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Southern Cross Creations

An Australian Woman's Journal
about life in remote, rural
Far North Queensland


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Southern Cross Creations

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Journal Archive: July 2002

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22 July 2002
I realise I have a yellow, plastic echidna grasped between my knees. JagoDog placed it there as I worked with such focus on the computer. I toss it to her. She wanders off to check on her bone pile and chase away foraging magpies and raucus crows.

No fire needed this morning. I dressed warmly in long pants, flannel shirt, wool vest and sheepskin boots. Passed on to me by Jone, the boots please me no end. I hadn't realized what a difference to my comfort they would make.

Yesterday Jerry showed me the tree that had served as a sign for the old Toy Creek crossing. Aborigines, and later miners, created trail signs by sharply bending young tree trunks. The resulting kink is distinctive. This kinked tree is a river cypress (local name), possibly a 100 years old(?).

A few weeks ago Jerry accompanied three blokes looking for traces of the Rush Track through our property. They discovered the tree, near the edge of our property.

The Rush Track was used in the 1880s by miners rushing to the discovery of tin in Herberton. The track was used even earlier by Aborigines. Our neighbour Max has used the track for years, taking his donkey over it about once a month for supplies. Max helped in the effort to gain recognition of the track's heritage value.

Winter continues to be very dry. The temperature can't seem to decide whether to be frosty or warm. Our remaining small pile of firewood may be sufficient for the season. That wood came from the fallen branches of a bloodwood tree. Lucky no one was underneath when those branches fell one windy night, landing on and near our watertank which escaped damage. Neighbour Nic chainsawed the branches into useable rounds for us. The wood is dense and slow burning. Now we wander around with the wheelbarrow, collecting smaller pieces of dry, dead wood to keep the big rounds burning.

Except for telephone service and a dirt road graded twice a year by the Shire, we supply our own services: we pump river water and collect rain water, we gather firewood for winter, we fight bushfires in the dry season (as members of the Rural Fire Brigade), we use solar panels and a solar water heater, we rely on bottled gas for cooking. We run a generator if bad weather results in too little solar power for our needs. These chores of "self-sufficiency" make us more aware of the world around us - what's the weather doing, how high is the river, how close is that bushfire, how much water are we using, have the storm birds arrived yet, has the computer and modem been unplugged....... and we're still learning after living here for 15 years.

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