Silver Turkey Bush, Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland.

 

We’ve had a great spring for the perennial wildflowers.  However there are very few annual wildflowers, as we didn’t get any follow up rain after the 55 ml we received in July.  And so far this spring all we have had is dry storms which have started bushfires.  About 30,000 acres of Zenonie has been burnt out.

The top picture shows Silver turkey bush which flowers profusely in late winter, it’s colours range from dark purple through to a nice lilac colour.  It’s very good at staking motorbike tyres!

Cassia or Broom Bush, Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland.

The Cassias are next and they flower for months, this one we call broom bush or punty bush.

Then the Eremophilas start, the prettiest and showiest of them all is sturtii, common name in our neck of the woods is False Sandalwood.  Also Eremophyla maculata is pretty nice too.

Eremophylla sturtii, Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

The colours range from a pale pink through to dark lilac. When they get to the end of their flowering period the ground around is covered in blossom and the bush still has white bracts all over and looks like it has been frosted  This bush is considered to be a woody weed but redeems itself for a month or so each year by the display it puts on.Kilcowera Station, Thagomindah,  Eremophyla sturtii.

Eremophyla maculata, Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

Eremophyla maculata is poisonous to stock, but the birds love it!

Then the acacias start flowering and they are always spectacular.

This one is Acacia victoriae.

Acacia victoriae, Kilcowera Station, Thargomindah, Outback Queensland.

And this one we call dead finish, it’s super prickly and Zebra Finches really love building their nests in them for protection from predators.

Acacia tetragonophylla,  Kilcowera Station, Thargomindah,  Outback Queensland.

Other trees and shrubs flowering are the Leopard Trees, Whitewood, Needlewoods and the Bloodwoods should start soon.  All this means lots of food for the bees, insects and birds.  We also have an abundance of Bearded Dragons, Goannas and Emus around.

Lucy in the wildflowers, Kilcowera Station Outback Australia

Lucy in the wildflowers, Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

 

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Benanga Creek flowing into Lake Wyara , March 2012 at Kilcowera Station.

Benanga Creek flowing into Lake Wyara , March 2012 at Kilcowera Station.

Driving home yesterday the radio presenter was telling her audience that she had had a bad week, a week not to be repeated.  She asked if her listeners would like to call in and share the good or bad stories of their last week.  So I got too thinking about my week and realised that I had had a rather interesting one.  So I will inflict it upon you too!!

I’ll start with Monday.

 It is still very wet around here and Greg has not been able to check on the agistment cattle in the Lake Paddock as he can’t drive out to the east.  Couldn’t even ride a bike out there. The airstrip had dried out sufficiently for me to take off, so I happily went to check things out in the little Skyfox.  Saw lots of cows, 4 bulls fighting and hanging around a trough which had no water in it.  Surely the idiots will poke off and find a drink somewhere!  There is water everywhere but in that trough!  The creeks out there all ran very big and the fences have been washed down again.  But the cows have not gone out that far –  yet, so hopefully they will stay on Kilcowera and not wander onto the National Park or the neighbours place.  Greg will get out there as soon as he can to fix the fences. I could not see any cattle tracks on the wrong side of the fence or cattle for that matter.

 What I did see however was thousands of pelicans on the islands on Lake Wyara, so they are back again, for the third year in a row.  Oh thank God that rotten, horrible drought is over!  I changed the oil in the plane when I landed and helped to feed the mickey bulls who are waiting to be put on a truck for the saleyards.

Tuesday saw me tootling up the road to do my weekly cleaning job for the elderly couple at Wathopa, an 80 kilometre round trip.   I swear I do a better job on cleaning house there than I do here!  That afternoon I was cleaning the quarters trying to get things ready for our visitors.  And repainting signs.

Wednesday – Greg drove me into town over the flooded and washed out Gerrygheroo Creek crossing and I caught a commercial flight to Toowoomba to pick up my abandoned mini bus.  But it wasn’t all smooth sailing as there was a storm over the TWBA airport so we had to land at the Oakey Military Base and be bussed to TWBA.

  Thursday – the fun part, shopping all day!  Buying such things as a new TV as the one that we had can’t go digital.  Oil filters, batteries, groceries, beer, wine, and a haircut were all on the agenda.  And then there is the packing of the bus, after all if you just keep throwing the stuff in you won’t get as much in, as you would if you are meticulous about it.  So I am.  I also went to a tyre place just to check that I had the correct amount of air in the tyres as I have a big load in  the poor little thing.

Friday –   I took the bus to a radio place and had a UHF radio installed in it.  Greg has been going to put one in ever since we have had it (a few years now), I buy the radios off ebay but they seem to get put into some other vehicle or bike.  So it’s done now!

