Living through the COVID-19 era, we’ve thought ourselves more fortunate than ever to live on the side of a mountain. Exercise is one of the reasons we’re allowed to leave home, and considering our farm borders a regional park, the backyard is pretty big.

So, we go for a lot of walks on the mountain, and it’s always spectacular to be in the bush. If you live in the city or a regional town it can be hard enough at the best of times to get into wild nature, let alone when you’re literally locked down, but it’s incredibly good for the soul.

Photos are a poor substitute for the actual experience, smells, sounds and feel of being in the bush, but in the current circumstances the least we can do is share our walks with you.

So, here’s a couple of our favourite trees we visit regularly … they have a way of reducing us to instant insignificance on the planet, and putting any niggling worries into perspective.

Majestic ancient gum tree

Just being in their presence makes me wonder how long these trees have been here, and who and what they’ve seen wander past in the last couple of hundred years…

Our mountain is made of granite, which apart from providing the mineralisation that makes this region such a great place to grow fruit, is also a beautiful rock.

Granite stone formations can be huge, with lots of mysterious cracks and crevices. Granite doesn’t form caves as such, but it’s not at all unusual to find openings big enough to imagine someone or something seeking shelter inside at some time in history.

We always keep clear of the rocks … it would feel like an invasion of privacy to poke about too closely, so we keep a respectful distance from their mysterious inner life.

Less inspiring is the amount of feral and invasive flora and fauna we come across in walks on our beautiful mountain, like this mob of feral goats.

As beautiful and useful as goats are as animals, they need managing, and this lot have escaped from a farm somewhere (they have ear tags) and taken up residence on the mountain. They go wherever they want, eat whatever they want and seem to be breeding at an alarming rate.

This is a fragile and arid landscape, which has evolved with our native animals like kangaroos. While we decry the impact of the kangaroos on our farm (where they annoy us by competing for grass with the cows and damaging fruit trees), this is their land, and they are perfectly evolved to live harmoniously here.

We kind of figure it’s up to us to exclude them from the farm, not try to get rid of them altogether, so kangaroo fencing is definitely on the agenda.

In the meantime, when we’re walking in their patch, we’re perfectly happy to admire them from a distance, and let them be!