‘Roos, Moos, Maggies, & Gums in Adelaide Hills


‘Roos, Moos, Maggies & Gums in Adelaide Hills

"Roo across paddock from Paech farm

“Roo across paddock from Paech farm

One of the delight of revisiting Adelaide Hills was getting reacquainted with Steve and Bev Paech, who hosted us in ’12 on their cattle farm about 6 km from Mt. Barker, a growing community for commuters from Adelaide who want to get a taste of rural lifestyle. Our time in Mt. Barker was spent relaxing and hiking around the farm, enjoying meals with Steve and Bev, with visits from their sons Robert, David and daughter Wendy and her two children, Ethan and Ava.

Steve, daughter Wendy, and grandson Ethan

Steve, daughter Wendy, and grandson Ethan

One of the most appealing parts of staying on the Paech farm is experiencing daily farm life.  We hiked on dirt roads and on trails through paddocks, the grass burned from the blistering heat of summer.  It had been 43 C before we arrived, and we had several days where the heat forced you inside after an hour or so.

Australian gum trees

Stately gum trees on a hilltop

Stately gum trees on a hilltop

I’m fascinated by Australian gum trees, alive or dead.  They’re in the eucalyptus family, called eucalypts Down Under.  They have such a beauty and serenity to them, tall, majestic, distinctive — and all different.  I had admired them hiking on the trails or walking along rural roads around Mt. Barker.  Gum trees are everywhere in Australia — in the bush, urban centers, parks, and in the tropics.  There are many varieties and are the most common tree in Australia.

Beautiful gum tree dominating the landscape

Beautiful gum tree dominating the landscape

Even though it's been dead for years, gum trees are still imposing

Even though it’s been dead for years, gum trees are still imposing

Reaching for the sky

Reaching for the sky

Probably a younger gum, maybe 80 years old or so, many more years to spread out and grow taller.

Probably a younger gum, maybe 80 years old or so, many more years to spread out and grow taller.

Head ’em out! 

Let's go move those cows

Ethan driving Grandpa Steve’s tractor – let’s move those cows!

I joined Steve one morning when he was moving his cattle from a paddock where they’d eaten the grass to nubs into another tall with grass.  They could also reach a pond for water and rest in shade from the fierce heat.

Steve raises black Angus, buying calves in the spring, feeding them through the summer, then selling them in the fall.

Heeyah, let's move them doggies'!

Heeyah, let’s move them doggies’!

As soon as his cattle saw Steve drive into the paddock on his tractor, the cattle stopped grazing and headed to the gate where they knew he was a moving them.

Moving through the gate

Moving through the gate

At the watering hole with shade on a hot day

At the watering hole with shade on a hot day

‘Roos at sunset

Grazing 'roos'

Grazing ‘roos’

One evening after dinner, we sat outside, enjoying the cooling night air.  Across a paddock where sheep grazed, we’d seen kangaroos in the evenings.  But the ‘roos had been evasive; you’d see them for a minute or two, then they’d disappear, heading back into the trees where they spent the day in the shade.  ‘Roos are nocturnal and only move early in the morning or dusk.

One night, we spotted two ‘roos who seemed to be grazing at leisure.  I’d tried to get photos of them before, but hadn’t had much luck. I took a chance, got my cameras, and headed across the paddock toward them.  I was determined to get some photos of those magnificent creatures.

Older male or female,and young 'roo

Older male or female,and young ‘roo

Grazing near sheep

Grazing near sheep

Kangaroos have excellent hearing and vision.  They spotted me approaching from 200 meters away, slowing making my way across the dry paddock to a fence, crossing it, and moving closer.  I used the zoom cameras, trying to get close shots of them.  They watched me every step of the way.  It was exciting, seeing how close I could get.

Following me walking across the paddock

Following me walking across the paddock

Whose paddock is this?

Whose paddock is this?

Apparently the larger ‘roo felt I was getting too close.  Eyeball to eyeball, she took one hop to the fence, leaped across, and bounded away, graceful and fast.  I was following her on my video camera as she hopped, then my battery died.  But I got great shots of both, thrilled that I was able to get as close as I did to them.

Moments after I took this, the 'roo jumped the fence and hopped across the next paddock into the trees

Moments after I took this, the ‘roo jumped the fence and hopped across the next paddock into the trees

Maggies on the paddock 

I'm lookin' at you!

I’m lookin’ at you!

Australian magpies are more interesting than their American cousins; they’re solid black and white, with no two looking alike.  That coloring is distinctive, you can spot familiar ones in the neighborhood. They screech in the morning, roosting in trees to let you know they’re around.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I’m lookin’ at you!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You can get close to them, then they fly off, making a racket, telling their mates that somebody’s getting too close.

Intense red eyes

Intense red eyes

Odds and ends from Mt. Barker

During our time on Mt. Barker we saw other interesting sights.  Hiking around farm, Steve showed me the remains of a small brick building that had been a stop over point for pioneers traveling between Adelaide and early settlements around Mt. Barker.

The hut was small, the chimney crumbling, with remnants of the stone foundation.  Steve pointed through the trees to show the dirt path where pioneers had taken wagons or horses into the hills from Adelaide.  The narrow path was visible and met the paved country road at a junction that led to their farm.

19th century pioneer brick hut on Paech farm

19th century pioneer brick hut on Paech farm

Ghost spider, harmless but a bit spooky

Ghost spider, harmless but a bit spooky

* * * * *

Next:  Adelaide

In addition to writing this travel blog, I write international thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels.

I’m currently writing a thriller series based in Milan featuring the anti-terrorism police, DIGOS, as they track down domestic and international terrorists.

If you’d like a free ebook of my first thriller, Thirteen Days in Milan,  please sign up on the left side bar.  I just need your name and email address; tap enter to send.

The second book in the series, No One Sleeps, was published as an ebook in December and a paperback in June.  You can find my books at Amazon and all digital book sites.  Paperbacks of Thirteen Days in Milan and No One Sleeps can be ordered at bookstores around the world.

I’m writing Book 3 in the series, Cadorna Station, and will be researching this summer in Italy.

You can also sign up for my email newsletter at my web site.

Find my books in Apple’s iBookstore
At Amazon including # 1 Kindle best seller “Perfect Crime” 
Twitter: @JackLErickson

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s