Twixt autumn and winter

Autumn is usually that settled period before winter arrives in earnest but this year it seems different. Spring is notorious for its fickle nature and the way that winter really doesn’t want to be gone too soon. A fellow blogger got me thinking about the time between seasons with his series on micro-seasons. This seems to be rooted in the Japanese culture unlike our western ideal of four seasons. We cannot mold the seasons to suit our requirements so maybe accepting these subtle or not so subtle periods twixt the seasons makes good sense.

Looking through my photos I was reminded of those occasions and activities that fall into autumn. Here in Victoria we start with a public holiday known as Labour Day in March. Then comes April holidays and the marking of Easter on the Christian calendar. On April 25 we also remember sacrificial love and duty to God and country when World War One broke out and so many took up arms to protect us. Sadly World War Two followed and other conflicts continue. ANZAC Day is not about glorifying war but honouring those who served. Younger generations of Australians and New Zealanders are learning about this part of their history. This year with no COVID restrictions more than 300 people turned out for the dawn service in our small town followed by the traditional gun fire breakfast usually a bacon and egg sandwich. Later in the morning there is a procession where veterans and other community groups and individuals are proudly involved.

The view from my bedroom window is changing with the arrival of foggy mornings and hot air balloons on crisp clear mornings. We see a red fox slinking through the grass in search of food and other times a family group of kangaroos waiting for the sun to arrive.

May is also when we celebrate Mother’s Day in Australia with all its commercial focus on pampering Mums everywhere. I managed a trip interstate to visit my own Mum. Last year, the borders between the states were being closed due to COVID and I just got home only hours before they were. I enjoy the larger open farming spaces of where I grew up. While visiting there was lots of burning off of stubble to make way for the next lot of crops. There is very little cropping near where I live now.

A new array of autumn colours has emerged while other trees shed their leaves freely. The sound of chainsaws echo in the valley as firewood is gathered for the coming cold months. The latest load of Black Angus steers has departed. Our birdlife changes with the seasons and weather. The colourful and cheeky King Parrots come searching for some wild bird seed. The weather has been a mixture of sun and rain with snow forecast this week on the nearby mountain. No doubt winter will arrive soon enough and with it comes the thought that we are almost halfway through another year!

Nature is not only what is visible to the eye – it shows the inner images of the soul – the images on the back side of the eyes.

-Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norwegian painter and printmaker

Easter a time of hope

Eggs, chocolate, or straight from the chicken represent new life on Easter Day

We enjoyed an Easter without lockdowns here in Victoria and many are making the most of this beautiful autumnal weather here in my hometown. Our church was packed today with adults and children to celebrate Easter Day. We have a tradition at our Anglican church where we enjoy wine made by one of our parishioners and home-made chicken sandwiches after the the service. It was so lovely to see families out and about enjoying quality time together.

There is a sense of hope and looking forward to the future after a difficult two years. Here’s to us being kinder and more loving towards one another and speaking out against evil and injustice. Happy Easter to all.

Black and white focus on Paris

An iconic landmark in Paris which can seen from many parts of the city.
Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
A carousel seems to be a common sight in French cities and Paris is no exception.
Waiting for a fare on the Champs-Elysees.
Arc de Triomphe is a wonderful structure that sits in the centre of a busy, chaotic roundabout that works.

Grey clouds here today prompted me to explore the beauty of black and white images of places I loved and as a reminder of travel before COVID.

Shades of Autumn

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” – Unknown

The clocks were turned back during the first weekend of April and it seems to have coincided with a definite change in the seasons. There is a coolness in the evening air despite some days of sunshine. The mid-March temperatures in the low 30s and annoying blow flies seem to have disappeared here in Victoria. But April can produce some stunning Autumn weather to enjoy over the Easter holidays. Will wait and see. We have avoided floods here but our hearts go out to those especially in NSW who have experienced severe flooding twice within a month.

For me autumn offers a calming time of year. It is subtle and yet spectacular as it reveals its hidden beauty. From green to gold, yellow to red. Here in North East Victoria the colours of autumn tend to really come into their own about mid April to early May. Then the great shedding of leaves starts as we approach winter. Raking is one way to get a good work out!

Over the weekend I explored our 25 acres with camera in hand for different perspectives and to capture the various tints and hues of the changing season. I also managed to find glorious brightly-coloured flowers.

There was also a visit to one of my favourite local places, Jamieson, an historic Victorian township on the river and in the bush-clad hills that were once home to many searching for gold. My husband and I attended the once a month Anglican church service which was followed by lunch in a nearby café.

Whatever season you may be going through, remember to enjoy the one you are going through now!

Welcoming Autumn

The golden hues of autumn grasses against grey skies.

A run of hot, humid days accompanied by thunderstorms has been the norm for most of March. A wetter than usual winter and spring created unprecedented grass growth. Good news for those who had hay to cut and bale, but for others on smaller acreage like ourselves, keeping on top of the mowing is a constant task. When there was minimal rainfall, grass growth was a lot slower. But seeing our dams full and household tanks almost at capacity, we are not complaining.

