One Frans moth invasion is another spider’s treasure


Hi All,

Alright so I am not a spider…it’s hard to come up with these one liner titles this early in the morning let alone make them witty for you all! Our house full of moths accidentally let in the other day by moi is slowly returning to normal thanks to the large population of daddy long-legs and huntsman spiders that are eagerly feasting on these invaders. The moths varied in size from “hardly worth stalking” to “MAN I can lay back for a week after eating that one!” and Earl ate the biggest one of all (to the King go the spoils of war…) It certainly makes me think about how what might appear to be a damned nuisance to you might be heaven to someone/something else. The feral cats eat the rats and mice that are feeding adventitiously on the hen’s food. The hens and compost heap take advantage of our food scraps along with the sparrows. The frogs take advantage of the new overhead watering system (not that frogs are to be ever seen as damned nuisances) and there are always positives and negatives to everything, no matter how painful, off putting or plain disgusting these things are. The Japanese did a bit of work on turning the humble earthworm (easily farmed by anyone, used to eliminate food waste and ripe for exploitation) into a sustainable form of edible protein. There are reasons why I am a vegetarian and that is one of them! No one is going to slip anything like that in my food thank you VERY much! Apart from the odd spider that falls into my gaping snoring maw while I sleep and the few insects that stubbornly refused to let go of my lettuce when I washed it, I don’t generally partake of insect life. When being smugly told about how I am probably going to stunt my growth (what about my girth?) and give myself rickets and multiple food deficiencies by being a vegetarian I grin and bear it and think about all of those rabid meat eaters being forced to eat the most disgusting things in some nomads home as a mark of honour where the worst I will get is a slice of durian or some weird form of fermented pigs milk (remember swings and roundabouts and good and bad with everything…)


I HATE having my photo taken and I was never going to share this photo with anyone but I saw good old Jason Hodge from Better Home’s and Gardens fame (or “Podge” as he is no doubt called on a regular basis) when we were in Melbourne at the Melbourne International Flower Show in 2010. We were there on the very first day and he had won a gold medal for his garden. In my year of living honestly I am going to share some photos of myself in various poses…guises and embarrassing moments in this post…sigh…(you really don’t know how hard this is for me!)


Here I am, trying not to be seen under this amazing tree on a very old property (once the Governor of Tasmania’s home) in Longford. You might even have heard of Longford in the news recently as the small town engulfed by smoke thanks to some bright spark (literally) that started a fire in a massive pile of tyres (my guess is the tyre business didn’t want to pay to have them removed but DON’T quote me on that (wink)


Here I am actually doing some work. Don’t faint, I loved sucking up autumn leaves until we realised that the act of sucking up wet leaves wasn’t making the blower happy and I had to give up one of my favourite autumn pastimes. Curiously I can vacuum with a great degree of confidence but reverse the principal and I have no dexterity with blowing leaves.  Steve has to use this cantankerous machine now.


I got sent one of those emails that people send to you to educate you the other day. Mum used to send all of the junk emails that she would get sent and now my Gmail box is very quiet and a shadow of its former self. I actually asked Pat, Steve’s mum, if she would keep sending junk emails as despite being annoyed at the time with the volume of emails that I had to bin each day from mum, I miss them. I have another lady who occasionally sends me emails but the email that she sent me the other day made me stop and think after giving it the usual cursory glance. I read it right through and actually thought about it enough to include it in today’s post. It was titled “9 things which will disappear in our lifetime”. It listed the following and the reasons why they will disappear. I don’t agree with several of the inclusions and will explain my reasoning after I list them

