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News from the Moble Garden – Rutledge Relics

January 24, 2020
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I am writing to you from a different window this morning, it is my little trick for changing my outlook, both internal and external. This has been a challenging summer for so many of us; we have been drawing down on our inner strength. Resilience I mean, not some long forgotten abdominal muscle. It is inspiring to see Australians pulling together, turning those small steps into the big steps we need at this time, as Winston Churchill so aptly advised. Some people may no longer have a window to frame any outlook; many I know will have something well short of inspiring framed in their view. For me, well the dust turns the windows into a permanent sepia squint, blurring the edges. I wish you all good health and a hopeful 2020.

This window looks out to our front gate where a Peewee is perched and preening itself with great vigour. Possibly one of the few visitors to use the front gate, despite the clever signs and to my mind, quite clear markers. These include a wobbly woman (not me), bouncing away in the breeze pointing to the gate with an ENTRY sign hanging from her drinking arm, and the old water trough from the horse yards.

This relic from the 1930’s was carefully re-located by Mr. Moble for me for Christmas one year and subsequently plumbed in with water lilies and goldfish. Fortunately for Brian, I am keen on old relics, it has been his saviour with his panic-searching when such occasions loom. Panic-searching is the bush equivalent of panic-buying. If only he knew, he is the best old relic around, hands down.

Continuing the pond theme, something I had no intention of writing about this week, but we shall run with it anyway, I spent the post-Christmas purge digging out a lily pond in the old garden. There were quite a few people staying at Moble over the Christmas period and believe me, there was action a-plenty on all fronts. There is something magical about family gathering; the first night together is always epic and with this family, subsequent nights follow in much the same style.

This unwavering nightly epic-ness often results in quite daunting projects being planned; I use planned here in its loosest form. So every morning dawned with the ubiquitous December heat and a small army of well- equipped and somewhat vague ideas all needing completing with a maximum of team members (let no one miss out on driving a specific vehicle, tractor, quad bike loaded with essential heavy chains, small cranes, chainsaws, winches and the occasional splintered shovel. Extra staffing requires the need for the back-up shovels, housed in the Lumber Room and rarely called upon for active service. The Army Reservists of the Moble Tool Brigade). There is also an element of urgency influencing the pace of these undertakings, as the pull of a pre-luncheon beer looms large in the post-Christmas, anything- goes week which comes to a crashing end on New Year’s Day. All adding an essential frisson to the atmosphere.

To this end, the potent mix of big ideas and urgency, with a dash of Rutledge competitiveness, resulted in some interesting think-tank discussions and a seemingly endless supply of hair-raising video footage. It also meant by mid-morning on Boxing day, Brian had fallen with a ladder, taking out the guttering on his way passed. Meanwhile, with nary a sideways glance, Team Pepperock worked her way through a line of chainsaws, sharpening as she went, never daunted by the looming size of the tree at hand, or her brother falling out of it. Miss Boodles reminded us all that the corporate world had not diminished her sharp, split-second reactions, as she abandoned her Quad just as the tree fell on it. Don’t worry, apparently it was all part of this well- choreographed ballet.

All the while, and under constant threat by the outrageous activities and proximity of Team One, Team Two plugged away with crowbars and shovels, digging out the long- abandoned lily pond. Much later, after many barrowloads and with sweaty brows, due ceremony and much relief, we hit concrete and the shape of this pond was revealed: a round pond in a square hole. Beautifully built by some long- forgotten craftsman, it has stood the test of time and despite nearly sixty years between drinks, it was duly filled and held water.


It was such an exciting and rewarding little undertaking to restore this pond and I am thrilled to tell you that the lilies Mother and I transplanted in the heat are now popping up to the surface and the water iris are shooting. I have planted the corner squares with some native sedges that grow along the creek and the lily pond is once again framing the end of the east verandah.

I would just like to sign off this week by thanking The Impatient Gardener, who takes all the beautiful photographs that accompany these scribblings. As I told her I was writing about ducks this week, she will once again be caught short with her photo planning, something she endures regularly. As much as she is an impatient gardener, she is mostly a very patient daughter, and I do thank her for that. Her little garden is looking sublime, and I shall tell you about it next week, though plans can be fluid around here,

The Moble Gardener