Sweet Home, Korumburra

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2016 been a huge and amazing year for Glenda and I. About this time last year, we made an offer on a huge house with couple of acres in the foothills of the Strzelecki ranges in a little town called Korumburra. This offer was accepted and in early Feb we moved in. Since that time, we have gained three Alpacas, two dogs, seven chooks and some fairies in our 120 year old oak tree.

For a guy who was never a “happy gardener”, I have spent a lot of the year creating a large vege garden and maintaining our native garden and forest. We have also acquired a chain saw, a brush cutter, a large chipper and a ride on mower and trailer. All get lots of use.

I spend three days a week in Melbourne, back working for Millennium Science (who very graciously took me back after my gap year) and stay a couple of nights with my son Locky in my old house. Always interesting being a “visitor” in my home of 32 years. The other 4 days a week I spend here in the hills with our menagerie, our little eucalyptus forests and all the native birds that call our property home. I rarely get “out” with a camera these days, but I do try and capture some images around the property. There is still some scope.

Glenda has been crafting up a storm, spinning, knitting, weaving and dying. She has lots of wool to work with. She is making some amazing scarves and jumpers. It adds a bit of something when the wool comes from your own alpacas or from animals we looked after in 2015. Her experiments with “natural dying” are fantastic, using plants from our property to dye the wool.

While we do miss some of our friends and family at times, we are only a couple of hours away at most and we have had a regular progression of people coming to visit and stay. The house sort of naturally divides into two halves, so our visitors have their own private area with a couple of bedrooms, living area, bathroom etc.. It all seems to work well, and I hope we will continue to have people to stay in the coming years.

We have been talking about living in the country for over 30 years. So, now we finally made it. When we look back over the last year, I still find it pretty amazing how much our lives have changed.

Regrets? None! We are loving every minute.

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope to catch up with many of your in the coming year.

You can have a look at a bit of our year in photos here – http://garyberesfordimaging.com/portfolio/korumburra

Cheers

Gary

Flinders Ranges

It was a great time

It was a great time

Glenda and I spent a wonderful six weeks in the southern Flinders Ranges looking after a large sheep farm over June/July. The farm was 6000 acres of rolling hills and gumtrees, with the addition of quite large areas of burnt out pine plantations and rocky mountains.

Local Gum trees

Local Gum trees

Officially, we had about 4000 head of sheep in our care, but most of these were range sheep that needed no intervention. We did spend some time rounding up escapees and putting them back in the paddocks. The farm and region was devastated last year by massive fires and then huge floods, one month apart. That’s Australia. This destroyed a large proportion of the fencing along with about 500 head of stock. The fences are not all fully repaired and the more adventurous sheep found little problem in finding their way out.

Sheep in the river redgums

Sheep in the river redgums

We had in our direct care two wonderful border collies, Ellie and Polly. Polly is a great working dog and took my vague instructions instinctively and got the job done. Ellie is a beautiful dog, but frankly, useless. She remained locked up in the back of the ute.

Dog Tyred

Dog Tyred

During our time, we had about 300 sheep due to lamb and this wondrous event happened while we were there. The ewes where in one of the burnt out plantations and it was quite eerie wandering through all the dead trees in the fog to the sounds of new born lambs bleating for their mothers. Absolutely fantastic experience!

Newborn Lamb

Newborn Lamb

The region is stunning. No other words for it. From green rolling hills to iconic creeks running through stands of river redgums, from acres of new green crops to rugged 4WD tracks to the top of the range to look at views over the Spencer Gulf, from vast tracts of sheep grazing land to lovely little watering holes hidden in the arid landscape, this area was never boring.

On top of the world

On top of the world

Our house, Illalangi (meaing “house on the hill) was blessed with amazing sunset view over the mountains. We spent quite a few evenings watching the sun go down and the myriad of colours it afforded.

View from our back door.

View from our back door.

The birdlife too was amazing. I have never seen so many raptors in such a small space of time. Black Shouldered Kites, Kestrels, Brown Falcons and the mighty Wedge Tailed Eagle to name but a few. There were also lots of smaller birds. Variegated Wrens, Adelaide Rosellas, silvereyes and many more.

Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

Adelaide Rosella

Adelaide Rosella

We had a most enjoyable time there and were very sad to leave. We did consider changing the locks and sending the old owners on their way, but then, it was shearing time and I’m not sure we could have coped with that. There are a LOT Of sheep to shear!

On the boards

On the boards

We hope to get back to this region as soon as we can, hopefully farm sitting the same farm.

