For The Love Of A Small Dog…

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
~ Charles M. Schulz

 

This small red bundle of energy who we now know as Rufous Dog only came into our lives on Monday, but what a difference his presence has already made.

Harry hasn’t stopped smiling. He now has a playmate, a buddy, a brother. They play together for hours each morning and afternoon, wrestling and playing chasey.

My husband Ben’s happy too. Rufous is a lovely boy, he’s easy to train, and Harry (who in the way of cattle dogs bonding to one person is truly Ben’s dog) is also finally happy again after weeks of awful fretting and grieving for the loss of our precious Bert.

Rufous has even come on a Cafe outing and managed to behave reasonably well. Here they are at a cafe yesterday morning. Harry is staring at Ben. Rufous at me.

I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed, truth be told. This small dog has made me his important person. This has never happened before. All of our dogs have been Ben’s dogs. All Daddy’s boys, although I know they loved me too. But Rufous has decided he is mine.

When we go somewhere as a family Rufous checks to see if I am coming. If I’m slow he comes back and waits for me. If I don’t go he doesn’t either. He parks himself at my feet and stares up at me with these big soft eyes. Everywhere I go, apart from morning and afternoon dog playtime, Rufous is right behind me.

He even sleeps between my office chair and the wall or under my desk while I am working, one paw always touching me if he can.

It’s a love explosion in our house right now. Which kind of makes up for the newly chewed shoes… 🙂

The Eagles and the Crystals

“Believe something and the Universe is on its way to being changed. Because you’ve changed, by believing. Once you’ve changed, other things start to follow. Isn’t that the way it works?”
~ Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard

 

In January, we pulled down our massive Ancestors and Songlines crystal healing grid at our farm. Ben and my friend Satisha helped me to locate all of the stones that were beginning to be buried by the long summer grass that had grown up wildly all around them. We literally crawled around the grid on our hands and knees, feeling every inch of ground to pull out the stones which had lain there through sun and rain, moon and stars for nearly 8 weeks.

When the stones were removed I sorted through them and chose a selection to be tasked for my retreat students this year, plus a few extra that I may sell or give away at some stage. Ben then drove me and my stones to the very back of our property where the eagles live.

In the boughs of a mighty old gum tree is a huge platform made from sticks and branches. It is home to a nesting pair of wedge-tail eagles. The tree itself sits within a tangled thicket of scrub, privet and camphor. It’s private, secluded and the place holds an energy of wilderness and deep peace. The views from the top of the tree must be incredible. The birds would see our entire valley and river system, and then over the saddle of the hill behind them and into the next valley too. We often see the eagles and their fledglings soaring on the thermals around our farm. They are massive birds. Majestic. Fearless.

At the foot of this ancient tree, beneath the eagles’ nest I laid out a new crystal grid. I sang magic into it the way my old Aboriginal Aunties taught me. I added my own magic too, and the magic of my ancestral line. I wanted these crystals to soak up all of that energy, and the energy of the land, of the tree and of the eagles. Of course other creatures will add their own energies. There is so much native wildlife here. And there is the energy of country. It’s a tangible energy, and it makes the crystals sing.

On Tuesday afternoon we went back and retrieved these stones. They have been through wild storms, eclipses, full moons, dark moons, pink moons, bright clear skies and gentle sunsets. After so long in the dirt they were encrusted with earth and bits of leaf and grass. They smelled like sweet loamy soil and sunshine. And goodness, how they felt in my hand!

This weekend I’ll scrub them clean and lay them out in the sun to dry, and then I’ll choose one for each of my Beginners Channelling students, for them to learn how to use when our retreat starts just ten days from now.

Maybe one of these stones will find its way to you one day. I truly believe that they always find the person who needs them most.

They are simply wonderful. I know you’ll love them as much as I do!

Crazy Wild Weather!

“Suddenly all the sky is hid
As with the shutting of a lid,
One by one great drops are falling
Doubtful and slow,
Down the pane they are crookedly crawling,
And the wind breathes low;
Slowly the circles widen on the river,
Widen and mingle, one and all;
Here and there the slenderer flowers shiver,
Struck by an icy rain-drop’s fall.”
~James Russell Lowell, “Summer Storm,” 1839

 

It’s been so droughty-dry and unseasonably hot here at the farm. There have been storms but all of them have gone past us, leaving us with light shows in the sky, heavy winds and only the smell of rain.

The grass has turned dry and crunchy under our feet. Great cracks have opened in the ground. The dam has a few scant inches of water left amid the waterlilies struggling to stay viable.

Those dry storms have kept us busy – interrupting our power supply again and again, downing trees, stopping our landline phone and internet from working.

Last night we finally attracted a storm that had everything – wind, hail, lightning, thunder and most importantly rain.

Our internet’s down again. We’ve got broken branches littered everywhere. The ground is a carpet of leaves thrown down by the elements. The air is cool and smells sweetly of earth and moisture. There’s lots of mess to clean up.

Me? I’m blogging in the car, on the way to coffee with Ben and Cafe Dog.

The last of the rain is moving through now, and then it should fine up to a bright hot day before more storms again this afternoon. But we know that this kind of unstable and disruptive weather pattern is here to stay. So we’ve made some big decisions.

We’re just finishing the last of a massive solar installation that will see us self-sufficient for power and with a diesel generator for back up just in case.

We’ve got new internet providers coming to the farm to fit us out for a better system instead of relying on ancient phone lines that stop working with any hint of moisture.

All these storms have forced us to rethink and adapt.

What big changes are you making in your life right now?

It’s time.

