I’m movin up to the country…..

After procrastinating about moving, about our studies and about starting a blog we need, first of all, to thank Harvey of Tassie Farmer blogging fame for spurring us on to get our act together and start this blog. Thankyou Harvey and anyone that wants to see a most passionate man sharing his love for horticulture, go visit him and marvel at his amazing photographic talent armed only with an Iphone.

So where do we start? If you took 2 aging hippies with all of the good intentions in the world but no money, you tossed in a couple of manic dogs, 3 feral cats, some local wildlife and an unruly bossy flock of chickens you might start to get close to what we are. We are time rich and money poor. Not what most people would want to be, but thanks to my father leaving us 4 acres out in the sticks we can spend some time applying what we are learning in our Diploma of Horticulture. Does this sound idillic? Guess again! The local wildlife is insane. The feral cats hold us hostage (feed us or the wrens get it!), the chickens are intent on driving us mad (or boiling themselves under the hot water system overflow) and the dogs are taking on forms….

Theres Bezial…aka Emo dog. He is 37kg of pure ‘sulk’. Never met anything so clever, or so determined to manipulate everything in his favour. Bezial was our first American Staffy. We then bought Qi. She is a lovely and amazingly clever Jack russell crossed Staffy who lives with our girls in our house in town (lucky arent we?) and who takes every chance that she can get to advance herself up the ranks in our ‘pack’ (I have been watching Cesar Millan….). When we had to leave Qi with our girls, Bezial got lonely. He started not eating…he sulked pretty much 24/7 we decided to get him a little friend…enter “Earl”. Have you seen the television program “My name is Earl”? Its a sitcom with the premise that anyone can have a second chance so long as they make amends for their past sins. Earl, in the show, is a redneck petty criminal with a total lack of morals. He has an epiphany and suddenly changes his ways after making a list to redress every wrong and make it a right. We bought Earl from interstate thinking that we were getting quality. We got a redneck petty criminal with a total lack of morals….he can also eat his weight in furniture, bedding, soft toys and anything else that he happens to fancy at that moment in time and Bezial’s life has NEVER been the same. Emo dog meet “El Chupacabra”. We could write a blog on their exploits alone, but I am lazy and some days I might need them for here :o)

Steve and I want to do what we can ourselves. I have spent most of my life learning about how things work. I love to make as much as I can for myself and Steve is a fantastic problem solver and between us we can give most things a college try. Serendipity farm is going to give us the chance to grow our own veggies, keep chooks for eggs, live the good life and try to make a difference, even if its only to ourselves. Our philosophy is to share. There aren’t enough ‘sharers’ in the world. If we dont need it, you can have it. You never know what a kind act or a smile can do for someone else. We have been incredibly lucky to be living this life. We can afford to choose what we want to do and have chosen to study to advance our skills and knowledge. Students are the poorest of the poor but we have time to spend out in the garden, walking our dogs and doing what we like which is a luxury that most people dont.

Now that I have given you a quick rundown of where we are and what we are about, lets get started on what life is like on Serendipity farm. We recently added 5 pure breed Wyandotte hens to our flock of 8 chooks that we bought at a local basket market. We were assured that they were all girls, but being extreme novices when it came to chickens, we were easily fooled and one of our ‘girls’ wakes us up each morning crowing in the dawn. Her name is Big Yin and she looks remarkably like a rooster. The seller insisted that they were all girls so I can only imagine that Yin is batting for the same team! We were going to lob Yin over the previous sellers fence one night when it got dark, but Yin has endeared Himself to us and is a fantastic protector for our girls. When we first got our new chooks, they were quite young. None of them were laying yet (especially Yin) and we had been feeding 3 feral cats (a mother and her 2 kittens) to stop them eating all of our native birds. One of the ferals remains around here all day and we have called him Jacko as he is all black and has one white paw. Jacko started to stalk our new chickens…we were really worried at first, till he was spotted by the smallest hen whom he was stalking at the time who turned to face him, put her wings out and ran straight at him! Thats simply NOT what “prey” does, so Jacko was on the wrong foot from that moment on…Steve and I almost fell of the deck laughing watching the flock of 8 running after poor Jacko and the ferals have left the girls alone ever since. Its not unusual to see them having dust baths together under the trees.

We are in the process of making Emo dog and El Chupacabra a larger dog run. El Chupacabra (or “The Shape Changer”) is only 10 months old and shows no signs of stopping growing any day soon so we need to give them more room to frolic in and save our windows (they have already broken 2 in a day).

Emo dog is the one on the left, El Chupacabra is on the right

We are studying full time on our final unit of our Diploma of Horticulture. We have the perfect place in Serendipity farm to showcase our new found skills, we just have to work out how to stop the possums, wallabies, rabbits, quolls, potaroos etc from scoffing our precious babies (plants) that we have collected for 2 years now. We need to get them into the ground but there in lies a conundrum…its a bit like Ernie having a cookie on Sesame Street. I am talking “old” Ernie here kids, NOT the new politically correct Ernie that Jim Henson would have curled up in shame to see…for all you deprived kiddies that only started watching Sesame Street after Jim Henson died, firstly you really missed out! Secondly, Ernie lived with Bert and spent the better part of his days trying to get Bert to go insane. Here is how the cookie scene runs….

“Before you can have a cookie you have to lift the lid….After you lift the lid…you can have a cookie”. Bert was trying to teach Ernie about before and after. All Ernie learned was that he could con Bert out of all of the cookies in the jar and in the process ruin his dinner…

Why am I using this analogy? No idea. I am like Billy Connelly…I often run off on a tangent and forget where I started….(lucky Steve is here to keep me on track and remind me of where I am or you would never know :o). Before we can plant out our precious potted babies in desperate need of a repot, we have to find someplace safe to plant them, we have to dig holes (oops…”Root Growth Zones”… sorry James…)for the better part of 300 pot plants in large pots and 200 smaller ones, we have to ameliorate the soil (See James we DID LEARN SOMETHING! :o), we have to find some way to stop every critter in the district (both mammalean and insectiferous) from scoffing them down to the stem which sad to say is preferable to letting El Chupacabra chomp them off at the root (which he has already done to well over his initial cost price value so you are running on borrowed time Chupacabra BEWARE!). Heres a very small sample of them crammed out the side of the house waiting to be planted out…

We have been making lists of everything that we want to do here in the next few months and for lazy city folk, the amount of work involved is simply terrifying! Its lucky that we know what we are doing here or we might simply give up.  In the comming days, weeks, months, probably years, we will try to share our lives here ‘down on the farm’ and hope to spread the love around (or the insanity). Anyone want some eggs? :o)




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