Big girls blouses

Hi All,

Apart from a few minor hiccups (like not being able to insert pictures into my word document and copy and paste the lot into Windows Live) my foray into using Windows Live for blog posting has been very successful. It’s great to be able to hit “Publish” where I am actually typing the post rather than saving the word document, copying it, pasting it and uploading photographs. We headed off to Bonnie Beach today to walk the dogs. We parked the car and decided to go the opposite way to the direction that we usually take and ended up walking the boys quite a distance around to where Rebecca Gibney has a house (that probably still hasn’t sold…who would want a big glass fronted home that gave you a perfect view of Gunn’s Pulp Mill?). We turned around and headed back past the dogs that had barked at us on the way up with complete control over our wayfaring boys. It is amazing to be able to walk them so easily now and to actually be able to get them to do what we want. My gushing letter is going to be used on the Black Dog site as a testimonial to how great the head halters are. Go for it Warren (the C.E.O. of Black Dog enterprises) and feel free to bask in the adoration that we are sending your way. You most certainly deserve it for allowing us to take back our walks in such a lovely way. We rounded a corner on the way back and heard some “new” dogs barking. By “new”, I mean previously not barking at the boys and suddenly a pair of dogs decided to race down to meet our boys. Prior to our new head halters we would have freaked out. No amount of restraining can stop a most determined Bezial from dragging his way to meet new dogs. Today, Steve was able to control both of our boys despite me having to hold the collar of a small little bruiser of a pit-bull whose owner was casually calling him back whilst not making an appearance. That soon changed when I said “we have 2 American Staffordshire terriers here and you might want to come and get your boy…” A tall, thin, pierced man wearing only a pair of “Y” fronts raced down the driveway in pursuit of his very persistent little dog. Funny how the threat of a good hiding will bring an owner running (in his undies) isn’t it? I wish I had taken the camera…Again, prior to this; Steve would have been dragged down the street with his heels sparking. Earl will normally start yodelling when stopped from visiting another dog and this one was a bit too close to me. Earl was actually a whole lot more subdued than he usually is and the Black Dog head halters kept him calm when he could have escalated to ballistic. Warren…you deserve all of the kudos and financial appreciation of the world’s dog population. DON’T waste your money on any other head halter. Buy the infin8 and you will never regret it (and buy a spare as you won’t ever want to be without one of these babies again)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here we have Bezial revealing why his nickname is “Tippo”. He loves to find even the smallest puddle of water (in this instance it was from the tap when they were having a drink) and bask/wallow in it (depending on the depth…you can’t technically “wallow” in something that isn’t deep enough to be submerged in)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is a rather boring picture of Earl. Boring but fantastic to me. I want you to look at this photo…check it out…can you guess what it is yet (said in my most Rolf Harrisy voice…) its Earl (yes we had established that…) walking (also established) with a LOOSE LEAD! This has never happened before. I took this photo and prior to buying these head halters we couldn’t take a photo whilst walking the dogs because they were out the front of us pulling like Mack trucks on their leads. A loose lead = happy and most contented Fran Smile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy dogs after a long and adventurous walk + happy humans who also enjoyed their walk. All is right with the world Smile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bezial as we were driving back from our walk. This area of the car (no mans land between Steve and I) is where both boys try to score points. Bezial utilises the “lick” method to explain to us why he should be this far in the front of the car without permission and Earl just scrabbles up and over and attempts to achieve his objectives by brute force. That is why you can see Bezial in this photo and not Earl. Earl just got shoved into the back of the car and Bezial wins this round…

 