Rethink. Adapt. Get ready to do it differently for 2017.

The Tawny Family Shows Off Baby!

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“She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.”
~ Shel Silverstein

 

We have a family of Tawny Frogmouths that nest in the teak tree outside our kitchen window every year. They are nocturnal creatures, and seldom seen, so I always delight in having them in plain view.

During the day Tawny Frogmouths camouflage themselves by lifting their heads, staying very still, and trying to pretend that they are part of a branch.

After a big storm about a month ago they abandoned their nest, and in the unseasonal heat that followed the youngest fledgling baby was unable to make it back up to the tree where the family was roosting and took up a position in the shade of one of our machinery sheds, pretending to be part of a wheelbarrow. (Great info here on what to do if you find a fledgling Tawny out of the nest.)

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Very cute, don’t you think? We kept an eye on her, and Mum and Dad came down to feed her each night until she was ready to fly back to a higher position.

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After another big storm here at the farm (that knocked out our power and internet for almost a day) we went for a walk and found Mum, Dad and the eldest baby perched on fence posts in the deep shade of the coolest corner of the house paddock. The oldest fledgling was up above, in one of the trees and I couldn’t get a good picture of them!

The baby has gone from a little white ball of fluff to something that very closely resembles her adult plumage colours. She’s still adorably fluffy though, and I keep finding her soft downy feathers on the ground, which I’m keeping to make another talisman.

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Mum looks so cross with me for getting close, and I still kept my distance so as not to frighten them. That expression in her eye! They are a fine family, don’t you think?

Apologies that the pictures are not especially crisp. They are taken on my iPhone from a distance, and my dodgy eyes are still not all that crisp themselves, making photography a little more of a challenge than usual. Still, I am making great progress with restoring my vision, and I’m hopeful that my sight will continue to improve.

Sending hugs, love and a cuppa your way, Nicole ❤ xoxo

(PS – in case you’re not sure, a cuppa is a good cup of tea!)

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Grounded Goodness

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“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
~ Rachel Carson

 

Yesterday was one of those days when my body just wasn’t cooperating.

At first it got me down. I had so many things to do, and I couldn’t see well enough to do any of them!

Ben came to the rescue and suggested what I needed was a walk and then a nap. He was right.

So, here, in pictures is my walk around the farm, and then the beginnings of fruit salad for dinner.

The bird is a tawny frogmouth fledgling who took shelter on the wheelbarrow in one of our sheds. Cute, hey?

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Five Things I Love About Being Home At My Farm

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“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
~ John Burroughs

 

I have loved travelling, but there is something magical about coming home again.

These are five random things I love about being home here at my farm.

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1. I can go out into the garden on a cold and drizzling night, wearing my gumboots and pyjamas and clutching a torch, and come back in with enough foraged weeds, greens and leaves to make a tasty salad for dinner to go with our soup.

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2. No matter how busy my day becomes, there is always time for games and for sitting on the soft green grass, looking out at the trees and watching the koalas.

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3. The air here smells of sunshine and trees, or moon and stars and damp earth. The sky at dawn or dusk is filled with birdsong and a vibrancy that is hard to put into words.

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4. The beach is just down the road, and we can enjoy an early-morning walk, followed by breakfast at one of our favourite cafes. Byron Bay has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet!

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5. All my favourite crystals are here at home. No matter what my mood I have a crystal to suit. There are crystals on every windowsill, and perched all around. There are crystals in the garden and beside my bed. Lovely, lovely stones. ❤

Snubby-Nose 1 : Mustering Team 0

Snubby-Nose, goodbye! We hope you find a better home on someone else's farm.

Snubby-Nose, the farm’s biggest bully!

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

 

I was hoping to be the bearer of good news this morning.

I was planning to tell you that Snubby-Nose, the bossy bully cow I wrote about a few days ago, is now happily ensconced in a new home on someone else’s farm. There was no way we could let her stay here after the rest of the herd rejected her and began ganging up on her to stop her bullying ways.

Yesterday all we needed to do was push her up the hill from the river flats and into the cattle yards. This usually involves us walking the paddock with the cattle (or animal) and pushing them (we don’t actually ‘push’, that’s just a cattlework term – we use our body proximity to motivate the cattle to walk forward by standing slightly behind or to the flank of them) in the direction we need them to go, using a dog if they need a little encouragement to move in a particular direction. I knew it was too much ground for Ben and Harry-dog and I to cover if the cow picked up speed, so Ben called up a mate with trained dogs and a good horse. We’ve worked together before and always had good results.

It should have been a simple operation to get Snubby-Nose up to the yards and onto a truck.

I should have remembered that things that appear simple rarely are…

Snubby-Nose didn’t want to co-operate. She charged off into bushes and down ravines where the men and horse couldn’t follow.

She outwitted the dogs, and hurled them around like soft toys. (No-one was hurt, but it did get a bit dramatic.)

Finally she retreated to the deepest part of the river, forcing the horse and dogs to swim around her until everyone was exhausted.

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Here she looks more like a cranky crocodile (and truly she was channeling that kind of evil vibe!) The dark stain in the water is the mud she is churning up as she swims. There was a deep hole there into which she was trying to lure the horse.
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We gave up.

She won.

At last glance Snubby-Nose was back on the river flats, munching contentedly. This cow has no immediate plans for being moved on. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn girl.

We’ll give ourselves a rest and have a rethink.Then it will be on for Round Two.

I’m thinking more horses, motorbikes, a cunning vet with a tranquiliser gun and a helicopter to airlift Queen Snubby-Nose to anywhere else.

Farm life. Ah, the tranquility!