Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where is Home?

Leaving the family reunion in Nimbin I headed further into the mountains of my childhood. I stopped off to visit the private cemetery where my father's ashes are buried. It's nearly two years since his long struggle with Parkinson's disease, dementia and skin cancer finished. Such a quiet and beautiful spot.

As I turned to leave I realised how much bigger the trees now are along the road than in my childhood.

I drove further upwards into the hills, the road was no longer sealed but the familiar dirt/gravel roads of my early years. Something about the dirt road makes everything feel more like home.

In the autumn afternoon I could hear the delightful sound of Whipbirds and Bellbirds calling in the damp, cooler areas.

Soon at the top of the hills I drove just past "home" to the site of our old banana packing shed. It stood just to the left of the large white gum tree, an unlined shed of corrugated iron walls, roof and windows - not a piece of glass in sight. You had to unbolt and open the hinged iron-covered "windows" to let in the light as electricity was never connected to the shed.

I spent countless hours playing there as a toddler and then helping out as I grew older, on weekends and school holidays - packing bananas, making cartons, branding wooden cases, sorting bunch covers etc. We worked together as a family so we could then go to church, play sport and have holidays away together visiting family.

Here is the first packing shed (which was gone before I was born) in another spot on the farm. My Grandfather is the man in the middle, my Dad, the youngest of seven children, is driving the tractor.....1950's. Notice they are using a homemade sled, not the wheeled trailer of later years. The building in the background is the old dairy.

My Grandfather was the first to grow bananas in the district and my Dad one of the last. My Grandparent's house is in the background. We lived in what had been the share farmer's cottage further down the hill. My Dad is on the left, Stanley - one of his five older brothers - on the right, in their work clothes. They worked hard but mostly loved it.

 The views and countryside are amazing. This is the view of Mount Warning, named by Captain James Cook as he sailed up the east coast of Australia.

The families were early pioneers, original settlers. The couple standing in the sulky are my Grandparents, the older lady standing is my Great Grandmother whom I never met.

My Great Grandmother again, I'm sure she'd have some stories to tell! Notice all the ring-barked trees in the background. The first settlers had to fall trees to even pitch their tents. Viewing photos like this once made me proud of the pioneering feats of my ancestors but I have mixed feelings these days as I consider the damage they wrought on this wonderful landscape.

From our home on farm we also had sweeping views of what is now Border Ranges National Park. As I stood on the road atop these hills you can see we are at the foot of the mountains beyond. The current  owners of our old farm have made many changes, turning it into a permaculture property and seem to have planted a screen of some type of bamboo all along the roadside in the hope of providing a privacy barrier.

The first settlers in this area were primarily dairy farmers. The older gentleman with the cap and moustache is my Great Grandfather. I presume the buckets and barrel were for carrying milk.

Definitely one of my all-time favourite views and places. This is taken from the road which my father walked each day between our home and the packing shed. He had the pleasure of growing up here, Mum and Dad only sold and moved due to Dad's ill health in his later years. Our old home still stands, out of picture to the right of the newly installed windmill.

My Grandmother in her much loved garden. She was 70 when I was born and lived on the farm until she was 90 then amongst family and aged care until her end aged 94. I have fond memories of her garden, kitchen, and times spent together. She was a keen photographer and gardener.

One last look down the now sealed road which bisects the old farm. How I love the mountains, fresh air  and the lush green of the area. Time to head back to my now-home and young family, a couple of hours drive away to a flat, dryer riverside town. Each place is very special to me, yet my eternal home in heaven will have the best of both worlds and a whole lot more as well.

Sharing at Sweet Shot Tuesday, Project 52: Favourites, Our World Tuesday, This or That Thursday, SkyWatch Friday,
Sneak Peek Friday.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Almost Home

                                                                                                                                Available for purchase here

There's no place like home, but sometimes defining "home" is not easy. Saturday I travelled quite some distance for our second family reunion. Actually it was a reunion for three extended families who mostly grew up in the same area, with marriages inevitably forging life long links.

