The power of music

Hi All,

In honour of World Permaculture Day on May 5th 2013…(YES I am early but I am giving you plenty of time 😉 )

All of us would acknowledge our own work as modest; it is the totality of such modest work that is impressive. Great changes are taking place. Why not join us in the making of a better future.

Ingenio Patet Campus. The field lies open to the intellect.”

Bill Mollison
2 May 2012

I would just like to add…don’t forget the heart Mr Mollison, for that is where you find the courage to go on in spite of overwhelming odds. Your head might get you to the starting gate but it aint gonna’ win you that race!


This is what represents Serendipity Farm at the moment. I went for a walk to take some photos of pretty things to cheer myself up because it has been so hot and dry, but outside its actually hotter and drier than inside and all that happened was I started measuring up against places like Texas and The Gobi Desert and found us wanting so here it is…my artistic rendition of what Indian Summer represents to Serendipity Farm!

Today we found my earphones. I used to listen to music for hours on end and own a huge collection of CD’s, some of them helped me through my marriage breakup. Certain songs matched milestones, Pearl Jam “Alive”… Chumbawamba’s “Tub Thumping” EVERYTHING by The Counting Crows and Hootie and the Blowfish and a longstanding musical affair with Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 after I won their very first CD on an early morning radio station because no-one gets up at 5am and is awake enough to phone up D.J.’s at that time of day…all except me that is…me and my early morning habits…music was always there. I chose it. After I left my ex-husband and we vindictively divided up the C.D.’s I wore my music as a badge of courage and I hid behind it and wore my heart on my sleeve as I tried to work my way through the processes of unpicking a long standing relationship. Music is a bit like that nose/sniffing thing that I mentioned in the post before last. Music can hoist me high or lay me low and it takes me places that I have stumbled through before. Steve was hunting for something in the middle room built-in’s the other day and came out with a large stack of CD cases and reignited my love affair with music and infusing my brain with it as I type and think and hunt online. The next step was to give me anonymity. Steve likes to watch television unhindered by loud music so we needed to supply me with earphones. Steve retrieved his headphones from his music cupboard but they are those old fashioned Cyberman headphones and hurt my ears after I wear them for a while (which I inevitably do) and I remembered my funky set of Mochi earphones that I bought for my MP3 player when I used to go everywhere with music. I lost the time to listen to music and found myself “doing” more and ended up giving my MP3 player to my daughter and I promptly “Forgodaboudit”. We still had Youtube marathons into the night but no solo forays until Steve found my mochi’s and now I am hooked. It’s like I never left! My early mornings are going to be peppered with music. My very first CD that I listened to was Ben Folds 5. Next was Jeff Buckley and “Hallelujah” still makes me cry. Next The Whitlam’s opening number “There’s No Aphrodisiac” and who knows who after that…The Clash? Maybe Mark Knopfler “Sailing to Philadelphia?” How about Ben Harper “Diamonds on the Inside”? or ANYTHING from John Butler before he split with his trio…so many old friends that have been waiting patiently for me to get my mojo back…”I’m back!” :o)


My favourite of the 50 Pumpkins…this one I could eat! 😉


The first carrot cake that I can remember that I made that actually turned out! Usually they are tasteless or too wet or just plain ornery but this wonderful sourdough version turned out perfectly! Audrey, you are a star 🙂


A close-up of the gorgeous crumb. Half is in the freezer and the other half is rapidly receding into Steve


Isn’t this pretty? It’s Steves creation. I made pastry with grated butter straight from the fridge that made gorgeous flaky pastry. I also cooked a lot of potatos (steamed) and Steve cooked a heap of caramelised onions with chilli and made a delicious rich cheesy sauce and combined it all in layers with cooked capsicum (peppers) and made a fantastic (and most enormous) vegetarian pie.

