The Next-Door Neighbour

Living in the wide open spaces

One of the things we love about our place is the open space and the semi-rural atmosphere. Across the road are some stables and our house is set back far enough on our one acre block that the dust from the gravel road doesn’t bother us too much. We can often spot birdlife somewhere in our yard. There is a pair of blue wrens who are permanent residents and for a while we had a group of magpies who loved climbing in my hanging baskets. We’ve seen galahs doing flips around the power lines in the rain and pigeons getting drunk and dopey from the loquat blossoms. Sitting at my desk I can hear the kookaburras laughing and see the chooks scratching in the dirt.  And out the front we have had peewees nesting in a tree who carry on when I go out to the veggie patch. 

 On one side of our house, which we named The Last Stop, we have new neighbours. Fortunately we get on with them very well, which is quite good because they are just putting in a new pool. On the other side of our house is an empty paddock. Well, actually it’s not really empty at all. There is one resident whose job it is to keep the grass down. It is quite a large paddock though, so sometimes he needs a little help from strangers wandering past.

The paddock next door in drier times

 The paddock is looking very green at the moment, with all the rain we have had recently, and so our neighbour has had quite a few visitors. Some have had a fluffy tail, but others, like the ones that I spotted today, can bound away on much bigger legs. From time to time we often see one or two of these pulling up for a light meal on their way to somewhere else.

I spotted the first one when I happened to gaze out the window. At first I thought it was just one lonely grazer, but then, a few minutes later I spotted another two. Then suddenly a fourth appeared from behind a bush. I wondered if I could get close enough for a photo. There was a fair stretch of grass from my barbed wire fence to the opposite side of the paddock where they were grazing, so the photo is not the greatest, but it’s the best I could do for a happy phone snap.

Roos in the paddock next door

 I could see the roos watching me, so I was moving quite slowly along the fence to get a better view when suddenly the resident neighbour decided he’d had quite enough and chased the roos away. Perhaps he was a bit miffed that I was taking photos of the interlopers and not of him. But he knows how to get my attention. He charged up to the fence and stood, moving his head from one side to the other, as if to ask, which is my best side?

Is this my best side?

I don’t know our neighbour’s name but we see him moving sedately around the paddock, rolling in the dirt or taking off in a sudden gallop from one side of the paddock to the other. He doesn’t have very many human visitors, which is a bit sad, and I’ve never seen him being taken for a walk or a ride. Although he does seem to have a quite sociable nature as he doesn’t seem to mind the birds that hitchhike on his back. All in all, he’s a pretty good neighbour. He doesn’t play loud music or have roaring parties late at night, and it’s always restful to gaze out the window and see nature in the flesh.  

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