Saturday, February 04, 2012
Magpies and memories
While J and I walked the cliff top this morning this magpie was catching the odd worm. We have two varieties of magpie in Australia, the black backed and as you can see here the white backed. These are our local ones.
They are capable of eating lizards but seem to prefer worms. When they sing, or carol as we call it the sound is quite beautiful.
We have several families around the garden and close farm area here, they can be a bit nasty during mating season as some get it into their heads that we humans are an enemy and they swoop, you can get a nasty hole in the back of your head if they hit you, luckily we have not had any swooping magpies close here for a long time.
I remember as a child at my grandmothers cottage in the country having to wave a large leafy stick every time we went to the outside loo (dunny) in the mating season as there was a family of swooping magpies with a nest in the large gum tree under which the loo stood.
Talk about outside loos!(the smell, phenol and ashes and cut up newspaper!!) and wood stoves and kerosene lamps and the Coolgardie safe to keep food cool and getting ice from the bus in a wheelbarrow to put in the zinc lined ice chest. A water bag hanging on the veranda full of water to keep it cool.
Water got from the well with a rope and bucket when in the summer the rain water rain out, the jersey house cow for the best cream.
A wash in front of the fire at night and a bath once a week, children last, no wonder I dont like baths (that scummy water almost cold by the time the rest of the household had finished, the so called bathroom was freezing cold in winter, hot in summer).
Yet as a city child I loved those school holidays with my grandmother.
No fans, no electricity even, my grandmother who had come out from England was a tough person, yet she had known a very good life in the UK.
A fantastic cook, she made the lightest sponges in that wood stove and I remember her lemon curd (always made to sell at fetes), pavlovas and helping her to make butter.
In her day a beauty with some decidedly odd family history( not sure how many marriages or non marriages she had!) I often wonder how she coped with it all.