st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
[personal profile] st_aurafina
I would love to hear about the part of Australia where you live, if that doesn't feel too RL-revelatory. ([personal profile] kass)

Not too RL-revelatory! Australia's a big place, though we mostly live around the edges. See handy map, with US map for comparison. I live in the bottom right hand corner of the mainland :
 photo scaleofaustralia.jpg

Here’s my state, Victoria. I live in the green section:
 photo victoria.png

There's some rainforest to the east of where I live, in the Otway mountains:
 photo 10OtwayFlyIMG_2442.jpg

It's a temperate rain forest, so it's cool and green and filled with giant ferns, as well as wallabies, koalas, and (it's said) a legendarily huge marijuana crop. It’s also home to a particular barking frog. Which is brown and shy and you'll never see it, but I have to tell you about it because it's called a variegated pobblebonk.

It's more variegated than your average pobblebonk:
 photo pobblebonk.jpg

Our coastline is famous for beauty and shipwrecks. The most tourism worthy bit is the Twelve Apostles, known in pre-tourism time as Sow and Piglets. There's not actually twelve of them. Recently, the main stack fell down so now there's even fewer:
 photo twelveapostles.jpg

It's dairy farming country. Generally, it's green and pleasant. Sometimes it burns. Sometimes it floods. Most of the time, though, it looks like this:
 photo greenhills1.png

And there's cows. Lots of cows. They're always watching:
 photo blurrycows.png.
(These ladies are Friesian. There's also a lot of Jerseys. Dairy cows are huuuuge. Literally a ton.)

But what’s it like to live here? Pretty close. By small rural town, I mean there's 1,000 people. (The population sign says 850, but it hasn't changed in the fourteen years that I've lived here, and I know we're growing. I think 1000 is a fair estimate. ) Everyone knows everyone. I've spent the last fourteen years developing a database of family trees, nicknames, maiden names; it's a necessary skill to know someone's history, where their parents farmed, where their family came from. It's a very tight community, and it took a long time for me to feel like I was a part of it, but I do.

There's a little cluster of shops and houses that make up the heart of town. When the air ambulance comes, they land it on the football field which is close enough to the hospital. We've got a doctor's clinic, a pub, and a school. No nursing home, though we're fundraising to build a small retirement village. The dentist visits once a week, and other specialists every couple of months.

At the end of my street, there's a big paddock with cows and alpacas. We have a wealth of birdlife – mopokes and currawongs and cockatoos and rosellas, and further out of town, there's white falcons and huge wedge tailed eagles. We frequently have koalas and possums in our back yard. There's a mob of kangaroos that live out by the bus depot, and there's platypus in the creek behind my work. (I've never seen them, but apparently the population is doing really well.)

Out the back of work – the creek is off to the right in the trees by the picnic table. This is where I see the duck family wandering around. This is also the obligatory photo of my new car, back when it was new. (It's a very boring car!)
 photo 100_0800.jpg

The shops are mostly shut on Sunday – you can get a newspaper as long as you're up early, or you can go to the supermarket, but unless there's a special event like a farmer's market, you can't go out for breakfast without driving for half an hour. Part of the reason I really got into baking my own bread was that if I wanted fresh bread on a Sunday, I had to get my hands in and make it. We go out of town to buy fruit and vegetables once a week – there's a great greengrocer 45 minutes drive away. It's worth the drive. Dry goods and other groceries are pretty good here, but because we're basically at the bottom of the supply chain for a supermarket, nothing is particularly fresh or green by the time it's worked its way here. You wouldn't find things like mangos or eggplant at our supermarket. We grow a lot of our own vegetables, as much as we're able.

On the other hand, if your car breaks down on the side of the road, people will stop to see if you're okay and if you need a tow to safety. This is handy because we don't have reliable phone reception. I wave to every driver I pass. If you're visiting the area, you'll see the other drivers giving you a farmer's wave – a little wiggle of the fingers from the top of the steering wheel. If you see stock on the road – usually steers that have busted out of a paddock, you pull into the nearest driveway to let someone know, and you flash your headlights at oncoming traffic so they don't hit anything.

