steve takes the helm

Hi All,

It’s now Thursday and I am heading home on Australia day. I am so glad to be an Australian. We are taught to be pragmatic, to question everything and to have a self-deprecating side to us that won’t let us become megalomaniacs (our neighbours will pelt us with fruit should we try…). To the rest of the world…”Don’t underestimate we Aussies simply because we are lackadaisical. Don’t assume that we are unwilling or unable to stand up for what we believe in with a fierce pride and stubborn refusal to give in. Never assume that we are a soft touch or that we will make things easy for you because we come from a tough land. A land that will kick our ass sooner than make us welcome and we have learned to think laterally rather than in black and white. Nothing makes us laugh more than someone that takes themselves too seriously. We don’t suffer fools gladly. That’s why Julia Gillard is out on her ass come the next election. Life is good. We have an amazingly diverse community filled with all sorts of ethnic possibilities and we welcome you all so long as you don’t try to make us bend. We are generous, steadfast and kind but if you abuse this, good luck to you ever getting another go. We are Aussies and we are proud to be so.” There you go. My little pro-Aussie rant for the day. Tomorrow is Steve’s birthday. We will be celebrating with a couple of beers, a few power tools (can you hear him grunting like Tim the Tool man?) for his collection and giving thanks for our amazing situation. Sometimes it feels like hard work, but most of the time it’s a precious gift to us that we totally appreciate.

I dare say I am knackered. I doubt I will be sunburned. I have some Palmers cocoa butter sun cream. It makes me shiny and protected and smell like vanilla Tim-tam biscuits (Earl spends his days trying to sidle up to my arms to lick them and one day I WILL taste like what I smell like…till then he remains gipped…). I will be wearing this sunscreen slathered over me in a thick white barrier against the sun for the whole time that I am battling the Mother Blackberry. Good luck sticking one of your thorns into me as you will have to grab hold of my very slippery skin to do so. The flip side of this protection is that the sun cream creates not only a barrier against the sun (with a delightful fragrance to boot), but it seals in the heat. As the sun gets hotter and hotter, so do I. I will be boiling as I tackle said blackberry and hopefully I won’t get heatstroke in my efforts. Whether I did or didn’t doesn’t matter anymore as I am on my way home. Unlike W.A. Woolworths is open today and I will be picking up some fresh ingredients to make us something delicious for Steve’s Birthday meal. We will probably make a cake but we might have done so at the girls…who knows? This retrospective blog posting is fun! It’s predicting the future and I dare say it’s quite different to what I have dictated here, but unless something major happens to stop my efforts, Madame Blackberry is cactus at this point. I haven’t mentioned my cold. At least I think it’s a cold. I have a seriously sore throat, bouts of sneezing and a very runny nose. I would say it was hay fever but I don’t get it so I would imagine catching 6 plane flights in less than a week might have something to do with my current predicament. Hopefully I will be over it by Australia Day and will be wending my merry way home, all of the windows down, the trailer full of shed contents and singing loudly to a C.D. (should I remember how to put one in…). Life is good :o)

