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Dec 29 2012

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Go west young family, and avoid the traffic

Sunset glowing gold over the road to the farmWe’re back on the farm. And after reading about the traffic heading north (or at least stuck on the Pacific Highway facing north), I’m glad we come this way.

Heading west there were very few other cars on the road, and definitely no traffic jams.

I’m not going to judge anybody for wanting to spend their summer holidays by the beach. I remember long hot summer holidays spent by the beach on the north coast when I was a kid. And I used to take my own children north for beach holidays – though not during the Christmas break. We were lucky enough to live by the beach in Sydney so didn’t have to travel anywhere for a summer beach holiday.

I love the beach – the sun, the sand and the ocean. There’s a wildness and freedom about it that’s just exhilarating.

So spending my summer holidays in western NSW – or at least not by the beach, we’re not really that far west – is something I never saw myself doing. Until I met Doc, that is. He’s a country boy at heart and loves this part of the world.

And now that I’ve been out here, I can see why.

In addition to no traffic jams getting here, it really is beautiful country.

As the Murrumbidgee came into view I got my first shock. It’s not that long since I was out here last, but the mighty Murrumbidgee is once again a trickle. Something to do with water rights and releasing water down the river to more closely emulate its natural flow. The light was wrong when we came over, so when we go into town next (in about a week when we start running out of fresh food) I’ll take some photos.

A pair of black swans swimming with the ducks on the farm dam, lambs by the dam in the backgroundThis time we arrived at the farm at dusk. Driving down the road toward the farm the sun was just above the tops of the hills in front of us, giving everything a golden glow. It felt a bit like following the yellow brick road to the magical land of Oz. Or should that be IN the magical land of Oz.

In through the farm gates, and the first dam was a mass of birds. A huge flock took off as the car pulled up so I could take photos, but the two swans continued swimming majestically amongst the ducks while the sunset glowed gold again over the hills to the west.

Yet another magical sunset in rural NSW.

Kangaroos bounded over the hills in what appeared to be a mob of thousands – so many I thought it would never pass. I love seeing kangaroos, but out on the farm it also makes it me a bit sad. After all, the main reason we come here is to help the farmer keep down the pests – and farmers consider kangaroos a pest, especially in numbers like that mob!

And then we arrived at the house. The sun was setting by now and the house was almost in darkness. Before I got out of the car Doc went in to the house to check for more dangerous pests than kangaroos. When he was here last week he surprised a brown snake in the bathroom, though as brown snakes are by some measures the second most venomous snakes in the world it’s probably more accurate to say he was surprised by it.

With the all clear it was time to unpack. First things first – put up the Christmas lights. It is, after all, still Christmas, then sit on the balcony watching the almost full moon in the clear night sky with a cold glass of champagne. Time to relax, work can start tomorrow.

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