A Day Off

Today feels like a day off, which it is, being Australia Day, but it also feels like a day off because I’ve actually stayed home today, listening to Triple J’s hottest 100 for 2004.  The last couple of days have been very busy, and the last few remaining days of my holidays will also be busy.

My parents came to stay from Friday to Monday, but were unwell with colds (and I was still getting over mine) so we didn’t do very much, unless you count naps and coughing as “activities”.  They complained about the heat (around 30°C) which sadly wasn’t relieved by the dry thunderstorms we had.  Finally on Sunday the rain started falling, and every day since has been rainy and cool.  But of course they left on Monday morning…

goats

On Monday I headed down to Bendemeer to pick up Peter from the property on which he has been staying, and we drove to Currabubula to see a goat farm as part of Peter’s research for buying his own property.  The rain was very welcome because neither of us like the heat very much.  The goats were very funny because they followed us around and kept coming up behind me.  At least they aren’t big enough to push you over, but I’d prefer to stay clear of the horns!

Yesterday I met up with Peter in Uralla to go and view some properties with a real estate agent.  Unfortunately the agent had been over booked so we had a few hours to kill.  So we went up to Guyra to visit the wool shop.  The slubby wool I ordered last week hadn’t yet come in (I hadn’t really expected it would have) but there was plenty to look at.  Then we grabbed some lunch in Armidale as well as getting some credit on Peter’s phone, and went back to Uralla.

chook

We were shown several properties to the west of Uralla before the agent ran out of time, but it was very interesting and informative.  After afternoon tea in Uralla (and the best apple and cinnamon cake I’ve ever had!!!) we headed south again, this time to Moonbi, home of the Big Chook.  Okay, so it’s not that big.  Or impressive.  But if you think that’s weird, I’ll have to dig out my photos of the Big Carrot in Okahune, New Zealand.  Being a carrot botanist, I actually had my family make a detour to see that in 1996.

cassinia

The purpose of visiting Moonbi was to make the Jenny Jeep climb lots of hills find the location of a newly described, rare Cassinia in the daisy family Asteraceae, and collect a specimen and seed for the NSW Herbarium (where I used to work) and Seedbank.  The Cassinia was very abundant in a small area, mainly behind where I took the photo on the left.  I took lots of photos on both my camera and the Herbarium’s – mainly because I was having problems with both camera’s focus mechanisms.  Half the ones on my camera are out of focus, but the ones I got right are excellent.  Hopefully I was just as successful on the other camera.

tincisa

Finally it was time to head home again, via Bendemeer to drop Peter off.  There was time for a quick tour of the garden, and the granite rocks behind the house are home to one of the native carrots that have been part of my research, Trachymene incisa or “Native Parsnip”.  Large numbers of this beastie were covering a large part of the bare rocks by emerging from the cracks and spreading flower branches in all directions.  The umbels (groups of flowers) were only about the size of ten cent pieces on these plants, but further north the same species can put out bigger umbels.  And so a couple of really fun days came to an end.  Thanks Peter – I had a ball!

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