Despite the basics being a bit hard to get hold of, we're on a gourmet trail – inside half an hour's drive, we have three artisan cheesemakers, a strawberry farm, a whisky distillery, a chocolatier, an eel farm, two vineyards, an olive grove and garlic farm, two organic beef farmers, raw milk, ice-creamery, cray fishers and local beekeepers. Look at these amazing strawberries – I bought a punnet, and it only had four strawberries in it, but those four strawberries were the size of my hand.

 photo photo2-1.jpg
(Next to my phone for scale)

I know oversized fruit doesn't usually taste good, but these strawberries! They taste like Narnia. Here they are on [personal profile] lilacsigil's birthday pavlova:

 photo photo5.jpg

I didn't grow up in a small town - I used to live in the suburbs of Melbourne, and until fourteen years ago, I'd only worked in large, suburban pharmacies. Rural pharmacies were a good financial prospect back then, because you have the opportunity to retain a lot of control - we're not part of a franchise or buying group, which is rarer and rarer. When I knew that I'd most likely be buying into a rural business, I spent half a year locuming in the country, to see if I could live in a country town. This isn't actually the best way to assess these things, as it turns out, because there's a big, big difference between visiting a country town for a few weeks, and upping stumps to live in one for fourteen years. I thought I'd moved to a different planet for the first year or so - I wasn't a pub goer, I knew nothing about football, and I genuinely didn't understand half of what people were talking about. For example, early on, a man limped into the pharmacy and said "I've done a corky." And I thought "He's done what to his corgi?" But it turns out that a corky = corked a hamstring = he'd hurt himself playing football. For a long, long time it was hard to build empathy because I just didn't understand. But now, the babies that were born the year I arrived are fourteen, I'm one of the oldest businesses in the street, and everyone knows me as The Chemist Lady. We're not even the only lesbians in town these days. This is a good place to live, and I'm glad to be here.

Date: 2013-12-13 12:45 pm (UTC)
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
From: [personal profile] kass
Oh, this is so wonderful; thank you! I love hearing about where people live, and I especially love hearing about people who live in small towns (as do we; our town is about 700, though it's on a road next to several other small towns, in typical New England fashion, so if one doesn't mind driving half an hour in any direction one can reach other towns with other services -- still, we're in farm country too) -- and I love seeing these glimpses of your surroundings. And the variegated pebblebonk! I may be saying that to myself and chuckling all day. <3

Date: 2013-12-13 01:45 pm (UTC)
inkstone: Tenjho Tenge's Madoka smiling (happy)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
What a great post!

And omg, an eel farm?!

Date: 2013-12-13 02:32 pm (UTC)
musesfool: jar of flower petals, spilling (but there is this)
From: [personal profile] musesfool
What a cool post! Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2013-12-13 02:50 pm (UTC)
kindkit: Medieval image of a mapmaker constructing a globe (Fandomless: Mapmaker)
From: [personal profile] kindkit
I knew you lived in a relatively temperate part of Australia, but I'd never pictured it being so green. Cool! Thanks for this.

Date: 2013-12-14 06:08 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
We're in the rainshadow of the Otways - if you drive even an hour north it gets much drier!

Date: 2013-12-13 02:59 pm (UTC)
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
From: [personal profile] netgirl_y2k
This is a good post, I enjoyed it greatly; and not just because I feel better somehow knowing that I live in the same world as something called the variegated pobblebonk.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:19 pm (UTC)
lizcommotion: a photo of a globe (world)
From: [personal profile] lizcommotion
this was an awesome post. Thank you! <3

Date: 2013-12-13 03:24 pm (UTC)
amaresu: Thessaly all dressed up and counting things on her fingers (comic-Thesselegent)
From: [personal profile] amaresu
It's funny, but the pictures of the pasture and the cows could've been taken an hours drive from where I live. The rainforest and the frog though not so much.

I knew you lived in a small town, but I didn't realize how small. It sounds like a lovely place to live.

Date: 2013-12-13 03:58 pm (UTC)
ignipes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ignipes
Variegated pobblebonk! What a fantastic name.

This is a lovely post. I love hearing about your little town.

Date: 2013-12-13 04:23 pm (UTC)
muccamukk: Colleen looking at something she likes, hands on her cheeks. a little heart in the air. (Marvel: Heart)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
What a great entry! It made me very nostalgic for when I was in Victoria in 1995. Tree ferns! Those are some strawberries, and pavolva! Yum!

Pobblebonk is my new favourite name.


Date: 2013-12-13 05:38 pm (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: woman with green feathery wings, text: stories last longer: but only by becoming only stories (Default)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
That is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Also... mmm. Strawberries. I want some!

Date: 2013-12-13 06:28 pm (UTC)
d_generate_girl: New Who - the TARDIS (though the road is long we journey on)
From: [personal profile] d_generate_girl
That's so cool! Australia is one place I've never been, and it looks awesome. And omg giant strawberries.

Date: 2013-12-14 12:49 am (UTC)
umadoshi: (riceball love (snowgarden))
From: [personal profile] umadoshi
Eel farm! Variegated pobblebonk...!!!

