Thursday morning, the Scottish wing, Ned's Corner
Posted by Trevor Flinn
The second installment of my on-farm blog in which Trevor suggests the construction of a giant edible map, samples some of the local clay, hangs out with the killer sheep and makes preparations for the Mulingup Shadow show.
It is already day four and as I sit in my quiet bedroom of the extraordinary Barrett house, (once described as 'a brick and tile Bedouin encampment, set out there in that great expanse of nothing.'*) I am acutely aware of all that needs to be done before Sunday evening.
On Tuesday morning I suggested the idea of making a large edible map of the Neds Corner property and unveiling it as a colour-coded smorgasbord during the Sunday night celebrations. In my mind it would be a large plate of sushi coloured a turmeric yellow to represent blooming canola. However, Michelle thought it might be more interesting if dried lentils were used and then later added to a stock in a camp oven in order to produce a pot of soup. Brilliant!
While out and about in one of the Barrett’s spare utes, I was able to collect a variety of clods of coloured clay from the various piles that lay beside the drain deepening work. Ranging from lead white, to mustard yellow to blood red, they cried out to be celebrated somehow.
Later that day I spent some time in and around the old shearing shed, now home to half a dozen ‘killer’ sheep. They watched me with interest from their lush pen at the back of the holding yards, as I filmed them ... from a safe distance.
The shed itself has great potential, which I hope to explore further once I clear a bit of space and stack some of the stored materials to one side.
By Tuesday evening my thoughts had turned to my visit to the Munglinup school. The idea was that I would give the kids (14 in total ranging from kinder to grade 6) a little talk about myself and invite them to create a shadow puppet animal for a shadow show that could happen as part of the Sunday night extravagansa out at Neds Corner. (See image in the gallery below).
Wednesday morning after, I following Kieran to the nearby airstrip where he was delivering a truck of water and chemicals to the crop dusting guy. I had a bite to eat then headed off to Munglinup Primary to meet art teacher Chris and all the Munglinup school students to undertake a puppet making workshop.
In one and a half hours we had 14 cardboard puppets as well as one and a half potential stories to tell. Fantastic! I felt strangely exhausted, but all the kids seemed to have enjoyed themselves. There were some amazing puppets produced in a very short space of time. The animals included: a fox, two rabbits, three horses, two hawk, a cat, a bilby, a kangaroo, a chicken, a snake, an emu and a bird (species unknown).
In seven minutes I am going to meet Kieran at the top of the nearby hill. He has very kindly brought up a number of loads of the blood-coloured local clay, that was piled up below the shearing shed – a byproduct of recent waterway deepening to address ongoing salinity issues.
Last night I began work on shaping the pile into a head like shape. It may well turn out to be ‘Ned’, the eponymous early squatter who originally settled the original Ned’s Corner on the banks of the Murray River.
So far the pile of red clay looks like a pile of red clay. However, in the coming hours and days I’m certain something Ned-like will slowly emerge.
*Robin Oliver, Weekend Magazine, December 21, 1968 (pg. 5)