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Let There Be Spring
Emu (Dromaius novahollandiae) dad and his young take a drink at the Homestead watering hole. Photo by Heather Shipp

Let There Be Spring

Springtime lives in all of our hearts as the time of year when all of the females swoon over baby animals and men tense up their muscles and say things like, “of course I don’t think fluffy bunny tails are cute”. The season is full of wildflowers dancing in the wind, rising thermometers, and tiny marsupials snoozing on moms back all tuckered out after a long day of exploration. Here at Gnaraloo we are no different than the rest with our baby animals and shades of springtime, however, our inhabitants all have their own rustic charm. Everything at Gnaraloo is (for lack of a better word) vintage. Every plant sports a sun burn, every animal has battle scars, and the people themselves find a way to be just feral enough to blend in. While this may make our springtime blossom seem dull, I can assure you it is quite the opposite.

Kestrels

Cabin #5 Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) fledglings give us “the eye” while we watch them from below. Photo by Heather Shipp

The last few weeks we have settled into our new home amongst the usual: kangaroos (Macropus robustus), emus (Dromaius novahollandiae), and goats (Capra aegagrus), as well as the unusual: cockroaches (Periplaneta americana), mice (Mus musculus) and snakes. Seemingly, we arrived just in time to be comfortable with our animal friends before they began to catch springtime fever and multiply. Baby goats roam free, always yelling, but never far enough from mom to be lost. Joeys rest their sleepy heads outside the pouch while mom grazes on budding plants we’ve yet to see bloom. The best babies, though, are the ones who begin their lives Gnaraloo-perfectly. Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) fledglings hatch beneath the roof of Cabin 5 already scraggly and ready to capture their prey. Emu chicks learn to hide under dad at the watering hole while naked, freshly sheared sheep stampede out of the barn in search for a drink. We even have a resident mouse, which ate a hole in my purse to nest just before she decided it wasn’t good enough and nested inside the oven instead. She evacuated her litter somewhere between roasted pumpkin and banana chocolate chip muffins. While all of the seasonal love has us swooning, there is just one animal that we are happy hasn’t seemed to multiply – our sink cockroaches, who get their daily workout running from projectile thongs.

House mouse and baby

Cabin #2 House Mouse (Mus musculus) carrying her baby from the oven to a new nest in the cupboard.
Photo by Heather Shipp

Springtime grass may not literally be greener on our side of Australia, but house pets and little marsupials are not forgotten in our neck of the woods. We are just hoping the mama turtles will be as productive as the rest of our animal friends!

By Tess DeSerisy

Goats

Two kids (Capra aegagrus) stick together while in search for their mother. Photo by Heather Shipp

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