How plants can mellow you out when nothing else can

Hi All,

There is something eminently satisfying about pottering around the garden, watering, and looking at how the seasons change your space. I have gone from being stressed out and somewhat brittle to feeling genuinely relaxed and happy.  The garden is full of flowers and the teatree area is starting to open up and look like it has possibilities. I love spending some time working in the garden and seeing things take shape or open up into new areas. We revealed a lovely big Endocarpus that I didn’t even know was there because it has been hiding behind a messy tangle of Hakeas. We had to remove most of the hakeas today because they were mostly dead. I don’t know why these very hardy shrubs had succumbed to the lack of care when other more tender European shrubs are still alive and doing fine. Perhaps they have reached the end of their serviceable life or perhaps the black cockatoos damaged them when they were harvesting the hakea nuts for the seeds. I love this time of year. I belong to several reward email survey sites and this is when I managed to rack up some points. I have $240 of rewards sitting waiting for a rainy day so it’s well worth sharing my opinion and as anyone reading this blog post knows, I am NEVER slow to share my opinion :o). It is also the time when many of my online newsletters give a little bit more than they usually do. I am a consummate glutton and love visiting online food sites. I have subscribed to get newsletters from those that interest me more than usual and the rest are languishing in a word doc in my folder waiting for me to get a bit of spare time to visit again. It is just amazing how many people love you when its Christmas and how the New Year brings no emails at all! I think everyone gets geared up for Christmas and then disappears for a break. I don’t mind, more time in the garden. I heard a fishing guide man on the radio this morning saying that he purposefully went out fishing from December 23rd onwards (not Christmas day, he said he didn’t mind his wife and would rather stay married…) because everyone else was madly shopping for hams! No one out there but him and his thoughts looking out over the lake and waiting for those elusive trout. Sounds like heaven when you think about the alternative shopping frenzy…

Again I am resorting to posting pictures that don’t really have any place in this post. They don’t really HAVE a post to be honest so rather than you missing out on them, I decided to wait till I had a photoless post and slip them in discreetly so that you wouldn’t notice. You didn’t notice…right?…

Here is the saga of the socks. Earl is in the bad books today after Yin took a wrong turn at Albuquerque (what an excellent word! :o) and got scared INTO the compound rather than out of it when he was crowing on the gate. Earl had Yin pinned and there were enough feathers flying around to cover 2 hens. We thought that poor Yin was a goner as Steve managed to pull Earl off him and he was staggering around like he was drunk…He got out of the compound gate and is now up the back of the block with his hens and NO tailfeathers whatsoever. I was concerned about him but he was giving a tentative crow when I last saw him (no feathers in there Yin?) so hopefully he will be fine. Earl is getting a reputation here but I need to point out to everyone, if Earl wanted to kill Yin (and the chicken he managed to corner and catch before Yin) Yin would be dead at this point. Earl is a big muscle bound scary looking PUP and as such, Yin was going to be his next clucking squeaky toy. Yin lost a lot of feathers but not an ounce of blood and is crowing and bossing his hens around as if nothing had happened.

Earl can be quick (as Yin just found out to his detriment!) and Steve had hand washed a pair of socks due to us being so busy we haven’t remembered to do a load of washing in weeks! He put them “out of reach” (his exact words…) of Earl in the sun to dry. We were having a cuppa when we noticed a streak of lightning race past us and into our room which usually means that Earl “has” something. I know I misuse both quotation marks and apostrophe’s but what’s a gramatical error between friends :o). Earl did indeed have something…one of Steve’s handwashed socks! Earl knows that he is the only memeber of our household that can fit under the bed. The rest of us, thanks to age, knees, girth or genetically large shoulders are unable to squeeze under there and Earl is very aware of this and takes everything that he has pinched under the bed for inspection and ultimate dismantling. Steve and Bezial were attempting to coax Earl out from under the bed but Earl was having none of it. Bezial could get in halfway before his distended rump got stuck and Steve’s shoulders wouldn’t allow him under the bed but thanks to those large shoulders, he could stretch in and regain possession of his sock! Back luck Earl…no chook…no sock…nothing to play with at all. Here is a pictorial view of this event unfolding before your eyes (I didn’t put the photo of Earl licking Steve’s sock to tenderise it as anyone/thing putting one of Steve’s socks into it’s mouth and surviving, is most probably not of this world and not wanting the F.B.I. to take him away and perform experiments on him, I won’t publish that photo….)