The title of this post needs some clarification. For those of you who are not Australian, a “Big girl’s blouse” is a euphemism for a sook. A sook is someone who is very self-indulgent and who makes sure that their own needs are more than met on a constant basis. Pampered…indulged…spoiled… you get the picture? When we first moved to Tasmania we thought that the general population of native Tasmanians were all Big Girl’s Blouses. As soon as the temperature got above 25C, the air conditioners went on. As soon as the temperature got below 20C the heat pumps went on. There was smoke coming from people’s chimneys on days that we had tee-shirts on and we just couldn’t believe that these people had survived for as long as they have! In my year of living honestly I must admit that having lived here for a while now, we are starting to become slightly blousy. We don’t like the heat, even though we came from W.A. where it regularly gets over 40C in summer. We don’t like the cold and tend to light the fire if it gets in the mid-teens. I think it is part and parcel with living in a temperate climate. On most areas in mainland Australia, there isn’t the variation of temperatures that we get here. Winter is winter…summer is summer and you get spring and autumn, each with their own distinctive weather conditions thrown in to round out the year. As I have previously mentioned in past posts, coming from W.A. meant that I hadn’t had much to do with deciduous trees. My mum grew several lovely specimens of deciduous trees mainly a huge liquidambar, a lovely big claret Ash and a rhus tree that she steadfastly refused to remove. All of them gave a decent amount of colour but nowhere near what happens in Tasmania in the autumn. There is something surreal about wandering around in the park on a brisk autumn day while brightly coloured leaves make their slow decent to the ground. Walking through the dead and drying leaves on the ground and kicking the huge piles (that some poor council worker had only just blown into a heap) with the dogs jumping in and out of sight are a delight that you can only experience in a temperate climate with lots of deciduous trees. It also gives you a real herald to the seasons. In W.A. it’s either Hot…hotter…not so hot or winter. Here you get distinct markers to the seasons. The leaves changing colour and fluttering to the ground in autumn, the barren bare branches with their own austere beauty in the winter, the swelling buds and brilliant greens of the new seasons growth in spring and the heavily green (quite short in Tasmania) mad period of flowering and growth in summer. All very distinct from each other and all to be appreciated for their varied conditions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As soon as the weather starts to cool down a bit our thoughts turn to gathering in some wood for winter. As the wood burning stove is the cosy hub of our home throughout the colder weather, it only achieves this delightful romantic outcome if it has enough wood to keep it burning. That lovely flickering fire that sustains Bezial right through till the sun comes out again and he can bask on the deck is hard work to achieve. It comprises months of wood cutting, stacking, paying for additional loads and hunting about for a huge pile of kindling, lighting, repainting the stove with stove black, keeping going, emptying out ash and making sure to use enough hot water so that the ENORMOUS hot water cylinder doesn’t boil over onto the huddled chickens below… This pile will be used for next years fires as it is still too green to burn this year (green wood = soot and lots of smoke) but wood it is and we have to cut it up and put it someplace to dry out. This primary production most certainly gives you a window into just how hard it would be if we all had to live off the land

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s the massive pile of debris (neatly stacked debris) that we are going to have to deal with when the weather cools down a bit more. We will cut the usable wood and will attempt to use as much of it as we can before burning the rest. Hopefully we don’t get too many creatures making a break for freedom as we dismantle this pile

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As you can see, the forget-me-nots didn’t get their usual hold on the teatree garden this year. This time last year this area was thick with dead and dying forget-me-nots and the ground was thick with sticky seeds. This year we have kept them at bay and made sure to whipper snip them when they were in flower and before they seeded. Hopefully we will be able to manage this pest with careful whipper snipping in the future and this area will be able to be carpeted with natural grasses like it would have been prior to human habitation

When I first got here I fell in love with deciduous everything. I am not a flowery person. I don’t like lots of colour and prefer various shades and textures revolving around green. Steve and I both love trees and spent the first year while we were studying horticulture collecting seeds, cuttings and specimens of as many delightful deciduous (and otherwise) trees as we could. We collected a large amount of Ginkgo biloba seed from a female tree in Launceston. If you are not “in the know” about Ginkgo biloba fruit, they have a scent reminiscent of vomit mixed with parmesan cheese and are so obnoxious that only male trees tend to get planted out as street trees. They have the most amazing butter yellow foliage in autumn and we have grown many from seed and will be growing them on until they can be planted out on Serendipity Farm. I have decided that I don’t want to be a Big Tasmanian Girls Blouse and am attempting to harden myself up a bit. I have been leaving the bedroom window open at night (to anyone thinking that is a good reason to invade the sleeping chambers of the Pimblett’s on Serendipity Farm at night time… think twice…once for Bezial and the second time for Earl…I need say no more on that matter!) I have been walking out into the compound without wearing shoes to toughen up my feet. When I was a child I had under soles like leather thanks to walking barefoot everywhere. Now I have soft feet that cause me to hobble around, hop from one foot to the other and complain loudly when I have to head out into the dogs compound to retrieve something that Earl has liberated from our sock drawer (Earl has a sock fetish and pinched an unsuspecting Stewart’s socks right out from under his nose while he was staying here…twice!). I don’t want to be a hard case…I just want to be resilient and able to cope with what life throws at me. It’s the same reason why I have never been someone to take medication unless I am bed ridden with something serious; I shun unnecessary medical intervention of any kind and I am highly suspicious of all sorts of claims from most pharmaceutical companies. I also don’t use Dettol on every surface of my house. I don’t care if I get the odd germ in my intestinal tract. I would rather build up a resilience/tolerance to these bugs than accidentally forget to sterilise my home environment one day and be totally overwhelmed by marauding advancing bacterium. I guess that is 1 way that I am like my dad. I won’t stoop to his ideas about human fortitude where he would leave a cooked chicken out on the bench for days, eating it as he felt like it. Even I am not that blasé about the possibility of salmonella poisoning. Dad was “Old School” and smoked heavily from the age of 14, drank on a daily basis and ate whatever he wanted. He had high blood pressure, emphysema, a heart condition and repeated lung problems but it most certainly wasn’t any kind of bacteria that removed him from this mortal coil I can tell you! He was also prone to the odd bout of outrageous indignation that I seem to have inherited but apart from the desire to cultivate internal bacterium and the odd irrational outburst, dad and I were like chalk and cheese…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One thing that dad and I shared was a love for Serendipity Farm. When he lived here it was “Highfield Gardens” but that soon changed. This area borders Glad’s property. The large oak tree is on her property and that section of star pickets and chook wire is containing some rotting oak leaves that we raked up from her property for her last year. This area is always shaded and is a lovely place to stand out of the sun on a hot summers day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Isn’t this pretty? That rambling pathway is an optical illusion brought about by the shade produced by the trees on either side of this area. This little bare patch between the teatree garden and some large trees (2 large conifers, a poor possum munched sycamore, a wallaby trimmed Ash and a few large wattles) is kept like this by the grazing of wallabies. They nibble any tea trees that grow in this area, they keep the grass low and they are the keepers of this small portion of Serendipity Farm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a neglected but very much alive walnut tree. Walnuts are actually produced but somewhere between the large green skinned fruits and harvesting day they all disappear. We think it might be bush rats but something loves these walnuts and harvests them every year. As you can see the wallabies crown lift the walnut tree for us. Hopefully they don’t form a union and start charging me for all of this free horticultural work that they are doing for us!

