Back to the real world

Hi All,

After a day of bumbling around and enjoying being home, its time to get planning. I had a few epiphany’s while I was in W.A. most of them occuring at 3.30am when I found myself waking up in accordance with my regular wake up time in Tasmania. Its not easy to think about light and fanciful things when you are confronted with both your parents and subsequently your own mortality. I did a fair bit of soul searching. I have also promised myself that unlike both my parents, I am NOT going to hoard “stuff” for hoardings sake. I understand thrift and being careful not to waste things. I understand recycling and thinking about where my refuse and by products go but draws full of elastic bands, bags of old zippers and various other things that I would never use are false economies. I also learned that bumbling around doesnt get anything done and neither does it give you any degree of satisfaction. When you take a long hard look at your life in the dark before the dawn and there is nothing to distract your train of thought it is difficult to justify laziness, procrastination and a lack of work ethic. As city people, both Steve and I are inclined to see many of the tasks that we have to do on Serendipity Farm as irritants. Having thought about our enviable lifestyle I felt guilty about how much we procrastinate. In my year of living honestly I am trying to pare things back to what is important in my life, what is worth it, and what is going to reward us both now and in the future.

Earl with his kong

One of 2 big gas platforms moored on the Beauty Point wharf waiting to be towed out to sea when the company is ready for them

Yesterdays walk over at Redbill Point nature reserve in Beauty Point. Pretty isn’t it?

One of my friends mentioned to me yesterday that she thought that I should love myself more. I had a bit of a think about it and hope that I am not portraying myself on this blog in a negative way. In trying to be totally honest with myself I am trying to strip away all the bullshit and I am not afraid to say that a whole lot of what we base our ethos on in modern society is total bullshit. I don’t need to be beautiful, I don’t need to be wrinkle free, I don’t need to be a size 8 but I do need to be able to think outside the box, I do need to be able to adapt and plan and implement my ideas, I need to be able to bend and change and I need to be able to be open to new ideas because these are the things that really matter. In 20 years time when Steve and I have most curiously started to resemble each other (and our pets apparently :o) shallow things won’t be right up there on our list. I feel incredibly sorry for so many people in society who are going to be dragged kicking and screaming, tattooed, botoxed and skateboarding into old age. Life is too short for bad wine and WAY too short for pretense. That is what I am doing here. I am trying to keep it real and make my life worth it. When I reach the end of my life I want to look back on what I have done with pride and happiness and know that I did my best. I don’t want to feel like I have totally wasted my life.

Another photo of the reserve

Just before Earl and Bezial invaded Poland and splashed the tranquility out of this pretty little beach…

Wouldn’t this be an idyllic way to live? This lovely big houseboat caught our eye, moored off a small jetty just off Redbill Point and surrounded by lovely trees.

Steve is out whipper snipping as I have to type this blog post today. I have run out of back-up posts but will be rectifying that tonight. Its good to be a day ahead of yourself and I am a quintessential planner. We are going to make a couple more garden beds today. I am then going to make some possums deterents from some of the many piles of branches laying around the place. We need to either burn these piles of debris or pay to take them to the tip. I don’t want to waste our money on paying the tip to chip our debris and make a profit from it (I would rather “eat my shorts”…) so that leaves burning. It’s too dangerous to a lot of burning at the moment. Tasmania has had 2 seasons of amazing rainfall and mild temperatures so the grass that usually dies back over winter has just kept going and we are all up to our eyeballs in it. Glad next door has a back paddock that is just crying out for a goat…one match or lightning strike and half of Sidmouth is going to go up in smoke so we need to deal with this threat now and try our damndest not to contribute to the problem by starting the first fire. I had a think about our piles of debris. My grandmother was a thinker. I was unable to take much of my mothers history with me when I returned from W.A. My sister is now the keeper of our history and my great thanks are with her and her tiny back room crammed to the roof with boxes. I know that she will allow me to access photos, anything else that I need when I want to and as such I am eternally grateful to both her and Jason for this privilage. I had to choose wisely when I chose something to remember mum. I brought back a mug that I had given to her. She loved it and drank her tea from it every day. There is something about sharing a cuppa that brings you right back into the family fold and every time I have my cup of tea in this mug I will remember my mum. I also brought back a pretty travel mug that I gave her when she headed back in April after a 2 week visit courtesy of my brother last year. She used it, and again, I can use it for my first and most important cuppa of the day when we are off and about in the near future going on adventures in the wilderness with the boys.

