“The Hollow” For four days the sun has unmercifully wrapped us in its hot embrace, I revel in its persistence, taking long daily walks. Rover the resident Kelpie has decided not to accompany me as he has done on my past visits, his Mistress isn’t well at the moment and I think he senses this so is never far from her side. Although he and the newest acquisition to the household, a little one eyed orphan lamb who goes by the name of Louie, accompany me to the home yard gate. Passing through into the open paddock, I’m instantly mobbed by five bigger orphan lambs bleating in unison, forever hoping for a bottle of milk, that has been denied them for a couple of weeks. Now, once they realise it’s not forthcoming they wander off in the search for something to nibble on. From there my companions on these walks are a flock of constantly chattering little Willie Wagtails, who keep pace by flitting from fence post to fence post along the track. The magpie that appears to live in the gnarled old gum tree near the dam, never fails to warble a greeting as I walk beneath its resting branch. A family of swallows, nesting in the small three sided rusting tin pump shelter, that sits precariously on the bank of the dam, now thankfully full for the first time in years, take flight and circle overhead. Further along I catch a fleeting glimpse of the resident duck-like bird silently gliding on the water in the middle of the dam, which on spotting my intrusion instantly disappears beneath the surface, only to bob up again over the far side. I have been trying to identify this shy little resident’s breed for years, but as I can never see it long enough, I hazard a guess that it may well be a very common blue beak duck. No matter what its genetics it is as much part of my daily walk as are the buzzing fly’s that forever keep me company. A little distance further is the forlorn looking weather battered turn back gum tree that marks one kilometre from the house. Enjoying the peace and quiet I continue to the gate at the far end of the paddock. One doesn’t notice that the track has a slight incline until you turn to retrace your steps, whereupon a one hundred and eighty degree panoramic view unfurls to reveal almost the complete six hundred acres of the farm, a view that never fails to move me, Through the shimmering haze dancing across the paddocks, way off in the distance I see the reflective glint from the sun’s rays as they catch the windows of the little farm house. High overhead the crisscrossing white jet trails share the brilliant blue sky with two gliding hawks that nest in a gum tree near the main road dam. At this time of the year the canola crops have been harvested, leaving foot high stiff grey/white stubble that stretches for miles in every direction. This is left until a safer time to burn it off, although making it a hazard to walk through, if not wearing strong working boots and long sturdy trousers. Standing there the only sounds to be heard is the beautiful bird song chorus, consisting of the loud and ringing calls of the Currawongs, the warble of Magpies, the chatter of the wagtails and an occasional kookaburra laughing off in the distance. I am the intruder here among the many gums and pine trees that grow along the paddock boundary fences, this is their habitat. From this vantage I can clearly see the grasshoppers are starting to hatch and are hopping through the stubble to find the new stunted growth that is struggling up along the dusty ploughed furrows. To me a visiting city slicker they are an incredible fragile looking little insect,with amazing camouflage colouring that blends them invisibly into their surrounds, with an ability to fly such long distances, and once on the ground hop such great lengths, resembling a miniature insect kangaroo. Although harmless to people, of course to the farm folk they’re a pest that can clear a crop in a matter of hours. Over the years I have travelled a little and visited many beautiful displays of nature, glorious mountains, natural forests full of colourful flora and fauna, all these are pleasing to my eye, but it is here overlooking this almost colourless sun scorched farm that I find peace and contentment.