Slowly slowly gets you drunk


Hi All,

I thought that would get your attention. It was that or “Slow and steady wins the blackberry” but I didn’t think that had the same ring (or pull for your alcoholic attentions). I am starting to learn that “Life on the farm” was the beginning of most of our common sayings that we rattle off to our children (and errant adults who are bucking the adage system) on a regular basis without even thinking about what we are saying. They are ingrained in us now and are habitual things that we say as a matter of course whenever something happens that we want to lecture in retrospect (in other words “nag”). Things like “More haste less speed” said sanctimoniously to someone who just sunk their yacht because they were trying to go a bit faster and decided to risk the short cut with the sandbank smack bang in the middle of it. How about “Start out as you mean to finish off”, or “The early bird catches the worm”. If you look at these phrases you can see that most of them have something to do with rural observations. When you live in the country it is wise to observe things. If you don’t you will miss the subtle changes heralding the seasons end and another ones beginning. Getting your crops in, making sure to plant out what you need for the next year and stocking up for winter. You can see that in our distant past, the people that listened to those sorts of messages would have prospered. They didn’t have the luxury of books or education back then. Books were usually glorious hand lettered relics to God and not to be shared by the common man (another example of the church maintaining control over the masses by devious means). If you wanted to remember something, you couldn’t just write it down, it had to be remembered, repeated over and over and passed on to more than one person so that should something happen to the person with the knowledge, their precious information would live on. I dare say this precious information got shortened over the years to our little oft spoken, rarely listened to sayings but the wisdom in these small sippets of information is precious and most relevant to our needs today.

You will note here that all of these sayings are being voiced by someone who thinks that the person that they are smugly lecturing actually

1. Gives a damn and

2. Will gain ANYTHING from this lecture

The point is that the person being lectured is being lectured because they are the sort of person that jumps in with both feet and they tend to do it time and time again. No amount of lecturing is going to stop this person, only some sort of wakeup call (like being narrowly missed by a truck when you decide to sleep on the side of the road…) may (and I only say MAY…) get through to them. They are the risk takers and the rushers and the people who have an inbuilt need to get there first. The people doing the lecturing tend to be older, wear corduroy trousers and are internally as jealous as hell of the people that they are lecturing because despite taking the safe path every time, everyone has an inbuilt need to balance out safe and risk. “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence” is a perfect saying for this occurrence. Another saying that springs to mind is “those who can do…those who can’t teach”. That might bring out a few angry comments but it isn’t aimed at the regular teacher who has all of the best intentions at heart. It is aimed at those sanctimonious bastards that we all had. The sadists in teacher form. Those people that should have been prison guards or somewhere high up in the military forces but who have decided to torture young minds instead. They are bitter and twisted and have a nasty urge to break young spirits as they have invariably had theirs broken in their long distant past. They used to rise to the rank of headmaster very quickly (psychopaths represent a decent percentage of our top power brokers) and enjoyed their position of ultimate power to the max. I realise that children need to understand that they are responsible for their own actions. That is one of the basic premises of society and what holds it tentatively together. Law and order are very important, but putting a hard assed psychopath in charge of a school load of kids is inevitably going to result in problems. When I say psychopath, by the way, most people conjure up a picture of Freddy Krueger. Most psychopaths don’t kill people (not physically anyway…) they rise to the top very quickly because they have a ruthless side to them and they are able to exclude emotions from their decision making. They are very self-focussed and that makes them great candidates for powerful positions where stabbing someone in the back is usually part of the job selection criteria. I have the greatest respect for teachers and actually wanted to be one and trained as such for a short period of time when I left school. Please don’t think I am aiming my acerbic memories at those teachers who gave me confidence in myself and who cared enough about a shy, quiet, overweight girl to want to offer me opportunities to better myself. They vastly outweighed the psychopaths, but like I heard someone saying on the radio just this morning “no-one talks about how many people got hired, you only hear about firings” (to do with all of the corporate job losses that we are seeing en masse) and you don’t hear about the teachers that spent constant hours guiding, helping, actually listening to and caring about their classes year after year after year. You just hear about those horrible teachers who physically and mentally thrashed the living daylights out of you. I shall call them “The Lycra Lecturers” because just like their cycling counterparts, they only represent a small percentage (at the moment…) of cyclists, but they are the ones that you remember with loathing and disgust…


