The underlay of Liston sound is silence.

It's 10am, and all I can hear is Loki's slurping as he licks his paw, the light tapping of my fingers on my touch keyboard, and the occasional settling of a log on the fire. Suddenly that silence erupts into a barking frenzy as a car goes past.

At night there isn't even the sound of the wind as the still starriness precipitates frost. Occasionally you hear the swish of a car or the rumble of a truck on the Mt Lindesay Highway, and early in the night the intermittent thump of a possum establishing residential rights on (or in) the roof. At daybreak the four roosters begin their daylong competition, the still-thin crowing of Christopher Pyne Jnr competing with the mature crowing of the other three. Then magpies warble, and soon there's the twittering of smaller birds.

Occasionally, but not recently, thank goodness, there are the fighting growls of alpacas as Bruce and his son Boo struggle for supremacy: now there's only the slight sound of tugging as they feed on green pick in the garden yard. We're on edge for the sound of orgling, and J heads out as soon as it starts up waving the big yard broom to discourage illicit congress. Occasionally there's the bass boom of teenage music, and for two days the irritating never-ending drone of a small plane circling.

Human voices come and go as one or another of us talks to the animals: “Hey, Brucey boy, how about that funny run?” Or “Come on cat-face”. Or “Outside Em.” Or “It's no use looking like that, you've just had a walk.” Or to each other: “Do you think our kids suffer from at-the-age-of-37 syndrome?” Or “I'd like to read the Spenserean stanza you wrote when you were 13.” Or “Coleslaw and lentil patties OK for dinner?” Or “This article has completely misinterpreted Plato's cave.” Or “Anything to add to the shopping list?” Or “What about continuity of their lives when the recently undead reappear in Glitch?” (The profundity is J: the food management me.)

On the walk to the lagoon a the bottom of the hill, there's the scritching sound as Em rolls in the grass; the faint tinkle of Leopard's bell as he joins us, having undergone species reassignment in the six weeks we've been here; the mocking cries of noisy myners as they fly overhead in a gang taunting him; the plastic rattle of lids as dog, chook and alpaca pellets are dispensed. There's the occasional mewping of alpacas in mild distress at being away from the herd, and then the glug of our warming tipple of half-cabsav, half-port, that marks the end of the day.