More photos can be seen at http://www.garyberesfordimaging.com/portfolio/bangor-south-australia

Macleay Valley

Dragonfiy

Dragonfiy

We’ve settled here in Kempsey now and are discovering what the region has to offer. We have had a few trips to the beaches at Crescent Head, Hat Head and South West Rocks, all of them beautiful and inviting in their own way. I’ve rediscovered the frustrations and relaxation of fishing, and even Glenda has joined in! I’ve had a little success and caught a couple of meals worth of Bass, Flathead and Bream (small meals), and hopefully there will be more to come.

While I couldn’t say we were “busy”, there are things to do around the property. My main task, after looking after the dog, is to mow the lawns. A meagre task you may think, but there are a few acres that need to be mown and I have a variety of boys toys at my disposal to achieve the task, including two ride-on mowers and 3 push mowers. I find the ride-ons a very relaxing way to spend a few hours. One of them even has a cruise control! It’s a bit like painting the harbour bridge – by the time you get to the end, it’s time start at the beginning again.

We wandered up along the Macleay valley to Bellbrook hotel for lunch the other day. This is “real country”, where the dogs wander around the pub at will and the pub grub is a true, old fashioned meal with old fashioned prices and very welcoming service. Sitting in the veranda, sipping on an ice cold beer, looking down on the river and the flood plains, it was hard to imagine being more content anywhere else.

The weather hear is interesting. The temperature never varies, with lows of about 18 and tops of about 28, every day. It can be raining one minute and clear blue skies the next. The rain doesn’t really interrupt much, it just feeds the humidity (which is quite high, speaking as a Melbourne boy). We are in for a bit of a torrent tomorrow I believe, as the tail end of Cyclone Marcia whips its tail at us. We have heard varying reports of between 170mm and 300mm+ in terms of tomorrow’s rainfall. Both sound like a lot to me! We will be keeping an eye on our river on the border, which I am told is the second fastest flowing river in the southern hemisphere when in flood. It is fully expected that our bridge will go under, though I am told that our property has never flooded (I hope this remains true). I’m not sure what this will do for the fishing, other than make it a shorter walk.

The wildlife around here is amazing, especially the insect and spider life. The variety and colour is excellent. There are a plethora of various birds around, but we very rarely see them. There is so much bush and trees for them to hide in, they don’t often come out to be seen, though they are in full voice from sunup. Magpies, butcher birds, whip birds, kookaburras, blue wrens, wagtails, red breasted robins, kurrajongs are just to name a few… My challenge is to capture pictures of them, but I haven’t been too successful to date.

We had a great BBQ with Marie and Steve and friends last Friday at their horse property just down the road. Country hospitality is hard to beat and this was no exception. Great food, excellent company and the odd drink make for a fun evening. Thanks guys! Our turn next…

There’s plenty more to see, and plenty more to experience.

Fitzroy Street Art

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I spent a day recently wandering with friends through the amazing back streets of Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia. It’s amazing to see how this place has been transformed over the years, especially in visual terms. The quality of the street art is simply stunning. I sometimes think it’s a pity that this art is so relatively fleeting, but I was talking to one of the artists one day, and he explained that his art will be seen by more people in the short period of its existence, compared to the vast majority of more conventional art that may hang in a gallery for a small time, hang on someone’s wall for a period and then be relegated to the garage where it will languish forever. It is difficult to argue with this logic, and  it is always exciting to return to the streets and find what is new, and there is always something new, and the quality just seems to improve all the time.

From the clever, the witty, the poignant and the downright artistically superb, I love it all. Add to this the characters, the small cafes and the general atmosphere, this is one of my favourite regions in my favourite city of Melbourne.

MORE PHOTOS AT http://garyberesfordimaging.com/portfolio/fitzroy-street-art

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Jindabyne Rodeo

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MORE IMAGES AT www.garyberesfordimaging.com

Last December, we watched our first rodeo. The first thing you notice when you walk in, is the hats. Big hats… everywhere, on everyone. Even the babies wear 9 gallon hats. Then, you notice that smell. It is the scent of unbridled testosterone. I mean, this really IS the land where men are men (and the sheep aren’t nervous anymore – they’re used to it). Honestly, these people are tough, honest, no nonsense hard and tough. It’s like stepping into a different world, a world of miller shirts and muscles, whips and embroidered denim. They have to be tough to do what they do. The animals they ride are serious amounts of muscle and animosity. The sole intent is murder, and these men (and women) play with them like they are poodles. They have events for 6 to 11 year olds. They put them on angry animals that are many multiples of their size. It was great to watch, but the men I admired the most for their bravery were the distraction clowns, who put their bodies in the way of these monstrosities after the riders has been unceremoniously “dumped”. And also the rounders, two very serious looking mountain men on horseback who gather up the still bucking horses after each ride. They do it with no fuss, no fanfare and an amount of skill that would make Clancy proud. I came away feeling quite inadequate.. (But unbruised, which is more than I could say for most of them!)

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