia

For more information on WOO BACK! 2014 see the official website and Facebook page: 

www.wooback.com.au

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wooback-Yass-World-Record

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For the TV news coverage of the World Record go to:

Heavy horses set a new ploughing record in Yass.

ABC News (online), Mon 5 May 2014, 7:34am AEST

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-04/horsepower-on-display-at-yass/5429350

Big Horses – Big Hearts

ABC News (online), Mon 17 Mar 2014, 1:32pm AEDT

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-17/big-horses—big-hearts/5326006

Bridge to my past (Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned)

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For seven years we lived in Bungendore, New South Wales, a little village about half an hour on the other side of Canberra. We were “blow-ins”, with an unknown surname, not born in the local area. At least we had country credentials but we were still new bloods.

Or so I thought!…

After some family tree discoveries I found I was related to one of the large pioneering families, the Barretts, from a little rural locality just 2o minutes east of our village!!

Boro Creek, Mayfield Road at Lower Boro, New South Wales, Australia

Spanning the generations

My great, great, great grandmother Catherine Doolan and her sister Mary were Irish assisted immigrants and had migrated to Australia together from County Clare in 1841.

On the same ship was a Patrick Barrett. Mary later married Patrick and they took up land on the Boro Creek between the villages of Bungendore and Tarago.

As we do, we had aimlessly driven the crisscrossing dirt roads in the back blocks around our village.

Some of those dirt roads had passed right by the front gates of the Barrett family properties. Boro Creek cut through Barrett land. They held large blocks on either side of the creek between the mid 1840s and the early 1900s.

This is the old disused bridge over Boro Creek, on Mayfield Road at Lower Boro.

I was game and walked its rickety deck – I just had to throw a pebble in the water hole beneath.  

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Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Abandoned’

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/photo-challenge-abandoned/

Photos taken 7 November 2009 with my old Canon Powershot A550

* “a blow-in” – a stranger, or someone who comes from somewhere else

Lower Boro, via Tarago, New South Wales, Australia

http://www.bonzle.com/c/a?a=p&p=19826

 

Sheep safely grazing

Sheep on 'Windouran' property, Burley Griffin Way, near Harden, New South Wales, Australia

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(Play http://youtu.be/D8h4ROAgW1I – ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’, Aria from Cantata BWV No. 208 by JS Bach)

To mark Australia Day on January 26, my ‘One Shot Wonders’ this week will feature some good old Aussie icons.

Sheep are an important part of Australia’s history, and export industry.

They were brought to Australia with the First Fleet of convicts and soldiers on 26 January 1788. Initially they were only to provide meat for the new colony (LandLearn NSW).

In the early years, Spanish Merino sheep were developed by John and Elizabeth Macarthur, which were better suited to the hot Australian summers.

Yass Valley and nearby Boorowa and Harden Shires of New South Wales are among the important sheep raising areas of Australia, for meat and fine wool production.

Some woolly fast facts:

  • ‘The Australian national sheep flock is 74.7 million head.’ (Meat and Livestock Australia 2013)
  • ‘Australia produces approximately 6% of the world’s lamb and mutton supply.’ (MLA 2013)
  • ‘Australia is the largest wool-producing country in the world.’ (australia.gov.au 2007)
  • ‘Our annual production consistently accounts for over one quarter of the world’s wool and is often valued at well over $2 billion each year. Australia is also recognised as producing the world’s highest quality woollen fibre – Australian merino wool.’ (australia.gov.au 2007)  

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Aussie icons, ‘One Shot Wonders’ series

Photo taken 17 November 2013, with Fuji FinePix S2980

‘Windouran’ property, Burley Griffin Way near Harden, New South Wales, Australia

Sources

LandLearn NSW n.d., ‘Sheep Aren’t Native Animals, So How Did They Get Here?’, NSW Dept of Primary Industries et al, accessed 28 January 2014, http://www.landlearnnsw.org.au/?a=266574.

Meat and Livestock Australia 2013, ‘Sheep’, Meat and Livestock Australia, accessed 28 January 2014, http://www.mla.com.au/Cattle-sheep-and-goat-industries/Industry-overview/Sheep.

[australia.gov.au] Dept of Finance 2007, ‘The Macarthurs and the merino sheep’, Australian Government, accessed 28 January 2014, http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/macarthurs-and-the-merino-sheep.