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April 2012

It’s already April and getting cooler.  Leaves are already falling from the few deciduous trees we have in Toowoomba – not quite New England in the Fall!  The year started on the run and hasn’t really stopped.

I’ve found myself (more) involved in two local groups.  I have been in Toowoomba Landcare Group (http://toowoomba.ddrlandcare.org) for a number of years and am now doing my stint as Chair!  It changes the way you are involved when you have the extra responsibility – and have to face issues like getting funding needed to continue the work!  But it is great to work within your own community with a group of people who have the same aim – improving the environment of our community.

The other group is the local branch of the National Trust.  There is an old Inn from the 1850s very close to where we live in Drayton, Toowoomba – called the Bulls head Inn.  It was first built back before Queensland was even a state and it catered to drovers and bullockies and other travellers before having a life as a post office and private residence.   Recently, the new local branch set its sites on re-invigorating the inn and ensuring that it was a fitting legacy for the community.  My small role has been looking after the “dray shed” (sounds auspicious???).  I found old bridles and saddlery amongst the dirt and cobwebs in the shed and have started to try to save them.  The picture is of me with a bridle with blinkers that was in quite good nick!  Then there is oiling the old timber frames to stop them drying out and cracking.  All good fun – and a nice way to interact with other people.  Over 150 locals turned up at the “re-opening” day for the Inn last weekend!

Meanwhile, the year has already shaped up as some new and interesting projects – as well as revisiting work done in the past.  Some M&E mentoring work is continuing in New Zealand (love going there!) and extension training in Chile and Canberra!  Other new things fit within the spaces.  Fortunately I have Ben – now in Vancouver – providing innovative ways to use the internet to support project evaluations.  So there is always something new.  I wonder what is next around the corner?Somehow, when you spend so much time away – and earning money from helping people with projects and needs, it is good to have opportunities as a volunteer in the local community.