Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wombat Poo

The aftermath of the big storm on Saturday night/Sunday was big. Trees and branches down in our yard, but not the huge trees. Three of the four roads in the area were blocked, and people coming to the working bee at FCPS had to cruise around for a way to the school. Took someone 45 minutes to do the normal 10 minute drive. Sunday continued with buckets of rain, and the warm wind turned icy and we were all chilled by the time we left.

I took a look at the big tree down across Mt Dandenong Tourist Hwy, just up the road from our place. When it fell, it took out another Redwood tree, a fence, and the power lines to the houses. Fortunately it didn't land on the house, as the people were home, and the children were watching with amazement as the tree slowly continued on its way down. The power lines erupted in a large explosion, but the tree didn't catch fire. Then the power surge hit the house -- blowing globes, and basically frying all their appliances and electronic equipment. I talked to the home owner, one of the moms at the school, and by the time we talked, she was philosophical. It was frightening at the time, and her kids were also scared. The people who came to fix the power line (3 days later it appears to be fixed, but the boxes bringing the power to the house were under the gigantic tree) were amazed her house didn't catch fire, as there was lightning shooting from the light fixture in the kitchen.

In the midst of the wind storm, a wombat must have made its way down Breen Terrace. We found 2 sets of droppings on the driveway -- at first I thought it was someone's dog leaving us a present, but upon closer inspection (? yes we have been known to inspect the droppings of koalas and now wombats) we saw it was dark green and squarish in shape (about the size of a big marble). There were a few more piles down the road, toward the gully at the end of Breen. The wombat(s) must live there somewhere. A neighbour filled me in -- there are 2 burrows there, but one appears empty. A wombat was killed at the bottom of One Tree Hill Road the other weekend (people really use these curvy roads as their own race tracks), so there are obviously a few around. She tells me there are also many wallabies in the paddock and along Clarke Road in the early mornigs or at dusk, so we're going to have to walk there once the weather warms up a bit.

And it is warming up. These huge wind storms are from the north or northwest, so the end result can be a warmer temperature.

We had another friendly visit one day when Roberta was here. Not that Roberta isn't a friendly visitor... as we were leaving for school one morning, 2 king parrots showed up on the branches above our heads and waited. Obviously looking for a treat. They hung around for a while, while we all talked to them, and they made every appearance of listening. Finally, they flew off. Enough is enough. All talk, no action. Apparently they stay as a pair, and are smart enough to "do the rounds" of the neighbourhood if there's food available. So I bought some bird seed, and the other day the male was perched on the bench at the back of the house eating out of my hand. Nicole took a pic, so we'll post it soon. The rosellas have appeared in large numbers, ready to pick up any of the bits that are on the ground. Once the cockatoos find you, though, the feeding has to stop. They are so well fed right now in the hills that they are wreaking havoc on people's houses. A friend told us about his neighbour whose house is built of cedar. The cockies love chewing on the cedar, and the poor "bugger" (in the words of our friend) is having his house chewed to bits.

Today is Friday, and there's another huge wind storm going on. We are leaving for an ITF weekend in Bendigo after work/school, so hopefully we won't be blasted all the way there. The Victoria branch of the International Teachers' Fellowship group sponsors these events once per month so the exchange teachers and their families can get to know different parts of the State. It's a wonderful experience to meet other exchange teachers and receive their wonderful hospitality. Looks like we'll be reciprocating when we get back to the Peg. They are hosting a bush dance on Saturday night and will do a walking tour of the gorgeous Victorian-era buildings in Bendigo.

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