11 October 2014
Spring may be a European concept, but here at the farm there’s a definite spring-like atmosphere. Normally staid goats cavort in the field, the three young ones following their parents in a steeplechase across a ditch. The swallows have been more successful as parents this year and in the space of two days their babies have transformed from tweeting beaks that look picturesquely over the rim of the nest to speeding bullets travelling in formation. The garden has exploded into waves of seeding asparagus, rocket and parsley while the kale and chicory are only slightly behind, bulbous with bees on their flowers. It’s a scene of complete serenity – the asparagus ferns wafting, the kale flowers punctuating the green distance with lemon-yellow flowers, the brown snake gliding past the compost bin …
This is the brown snake’s second languid appearance in exactly this spot in two days. I know it’s the same one because it has a small scar near the tip of the tail. I’m so close – collecting lettuce – that our eyes are at the same level. I can see that it has pale eyes, which helps me to identify it as an Eastern Brown Snake, rather than a King Brown (orange irises). It keeps gliding, moving its whole metre and a half length around the path established by its head, more interested in what may be in the compost bin than in me. I still remove myself swiftly, watching it at all times. It doesn’t exactly follow me, but it does end up on the paving near the sliding doors, casually searching, poking its nose up the corrugations of the tin for any lunchtime snacks. The frog we saw on Thursday night is not seen again.
More attractively, sightings of an echidna – a young one, sticking its long nose into the soil in a ‘you-can’t-see-me’ way – near the front gate, a young wallaby by the road and a pademelon vanishing up the gully. We have only seen the pademelon at night previously and it’s a treat to see it in daylight, to know its colouring (very dark brown, almost black, with a red tinge around the head) and see more clearly its powerful legs and stubby tail. Daylight saving must have confused the wildlife as well.