There’s always something interesting or unusual happening in the yard throughout the year. If it’s not the birds or animals up to something, then it’s the trees and plants. This Spring, something perhaps not overly unusual but most certainly on a huge scale has happened to all the Messmate gums in our yard, our neighbours and, as far as I can tell, elsewhere in the neighbourhood. For some reason, leaf galls have appeared in massive quantities and caused leaves to drop in vast numbers. Our yard is full of such leaves and when I took our hound for a walk one morning, I noticed similarly large numbers on the road, with most squashed by car tyres or feet. These leaf galls were everywhere. I’ve seen these most years, but never in such quantities and our neighbour is also perplexed as he hasn’t seen such a mass event in all of his years living in the area.
Having just lost Jenna, I wasn’t in the best of moods in the following weeks and was hoping that the bad news year was over. But that wasn’t to be the case as just as we were adjusting to the loss of Jenna, a huge tree fell down at the back of our property crushing the roof of our neighbour’s garage, certainly making it a write-off. Fortunately no one was hurt and the only damage was to the shed as it was empty at the time. After more than a week of constant rain the ground around the base of the tree must have given way and the tree came down. It had been a fairly still night, so it didn’t fall because of the wind. It happened around 8:00pm when I heard the almighty crash, went out to see where it had happened, but couldn’t find any evidence anywhere. I’d surmised that it was next door to us, but seeing nothing, thought it must have been further away. My wife thought is was just thunder as the weather was turning ominous.
Sadness and grief affects everyone in different ways and there are many different things that generate sadness and grief. The most notable is that caused by family events and, for many, family can mean different things. For us, sadness and grief came about by the passing of our dear Labrador Jenna, who was just passed her 11th year. Jenna had been increasingly burdened by various lumps and bumps that kept growing and after undergoing several operations not long ago to assess and remove some of those lumps and bumps, for a short while she was rejuvenated and almost a new dog. However, she rapidly began to deteriorate some months afterwards, becoming less active, eating less and generally not wanting to do much at all. Then she became incontinent and she started showing signs of depression. It was only when we took her for her annual checkup, and to find out if there was something other than hormone tablets to alleviate her incontinence, that it was discovered that she had cancer. The photos that follow are a collection of Jenna (and her brother Tas) throughout her life in no particular order, to remember a wonderful dog.
I’ve believed for some time now that Labor governments are no longer the party for workers or the ‘average’ Australian. All that you have to do is look at the policies they have implemented across Australia (at state level anyway) and you can see that they are now just a party of the far Left and avid Greens’ vote gatherers (in preferences). In both state and Federal capacities, Labor has been bringing Australia to its economic knees with pointless Leftist virtue signalling policies such as the climate change catastrophe myth, which is slowly destroying our industrial capacity and creating a new generation of electricity paupers. But no where in Australia has this Leftist lunacy gone further and harder than in Victoria. From climate to trans-gender education in schools and progressive ideas on drug users, the Andrews government has pushed for the most radical and failure prone policies of any Labor government that I’ve ever known.
When deciding what events to cover in Gippsland it’s always a bit of a guessing game for me, trying to pick what might be appropriate and could be considered of some historical value and worth writing a story for posterity. But I guess it’s not for me to decide what’s of historical value as, in many cases, not having much in the way of a record for even the most mundane seeming event could be leaving out a piece of history. Who knows that in 100 years, these sorts of events may be of great interest. Even just seeing some of the people about at such events could be of interest to future historians. This blog is predominantly about recording events etc in Gippsland in order to produce some sort of record for the future, so I guess it’s worth considering all and sundry as they come along. But to be honest, events etc that I cover have to also be of some interest to me; a regular crowded market or swap meet isn’t what I would call interesting, unless there was something quite special involved at the same time.
It’s the sixth year now of the Blessing of the Bikes and it’s hard to believe that it’s now closer to its tenth year than its first. How time has flown by and while the theme has stayed the same, the Blessing of the Bikes has certainly changed and become so much bigger, more interesting and far more professionally organised. And all of that has been for the better. When I talk to some locals in Mirboo North there is certainly a lot of regret that the event moved on to San Remo but, as that old saying goes, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’. This most certainly applies to the Blessing of the Bikes. Our sleepy hollow became just that little bit sleepier when we lost the Blessing of the Bikes. But while we have other events on the calendar, excepting the Italian Festa, the Blessing of the Bikes is the only event that drew crowds from so far and wide.
If there’s one interesting as well as slightly mysterious feature of Mossvale Park, it’s the local crayfish that inhabit at least one part of the park. For many years I wondered what the muddy mounds with a large hole in the middle were, as they resembled something between an anthill and a underground dwelling spider hole. It wasn’t until I came across something similar in our front yard, that the penny dropped and I realised that these were the entrances to the homes of small crustaceans. The crayfish in our yard were very hard to spot as they only came out at night and the slightest vibration would send them quickly back into their holes. I only ever saw two such holes and one night was able to observe what the inhabitants looked like. They were all black, incredibly spiny and quite the small monsters; something that could be easily used as the basis for a creature in a science fiction horror movie.
Towards the end of Aug 2019, we had the pleasure of attending a friend’s birthday in Melbourne and the venue was the Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill at Southbank. I’ve never been to the Rockpool, but had heard about it for many years and the word was that it was excellent. So we looked forward to this experience and didn’t mind the long drive from Mirboo North, much more so for the birthday than the venue. Thankfully the drive to Melbourne was surprisingly easy and uneventful, with the ever present roadworks not the problem that we’d dreaded, so we arrived in good time at Southbank. Trying to remember where to go once we exited the Burnley Tunnel was more of an issue. I’m certain that in past years the Crown Complex was well signposted so that those not familiar with Melbourne could find their way, but this time we saw nary a sign. That said, we managed to get to the right place without drama.
Mossvale Park this Winter hasn’t been quite as interesting as in previous years, or else I’m just becoming used to the way it changes year in and year out. While it’s said that familiarity breeds contempt, I certainly have no contempt for Mossvale Park as it’s one of those rare places that isn’t a regular park, nor is it a botanical garden despite all of its historic trees. It’s a nice mix of perhaps both, especially as you can enjoy it year in and year out without the restrictions and regulations that normally accompany anything closer to Melbourne. I guess given the location of Mossvale Park, trying to regulate it in the way many other parks are regulated would be kind of a lost cause because of the way nature treats it at least once every year. With the Tarwin River West Branch circling the park, I’m not sure that there exists any other park in Victoria that gets such a thorough wash every year without fail.
In our township, local letters to the media always seem to be claiming the need for more ‘climate change’ action, though I have no idea whether it’s just a very vocal minority making all the noise or an indication of a wider concern. Certainly people I come across on a regular basis don’t exhibit climate change fear and simply consider it a fuss about natural events over which we have absolutely no control. I often suspect that many of the very recent ‘tree changers’ from Melbourne suburbs have increased the number of warming worriers, given that it’s increasingly the metropolitan dwellers that appear to have become infected by the propaganda of fear pushed by the media. When we have a record early snow season, despite warnings that it will never snow again, it’s somewhat difficult to think that the planet is experiencing catastrophic global warming. Nonetheless, there are those who live in daily fear of roasting alive whenever they venture onto the streets and push for all manner of renewable energy so that Australia can turn off the heating switch.