Earl’s birthday and a day’s happy internet hunting thanks to the rain

Hi All

Today Earl turned 1. Actually it was yesterday but if you read yesterday’s post, you will know that today’s post is yesterday’s work…if you want to remain sane and informed you will leave it at that! Earl had a great day. First up he got cuddles on the bed. Next he headed off with his ‘Pa’ to Exeter for a walk in the rain and to pick up some balloons for a treat. He then came home and spent the morning ripping up his toys and having the best time bursting balloons Here he is getting back from Exeter having a birthday drive up the driveway with his ‘Pa’

Here you can see the boys having some fun with one of Earl’ birthday presents

Here is Earl with his balloons. They lasted all of 3 seconds and bursting balloons is now Earl’s chief aim in life

Here is what’s left of Earl’s string of 3 rubber bones. The rest of the present is inside Earl and I will have to collect the remnants tomorrow (ech). His squeaky rabbit remains intact for now…

Incidentally, here are the remains of Mr Water bottle. You can’t tell me that this dog isn’t clever. He waited till Steve was out in the shed and I was busy posting and had a bit of a think about it and decided that now that he was 1 there would be no more squirting for Earl! :o)

Do you see that halo of light coming from Mr Water bottle? I am not too sure what that is, but perhaps Mr Water bottle has performed his ‘task’ here on earth and can come back as a slug next time? Hopefully you don’t meet up with the ducks too early on in the piece Mr Water bottle (or should I say Mr slug…) because your next reincarnation would be very VERY quick…

Earl (and Bezial) spent the afternoon lying next to the fire as it is raining and cold and has been all day. Then he got 2 home-made cheese burgers with bacon, egg and cheese on and a decent share of a fresh home-made sponge cake with an entire block of white chocolate kit-kat broken up on top. How lucky is he? How lucky is Bezial! It’s not even his birthday and he got to share all of this.

Now this shot doesnt put this meal into a very appetising light. I hate scrubbing baking dishes and so got the ingenious idea to put the raw burgers with the raw bacon on top of them on top of some baking paper and so you see the result…but with a large slice of cheddar melted on top and a nice gooey egg on top of that, put onto a nice fresh hamburger bun heavily buttered (Bezial’s favourite thing) and you have dog heaven. In fact, you have Steve heaven. When I was cutting them up into small bits (otherwise the bread would have the butter removed and would be left for the sparrows the next day), Steve had some and pronounced it delicious and here is the cake with Earl’s input

Before anyone says “dogs are not supposed to have chocolate”, we are well aware of that. We have been informed numerous times by people in the street when we give our boys a white chocolate bud…The milk chocolate on this cake was destined for Steve on his slice and the white chocolate kit-kat is perfectly legal for dogs (albeit a bad health choice) because white chocolate does not contain the ingredient that can kill dogs. It is removed along with the cocoa so this cake is not going to kill them any day soon and Earl is so rangy and thin being a callow youth, that he could do with a bit of fattening up

