Philosophy 101


Hi All,

They say that everything happens for a reason. I am old enough to recognise that this saying has more than a single ring of truth about it. We might not see the reasoning in the situation, but after the event and further on down the track of our lives it might become glaringly obvious that what you thought was a disaster or something that you would never recover from is actually an amazing catalyst for change. I am an optimist. Some people might not see that in some of my outrageous indignation but that self-same outrageous indignation is the result of me living on this earth for almost 50 years and having learned to take my rose coloured glasses off every now and then. Just because I tend to vocalise loudly whenever I see something unfair, but after the vocalisation I tend to head off and find some way to sort out the problem. That is where my eternal optimism comes to the fore. I am still working on solving world peace. I am doing my bit to eliminate world hunger (nothing on Serendipity Farm is EVER hungry!) and I live in hope that someday we will all live as one (wait a minute…I think I am quoting John Lennon there so I had best stop while I am ahead!) I also have an inherent idealistic streak coupled with a healthy dose of romanticism that I hide in the closet. I warn you…DON’T open that closet! As any of my children will tell you, I have “failed crafts” cupboards wherever I move to. Shelf after shelf of various semi-used tools and half completed projects that will never see the light of day again. My inner closet is somewhat similar. It is filled with hopes and dreams that will most probably never see the light of day. They have been sewn badly, they have no collars (I was always bad at doing collars) or sleeves (ditto) and if you look hard you will see that they are uneven, have a few holes and some of the stitching is just about to come undone. They were all made with love though, love and hope. I don’t know what makes each one of us who we are. All I know is that around 30 I decided to stop telling myself fibs and start living. I guess that 30 was my mid-life crisis? No idea! But it certainly cannonballed me into action and started me asking myself all sorts of questions about life and what it meant to me. Most of what makes me “me” goes on inside my head. I was born on a day in a year that gave me the illustrious moniker of “Hierophant”. A hierophant is someone who takes knowledge and shares it around. I guess the word “know it all” comes to mind, but I don’t want to make anyone feel inadequate, I just want to share. A truer sentiment or description of me would be hard to find. I have an overwhelming desire to learn new things. I also have an overwhelming desire to share what I have learned with other people. I most probably should have been a teacher but the educational system was spared my outrageous indignation and my ultimate decent into abject sarcasm towards my fellow staff and students after years of dealing with closed minds. Did anyone else have a teacher like that? I had several. They were bright and intelligent once, but that need to share was slowly eroded by years of children forced to learn who could care less. Education is wasted on the young…


Some of our feral cats that appear to be living the life of Reilly here on Serendipity Farm


Here are 5 of the ferals. As you can see they are very similar.



The matriarch of all of these kittens is Felix. She is laying down in the top right hand corner. Jacko is over on the left hand corner and this little kitten in the front has been rolling in the dirt and is the cheekiest and tamest of the 4 kittens that Felix brought back to Serendipity Farm. We haven’t made up our mind yet as to what to do about our feral problem. It’s a very difficult thing for us to think about.


