Winters in the Rosewood Scrub are glories of cold, frosty nights and perfect blue and gold days. Flowers blaze. Roses, geraniums, nasturtiums, verbena, the wattles, jonquils, basil, even the citrus are flowering. Mandarins and lemons hang on trees. People leave anonymous piles of citrus in tearooms and church halls hoping for takers. I’ve clearly been here long enough though that my plaint is that it is too dry. The ground is cracking, grasses drying, trees wishing for a solid soaking.
This used to be the worst time of year for us to get up our driveway. Dust would cloak the gullies and our engines and tyres and children and bladders would protest every jolt and grind. Complaints of all this year are replaced with joy at a sweep of smooth bitumen. Well, not the complaints of all – one neighbour has complained that we removed his prime entertainment of watching people tackle the driveway but you can’t please everyone. Of course, immediately after replacing the driveway, our septic system revolted (in so many ways), but that’s another story.
A common sight at this time of year are tiny glints of light all over the hills as people hang reflectors in trees and on fences to try protect fruit crops. The weapons of choice are cds or bladders from cask wine, tied to strings. They dance in the light and sometimes frighten off the birds. We often hang them in the guava and mulberry trees but have never done so in the citrus. I’ve never had to fight the wildlife for our lemonades until this year. One day there was this:
And the next this:
I don’t even know what it was. Is there something out that that has a taste for tangy sweet citrus? Was it a crow that it was able to break through the skin? Or was it something that gnawed its way in? In these hills it's the quick and the hungry.