I love this post. I've never been to Australia, but the several friends who've been have all loved it. ^_^

Date: 2013-12-14 03:05 am (UTC)
torachan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] torachan
This was a great post! I would never want to live in a small town (even a small town much larger than what you're talking about) but it's neat to read about.

Date: 2013-12-14 06:13 am (UTC)
lonelywalker: A young man in a baseball cap lying on his back, eyes closed, with the text "effort and error, study and love" (Default)
From: [personal profile] lonelywalker
a mob of kangaroos that live out by the bus depot

I imagine them smoking and playing loud music while scaring little old ladies. They probably also wear leather jackets.

Date: 2013-12-14 12:22 pm (UTC)
vass: Small turtle with green leef in its mouth (Eat your greens)
From: [personal profile] vass
This post makes me very happy.


And happy cows. And everything green. And pobblebonks!

Date: 2013-12-15 02:47 am (UTC)
aphrodite_mine: barrettes in reddish hair read 'feminist killjoy' (Default)
From: [personal profile] aphrodite_mine

Date: 2013-12-16 01:12 am (UTC)
mergatrude: (sunburnt kanga)
From: [personal profile] mergatrude

Dairy cows - seriously planning to take over the world one day. /o\

Date: 2013-12-17 09:00 pm (UTC)
frayadjacent: Buffy smirking over Giles with quarterstaff (Default)
From: [personal profile] frayadjacent
Ah, your home town seems so lovely. I really have to make it over there sometime. when I was on the Great Ocean Road a couple weeks ago I kept saying, "that's where [personal profile] st_aurafina and [personal profile] lilacsigil live!"

Also I'm pretty sure I heard a variegated pobblebonk! Or maybe 20! At any rate I definitely heard a lot of frog-like things.

Date: 2014-01-03 07:45 am (UTC)
redcirce: (Leela)
From: [personal profile] redcirce
- this is a great, interesting post

- the pobblebonk is a great name

- OMG those strawberries are mind-blowing! (And look delicious)

Date: 2015-06-02 08:46 pm (UTC)
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (: Out_There box by Delurker)
From: [personal profile] out_there
This is really interesting. The pictures are lovely, and the 12 Apostles pic made me snigger.

I didn't grow up in a small town - I used to live in the suburbs of Melbourne

It must have been a huge shock. I went Canberra (too cold) to Melbourne (too pricey) to Geelong, but I couldn't imagine going much smaller. Not that I'd miss the people so much as miss the cinema and the 24 hour KMart and having Bunnings within a 5 minute drive.

And the library. I'd miss that so much more than the people.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] out_there - Date: 2015-06-05 03:41 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2015-09-08 03:29 pm (UTC)
escritoireazul: (Default)
From: [personal profile] escritoireazul
This post is so lovely and interesting.

Date: 2015-09-08 03:44 pm (UTC)
ayebydan: by <user name="pureimagination"> (dog)
From: [personal profile] ayebydan
This is so lovely to see. My stepgran grew up in Sydney and she gets irritated when people think Australia is just bush and surfing. It is nice to see the greenery. :)

Date: 2015-09-14 04:21 pm (UTC)
adafrog: (Default)
From: [personal profile] adafrog
Wow, very cool. I grew up in a small town. Nowhere as cool as this one seems. ;) About 1200 in town, and then farmers.

Those cows to me look like Holsteins. lol I remember from ag class some of the other breeds, and maybe this one? We have jerseys here, too. When I was little we had Brown Swiss.


That's great that you're doing well with your business.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] adafrog - Date: 2015-09-17 10:34 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2017-01-10 07:30 pm (UTC)
spikedluv: (misc: candy canes by graffitigraphic)
From: [personal profile] spikedluv
Hi! This post is very interesting! I love the description of the place where you live. And though I'm giving away my US-centric-ism, I had no idea that Australia was so big!!

I also live somewhat in the boonies. I grew up on a dairy farm in upstate NY and left to go to college (3 hours away in an even boonier part of the state) and law school (8 hours away in our nation's capitol), and then I came back. I currently live just a couple miles from where I grew up. We have gas station convenience stores in our village, but have to drive 20 min to the next village to do any sort of grocery or clothes shopping, and even further if you want to go to a mall or anything like that. I like it, mostly. *g*

Also, I had the same thought about the cows looking like the Holsteins we had on our dairy farm, and find it interesting from your comment that Holsteins and Friesians are one and the same.

Lastly, those strawberries look amazing!


st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)

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