I think that we should throw out education as we know it. Here is where I show my true hippy colours and my upbringing in a small town taken over in the 70’s by alternative life stylers and growing up in an education system parallel to the Steiner school in town. I have nothing but admiration for the Steiner style of schooling. Children are allowed to experience, grow, understand, comprehend and ultimately learn at their own pace. Unlike our mainstream education system where anyone who doesn’t have a photographic memory is stuffed (so that would be 99% of students…), the Steiner schools nurtured their students with experiences rather than pages and pages of study. Imagine not having to perform constantly? Not having to be measured up against the other members of your class and often found wanting? Not having to be like everyone else and being actively encouraged to become the individual that you were born to be as and when you saw fit. I didn’t have the money to send my children to a Steiner school. I know that the education system was a brutal learning experience for my children as it was for me. I can only wonder if a Steiner education would have given them something more and allowed them to be themselves and develop their ideals and outlook on life more. Mainstream education reminds me of the Pink Floyd movie “The Wall”. Endless children going in innocent 6 year olds and being churned through a mincer to create “uniform” automatons to conform to what society wants. Am I sounding bolshie there? I hope not. I just don’t think that the education system is working. It caters to the system rather to the individual and so very many of us get squeezed through the cracks and left battered and bruised by the experience. My eternal optimism brings me right back to where I started in today’s post when I say that everything happens for a reason. I was one of those students who were full of potential but my potential was never realised. I don’t know how I did it (no study, no homework handed in and no desire to do anything other than turn 17 and leave school forever) but I managed to scrape into Teachers college. That was doomed from the start because without study ethic I was totally overwhelmed and unable to get a hold on what was required of me. Steve was the same. Head down on his desk the brothers that taught him (Steve is Catholic) despaired of him and saw him as someone beyond hope. Look at us now? We just finished our Diploma in Horticulture and should any of my past teachers still be alive I dare say they would be amazed. If I had studied hard and become a teacher…would I be here where I am, living the life that I am and as contented as I am? I don’t know. All I know is that what appears to be something disastrous at the time may be a catalyst for your future happiness. That’s the eternal optimist in me talking and I am so very glad that I was born with this little spark of hope that flares up whenever I need it. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be a pessimist and not be able to see that tiny light through the dark clouds of your immediate situation.


We are getting closer and closer to the season where our local tiger snakes start to feed up for the long winter ahead and just after this time last year we had this large representative of the snake family move inside the dog enclosure. At the time we only had Bezial a.k.a. “The voyeur” and so despite his repeated sightings, the snake never caused us any major problems. This year we have Earl and nothing remains at a distance for this little man so we are making sure that Mr Snake doesn’t feel particularly welcome at Serendipity Farm this year


This is a fly with the most amazing markings. Steve and I called it the “Rasputin” fly. Today the house is full of moths. I stayed up late last night researching recipes and forgot to close the kitchen window, the kitchen door that leads out onto the deck and the back door and only discovered the extent of the new moth population when I was bombarded by them as I made Steve a late night cuppa.


We have a lot of these great big huntsman spiders wandering around the house at the moment. I dare say that they will deal with our new found moth problem. They are eating the mosquito’s at night on the roof above our heads when we head to bed. We don’t get rid of spiders, we allow them to work for us. Hopefully they won’t fall into our gaping snoring maws and suffer a fate worse than death one night!


This post is taking an interesting turn isn’t it? I guess it was born from thinking about heading back to studying in the near future. Steve and I will hopefully be able to start our Diploma in Landscape Design sometime soon. Because Tasmania’s education system is in a state of total upheaval thanks to our state government thinking that the dying forestry industry is so very much more important than educating the populace and hacking away at the fabric of education to try to garner back enough money to prop up this decomposing mass of corruption and bully boys who appear to own the media and both sides of government in this state, there is no money for new courses let alone old ones. I dare say our lecturer has been jumping through hoops to get this new course approved and we got an email this week saying that we are on track to get the course approval soon. That means that we should be able to enrol in this course sometime soon. I feel so sorry for teachers starting out their year feeling like they have done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson in his heyday. They all look so tired and have bags under their eyes. As usual the coalface has to bear the brunt of the executive decisions and that means job cuts for lecturers and teachers, lost staff and chaos in the trenches. How they manage to deliver the quality education that Tasmania is most in need of against all odds and despite the obvious equation to be made from our state government’s behaviour that education is not important in Tasmania (so long as we churn out our fair share of Ricky Ponting’s nothing else matters…). If we allow the public schooling system to degrade and decompose we are churning out people who are only fit for working in forestry. When we see those orange safety vests and angry red countenances on our televisions using their fists to make their points, we can only wonder at how this industry was able to become so very powerful in the first place. I think that education should be handed over to the federal government. Tasmania has failed. They have an abysmal track record for encouraging their young people to stay in education because they simply don’t care. Tasmanian children and anyone wanting to learn deserve better than what they have and the poor lecturers and teachers that have to deliver this half assed underfunded mockery of an education to our children deserve war medals to say the least!


