The great slug hunter and reticent magpie

Hi All

Greater love hath no man than to pick up enormous slugs with thou own fingers to feedeth to thine ducks. The way to a duck’s heart is most definitely through its stomach. We have a truce with the ducks that eye us off most warily and run for it if we get too close. We want to show them that we are not after their tender parts and that humans can actually be quite nice. I have been hunting large slugs under rocks to feed to the ducklings. They are getting happier to see us now and the baby chicks are already clambering to get to the side of the enclosure whenever I approach as usually I have a handful of slaters to toss into the cage. Steve and I spent the day yesterday taking pot plants from one side of the house over to a new standing ground on the other side of the house. Apart from it being a hard job logistically, it was also a hard job because it was another one of those Bert and Ernie moments…”Before you can have a cookie you have to lift the lid…after you lift the lid you can have a cookie”. Before we could load the plant benches that we have the more possum and wallaby attractive plants resting on, onto the trailer, we had to unload the cubic metre of potting mix that Steve got the other day in Legana. After we unloaded the potting mix from one enormous bag to another (we have bought it before and have a spare bag for just this reason) and lugged the remainder off the trailer and then the pallet, we had to load up the benches and take them around to the other side of the house. Here’s the thing…from one are to the other is only separated by a small distance. You would think that it was easy to just take the plants from one side to the other… in the middle of the distance was Earl. Earl makes everything complicated and because he is the reason why most of the plants are outside the gate in the first place, it’s wise for us to have learned our lesson and never let Earl and our precious babies sit unattended together for any length of time. It was bad enough when he pinched most of Steve’s socks and underwear from the washing basket this morning. One day we will learn…

We took the benches around and set them up. We loaded 3 trailer loads packed full and unloaded them. We watered our now stressed pot plants and unloaded the surprised looking frog from the empty trailer and put him into the now soaked rainforest of maples that is his new home. Steve then got a burst of energy and whipper snipped and mowed the side and front lawns and made the driveway tidy. It’s amazing how a bit of a tidy up can make you feel. What we did today was just a drop in the bucket but at least we started. Nothing ever gets done if you can’t get off your derrière and get going. That is the moment that draws the line between the doers and the Sayers. I plan on being a doer for the next 12 weeks out in the garden. I don’t care that my knee seems to show no sign of going down. I am going to hobble around out in the garden, roping and pulling out agapanthus (while Steve levers them out with a crowbar)…whipper snipping the front area under the tea trees to start making a dent in the forget-me-not population and generally ignoring my problem and just getting on with it. I don’t want to be the reason why we don’t get things done around here and so long as I do what I can, we can at least stay on track. I am envious of Annie living in Queensland. You are so lucky! I know that it’s hot…its wet…things go mouldy…but you have amazing tropical fruit, you have a fantastic set of growing conditions, you have the coffee and tea plantations, you have all sorts of things that we can’t even contemplate down here. We used to buy a lot of seeds from a Queenslander that we found on ebay. We bought all sorts of tropical seeds and grew them. They don’t much like living in Tasmania though and they have to live in our little refurbished glasshouse. We envy you your tropical trees, your bananas (ours are 2 sad looking little fellows that just keep ticking over) and all of those amazing trees that you are able to grow. We are predominately tree people and love them all. I have a couple of little avocado trees and hope beyond hope that they will grow and produce fruit. I know of a few people in little microclimates in Launceston who get fruit on their trees and we apparently have a little microclimate out here thanks to all of the thermal heat sink in the rocks and the river. We don’t get a lot of frost and as such are much luckier than many other people in this area. I guess you just do the best that you can with your climate and grow what you can, where you can. I don’t like humidity and so I guess Queensland and I are not to be best pals. I want to visit a tropical fruit farm in Queensland one day and eat my body weight’s worth of fruit. Isn’t it funny what people put on their “to do before I die” list? That’s one of mine. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and I dare say there are great things about Queensland and Tasmania and each place has benefits and problems in equal amounts. Steve and I want to visit the Botanical Gardens in every capital city in Australia. So far we have done WA and Tasmania so there are quite a few to go.