Good luck with that Steve and Bezial…

Bezial can’t…quite…get his foot there to get the sock…

Bugger….You can actually see (to my shame) the remains of all of the bits of wood, toys etc. that Earl takes to his “Happy Place” to ruminate

Lastly, this is what happens to dobbers who dob in dogs with socks and then document the theft pictorially and can’t get up off the floor because of their dicky knee…

Steve is going great guns with his 15 songs for Christmas. He has one today that I had never heard before and that is going to tickle some of your fancies indeed. It’s not one of his 18+ songs (he only has 1 of those left now and it’s a doozy!) so anyone can listen and reminisce however, I don’t think that most of us have heard this song out here in Australia. Let me know if you have :o). Steve is having a ball outside whipper snipping all of the edges of the garden and mowing the lawns. He is then going to get stuck in with the hedge trimmer so that everything looks nice and neat for Christmas day and for when mum gets here. Inadvertently you have improved our fitness levels mum as we would otherwise have probably slothed about, drinking beer, doing sweet bugger all and doing a last minute vacuum on Christmas day before we picked up the girls for lunch. Now we are racing about like blue bottomed flies getting everything sorted and looking nice so thank you for that :o) it does look so much nicer when it’s mowed, snipped and trimmed. I was reading some information about blogging and posts. I read that most people run out of things to say and stop blogging after a month. I am constantly getting little messages telling me “If you have run out of things to say”…and little ideas to jolt my mind. I haven’t had to resort to “Mind Jolting” yet and most probably won’t have to for years. I have no problems coming up with posts even though I am posting daily. I just love sharing our lives with you all and am so not writers blocked, that I have several posts up my sleeve so that we can get out into the garden early and I don’t have to worry about missing out on a post. Thank you all for sharing the highs and lows of Serendipity Farm. It’s cathartic to share and it’s my diary and by publishing it directly to the world wide web, it saves any of you having to drive all the way out here and break in to read it doesn’t it :o)

Here is Earl’s attempt to amuse himself. He has turned himself into a “Dog-in-the-box”…this game is very similar to his other game “Dog-in-the-wheelbarrow”. Neither of us have any idea why Earl likes to get into things. He most certainly gets into lots of trouble. We keep telling ourselves “One day Earl is going to be an amazing dog”. We know this, because Bezial was a little sh#@ when he was young as well and ate a window ledge, started on the wall and chewed his way through many power cords (when they were on…). He ate our socks, our shoes, he ate both Steve’s guitar stands, he chased a neighbours cat all over the neighbourhood and today he sat in the back doorway when Earl had caught Yin, while the gate was wide open and Yin was staggering around (like Dean martin after a hard nights singing) and he could have made a run for it, eaten Yin, taken advantage of the situation, but he didn’t. He just sat there. Bezial is our only hope for Earl to be honest. If we hadn’t had Bezial first to see the magic transformation that age can do for a dog, we might not be as understanding of him as we are. Earl had a good chew of the seatbelt clip yesterday in the car when we were working in the garden. He can’t help himself to be honest, it’s all just a massive great big chew fest with Earl and anything that is stupid enough to find itself in his mouth, can consider itself most appropriately “chewed”!

I took a few photos when we were walking in Exeter this morning. Not too many because Bezial hasn’t walked in Exeter for a while and was being decidedly naughty and pulling me from pillar to post. He doesn’t do this with Steve because he knows that he can’t get away with it but I am that dear old “Fat Anchor” just waiting to be pulled and he most certainly gives it the old college try! A fellow dog lover that we met when walking our boys locally one day who has moved out of the area stopped to wish us Merry Christmas and to admire Earl. This man is obviously demented because he has always admired Earl. From a distance you might be forgiven for thinking that he was a prime specimen of dog…the closer you get, the more you see that Earl is covered in scratches (from hunting through the blackberries for anything that he can chase), nips (from his play fighting with Qi and Bezial), dirt (self-explanatory) and anything else that he can roll in or eat. He is grubby, smelly and all dog and should someone admire him up close they will leave covered in dog paw prints and slobber. Poor Steve had to hold both dogs as Bezial gets highly excited whenever he thinks he can add a new fan to the “We love Bezial” club. I am starting to think that Bezial is a megalomaniac and constantly needs to be admired or he reverts back to Emo-dog. The boys were pulling for the queen today because the nice man had 2 dogs in the car. Both girls, one called Chloe that the boys have met and his daughters dog who decided that she might jump out and say “Hi” to the nice boys…CHAOS!!!!!!!!!! That is all I am going to say. Steve was land skiing and the staffy girl had to be hauled protesting back into the car because she thought that Bezial and Earl were her new best friends in the world and the feeling was mutual. After wishing us Merry Christmas from his wound up window and waving whilst swatting an overenthusiastic girl away from the window he headed off. We dog lovers stick together because no one else will put up with us! :o)

This is the only photo that was actually taken in regards to this post. On a hot day, the dogs would rather sit in the car with the back door open. We can actually take the top off our little hamster and might just do so if the sun stays out for more than a day at a time over summer. Here is Steve looking a little bit like Shane Nicholson today (either Shane or Freddy Krueger…not quite sure which one). You never know what Steve is going to look like from day to day. I put it down to his Diddy heritage. To those not in the  know…”Diddy’s” are Gypsies and I have my suspicions that Pat pinched Steve from a Diddies pram on a whim and by the time she had realised what a mistake she had made the Diddy’s had left town and she was stuck with him!

