270. Sunday 2nd September 2012. Where we found beauty at Mt.Beauty…

Monday 27th August

We have not yet arrived in the Victorian Alpine Country so it was a surprise to wake to a very cold (thank goodness for the snuggly warmth of our feather doona) WWWGO and when I stepped outside found TERIOS covered in ice as was the grass. Spring will begin officially in six days but according to the weather forecasts, winter, cold temps, snow and chilling winds will continue in the Alpine regions. The ski season will continue for some time to come.

Tuesday 28th August

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, its off to snow we go. We left Culcairn and drove the Olympic Highway until it connected with the Hume Highway and continued along through Albury and turning off just before Wodonga onto the Kiewa Valley highway. Even from a distance we could see snow covered mountains ahead of us.

280812 snow cap

Along the Kiewa Valley, dotted with lush pastures and dairy farms we could see the snow capped mountains ahead.

280812 snowwwwgo

We stopped for soup at a lookout at Tawonga where Mt.Bogong sits in the background.

An hour or so later we were in Mt.Beauty. We arrived at our house sit and moved much of our belongings into the huge Red Cedar barn like building beside the main house.

010912 barn

The Barn. My home for the next month.

The property is 2 acres and is intersected by a fast flowing creek around which the owners have built some wonderful gardens with dry stone walls terracing the sloping block. They have flower gardens, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, geese runs and a beautiful workibg observatory.

We are in sight of Victoria’s highest peak, Mt.Bogong at 1936 metres is snow- capped.

280812 mtbogong

The prominent feature of the valley, Mt.Bogong. Incidentally the Bogong Moth, reported in a post earlier this year was named after this region.

By 5 pm the warmth had gone out of the sun and it was quite chilly. The fire was lit and fed lots of wood until we went to bed at 10.30. I had half formed plans to drive 32 Klms up the mountain to the ski fields at Falls Creek. I have now shelved that idea as we will need to carry chains for the wheels and will need anti-freeze in the radiator.

Anybody reading this post would get the impression I am as excited as a little boy seeing the snow for the first time. Their impression is correct. I am excited by the snow, no excuses. The CO-PILOT will leave on Friday bound for Canada. She comes from the land of snow and it is all quite natural to her.

290812 moon

A rising moon over Mt.Bogong

My main tasks while staying at this house is to attend to three geese, one male, two female and an Italian Mareema Sheepdog. For those shaking their heads not knowing what a Mareema is, see the explanation on Wikipedia.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maremma_Sheepdog Basically they are a BIG white dog about the size of a medium polar bear. In fact this one looks like a polar bear. He guards the geese from intruders, especially those pesky foxes.  She loves to play and cuddle. Cuddles I can do but playing with something twice my weight means I am gunna have to get in shape.


010912 sienna

Sienna the Mareema Guarddog/Sheepdog relaxing while off duty.

010912 eye open

Even while off duty and relaxing she still has one eye open and keeping watch. Double click on the photo to see the thick fur which looks similar to that of a polar bear.

Wednesday 29th August.

Our first full day in the high country and most of it was taken up with loads of washing and moving things in and out of WWWGO as we needed or not needed them. The CO-PILOT final group certificate arrived in the mail so we made an appointment to see a Tax Agent in Wangaratta  tomorrow. It is a 1.5 hour drive over a mountain range to Bright then to Wanga.

Thursday 30th August.

We saw the tax agent and after lots of paper work it was announced I would get a modest return while Donnis will get a very healthy return. Yahoo! On the strength of the information, Donnis insisted on  a hobby for me while she is in Canada. The hobby is a Parott AR Drone Remote controlled helicopter, operated from the iPod.

The Parrot A R Drone with outdoor hull ready for take off. I plan to learn new skills from this device.

Halfway back to Mt.Beauty, while shopping at Myrtleford the tax agent called. Oops! A mistake has been made. Instead of Donnis receiving a healthy return she now ends up owing the tax man lots of money.

Sob! Sob!

This is not a good situation.

Friday 30th August.

