In 5 months we will have been here for 3 years. It has flown and yet I feel as though I am just starting to become familiar with the place. Having always envied the abilities of older people to predict and forecast weather from bird behaviour or plants about the place, I’m finally putting a little store of information away for this place. For example, I know that if the wind is coming from the west side of the house and if clouds come quickly from that direction also then we are going to have mother of a storm that night. If it is dead still outside but the treetops across the road are flicking about, then I have about 8 minutes to get the clothes off the line before all the undies parachute over the fence. If the chickens are all trying to stand on each others heads and look meaningfully at the kitchen window, then it means the frost is particularly heavy and I need to pour some boiling water over the scraps and get it out there quick smart!
The other morning we had a thick fog – like pea soup (mmmmmpea soup) and as I was trudging about feeding the animals I heard an animal cry that would not have been out of place in Jurassic Park. It quickened my pulse immediately, not because of the sense of a lost world in the fog about to trample me, but I knew straight away what it was. They came a year ago, early June, with a great cry that seemed to bounce about the hills here and when I finally saw them I could not take my eyes off them. Big black cockatoos, three times the size (at least) of white cockatoos. Flying in the sky they look about the size of the wedge tail eagles we used to see in Alice Springs. They are magnificent and they congregate in the trees across the road from us in this cold weather emerging on mass and shrieking as they make forays out for water or to socialise. Going by last year, they will disappear before the end of winter, but hopefully next year I will remember to expect them and look for them instead of jumping at their prehistoric screech in the foggy morning and spilling the chooks hot porridge on my boots.