 

I have discovered something about reading fiction that I would like to share with you all. I try to share anything that I find interesting or useful or any amazing products with you all so that you can take advantage of anything that you find useful. My new discovery about reading fiction is that if you have problems getting to sleep at night, don’t take sleeping pills…don’t drink a glass of warm milk… all you have to do is read a book. I am constantly finding myself waking up whilst reading. This isn’t only at night time; it’s all through the day! Even if the book is amazing and well written and especially hard to put down I find my nose on the table on a regular basis throughout my attempts at reading. In my youth, I had never noticed the somnambulistic qualities of fiction before…I am beginning to suspect that it has something to do with my age…although I am not quite ready to accept that yet! I took some photos down in the Teatree garden area the other day when I was walking back from opening (and then closing) the gate for the car the other day. I had the camera and thought that I might document a few things while I had it. Things change and you soon forget what you have done and what the conditions used to be like. We would never have realised how much work we have done already on Serendipity Farm if we didn’t have photographic evidence that we had done so. I noticed that unlike this time last year, just after we had moved into Serendipity Farm, there isn’t a massive carpet of forget-me-nots in the teatree garden. The native grasses are starting to regain control and we are whipper snipping the forget-me-nots, Scotch thistles and periwinkle in this area on a regular basis. It’s amazing to watch nature regaining control. We had previously wondered why the entire teatree area of the garden wasn’t full of Ash saplings. There are 2 large Ash trees in this area and from prior knowledge about Ash’s they tend to seed copiously resulting in Ash groves in a very short space of time. You have to watch, listen and learn when you want to find things out about nature (or Google it) as most of what you learn from nature comes from experiencing it first-hand. We discovered that possums don’t like Ash trees but wallabies are quite partial to them. The wallabies live down in the lower regions of the garden and crown lift both the Ash trees and the large walnut tree situated in this area and keep the Ash seedling population at bay. As noted in many previous posts, there are good and bad things about everything. You just have to maximise the good and minimise the bad in your situation and find ways to use those good points to your advantage. Thanks wallabies for the crown lifting, but I think we can take it from here :o). They also keep a section of land between the teatree garden and Glad’s property free of trees and shrubs. It’s a natural grassed area with a few little wildflowers in spring/summer but it is entirely maintained by the wallabies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is a prime example of how the wallabies keep the ash trees crown lifted. It is now up to us to get the loppers and remove these denuded branches. We crown lifted an ash near Steve’s boat shed and it has never looked back from the removal of all of those wallaby nibbled branches. We will do the same with the 2 large Ashes on either side of the teatree garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is the tap where Bezial and Earl stop for their drink whenever we take them for a walk about the property. It is officially “The dog’s tap” and you have to turn it on for a little bit before they can drink from it as the water emerges a murky brown for a few seconds. Apart from that, its a perfect height for 2 squatty American Staffordshire Terriers who need a drink (to refill so that they can recommence all of that peeing on trees all over again…)

 