The village of Nimbin was the location of the reunion as it was the closest settlement for these farming families who grew and flourished north east of Nimbin in the glorious foothills of what is now the Border Ranges National Park. The picturesque little village of Nimbin was the site of the 1973 Aquarius Festival which has brought dramatic and lasting attention and changes to this quiet rural area.

A few minutes from Nimbin I stopped to take photos of the familiar Nimbin Rocks which are rhyolite extrusions left from the ancient Mt Warning Tweed Volcano. Early settlers named the three most prominent rocks as Thimble, Needle and Cathedral.

This one is the Cathedral, it reminds me of a huge pipe organ.

More impressive the closer you come/zoom. These rocks are very significant to the local indigenous people, Bunjalung Aborigines, although as far as I know there have been no locally living Aborigines in living history - I have never met or heard of one.

                                                                                                                    Available for purchase here

Heading back to the car this breezy autumn day I spotted a strange structure on the hill across the road....

The camera helps reveal an unusual tipi construction, its function I can only guess at.

Before the arrival of white settlers 130 years ago, most of this area was covered with thick rainforest.

The family reunion was wonderful, providing a chance to catch up with many known relatives as well as others who were maybe distantly related, having some ancestors and geography in common. Some I see regularly, others I hadn't seen for decades while many I had only heard of.

A cake was cut by the eldest, youngest (watched carefully by her grandmother) and the one who had travelled furtherest (over 1600km/1000miles) to attend. 

To be continued.......

Sharing at Your Sunday Best.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Unplanned Visitor

Among the many unplanned visitors in my garden, this one has tiny flowers which on close inspection are quite pretty.

Sharing at Flower Art Friday, Shoot, Edit, Submit, I Heart Macro.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More Beauty

The more carefully I look, the more beauty I see.

Typing her Science summary this morning

Another bromeliad flower spike this week, two days between the photos above.

Even the pesky onion weed now flowering is beautiful.

She may seem shy, but she's not camera shy for me!  :)

Hope you are finding more beauty in your week too.

Sharing at Alicia's WW, This or That Thursday, Sneak Peek Friday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sowing and Planting

Sparaxis bulbs. I had never heard of Sparaxis, they came as a bonus pack with my order. I love the details,  it looks like they come in their own little net bags.

I have never grown any of these before. The directions said to soak for an hour before planting. I have been amazed at the strange shapes of different bulbs.

All are now settled in their new earthy homes, starting on their miracle journey to new life along with some other companions which didn't require pre-soaking.

I'm hoping for more than seed packets to fill this empty vase. A sampling of each of these were carefully sown yesterday. I'm not sure what the results will be but I surely know that without sowing there will be no reaping - a lesson for all of life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Duke of Edinburgh

"I took that one for you" says Master J (17) as I marvel at it's beauty. Master J has had the last two and a half days away on a Duke of Edinburgh hike with a small group from his school. He took this photo early this morning, they had camped by a coastal lake last night. I was impressed, and touched.


Yesterday morning he caught the sunrise on a beach which they had camped by.


25 seconds later

15 seconds more

Identical minor edits only, no cropping or straightening - he has a good eye!

Then they headed off for another hard day of walking where no tracks existed.

His last photo, taken early this morning before he packed up camp, a wallaby overlooking the lake.

He came home exhausted, with multiple scratches on his legs, in need of a shower, clean clothes and home cooked food but very satisfied. He hopes to join their next camping trip sometime after winter.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Winter is Coming

As autumn cools to our slower winter, the last clover flower reaches skyward.

Young grevilleas grow lanky searching for more sunlight. I prune this one harsh, hoping it will sprout afresh.
I pluck the last flower and bring it inside to enjoy longer.

A sunflower? No, it is a growing bloom on my new potted gerbera, much fancier than the blooms on those I grew from seedlings. A belated Mother's Day plant of my choosing to supplement the quickly vanishing chocolates.

Winter is coming, flowers and colours are changing yet they still shine brightly.

Sharing at Sneak Peek Friday, Shoot. Edit. Submit (last photo chosen as Weekly Winner), Flower Art Friday (last photo - voted as a Top 4 Winner),
I Heart Macro, Tina's Weekend FlowersSweet Shot Tuesday.
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