I don't like autumn. R says it's his favourite season, just like spring without the hayfever, but I don't agree. Sure, the ends of the day are cool and the middle warm in the sun, and the air is clear and crisp (when the smoke from stubble fires isn't settling below the hills). But there's none of the joy of spring, the rampant growth, rising crops, new lambs and daisies exploding across the paddocks.
Autumn reeks of desperation. Hungry animals pick resignedly at bare earth, the dams are parched and cracking, the land just seems exhausted. And then there's the dust. Bloody dust. Any movement raises great clouds of dry dirt into the air, where it settles in hair and mucous membranes. Mobs of sheep walking across paddocks can be seen from miles away by the dust clouds hovering above them. Running the dogs stirs up a wall of dust so thick we can hardly breathe, let alone see.
The worst part about autumn is the waiting. Every morning all heads turn to the west, hoping for a glimpse of an incoming storm bank or even a cloud. There are constant calculations, juggling absolute deadlines for seeding, potential modifications to planned crops, estimates of growing time and potential money lost. We watch the evening weather reports with sullen despondency, resentful of news of rain in other regions, wallowing in our dessicated gloom.
The rain will come, it always does. The dust will turn to mud, the dead paddocks will erupt into green life almost overnight.
If I'm ever in need of a brief internet timewaster, I can't go past Feedjit.
When I started this blog four years ago, it was basically intended as a photo repository. Since then its been a way to communicate with friends and family in other places, to share photos efficiently, and just to exercise my creativity occasionally. And now that I've gone all rural, and I'm such a shocking slacker with email and the phone (blame Bigpond and Telstra!), sometimes it's the only way people know I'm still alive.
In the olden days, I used to be occasionally gobsmacked when, running into someone I hadn't seen for ages, they'd comment on how BabyJ and the pups are growing, because they've been following my blog. Gasp! I have followers! And now, with my newfangled gadget, I can follow them too.
Of course there's the usual offenders, family and friends from the Big Smoke, my Internet Friends from around Australia,Canada, Japan, the UK, Germany and Switzerland and the US who get sick of waiting for me to reply to email, and the regular "can't help myself" check ins from Poughkeepsie/Hyde Park, but we also get pop ins from Finland to Korea and almost everywhere in between.
Where do these people come from? Some must be accidental tourists who trip while Googling "royal oops", "cat bothering" or "dirty bottomed sheep" and land here. I'm not sure what they were hoping to find, but I'm fairly certain this wasn't it. Some are searching for information about Harrington crutching cradles, sheepdog and pedigree information, and maybe there's something useful here. Maybe not.
Anyway, on those days when I feel like no-one listens to anything I say, all I have to do is look at my Feedjit and I see that someone from Sweden is hearing me. Maybe only accidentally and for less than 26 seconds, but still...
He's our Verandah Tidy System. Anything left unattended and unsecured will be removed overnight, dissected and arranged artistically on the back lawn every morning.
We're learning very quickly to keep the verandah tidy.
And sometimes I'm a little bit tempted to let him into the house.
Stalking up on an unsuspecting piece of clutter:
Looks like Fred's bum may be next:
Fred looks really worried:
Bill can't imagine destroying anything: Nope, certainly not the sort of thing Bill would do:
Bart cleans camera lenses too:
So if anyone thinks their place needs a bit of a tidy-up and has an opening for a neurotic nutless midget with a bizarrely smooth coat, Boylee Bart might be interested. You'd need to be very very special though.