1. The post office

2. Cheques

3. Newspapers

4. Books

5. Landline telephones

6. Television

7. Music

8. Personal possessions

9. Privacy

I agree that the Post office is stumbling along like the forestry industry in Tasmania, only being held together by companies sending reams of junk mail to people (and curiously, most of the Tasmanian forestry is producing the wood chips to make that junk mail…). I agree that newspapers will be phased out and wonder why it hasn’t happened already? My only conclusion is that people of my father’s generation like to read the paper over a cuppa at breakfast. The rest of us listen to the news (my dad also did that on an hourly basis…) or catch it as part of logging on to check our emails in the morning. At the moment you can’t get rid of your landline telephone despite the exponential growth in mobile phone usage because you simply can’t get the internet in most homes without a landline. Music can’t be owned. The copyright can, but good luck to them stopping us playing that music whenever and wherever we please. No litigation lawyer can be in every pub monitoring every garage band playing whatever Metallica song they see fit in covering. They can put boring long winded reminders about “You wouldn’t steal someone’s handbag…” at the front of D.V.D’s but we can phase that bampf out as easily as smokers have been phasing out health warnings and nasty confrontational photographs on their packets of cigarettes and parents are able to totally phase out the sounds of a whining child…we can adapt and that makes us dangerous to people who want to control us (or make money out of us…). Cheques apparently cost a fortune to process and are in the process of being phased out as we speak. Who needs a cheque when you have a small chunk of plastic to do the very same thing and it doesn’t require the removal of thousands of trees to facilitate the handing over of safe cash? Television I am not so sure about. The blurb in the email ran along the lines of everyone can get whatever they want with internet content…but again, these emails are scaremongering and tend to aim at the lowest common denominator and induce fear and knee jerk reactions in people who act before they think. The internet content is taken from television content. It’s the old Ernie and Bert thing all over again (perhaps Ernie and Bert can run for president in the U.S.A.? They make a lot of fiscal sense…) “before you can have a cookie you have to lift the lid…after you lift the lid you can have a cookie” “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. There…I DID listen to something in science! Mr Ryan would be proud of me… before you can post entertainment online you have to have a medium to pinch it from in the first place! Otherwise we run the risk of Wayne’s world type programming becoming the norm.

The paragraph related to personal possessions needs to be posted so that you can read it for yourself (as I am too lazy to have to paraphrase all of it down into simple facts for you all to read. I had to read and process it and you should to! Go on…it’s good for your brain!)

“Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.”

fishing 8th may 005

Misery loves company and here is a photo of Steve in W.A. with some of the fish that he and my brother caught offshore in my brothers little aluminium dingy. My brother is an adventurer and Steve is not. My brother will go out for miles in search of the elusive marlin…Steve would like to sit on the edge of the river netting for guppies. Well done Jim on getting him out into your boat and offshore so far that he couldn’t see land any more, but good luck in ever getting him to do it again!


I don’t have Susan’s permission to post this photo but she is more of a technophobe than I am so the odds of her finding it are slim and next to none so if you don’t like it here Susan…let me know and I will do my best to remove it but I am not all that sure about how to do that because of my lack of technological skill… (wink) We did a bit of work for Susan while we were studying certificate 2 & 3 in Horticulture and Susan is now working at the Rose Gardens in Longford but back then she had a small gardening business and recognised true talent when she saw it and decided to hire team Pimblett for any work that she couldn’t accomplish herself. This photo was taken on that same property where I am standing under that large ancient tree above. As you can see Susan was a slave master! The dog on the lower right hand corner was a gorgeous old girl named Honey and we would bring her treats whenever we were helping Susan in this delightful heritage garden


I have gone even further off side now and have included a photo of my daughters Madeline (on the steps of the bus) and Bethany (in the bus) taken in Albany of then returning to Perth on the bus. They had been over visiting their brother and catching up with their relatives while Steve and I stayed home and renovated the house