I did a bit of research last night and discovered that the innocent use of someone else’s photos or illustrations online can constitute a legal offence. I wonder how many of us bloggers are guilty of that? I didn’t realise that using someone else’s photo would be seen as malicious. I would have thought that they would be happy to see that someone else appreciated it and was sharing it around. I understand that some people use other peoples work to their advantage and fully understand someone taking legal action against these unscrupulous people, but people just wanting to share something lovely with their friends shouldn’t be seen in the same light. I noticed, whilst hunting for information about this subject, that there are vultures (lawyers) clambering around this topic seeing a way to make a living out of suing everyone that even looks at a copyright photo or illustration. I can see mediocre photographers sitting back and making more of a living out of suing bloggers than they ever would out of selling their photographs. The world is becoming a very hard place. This said, I will NOT be using any photos that I find online unless I have permission to do so from now on. I don’t have a lot of patience so will probably try to take my own photos for anything that I am trying to explain. I have researched and found a lot of sites and places where you CAN get photos and illustrations that you can use online but if I want to illustrate something I have Photoshop to make my own photos more interesting, I have illustrator so I can mess around a lot, I have a perfectly good ability to use it and I will be spending the nights for the next few weeks, finding approximations for the photos and illustrations that I have used and replacing them. I DON’T want to get sued! If I can find something approximate, I will use it, if I can’t; I will draw a picture and scan it and will make you all laugh. I think that a lot of people need to lighten up. I also think that the world is a hard enough place without people taking the beauty out of it and making everyone pay for it. If anyone wants to use my photos most innocently on their blogs feel free. I don’t care. I am not that precious. So long as you don’t want to use them in some sort of illegal or pornographic context. Go for it. Life is too short for bad wine and selfishness.

I am going to share a few photos that we have taken over the last few weeks. I know that my photography isn’t going to win any awards, but its free, its prolific and its yours for the seeing :o)

Here’s one of Steve and Earl. Earl is just a dog form of Steve and the resemblence is uncanny…

Here’s some long rolls that Steve made the other day. They ended up with a crusty exterior and a deliciously soft interior. The only problem was that the tiger topping that went on the top was an abject flop. He made some more the other day without the topping and they were perfect.

I just went outside and took a photo of what 1 cubic metre of potting mix looks like and a free pallet

Not so pretty, but it makes us VERY happy and the little plants looking from the heat bed through the window in the picture that are ready to pot up are cheering

This is Effel Doocarks overnight lodge. We put it on her when we have shut in the other chooks and take it off her first thing in the morning. It’s not like she is going anywhere. She is hunkered/bunkered down like she is waiting out the war. Now that I have said that, apparently Steve just uncovered her and she took off like a lightning bolt. Hopefully that doesn’t mean that Effel has deserted her post and gone A.W.O.L.

I also took a couple of shots over the top of our remaining plants (that will probably get moved today around to the other side of the house) looking out over the Tamar River. How lucky are we to be living in this amazingly beautiful place. That’s why we are taking our job here VERY seriously and are going to do the best job that we can. There is a lovely rose that was on its last legs not so long back that has recovered and is giving us the most amazing show of lovely David Austin style blooms. I don’t know what this rose is but its lovely. Was it planted to celebrate something? Its starkly different to every other rose on the property (except 1 tiny mini rose that struggles daily against the possum invaders). Was it to celebrate someone’s love? Or perhaps someones death? Who knows. Little things like this in an inherited garden need protecting. Who knows how special something has been to someone who once lived there. I am so glad that this rose is happy again. Nat taught us how to prune roses and what Nat doesn’t know about a rose, isn’t worth knowing and we are going to use that knowledge to give this lovely shrub a new lease on life. Thanks Nat :o)…by the way…when (note I am NOT saying “if” here…) we finish our Diploma this year, we are thinking about getting you to prune all of the roses on the property rather than the fruit trees. Fruit trees don’t bite!

Here are those 2 photos taken out over the plants and the Tamar (with 2 of our wind fish showing you how breezy it is here today) and I am trying to coerce Steve into seeing if he can’t take a nice photo of that rose. Perhaps Nat can identify it?

I just had to send poor Steve out again after taking 2 photos of the rose and neither of them being usable. Steve has NO interest in ‘pretty flowers’ at all and when I asked him to take a photo of the rose, came back with 14 photos of his trees in the glasshouse, some fruit growing on the trees, the good job that he did mowing and whipper snipping the lawn yesterday and 2 hurridly blurry photos of the rose…sigh…chalk and cheese…chalk and cheese…

BRAVO Steve! He took some nice photos of the rose and perhaps Nat might be able to tell us what it is? I remember a few years ago taking cuttings of this poor rose as I thought that it might not live much longer. How wrong was I?

