It seems this column isn't alone in encountering the occasional brumby while trekking in the Snowy Mountains.
"You were a bit unlucky seeing so few brumbies on your walk to Cascade Hut near Thredbo" (Searching for brumbies on Cascade Trail, February 14, 2015), writes Rowan Peck of Manuka who "did the same walk a few years back and saw lots of mobs in the valley and a few up on the ridge too." Rowan even managed to capture a photo of a foal and its mother which his walking group were startled as they "emerged from some thicker scrub".
Further north in Kosciuszko National Park, Peter Meusburger snapped this striking photo of a mob of brumbies on the edge of the frost plains of Kiandra. "The white one could be the elusive silver brumby," muses Peter in reference to Elyne Mitchell's popular series of fictional children's books which recount the life and adventures of Thowra, a magnificent pale brumby stallion, and his descendants, set in the Snowy Mountains.
Also in northern Kosciuszko National Park, David Moore of Nicholls counted "at least 170 brumbies" on a recent family trip to the high country between Adaminaby and Kiandra. "Everyone that saw them for the first time were touched and in awe of their beauty and condition, considering they are wild animals. They all looked like they belonged there and some were as curious about us as we were about them."
Further afield, Marjorie Curtis of Kaleen vividly recalls an encounter with wild horses she had in the Northern Territory while working as a field geologist.
"I was working south of Batten Creek, making copious notes and taking photographs of the rocks, when about 10am, a small family of brumbies came down from above me, and stopped and looked," recalls Marjorie. "They were obviously puzzled, clearly wondering who I was and what I was doing in such a remote location. I would have showed them my notes, but was fairly certain that they could not read them: sometimes I can't read my own writing."
According to Marjorie, "the horses left after about 15 minutes and headed down to the big water hole for drink, and then came back, passing me without a second look."
For the following five days, the same family of horses returned, and repeated the same routine, leaving Marjorie "enchanted by their beauty".
In fact, Marjorie was so enamoured with the horses that she bemoans the use of the word "feral" to describe brumbies "as it has negative implications, and my brumbies certainly never did any damage to anyone".
Not surprisingly, not all readers agree with David and Marjorie's stance on brumbies, with a number of readers including Jack Palmer of Watson writing to highlight the damage caused by wild horses, especially in environmentally fragile areas of our high country. "I have always regarded the horses as picturesque, but they are in an unnatural habitat, and are destructive," writes Jack , referring to the extensive damage the horses can cause, especially to our precious water catchments.
Whether you are staying home or heading away during the Easter holidays , there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained, especially if you are partial to a chocolate egg (or two). Here are my top three suggestions.
1. At home
What? The Great Lanyon Easter Egg Hunt (Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa Dr, Lanyon)
When: Easter Sunday (April 5), 9.30am sharp.
Expect: An Easter morning jaunt through the extensive Lanyon garden. $5.50 a child up to the age of 12. There's a special search area for children five and under.
Tim's tip: This event has become so popular that to prevent a stampede of chocolate-demanding kids, you now need to book at lanyoneasteregghunt.eventbrite.com.au Bookings close Wednesday, April 1.
2. At the south coast
What? Forget the Easter Bunny, make your very own "Banksia Man" at the Easter Giant Plant Sale and Fair at the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens (Deep Creek Dam Drive, Mogo).
When: Easter Saturday (April 4), 9am-2pm.
Expect: Jumping castle, cake and craft stalls, buskers, face (and gnome!) painting. Oh, and lots of plant bargains. Bring your own picnic or eat at the garden's cafe.
Tim's tip: Don't miss the Easter Bilby who I'm reliably informed will hand out Easter eggs between 10-11am.
More: Ph: 02 4471 2544 or friendserbg.org.au
3. At the Southern Highlands
What: Burrawang Village Fair (an easy two-hour drive north of Canberra).
When: Easter Saturday (April 4), 8am-3pm.
Expect: More than 150 stall holders peddling locally-grown produce, arts and crafts, homewares, clothing and jewellery. This is an annual tradition for the Yowie Clan, and I always have trouble wrangling the kids away from face-painting, farm animals and rides at the back of the village's quaint primary school.