These lovely examples of “pruning” have been languishing away in a folder called “Steve’s Opus”. We were walking past a woman “pruning” (I HAVE to put that in inverted commas because that is NOT pruning!) the poor plants in her garden. I get the feeling that she had recently bought this house because the garden appeared to be well pruned in the past and apart from these examples of how NOT to prune, she had completely removed the most lovely specimen of Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lace Lady’ that I had always looked for with pleasure when walking past this once well kept garden. All it takes is someone who doesn’t know what they are doing or in fact someone who doesn’t give a damn (in our case) to render all of those years of hard work wasted. I THINK that this poor remnant of a shrub is a Photinia? It appears to be, but who would know with the amount of leaves remaining on this shrub (this photo was taken in the hottest part of summer in late December 2011) being able to be counted on one hand…


When I saw this poor remnant of a plant (that will surely be dead by now) It took everything that Steve had to stop me jumping over the wall and offering to prune the rest of this misguided woman’s garden for her as I could feel the remaining plants shaking in trepidation like cattle going to the slaughter…


This is the only shrub that I have no problems (apart from the ‘shaping’) with this woman pruning. As anyone will know, daisies are survivors and Steve and I once (prior to having anything to do with horticulture in our defence) cut a daisy bush back to a stump and it regrew in a matter of months. What prompts people to save a few bucks and go nuts in their gardens? We see crushing examples of this sort of thing in gardens all over Tasmania. I am not being elitist here when I shake my head at people who self-horticult their gardens to death (as you can see I take extreme liberties with the English language…) but as with anything that can’t speak up for itself, a garden is an ecosystem that needs to be maintained to keep that continuity going. If we hack away at our shrubs because someone on the ABC Gardening Australia show told us to without knowing how to do this or bothering to learn how we are doing much more damage than if we had simply let it be. At least there would be survivors in the undergrowth. It smacks of someone who couldn’t be bothered to learn how and is a bodge job which makes me twitch. Libraries are full of books that show you how to prune, gardening groups cost cents to join and you can ask anyone there how to prune. They even show you how on gardening show so why are there still people out there taking to Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Lace Lady’ with a hacksaw and reducing them to stumps?


I am still a little incapacitated as the result of slipping on a slick concrete paver whilst collecting blackberries but in a day or so I will be fully able to walk the dogs with Steve again. He has headed over to Exeter to pick up a chainsaw sharpener, a much appreciated gift from our girls for his birthday last month, and walk the dogs at the same time. He forgot to take my library card when he headed over to Exeter yesterday but like the lucky Chinese Dragon that he is, the library lady allowed him to bring my books home without having to show my card. This woman hadn’t ever seen Steve before and cheerfully handed my books over to someone she didn’t know. I have been the victim of not being able to do the very same thing even though the librarian knew me well and knew who I was, my name etc. and STILL wouldn’t let me have my books because I had left my library card accidentally at home. Go figure? Steve doesn’t even READ library lady! You passed over not only my ordered books but some that he just picked up off the shelf onto MY library card to a total stranger! I am more and more suspicious that Pat found Steve out in one of the woods in the local vicinity. I think that the gypsies had pinched him from the leprechaun’s and realising what they had done (after they sobered up…) they quickly got rid of him. This man is one of the luckiest people that I know. Babies love him, small children love him, and old ladies love him and all this despite him looking like a tramp on a regular basis because he could care less how society sees him. I have long ago given up trying to get him to change before he goes out. It’s his life, my sensibilities shouldn’t be imprinted onto him as he is who he is and should be allowed to wear what he likes whenever he likes (you can all see that as a disclaimer and I will take NO responsibility for how Steve looks when he is out wandering amongst the madding crowd).


Here is the most amazing Japanese maple on show at the Tasmanian Botanical Gardens It’s a lovely young specimen of Acer palmatum ‘Ukigumo’ and having done a bit of research on this Acer I discovered that this tends to be the juvenile foliage and after a few years it becomes variegated with a vengeance but isn’t it beautiful?


If you are in Tasmania take the time to visit the Tasmanian Botanical Gardens if only for the Japanese garden section that is an oasis of tranquillity and calm and is very well designed and maintained


