Friday 4 February 2011


And they did, the Queenslanders, and escaped Yasi's fury, for the most part: so that's all right. Pretty good result, considering how differently it could have gone; though the thought of the clean up in places like Tully makes me go fuzzy at the edges.

My hens are laying AWOL again, and scouting around their run this evening, I heard birdy mutterings, and discovered in the creek bed just over the fence, an astonishingly large family of mallard ducks - Mum, Dad and at least 14 teenagers (another thought that makes me feel weak) - happily puddling in the mud and the tradescantia that grows there luxuriantly much to the hens' frustration, as they consider it a gourmet snack.

They were too busy guzzling to bother much about me so I watched them for a bit before resuming my egg-hunt. I like ducks - why, I ate one in Tasmania just last week, at Quamby Estate, as part of a delicious meal - and was pleased when I went to Brickendon Farm Village to find lots of them there fussing around the grounds. It was a poultry-lover's paradise: hens with chicks, all sorts of breeds, all over the place; and geese and turkeys too. Also two laid-back dogs, a friendly cat, a pig, goats, horses and cows: Louise, who farms the property with her husband, did mention in passing that she was "an animal person". Oh, really?!

The farm has been in the family for seven generations now, and has just been declared a World Heritage site because of its place in the convict management scheme. I spent ages poking around through the buildings that are very much as they were in the days when convicts worked there: the smithy cluttered with heavy metal, the cookhouse ceiling black with soot, the cute little chapel peaceful, its pews made from iconic huon pine.

The rather grand homestead across the road is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a striped lawn and a highly-regarded arboretum: but I was most taken by the sweet little coachman's cottage, which can be rented, furnished with patchwork quilts and old china. And this wooden settle, with these charming tapestry cushions.

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