Friday, July 27, 2012

Getting wood the Desert

It's Friday today isn't it? Yes, it is..  I just checked on the calender.
I'm trying to remember what I said I'd post on a Friday. There was some sort of plan for what I'd post on particular days... Ah, how could I forget?! Friday's are supposed to be farm posts aren't they?!

Well, this post is kind of related to the farm. Kind of. Just. At a stretch. You see, I'm just not quite willing to let go of our holiday yet, you know, that drive we undertook recently. So this post is about a stop to collect wood. We normally get wood at the farm (here's the last post from the farm).... are you getting the relationship? This post is also about getting wood, but it's wood from the desert.


When you are travelling in the Red Centre of Australia the road passes through three types of land ownership; private properties (farms or stations), national parks (government owned) and aboriginal land (land given back to the original indigenous custodians). And when you're staying in camp grounds you are generally allowed to build a camp-fire, many of them have circles of stones around a pit for this very purpose. But you need wood for a fire don't you?! Well, you're not allowed to collect wood from aboriginal land (they use it for traditional purposes) nor from national parks (dead wood on the ground is habitat for the protected wildlife in those parks/reserves). So that only leaves the roadside wood found along private properties, in other words you stop for the wood you spot it alongside farms! It's pretty cold at night out here and a fire is warm!

So we stopped at a spot. Somewhere between Uluru and Kings Canyon. With kids asleep in the car it wasn't ideal. Our kids always wake up when the car becomes stationary - very annoying! But what were we to do, we wanted to be warm. So I stayed in the car to shush the children should they wake and Mr Campfire jumped out to load wood. I figured it was a good opportunity to take a couple of photos, all from my seat in the car of course! As you do :-)

It was a lovely desert scene. With lots of vegetation. That constantly surprised me up there. I expected sand and nothing else. That was my mind's image of a desert. Instead there was a lot of vegetation, in many colours and shapes. Growing over rolling, undulating landscapes. Plus lots of red dirt rather than sand. Which got into everything... but that is another story.

Mr Campfire discovered more than vegetation in his quest for wood. You see, unlike me, he actually got out of the car and walked about. Lucky him! I think I'd rather that then sitting with fingers crossed hoping the children don't awake! But he came across this ants nest. A very interesting ants nest. Check it out:

The ants had removed soil, or rather they had removed ferro-manganiferous nodules! Heard of them?! Neither had I!!! After a quick google search I am still not much more wiser. It's a Mr Campfire somehow knows about them and tells me he's pretty sure that's what the ants had cleverly removed. Whatever it was, they had made a very interesting mess for us to take photos of :-)

By now the small people had woken and were asking for food! Luckily, the wood had been loaded and the photos taken. So we were off again. To set-up another campsite, and light another fire. And now we're home and thinking about getting more wood for our home fire from the fire! Quite an interesting contrast, certainly there are no ant nests like that at the farm (red and black). What a contrast we have in our country; there are certainly no plains like this... Hope you are warm today! I'm snuggled by the fire to escape the wind coming from the mountains!