I keep waffling on and forgetting to enlighten you as to why I chose that interesting one liner as a title. Steve headed out this morning with the boys and I was just about to settle down to post my post for today when I decided that I should get off my derrière and get outside and do a few things that needed doing. I know that none of you get up at 2am expecting to read my posts and this is after all a weekend so I figured that now that I can actually hobble upright, that I should get out there and do something rather than let Steve do it all. I fed the hens; I took some leftovers out to the freezer in the shed, I took chicken food and chick starter around to Houdini and her now 7 babies and collected some blackberries in the bowl that I took the chook food around to Houdini with. I was collecting my meagre selection of berries for today and I started thinking about how my small amount for today will be added in to the blackberry pool that we have stored in the freezer. Day by day it gets added to and it is growing slowly and steadily to the point where we will have enough to make wine. I might not be able to do much with the black berries that I collected today but together with my previously collected berries I can accomplish something. It’s that “learning from nature” thing again and that is when I started thinking about all of the sayings that we have and where they came from. Watching things and translating them into sayings that could be shared with other people fostered the directions that our civilisation took. Peasants most certainly had no access to books or education, but in their masses and by their underground networks of passed on messages they managed to topple governments and kingdoms. Never EVER underestimate the power of the word…


Isn’t this a lovely picture of a Fly agaric? We found hundreds of them under the canopy of an ancient conifer forest on our way to Scottsdale to go to a nursery.


These little white thread fungi were everywhere in the same old conifer forest that we found the Fly Agaric in. Aren’t they lovely? I am really interested in fungi and would love to study them in more detail


This is the last photo that I am going to put in this post from the conifer forest and this enormous mess in one of the canopies was what made Ron Radford of Osmaston Pine fame excited. He spent many days out in this same forest hunting for just this sort of enormous mess. This mess is what is commonly known as a sport. Ron Radford was a most industrious man and hunted for sports and cultivated them to create new conifers. His famous “Osmaston blue” is the result of just one foray into using one of natures freaks to gain a foothold in the market


Our blackberries are going to be used for wine and I have a desire to get in the car and head out into the surrounding heavily laden countryside and pick to my heart’s content. Steve is not a fan of blackberry picking. Where I get stubborn after being wrangled by thorns and decide to pick EVERY berry on the offending branch let alone just the ripe ones, Steve says “bollocks to that!” and gets back into the car to wait for me. That’s where the problems occur because Steve doesn’t do “Wait” well. He is an inherent twitcher if he has to wait for someone and I am inherently aware of people who twitch. It doesn’t make for extended blackberry picking so I like to head out myself and take my time. I have learned some interesting life lessons from picking blackberries.

1. The very best blackberries are in the middle of the briars and you have to suffer your fair share of thorns to get them

2. A blackberry might look big black and juicy but if it doesn’t let go easily (trust me) you DON’T want to eat it!

3. If you fall into the middle of a very prickly situation, lay still until you can work out how to get out with the minimum damage…

You see how I feel compelled to share my newfound knowledge with you? You can choose to listen to it or ignore it as you see fit because it’s most probably not pertinent to you or your situation, but back in ancient times when agriculture was “it” and meant the difference between the survival of a society or its imminent demise it paid to listen to someone who had managed to have a fantastic harvest or who worked out how to do something in a more streamlined way. We forget that we are reliant on others to feed us, cloth us and house us. We forget that we don’t actually need many of the things that we currently aspire to and that our basic needs should be seen as most important and not just something for “someone else” to deal with. Our imminent survival depends on our farmers, our industries and our listening to information that is pertinent to us and most especially taking heed of what we hear. All we hear on the news at the moment is about doom and gloom and global financial crisis. Most of these problems didn’t come from they came from our media driven niggling feelings that our lives are never complete unless we have the latest greatest…”whatever it is that they are selling”. We are running the risk of becoming a race of people completely out of touch with our humanity and our basic needs.

I got an interesting newsletter from one of the Permaculture sites that I subscribe to and part of its content was a video about how patents (things) and copyrights (information) are being manipulated by power and money hungry people to gain an unfair advantage and to completely misrepresent why patents and copyrights were being issued in the first place. They were installed to give the creator of the item or idea to gain from their creativity for a period of time before other people could copy their idea. Fair enough in my mind. You invent it, you should get the kudos and any accompanying profits before your idea is copied by the masses. The video revealed unscrupulous companies (and individuals) called patent and copyright trolls who don’t actually produce or do anything except buy up old copyrights and patents and sue the pants of any and everyone with anything to do with these old copyrights and patents making millions and billions of dollars a year out of an antiquated ideal of equality and sharing. The shocking truth about these adventitious people is that what they are doing is completely within their rights and is upheld by the law! This is what is happening to the music industry. These people are buying up the copyright to songs and suing anyone sampling them, posting them on their blogs and posting them to you tube. It is going to take some major overhauling of the legal system to protect us from these scavengers and the problem is that they are so powerful that they can buy themselves governments. We don’t have to be scared of how crazy the world has become. We don’t have to panic about job losses and global financial crises and how Greece is going to impose its massive losses on the rest of the world. We have to stop looking at the massive global upheaval as an overwhelming cause for major fear and we need to look at what we can do for ourselves and our communities to bolster them against these out of control psychopaths that are running riot in positions of power. We don’t need to be afraid, we need to be proactive. Plant a veggie garden…stop listening to the news or watching it on T.V…learn how to do some of those things that you currently pay someone else to do. Keep paying that person to do it if you see fit, but at least learn how to do a few basic things yourself. Make yourself a worthwhile and capable person who is a valuable member of your community. Instead of feeling powerless and unable to do anything about what is happening in the world, stop looking at the rest of the world and start making changes in your own back yard. “From little things big things grow” and there are so many more little sayings that are so very pertinent to our situation today. Civilisation rises and civilisation falls but society keeps enduring because we can. See you all tomorrow when no matter what we hear on the news, we CAN make a difference to our immediate world in a positive and fulfilling way.


