Our orginal plan for the day was to visit Evan's Crown Reserve where there are great grantite rocks but the we decided to just drive around because of the rain. We'll go back there one day when I am feeling energetic and walk up to the top.
Mechanics Institutes and Schools of Arts are also quite common in old towns. These were apparently libraries for the education of working men and a social gathering spot. I imagine some great local dances were held in this old hall which pops up in the country side in much the same way as the country churches. I got a shot of it in the distance so you can see how it's pretty much isolated from any sort of town, though there is a small one called The Lagoon up the hill where we were when I took the distance shot.
Musing: From Country Towns by Kenneth Slessor "Country towns, with your willows and squares, And farmers bouncing on barrel mares To public houses of yellow wood With "1860" over their doors, And that mysterious race of Hogans Which always keeps the General Stores….
At the School of Arts, a broadsheet lies Sprayed with the sarcasm of flies: "The Great Golightly Family Of Entertainers Here To-night"– Dated a year and a half ago, But left there, less from careles…
Making the most of the photo stop ... I found yet another abandoned house over the road.
So why are there so many abandoned houses in the country? I think it has something to do with the natural inclination of country folk to reuse and recycle. So an old house becomes a storage shed. There are of course plenty of abandoned dwellings in the city (I heard there were 120,000 in Sydney on the radio the other day). However, they are usually demolished for high rise flats or horribly graffitied so don't delight the heart in quite the same way as these old homes.
A couple of months ago I posted an image of post boxes that caused a lot of interest. So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to show you the post box at the irrigation farmyard gate ... yes it is an old microwave oven.
In keeping with the watery theme, today's picture is of irrigation on a farm near Chifley Dam.
By the fence there was a dam fringed with bullrushes. When I posted bullrushes a couple of weeks ago PJ said they are called cattails in her part of the world. The photo below of the flower spikes in a more advanced stage of development might go some way to explaining this name.
Chifley Dam is the water reservoir for the city of Bathurst and is currently sitting at 77.6%. They had plenty of water right throughout the drought.
It was a shock during the big dry to visit Bathurst and see sprinklers watering green lawns. It was like going back into a world of bad behaviour that we thought had gone forever. For Sydneysiders the restrictions have recently been lifted and we can now water any day of the week early in the morning or late in the afternoon but only with trigger hoses. But no sprinkling lawns, probably forever.
Musing: From The Prelude Book 1 by William Wordsworth Wisdom and Spirit of the universe! Thou Soul that art the eternity of thought! That giv'st to forms and images a breath And everlasting motion! not in vain, By day or star-light thus from my first dawn Of Childhood didst Thou intertwine for me The passions that build up our human Soul, Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man, But with high objects, with enduring things, With life and nature, purify…
I was looking forward to seeing Chifley Dam thinking perhaps it would be a nice picnic spot like other lakes and dams I have shown you -- like Lake Canobolas, Carcoar Dam or maybe Lake Windermere. When I arrived I was disappointed, flat and boring. But as it turned out the interplay of light made it rich source of images so you are going to get more over the next few days.
Musing: The image has an Japanese feel about it so I am including Matsuo Basho's famous hiaku "The old pond; a frog jumps in — the sound of the water.
Industries in this district include sheep, cattle, forestry and the cement works at Oberon.
Musing: From the Lone Stiker by Robert Frost The swinging mill bell changed its rate To tolling like the count of fate, And though at that the tardy ran, One failed to make the closing gate. There was a law of God or man That on the one who came too late The gate for half an hour be locked, His time be lost, his pittance docked. He stood rebuked and unemployed. The straining mill began to shake. The mill, though many-many-eyed, Had eyes inscrutably opaque; So that he couldn’t look inside To see if some forlorn machine Was standing idle for his sake. (He couldn’t hope its heart would break.)
