Billy Goat Weed
“Some birds can be really friendly,” Gum says more to himself than you.
“We might get lucky,” you say.
“I like your optimism,” Gum says. “But I fear it might be misplaced.”
He’s out of breath. He’s stopped short of the sign, surrounded by a wall of the Weed Feet, Guinea Grass, blocking sunlight from the good-natured Sedges, and grasses behind. The sign has Graham White’s name on it, he won Olympic and Commonwealth medals for Australia.
Approaching the Weed Feet guarding the copse, the Ibis takes a sharp turn left and glides through a break in the woods. The track is darker. On either side, vines smother good forest. If you’re lucky you might spot a Wild Chilli plant on the right hand side.
“Don’t let the Billy Goat Weed touch you; otherwise you’ll find yourself carrying one around. And watch out for Cobbler’s waiting to throw their Pegs. To make it through there-” Gum looks serious. “-We need a whistle.” He searches around, picks a handful of Eucalyptus leaves and carefully selects two that are similar in length and colour. He then presses them together like two slices of bread, holds the leaf sandwich to his mouth and blows firmly. The sound is tight, like a steady squeak. A shiver runs through the Weed Feet and they shrink back a little.
“It’s not loud enough,” Gum says. “Can you make a whistle too?”
Of course you can!
Search the ground or pick a couple of gum leaves from nearby trees. (Watch out for Weed Feet!)
Make sure they’re long and thin and similar in size.
Hold them together like sides of a sandwich, then to your lips.
Don’t blow too hard.
See! It’s working. Between you and Gum’s reedy peeps, the Weed Feet are shying back into the shadows. Whistle all the way to the clearing near the bridge.
Remember the more whistling, the better. And keep hold of those leaves!
Around 1 minute – 150/150m walk (West if you’re facing the white sign) from the white sign.