Monday, July 5, 2010

Wombat Bend

Back in 1980, our first Airedale Terrier came to live with us. Puggles was just a puppy and was our child at the time. We took her to the US in 1984 in a big crate and she just loved living in Chesapeake Isle. She died in 1990 and we were without a dog for 8 years until I gave in to Marianne's and Robin's entreaties and Bridget arrived from Airedale Rescue. She was a bigger dog than Puggles at 90 lb and her brain did not fit as tightly as Puggle's but she too was a wonderful dog. She came to us when she was two years old and brought great joy to us until she died in 2006.

Marianne has been involved with Airedale Rescue and has been one of those who helps make the annual quilt which is raffled off to help raise money for the organization. The Australian chapter of Airedale Rescue has made a quilt that will also be raffled off. This is a long introduction to explain why we went to Wombat Bend as guests of the owners, Bill and Sue who have four Airedales and are heavily involved with Airdale Rescue in Australia.
So let's get started with a picture of three Airedales.

Twenty-five years ago, this all was just an open paddock.

Bill and Sue built a house, created a billabong (lake) and planted trees. Along the way they also added a building that they now make available as a bed and breakfast known as 'The Burrow'.

Most B&B's in Australia are somewhat Englishy in style. This one is quite different and offers a glimpse of the real Australia.
A frosty morning with bright sun.

Their house is an octagon shape with packed earth walls. It feels like it has just grown from the ground itself and is exceedingly comfortable and inviting.

So what's with the wombats, you ask.

The creek that borders the property is home to several wombats. In the center of the photo is the hole for the wombat's burrow built into the bank of the creek.

Closeup of the entrance.

And here is a wombat path coming up this side of the creek. Shortly after we arrived, Bill called us out to see a wombat that had appeared. It was almost dusk so there is no photo, but he was quite large. There were comments about whether Bill had wound it up with a key to make sure it appeared on time.

Wombat bend is more than just wombats and Airedales. The amount of bird life that is attracted by the water in the lake is phenomenal. If you want to see Aussie birds up close, this is the place. Here we have a sulpher crested cockatoo.

Bill and Sue have fashioned bird feeders from pieces of bark and they are well visited. They reckon they may spend more on feeding the birds than feeding themselves.

More visitors.

The next morning we looked out to a gathering of cockatoos.

Within a few minutes there were well over a hundred.

And of course the lake is host to many ducks and other bird life.

There is yet another tale to tell about Wombat Bend and that is of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. The temperature was 52 degrees centigrade (126 Fahrenheit), the winds were gusting at 120 kph (80 mph)and the humidity was just 2%. Fortunately Bill and Sue had joined with their neighbours to prepare in advance for fighting bushfires and were somewhat prepared for the events. The fires appeared in their area about 4pm and they fought them all night and into the next day.

Lessons have been learned and they now have a sprinkler system set up on their roof.

A burned out tree in the creek. The fires even continued for days as the roots of the trees burned.

Sue took us for a drive to a mountain and all along the way, you could see vast areas that had been burned. This would be a good photo to click on to see it in more detail.

A burned out area where some of the trees are regenerating by growing leaves on the sides of their trunks.

So enough of the bushfires, here we are surrounded by Airedales and loving it. The dogs were a real joy to be with and were very well behaved by Airedale standards.

And finally, our hosts and now our friends, Bill and Sue. You have to be really impressed by their vision in creating this special place and their enviable lifestyle.

1 comment:

  1. What a cool story! How neat to see all these birds and wildlife around...