I got to spend the day going hunting online. Steve hates to sit around doing nothing and as the rain has effectively shut all of our outside efforts down for the foreseeable future, we had to amuse ourselves in different ways. Steve has put some chain on the sign that we made and has made a number for our sign as well. We are suitably proud of it and it is suitably rustic for our forest garden. I was looking up pictures of how to make a home-made bug box online. We often go hunting for something, see a lovely picture and just make it ourselves. Steve cut out the pieces and then got a really good idea for something to sell at our local markets. I won’t share it with you quite yet, but when he makes his prototype, you will be the very first to see it. He has been out in the shed ever since the power came back on at 11.00 today. Our local power company has just put the cost of our power up by 15% (the second of about 100 rises to be scheduled to pay the exorbitant fee of the C.E.O.) and so it’s only fitting that we get power cuts every Saturday for our own good. I hope that you all detect the note of sarcasm there, it was more than intended! I went hunting to see if I could find something along the lines of what Steve wants to do for the markets and ended up at one of my favourite sites. I love it. It’s for people like us with mucho time and zippo money. It’s called “Instructables” and has given us many hours of fun and amusement and that’s just looking for ideas before we even attempt to make anything. The following has got to be one of the most classic ways to derail an ecodick. An ecodick is someone who thinks that they know all about the environment, that they are so much better than anyone else and who needs to enlighten all of we mere plebeian’s who are under the false misapprehensions that anything that we do can help the environment or be a worthy undertaking because we are simply a lesser species to them. They usually ride push bikes wearing lycra, have hybrid cars, drink organic wine, force the price of foods off the Richter scale by making them wanky and ‘desirable’ where once they were simply peasant and rustic. They are stealing and misappropriating anything to do with sustainability and should you ever be so silly as to try to attend a ‘sustainability’ event, anywhere any time, you will see them seated at the front, after cycling to get to the event, wearing their hand felted hats, loudly protesting at ANYTHING that any poor speaker has to say and making sure that everyone hears their opinion in depth because OBVIOUSLY they are so much better than everyone else and know so very much more. If you are one of these people, do us all a favour and shut up. We don’t care if you think what you think is Uber important. We don’t give a rats if you know more than we do. We couldn’t care less if you have the answers to absolutely everything for sale in an E-book for $99.99. Piss off, we are NOT interested. Sorry to anyone reading this who takes offence at my language there, but these people are verminous vultures living off the good name of people who genuinely want to do something about the state of our planet before it becomes uninhabitable. I was looking at gardening ideas on the Instructables site and found some nifty raised gardens made from recycled PVC fencing. What a good idea! Stop it going into landfill and using it for something artistic, usable and attractive. One of the ecodick’s left this comment which was answered by the author of the Instructable as follows…

“Smile4me422 says: Too bad you use Vinyl, so horrible for the planet and it’s off gasing into your garden. It would be great if you could find a better material that doesn’t contaminate your garden and the rest of the earth.

(And here is the most awesome reply :o)

Jul 17, 2011. 9:24 PM jxross (author) says:

Actually, the reason I used vinyl was for just that reason. You see, I hate my family and the Earth. I am hoping to grow an enormous amount of food in a seemingly loving and environmentally conscious manner. Once I lull my family into believing that I actually love them, I will feed them this vinyl gas-contaminated poison. Eventually, they will get sick and die a horrible, painfully slow death.

Once this phase of my master plan is complete, I will use their poison-infused decomposing bodies to kill as many soil-borne microbes as possible. In fact, I estimate that each one of my children will render approximately two cubic meters of soil uninhabitable for at least the next 50 years. My wife may be good for up to three cubic meters.

Though I truly appreciate your comments, I must ask you to please refrain from mentioning this to anyone. It would truly be a shame if, after working so hard on my diabolical plan, it were foiled so close to success. I’m sure you understand.

By the way, about 66% of the water distribution pipes in the US are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It appears that the Department of Health has the same disdain for the general population as I do for my family and the earth. I’m sure that agency would appreciate your silence concerning this matter.

In conclusion, thanks for the comment. I will think of it each time I use my plastic credit card to purchase a plastic bottle of water so as not to drink water from the plastic PVC pipes.

Again, thanks, and don’t forget to wear your aluminium foil hat and gas mask when you go out into the real world. ”

I love this person. I have never met him, but I would give him a hug in an instant. He gives me great hope that there might be more of these interesting, non-self-absorbed, actually funny Americans out there. If you haven’t checked out Instructables before, have a gander and see just what you can find there. It’s most interesting and there are some ingenious contraptions and problem solves for everyday things using cheap, everyday articles to do so. Here’s the link…


I just made it easier for my gardening friends as this link takes you straight to the gardening section. To the rest of you, you are just going to have to look at the array of choices at the top of the page and go hunting from there. Musical instruments, stills to make whiskey, all sorts of weird and wonderful creations and some very lame and funny things as well. It’s a great way to spend a rainy winter or otherwise afternoon or somewhere to go when you are bored.

