The Idles of March

There's nothing remarkable about these two views across Nimbin valley, But anyone who's visited our place in the past may be surprised to learn they were taken from the lounge window - the solid curtain of green is gone. There are a few more trees still to go in the front garden, but we're nearly done. All that will be left are seven or eight bangalow palms, two jacarandas, one large cocos palm, two eucalypts, an orange tree, a macadamia tree, an avocado tree, a mango tree, two frangipanis, two tree ferns, a (huge) japanese plum tree, two bamboo-like palms I can't name, and a few native shrubs. Once our tiny pond has been filled, there will be some small pond plants too. Frustratnigly, the branches stacked up from this week's chopping and sawing have re-filled the empty spot left after last week's wood-chipping session. Sisyphean.
Today has been a very long day. We got to the Channon market so early that we were the first customers at the Repentance Creek coffee stall. We hunted down the good fruit and veggies (and the best blackberry jam in New South Wales) and then caught up with Jonas and Tanya, who are back from an extended stay in Sydney, where they have family to care for Otto. Lucky buggers.
Otto is way bigger and looks (a) like a proper little bloke, and (b) scarily like Jonas. From The Channon we drove East to the Firewheel plant nursery, where they were holding an open day to talk about their rainforest regeneration projects - which are quite impressive considering they are only a side-project from their day job running the tree-nursery: They are clearing a length of creek on both sides, removing all the invasive trees and replanting with native trees and shrubs - already they have breeding koalas, platypodes and echidnas on the property, and the area around the creek will soon feel like the invaders were never there.
I have finally finished digging the seemingly endless drainage trench - now there's only block-laying, mortaring, back-filling and gravel-laying to do, and the rear wall of the downstairs will be dry even in the heaviest rains.
I have also spent a few hours up on the roof cleaning away twigs, leaves and debris - this has finally felt worthwhile, now that most of the overhanging trees are gone. C has continued the run of fixer-upper wooden furnishings as well; this week she sanded back and varnished up a battered old trestle-style blackboard, and it has taken pride of place in K's room alongside colourful chalks and crayons.
A note on the weather to wrap up this blog post: The contrast between the 8 week period from mid January to mid March in 2009, when compared to 2008, could hardly be more extreme. 2008's severe la NiƱa left us with over 700mm of rain in that period, whereas this year we've had a respectable 200mm. The latter makes for healthy plants and a pleasant summer, the former makes for plans to sell up and move elsewhere.

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