He knew another place, a wood, And in it, tall as trees, were cliffs; And if he stood on one of these, ‘Twould be among the tops of trees, Their upper branches round him wreathing, Their breathing mingled with his breathing. If---if he stood! Enough of ifs! He knew a path that wanted walking; He knew a spring that wanted drinking…
What was that I said about not going mad over leafless? Here is a different take on the same topic. Plantations like this are not a common sight in Australia. Also note the blackberries in the foreground, another exotic plant and a scourge on the landscape.
Musing: Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney Late August, given heavy rain and sun For a full week, the blackberries would ripen. At first, just one, a glossy purple clot Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots. Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills We trekked and picked until the cans were full Until the tinkling bottom had been covered With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered With thorn pricks, our…
There is something beautiful and dramatic about a leafless tree silhouetted against the sky. I could go as silly over them as I do over fences, haystacks, abandoned houses and Royal Hotels. I will try to resist.
Musing: By Emily Dickinson "THE murmuring of bees has ceased; But murmuring of some Posterior, prophetic, Has simultaneous come,—
The lower metres of the year, When nature’s laugh is done,— The Revelations of the book Whose Genesis is June."
Here we go, the Story Book house up close. No smoke from the chimney because it is yet another abandoned farmhouse with sheds stuffed with junk.
Don't all those leafless trees add to the sense of ghostly abandon.
Musing: From The Black Cottage by Robert Frost "But what I'm getting to is how forsaken A little cottage this has always seemed; Since she went more than ever, but before-- I don't mean altogether by the lives That had gone out of it, the father first, Then the two sons, till she was left alone. (Nothing could draw her after those two sons. She valued the considerate neglect She had at some cost taught them after years.) I mean by the world's having passed it by-- As we almost got by this afternoon. It always seems to me a sort of mark To measure how far fifty years have brought us. Why not sit down if you are in no haste? These doorsteps seldom have a visitor. The warping boards pull out their own old nails With none to tread and put them in their place."
This looks like something from those English storybooks we read as children before the era of Australian children's literature. All it needs is some smoke from the chimney.
Musing: The Cottage by Eleanor Farjeon -- my favourite childhood poet and story teller (very English) "When I live in a Cottage I shall keep in my cottage Two different Dogs, Three creamy Cows, Four giddy Goats, Five Pewter Pots, Six silver Spoons, Seven busy Beehives, Eight ancient Appletrees, Nine red Rosebushes, Ten teeming Teapots, Eleven chirping Chickens, Twelve cosy Cats with their Kittenish Kittens, and One Blessed Baby in a Basket. That's what I'll have when I live in my Cottage."
The day started bright and sparkling and for winter a relatively mild 11C but by midday rain began falling and the temperature dived to 5C. This explains the moody grey look of many of the photos. I do hope you appreciate that I had to emerge from a nice warm car in the chilly rain to get these shots ... in the rain it looks like English countryside.
Musing: Weathers by Thomas Hardy This is the weather the cuckoo likes, And so do I; When showers betumble the chestnut spikes, And nestlings fly; And the little brown nightingale bills his best, And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,' And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest, And citizens dream of the south and west, And so do I.
This is the weather the shepherd shuns, And so do I; When beeches drip in browns and duns, And thresh and ply; And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe, And meadow rivulets overflow, And drops on gate bars hang in a row, And rooks in families homeward go, And so do
This trip is around Oberon, a farming district just west of the mountains and is in fact considered part of the Greater Blue Mountains. The photo sums up what you see in this area -- tuffty grass, willow lined creeks, rolling pasture lands, eucalypts and pine plantations. It was a lovely drive, I hope you enjoy it too over the next week or two.
Musing: Willow Poem by William Carlos Williams "It is a willow when summer is over, a willow by the river from which no leaf has fallen nor bitten by the sun turned orange or crimson. The leaves cling and grow paler, swing and grow paler over the swirling waters of the river as if loath to let go, they are so cool, so drunk with the swirl of the wind and of the river-- oblivious to winter, the last to let go and fall into the water and on the ground."