I am off out to tackle a blackberry outbreak next to the bird baths. They are keen opportunists and will take advantage of any water source to grow maniacally and flourish exponentially so need to be constantly monitored. These blackberries have found nirvana and are going for broke so I need to nip them in the bud now, and hack them off at their spiny bases and paint them with glyphosate before they take over the world. The future of the universe is in my hands people and I need to rise to the occasion and take my place alongside Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and anyone else who have given of themselves to save the world. I will no doubt end up covered in welts, scratches and thorns and bleeding profusely but there is no need to thank me! I am just happy to have served :o). Effel doocark has moved her babies over to the main enclosure now and has reintegrated herself back into the flock. Houdini (the missing chook) is still at large. She and her feral five are not going to be lured back by any amount of Yin’s sweet talking and so he has to spend his days wandering around trying to find all 35 of his brethren and making sure that they are all safe which is a hard task indeed when Earl, the dun-ya-dough crow, the feral cats, kookaburras and all sorts of other predators are all out to scoff them.  There isn’t a minute that goes by that something somewhere doesn’t think that the sky is falling and poor Yin has to run off at the speed of light to sort it all out. I have called the aging old blue Wyandotte that we were tricked into taking (and paying top dollar for) when we bought our second lot of hens Nana doocark because she hangs around with Effel and looks after the babies when Effel feels the need to have a dust bath, drink, some food or any other new mums needs. She also picks up little bits of food for the babies and makes sure that no one else tries to pick on them. Effels babies are the only ones that she has done this for and I think that she might be Effels mum. I don’t care that we have never had an egg from this hen, nor are we likely to. She is going to be allowed to live out her life here and when she eventually does die, she will be buried under a newly planted tree and allowed to live on in Serendipity Farm. I am quintessentially an old softy. I cry at the national anthem and those of most other countries, I get very upset when animals are mistreated, I have a burning need to stand up for the underdog and can’t help crying at the most inopportune moments. I found a YouTube channel the other day that had dogs refusing to leave their dead owners…WHO WOULD FILM THIS! I found it by looking for dogs singing and ended up here and apart from thinking about how sad this was, they paired it up with Sarah McLachlan singing Angel over the top and suddenly I was a snivelling wreck thinking about all the poor animals that get left behind when their owners die and for a good 2 hours afterwards Steve had to wrestle the phone from me to stop me phoning up the R.S.P.C.A. and offering to house the lot.

Time to head off and tackle those blackberries. I KNOW I said I was going earlier, but I didn’t so I had best face my mortal enemy with determination and a healthy dose of Horticultural knowledge and deal them a mortal blow! See you all tomorrow (if the blackberries don’t overpower me that is!) :o)


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum.
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 11:14:04

    What a great blog this morning love, as they all are ! I can see Earl with Steves sock.Just like a naughty kid & he knows he has a good spot to hide things. You need one of those picker uppers, or a long pair of bbq tongs to reach under. The way Earl is growing, he won’t be able to get under there soon. I am so looking forward to seeing you all again. Poor Big Yin ! Did you take a photo of him minus tail feathers? Maybe now, they will both be wary of each other. Give Houdini a chance love, as Effel has only just taken her babies in with the others. Houdini is probably making fully sure they will be alright among the others. That old Dame Doocark sounds a good little mother hen too, & probably is Effels mum. Your blogs are a boon to all Pen, & to cheer a lot of people at their witrs end at this time of the year is something special & needed. Don’t ever change , I love reading about the antics on Serendipity Farm. I reckon gran is channeling through you a lot too, as she used to often write little funny anecdotes, just as you do. Hey, I shal;l be making rum balls this time next week with the girls!


  2. Pinky
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 21:29:40

    I’ve known “I’m walking backwards for christmas” for a long long time Fronkii. I love Spike Milligan and all the goon shows. Do you remember listening to that old 78 record at Grandmas way back when? How we peed ourselves laughing on many a dreary day? Plus Jason loves them too. He’s got the book “The Bible” according to Spike Milligan. Hillarious and I dont think God minds that much.


    • narf77
      Dec 17, 2011 @ 21:44:17

      Steve has that book as well :o) I remember the old gramophone and us playing old 33.3 records slow and fast. Ying tong idle I po slowed down was so hilarious I am chuckling to myself as I type this. If God minded, he wouldn’t have given us a sense of humour :o). I had never heard that song before and seem to be the only one who hasn’t heard of it!


  3. Pinky
    Dec 17, 2011 @ 22:38:04

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Forgot about the slow version of Ying tong! Laughter is such good medicine.


    • narf77
      Dec 18, 2011 @ 13:15:01

      And we can never forget the sped up version where the goons made the chipmunks sound like Paul Robeson in comparison. I remember many an afternoon spent in Grans little spare room hunting through ‘stuff’ and being amused by the gramaphone :o)


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