Life is too short for bad wine…

Hi All

Firstly I want to start telling you what music I am listening to when I do my posts. It might account for the ‘tone’ of some of them! Today it’s Dan Mangan. He’s an interesting artist from Canada who blends his amazing guitar skills with his wonderful voice and a great sense of humour to boot. One of his songs is called “You silly git”. I rest my case…anyway, this is what ‘perfumes’ my posts for today. It’s only 12.30 and Steve and I have done an entire days work (or so it feels). I must admit to not being a morning person. I used to be just like both of my daughters and would get up at 10am given the chance. Wake me before 8am at your own peril! I have changed. It’s not been easy as I have been thrown straight in at daylight savings version of 6am which is REALLY 5am thank you VERY much to the powers that be who think that all of us need to be up at that ungodly hour…so I am up at 6am (really 5), the sun is barely up and my grouch factor is at its highest and I don’t even get a chance to sit sullenly over a cup of tea to allow me to iron out the overnight crinkles inside me and slowly unfold into the nicer me. I get hurled out the door by 3 males (I am the only female in this household) who are hell bent on walking. And so it begins….

I am getting better at walking (being dragged) in the mornings. Part of that is because I am more stubborn than El Chupacabra and refuse to give in and just let him pull out to the front of me so am constantly making him sit. He is actually starting to learn! Don’t faint, he is…he is actually not pulling quite so much now and he sits on his own when I tug on the lead and he looks up at me for when he is allowed to get going (drag me) again. I guess when he is 9 he might stop pulling but then again he might not. All I know is that he is somewhat better than when I started training him 3 weeks ago so I am ahead. We didn’t have to hurtle out the back door today. We had to wait for the shops at Exeter to open as we needed to buy some chicken crumbles for our ever increasing brood. We counted the 14 baby chickens today to make sure that 20 – 6 = 14. Apart from feeding them we suddenly realised that the larger chicken wire in the outside enclosure that we made for our first lot of adult chickens was too big for them. We didn’t want to lose any to predators or have them get out of the compound until they are big enough to fend for themselves as we have 3 feral cats that would love the opportunity to eat their weights worth of small chickens. The cats have a healthy fear of the larger chooks as we also have a large rooster (Yin) who isn’t afraid to size up to any amount of cats wanting to tackle his ‘girls’ and give them a bit of wellie.  We got back from walking the boys and after a most necessary cup of tea (yes…I am an addict), we set off to get the outside enclosure in order for the broodies and their babies to be able to scratch about in the dirt under the sun and shade of the white nectarine tree that we discovered underneath the mass of weeds. It’s really paying us back by flowering itself senseless and it’s covered in small fruit (at least the blackbirds will be happy but they will have to share with the possums).

The initial 8 chickens that we bought were all supposed to be girls. The woman that we bought them from swore that they were all hens and that they were a breed called Barnevelders. I now know a bit more about chickens and have realised that I don’t think that this lady knew as much as she was letting on that she did. Either that, or she was telling a few fibs to offload some chickens that were not quite what she wanted. I don’t care what they are and love them all, but Barnevelders they are NOT. I just looked up our rooster and he is as far from a Barnevelder as he is dog. Barnevelders have large combs and he has a curious flat wide comb. I kept hunting until I found out that he is a wyandotte! Thats the second lot of chickens that we bought from a woman in Sheffield so we should get some lovely babies from those pairings. Here is a picture of The Big Yin with one of our initial girls and with Jacko, one of our feral cats. Jacko is more house cat than feral now…

You can see Yins squashy flat wide comb and he is a lovely bird with a speckled front. If he was a Barnevelder (as I was told) he would be a lot darker and nowhere near as lovely.

this next photo is of Yin and how scared of Yin Jacko is so you can see why we don’t worry too much about the feral cats around our flock…

We cut a 5m roll of 900mm high small bird wire in half as by the time the babies can jump and get out they will be too fat to do so. Steve is not known for his patience so rather than wait for me to take “forever” (his words) using the wire snips, he got out his angle grinder and cut straight through the entire roll. I am just glad that all of the sparks that he created didn’t set fire to the shed. We then had to tie the wire onto the existing wire and put more rocks back in front of the wire. We also had to close off the other side of what used to be the wood shed with a small door where the non-broody chooks have been living and roosting while we separated off the broodies. We now have 1 wood shed, 2 small doors that lead to 2 separated areas that can now be shut individually, a triple wrapped chook enclosure (you can’t say that we are not thorough!) and a new ramp leading out from the broodies enclosure to the outside world. We tested it on the broodies and it was a bit steep for them and a bit smooth for them to get back inside so we stapled on some small chicken wire to the ramp so that they can all get back up to their side of the wood shed/chook house. There is so much to do whenever you take on working with nature. Nature just gets on with it and we have to mess around with it to suit ourselves.  I emailed the woman that we bought the two dozen fertile eggs from and asked her what kind of chickens that she had as we had such a variety of chicks resulting from the eggs and got the following reply…