More shopping, then drive to Dalby.  Friday arvo I am buying fruit and veg, and meat (yummy things like pork and chicken and fish and lamb – we get sick of beef!)  Just on dark and I have nearly finished packing the bus up, cold stuff in, with lots of ice blocks and the eskies taped up ready for the drive home tomorrow.   Keep checking the weather, the monsoon trough is heading further south every day and more cloud is coming in from the west, will I make it home before it rains again???

Saturday – Leave Dalby at 5am and drive straight through to St George, a quick stop for breakfast (a pie!) and to deliver our new  brochures to the Visitor information Centre.  More deliveries are made at Bollon, Cunnamulla and Eulo, some rain on the way but no worries and no water over the road to speak of.  The last 100 kilometers on our dirt road was a breeze even though I was seriously tired.  The contractors are back on the job at Gerrygheroo,  I hope they get it fixed this time, they have been working on it for months and then it rains and washes the crossing away again and they go away for two weeks and then it rains again….and the bloody road is closed once more – we don’t get any mail, visitors can’t get here, we can’t truck our cattle and so it goes on……………………..and on.

But all up a good week!

We call this the Red Hole and have a nice drive for visitors to get to it.

 
A lagoon on Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland
A lagoon on Kilcowera Station, Outback Queensland

We’ve been quite busy here for the last few weeks, had a delightful young couple here for a month to help with some general station maintenance.  She was french and he an australian, they had a month to fill in before they flew to India where his mother owns a hotel, so they decided to see a bit of the outback.  They did all manner of things including cleaning grids out, mustering and branding cattle, helping with our visitors, gardening and cooking.  Our french – english has improved somewhat, her english certainly did. 

We have been able to buy in 2 mobs of cows since my last post and the latest lot is in the cattle yard at Zenonie right now.  These ones are all Herefords but the first lot was a mixture of breeds. 

I took a nice South African couple on a tour of the place a few days ago and was able to show them the pelicans nesting on the island at the southern end of Lake Wyara and the many more thousands of birds also nesting right along the southern shoreline as well.  There are plenty of other water birds on the lake and also on Benanga creek.  We had a fantastic look at 8 Bourke’s Parrots at Murderer’s Bore.   A stroll through the grass flushed out quail and the chestnut breasted quail thrush. Some other guys claim to have seen the cinnamon quail thrush as well. 

On one of the last stops for the day we went into Rustlers Roost and I spied an unusual looking vine growing between the rocks.  Closer inspection proved it to be Hardenbergia violaceae or Sarsaparilla vine, a rare plant, last seen here 15 or 20 years ago.  We also have the beautiful Carpet of Snow flowering at the moment (Stachhousiaceae  Macgregoria racemigera )  Cop that mouthful!

Carpet of Snow or Stackhousiaceae growing on the margins of a swamp at Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

Carpet of Snow or Stackhousiaceae growing on the margins of a swamp at Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.
Our new second hand bus gets its’ first major run next Sunday when we have 11 people flying into Thargomindah for us to pick up, show them around town, have lunch, bring them to Kilcowera and give them a bit of a look around here.  Then the evening meal and tip them into bed for the night.  A cooked breakfast, back to town and onto their plane for the next leg of their journey.  The tour operator is Young at Heart and they do tours through out the world.  Going to be busy, our daughter and her boyfriend are coming down from Quilpie to help over the weekend.  Bless her little cotton socks. 

The local council has been working on our road in the last few weeks and it is in pretty good condition in most places.

A typical outback road.  Just joking.  Really. 

A typical outback road. Just joking. Really.

What a morning!!!  Decided to do some baking (biscuits, cakes etc) so I’m listening to talk back radio and cooking when a largish red helicopter starts  buzzing around the place and then goes.  Many hours later this English sounding lady rings up and asks if they can land near a big swamp to the north of us and camp the night.  Whatever makes them happy I suppose.  Then a truck arrives driven by an old gent of about 90 bringing some fencing material for us.  Greg and a friend unload that and old Mac goes back to Hungerford. 

  Then a bloke rings up from Sydney wanting some info on Pelicans in the area.  He wants to do a wildlife documentary and has heard there are pelicans, there aren’t pelicans, they’re breeding, they’re not breeding. I said there’s about 15,000 of them on Lake Wyara and I didn’t think they were out there swapping comics.  Often these overtures come to nothing so we don’t get too excited about them anymore.  Not until you see the whites of their eyes.  

We had another one last week wanting to film a commercial on a clay pan. 

Even though I obligingly went out and took photos of a claypan and sent them to her I have heard nothing back.  And lastly a visit from a never before seen black goanna on my front veranda which had Lucy in a total frenzy.

Black goanna at Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

He’s old mate, cute isn’t he?