sun set lets the moon arrive

The sun disappears so we can see the moon. The foxes are silent.

Crookwell Moon

Paddock Princesses spin their milk-white alpaca wool into a giant rounded orb that floats silently over the fence and across the field.The rays lick the grasses of the paddock.

The moon has a gentle influence on all that we do but as gentle as it is, it has the power to pull the ocean from coastline to coastline.

photos by Susan Reynolds Crookwell



rusty warerfowl

As  a person who identifies and studies birds in their natural habitats you can imagine how excited I was when I spotted this Rusty Waterfowl on a farm near Crookwell, NSW.

The Rusty is closely related to the goose. We observe that it has the classic markings being a black rusty neck and head, with the characteristic blue-black crown.

The underparts are blue, with contrasting brown edges on the underwing. The bill, legs and feet are orange.

Unlike most waterfowl this species have strong clawed toes that are only partly webbed.

Any study of waterfowl will find that the Rusty is an early and distinctive offshoot diverging after screamers and before all other ducks, geese and swans. Fossils suggest that the family  spread across the globe during the late Paleogene period.

Apparently they make excellent watchdogs and pond sentinels and rarely move from their territory.


shed 1

Through the bluish sunlight of the mist I can see the memories that everyone has forgotten because it happened such a long time ago.

Nothing much has changed with the hay shed over the last 100 years and whatever has been will now remain ceaseless.

The present and past fuse as if life around the shed has been one long tune. Our memories are not lost in the mist of years, they are hidden awaiting rediscovery.


limbs 1

The sun moves gently among the branches as it has done for over one hundred years. I tramped through deep snow drifts to keep an appointment with old man pine tree.

He stands sleeping in the winter cold his shape an outline against the grey western sky.

grips the ground 1

He awakes sad; turning wearily from the west his feet grip the ground. There is peace everywhere in this forest.

I realize he is a victim of the storm. His needles are no longer bright green. Broken branches lay everywhere and long brown egg-shaped seeds litter the ground.

bark 1

The dark grey fissured bark all twisted and knotty hide in every crack a unique universe of life. Those universes might soon be ending.


are you ok my children

Dotty lays her eggs straight into the carton.

They sit up nice and perky and don’t blow out all over the pan.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the eggs Susan’s ISA Browns lay. They make the best poached eggs ever.

So today it is Gold medals all round for the chooks.

The award is for their fortitude, attitude and eggattude in spite of the heaviest snow falls in Crookwell for forty-five years.

Even in sub-zero freezing temperatures these brave little layers kept producing eggs and eggs that are the far superior than the supermarket variety. The ISA Browns are the producers of those big brown eggs that you will find in most egg cartons.

Their owner Susan says “laying an egg is like giving birth to a child and to do that every day in these freezing temperatures is hard work.”

come on kids let's go for a walk

Dotty takes her children for a walk.

These 2 kg chestnut-brown egg laying machines are extremely lovable, friendly, relaxed, and surprisingly intelligent. They get along with humans exceptionally well and are very affectionate.

If you are the one who provides food and treats they will let you pat and cuddle them. One drawback is that they don’t fetch sticks or chase balls but other than that they are as good as a dog.

On the plus side they can give you plenty of good food.


crookwell snow bowl

I watched the woods fill up with snow until the trees could no longer carry the load.

All through the night the snow silently fell on trees, hills, fences and paddocks.

The alpacas must think it odd that the clouds have turned into velvety flakes.

ice  pond

 It’s no use letting the chooks out into the yard as there is nothing for them to peck.

bird bath

The coldness whispers over the water troughs turning the surface into a black ice.



raging snow dog

Crookwell is covered in snow and everyone is crazy with excitement including Harry.

Harry’s a dog that likes snow and it has turned his world into one big play room for him to play in.

Here he is kicking up the snow as he runs. He is so happy you can see it in his eyes.


moss rocks

Hiding in the damp and shady side of the sea wall looking for south this Roman rock is kept warm by a thin green felt mat.

I found this rock, believed to be from Roman ruins, earlier this year and now in the middle of winter it is covered by soft dense green clumps.

It is lusher and lovelier than I’ve ever seen. The dazzle has been created by full speed photosynthesis.

In this harsh rocky home these beautiful luxuriant green rocks give a soft welcome to all those making the journey from water to land.


enclosed ocean

The track cuts through the narrow strip where the sea meets the land. The view is enclosed by the dune vegetation. The feeling is confining.

