Wednesday, August 16, 2006

G'day from WA!

G'day all!

I am here in sunny Western Australia, just a few thousand kilometres from home (or if you prefer a couple of thousands of miles).

Two years ago, Nathan and I drove to WA from home. We figured it was a pretty long drive, but even flying over Australia helps you appreciate just how far it is from the east coast to the west coast and how empy much of Australia is. We crossed the Nullarbor where it truly is an apparently endless, treeless plain. The flight took just under 5 hours (headwinds made us fly lower).

It's a bad year in the wheatbelt of WA (I'd link but on this windoze box it is too much effort to run multiple copies of IE). Not enough rain and what has fallen has fallen at the wrong times. There's stuff all in the way of the ephemeral daisies flowering, which is a shame - last year there was rain at the right time and the ephemerals and the orchids were spectacular. The shrubs and stuff are looking great - flowers everywhere. All native. (Well most of it.) No pics until I get back.

The funny thing is that many of the locals don't realise how wonderful the local flora is, even in this bad year when the crops are 1/4 the size they should be. The locals plant rubbishy stuff that we put in English style gardens at home. They want the stuff that won't grow in a place with terrible soils and parching hot summers, or they just want to clear it and grow wheat on it or plant houses. It is odd how you want what you haven't got, only this is on a slightly bigger scale than wishing for straight hair or blue eyes or whatever.

Nathan's consultancy stuff is going pretty well. He is tired lots - he spends the mornings bouncing about stuff and the afternoons slowly collapsing. After the first day when I walked about 10 or 12 km (into town, out of town, into town, out of town, around some local parklands, back into town after walking across town, around the back blocks of town, etc), I've been given a car! Or we've been taken on a trip to see stuff. Most excellent!

In my incoherent ramblings, I don't think I have expressed how wonderful the flora of WA is. You drive along the roads just gobsmacked by the remnant vegetation on the roadsides. The wattles are going berserk. Mounds of yellow waving everywhere. Depending on where you are, other plants are gearing up for spring too. I've seen so many pretties that it pretty much blows my mind.

Knitting? Well I've done most of a sock in the last two days. Plus there's a person here who wants to learn how to spin, but she only has alpaca fleece and a wheel. Oddly I brought some dyed merino tops (which is the sort of stuff I learnt to spin on) and a spindle, so if she has no spindling experience I can see if I can show her how to spindle. I feel that if you can draft the fleece and make yarn using a spindle, learning to use a wheel is easier. I certainly just transferred what I did on a spindle to the wheel.

anyway, this place is about to close, so I'd better say

anon!

(regular posting will resume soon, with WAAAAAAYYYYY too many pics of wildflowers here)

5 comments:

  1. Wildflower pics? Can't wait!

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  2. The area sounds amazing, I can't wait to see pics.

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  3. The road side between Coolgardi and Southern Cross has some gorgeous flowering shrubs and low growing plants, bright blue,yellow and reds are common.I'm at Kambalda which is 4 hours east of Merridin!The other side of Kalgoorlie!We've been here for 6 years and haven't seen the spectacular wild flower shows that the region is famous for ,so that tells a story about how dry its been.
    (fancy carrying fibre with you,must be like me,I get withdrawal if separated from my yarn and bits)

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  4. Sounds like a very cool place - looking forward to the pictures when you get home!

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