Beware: The Easter Bunny isn't the only so-called "mythical" creature that is spotted in Burrawang at this time of year. The village is also known for its "bunyip" which has been allegedly seen in the nearby swamp. Regular readers may recall this column once searched for the elusive critter (The bunyip hunt, November 22, 2013), which not surprisingly didn't turn up one scrap of evidence youtube.com/watch?v=gBleDbb2QE0.
For the adults: Don't miss The Burrawang Village Hotel, a classic English-style pub in a delightful rural setting. Lot 5 Hoddle Street, Burrawang. Ph 02 4886 4206.
Not to be outdone by Cid Riley who recently won top gong at the Tarago Show for his odd-looking parsnip (Spotted, March 14, 2015) 12-year-old Patrick Lewis of Dunlop has submitted this photo of his own eye-catching vegetable.
The budding green thumb who tends to his family's spud patch with his six year-old sister, Cathy, reports that "when we dug this one up, we just thought it was lucky so we named it Mr Mash".
Unfortunately, it's not possible for Mr Mash to pose for any more photos as he lived up to his name at a Lewis family dinner last week.
Dolphins in the pool
This column continues to be flooded with correspondence about Bermagui's Blue Pool (In search of the south coast's best ocean pool, March 7, 2015).
Russell Wenholz of Holt whose family made regular pilgrimages to Blue Pool in the 1950s and 1960s recalls, "on one occasion, a dolphin spent time between high tides in the pool." Although he couldn't find a photo of his the temporarily stranded dolphin Russell did manage to dig up photo of his family enjoying the pool in the 1960s.
Like Jeremy Smith of Kambah, who "once turned the same colour of the pool after being dared to swim in the water mid-winter", Russell admits that "it can be cold, but it's always invigorating".
"I used to like to swim in the Blue Pool before driving up the Clyde and on arrival at home I could still feel the effect of the swim: bracing, tingling," confesses Russell who adds, "my brother and I used to walk in slowly - we reckoned we were OK once we passed what we called 'cod-depth'."
Russell, a noted bookworm, also reports that The Mystery of Swordfish Reef, one of Arthur Upfield's Napoleon Bonaparte detective stories was set in Bermagui.
Leave stumpy alone!
Not everyone appreciates this column's ongoing efforts to uncover the origins of Stumpy, the gender-challenged tree stump on the corner of Cotter Road and Tuggeranong Parkway (Spotted, November 22, 2014), which takes on different guises depending on the time of the year.
"Please leave Stumpy alone and let us all enjoy him/her," writes Yvonne W, who adds, "I'm not interested in who is dressing it up, but it does remind me of the mystery of the chalked "Eternity" on the Sydney pavements in around the 1940s and '50s."
Earlier this week, while photographing said stump, this column took the plunge and opened Stumpy's fetching handbag. So what did we find? A secret stash of cash? A hair brush? No, two dead flies. I was tempted to leave some of Mrs Yowie's make-up in the bag, for after a long hot summer, Stumpy's face is looking a bit weathered and could probably do with a touch-up.
Where in Canberra?
Clue: I wonder if "tacking" leads to spiritual enlightenment.
Degree of difficulty: Medium
Last week: Congratulations to Justine Hobson of Campbell who correctly identified last week's photo (inset) taken by this quiz's serial snapper Chris Blunt as "the Batman mural painted at the back of Impact Comics in Tocumwal Lane (off Bunda Street and Petrie Plaza) in Civic". The triumphant 10-year-old winner easily recognised the photo as she "often shops there for friends' birthday parties".
Just pipped at the post for the prize were Anna Pellew of Duffy and the ubiquitous Brigitte Tabuteau of Bruce who reports that tomorrow (Sunday, March 29) there will be a street party (11am-4pm) with a superhero costume theme in Tocumwal Lane as part of the CBR 31 days in March Festival. "A number of Canberra's notable street artists will be painting all the blank walls in the laneway in a celebration of Canberra's street art scene," reports Brigitte.
Meanwhile, Jacqui Howard of Charnwood reports that batman featured in last week's photo is the work of Ben Guys, an up and coming artist who now lives in Melbourne. "You can suss out his other work at funbeard.blogspot.com" adds Jacqui.
How to enter: Email your guess along with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first email sent after 10am Saturday, March 28, with the correct answer wins a double pass to Dendy cinemas.