With thoughts of the big lump of dollars owing to the tax man bumping around in our thoughts we drove to Albury Airport. After a less than satisfactory lunch Donnis boarded her flight which was 30 minutes late and arrived in Sydney before I had arrived back at Mt.Beauty. Donnis is now on her first leg of the trip to USA, Canada and Mexico. She will be gone for three months.

Boo Hoo.

Sob Sob.

Tonight was very cold but I stacked up the fire with extra logs and was soon snuggle warm under the feather doona.

Saturday 1st September.

Slept all night which was a minor miracle considering;

It was minus 1° overnight.

I was alone in a big barn.

020912 stairway

Stairway to the loft.

010912 loft

My sleeping quarters in the loft.

Thoughts of tax money kept haunting me up until the moment I fell asleep.

When I went to feed the geese and change their water I found the water had frozen during the night and the ground was a thick coat of white frost.

010912 goose

The gregarious male goose, more interested in protecting his space and his girlfriends than he is in eating the food I bring him.

Hmmm! That is a good excuse to keep the fire burning all day and to start making a beef broth for a beef and vegetable soup.

The property owners left on their holiday this morning so now I am all alone in the big barn.

010912 observatory

The property owners have a fair dinkum, ridgey didge, real working observatory on the property. We had a look through the telescope using several lenses. The moon was the only feature bright enough to see on the cloudy night.

Last night I charged up the batteries for the Drone. Today I started my first flight inside the barn and mastered the art of take-off. I can move forward and back, left and right, gain and lose altitude and landings have been anywhere but where I want to land. In fact most landings have been the result of a crash.

Sunday 2nd September

I visited the airport today in the hopes of meeting model aircraft enthusiasts and get some help flying the drone outside.

First up I was surprised by the number of gliders just umm err gliding above the snow- capped mountains. These gliders are amazing. They are sort of catapulted into the sky in less than 20m and can glide around for hours.

020912 glider

Glider ready for passengers with snow capped Mt.Bogong in the background.

020912 takeoff

Glider takeoff is sudden and near verical before reaching gliding speed when the tow cable is released. Enlarge the image and you can see a yellow bag in front and beneath the glider. This is a parachute to allow the tow cable and fitting, once released to fall safely to the ground.

Several small planes were parked beside the runway. Gradually people started arriving with ski gear. They told me they fly down on Friday afternoon, ski all weekend and fly home Sunday arvo.

020912 planes

Packing planes with ski gear ready for the flight home.

While waiting to launch my drone a helicopter arrived dropping off passengers and picking up others and taking them to the Falls Creek Ski slopes. Model planes were zipping around the edges of the runway. Between all the different craft landing and taking off, this is a busy little airport.

The local information people told me this has been the coldest winter in 31 years and the ski season has been extended for several weeks. It seems this has been the best ski season in years.

I have planned a few walks in the vicinity of Mt.Beauty and Bogong Village over the next two days as bad weather is predicted to return on Wednesday.

Cold, wind, rain and above 500m, snow.

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6 Responses to “270. Sunday 2nd September 2012. Where we found beauty at Mt.Beauty…”

  1. Paul Greenfield Says:

    Hey Frank

    All alone in the cold….how rude…and for three months. You will just have to run around with the dog and geese to keep warm.

    How did you get that house sit anyway. Drop us a line.

    Cheers & beers

    Paul & Wendy


    • frankeeg Says:

      Hi Paul n Wendy, here in Mt. Beauty for a month. I have written to you by private e-mail. Will talk later. Cheers


  2. shan Says:

    thanks for your update. looks great but you can have the cold all on your own. love shan and dave


    • frankeeg Says:

      Hi Shan & Dave, its not so bad. The sun was out today and walking along a gorge track I raised a sweat…until I walked into a shaded part of the gorge. Cheers


  3. RedRoadDiaries Says:

    Looks like a beautiful area to explore. Love that dog, if it gets too cold they make great bed warmers.


    • frankeeg Says:

      Hi RRD, yes it is a lovely area and over the next few weeks I hope to explore some more. I am not sure if the bed is strong enough to hold the weight of the dog. I really need a photo with something as a size comparison but she rarely stands still long enough. Cheers


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