This is mums garden where she lived for over 20 years. I wanted to put this picture into this post because it heralds me starting work on writing her story for Annie to place on “The Green Journeys” Website. This garden started out as lawn. That’s all it was…the whole area was semi dead lawn when we moved in and mum created this oasis of greenery with empty pockets but with formidable determination. That is what I want to share with Annie’s readers, you don’t have to have money to create a garden, just vision and determination.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 09:46:51

    Yum blackberries. I’d rather them in a pie though. You could advertise your pruning skills to people Fronkii by offering to “prune for blackberries”. I have to admit to being a bit like that lady because i’m really not sure what bits to prune so I usually dont prune much at all. I’d rather let the poor buggers grow like topsy and work it out themselves. Mums old ex-espaliered fruit trees are just one such instance. I remember hacking right back to almost earth as I had planned to pull it out, a lovely yellow daisy by the lemon tree yet I left it and it just grew back with gusto. Flowering very quickly so I would go Naaawwwww…….. and not pull it out. Smart plant.
    PS Where is Steves blog?


  2. Kym
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 19:59:55

    What a beautiful garden your mum had. I started off not knowing a thing about how to prune or anything else for that matter to do with plants. My parents idea of a “great” garden was heaps of cement and maybe a tree in a pot. I think my love of plants, and animals (they were the same about them too), comes from my fathers farming forefathers. The gene must have skipped a generation and went into my DNA instead. I watched good old Don Burke and bought a copy of Yates Garden Guide, from a garage sale, to help me. But mostly I just went on instinct. It just feels wonderful to tend to a garden and be rewarded with lovely flowers or lush foliage. Somehow it soothes the soul to wander in a garden. I love to hand water my garden, it gives me thinking time. Bruce could never figure out why I would be a little miffed if he had watered first, he thought it was a great help, but I had missed out on my “thinking” time lol. Plus it gives you a chance to pull up the odd weed or squish an errant caterpillar. Oh well I had best get outside and start to water before Bruce decides to be “helpful” lol.


    • narf77
      Feb 22, 2012 @ 08:26:20

      Hi Kymmy, mums garden was lovely and all down the back was “Chocka-block” (her words) full of raised and normal veggie beds, fruit trees and all sorts of herbs and berries. We might have been on the welfare line but we never knew it and we most certainly never went hungry (in my case…I am wearing the evidence!). I don’t know how she accomplished what she did and wish that I had half her motivation and go-to-it attitude. Her incentives are my sticking points. I know what you mean about watering. We have an overhead watering system for our potted babies (and we have only had to use it twice since we built it as it is cooling down and we are getting regular rain). The rest of the garden seems to have survived well this year despite it being so darned hot. We think it is because of the density of plants all crammed in to cover every inch of soil (that the chooks didn’t manage to scratch up that is…). There is a lot to be said for mass planting even if it is mostly weed species. It most certainly keeps the moisture in the soil! Enjoy your watering and say Hi to Bruce for me…at least he does the watering…most hubbies would pretend that they needed to be somewhere else rather than giving you a hand with things like that :o). Our 2 are gems (rough gems…but still gems!) :o). Have a great day at work today and don’t sweat the small stuff…


  3. Kym
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 23:53:20

    I’d be happy if I didn’t sweat, full stop lol!


  4. Kym
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 21:06:36

    I got that too! Lol


    • narf77
      Feb 24, 2012 @ 09:53:33

      Yeh, I will be like Jabba the hutt tomorrow and sunday with all the humidity and 32C heat so you can find me basking (like jabba) on the large tiles in the bathroom for the whole day (fighting Bezial for position)…


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