Scary isn’t it? All of your information gone in an instant if some global hacker sees fit (and they will. It isn’t a probability, it is inevitability). We are allowing “other people” to deal with our most precious needs and possessions. You might not think much of it but I am most definitely taking some of this to heart. I am not easily scared by emails but I am also able to see that there is a grain of truth in this one. We are losing our identities, we are losing our ability to choose and we are losing our rights to globe spanning corporations. Do none of us remember the warning movies of the early 60’s and 70’s?!!! Movies like “Logan’s run” where we were warned about allowing society to be sanitised and homogenised down into 1 enormous global marketplace where the winner takes it all. Privacy goes without saying as we are all stupid and post all sorts of personal things on Facebook. I am as guilty as anyone for doing that. Reading that paragraph makes me angry. Google, Windows and Mac OS do not create all of the documents, pictures etc. that we regularly hunt for online. The internet was invented to further the knowledge of mankind and share the love around. It started with noble intentions and has given us an amazing ability to share online, a massive think tank of information out there for the taking and usually for free. Many people out there want to take advantage of this and that is why we get spam and advertising. I can bear the odd spam in my email and would rather someone from Ethiopia trying to tell me I have won 40 quintillion (it was in the spell checker so it DOES exist!) dollars in some European lottery than never get spam again in this sanitised and homogenised delivery of “allowed content”. This cloud system will allow us all to save whatever we like to “the cloud” for the price of the equivalent of our monthly internet bill. Here is where it gets dirty though…if you want to download any of this stored stuff you are going to have to pay whichever operating system you are using for the privilege. I can create something and upload it to the internet to share with you all but these massive operating systems are going to charge you for my idea. It isn’t as if they are not already some of the most influential and powerful companies in the world, now they are collaborating to take over the internet for unbelievable profit making opportunities. Remember when they sued Bill Gates for his monopoly? What they are all doing right now (and I most certainly haven’t heard about it on any form of media…have you?) is effectively taking over the internet and holding us all to ransom and we are not even getting a say in it!

The last thing that I most certainly don’t believe is that they will stop making books. Books are as popular now as they have ever been. There is something about sitting reading a book that just doesn’t translate into kindle form. I know you can get entire books cheaper and that you can read them where you like but books are a physical representation of other worlds. You get something out of turning pages, the excitement of what is just about to happen, the smell of the paper, the feel and weight of that book in your hand. It’s like my dad’s newspaper; it’s here for our generation. Maybe my children’s generation will shun books? I doubt it. They are becoming like wine and food, something to be aspired to. I remember laughing when watching an episode of the hilarious comedy Black Books when a man came into the shop wanting leather bound books for his study. He didn’t care what they were; he just wanted the ‘image’. If anything, the image of being cultural enough to read books (even if it is merely decorative) is going to linger on even if the books never get read.

Wow! I have just typed out 2 entire future posts because of this email and an entirely unrelated episode of blackberry collection. The interesting thing is that despite typing out the blackberry post prior to this one (I have to type when my muse is blabbering or it’s gone…) it is most curiously tied in to this one! You will see when you come back for the second instalment tomorrow won’t you? See you all then when I attempt to become the blogging equivalent of “Days of our lives” and get you to come back for your daily fix. I just got a message in my inbox (I always check my emails first thing, I am a creature of habit) and discovered that another one of my requested books from the Mary Anne Schaffer list of adventurous reading is waiting for me at the Exeter Library. These little free gifts from the library are starting to be looked forwards to like a package from home to an expat. I will also pick up a book requested quite some time ago that I have been waiting for since last year, The River Cottage Cakes handbook, a most illustrious and no doubt batter bespattered copy of what has become a sought after library book. The other book is from the list and was curiously listed as “De Bernieres, Louis / Captain Corelli’s mandoli” Perhaps it is an entirely different novel to the book translated into the movie with Nicholas Cage? Whatever it is it has just stressed out the spell check in a big way…I guess I will find out whether I have a typo or a type “A” experience with this book won’t I? What an interesting week this is starting to be! It is also Festivale day on Animal Crossing “Let’s go to the City” so after a decent amount of hard work I will be inside when the rain that is forecast to be falling this afternoon is playfully tapping the colourbond roof away with my animal neighbour’s in the pursuit of sweets and playing tricks on each other. How lucky am I to have this little alternative world to while away my boredom and stress? If only they would stop acting like real people, everything would be fine! See you all tomorrow for the next instalment in my enlightenment regarding big corporations and their nefarious dealings…