most of these shot are of earl as thats all we have to put in thisa post

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Steve is planning on making some more veggie garden beds. We will be picking up some good topsoil from the Exeter Landscapers next week, but for now we are layering hay and manure into the garden beds and allowing the worms to do their stuff. We are keeping the veggie beds damp to encourage the worms to get active. The hens are active in the veggie garden beds as well. I am going to have to get stuck in to making the possum (and hen) barriers for these beds so that when we do eventually get around to planting them out they are not invaded and destroyed before they managed to tentatively put a root out to test the surrounding soil. We plan on only using organic materials for the garden beds and using companion planting and bug fooling techniques learned from the Italian market gardeners. Lots of flowers planted around the veggies to confuse the bugs. Let’s face it; they have very small brains, infinitesimal to be honest so hopefully the odd Shasta daisy, marigold, comfrey and bergamot plant will lull them into a false sense of being in the general garden rather than homing in on our precious veggies with a vengeance. The hens, wallabies, possums, and anything else marsupial or of a more evolved higher life position in the chain of command need different methods of control. The barriers that I am going to make will be functional and will be able to be removed for when we have green crops and fallow garden beds between plantings. We will be rotating our garden beds and will be using every little trick in the book to keep our little system improving every year. We will be adding to the soil, organic matter, manure, seaweed etc. and the sweet black charcoal that we harvest from our wood stove. The ashes will be vetted for use in various situations most probably tossed over the pear and cherry slug who won’t know what hit them until they start to shrivel up “I’m melting!…” Vegetable gardening is not something that we know a lot about and as such we will be haunting Annie’s “The Micro Gardener” site like shades on a mission. I have all sorts of organic gardening books but to be honest, haven’t looked at them as up until now, veggie gardening has been one of those mundane things that “other people” do. Even having a lovely garden in town was tainted by the troll and now whenever we think of veggie gardening, it’s tinged with a bit of resentment against the troll and his ilk in stopping our beautiful little garden in town.

We wish we had paid more attention (and spent more time) bums up in the Polytechnic veggie garden. I hoed the weeds occasionally and harvested some kale and chillies but apart from that, we did very little. We were gung-ho propagators hell bent on creating interesting little plant versions of Frankenstein’s monster with the accompanying thunder and lightning for mood. What did we care about vegetables? Now we have to go cap in hand to find out what we most probably should have paid attention to way back in Certificate 2. I took all of my library books back the other day. I gave the library the 2 C.D.s of “The Gourmet Farmer” and they are welcome to them. In my heart of hearts I will admit to hoping that my magnanimous donation might sway the library board in our direction regarding Earl’s chomped book, but know that we are going to be hit for the $70 odd dollars needed to pay for a new copy (and cover it and put it back onto the shelf). At least I will own the book then. I doubt it will remain on the shelf. Steve has promised to make me a cover for it so that I can’t see the damage and have a constant reminder of how expensive Earls chopper’s actually are and unlike much of my horticultural library, this book will be well worn, thumbed through regularly and used on a next to daily basis. The main reason that it hasn’t been up until now is that I simply didn’t want to look at it and be reminded about how much we had to pay for it. Once it’s been paid for its mine and I can accept the mangled spineless mass of printed paper as my own personal font of horticultural knowledge and I will be free to learn from its hallowed pages.

I THOUGHT I did an Australia Day post! Here it is…I am loathe not to use it so you are again going to have to suspend your disbelief. If something seems a bit amiss or slightly off kilter…it is. If you read this post keeping that piece of information at the back of your mind it should all make sense. I will be back in form tomorrow with a totally relevant new post for you all to read. I know you have been most patient with me over the last month or so with these pre-prepared posts. Hopefully I won’t have to do many more of them this year. They are handy for whenever I head off on my own and leave Steve here to post because that way he doesn’t have to think of what to post and you don’t check in and think that I have suddenly lost my mind. Steve has a most interesting way of seeing the world that is considerably different to my usual stance. I might ask him to dictate me a post one day just so that you can see what I am talking about, but I don’t like to ask or expect the poor man to sit here for hours trying to write something for you all to read. It’s like owning a dog. For the purposes of this post you are my faithful doggies and I am making sure that you have your flea treatment, your regular meals, your walk and your dung collection just like a responsible dog owner should. I leave it up to you to sort that lot out in your head. I am NOT going to apologise to anyone foolish enough to think that I am calling them a dog in malice. I am using “MET-A-PHOR’S” people and I know that all of you are intellectual enough to make the bridge between metaphor and reality (to those of you that regularly watch reality T.V. however, you are lost causes and at this point you should just look out of the window while I explain myself to these nice people…). Hopefully I have lots to tell you in my next few emails and plenty of “transitional” photos of our little house in town.


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