Yesterday I saw a pair of plump grey wallabies lolloping over the dam wall behind our house. It isn’t our dam, but it is in the gully behind our house. Birds paddle and dive in it, cows used to drink from it and almost every evening at dusk, the wallabies come out.
There have been flocks of glossy black crows cawing endlessly at first and last light.
Mr Blithe saw a bandicoot scampering across our scoured and rutted driveway. We’ve never seen them in this area before.
Nature is thriving and I suspect that one reason is that the hillside behind the dam is being cultivated for the first time in thirty years (plus all the rainfall). Our new neighbour (friendly but quiet) is growing a crop of zucchinis (also friendly and fairly quiet). When I get out of bed, he is out there and when I am heading for bed, I see the headlights of his ute sweeping across the hillside. We’re not used to seeing headlights out our windows.
When he planted the seeds the mice were thrilled. He spent weeks spraying the crop twice daily with chilli and mustard spray. Most of the plants seemed to have survived.
This week we could see yellow splotches of flowers across the hillside. Every day the zucchinis are handpicked into big red buckets. The crows and wallabies are feeding well too.
I’m reminded of the old sayings about the wallabies eating out the settlers and the descriptions of every field being enclosed by four-foot high paling fences to “stop the wallabies, bandicoots and cattle.” Now I am beginning to understand the necessity. I’m also developing an appreciation of the hard work that goes into growing organic vegetables. I do hope that the return is good. Next time you buy organic vegetables, think of the work (and yes the epic battle) it took the farmer to get them into your hands and try to smile at the price.