And here is a really lovely shot…this rose is heavenly perfumed by the way Nat…


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kym
    Nov 18, 2011 @ 19:26:57

    Hi Fran 🙂
    When we bought this house it had been rented for two years so the garden was pretty overgrown. The original owners liked to plant everything and anything everywhere. So the first thing we had to tackle was the garden. I started by pruning everything back to a manageable state so we could see just what we had. Under a lot of overgrowth were four standard rose bushes. They were a bit deformed from having to struggle with all the other plants. I moved them in winter to the side of the house. I only lost one of them, he was just too spindly to survive the move I think. They love it against the fence, with lots of sun and are protected from the sea breeze. They give me months of blooms, in fact I don’t think they have ever been bare since I moved them. They are beautiful and give me much pleasure. I put in another standard, to replace the one that died, it’s called Mother’s Day and is in honour of my Mum and my mother in law Phyllis who died within a year of each other. They are amazingly tough those roses so not surprised that yours came back. It looks like a double something or other, lol, I’m very technical there. It’s very pretty, does it have a perfume?
    You need to go and get that knee looked at. Don’t pull a face! Go do it sooner rather than later because you could be causing more damage as you hobble away. Ok lecture over 🙂 Take care xx


    • narf77
      Nov 18, 2011 @ 19:36:02

      Hi Kymmy the state of public health care in Tasmania is terrible. We moved here back in 2007 in January and have NOT been able to get a family doctor. Now that they have trimmed over 100 000 000 from the health care budget this year, there are no elective surgeries to be done at all and if you should need to get medical care and front up to a hospital emergency unit to try and get seen, you would be there about a week before anyone asked your name. I hobble…therefore I am :o) The main problem is that I keep injuring it! It just starts to get a bit better and I slip over in the mud, I get knocked over by the dogs having fun or I have to walk around town all day and irritate it. Perhaps I should come for a visit to WA and while I am there, get it looked at! I wonder if our old family doctor would still have us on his books? :o) that rose has a heavenly sweet scent. That’s why I think that it might be a David Austin. I am sure that Nat will let me know. She worked for years in the National Rose Gardens and is the most likely to know.


  2. Pinky
    Nov 18, 2011 @ 21:13:50

    You could just fly to Melbourne on one of those ridiculously cheap flights and rock up to the major hospital their Fran to get that knee seen too. Why not go to the chemist and buy a really good knee brace in the meantime? Nag,nag,nag,nag,blah,blah,blither,nag……..


    • narf77
      Nov 18, 2011 @ 23:12:01

      Or….I could just take it easy, stop slipping over in the mud when I am feeding the ducks, get Earl to stop jumping on it in the night…not get dragged around by dogs on their walks and generally take it easy which is what I am doing now. Lots cheaper than the cheapest flight and when I got to Melbourne, I wouldn’t even know where the hospital was. Its pretty sad when you have to go to another state to get medical attention isnt it!


  3. Pinky
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 10:10:04

    Sure is Fronkii. David (ex hubby, ‘member him?) has to see a neurosurgeon regarding his back and sciatic nerve plus he has to have shoulder surgery soon. He was trundling around in a gopher at the Albany show. You know he also never listened when told to stop doing things for the sake of his health. I think his sanity was more important to him at the time.


  4. Kym
    Nov 19, 2011 @ 14:45:30

    Hi Fran,
    It’s pretty bad if you can’t even get to see a doctor. Can you ring an ambulance, fake a heart attack then oh by the way my knee is poorly too…… Anyway it stinks. I can’t imagine you “taking it easy” so I suppose that knee will just get worse, maybe get that wonderful man of yours to make you a walking stick, with a duck or chook shape on top??? LOL. I am off to Bunnings to buy a new watering can as mine finally bit the dust, ended up with a hole in the side of it,(dear Liza). We love going to Bunnings as both of us can find areas we love to look in. Last week ours had a carpark sale with lots of goodies at cheap prices. Scored three glass shelves for just three dollars, they were twenty odd each originally. I will use them in the bathroom when we refurbish it. We also scored a free bathroom cabinet with basin and flick tap from down the road. Went to walk the dogs and there it was outside a house with free on it. In good nick too so Bruce went home and bought the trolley back to take it home. I had to walk the dogs by myself then as Bruce will use any excuse to get out of it, but it was worth it for the free cabinet. My bathroom is coming along nicely, so far have spent three dollars and got a cabinet and three shelves. Anyway back to the watering can… I have bought some worm juice from the year threes at school to put on my pot plants, hence I need the new can today. Anyway no more waffle, take care of yourself and good luck with the knee xx
    PS I will try to send some photos of the garden to you via email, or would it be better on the blog. If so how do I put pictures on the blog?? xx


  5. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 05:50:52

    When Chris and I met I had some knee problems. I attributed it to the running I used to do in my 30’s and 50 lbs ago. I tried wearing knee braces which made it worse. That is when I also started hiking. I just kept walking, walking, walking, and my knees actually got better. For myself, I have found that as soon as I let up on walking and yoga my body just starts falling apart. Once again I’m trying to get it back together….my goal for my upcoming 60th birthday.


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