The boys got a quick second walk yesterday as we headed into the heat of the city. We decided to stop off at Bezials swamp, a wetland area just before you hit the city that we have been taking Bezial since his very first walk after we got him. Earl was oblivious to where we were going but Bezial got highly excited and slobbered all over us in gratitude. This is his “happy place”.

Coincidentally, it is now Earl’s happy place as well :o)

I found a tatting shuttle that mum had been searching for me for. She found it and Steve got a couple of handiman magazines and a letter telling him that she had found it while I was away. He also picked up the very last thing that she sent to us, a clarinet that my uncle played in a mishmash band that consisted of my grandmother on piano, my uncle on clarinet, my father on trumpet (my father and grandmother couldn’t stand each other so that was a most interesting thing to find out about them!), Mr Andy Nash on drums and Mr Cor Vandeflute (our grandmothers Dutch larger than life neighbour) on a teachest with a branch stuck into it strung with fishing wire. Together they headed out to local dances at various halls around Denmark and played to the locals. My grandmother, as previously noted, was a most inovative woman. She grew herbs long before they were fashionable, she was very bright and I discovered many books on how to make baskets, weaving, all sorts of crafts. I remember her always having a most interesting box of things for we grandchildren (and later on great grand children) to fossic in. It didn’t contain magazines, comics or dolls. No trucks or cars. It contained strange puzzles, weaving looms made by my grandfather, magnifying glasses, tiny cups for tea parties, all sorts of strange things that grandma made or got grandad with his carpenter skills to knock up to get our minds thinking. I think I have my grandmother to thank for my inquiring mind. Mum always said that I reminded her so much of grandma. Gran and I had our head butting moments, most probably because we were both headstrong women who liked to be in control. Not a lot has changed (you can now feel officially sorry for Steve as my year of living honestly has made me admit to this and many more of my faults :o). My grandmother has been revealed to me moreso now that I have sifted through my mothers things. Both my mother and uncle kept everything about my grandmother. She must have been quite a woman for her children to remain so loyal to her for so very long after she died. I found little things, scraps of paper she had written on, little typed out recipes, dresses, belts, old falling apart handbags.

My grandmother was a most important person in her childrens lives. In my mind, she was most probably too important. She was the eldest of 3 daughters and her parents divorced when she was young. Back in the 70’s when my parents divorced it was against the norm, I can’t even begin to imagine how my grandmother felt when her parents divorced. You just didn’t do it back then, it would have been admitting defeat. She left England on a 5 pound passage to Australia where she had to work as a ladies maid for a period of years before she could branch out on her own. I have no doubt that a woman as proud as my grandmother was would have taken servitude with a degree of difficulty. She was the head of her clan and remained so till the day she died. When my parents divorced, my mother simply returned to the family fold and relied on grandma all over again. I brought back several old gardening books. I was going to ask for mums cookbooks but when faced with them, my instincts were to leave them and take grandmas gardening book. It is cram packed with information, small hand writted notes in almost every margin. The book is titled “The Australian Garden Book” and my grandmother has writted her address in White Gum Valley in Western Australia (near Perth the capital city) and the date 1956. This book has been so well used it bears years of planting. It contains all sorts of plant matter in various stages of decomposition. There are notes about everything she planted. Little hints and tips regarding planting in the local conditions, an orchard that she planted with my mother has been documented and the exact location of each tree and its variety have also been listed. My grandmother was most thorough, planned a lot and was a survivor. Able to think on her feet, able to solve problems and after years of denying that I had any likeness to her, I find myself smiling and feeling proud to be following in her pioneering footsteps. Sorry gran, it has taken me a long time to accept both our physical and mental likeness.

