Christmas and New Year in The Avon Valley



Our time at Church Gully Alpacas at Coondle has been a pleasant stay and we knew the way when we arrived at the fork in the road.




With 14 alpaca to feed daily plus 12 hens and Brewster the rooster, our house sit charges have been Mintu and his sister Rahni who are two Burmese cats. Two pet kangaroos, Tiannan and Trevor were also keen to eat the alpaca muesli and the occasional apple or three. They were visited by Oscar, a big buck roo plus an equally big unnamed challenger  to his domain.



chrissy-hamWe enjoyed a quiet and food filled Christmas on the farm and were invited to spend New Year’s Eve with the next door neighbour Lyn and her father Wally and some friends. We bailed out at about 11 pm and awoke the next morning to a warm New Year’s day.

We have experienced several 40 deg plus days at Coondle and have been grateful for the air-conditioning.

It has been a good opportunity to catch up on minor maintenance jobs in The Burrow and to get the Chariot serviced and a wheel alignment done.    Thanks Daniel for our Chrissy present!

We had a trip to Midland for some shopping and also drove the round trip through Northam, York, Cunderdin, Meckering  and Toodyay back to the farm.








P1100789Meckering Earthquake Memorial Garden

Having spent time in Cunderdin in 1968 it was interesting to see the changes and growth over time.

On 9th Jan 2017 our house sit owners, Cath and John, returned from overseas and we packed up and headed for Bullsbrook via Northam Hospital. Dawn has been clawed by Mintu and her foot was swollen and infected.

After a 4 hour session at the hospital and a body full of antibiotics we picked up scripts in Northam and arrived at Bullsbrook late in the afternoon.

We are looking after a farm here until the end of January and then will move on for another house sit for a week in Mandurah before heading south to Busselton and beyond.


Brewster the rooster is no goose and certainly no turkey,

Even though he wakes us up at around about three thirty.

With 12 girls in the henhouse it’s a cry for help we hear,

As Brewster crows his morning call of “Get me out of here!”

“I need some help in here” he calls with much a do

Followed by a plaintiff plea of “Any cock ‘ll do!”

Some rowdy cackling then is heard across the Coondle hills

As Brewster’s girls all stir him up and magnify his ills.

Coondle. Dec 2016 © TCD

Wheatbelt Ramblings

Tue 6/12  In Wongan Hills we walked up to Mt O’Brien Lookout with 360 deg views around the district including Lake Ninan and Lake Hinds.






Wed 7/12 10 km west of Wongan Hills we walked the track at Gathercole Rock Reserve.This granite outcrop is typical of so many throughout the wheat belt and we saw a few shingle back lizards and a glimpse of a dragon lizard. The track was very vague in places but we found our way along the 3.1 km walk in just over 1 hr which was a good work out. Some of the rock formations are very interesting. A low rock wall was constructed along parts of the rock to direct water to a reservoir and then to the old water tower beside the railway line. It was used to provide water for the steam engines and is now used to water the town’s parks and gardens

Finished back in town at the bakery for a coffee and lemon tart.

Thursday 8/12. Spent the day in camp.

Friday 9/12 Drove out to Lake Ninan which is 6 times more salty than the sea and there is not much life there.

We have been fascinated by a council street sweeper who seems to spend all day going around the Wongan Hills town streets. We have called him Harry:


Something’s happened to Harry, he can’t get off his seat.

He drives around throughout the town keeping it all neat.

You see him coming and going every single day.

It couldn’t happen as it does without his council pay.

The main street gets some extra sweeps as up and down he goes

In his motorised street sweeper he keeps them on their toes.

Wongan Hills has such clean streets with not a speck of dust,

A testament to Harry who could well send them bust.

Now stop your smarty comments you bunch of narky clowns,

Don’t you know we’re entered in the quest for tidy towns?

Dec 2016 © TCD

We are under the daily flight path of some regular local flyers:


They camp tonight at Christmas Rock, performing crazy aerobatics.

Shrieking with glee as they tumble and fall to rise again as one,

With bellies full of wheat they come, after a day in the burning sun.

The leader’s call is echoed as in the Salmon Gums they land,

Midst incessant squawks and chatter it can’t possibly be planned.

Early twilight glows reflecting on their feathers pink and grey,

As in changing light they settle after another hectic day.

At the crack of dawn 500 shrieks create a rowdy rabble,

They all rise as one together and flap off amongst wheat stubble.

 Galahs dine today in Wongan Hills, with more kamikaze antics,

Abandoning the rule book, for they don’t need to be pedantic.

Wongan Hills Dec 2016 © TCD

From Wongan Hills we moved on to Calingiri, to spend the week before our farm sit which is over Christmas and New Year.



We took a day trip over to Northam to see the silos and for some shopping, and dropped into Toodyay to pick up mail.

We have also been across to New Norcia for a look around and a walk across the Monk’s farmland by the river, and walked around Calingiri township.

new-norcia-church apiary-and-well

A visit to Bindoon scored some fresh apricots and rhubarb from the farmer’s markets.

The activity here with the coming and going of wheat trucks into the rail siding is amazing and gives some insight into the quantity of grain harvested in the wheat belt. An estimated 70 million tonnes is this year’s crop, and the trucks are passing over the weighbridge from daylight until well after dark.



Unloading truck containing barley grains into a grid at CHB Esperance


Here we are at Coondle ( arriving 19th Dec ). The farm is lovely and very peaceful and we are looking after 14 alpaca, 13 chooks and 2 Burmese cats plus 2 pet kangaroos. More on all of that in the next post.