Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hopping into 2013

It being my first post of 2013, here's wishing all my wonderful little handful of Garden Amateur blog readers the happiest of New Years. And so, true to form, for this first post of 2013, let's not talk gardening at all! 

Well, there's a good reason for that, as Pam and I haven't been home, haven't been gardening but have ushered in the New Year in an Aussie version of the garden of Eden. We drove several hours south of Sydney to visit two great old friends, D & L, at their stunningly beautiful new country property – and as well as catching up with D & L we also spent many hours watching their regular visitors, a mob of 20 or so kangaroos.

The view from D & L's bedroom window, to cleared fields
beyond in the distance, across their sloping property which
runs down to the unspoiled river below.

In the late afternoons, just before sunset, the little
mob of kangaroos hops over to D&L's property
to nibble at the grass and play out their dramas.
They stay there overnight and next morning until the
sun is well risen, and then suddenly they are gone,
evaporating silently back into the nearby bushland.

There are several mum & joey pairings in the mob. This joey is
almost ready to become independent of its mum, but not quite yet.
There's an invisible leash between them, about 20 metres long,
and as soon as mum hops out to the outer reaches of this invisible
leash, the little one scurries rapidly over to mum, for security. 

Please forgive the 'graininess' of this photo, as it was taken
from inside the house, through the flyscreen, just outside our
bedroom window. It's fantastic to open a curtain and see this!

Ditto this grainy one, too, taken through the window just
outside the living room. The roos will go to wherever there is
fresh grass to nibble, and the house holds no fears for them.

For city slickers like Pammy and me, seeing the kangaroos in
such numbers, so close, was exciting at first, yet by the second
morning the sight of a mob of roos was as normal as seeing
magpies and cockatoos flying by. They belong here.
For the kangaroos it's their daily routine to graze here, because it's their land, has been for countless centuries. D&L are the blow-ins but they all manage to share it amicably.

Living with the roos requires patience from D&L, and I don't mean just putting up with roo poo everywhere (D&L are using it as fertiliser to establish the property's thriving border of native plants, and it's working a treat).

You also need to put up with the occasional noise, as kangaroos aren't quiet. They bark, and they like to bark at night. Their 'bark' is nothing like a dog's bark, not as sharp or clear or loud. Instead it's a hoarse, muffled bark, but in the dead of night it's the only noise out there.

You also need to resist the urge to intervene in the male roos' endless, persistent pursuits of the poor females. They're at it all the time. And when the males aren't at the females, chasing and pestering them all over the property, the males are fighting each other for the right to service the females. Two males will 'box' each other with their front paws, and lean back occasionally on their huge tails and thump their opponent in the belly with their powerful legs and claws. Bouts go on for ages, with lots of pauses in between while, incredibly enough, they stop to graze amicably side-by-side.

One night the last thing I could see in the distant gloom was two males fighting each other, and then the next morning, up at sunrise, the first thing I saw was the same two males, still engaged in the bout that never seems to end.

And from all the hours spent watching the rhythms of life of these beautiful creatures, their daily visits each evening, and the way they seem to evaporate into the bush when the sun rises too high in the morning, the endless boy bouts and girl chases, the teamwork of mums and joeys, I could see that life goes on, and from that simple lesson I realised that that's what I should also do.

Get on with it. Get on with life, with gardening, with whatever work I can manage to scrounge. And that's what I plan to do, just like the roos do every day, without fail. Get on with it.


Ngeun said...

Hope you & yours had a great Christmas Jamie & Pammy, & I wish you both the very best for 2013. I believe it's going to be a great year for everyone, the best one yet; I can feel it in my bones. :D

Dirtgirl said...

Beautiful photos of your country sojourn! Lucky you, getting so close to nature. Wishing you and yours a splendiferous New Year. Life surely is wonderful when you have a garden to tend, no matter how small. Yes Jamie, you are so correct in saying 'get on with life'. I love every day and never take for granted the absolute beauty of my adopted country. Here's to 2013 and lots of new growth in the garden!

patientgardener said...

what a lovely break. I remember seeing kangaroos when I visited Adelaide some 20 years ago, I was amazed at how large they were

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