I’ve been trying to really tune in and see how the land changes since moving to the Riverina. I was on a good roll until I visited Victoria for a week. Within that one week, so much changed! Oak leaves once brown are now vibrant green, Memorial Park looked sad and is now full of life, new flowers in our garden are alive – I cannot believe how much change happened within one week!
I’m finding that much of the Sydney Wheel of the Year that I’ve worked from for a while now can find it’s way into the Riverina, once you move things around and tweek them a bit.
For example, Flowering and Barkfall happen almost simultaneously. Flowering (within my part of the Riverina) begins with the Canola (which is a very previlant crop in the area) early August, and Barkfall beginning with the River Red Gums (eucalyptus camaldulensis) stripping their bark around the same time. River Red Gums do fall earlier than every other eucalyptus variant I’ve noticed in the area, so I need to look at that more in the years to come to see if it is a once off. If it’s not a once off, then Barkfall can almost be in two – a celebration of the River Red Gums and the Murrumbidgee River that they line; and a separate celebrate for Barkfall in itself.
What has been noticed?
Imbolc came late July with the first sighting of new born lambs. The ‘Flowering’ festival begins, as mentioned above, with the first sign of Canola flowers in bloom. They decorate the landscape in such a vibrant yellow, which then becomes a gradiant around this time (early October) as they grow. River Red Gums begin Barkfall early August, while other Eucalyptus variants waited until the warmer weather in September. By the first week of September some River Red Gums had completed shedding their bark, which makes me think a separate celebration could be made for this area.
Bush Fire Awareness and Preparation was brought forward a month this year, as has Snake Mating season. Many towns have fliers in shops and on fences regarding burning off, who to call, and town meetings to be held. Brown Snakes have been sighted since Ostara, including one in a driveway three streets from me, which is a very new feeling!
The main crops growing within my local area are canola, sheaf hay, and wheat, along with sheep. Many farms utilise all four to rotate within the paddocks. The crops give a false sense of fertility – yes, the crops are growing and the land is fertile, but as wheat and hay are very lush green in it’s youth, you don’t notice how dry the land is until you look at the paddocks allocated to grazing.
The Wind festival began (this year) short of two weeks into September, and lasted just over three weeks. One night I was terrified we were going to lose our roof, and Wagga had a mini hurricane at Lake Albert during a family festival.
Cherry blossoms come into bloom mid August, and by Ostara they had all fallen from the local trees. As you go further north, I noticed they were still in bloom, particularly around Yass.
You can feel the season change by the Wiradjuri seasons, completely understanding why this Nation has five seasons. Temperatures were still hovering in the teens for much of September then, like a switch flick, we were into the 20s. This could be me spending a week in Victoria and not feeling/seeing a transition because it was a cold week in Victoria.