Across the gully and up the road a bit from Rapunzel’s there’s a wee farm. For the most part of the year, you wouldn’t know it was even there. But in Spring the farm animals (mostly sheep and lambs) add their clamour to the native wildlife chorus, making for a few absurd moments.
For up at farm, there’s a resident whom we now refer to as Aggrieved Ram. And Aggrieved Ram makes his emphatic indignation known every Spring since we’ve abided here.
I’m not sure what his complaint is, (perhaps he can’t gain access to the lady sheep who are with their lambs); but I believe it may be a complaint of a general nature. And his is a strangely human voice; quavering and vexed. Possibly comparable to that of a drunken elderly man. The Ovis aries equivalent of Waldorf and Statler.
Imagine if you will, something in the vicinity of this, but with a bit less gruff and a lot more whinge.
We can be having a perfectly serious conversation outside in the garden and Aggrieved Ram will interject with outraged tones. Or the kookaburras will be raising their gales in the blackwood tree, and there’s Aggrieved Ram sounding his displeasure at all the racket. Or the currawongs will be crying, an eerily mystic ricochet throughout the tree-tops, and yep…there’s Aggrieved Ram.
He’s the ultimate wet bus ticket, that one. If AR were human, he’d probably write long letters of complaint to editors of small, local newspapers about the terrible state of Things these days, (although, as an aside, who would blame him for that? Because Things, these days).
Otherwise, it’s business as usual with the critters at Rapunzel’s. Merlin outdoes even my whim of steel. He has broken me down completely, dear reader. In every single domain of my existence. It’s the sleep deprivation – he excels in that.
The solitary owl continues to sound the note of the Witching Hour, outside my bedroom window. Whilst the King Parrots arrive daily, eyeing me cheekily from the balcony railing. They’re braver than the other birds – the rosellas, the sulphur-crested cockatoos.
Sometimes the parrots even tap on the windows to get my attention. One rang, (quite deliberately), the owl wind chime hanging by the back door the other day; in the hope of being fed some some bird seed.
However, aside from all this Dr Doolittle-ing, I did witness a moment of supreme intensity and awe the other day when a deputation of currawongs pursued a wedge-tailed eagle right above my house.
Be not perturbed luvs, this is not a sad, nor a gruesome tale.
I suspect the eagle had been predating upon the currawongs, their nests, or even one of their dead, (these eagles are also carrion birds, and the currawong honours its dead with “funerals”, similar to ravens).
Whatever outrage had transpired, the currawongs had unleashed an unholy fury upon the great bird, and the latter was being rapidly bested by the former.
Anyway, initially I heard a great curfuffle, (as my grandma used to say), and stepped out my back door to find out what was going on. A great shadow bled across the gravel of the courtyard – expansive enough to evoke a primal prickle and chill in me. Some mammalian ancestral memory sensing a predator.
And when I looked up, right at the level of the roofline, there was an eye-wateringly large eagle right above me; pursued ferociously by nearly a dozen currawongs. They stormed about the trees on my border, snapping and screaming at the eagle, whilst the besieged bird tried, (clumsily for such a powerfully elegant creature), to seek refuge in each of the trees surrounding my house. Crashing about in the foliage, with its huge feathered legs and feet – in such a fashion as you’d imagine a grounded dragon from an old tale, lumbering, no longer airborne and sleek.
The poor creature was unable to alight anywhere for more than a moment before the next currawong onslaught. With all her grace, and despite the breathtaking scale and power of talon, beak, and wing, she could not gain enough height nor momentum to escape. Her mate circled above, high and anxious in the thermals.
But as one could reasonably expect in this situation, the eagle was eventually able to gain enough leverage and speed to outrun her much smaller pursuers; and she happily escaped to go and do eagle things over the mountain.
But it was an impressive display of the feral moxie of those currawongs. Who themselves predate on the nests of others. There’s nothing quite like the outrage of the perpetrator when the boot’s on the other foot. Or claw, as it may be.
In other news, it’s a looong weekend here in my part of the world. All because of an annual horse race that nowadays seems to evoke a particularly drunken and Hogarthian revelry of tatty splendour amongst the general population. Yawns aside, (I do find it all very dull indeed)…
…I plant tomatoes. Because one person’s yawns is another’s squees of delight : )
And because on a trés practical note, Melbourne Cup weekend is usually the time to plant out one’s toms.
I managed to pick up a bundle of heirloom cherry tomato plants from my favourite local market over the weekend. They’re all cheerfully advanced enough that I have high hopes. If it would only stop being Winter for a minute. Deep. Sigh.
And I have one up on the marauding caterpillaries in the vegie patch! My moste cunninge plan is to dress up the strawberries with used jewellery bags, (see above). It does look rather like a mad fairy has been strumpeting through the strawberry patch, but it does seem to do the trick. And quite colourfully too. Saves on expensive netting as well.
There’s a lot more I could write about. Of stories, and icebergs that lurk beneath the surface of other stories with their cold, sharp ache. Of a home filled with the light of twilight and dawn. Of the evening and morning stars, slung low in the sky, just above a threshold. A door wide open at the edge of the ocean, and the whisper and hush of the sea, murmuring to its sea-wyfe.
Of one foot in front of the other. Leading, who knows where?
But already I’m reaching the overlong point. And a pot of tea must be brewed, forthwith.