Tales of an Intrepid Traveler: Rolf in Tasmania, part 2

It is fall at Wychwood with the beautiful autumn colours in all their glory. It will be quite a change to come home to see how my spring bulbs have grown. Yesterday was a busy day in the garden and when I leave I'll miss being able to do chores in my shorts and tank top. Peter had moved the grass the evening before so obviously the nocturnal Wallabies seem to have enjoyed munching on the grass clippings and leaving their calling cards (which I raked up!)

It was also harvest day in the orchard as the James Grieve apple is one of first to start dropping from the tree. I managed to pick over two boxes of fruit and threw many more than that over into the sheep paddock. Now, when the sheep see me they start running towards the fence.

Black crows the size of our ravens are a constant nuisance with their irritating screeching and white cockatoos, kookaburras and a green parrot were not very happy with me in the orchard. However, a beautiful blue wren nearly jumped on my shoulder. As you can see, Tasmanians live very close to nature and share their experiences with a great number of native animals and birds.

While I was busy in the orchard, Karen was gathering beautiful autumn flowers, grasses and leaves to make bouquets for the gift shop. It is so beautifully arranged, filled with locally-made soaps, antique cookware, Swedish brushes that make me homesick, jewelry from local artists, and so much more. Karen is a real artist in so many ways.

She has harvested the last of the blueberries and removed the nets that protected the plants from the many birds and picked the last of the tomatoes for a beautiful salad this evening. Fresh corn on the cob was put on the barbie by the creek that runs through the garden.  Evenings are still long here and Australians love their barbecues. It's a beautiful way to end a day of garden chores: down by the creek hoping the resident platypus will swim around for us.  I can sit there until late in the evening and see the glorious Southern hemisphere sky with the Southern Cross almost directly overhead.

Time away from the garden the other day and Karen and I found ourselves at the Tasmania Zoo in Launceston, which has a large area for native animals and birds.  It was interesting to see the attendant feed the Tasmanian Devils and explain their sad demise. A disease has hit them and nearly 80% have died with no cure in sight.  Healthy devils are being secluded in large areas and neighbouring islands to try to protect this unique Tasmanian native from extinction. I was able to hold and cuddle a wombat and got close to my favourite native animal, the Echidna (sometimes known as spiny anteaters).

Must sign off as it's time for a photo shoot of me at my little stuga (cabin) in the garden, which used to be the kids’ cubby house.  There is a hint of sadness as I realise my remaining days here are short and the joy and love we all share as an extended family will be put on hold until we can plan another time together in the future.  For now, I'll look forward to seeing everyone at home in Seattle.

˜ Rolf

All uncredited photos from: http://wychwoodtasmania.com/