I am not doing a very good job at minimising the length of my posts. Sorry about that! I have been trying of late but to no avail. My brain (and fingers) seems to run to verbosity both physically and mentally. I seem to have a natural post length imprinted in my brain that seems to run to around 2500 words on a regular basis. I know this because I can see the little word counter on the bottom of my Word document proving my point as I type. I guess I am a frustrated writer. I always wanted to write and having a blog has allowed all of those years of frustration to be poured out on the online ‘page’. Thank you for all bearing with me. I dare say one day I will slow down a bit and my post length will respond accordingly. At the moment, however, you are somewhat stuck with me and my mental posting length. I think I have finished here for the day. Thank you all for coming along with me for a little trundle around Serendipity Farm to herald in the last of the summer wine (literally, Steve and I haven’t had a drink in a week now) and what is promising to be a beautiful autumn full of tumbling coloured leaves, cooling temperatures and the start of our servitude to our wood burning stove. See you all tomorrow for another romp in the leaves

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the baby tomatoes on our bush tomatoes in the glasshouse. I KNOW it’s pretty late for tomatoes in Tasmania but you know what? We are going to give them a go anyway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The chief lumberjack on Serendipity Farm. No chaps…no safety helmet, I don’t even think he is wearing his steel cap boots but look at that technique! Our lecturer would be proud Smile

Advertisements

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nat
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 13:22:18

    Hi ya Fran

    For some reason i am not getting the blog everyday. I got it today but not yesterday…mmm…strange. I rekon it could be rats eating the walnuts. When we moved into Hillside Cres we found heaps of walnut shells under our house that obviously the rats had put there. Molly has since fixed that problem. The walnuts came from the tree next door and said tree is again laden with walnuts. Last year the tree was stripped of all the walnuts by the cockatoos. Every morning for about a week they went to the tree eating them. One morning i counted about 50 cockys on the tree, you can imagine the racket. You may want to put a metal band around the tree to stop rats/possums from getting the nuts. I hate to tell you that you are wrong since you know more plants than me, but, your Easter lily is not a lillium but the common old amaryllis belladonna. Anyway cheers for now, hopefully i will catch up soon. i am at work for 4.5 days at the mo but possibly be done to 2.5 in the very near future. lots of love nat

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 17:12:28

      Oh bollocks! I have to admit something to all of my dear constant readers… Amaryllis belladonna was one of our plants that we had to learn for our classes! See what happens when you get lazy and couldn’t be bothered to remember what plant you are looking at and type “botanical name for Easter Lily” into Google? What’s this bollocks about us knowing more plants than you by the way? Steve and I know a bit about a few trees…we know a little bit about watering systems (a VERY little bit…) and a few things about how to press a few keys in AutoCad but usually when we press a few keys, something weird happens that Nick has never seen before…thats all we know. You are much more savvy with plants than we will ever be Nat :o) (I think you just proved that :o) Its my year of living honestly…show James the Lilium longifolia faux pas and tell him from me “how low we have sunk!”. Steve swears that it is because we have given up drinking and our brain cells are starting to return…

      Reply

  2. Roz Takes
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 16:22:54

    Hi Fran, as I have said before it would not take much to turn your blogs into a very interesting novel. All that you need is a publisher.
    So glad the boys are doing so well with their new leads. Greg wouldn’t be without his for Nicholas.
    I agree with Nat about the Amaryllis. I think Easter Lilies are white.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 17:15:32

      Hi Roz, I am talking about the pink scented ones that I really should have known the name of. I think there comes a time when your brain drains of all of the botanical names that you have cram packed into it and you are left vague and confused whenever someone asks you what something is. I think Lilium longiflora is called Easter lilies in the U.K. I should have checked out images first rather than lazily just going along with the first few listings on the web. It’s lucky I don’t consider myself any sort of plant expert isn’t it! :o)

      Reply

  3. Kym
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 19:20:58

    Hello there Fran, I have returned from camp. I am so tired that I have been nodding off while reading your blog! My typing is rather strange too and I keep having to delete the letters and re type lol. I don’t care that you got the type of lily wrong, hey it’s a lily isn’t it 🙂 Well I’m pleased to have caught up with your blog so now it is time to catch up with my sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 16, 2012 @ 07:03:15

      Well done on surviving the camp…we will make a sergent out of you yet! Thanks for backing me up with the lily. It was sheer laziness (both physical and mental) that made me pick the top answer on Google for something that I really should have known off by heart. Oh well…that just goes to show how little I really care about that sort of thing :o) If it had been a conifer or shrub I would have looked up the name more carefully. I bet you will need a week of sleep to catch up after those dorm parties with the tequilla slushies. Welcome back to civilisation (and your sanity!) :o)

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: