Some paint a day keeps the therapist away

Hi All

Today I am breaking with tradition. I have decided to write a post this morning! Don’t faint all of you constant readers who know that as a quintessential planner I like to have a post up my sleeve to cater for all eventualities and that what you are reading here each day is most likely at least a day old on Serendipity Farm. I do indeed have a post up my sleeve but I don’t fancy using it today. Today is bright, sunny and nice and cool. It’s my kind of morning and apart from me being here on Serendipity Farm myself this morning as I am resting my knee I have just gotten in from feeding and watering the animals. My knee is recovering nicely but I am giving it the occasional rest to make sure that I am not overstressing it as we have been walking 4 – 5km a day and it was getting a little bit sore. We seem to be developing routines and cycles on Serendipity Farm. First thing in the morning I get up when it is still dark. I make Steve a coffee (I don’t usually have a tea if we are walking but my faithful cup is right in front of me as I tap away here this morning) in bed and check the emails. After that it is time to throw out some bread and cheese to the 4 kittens (they eat the cheese AND the bread unlike their forebears), the 5 feral chooks and Houdini and her chicks (still 7). I had been wondering why Houdini was able to raise 5 babies without the safety of the hen coop at night time and saw how yesterday when I was throwing some bread out to the chickens at large and she single handed held all of them back to ensure that her babies got some. She is fearless! The only one that she will allow to eat with her chicks is Yin and even then she has all of her feathers fluffed right out and her wings sticking out at right angles to her body in warning. What a good little mum! I think she is a Rhode Island red cross because she is darker and redder than her brown sisters. The 5 ferals are turning out to be very interesting hen mixes. I know that we have 1 little rooster and 4 hens and they have formed their own little pack of wild fowl. One of the hens has the most interesting colour. She is a sort of yellow ochre colour with striped wings and she has green legs. None of the other hens or roosters has green legs. Her mother (my guess Speckled Bob, one of our initial girls) must have interesting parentage. Yins first chicks are both hens. They say that roosters throw either hens or roosters and if what we have seen so far is accurate, Yin is a goodn’ because he has fathered 6 hens and a single rooster. We now need to see how many roosters he has managed to cultivate in this latest 7 (and goodness knows how many when Effel finally gets down off her semi decomposing mountain of eggs with a few chicks). When we bought our initial 8 “hens” we were complete chook novices. We had NO idea about hens apart from “they lay eggs” and so we are having a most interesting time discovering that not only are hens quite intelligent, they have personalities as well.


Although some of our hens have furry feet like their Brahma parents (some of whom look like they are wearing chaps) some are obviously of Brahma parentage but don’t have the classic furry feet. This is one such hen. She is very large and is the leader of the “weird chicken” pack.


We have no idea whether this is a rooster or a hen. All we know is that it has very interesting markings (stripes rather than dots) and that it fights with the other transgender rooster/hen that we are also not sure of it’s sex. We learned that not all fights are between roosters quite early on when what eventuated into being “Yin” was still seen as one of the hens. Yin had regular battles with one of his sisters and we thought that both of them were roosters but only 1 male eventuated. Hens can be feisty and they won’t always do what roosters want and so sometimes they get into fights. The jury is still out on this chook and Steve’s “strider” as they have not crowed or laid eggs yet


This is the popular variety of weird chook. The brown one made it into the upper echelon’s of hen society because of her adopted mum being a Wyandotte and the top of the pecking order. Interesting how that affected this hen who thinks that she is considerably better than her other Brahma brothers/sisters and reminds them constantly of her elevated position by pecking them when she is only in this position because of her mothers egg choice.


Effel came out from her hiding spot and was drinking and eating and laying about on a hay bale yesterday. I was in the process of painting the ceiling…didn’t I mention that to you? Well that can be our next paragraph can’t it, and Steve was waiting for me to finish so that he could get stuck into painting the walls. We were having a cold drink when we both noticed Effel down at the water bowl that we put in the first garden for the feral cats to drink out of. She was syphoning water down her beak like she hadn’t seen it in a week (fibs…Effel is a drama queen and it would have only been a day at the most since she refused to get off her enormous pile of eggs). As Steve was available he headed down the steps to see if we couldn’t find where she was nesting. Effels modus operandi is to run at a terrifying speed with her wings out directly to the food and water…she most certainly doesn’t stop to collect $200 and she guzzles some food…swills some water, rolls in the dust a few times and running at full pelt she races back to her eggs. While she was drinking she noticed Steve out of the corner of her eye. Effel is somewhat tame and will take food from our hands and as a somewhat special hen (our only remaining blue Wyandotte) she likes to think of herself as above the other hens. Yesterday she looked at Steve with steely determination in her eyes and departed from her usual ways. She didn’t run off to her eggs, she sauntered (watching Steve all the while) over to where we store a few hay bales under the deck and hopped up and nestled down on the hay watching Steve all the while as if to say “let’s just see who can wait this one out shall we?” Steve got frustrated with waiting (all of 10 minutes) and came up the steps to tell me that Effel was on the hay bales and wasn’t showing any signs of going back to the nest and you guessed it…after heading back down the steps Effel was gone…never EVER trust chickens! All you need to do is read a few Gary Larson cartoons to see that the chickens are restless and are due for some form of uprising. Because Effel has taken up residence on top of that enormous mound of hidden eggs that has been hidden since when mum was here at Christmas time, the communal nest is now out of bounds and so Steve caught Yin making a new nest in the blackberries out the back next to where we have our overhead sprinkler system and all of our potted plants. As soon as he saw Steve heading up to the glasshouse to water Yin did his best impression of officer Barbrady from South Park and the distinct impression that Steve got was “Move along sir…nothing to see here…” Steve had learned from Effel that chickens are nefarious creatures and so watched from the cover of the glasshouse and noticed Yin headed straight back into tunnel mining the blackberries for his waiting Wyandotte girls. It is funny how Yin has decided that he doesn’t want anything to do with the new younger girls at the moment. Henry and Trogdor haven’t yet made any kind of moves at revealing their more than obvious roosterness but they have chosen their harem from the new girls. There is a little pod of (for want of a better word) weird chooks. They are the hens that don’t look like the others. One of them has crossed over into mainstream hendom on Serendipity Farm and was lucky enough to have been brought up by the bossy Wyandotte hen that raised 4 chicks and made sure that they were the top of the new chicken pecking order. The rest of them are the weird misfits that have formed their own little pod and that might actually rise up one day and take over due to the fact that these chooks are one of the biggest breeds of hen. They comprise the Brahma hens and roosters and one most interesting barred looking creature that we have yet to work out is male or female. Brahma’s have feathery feet and one little hen in the “weird pod” is very pretty. The other 3 are just plain unusual and as there is at least 1 rooster present in this group, they are able to form their own little faction.

I mentioned that we were painting earlier on in this post. We renovated inside the house last year over the winter period. After ordering our amazing stove and paying for it we were told to remove our existing wood heater and prepare the floor for the new wood burning stove. This stove is very large and very heavy and we decided to lay tiles on the floor to make cleaning easier. We removed the old wood heater and gave it to someone that was looking for one at the Beaconsfield Tip Shop. We didn’t take it to the tip shop as they would have had to pay for it, we just gave it to them outside the grounds. Hopefully they got some warmth out of it last year as the period of time that we were given that we would be without a heater was infinitesimally smaller than the period of time that we were actually without a heater. We spent all of last winter in a house with no heating apart from a tiny 1 bar gas heater that the dogs lay on top of and that was unable to warm even 1 closed off room. Earl actually ate the gas hose at one stage and we had to replace it. We didn’t get our wood burning stove installed until after my birthday in August. I guess you appreciate something a whole lot more when you have had to wait for it and our very first fire in that wood burning stove was heavenly. All of this retrospective whinging is to show you that while we were renovating our house, completely gutting the kitchen of everything (no sink, no taps, no stove) and painting, installing cupboards, sinks, a small gas stove (that didn’t get connected until the gas people connected up our hot water system to the wood burning stove) and generally making this place ours we had no heat whatsoever. The original builders of the house (the people who lived here before dad) must have loved wood as much as I do. Dad’s partner didn’t like wood. They tiled the kitchen/living room, hallway, toilet and bathroom with large white tiles and then realised that white tiles and dog hair do NOT mix. When we first moved in, despite our dogs being short haired, the tiles had to be swept 3 times a day just to make the house a little less furry. The very first thing that we did was to rip up all of the tiles with wrecking bars and we lived with the entire area covered in concrete sheeting for the whole of winter. This made for an incredibly cold surface and the house was like the inside of a fridge at all times. You need to remember that we had been told that the installation of the wood burning stove was imminent when we first removed the wood heater in April (that is WHY we removed the heater in the first place). The job kept getting put off…and put off…and put off… until we started to get a bit snaky and make comments about finding someone else to install the wood burning stove and suddenly room was made in the plumbers incredibly busy schedule (how lucky were we?) to install the stove that we had already paid for back in April. When the weather started to warm up we made plans to paint our bedroom and the lounge room. We were absolutely knackered after slaving away for the entire winter totally remodelling our house ourselves. Steve is an amazing person. He can pretty much turn his hand to anything and I make a pretty good goffer so together we were able to transform this place into a space that worked for us. We kept putting off painting the other rooms because, like childbirth, it was still too clear in our minds what we had to go through to renovate the house to this point.


We decided earlier in the week after signing up for Polytechnic this year that we had a week to play around with before we commenced studying and so why didn’t we finish off what we had started out last year? Neither of us had any desire to pick up our paint brushes and rollers again but muttering and bristling we did and yesterday between us we painted the ceilings of both rooms and the lounge room walls. We are not too sure if we have enough paint left to paint the walls in our room and so we might just pick up another can of paint when we are in town next and finish off what we started. There is something eminently satisfying about completing something when you really didn’t want to do it in the first place. It gives you a sense of achievement and we are more than pleased with the results. What was a mushroom taupe sort of colour (the cheapest can on the shelf no doubt) that had obviously been painted about 20 years ago and had seen better days and the ceiling was painted very badly with bits of exposed plaster board left visible is now the same Donna Hay style blue colour, soft duck egg blue to match the kitchen/living area and make the house look bigger. The result is that the room appears to be part of the deck now and your eye is lead out of the large glass windows rather than held inside the house. We took the books from the wall mounted shelves that were built by Glad next door’s now departed husband Ted and painted the wall behind the shelves. I can’t believe that we were able to fit all of those books on those small shelves! We are spending some time today going through the books and narrowing them down to books that are likely to be used and those that are just on the shelf because I have been toting them around with me for well over 25 years. Books to me are like golden rings were to Sméagol, they are “my precious” and good luck with getting me to part with them. After seeing the enormous pile of books on Steve’s music room floor I am going to have to deal with them and make them pay their way in our home.


Here is the newly painted lounge room and the shelves remounted on the wall after painting. We are contemplating painting the fire bricks the same colour as the wall because we no longer use this fireplace or even skimming the fireplace with plaster (Steve) and painting it all the same colour. The jury remains out and we will think about it for a bit and save up to do what we want to do.


Here is the pile of books that we took off the bookshelves in the lounge room. Most of these books have been toted around for many years and some haven’t even been looked at. I love books and am loath to get rid of any of them but there comes a time when you have to isolate what you are actually going to use and some of these books are due for a visit to the thrift shop in Exeter… on the positive side…that means I can put my Terry Pratchett collection out on the shelves and re-read them at my leisure. At the moment “out of sight, out of mind” is the rule of thumb and I keep forgetting about these delightful jewels of novels and miss out on those wonderful moments of true happiness and deep mirth that these books bring me. Nothing like a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel to sooth the savage beast (more accurately “breast” apparently on a bit of research either way, not something that Steve wants to come up against…) and they work without the side effects of any other form of therapy.


As you can (hopefully) see, the colour matches the enormous wooden representation in the house and now the lounge room seems to flow on from the kitchen/living room area.


Here is a better view of the colour and the ceiling. We have a very nice cafe latte coloured leather sofa underneath all of that brown, purple and leopard printed blanket selection. We are totally unable to appreciate the effect of our sofa in our newly painted lounge room because should we be vain and foolish enough to reveal the sofa and stand back to look at it both dogs would immediately jump onto the sofa and would rip it apart with their nails so we are left unable to have a simple and clean looking lounge room. We might find some cafe latte coloured blankets but lets be honest here…with 1 big black dog and 1 red and white dog who sheds heavily what is the point? This is a case of learning to adapt to your situation…consider me adaptive (albeit begrudgingly…mutter…mutter…)


We didn’t manage to paint the walls in our room but just by painting the ceiling that had been somewhat stained by tar from dad’s heavy smoking we have brightened up our room. We had made a vague attempt at protecting our bed and the wooden floor but Earl decided that this looked like fun and so we ended up with a sort of orange tent filled with a madly bolting dog which was quite hilarious at the time but a little bit annoying when it carried on into my painting time.


I think I have just chewed into another post that I have up my sleeve there. If I talk about these things in another post please forgive me…I am just happy today. The cooling weather, the fact that it is a leap year, the fact that we did what we set out to do yesterday, all giving me a sense of elation about today and the future. This year started off a bit rough to say the least. It has been a challenge to get motivated again after a period of upheaval that has dogged us for a year and a half and more stress than we could have even imagined. Nothing lasts forever and this saying is just as pertinent for stress and bad times and good times are just around the corner. Today is Launceston Cup day in town. Tasmanians are really big gamblers and hopefully bad times are not just around the corner for people going to the cup and betting big today. I hope you all have a great day today. Not great in getting your hearts desires because once you attain your hearts desires…what more is there? I hope you all reach a state of simple happiness today. I hope that whatever you are doing rewards you with a feeling of contentment. I hope that your morning beverage gives you just enough oomph to carry you through to morning tea without making your mind do summersaults. I hope that you get to work and arrive home safely and that you are able to make everything work how it is meant to work today and that everyone that you deal with today is pleasant. In return, I would like you to send Steve your good vibes. I would imagine that poor long suffering man is going to spend most of his day with a cardboard box beside him and a wailing wife clinging tenaciously to every single volume that he holds aloft ready to be placed into the waiting (no doubt empty) cardboard box…see you all tomorrow (with my arms full of books…Steve might wait till I am sleeping!)


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 10:43:10

    Hi Fronkii,
    Methinks i’m going to be going through mums books soon as I want a spare room of some sort and a bit of space back too. Still haven’t retrieved the bookshelves, desk and Stews old office chair from his old haunt. Must do it this weekend. I love books. We have them lined two deep on our old bookshelves so it will be nice to have them put on display in their own right. Painting looks good. Love the stories about Effel. Seriously though, we always new chooks are just tiny velociraptors with minds of feral steel and open to cannabalism at any given moment! Hahahaha!


    • narf77
      Feb 29, 2012 @ 13:05:36

      Stewart loved that office chair and paid a shiteload for it. Hopefully Jason will do it justice :o) if you are thinking of throwing out any of the old books I wouldn’t mind the culpepper herb one and please don’t throw out the really old ones Pinky. We were thinking about getting a couple of pigs to clear out the top paddock till everyone told us that they are the biggest murderers this side of the Pecos and would eat you if you were laying down…scary stuff! Apparently they love to eat chooks…not a good combination for here.


  2. Gaynor
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 12:58:31

    omg penny u should write a book lol how do ya do it and good on ya, a green legged chook must be rotten lol how are u sounds like u are busy busy 🙂


    • narf77
      Feb 29, 2012 @ 13:03:16

      Hi Gaynor, the green legged chook is most probably a throwback from somewhere and we are great, a bit hot lately but I recon that the weather followed me back from when I was over there! Hope you are all doing well and you are not still a slave to those facebook games…(stupid comment…of COURSE you are still a slave to the facebook games lol :o)


  3. Pinky
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:33:31

    Dont worry Fronkii, i’m not going to give away any books excepting most of the readers digest books. i ain’t no fool! :p No comments from you missy! Pigs will only go meat crazy if you let them. They will encourage flies to lay lots of eggs though. Your better off getting a couple of goats and then you can milk them and make yummy goats cheese as well as them totally eradicating every weed and edible plant up the back that isn’t fenced off! Why not ask about and see if someone wants to agist some beasties. You could rent out the top paddock for moolah!


    • narf77
      Feb 29, 2012 @ 16:40:14

      Good thinking Pinky but we have already thought about the goat idea and are still mulling it over. We love goats but so would Earl…pigs are great at attracting flies? Excellent! We were planning on putting them up in the top paddock right next to the neighbour that chopped down all of our trees before we moved in and sold dad that dud mercedes…lol. Seriously though, we really REALLY don’t need any extra livestock around here!


    • narf77
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 09:23:00

      (Pity the fool…. :o)


  4. Kym
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 18:47:58

    Hey Fran the painting looks great and I’m positively drooling over the woodiness of your house. I know what the pain of letting go of books is like. It just breaks my heart if I have to do a clean out. My bookcase was chockers, but that wasn’t going to make me get rid of any. Solution = Ikea 🙂 I love that place! Bought a really roomy square bookcase, which has given me plenty of room to fill up now lol. I quite like the brick wall against the paint, but it is a hard one. Only problem is you might plaster and paint it and then not like it eh. Oh well.. Who knew chooks were so crafty. Bit scared to get some now lol. Goats are good guard “dogs” to I have heard. Glad it’s cooler for you x


    • narf77
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 07:12:26

      I would LOVE to go to Ikea…if we had one…Tasmania is decidedly backwater when it comes to getting shops that any of us would actually use…yesterday Geoff Kennet (not to sure how to spell his name) suggested that Tasmania unite with Victoria…my reasoning being that they could get the power that they ship over there for nothing and all the free water that they could tow…but what would we get in return? We are already seen as part of Victoria so sweet bugger all would be my guess…maybe we might get an IKEA? How about the ability to choose between Foxtel and Austar (GOODBYE Austar!)? What about a bit of say as to where our state government, who has just run us billions of dollars into debt and is now trying to take it out of OUR hides rather than stop suppporting the forestry and hiring middle men? No idea…Maybe we might be given the right to leave here like rats leaving a sinking ship? Nah…I think I will stay here on Serendipity Farm surrounded by my books (on the floor in Steves music room :o) and be happy!


  5. Florida
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 22:08:11

    Hi to all at Serendipity
    I have posted 2 comments today, only to loose them to the bloody ether somewhere! Have had the worst week of my life just now. Moving house to an unfinished renovated house on the hottest weekend of the year, and then to go clean, what I thought was a reasonably clean house was seriously he’ll on earth. Like you Fran I totally forget about my age and think I am still in my thirthies and wonder why my poor tired body just cant see the wood for the trees.
    However we are in the the house in Westbury, somewhat a little rural, and tired as Iam, I am blissfully happy.
    The chooky girls are in their new safe yard, the one where they need to go if I am away from home. The yard ias big enough for about 20 chookens, so no worries about any of your girls coming to reside with us.
    Would this coming Satuarday suit you if I come and pick up my additions? Would a couple of large carton boxes do?
    Please let me know what time I’d suitable for you , to come over.
    Lots of love from Westbrury to you all,


    • narf77
      Mar 01, 2012 @ 09:33:19

      To all of you Mainlanders who are interstate, Tasmania had a positive heat wave last weekend where we all had to lay on the tiles with wet towels on our heads and not move. Poor Florida decided to move on that weekend and it would have been horrible! Glad your girls are happy and soon to be joined by their new coop mates. We have been isolating the best hens for you and as mentioned on the phone… if you end up (for some crazy reason) with a rooster, we will take it back and we will swap it for a hen for you. Can’t do much better than that? Unlike the people that sold us our ‘hens’ and secondly some really ancient old girls when we were new to the game, we are NOT unscrupulous and we actually have morals…pretty soon we are going to be knee deep in hens/roosters and Pingu (poor pingu is the equivalent of a premmie baby and appears to be a bit backward and unlikely to do much more than hang about the back gate waiting for bread). We are tempted to toss some roosters over the fence of our initial “guaranteed hens” seller but as mentioned… we have scruples

      My poor tired body goes to bed while my mind is still whirring about in my head and I think that I spend most of the night in a sort of weird suspended situation above my sleeping body while I think… This cooler weather at night has been amazing for allowing me to actually sleep and dream again! I was beginning to think that I would be reduced to having nana naps every time that I sat down to read (thus rendering my reading time sleeping time) and that was that. Roll on winter! :o)


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