Scorched Beneath a Southern Sky

Reader Contribution by Allyson Crockett
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Eagle Hill Homestead seen from the top of the nearest hill.

Hi there, this is my first post so I’ll start by telling you a little about myself. I live in The Flinders Ranges in outback South Australia, so I’m not only in a southern country, I’m in a southern state, doubly southern, if you will. I enjoy reading all about the rural folk and the way of life in America, and I think you’ll enjoy reading about my rural life in Australia.

Eagle Hill Homestead from a different angle.

I live on a property called Eagle Hill, about a ten-minute drive from the town of Hawker, with a population of 300. It’s not the middle-of-nowhere but you can almost see it from here. I live alone now since the kids grew up and went off to do their own thing. Now when I say alone, I mean I’m the only person here. The property is full of critters. The wild ones such as kangaroos, rabbits, foxes, dingos, feral cats and goats, emus and birds, and the not-so-wild like my two dogs, seven cats and a gaggle of geese. But since I’m the only one here with thumbs, and I pay the bills, that makes me the boss, at least the boss of the not-so-wild ones.

I take my dogs out walking every morning and this is what I see on the way home. It’s like a salve for the soul.

Being in the southern hemisphere, down under and all that, the seasons are opposite to those in the U.S. Right now we’re just coming from summer into autumn and it’s still quite warm in the day, but getting noticeably cool at night. Until a few days ago, we sweltered in a two-week heatwave with temperatures hovering around 104 degrees in the day and 82 degrees at night. Not a nice start to autumn. But it was great to read about people waiting for the cold, the snow, and the frost to be over … it made me feel a little cooler.

The annual average rainfall here is approximately 12 inches a year. There are no mains water pipes out of town so I rely on rainwater tanks and an artesian bore.  As you can imagine, every drop counts.

I’m a professional copywriter but some morning I’m just lost for words.

Still, I love it out here. The peace and quiet — my nearest neighbour is a speck in the distance — the wildlife, the spectacular sunrise over the hill, the birdsong in the morning, the unobstructed sunset in the evening, the billions of stars overhead on a clear night, and the total freedom of it all. Not that I ever do, but if I feel like going outside and screaming, there’s no one to hear me and think I’m a crazy person.

And at the end of a busy day, I can watch this. Sure beats television.

In the coming blog posts, I’ll write about some of the differences between rural life in Australia and rural life in America, and I’ll also point out some of the things that never change, no matter where you live.

It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day activities and chores and forget that, even though the conditions and lifestyle seem so far removed from our own, on a basic level all rural-living folks are united by the same joys and concerns. Everyone has a unique story to tell and we can all learn from each other.

I’d love to read any comments you might have, and let me know if there are any topics you’d particularly like me to write about and I’ll do my best for you.

Until next time, keep the faith …

Another view from atop my nearest hill. I like to climb up here, and just sit and breathe.

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