We live in a pretty arid part of the world, but living through the COVID-19 era, we’ve come to appreciate our landscape in new ways.
We live on Dja Dja Wurrung land, on the side of the small but majestic Leanganook. That’s the Dja Dja Wurrung name for Mount Alexander, and it means “his teeth”. You can watch this short video to find out more about the significance of the name.
Our farm borders the Leanganook (Mount Alexander) Regional Park, so our backyard is pretty big.
We go for a lot of walks on the mountain, and it’s always spectacular and calming. During lockdowns, we (and everyone else) weren’t able to leave home, so we spent even more time than usual in the bush.
Sharing our backyard with you
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.
We know from first-hand experience that being in the bush is incredibly good for the soul. Even though photos are a poor substitute for the actual smells, sounds, and feel of being in the bush, the least we can do is share our walks with you.
So, here are 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.
Just being in their presence makes us wonder how long these trees have been here.
Who have they sheltered? What storms have they weathered? Who (and what) has wandered past in the last couple of hundred years?
Our mountain is made of granite. Apart from providing the mineralisation that makes this region such a great place to grow fruit, it’s also a beautiful stone.
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 feels like an invasion of privacy to poke about too closely, so we keep a respectful distance from their mysterious inner life.
Things that shouldn’t be there
Less inspiring is the amount of feral and invasive flora and fauna we come across in walks on our beautiful mountain, like this herd of feral goats.
As beautiful and useful as goats are as animals, they need managing. They can even be quite good companions to fruit trees if they’re managed properly.
This lot has escaped from a farm somewhere (they have eartags) 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’ve fenced to keep kangaroos off our farm (where they annoy us by competing for grass with the cows and damaging fruit trees), this is their land. They are perfectly evolved to live harmoniously here in the bush.
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 the solution.
In the meantime, when we’re walking in their patch, we’re perfectly happy to admire them from a distance, and let them be!
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Beautiful pics, more like this please?
Thanks Marcie, glad you’re enjoying them! We’re regularly posting pics on Insta and FB as well, so please follow us there if you want to vicariously enjoy our views!
Beautiful photos – thank you for sharing your surrounding countryside. I look forward each week to your generous advise. Two years ago, I got rid of some old straggly shrubs from my front garden ( average sized suburban block in Chelsea) and planted apricot, peach, a sweet cherry and a sour cherry, a nectarine and and an apple(both espaliered) and a weeping apple. Also pineapple and a strawberry guavas.
In my side garden I have a fig and an orange (espaliered plus a blood orange and a mandarine both of which I planted about 6 years ago. Also have 4 blueberry plants in that area.
In my back garden I have bananas ( cool climate variety) which bear sweet bananas each year since planting 6 years ago. Also have pineapples(only fruited once so far) , a miniature pear and of course a lemon tree. In pots in my sun room I have a paw paw tree and an avocado tree which I will plant outside in the spring.
I also enjoy growing lots of vegetables. My friends all tell me I am mad to make so much work for myself at 79 yo however I enjoy the exercise, fresh air, and challenges which come along re keeping them all healthy. I am continually studying up on the subject, especially on your site.
Thank you for your great information and the bright and cheerful way of presenting it.. God bless you both,
Hi Dorothy, what a wonderful story, thanks so much for sharing! Sounds like you’ll still be busily growing food for plenty more years to come, and no doubt be an inspiration to those around you.
Hi Katie & Hugh, thanks for sharing lovely photos and words, as well as your amazing advice on growing food and soil health. I was a little surprised when you described our area as ‘pretty arid’, as that describes “(land or a climate) having little or no rain; too dry or barren to support vegetation”. Yes, our topsoils are reduced and depleted from 200 years of land degradation, but we are also blessed with diverse ecosystem and biodiversity, which has thrived in this ‘double la Nina’. Sorry to be pedantic, but language is so powerful, and our nature is abundant. Hopefully with Climate Change, we won’t become arid! XxX Eliza