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Today was a busy day preparing for our trip tomorrow.

Not my normal daily post – my day was full of excitement, easily solved problems, nervousness, anticipation, you name it.

Farewells from friends and neighbours and last minute calls and changes.

I am looking forward to maintaining my diary via a written journal and will update this blog on my return. A last hot bath tonight, a meal of leftovers and a warm bed.

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Two more sleeps…

It’s 6pm, the moon is already heading west.

The sun has just dropped below the horizon, leaving a smudge of colour behind.

Soon we will be following the moon and sun – journeying westward.

The westerly winds blow stronger at night now, leaving clear skies during the day.

Tonight the thin boat of a moon sails through the clear evening followed by the evening star.

Both hail another clear and windy night. A wind that comes out of the desert – calling us…

Another day of maintenance tasks. I had serious help from a friend to remove the banana plants. They were getting very tightly packed and showed signs of disease. Time to renew the plantings.

With them all removed completely I can start several new bunches with new disease free suckers. I thought of planting watermelons and pumpkins in the large empty compost patch left behind after the bananas were gone.

The weather was picture-book Queensland winter sunshine today. Lovely day to be outside.

Preparing the vegetable garden for a prolonged absence by mulching with straw.

I also cleaned out the chicken pen today. The glorious maintenance jobs that come with a country lifestyle – muck and gumboots.

Apart from that, still recovering from yesterday’s walk.

We walked a section of the Great Walk from Kondalilla to Baroon Pocket Dam today – about 12 kilometres, in just under four hours. That was pretty good time with quite a few valleys to cross, hills to climb and the youngest walker only eight years old! Apart from fallen forest giants (above), there are clear running creeks and ferny gullies, low lying palm forests, mossy miniature landscapes (below) and drier grasstree thickets.

Have to admit I got pretty puffed going uphill and will probably sleep really well tonight. It was really interesting to see the many different levels of the forest – from the tiny moss forests to the large figs and rainforest trees – with so many levels in between.

Also on the bright side:
My walking boots are worn in now.

We spent the morning at the local market. Fresh bread, fresh coffee, fresh pancakes, fresh company…

To start with the weather was looking grey, but by lunchtime the sun started to peep through the clouds until the afternoon turned sunny. On a short afternoon stroll the wattle flowers were glowing with an intensity of sunshine. Above is one of my favourites: the Zigzag wattle.

A day of rest.

In the afternoon, we let the chickens roam the garden for a while. The kids kept an eye on them – to guard from stray dogs and prevent them from digging up new seedlings.

All enjoyed the outing – and I enjoyed the quiet to complete my work in – almost complete.

Red-necked Pademelon, Thylogale thetis

Today was another overcast day, but we went out anyway – for a walk through Mary Cairncross Reserve. It seemed a popular place for holiday makers today. We still managed to see some wildlife which hadn’t been scared off by the crowds.

The pademelons are a favourite with kids and adults alike. Although shy, they come quite close to the path. Sharp eyes attuned to their camouflage can spot them as soon as they move, hopping through the undergrowth. There is a park policy to remain on paths so as not to disturb or damage the habitat.

I got to wear in my new hiking boots, to get ready for hiking through the desert soon – a very different landscape to that around our home.

My stepdad’s birthday today back in Germany.

Apart from that today’s highlight was finding a French Gherkin on the only mini cucumber vine I’ve tried to test out this winter to see if they thrive. I didn’t take a picture, I picked it and crunched it down immediately – it was delicious, taste and crunch of summer in mid-winter. Still, I wouldn’t exactly say that the vine thrives yet – maybe a little more sun will help it along soon.

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All artworks and photographs in this blog are original and all rights are reserved by the author, © S Gneist. Please ask before reproducing any of my work.
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