wild colonial girl

A freelancer moves to Castlemaine

30 kangaroos, 12 alpacas, 5 magpies, two shetlands and a chook

Creswick Wool Mill alpacas

Creswick Wool Mill alpacas

Every morning we are waking to a winter wonderland. The longer nights mean better sleep-ins (it still seems like midnight at 7am) but at 9am the ground is still covered in sparkling, crunchy frost that steams in the weak sun.

I brave the cold with GG in her pram. Even in zero-degree weather she insists on taking her socks off so we wrestle with each other on the stroll. Each day I head in a different direction down a dirt track, first right, first left. I never get very far because I’m usually stopped by something that catches my breath. The first day we strolled up past the Kickback Corral. Yep, pardners, an old sign bearing the name swings broken from a tree. Just around the corner, pram wheels spinning in the deep and rutted gravel, there are horses. A Shetland pony nibbles grass, fat, not hungry enough to come to the fence to check us out. No carrots.

The next day we head right and it’s even colder. My hands ache. My feet crackle. I’ve been to the opshop to find more clothes. Coming from Sydney (originally Melbourne) I couldn’t imagine a real winter. I have seven layers on. And I haven’t even got to my coat. I waddle along. I need fingerless gloves and a funny hat. A lot of people in Castlemaine wear funny hats. The ones with the dangly bits that keep your ears warm. I couldn’t ever see the point. But now I want one — the more outrageous the better. We have been battling with McCool for months now about wearing a coat. But even he’s given up and is wearing the warmest he can find. The other day I drove him to child care and the car declared ‘minus 1.5 degrees’. I couldn’t believe it. Can humans exist in such temperatures?

Funny woollen hatBut back to the travels. GG and I turned a corner and a mob of 30 kangaroos froze in the pale light. They stayed still as if playing a game of hide and seek. We stood frozen too; it felt like trespassing to walk through them. Ten minutes we stayed like that, hushed. Finally a large roo started to hop and they all bounded a short distance away, then resumed their stance. Eventually a few heads went down to nibble at the grass. I want to go all Instagramy now and show you some shimmery sepia photos but I didn’t have my camera, and my phone is crap.

At the local farmers’ market beautiful freckled chooks were for sale. Twenty bucks. One had happily laid an egg in her cage, and I wanted to take her straight home. The owner took a dainty hen out and gave her to a small boy. She relaxed completely in his arms, posing for a photo for the local paper; the photographer seemed desperate to find something happening. McCool stroked the chooks gently, enjoying their warmth. I chomped my way through a spinach and cheese burek.

The local wool mill at Creswick had a ‘cutest cria competition’. Crias are baby alpacas and they jostled with each other as we decided which one deserved our vote. McCool quickly points out Scout, the tiniest, a jet black rascal with the softest fuzzy head. I’m not usually one for the shops they place at the start of the building to entice you along the way but this was full of delectable soft things to snuggle up into, alpaca throws and sheepskin rugs. At prices in the hundreds of dollars but you can always cop a feel, anyway, free of charge.

Driving around the region it feels like you’re on holiday, that you’ve grabbed a long weekend and are exploring with the kids. But the best part is you don’t have those ‘we’ve gotta return to the city’ Sunday night blues. We wake up again here on Monday morning. It’s a good move. I can feel it in my waters.


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18 thoughts on “30 kangaroos, 12 alpacas, 5 magpies, two shetlands and a chook

  1. The best way I found to keep kids in their gear at the snow, is to get them those snow mitts (not gloves because you can’t get their fingers into the separate parts.) The trick is to pull the mitt wrist parts up over their sleeve (either their jacket, or if their jacket is too thick, over their skivvy/jumper underneath.) The elastic or rib around the writst holds onto the clothing. If the rib is secure enough they can’t pull the mitts off. And therefore, their socks, their hats, and anything else, also stays on. If you put the mitts on a piece of ribbon – double it up, and loop it around the brand name tag at the neck of her jacket or jumper then drop one mitt thru each sleeve to dangle out the ends,, even if she gets a mitt off it won’t get lost.
    You could of course tie her socks to her trackies the same way 😉

    • Great tip, thanks, we must look so funny stopping every two minutes while she throws a sock onto the road, and me going ‘SOCK ON! SOCK ON!’ as if she’s gonna just do it.

  2. I hand crochet pure wool froggy beanies ‘with the dangly ear bits’ (amongst many others) – almost like your pic. Found your blog link on Castlemainia. Enjoy your new abode in Castlemaine, it’s a great place to be 🙂

  3. Oh you don’t have to, was just sharing the pic for its froggy similarities 🙂

    But yes I do sell them, I’m usually at the artists market behind the Theatre Royal each month during autumn and winter. And this coming Saturday out at Maldon for the ‘Christmas in July’ festival and market x

  4. lovely stuff. i’m a sucker for a mob of roos.

  5. Hi Kirsten,
    Crochelle sells the beanies she is at the artists market and this saturday at the Maldon winter wonderland fair. Glad to see you are enjoying the cold. Been here 1 year now and am still not used to it. Can you check out my blog He bear she bear? I am posting a new post today.
    the reclaimed room

  6. I’m sure you could do with a few warm knits – I’ll work on a donation or two!

  7. I can totally picture feeling like you’d intruded on the mob of roos. I cannot fathom living somewhere so cold. Better you than me Wild Colonial Girl!

  8. Excellent that you were feeling so positive in the cold. Hope you’re looking forward to another winter! Thanks for Rewinding.

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