Little Angels

Last week I had the pleasure of a visit from my youngest daughter Josie and her two grandkids from Darwin.  They are Huon 5 and Evie 3.  What a pleasure to see them again.  I regularly babysit my other grandkids, Henry 4 and Philip 2, as they live just down the road and see every development and every little skill or word that they have newly acquired.  As Darwin is inconveniently far away, I only get snapshot views of the other grandkids, which is interesting as they have grown so much.  Josie sends me regular pics by email so I follow their physical growth, but their intellectual growth has bounded ahead each time we meet.  Huon has become more considerate and aware of other people’s feelings, and more in control of his own passionate emotions.  Evie has become quite articulate and understanding , though a tad clever and manipulative at getting her own way.  When you have a big brother twice your size, I suppose that is the way to go.  It is good for the cousins to meet, because all grandparents are immigrants, so it is not a big clan.

nude pancake session

nude pancake session

  For a day they got together at Possum Valley, and another day at grandma’s place down at Mission Beach.  After a shy and coy start, they got along well.  Philip felt a little left out as he is the youngest and Evie sometimes because she is the only girl, but fun was had by all.  It being so hot in Darwin and gets to 33C most days in winter, Josie had thought the kids might freeze and arranged extra clothes to be on hand.  Well sometimes in the chilly mornings of 10C, the kids did freeze and the extra layers of clothes were required.  But when kids are having fun, they become remarkably cold resistant.  They splashed naked in the creek and as you see here, don’t seem to be suffering too much despite a distinct lack of insulation.

In other news from the fungus farm, Possum Valley in the first half of the year to June 30th has received slightly over the mean average annual rainfall already at a generous 2065mm.  I casually announced this data having been invited to share a glass of vino at Blackbean with guests.  In the long silence that ensued, I suspected I had made a faux pas.  A gentleman of the older generation informed me that he had a property in the Hunter Valley in NSW and he had received 40mm in the same period which had burned off in record temperatures.  He had a few stock left hand fed and couldn’t remember the colour green until he came up north.  I have in recent posts lamented the damage floods has done to me, but is nothing to the slow creeping agony of a drought.  I can patch up the damage in a few days or a week, with some limited expense, but a drought grinds on for months or years with no limit in sight for the damage or cost.  No relief from the worry and pressure.  

Animals and children have a lot in common.  Both are after immediate gratification, and neither have any sense of order or planning for the future.  This picture is the result of kids and animals combining to produce the sort of random chaos both consider normal. 

observation from life

observation from life

Most of the debris comes from a shelf above, which the possums tramp along barging the items to the ground below.  The teapot in the gumboot is pure human genius and totally logical to a child.  This is what I have to deal with on a daily basis, but any mother would back me up with “me too”.  Oops, sorry, that meme is taken.  In case you are wondering what the other things in the pic are, well there is a can of “start ya bastard” to fire up up reluctant engines and also useful for stunning ticks before removal as it contains 25% ether, and an assortment of caps and silly little umbrellas too small to keep off the weather mostly left by Japanese visitors who seem to expect polite little showers rather than tropical downpours.   

From the scattered and fragmented nature of this post, you will gather that nothing momentous has occurred.  Which is good.  Big news is mostly of the disastrous sort, which I can do without.  So I will try to ignore the insane land clearing rates in NSW up 800% in the last 3 years, and up to 1m Ha proposed in QLD, so I can enjoy the beautiful weather and peaceful times.  Nearly all of Australia except the tropics will be devastated by the ravages of climate change according to the models, drying out an already parched landscape.  Clear the trees and the land heats up so the clouds don’t form, the rains become scarce, and the land withers.  The tears of ten thousand farmers will not be enough to save a single hectare of land.  I am shedding a tear as I write this as I think of the trees.  When you next go out to the wild places find a big old tree and ask ‘how do you survive old man, what is your secret’.   European ideas can no longer be applied to the drier regions of Australia, if they ever could.


  1. Gayle & George Hardy says:

    Thank you Paul, I wished I was there,
    For reading about land management and updated Australian history please read ‘Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe.
    I am just reading it for a third time because it is really a study guide and takes me a long time to digest and act upon. Best wishes, George

  2. Martin Belson says:

    I enjoyed this post Paul… Hope to visit you again soon.

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