Sunday, April 18, 2004

little bean on a big farm

I'm staying at Blackfellows Gully, the 2000-acre, 5000-sheep farm of the King family. Maddy, with whom I worked at Mud, invited me to stay with her for a few days, so for the start of my wanderings I am here, in Walcha, NSW, Australia. Where the land is cleared for the grazing of sheep, cattle and horses, where the stringybark gum tree causes spidery shadows on the land, where the grasses make the hills look soft like the flanks of a horse. The stars at night spill across the sky and in the morning the birds croon in the small trees around the farmhouse. Julia and Steve King are also artists and there are wood and metal sculptures speckling the grounds around the outbuildings, and paintings and prints decking the walls of the house. The three daughters are lovely friendly young women who board for school in Sydney and are now home for Easter holidays. It is the autumn season here and the few deciduous trees that do turn color, are: the ash, the elm, and the red vines along the trim of the house on the East side.

There is so much to talk about, I'm about to burst, but it will have to wait for a later date, as it's late here. The Internet connection is also a slow one, and I use the phone a lot for making calls about busses and future trip bits, and also to loved ones, so I don't want to sit in the office all day. Besides, I could be outside stacking wood or else helping Maddy round up and move cattle in the old beat-up 4X4, yelling "come behind!" and "hop on!" to the sheepdogs. I feel like I've come home, in a way (not yet ready to move here, but) -- I fit in well with them, we all tell stories and laugh and love good food and good drink, and good work.

To those of you who might be emailing me, I will try and get round to the inbox on a regular basis, but internet cafes are dear sometimes. And replies will get out at some point, but in the words of Mike (and I'm guessing, some other Aussies too): "It'll keep."

Goodnight, to all of you dear to me, in all your different parts of the world.

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