This was a most promising set-up that I picked up for $5 at the Exeter thrift shop. It comprised some pearlite (in the large plastic bag), some growing medium (in the small container with the green lid) and the large terracotta coloured plastic planter (self explanatory really?) and when you combined these 3 items with a few punnets of whatever plant you wanted, it became the hanging gardens of Babylon…well perhaps it became a few hydroponic lettuces and some rocket that went to seed in a most alarming way and that never got used apart from to feed the finches. It was a good idea and will most probably be tweaked and used in another area when we get stuck into aquaponics. Vertical is the answer people…


Don’t these berries look good enough to eat? They are from a Viburnum opulus ‘Notcutt’s Variety’. I just spent 15 minutes looking for that information for you all! I knew that it was "’Notcutt’s Variety’ and that it was a Viburnum but the opulus bit took a bit longer. These berries are the most amazing ruby red jewels on a very attractive shrub. Viburnums are going to play a bit of a role on Serendipity Farm as bee attractants.


Here is the now disgraced silver Wyandotte with one of her little chicks. The chick is now almost as big as her mum and is most probably going off to live with Florida on her new country estate where she will be treated like the princess that she is. Here the silver Wyandotte is introducing her baby to wanton vandalism. This entire compost bin was scratched out onto the ground in front of it by the silver Wyandotte and more recently, by Yin and his cohorts. The silver Wyandotte and one of her golden sisters are confined to the outside quarters of the chicken roost because they keep going clucky. NO MORE BABIES THIS YEAR! That’s it… that’s all!


This is a stand of bamboo (not sure what kind…yet…) that stopped the canopy of a large falling eucalypt from decimating the area around it. You wouldn’t think that bamboo would have that sort of strength, but the canopy is still in the bamboo and the bamboo is growing up all around it. This bamboo is very attractive and our other clumping bamboos (potted at the moment) will be planted out next to this one for a lovely decorative Asiatic effect. We will be fixing up the pond in this area some time in the future (note…no promises on the time frame Smile) and this promises to be a very tranquil area. I wonder how good Steve is with water features?…


I just spent a bit of time collecting blackberries from several blackberry hotspots in our garden. Houdini got fed and fluffed her feathers up at me in a most antagonistic way to protect her 8 tiny fluff balls. She is an amazing mum and didn’t lose one of her little 5 ferals who now live “somewhere” on Serendipity Farm as they don’t go to the coop at night with the other hens for safety and the lord only knows where they roost at night. Her babies are very pretty and we have 1 rooster and 4 hens in that little group. Steve noticed the hens jumping up and down in the garden and went out onto the deck to check out what they were doing. It turned out they were eating blackberries from the lower vines. Good on you hens! Yin is attempting to get his girls to wander farther afield so as to encourage them to lay their eggs where we are too lazy to find them. I sometimes marvel at the way this rooster thinks. He has a brain the size of a tiny shrivelled walnut and he is able to outsmart us on a regular basis (what does that say for our brains eh?). I took a tumble and landed on my bad knee on a slab of concrete while I was collecting blackberries. While I was sitting on the ground hugging my knee swearing under my breath all 5 ferals came over to see what I was doing sitting on the ground in the middle of their garden. I dare say it would have looked quite funny, 5 little chooks surrounding one middle aged expletive muttering woman hell bent on doing some permanent damage to her knee. Everything happens for a reason and for some reason this knee is supposed to be mangled on a regular basis. Earl sees it as his mission in life to jump on this knee (and ONLY this knee) whenever he jumps onto our bed at night time. I am always slipping, tripping, banging and hitting it with various objects. The strange thing is that this poor long suffering (usually swollen) knee was not originally my dicky knee. My other knee has an inherited weakness thanks to my dad. My sister and brother also have this very same thing but the knee that bears the brunt of destiny’s need to mangle it no sooner goes down from its last bout of swelling before it is whacked again and swells alarmingly. I don’t believe in going to the doctors for minor things. That is extremely lucky because we are unable to find a doctor in Tasmania (the health system is first in the state government’s razor gang to suffer more damage than my knee will ever see in a lifetime…) and I have no desire to sit in the emergency department at the poor understaffed ward closed Launceston General Hospital for a week waiting for my turn to be seen. Serendipity Farm is not comprised of easy terrain to negotiate. Everything is hilly, rocky, full of pot holes and generally “difficult” to navigate. I am just going to have to learn to be careful wandering around here in the future. Isn’t it lucky that those blackberries that I was collecting are going to be made into wine? A few glasses of that will certainly stop me thinking about my damaged knee