“Hi in the pen are red brahma hen’s 2 orange brahma hens 3 different colour Wyandotte hens’ dark barred Plymouth rock hens about 7 and 1 white leghorn. The rooster is Plymouth Rock. You will get a huge colour variety and won’t be really able to tell what you have till they are feathered. The only pure breed will be the Plymouth rock the others will be crossed will all be big birds and will lay heaps of eggs :)”

So that would explain why we have colours ranging from snowy white, yellow, buff, orange, speckled brown, black and yellow and black. It will be interesting to see just what we end up with and knowing that Amie has so many different varieties, I will definitely be buying fertile eggs from her the next time that my girls go ga-ga.

Heres a photo of the first mum that was game enough to head out into the chicken enclosure. She is in the process of having her first dust bath in over 3 weeks and the look of sheer bliss on her face was amazing. She was making lovely satisfied sounds as she rolled just like how it feels to sink down into a nice hot deep bath when you really need one…

Heres another shot of the first mum out of the coop teaching her babies to scratch around in the wood chips. She was finding all sorts of insect larvae as the other chooks don’t bother to go inside the enclosure in the day because they have the whole property to roam over and you can see some of the other hens outside the enclosure…

Here’s the second of the mums that we ended up putting outside for their own good and they all absolutely loved it after initially being very indignant and telling us in no uncertain terms about it the hen in the photo below was broody for the longest and at 7 weeks since she last had a dust bath, its no wonder she stayed nestled in the sand for more than all of the other mums…

Heres Steve pointing out how the chickens didn’t care about which mum they had, so long as they had ‘A’ mum to hide under. This little orange chick was peeping away and ended up going over to the hen in the photo above who started out with 4 chicks and ended up with 6, I guess thats the benefits of 4 mums…

This last photograph shows how happy the girls are scratching around, dust bathing and generally being ‘hens’ again after such a long period of time glued to their nests. Its great to see hens doing what they were born to do and show their babies how to find food, scratch around and its lovely to hear them softly clucking to their babies and teaching them all about their new world…

I just read Harvey’s blog “The Tassie Farmer”. It’s a fantastic mix of really good photography (amazing what you can do on an I-phone these days) and philosophy. He was echoing what I have been thinking today. I think it’s the time of year where we all start to reignite our minds and souls after a long cold winter. Our brains start to thaw out and get moving again and we start to question our place in the world and what we are doing here. As students, Steve and I are never going to be rich. I am under no misapprehensions that we are going to get amazing jobs as a result of our new found love of education. We may start a business, but we might not. We are just enjoying the process at the moment. We do know how very lucky we are to be debt free and to have enough to keep us occupied and able. The other day we heard on the radio that we are part of only 5% of Australians to be debt free. What a scary statistic!

Anyway, I have never been someone to need very much. I need security more than I need “things” and as such don’t really care about amassing heaps of ‘stuff’. I have heaps of ‘stuff’ but most of that has just come along on my life journey. I tend to give stuff away. It’s good for you to do that as it feeds the universe. When you give back you are making a deposit into society that pays back in so very many ways. You might never see the results of those little kindnesses that you give, but the world sees and smiles. I also believe in God Harvey. I went through a very deep phase in my early adulthood where I thought a lot. I tore apart everything that I believed in and shredded it back down to the most simple and base things that a person needed. That was my ‘inwards phase’ and once I pared myself down as far as I could, I stared to look outwards and that was where I had to make up my mind as to whether there was a God or not. I looked at the options. You can either believe that there is an almighty God/force who always has been and who always will be, who created the world or you can believe in what is effectively an entirely random set of chaotic events that came from nothing and assumed order from that chaos. Everything is constantly trying to achieve order from chaos. This balance gives rise to my belief in God. Why does everything strive for order if it was born from chaos? Why is everything on earth inter-related and in an ‘ideal’ universe, cycling in tune with itself? Because it was made that way to work as an integrated unit. That’s where I found God, in the small stuff and I am totally and fully of the belief that we were created rather than evolved.

Now I have said that, I am sure that there are many people scoffing at my beliefs but that’s not important because they are just that ‘my beliefs’. Ask my daughters, some of my beliefs are so radical as to be weird! I love to think and I love to run thoughts through my head and let them get to their eventual resting place. I was born under the sign of the hierophant and that’s why I love to learn and share so much. A hierophant is someone who takes what they learn and who shares it around (unlike an elephant which is a large land animal. I admit to carrying a bit of extra weight but would like to be aligned more so with the ‘hierophant’ than the ‘elephant’ thank you). Whatever you believe, I hope that you have something or someone that you can share your innermost hopes and thoughts with. Harvey has really opened up a can of worms here hasn’t he? Thanks Harvey, I sometimes need to revisit myself. I get a bit caught up with external things and tend to forget about spending time thinking and feeling. Our days seem to get really full of racing around ‘doing things’ don’t they? We need to take more time to listen to our old CD’s and reminisce. We need to think, and read, and walk on our own. We need to nurture ourselves because our world is very hard on ‘The individual’ these days. Back to not needing “things”. I am most definitely not a jewellery person.  I don’t covet other women’s enormous rings etc. I like to simplify things back to their base essence. Sorry if that sounds a bit weird. What I mean by that is paring things back to their essence and seeing how to accent that. I am not a flowery person, I love structure and shape and colours that blend into each other. The odd bright thing is ok, but masses of garish colours are most definitely not me! Things need purpose and we need to be willing to listen to what works in our gardens rather than what we want. How many people start businesses the same way? “I want to open a coffee shop…” do the people in your neighbourhood WANT a coffee shop? Plants do what they can to survive but how many times do we see poor plants just barely surviving in gardens because they are not right for that space. I am very happy because I have lots of research to do regarding our garden. I need to look for plants that will pay for themselves, that will fit in with our ethos that will be right for our conditions that will feed both us and the local wildlife, that won’t need constant attention and that will give a long life of service.

I have really been all over the place in this post haven’t I! I guess that’s what blogs are for…spending time thinking about what is going on inside you. It’s that time of year where you rev your soul up for an eventful period of time where you can get out and achieve things rather than shut down and wait for winter to pass. We get that more here in Tasmania than anywhere in Australia. We get that true change of seasons. In Western Australia I had seen deciduous trees but most of them retained most of their leaves through the mild winters that you get over there. Here, it’s full blown autumn colour, naked trees and a sense of closing up shop for the season. I sometimes wonder if that’s what we all need to do these days…get back to what we are actually here for (stewardship of the world and its creatures) rather than hurling ourselves wildly into society and the manic process of accumulating and spending and wasting. I was once told that I was too idealistic. Perhaps I am, but I would rather be idealistic and try to do something positive, than be someone who doesn’t give a damn to be honest. Anyway, to all my readers, thank you so much for sharing with me and for not judging me too much for my random outbursts. That’s just me and how I see things. It takes all of us working together to make something special as we are each amazingly unique and necessary to the processes of this world and where we are going. Isn’t that awesome? This world needs us. That’s why we were born, we are alive and we are here today, because we have a purpose and a reason and a place/identity in the scheme of things. I am off to look at the river after a good days work. It’s the loveliest sparkling blue like (forgive me for sounding at ALL like Nigella…) sapphires. It’s free for anyone who wants to take the time to look at it and absorb it. The world keeps turning, going through its processes, everything else does its best to work around us and we just need to realise that we need to find our real place in the world. When we do that, we can feel totally happy and centred. It’s so very simple, but so very hard to actually achieve. Have a fantastic weekend everyone. I hope that you all have sapphire water to look at, the lovely spring sun to warm you to your core and something to make you happy. I have beer…CHEERS! :o)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 22:38:42

    You have had a ramble through today love, but I do know what you mean. Wouldn’t it have been great to sit & chat with gran like that? She would have loved it .. The mums & chicks look happy in the dirt. have you seen them tossing the chicks about as they roll in the sand yet? gets rid of any fleas etc on them. Jacko is looking quite the house cat now too. What do the boys think of the new families? I was glad to see you have safer wire around for the chickens Pen. Keep your eyes open for snakes by the way. We have had a big thunderstorm with lashings of rain this evening. Won’t need to water tomorrow now!It’ll all come over your way i9n a day or two, looking at the weather chart. Till later.xx


  2. pfundtie
    Oct 23, 2011 @ 14:02:58

    Harvey’s actually on Fox Classics tonight, you know, if you want to talk to your ‘friend’.


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2011 @ 15:19:02

      I am sure that Harvey has better things to do with his time than watch old peoples movies, especially as he is a stay at home dad studying certificate 2 in horticulture, however, should he ever metamophose into an imaginary rabbit any day soon, I will point him in your direction…


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 01:57:24

    The birds are beautiful. Chris is definitely not a morning person. It takes him a while to get moving, but once he does, you can’t get him to stop. He works until he drops. I think that is the best way to do it. Empty yourself out to let your true beliefs come in.


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