In the low growing grasses hide small, plump, brown-grey sparrows. Their short tails flick from side to side as their stubby bodies hop about searching for seeds and small insects.


At the end of the track the shrubs give way to wide open spaces of pale gold-coloured sands.

sound of the cold wind

I expect the sounds of waves crashing and seagulls but they are missing. Instead all I can hear is the sound of the wind, the cold icy winter wind.



It is a bleak winter morning. The ravens are tapping, rapping on the wooden table. Their black plumage glistens in the sunlight. Their long floppy throat feathers create a shaggy appearance as if they have just woken up.

With gurgling voices they produce a croar-croar sound which makes it seem like they are being strangled. They are waking me up.

I step out onto the deck and smile at my two raven friends. Their feathers flutter and they demand the food from my hand.

I barely get to mutter a few of my improvised bird calls when other friends fly in. A glossy black and white blur accompanied by flute like caroling signals the arrival of the magpies.

Harsh piping calls, grey black bodies and yellow bills swoop in heralding the entrance of a family of noisy miners an aggressive companion bird to both the magpie and raven.

I feed the birds most days and in return the crows purposefully leave gifts such as rocks, bones and twigs. They’re very intelligent and often follow me when I walk down the street to the café.

My friends say they are taking advantage of me, using me as an easy meal ticket, but I prefer to think I’m helping them survive and anyway they give me great pleasure.

I sit on a cushioned seat reading my book. The ravens soar off to enjoy some playful flight tumbling and rolling as the magpies and miners finish off the scraps.



In the early days of settlement (circa 1800) the Australian working horse was used to lay the ground work to explore, colonize and develop the country. Farmers used them for ploughing, pulling their wagons and even taking the family to town.

They always gave a full day’s work, however mechanization meant that they were no longer needed in such numbers when the tractor became popular.

Today there are some farmers who have not given up the dream of working the land with their beloved horses. City folk are amazed by their size (between 600 and 900kg’s), their kind temperament, and how they are so people orientated.



The Crookwell Potato Festival attracted thousands of visitors and one of the great events was the classic car display.


The Ford Mustang, introduced in 1963/64, is one of the most loved vehicles ever produced.

Nostalgia is what it is all about with the Mustang. It conjures up memories whether you owned one, drove in one or just loved looking at them. They take us back in time.


The Cobra certainly is a special vehicle. The 2 door open top roadster is fast and the definition of performance. I don’t talk about the cobra I just show people a picture. It says it all.

To see this wonderful display at the Crookwell Potato Festival is so exciting.The best car award was a dead heat between a Cobra and the FE Holden below.


The Holden FE was produced by General Motors in Australia in the late 1950’s. All models used a 2262 cc in-line six cylinder engine, coupled with a 3 speed manual gearbox. This example, which shared the award with a green Cobra, is just stunning.





It’s the beginning of autumn and the leaves of the Golden Elm in Crookwell are turning yellow. The eye-catching display is very impressive. By next spring, new growth will see the tree turn to a pale lime-green.



Farmers love the land they toil. Their challenge is to create a conventional food production business that maintains or reinstates the balance within the environment.

This is achieved by prevention of soil erosion, water infiltration and retention and by increasing biodiversity with multispecies cover crops, strip cropping, terrace cultivation, shelter belts, wetlands and pasture cropping.


Gary Kadwell has been working many years on his farm in Crookwell to achieve this outcome and, I, like the hundreds of other guests who visited his farm this weekend  were very impressed with what he has achieved.


Gary took us on an Eco-tour to show us  the sustainability features of his property. He has fenced off all remnant and regrowth native vegetation of snow gum and peppermint gum, which offer protection from the winds and frosts.



He has created an impressive and beautiful wet-lands area which is attracting a variety of bird life. He has even spotted a platypus.


His farm and his dream for conservation is just beautiful……..we all loved it.



I have always wanted to find my fortune and, at last, I think I have found it on this silver tree  in Crookwell.

All I have to do is wait and collect the leaves when the chill of winter is too much for them to tolerate and they fall to the ground.

I will then line every cloud in the sky, fashion a halo for you to wear and make a mirror that reflects your loveliness.



I M A Spudman

That’s Spudman climbing all over the mountain of potatoes. He and I will be driving down to Crookwell this Wednesday for a weekend of fun.

Crookwell, New South Wales is the place to be as thousands of people will come to celebrate at the 2015 Potato Festival.