Steve just made his bug box. It’s very well made and we just have to cut up some thick bark (from that old dead sheok that croaked in the 1st paddock); cut some of the dead buddleia in the garden up into small pieces. Buddleia stems are hollow and as such make excellent bug homes. Then we are going to pick up some bamboo plant stakes at Bunning’s when we next head into town and a bit of hay will satisfy the other bugs that like more surface area for their buck. We are hoping to give Beneficial’s somewhere to over-winter so that they keep our garden as their main home. We have also found bumblebee boxes that we might try to replicate as well. Steve just said that anyone wanting one of these bug boxes can have one for $25. He is very proud of them and says to look out for his new range of egg boxes coming soon (there, you now know what he was going to make :o). It’s amazing what you can make out of wood. On the cards are bird houses, spoons, rolling pins, and anything else that we can pilfer from pictures that we see everywhere. All it takes is the ability to hunt ideas…good tools and some genius (supplied by Steve) and a loud radio in the shed and a good glass of merlot (or beer will do at a pinch).

The bug box isn’t wonky, my photo taking ability is :o) The 4 compartments are yet to be filled with bug friendly nesting material including some buddleia stems, some thick bark (from the sheok from our sign), some hay and some twigs that have been drilled through. That’s going to be sorted out over the next few days. The inside of the bug box is not painted because we figured that you wouldn’t see it, the bugs might not like the paint and it might even be toxic to them so we left it unpainted. The reason that the bug box is painted at all is because it needs to be out in the weather where the bugs are. No point making it for inside because I don’t particularly like bugs inside! Here’s a side view…

This will be mounted onto a tree somewhere out in the garden and will be joined by many others all through the garden. We want this garden to be a lovely place to walk through, full of happy beneficial bugs, self propagating and generally our own little Nirvana. It’s also going to be full of weird and wonderful bug boxes, bird houses and all sorts of Steve made ‘stuff’ to enhance our enjoyment (and that of the bugs, birds and anything else that wants to hang out here on Serendipity Farm. Steve has just made another bug box. This one is more rustic but very cute and all that remains to be done with this one is to put the buddliea sticks above the log

Pingu also got a bit of cake crumbled up but she has been complaining all day about being stuck inside. Bezial has been lying next to the door communicating mentally with Pingu who has apparently been telling him to ‘open the door…’ I got a photo of Pingu so that you can see how big she has gotten. All of the chickens are in between chick and hen and look bedraggled and munty including Pingu…

Ok, I need to head off now and do some research on how to make Scandinavian door harps and Aeolian wind harps. Steve has a desire to make them and now it’s up to me to find a plan online which seems to be something that I am going to have to work a bit harder than usual for. It’s still raining and will be for most of the week but the garden is amazingly happy, the chickens are soggy but happy and we might even do something about filling and planting out this upside down pot that we got from the Salamanca markets when my mum was over visiting in April.

And heres the bit that I have to find something for…


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 13:37:17

    Happy birthday Earl! He has grown Pen, & looks a lovely boy too. Bezial looks to have had fun as well. Keep a water bottle handy though, evenm if Earl killed that one! It’s gone to bottle heaven by the looks. I love that item you put in too, re ecodick, & the reply was perfect! That site is what everyone used to do & still do too, about recycling things. I guess with all the nurseries around & gardening landscaping, people now look down on using intersting things for plants etc in the garden. I am happy to say though there are still hoards of us eh? It’s what makes a great garden for all. Steve, make some different sized & shaped bird boxes, & dot around secret spots in the garden on sides of trees. I have always wanted to do that, & see what they eventually produce. Put them where cats etc cannot get to them.You never know what will nest in them.Pingu has sure grown, so try him/her out with the others for a day, or put it in with the others at night. I shall put aa photo in the weekly email of my makeshift upside down planter I have a tumbler tomato growing happily in Pen.It’s full of small tomatoes too! Enjoy your day, & think about something for that big upside down pot!


  2. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:25:52

    I think you would think we are such horrible dog parents.


    • narf77
      Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:39:40

      Earl and Bezial are Steve’s babies. They get treated accordingly. We are both big softies and the 13 feral cats hovering around outside prove that :(. So do the 3 feral chooks and those 2 roosters that are skating on thin ice! Crowing at 3am? Not on MY watch! 😉


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