In keeping with my need to know how to make things, I used my basket making desire to work out how to make possum barriers out of some of our debris. Why burn it when I can make it into attractive possum barriers thus solving 2 problems with 1 degree of effort. Thats another thing about me, I can’t see any reason why I should work harder, I would rather work smarter and that is why I put so much effort into thinking ahead and planning. It isn’t because I am some sort of statistician with delusions of grandeur, its merely to stop me having to do any more hard yards than I have to :o). I will be cleaning out the chook roost today. The hay and the dried out chook poo will be put into the bottom of a new garden bed. We will be pulverising the dried horse manure that we have stored for this purpose (thanks Annie :o)) and adding this. We have yet to pick up a trailer load of good quality topsoil from our local landscaper, but after that we can start planting out. We have worm wee, we have seasol, powerfeed and ecofish. We have some amazing nutritional food for veggies that I bought from one of the local nurseries cooked up by Mr Steve Solomon who wrote the technical veggie gardening tomb called “Growing Vegetables South of Australia” who was once a seed merchant and fertiliser expert so given that sort of pedigree, who am I to argue with his ability to produce a top quality fertiliser for our local conditions? Unlike most other plants we have very little knowledge about growing vegetables. After seeing mums garden, however, and seeing how she was able to put together all sorts of weird and wonderful containers to grow her veggies and fruit in, I have a new appreciation for her gardening ability. I knew she was good, but now I thoroughly admire her for her ability to fight through adversity and come out the other side triumphant. Her soil was dry, water repellent fine sand with no organic matter whatsoever. She built raised garden beds and covered the sand with mulch to prevent it blowing away and to give it better moisture holding abilities. She dug her food scraps into the soil to add organic matter and even though she had to water morning and night in summer due to the soil draining away so quicky, her garden soil was starting to become something lovely. I don’t want to talk about mums garden much. Her precious garden was carved up, taken away and in some cases stolen. I think that once I saw her garden suffering from a lack of water and once her potted plants, tree ferns etc were removed I was finally able to believe that she was gone. Mum would never had left her precious plants unwatered. Little things like this are curiously the most difficult things to face when someone dies or leaves you.

Ok, time to get stuck into taking out the old hay and putting in a couple of new bales. We also need to put up some more perches for the fat members of the poultry clan that we call hens. I can’t believe how large they are getting and they are now so heavy that they are breaking their roosting perches. They are making their surrogate mothers look small and wyandottes are not small birds! These enormous pullets are also threatening to eat us out of house and home. The day is coming when some of them might have to be given away to make room for the remaining hens exponential need to expand. If anyone needs some new (and most exciting looking) hens please let me know. Anyone thinking about having a chook house, you can have some for free. I want good homes as these hens have only had the best free range food, the most wonderful of conditions to live in (apart from the odd interlude with “the big bad wolf” in Earl clothing…) and are like members of our family. They absolutely positively have to go to good homes! Even the feral cats have an amazing life. It’s no wonder Felix has given up hunting and lays about sunning herself with her 4 newest arrivals and no longer bothers to tackle the hens (to be honest, she is smart there, most of the new hens would give her a run for her money should she be so foolish to attack them!). Life is entering a new phase on Serendipity Farm. I have been given a rare chance to step back and take stock of my life and how I am living it and its up to me to take what I have learned and seen of myself, and make the necessary changes so that my life becomes the precious asset that I want it to be. See you all tomorrow after some good hard graft and when I have compiled all of my photos taken in W.A. into something that I can share with you. I got some very nice photos of my brothers place out in the wilderness and he has given me permission to share some of his amazing photography with you. You won’t be dissapointed :o)


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kym
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 14:22:42

    Wonder if we can put chooks on a plane. I’m sure we could use a dog kennel box. I will have to ring and enquire lol. It is once again hot here, time for the pool I think. I’m going to dead head my roses later on today, hopefully it will be cool enough to do it. The forecast is for lightening, so I might get my ass zapped lol. Take care x


    • narf77
      Jan 19, 2012 @ 15:43:35

      If having your ass zapped results in it melting off, consider me on the roof waving my shiny metal ass at the next thunder cloud! :o) Good luck deadheading your roses, we just made another veggie garden bed, cut down a cottoneaster with our own little hands and took out a pile of blackberries and Scotch thistles. We also cleaned out the hay in the chook roost, sprinkled lice powder around just in case there are some lice sniffing around our precious girls and re-hayed the roost whilst tossing some determined cluckies out of the nest. Steve isn’t very happy, only 2 eggs from 34 chooks. Darned cluckies are most determined to steal eggs and put the others off. Might have to give them away first! :o)


  2. Pinky
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 17:07:15

    Some of those pictures you’ve put up look a lot like the Prawn rock channel Fronkii. I’m sure we have photos of many happy times spent swimming there.


    • narf77
      Jan 19, 2012 @ 19:38:44

      Methinks Pinky has been trolling through photos today :o). This redbill point is a great place to walk the dogs. Might have flathead…definately has blowfish…most probably doesn’t have prawns


  3. Kym
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 20:55:59

    Phew you trying to show me up or something? Lol


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