A late shearing and the May garden has slipped by quietly in a hush of autumn, I see by the date on the computer it is the first day of winter today. These last few weeks I have been composing short snippets to you whilst poking along behind mobs of ewes; alas, they seem to elude the written word. None of this has been helped by my arm colliding with a leaping sheep, the frustrating result being a sore paw. I imagine for myself one of those dictation settings, whereby I could stride around the garden barking floral inspiration into a little speaker on my collar, whilst the keyboard in the office is dutifully typing it out for me via Bluetooth, snaggletooth or similar. Do let me know if this is already up and running as I rather think I could be onto something.
May has also seen Mr. Moble have a long week in hospital with very sore ribs and a sad looking lung. I know this as we had daily and now, weekly, photos of it. Progress is slow and steady, but progress all the same. He has escaped to the shearing shed this afternoon with a measured spring in his step. There, without my weathered eye upon him, I expect he will be inside the yards instead of lurking outside the yards, like a frustrated old working dog who can longer jump the fence.
As you can imagine, The Impatient Gardener has been terribly busy and very quick to downgrade our AAA rating I might add. We felt quite chuffed when we could do each other’s buttons up, zips up, put socks on and jumpers on the right way round in less than half an hour. Surely great progress indeed? She is somewhat less enthusiastic about this supreme example of Moble team- work; turns out she wanted wool bale rollers, trick bike riders, yarding-up and back-lining out. Instead, she has the baldy bay and his friend in the long yard and do not rush us. (With sincere apologies to Slim).
Our unintended slow down did afford us the wonderful opportunity to attend the opera in Quilpie though, as we were not tied down by Saturday shearing. What an extraordinary experience, set against the well-loved outcrop of Baldy Top (not the horse this time), awash with the late afternoon glow of pinks and golds. Fire pots were lit throughout the gathering audience to guard against the evening chill; the stillness and quiet as the sun drops away and the night draws in. With cold faces and warm hands, we sat and were mesmerised by Opera Queensland’s performance, A Celebration of Country Music and Opera.
And so it was. We were entranced by their voices and theatrics. It was stirring, foot-tapping, funny and joyful and seemingly over all too quickly. This magical experience was then capped by a spectacular fireworks display, set atop of Baldy Top. Splashed against a dark bush sky, it was truly a pinch-me, aren’t we so lucky moment. Honestly, you never know what you will experience when you head off to Quilpie on a cold Saturday afternoon. Take some opera, toss in some country music, sear it with fireworks and you have, dear reader, the salad of a good life.
As I haven’t been much in the garden these last weeks, I shall leave you with my autumn arrangement in the sitting room, thrust into a blue and white ginger jar on my way to feed the chooks: some cotoneaster berries, padded out with a few branches of quince, Manchurian pear, lagerstroemia with seed pods attached, Chinese Elm the same, a smattering of interesting sticks (why not?) in the background, stems of corkscrew willow, leaves stripped as not quite bare yet and some Russian Olive, Elaeagnus macrophyla, which I love for its brown stems and silver underside. Lastly, a few swoops of the ornamental grapevine, lovely splashes of claret against the blue jar.
The salad of a good life indeed,
The Moble Gardener
Instagram photo taken by Katrina Lehman Photography for RM Williams’ Outback Magazine 2021