Changed location yesterday, but before I get into that just two points from Foster:
i never saw hog deer outside of videos, but did see tracks and signs of their abundant presence – deer about the height of a hog. And the black swans were a constant on the water in the cove, lovely and graceful.
On the way to Melbourne for the handoff, we stopped to check out the local cattle market’s bi-weekly auction. Not every pen was full but there were a LOT of cattle, maybe 2-3 dozen bidders and maybe the same amount of auction workers. The best cattle had already been sold by the time we walked into the massive structure. Catwalks went up and down aisles so the people could adequately see each head of cattle. Paint marks on the hides designated different sellers. Extremely quick moving; prices per kilo were on the high side. Did my best to keep my hands down as there was no extra room in my luggage!
Lunch in Melbourne with two Annes was delish and long as we caught up on news with each other. Then a transfer of luggage from one boot to the next and I am now in the care of the lovely Anne Newton. Minimalist dinner after such a filling lunch, some chat time with Boris the cat and a restful sleep after a long day.
A beautiful day today – warm, sunny with just the right breeze.
This morning Anne got a crash course in basketry using the cumbungi/cattail from yesterday’s gathering. She did great making a sweet little plain weave basket! Didn’t get to the second option of a diagonal plaited basket but I made a sample for her to follow.
Loving these mornings – quiet, no demands on time, and especially lovely when sunny!
After some necessary laundering chores, Anne and I set off to see the sea eagle nest on their property. A bird on the scale of our bald eagle, the nest was appropriately huge and impressive in a gum tree – which may be hard to see. Later we actually saw the eagle fly over the cove.
Had a walk through the paddocks which was pleasantly reminiscent of childhood days on our farms. And then had to collect some cattails (combungi) to give Anne a taste of basketry. Interestingly, the Giant Pet also wanted a taste! We escaped his attention with enough still in hand.
After depositing the remaining cattails, we made a quick trip into Fish Creek to check out some galleries. Then back home for a bit of a rest.
A lovely late ‘tea/dinner completed this perfect day.
My host, Neil, acknowledged another trip around the sun last week so hostess Anne and I treated him to a proper birthday dinner celebration. (Actually, Anne did the treating and I was invited to join in!)
Had a pleasant drive around the cove to an established winery called Tom’s Cap. Beautifully appointed, super interesting restaurant garden and very welcoming. We started with a sampler plate and extra dipping bread that was just perfect. Between the three of us for the main course, we had duck, chicken and salmon with all sorts of strange and exotic extras/seasonings topped with a lovely bottle of the winery’s Three Dogs Chardonnay.
Dessert was another sampler plate … along with the smallest birthday brownie with candle and two side bites. Anne and I lustily sang happy birthday to the amusement of the other customers – Neil was a good soul about it! A little bit later another table also had a birthday celebration but seemed hesitant to sing, so Anne and I got them going and joined along.
The return drive was a bit more quite but still quite enjoyable and we spent the rest of the day happily digesting! The only unusual animal siting came earlier in the morning with a view of a wallaby eating close by.
The day started cloudy and rainy, turned sunny and then back to cloudy. Windy all day.
We attended the opening morning reception of a portrait exhibit at the local Stockyard Gallery in Foster – a delightful event with champagne, fruit plates and tons of people. The focus of the show was to exhibit a portrait of someone local and included work from the schools as well as adult submissions. Fun and lovely!
While we were in town we made a stop at the available op shops in search of a replacement carry on bag – mine came off of the Melbourne conveyor belt with the wheels missing and the whole bottom support in pieces. Luckily, the wharehouse shop had one that was just the right size. With a little cleaning up it will work out fine.
After a yummy late lunch we visited Anne’s Big Pet, a huge Charolais steer who has become the farm mascot. The other cattle were a bit jealous of the extra silage that the Big Pet was hand fed; some of them became brave enough to take some, too, when the Big Pet’s mouth was full!
(Hmmmm…. Not sure why this pic is sideways….)
A little visit to see the Studio House which Anne intends to turn into a vacation house – quite comfy and so wonderfully appointed! – plus the adjoining studio space that is still being readied. It will certainly make a grand spot for friends to come and create while they enjoy the cattle in the front paddock!
And then a small hike to the sea wall and beach. High tide kept us from actually walking the beach, but it was so simply beautiful with the birds, water, rushes, tea trees and open sky. Hope to get back to the beach another time while here.
And to top off the day, we saw about two dozen kangaroos in one of the paddocks on our way back to the house. A fire in the fireplace, a glass of wine and all is right with the world.