Bugger! I did it again…I really do have an inbuilt post size that dictates how much information I type up at any one time. I have been trying to minimise the size of my posts as some of you dear constant readers don’t read every day and when you do check in for a look-see you are overwhelmed by the length of the posts and how much you have to read to catch up with what we are doing on Serendipity Farm. I give you all permission to skim over my outrageous indignation, my waffling and my mental musings. That should minimise the posts significantly. Feel free to syphon out anything else that doesn’t interest you and you should be left with a nice small parcel of interest that should keep you going until you next visit us here. Call it your army parcel. Your little red and white handkerchief stuffed full of Serendipity Farm and tied onto your little pole over your shoulder. I am going to finish up here. I have vented my anger at our state government and feel suitably cleansed. I know that they are probably in the process of doing “something” that makes my anger boil over all over again, but until then I am serene in my countenance on the world for this afternoon and if I am clever (and I am Smile) I will avoid listening to and watching any form of news broadcasts and I will remain in my serene and happy state for at least a few hours more. See you all tomorrow when we can bollock the government together and share our disgust at what they are doing to our poor long suffering state (or I might just let you off my world weary ranting’s for a day or so)…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Florida
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 05:01:42

    Hi Fan, it is 4.48am and I have already been awake an hour and onto my second cup of tea. So much for being dog tired because of the renovation and stress of having to move this Friday into a house sooo!! not ready to inhabit, because of course Murphy’s Law is in full play, if it can it will and it has! However it is giving me a chance to catch up on your blogs, although I am never completely up to date, so it does give me something to look forward to. I have to tell you Iam one of the IPad converted as I fall asleep with it and then pick it up in the morning like a good book. Am very sorry about your poor knee, it does always seem to happen that whatever bit of you is very sore and painful will always cop an hammering!
    Keep looking after my chookens (my word for them) and Iam looking forward to meeting their aquantness.(?)
    All love


    • narf77
      Feb 22, 2012 @ 08:07:46

      I have chosen some wyandotte crosses and a couple of others for you. Wyandottes are biggish birds but fat with it and with fluffy downy bottoms. They make excellent mothers, lay nice eggs and are all round no nonsense girls. Ours are the roost rulers so they won’t take any nonsense from your princesses. I thought it best to give you girls that won’t be intimidated too badly from their new home and you are getting 2 smaller, younger girls and 2 older (1 year) girls. The younger ones will be a little while before they lay but I figured you would want some that would keep your chooken empire going once the princesses start to head off to their hen maker in the sky. All of my girls are pretty and I don’t have any normal hens (why would I have ANYTHING normal on Serendipity Farm?). I totally agree with your comments about Murphy’s Law. If I could find Mr Murphy I would shove his law where the sun don’t shine I can tell you! After spending up big on having to go over to mum’s funeral (with help from my sister and her partner) and after having to pay out more money on the car…the exhaust has just decided to give way and Mr Murphy is smiling from his safe place in heaven (or perhaps hell?) so I can’t throttle him. You know how they say “Parting is such sweet sorrow…”? Well so is moving! You have my deepest sympathies regarding your move and one day…you will recover! :o) I sent you an email about your questions so check your inbox. Have a great move and just remember Badger will LOVE living in the countryside and all of those new walks that you will be able to take him on :o)


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