Its Monday 11th of march and Douglas Adams would have been 61. His candle burned very brightly for a short time. I met Steve because of my early adoration of Douglas Adams. I read every single one of his books and was introduced to philosophy through their pages. Prior to reading the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy, I had never thought much about life, the universe and everything. The sky was up there and I sometimes lay on my back in the evening looking up at the stars and thinking about how small I was but not much more. Adams introduced me to thought processes outside my comfort zone and to the number 42. When my son was small he was given a small wooden mouse with a leather tail. We called him “Slartibardfast” and despite losing his tail in an early accident (children are curious…) he managed to stay with us through moves all over Western Australia. I have no idea where he is now or if Stewart still has him but I would imagine he would be in an ancient sandpit in a house in the Western Australian fringe outback as I type this. I actually owe my love of Douglas Adams books for meeting Steve. My son, Stewart, then 14, got tired of me complaining about having nothing to do and showed me how to use the internet. I could only type with 1 finger and back then (last century circa 1997) the net was populated by chat rooms, places where you picked yourself a little avatar that you associated with and you waited to jump into someone’s conversation. There were so many different chat rooms and I remember scrolling down the exponentially increasing list in awe and thinking “Where do I start?” As a Luddite technophobe the temptation was to just give up before I started but I chose a room called “Comic Chat” and entered. When I got inside there were reams and reams of text scrolling down the page and despite my best efforts to tap away with 1 finger, by the time I had anything typed the conversations had moved on…I was somewhat bemused at the speed of my brain being entirely unrepresentative of what was coming out of my fingers! I ended up just sitting there watching words scroll maniacally across the page till one sentence hit me…”What is the meaning of life?”…I had a SHORT ANSWER to that one! I quickly (well…quickly for someone who didn’t even know where the number keys were 😉 ) typed back “42!”…little was I to know that this was Steve’s final hurrah online. He had been tapping away for months trying to connect with likeminded people. His friend (also Steve) had gotten him into computers via gaming and he had been making brief but frustrated forays into the chatting world and had decided that he would ask this one question and if he didn’t get a satisfactory answer he was out of there for good! My very first sentence online would seal my fate for the rest of my life. How fitting and how poignant that Mr Douglas Adams would be my teacher and would deliver my ultimate happiness to me via being brave enough to step out into a brave new world. Cheers Douglas and Stewart for my new life, I couldn’t have done it without either of you :o). I saw the Google homepage tribute to Douglas Adams this morning and raced to Facebook to laud him but my sister Pinky had gotten there first. Oh well… I can get there first here! ;). I headed off into the ether for a few moments to find out about how 42 equates with life, the universe and everything and there are some very interesting connotations to the number 42. You can read about them here on my old paraphrasing friend Wikipedia if you are so interested. Aside from being interesting, this page was written by someone with more than a brain cell or two (which lends this Wiki page a bit more weight) because it is littered with some mighty fine scientific backup and there are some very amazing things that start with or end with 42…

I found another page where Mr Adams had decided to give his view about Australia. A most humorous and fitting small article about us antipodeans that is well worth a few moments of your time to read…

Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchet are my favourite fiction authors. It is curious to see that Douglas Adams died so young and that Terry Pratchet is facing his own slow demise at such an early age. Perhaps their brilliance in literature could only burn so bright for a short time? Was it worth it? As someone who has gained more than she could have possibly imagined from both of them and learned so much in the process I salute both of these amazing men and am reminded how “The Old Country” has spawned such a magnificent array of talented artists in all realms. I am bordering on sounding like an Anglophile there! Best stop that quick smart or I will have to hand back my Bolshie workers party pin (along with my Vegan confraternity pin after eating that Beurre bosc pear along with its previous occupier…)


This is our half of the wonderful stash of natural soil ammendments that Steve Solomon recomended for our soil. Just to ensure there are no readers sending animal protection around…that lime isn’t actually to deal with “moles”. We don’t get moles here in Australia…it’s from a place called “Mole Creek” in Tasmania 🙂


If nothing else grows on Serendipity Farm in the middle of the hot dry weather these most certainly do! Dandelions are loving the weather and are enjoying the extended Indian Summer


Kid Creole on the left and his “Coconuts” on the right

We humans have art to express ourselves. Some of us are artistically challenged when it comes to attempting to reproduce what we see around us pictorially but then visual representation is only one of the ways that we are able to reach out and communicate with other people. Neither Steve nor I are dab hands with a paint brush, let alone a pencil. The fact that having to draw 50 pumpkins each for our Media design course (in an attempt to make us think about how to represent a pumpkin in 50 different ways) has us twitching and procrastinating when we have finished the rest of this unit should go a long way to showing you how desperately untalented we both are at drawing anything other than crazed stick men (Steve) and lopsided spheres (me). It’s curious that we should both adhere to other artistic pursuits though. Steve is very musical. He spent his misspent youth dabbling in the art of suspicious substances, enormous quantities of alcohol and generally “muckin’ abart” as a lad with his gang of mates. He had the dubious honour of being alive and of an influential age when Old Blighty was going through a rolling succession of workers strikes and Maggie Thatcher ruled supreme with an iron fist. Whenever inequality and hard times strike it brings out the quintessential artist in the working class and suddenly punk was born, closely followed by the rise of the first set of Goths…Steve straddled both classes and walked the fine line between the two. As a child he was exposed to music as a way of life. His father was a musician in a band and knew Ringo Starr of The Beatles fame. Steve picked up a guitar as a small child and by the time his teenaged angst hit it was second nature to use a guitar to fend off the blues. Steve used to be very shy and his guitar was the weapon that he used to fend off the world and give himself a medium to communicate. When I met him he had been teaching guitar for a few years and had a steady clientele of students and a quiet but comfortable life. Steve has 13 guitars (if you count a lap steel as a “real” guitar that is 😉 ) and has learned to bypass music as a means to communicate. He is now comfortable in his skin and is nowhere near as shy as he was when we first met but his music is a quintessential part of him and his first guitar, a white strat that he bought back in the 80’s, will be buried with him when he leaves the earth.


I don’t even know what this mad weed is. I know it is a garden plant but it has gone mental all over the place and is another lover of this extended hot weather


I am not sure what this tree is (there goes my horticultural street cred 😉 ) BUT I know it was on it’s last legs in it’s pot and we planted it out to give it a chance to die in the soil and we haven’t watered it once all summer and it is thriving! Apparently it must taste foul to wallabies and possums because it is putting on foliage and seems to love where we planted it go figure!


