We had the pleasure of doing a group camping trip over Easter on the Nunniong Plains, ostensibly just vegetating around a nice campsite and enjoying the company of our friends. It was one of those weekends where you didn’t want to do anything and made no real effort to do anything. But I can’t ever leave my camera gear behind, as I know that I’ll invariably miss having it and curse myself when I find things that I could have photographed. Taking photos of the group is a given, but I also like to take in the bush life around us on such camping trips, if there’s anything of interest and, quite often, I try to make something interesting from the potentially uninteresting. So, as I took our hounds on some daily walks (the most effort of the weekend), I always had my camera with me.
This is the last in my series on Mossvale Park 2017. I could go on about many things, but a lot has already been covered in other stories, so no need to become overly repetitive. One of the things that is ever present at Mossvale Park is the birdlife and other fauna. It’s not overly diverse and seems to host a resident group of familiar and not so familiar birds. There are also other hidden dwellers about, but they are nigh on impossible to photograph and can only be done at night with much perseverance and fortitude, and I’m not that keen on wandering about the park at night for an obscure denizen.
As I alluded in Part 2 of this series, Autumn is perhaps the most vibrant time of year at Mossvale Park. The European trees change colour and then carpet the grounds in an array of shapes, sizes and colours before they fade and eventually get mowed away. The onset of these vibrant colours can be variable and at times slow, as so much is dependent on the temperatures dropping low enough to shock the leaves into their coats of many colours. We don’t quite have the protracted zero degree nights and mornings that you might find in the Alpine regions of Victoria such as Bright or Mt Beauty, where the much colder weather brings about dramatic change. And European trees aren’t found everywhere, except places where the first settlers and later immigrants brought along memories of their homeland. And at least the trees didn’t bring with them the problems that other memories of homeland brought, such as rabbits and foxes.
When the Bureau Of Meteorology (BOM) reported that Winter 2017 was the hottest on record, it immediately gave me the theme for Part 2 of ‘A Year at Mossvale Park’. The hottest Winter on record indeed. I don’t think there was one person in Mirboo North this year, or the region for that matter (I’ve spoken to a lot of people), that would have thought that the Winter just past was the hottest on record , as everyone was thoroughly sick and tired of the endless cold. Mind you, what may have been a record was the demand for firewood, which became something of a scarcity as this ‘hottest on record’ Winter came to a close. But not to be outdone, Spring came on with a vengeance and produced even more cold and then unrelenting rain for weeks on end. If firewood was in short supply towards the end of Winter, it became a luxury item in Spring. I’m just waiting for the BOM to claim that the beginning of Spring was also the hottest on record (of course it was).
Mossvale Park means many things to many people. For some it’s a place to take your dog for a run, for others it’s a place to have a picnic or wedding and still others just like to enjoy the trees and gardens. Then there are those for whom it’s a place to remember. For me, Mossvale Park means many things, but it’s especially a reminder of a bygone era and our European history, which we should never forget. Originally, I was going to write ‘A Year At Mossvale Park’ from a seasonal point of view, watching it change from Summer to Autumn and then Winter to Spring. However, there was so much overlap in subject matter that I decided to base these stories more on what I observed, trying to place related subject matter into each part, rather than doing a ‘seasonal’ theme. The thing that dramatically changed my mind about the style was something I came across towards the end of August while on one of my, almost, daily visits to exercise my hounds.
In Jan 2012 we did a Cruise that ended at the Mitchell River National Park. Our campsite was under a grove of Elm trees and there were lots of small shoots popping up everywhere from the seeds that the trees had dropped. I love collecting such shoots and have done so over the years, with the result that we’ve had some lovely trees growing in our yard in Melbourne. So once again I collected one of these shoots, wrapped it in damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag for our trip home. It was placed in a small pot and later into a large one, and left there until this year, even though I had intentions to plant it some years ago. This year I decided to plant it properly and give it a real chance to prosper.
I’ve been writing and photographing quite a lot about Mossvale Park over the last few years and what I’ve written and photographed, I kind of equate to the old adage of ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees’. I’ve been looking more at the detail, rather than the big picture, though generally for valid reasons, so I want to rectify that situation and write about the broader aspects of Mossvale Park, how it came to be and where it’s possibly heading in the future. I also want to cover what makes Mossvale Park so important, not only from a local perspective, but from a national and, in some ways, a global one as well.
While taking our hounds for a run at Mossvale Park over the last few weeks, I’ve been having a closer look at an unfolding story, a budding tale, being revealed by the trees in the park as Spring approaches. It’s the time of year when buds begin to shoot out as the trees emerge from their Winter slumber and the change is very evident. I’ve never really taken that much notice of trees when they start budding, but the variety in Mossvale Park caught my eye and then simply couldn’t be further ignored.
Pun on words again and this is another of my irreverent posts on photography, just because I can. I was going through photographs that I’d taken over a number of weeks this year during Autumn and Winter at Mossvale Park, while taking our hounds for a morning run, and I kind of liked some of the results and explored them in more detail. I often take photographs of things that catch my eye, but don’t always do anything with them immediately and that means photographs can sometimes sit in a folder for quite some time before I revisit them. When I do revisit them, things can coalesce and thus arose this post. It’s all about leaves and the character they bring to the landscape.
Now this post may be of very little interest to many, but it’s something that I’ve always noticed and which always captivates me, and I find it a bit of fun to write about. It’s a feature of nature that we see all the time, but it often just doesn’t register, unless it’s quite dramatic or pointed out. So following on from some earlier articles about trees, there’s an aspect that is unique when it comes to trees and that’s their essential integument, the bark.