Here we are out the front of our last home in W.A. That little car was the best car that we ever owned and was our second car. Our first was a little Ford Capri sports car that we loved but that was nowhere near as reliable as this little beast. Steve used to put a huge amplifier, his guitars and all of his equipment in the back of that little hatch whenever he went off to practice with his band. Mum took this picture and it is only fitting that in my year of living honestly that I share it with you. I really REALLY hate my photo being shown to anyone. I am usually the photo taker which is why you see very few photos of me. Call this cathartic if you will but it feels like self inflicted torture!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. microgardener
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 08:36:22

    Hi Fran

    Interesting post! I agree with your thoughts: “It certainly makes me think about how what might appear to be a damned nuisance to you might be heaven to someone/something else.” Just been writing a series of posts on ‘pests’ of the insect world in our gardens and how a paradigm shift is needed to realise everything is part of a greater food chain and when things are in balance, (predator vs pest) nature takes care of its own.

    Many want to dominate the natural world and grab a pest spray can to ‘fix’ a problem by zapping it, but I love that you’ve allowed your resident spiders to peacefully eat their brekkie, lunch and dinner without interference. Not only is it better for your health without the chemicals but they’ll hang around to take care of the next ‘problem’ for you if there’s a regular supply of food.

    Our resident birds (butcher and magpies) take care of our pest management out on the verandah, snacking on moths, spiders and various insects while waiting for their morning feed. I always wait a while to allow them time to vacuum up the insects (their real job) and then they get ‘paid’ with a few bread crumbs! The spider webs that were an unsightly mess under our verandah when we came here are a thing of the past and I haven’t had to lift a broom. Nature in balance. I love it!


    • narf77
      Feb 20, 2012 @ 09:55:40

      So true Annie! We are constantly amazed at how nature will work for you if you let it and don’t take the “fast option” of pesticides. They are just pushed by the chemical companies (along with pills and medication) to maximise profit and bollocks to the health and future of the world! I was just collecting some firewood and noticed that where I had left great heaps of forget-me-nots, the hens have been scratching these heaps out to get at the insect life underneath and have effectively done my job for me and mulched the area. There are no weeds where they have been picking for insects and because we don’t use pesticides our natural cycles seem to be flourishing. We have all sorts of birds coming back to Serendipity Farm to enjoy the regular water and food supply that occured when we moved in. I can’t wait to read your new posts. I love your blog Annie and devour it like a good book whenever I get notification of a new one in my inbox. Thankyou so much for giving us the will to carry on with our sustainable efforts when sometimes that is all that keeps us going! :o)


  2. microgardener
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 10:46:08

    Wow how great to hear about your chook story Fran and how providing ‘bed and board’ for your wildlife pays great dividends! This is exactly what others need to hear – how we can save ourselves so much work in the garden if we understand the cycles of life and work WITH them. If you have a moment to share this experience on my latest post in the comments, I’m sure other readers would be really inspired to hear about how you’ve been working with nature for a win-win outcome, and maybe help shift their thinking from a ‘no pest’ garden to a ‘pest-predator balance’ one, especially if they have chooks. Glad my blog provides a little inspiration – you’ve returned the favour!


    • narf77
      Feb 21, 2012 @ 07:45:16

      Oops…I posted on your blog site and forgot to answer this comment. We are constantly amazed at how something in nature will step up to deal with any pest species (although can we truly call them pests when something else finds them so very delicious?) that tries to expand its population exponentially. Allowing the chooks free rein in the garden has been a most interesting experiment. At first it was merely to allow them to eat insects and be “Free Range” but now we are discovering that hens play a most interesting part in clearing out the undergrowth and the weed species. Apart from dealing with many soil born pests (my lot don’t like worms they are too spoiled) they scratch around most industriously reducing the seed bank in the soil and spreading a carpet of leaves as mulch around the surface of the soil whilst depositing liberal amounts of high nitrogen fertiliser all over the place. The only problem now is working out how to minimise the high nitrogen fertiliser coming in on our boots…


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