wings and things

Wrong number


I have been trying to find someone to shear the alpacas, Okami and Uluru, because I didn’t get around to organizing this in January. They are not overly woolly and seem to be pretty happy because there is lots of water and shade, but it is very hot and March might be even hotter.

So I got a mobile phone number from someone who knew someone who might know a shearer and yesterday I rang it (assuming I was ringing someone who lived nearby). This was how the phone conversation unfolded:

Shearer: Yeah?
Me: Oh hello, I was just wondering if you shear alpacas.
Shearer (not a shearer): Not me, mate, naah, but me neighbor might.
Me: Would it be okay if you asked him for me? I don’t live very far away.
Shearer (not a shearer): No worries, love. Bloody hot isn’t it!
Me: Yes, that’s what I’m worried about, you know for the alpacas.
Shearer (who I will now call Man): Bitches?
Me: Well, no, it’s two males actually.
Man: Yeah I’ll sort it for you, mate – where do ya live?
Me: Paradise Road – not far from Dardanup.
Man: Where the fxxxx is that?
Me: I thought you lived in Dardanup!
Man: I’m in Queensland, darling!
Me: Oh, I’m so sorry – I think I must have rung the wrong number.
Man: No problems, love, better than the telly!
Me: Well, thanks so much and sorry for bothering you like this.
Man: Best fun I’ve had for ages, mate!
Me (laughing): Good to meet you, whoever you are and thanks!

This would have to be the best ‘wrong number’ situation I have ever experienced!



Temperature fluctuations in Australia’s summer

Western Australia has already had a pretty severe heat wave, causing bush fires in the northern part of our capital city, Perth, but now the heat wave is on the eastern side of Australia with temperatures in the 40s. This is particularly frightening if you live in a forested area (which we don’t because the farm is cleared land), but I feel so concerned for those who have lost their homes and lives and/or have been evacuated or else told it is too late to evacuate.

Over here I think we are in for another hot weekend after a semi-cool week. It always amazes me how a 40 degree C day can be followed by a 25 degree C day. And while we broil downunder, people are freezing in the northern hemisphere. I know several bloggers are suffering this severe weather too and it scares me.

Our figs began ripening a week or so ago only to have shrivelled now and, today, the moonflowers came out but, a few hours later, quickly faltered.


With whatever weather you are experiencing I wish you the best.


Neighbours from heaven!

Anthony was in his 60s when he retired from dairy farming, due to a combination of factors including ill health. Now Ming, at 19, has been forced to retire from his job as dairy hand for our neighbours due to his back. Once he is over this second surgery you never know, he may be able to return but in the meantime he has been replaced.

Ming’s boss’s mother came over just before Christmas with a whole bag of different chocolate treats for him; she is such a gem! Below are two photos she took of Ming milking a little while ago. I was so proud of him walking in his dad’s boots and she is so glad they now have someone who can hang up the hose properly better than Ming – ha!

Despite the sadness that Ming has had to give up a job that he’d only just begun to do full-time, the fantastic thing is that we have gotten to know these amazing neighbours over the last three years and they have given us their friendship and support throughout our various ordeals. Ming said to me the other day that his boss’s mother is like his own ‘second’ mother!

I wish this extended family all the very best for 2014 and we feel indebted to them in so many ways. They are dairy farmers from way back which makes them heroes in an era when this kind of farming has become unpopular (due to the necessary 24/7 commitment).



Rabbits rabbits rabbits!

As mentioned before, we have a bit of a rabbit plague. In rural areas like ours, rabbits are regarded as a pest because they destroy crops. So far, our zillion seem to be content to co-habit with the birds, dig little holes everywhere and look cute. They are also quite good lawnmowers, so I have decided on a truce; after all we have a bit in common.

Rabbits are not natural to Australia, but neither are white people.



This is just one link to the history of this day; there are many others on the internet.

But what has touched me most is the following comment from my new blog friend, Nia at

Here is what she says:

First of all Thank you for visiting my blog, dear Julie. I am so glad to meet you. These photographs and your writing are so nice… My love and My prayers for you too on this Anzac Day… It is a memorial day, for us too.

In Turkey the name “ANZAC Cove” was officially recognised by the Turkish government on Anzac Day in 1985. In 1934, Kemal Atatürk delivered the following words to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the Gallipoli battlefields. This was later inscribed on a monolith at Ari Burnu Cemetery (ANZAC Beach) which was unveiled in 1985. The words also appear on the Kemal Atatürk Memorial, Canberra, and the Atatürk Memorial in Wellington:

“Those heroes that shed their blood     And lost their lives.     You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.     Therefore rest in peace.     There is no difference between the Johnnies     And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side     Here in this country of ours.     You, the mothers,     Who sent their sons from far away countries     Wipe away your tears,     Your sons are now lying in our bosom     And are in peace     After having lost their lives on this land they have     Become our sons as well.”

Thank you, Blessing and Happiness, dear Julie with my love, nia

I think you will agree that the above quote says it all – not just about ANZAC Day and what it means, but about life and death and the longevity of love and loyalty and maybe God.


Canada, 1968: the squirrels

The taming of all these birds has made me terribly nostalgic for my childhood in Canada. One of my fondest memories is of the squirrels. The following is my mother’s story. She tells it well, don’t you think?

“Not long after arriving for our big adventure in Canada, when the children were 5, 7 and 9 respectively, Dad told us one evening that we were to wake up really early the next day because he had a surprise for us. He wouldn’t even tell me what it was.

So at dawn the next day, with that secretive Charlie Chaplin walk and wink of his, he bundled us into the car, patting his bulging pockets and driving us off into the unknown.

 It was a beautiful municipal park in Toronto, entirely deserted at this early mystic hour.

His finger to his lips he crept ahead of us to the base  of the biggest, widest tree, and from his pockets he drew out the bags of peanuts he’d been hiding. Handing them out he showed the children how to tempt the squirrels down from the treetops, to cheekily grab the nuts right out of their hands before scampering triumphantly back to the treetops with their trophies.

We had never experienced anything like this in Australia. Taming native creatures right in their habitat, to eat from their hands gave the kids the most tremendous thrill, and a memory to last forever. I can still taste the dew, and hear the silence of that magic moment.

Later on, when we were invited to stay at the cabin of friends on one of the myriad of lakes north of Toronto, Julie actually tamed chipmunks to eat out of her hands, a feat seldom attained with those tiny timid creatures, but that’s another story. M.L.”

Thanks, Meggles!

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