The community really enjoys this day and it gives them a chance to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture in an atmosphere where the local folks and the visitors come together like mashed potatoes and gravy.

So be in town on Saturday March 7 to enjoy the 2015 Crookwell Potato Festival which commences at 9.30am.

Enjoy the potato farm experience at Garry Kadwell’s farm where demonstrations of early horse-drawn ploughing techniques and an “eco tour” of dry and wetland areas will take place. You can also see the modern-day John Deere equipment used by the potato seed farmers.

A special “Spud Bus” will transport you from one venue to the next and to and from Garry’s farm.

It all starts on Friday night at The Last Night of the Proms, a hugely entertaining evening and goes all the way through to Sunday morning with the eco tours, railway museum visits, Susan Reynolds’  alpaca farm and lavender farm experiences.

So turnip on Saturday March 7 to enjoy the 2015 Crookwell Potato Festival.



flyingFoxSm v1

Grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) | Photo: ©Shane Ruming

Due to the level of my fishing skill I have almost single-handedly saved several fish species from extinction. Having achieved this unheralded environmental success I’ve decide to direct my attention to a land based vulnerable species; Pteropus poliocephalus. Yes the Grey-headed flying-fox.

I agree they are noisy, smelly and messy but they have such cute faces. All they are trying to do is communicate with each other, especially between mother and baby.

I chose to care about grey-headed flying-fox because they are an Australian native species and are one of the best natural pollinators and seed disperses we have. They are also part of the food chain especially for owls and that’s important for the overall health of our environment.

So with my camera, torch, insect repellent and closed shoes this Saturday I’ll be attending a “Bat Awareness Evening” at the 2nd Gordon Scout Hall, 32C Rosedale Rd, Gordon (behind the grassy knoll, opposite Glenview St, north side of Rosedale Rd bridge).

Just after dusk I will view the fly-out…………there’ll be thousands of them heading off in search of food. Looking forward to a great night.



14 January 2015





It is with great pleasure that I, Harry Handlebar, as President and Founding Member, of the Cyber Riders Club, announce that Kylie Minogue our long serving Patron has stepped aside to allow Gail Rehbein to take up the position of Patron of The Cyber Riders Club.

I was talking with Kylie last week and she felt it was only fitting that in recognition of Gail’s decision to use her bike for her sole mode of transport as much as possible during 2015 that she should take over the role of Patron.

Accordingly Gail has been granted full membership with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

Gail is a long-term friend of mine and she tells me she will commit to riding through all seasons, getting helmet hair and turning up sweaty or cold.

She said “Some destinations will be difficult to get to – how will I go bushwalking, how will I get to the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival and there will be others that I can’t anticipate? What about transporting my surfboard the two and half kilometres to the beach? These are things I love to do, places I love to be.”

Her great idea will see her enjoy success, honour and be raised up on the podium of life.

All the best to our new Patron.

You can follow her stories on her blog, A Bike For all Seasons

Current membership of The Cyber Riders Club



  • Life Member   Kylie Minogue (Past Patron)
  • Harry Handlebar member no 1
  • Daisy Chain member no 2
  • Tim Tyre member no 3
  • Court Racing member no 4
  • Northern Bell member no 5
  • Anna Spanner member no 6
  • Dennis Downhill member no 7
  • Pat Puncture member no 8
  • Ian Innatube member no 9
  • Bruced Balls member no 10


Yours from the desk with wheels.

Harry Handlebar




the trail


I’m spending a few days down at Currarong; a three-hour drive south of Sydney. I’m just resting, just fishing and just doing nothing.

We take off mid-morning to try our hand fishing. Walking along the scenic Abrahams Bosom Walking Track we find our way to the wreck of the Merimbulla at Whale Point.

near whale point

In 1928 it ran aground and for many years stood with her bow pointing high in the sky. The years have passed and today only a fragment of the wreck remains.

escaping fish

The weather was great but the fishing not successful however we came across this beached pod of giant bait fish that in their attempt to escape my fishing skills ran up the beach.

Abraham's Bosom Beach

We are back close to home and the long stretch of white sand of the Abraham’s Bosom beach sparkles under the bright summer sun.



Just when you know there is no room left out comes the Pavlova.

At Christmas time, and indeed any other time, you can’t forgo your share of the Pavlova. There is always room for more calories.

Pavlova is a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.

It is a meringue cake with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with whipped cream and fruit, in this case strawberries.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honor of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.