We had hot and dry conditions for our annual campdraft just gone, which made it a top weekend for competitors and spectators alike. Being on the committee kept me busy with various activities over the two days. I will do a separate post on the Australian equestrian sport of campdrafting and share some photos.

With its still calm weather conditions, autumn also marks a period of planned burn-offs in our high country. While this is designed to reduce the fuel load in the bush and mountain areas, the smoke haze can make one feel like they are living in an ashtray. It has been a long time since I have hung out in a smokey journo’s bar. I used to go home and hang my good jacket on the clothesline to get rid of the smell. I couldn’t afford to pay for the dry cleaners too often!

However, the smoke haze does provide some superb sunset photo opportunities. Another night we saw this large, red glow in the distance due to a burn-off in some stubble that flared up. Earlier this week, a storm and some rain cleared the air. Another photo opportunity.

This morning was the coolest start for several months, but it has been a lovely warm, sunny day. One can sense a change in the seasons and see the changes in the leaves of grapevines and various trees. Daylight saving is due to end the first weekend in April, which will see a return to being lighter early in the morning and becoming dark much sooner in the late afternoon.

On one side of the world, spring is bursting forth while here we prepare for the coming winter months. That includes sourcing more fire food and putting away the summer clothes. As restrictions and lockdowns disappear and we are told we need to learn to live with COVID, one dares to dream of travelling to warmer climes and visiting friends and family over the coming weeks.

Late afternoon and suddenly, the smoke haze returns, clinging to the sides of the valleys. I better close windows and doors to keep the smell out and rescue the washing from outside before it absorbs the smokey aroma. Happy weekend everyone.

Remembering the service of animals with a purple poppy

A colourful window display in our local Mansfield Country Women’s Association hall alerted me to it being Purple Poppy Day on February 24, which commemorates the service of animals of all kinds in war and conflict situations. Many of us are used to buying a red poppy to support our service men and women on ANZAC Day, April 25 and Remembrance Day on November 11.
The purple poppy was introduced to Australia in 2013 by the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO). It is also known as the “Animal Poppy”. According to AWAMO, purple poppies are designed to be worn alongside the traditional red poppy. They are a reminder of the bravery of both humans and animals that served together.
AWAMO uses money raised from donations and the sale of Purple Poppies to establish memorials. These funds are also used to train support animals to help soldiers with post-traumatic stress, and provide care packages, including paying for care for war animals retired from service due to illness, injury and old age after active service says the AWAMO.
President Nigel Allsopp talks about the organisation’s work in the video clip below.

The Mansfield CWA members put their crafting skills to work to create purple poppies and other items to sell to support the AWAMO. I bought a purple poppy yesterday and look forward to wearing it with my red poppy on ANZAC Day.

Reference:

https://www.purplepoppies.com.au/about/

The Sea

By Lynn Elder

The calm sea. Photo: Lynn Elder
Listen to the crashing waves,
Hear the cry of a lonely gull,
Feel the sting of the salty sea.

Hear the screams of a girl,
Young and frail,
As the giant waves,
Wash her away.

The waves whip the body away,
Far away from the sandy shore.
To the sea it doesn't matter,
Who dies in its icy depths.

When the sea is still,
And the flock of gulls,
Fly overhead,
None could believe,
That the sea could take a life.
 

What is love?

The wedding day is only part of the journey of never ending love! Photo: Lynn Elder

What is love?
Some say it is an itchy feeling around the heart.
Is it endless declarations of undying love of Shakespearean proportions?
Maybe it is the act of loving someone or something more than yourself?
But don’t forget you need to love yourself before you can truly love others!
Love is many things to many people,
True love may be hard to find or follows a rocky path.
But love is never controlling or boastful.
It is not spiteful or hateful.
As they say love makes the world go ‘round,
And as my granny says “love is blind” but neighbours ain’t!
If St Valentine’s Day is a load of sentimental trash for some
And an economic boon for others,
Fear not because the love you receive and give,
Is of no less value on any other day!


My love is like a red, red rose…Robert Burns

My poetic take on St Valentine’s Day. My husband booked dinner out for the two of us last year but on the day, the state of Victoria was plunged into another lockdown! I saw in my social media memories today that I cooked a roast lamb dinner and apple crumble for desert last year so I must have still showed my love. But my darling husband has booked a table for dinner tonight which is very sweet. No lockdowns likely this year!

I have always loved the poetic works of Scottish poet Robert Burns since I was a little girl with romantic thoughts and maybe because of my Scottish ancestry. I have just discovered that the poem “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose” has been recorded as a song by various artists including one of my favourite singers Eva Cassidy and a new one for me being Karen Matheson who does the most stunning lilting Celtic version. Decide for yourselves which one you like best. Happy St Valentine’s Day to all us romantics!