This variagated sedum was almost completely consumed by duckies sister. She had a craze for eating our succulents and cacti and when she disappeared the xeriscape plant massacre stopped.

I was born to communicate…not always effectively but sometimes sheer volume can make up for a lack of direction and like Billy Connelly before me, I have learned the value of persistence…eventually you will get to the point! ;). I too was an incredibly shy child. I had a complete lack of drive and direction and life had been buffeting me around for 34 years before I decided to make my life count. As a result I left one marriage and embarked on a new life. All I knew at the time was that I wanted to really “live”. I didn’t want to arrive at the Pearly Gates and have my cap in my hand and nothing to show for the time that I was given. I couldn’t justify my existence and that was a terrifying thing. Why was I here? Why did “I” get this chance when millions of babies die each year or are not given the chance to even be born? I had to know or at least live a more worthwhile life and after leaving my husband of 15 years I headed off into the wilderness to think. I had never had time to think, or be myself before. I jumped straight from the terror of school into early motherhood and lost myself in the process…I was a pure example of how to function without thought. I can see how easy it is for people to just give themselves up to the processes like robots and how it would be such a tragedy to wake up at 65 and find yourself retired, married to someone you hardly know and suddenly having to face up to the fact that you haven’t done much with your life. I had my mid-life crisis at 34. After my marriage dissolved along with my family (my son chose to stay with my ex and I had to let him make his choice) I took my daughters and started a new life. I had 12 years of education, half a year spent having the BEST time at teachers college (before I got thrown out 😉 ) and a complete lack of a working history if you disregard 6 months spent working for a fish and chip shop and 2 months spent working in a café when I was 15. I was bewildered, terrified, completely unprepared for my new life and as a mother and a prize rabbit (August 1963 put me square in Chinese bunny territory) I was a perfect example of a rabbit bedazzled by life’s headlights. I spent a lot of time finding myself and my daughters will tell you that they were severely neglected. The poor little darlings were obviously left to fend for themselves…eating hotdogs out of an electric kettle and living under a rug…that’s how they tell the story…I remember it a bit differently girls! ;). I remember pulling the girls out of school when the sun was shining and it was too nice a day to be cooped up and driving them out to the tall Jarrah trees and we had a picnic with honey icecream cones purchased from Bartholomew’s Meadery on the way to the trees. We took Barbie and Woody along for the ride and they actually got married on a mossy log under the trees…I remember doing the same (some might say irresponsible, I say “enlightened”) thing on another lovely day when we drove out to a far off beach in Albany and just wandered around feeling our space in the world. If I was living under societal conventions I might feel a bit guilty about my daughters early childhood. More so because of allowing my ex to constantly move around to satisfy his need to climb the hierarchal ladder in his chosen profession but I have since learned that children who are cossetted and not given a modicum of freedom to explore the parameters of their world on their own and who are not taught the value of life lessons and the responsibilities of the natural world never grow up to be independent thinkers. We might have eaten hotdogs from a kettle girls BUT that was because the gas bottle ran out and I didn’t have enough money to buy another one. I remember it as fun…you might have been under a rug while I tapped away to a man thousands of miles away in a completely different timeframe but at least when he eventuated on the scene he didn’t take over your lives or try to change you in any way. The world has a way of communicating what we REALLY need to us, often against what our own perceived views of the world might be. It’s a true to life case of “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes…you get what you need”.


A line of drought hardy nerines all heralding the autumn that just won’t come


No sign of that lovely red lily from Saturday but look what I found growing right next to the spent stem! This little crocus has managed to grow and flower in the middle of the worst drought we have had in years! Again, you just can’t pick what will and won’t grow here 🙂


There are at least 2 mango seedlings that grew from the mango seeds that I tossed into the compost and we will make sure that they are protected for their first winter on Serendipity Farm and after that they will be planted out in the food forest. I LOVE free plants 🙂

I would like to appologise to my children for being a somewhat absent mother for a few years there. I DO feel a level of guilt for having to tear you away from your lives but I know that what I did gave us all back our lives including my ex who is now happily married with another child. What might seem chaotic and devastating can be seen from the distance of memory to be very different clothing. My communication…my “art” if you will is my desire to represent my world and my view of the world in words. I might stumble over myself and I might have to endlessly check my spelling because my fingers can’t match the speed at which my myriad muses want me to type but there is a fire inside me and like all good bushfires, it won’t quit till one of its ignition sources is quenched and that doesn’t look like happening any day soon. Maybe one of my parents should have realised that I had a penchant for words and steered me into journalism…My parents had their own battles and I didn’t factor into their peripherals much so I was pretty much on my own when it came to trying to work out what life, the universe and everything meant to me as a child and a young adult. I owe my ex-husband a lot. Aside from my children, he spent the 15 years that we were together plodding along following his own set of processes to give us all what we physically needed to survive. He kept it all together when we were really falling apart and for that, I owe you Robert. I am not sorry that I left you and now that you are happy on the other side of Australia I feel somewhat vindicated in my choices. This post has been somewhat cathartic! I didn’t intend it to be a treatise about my life but in a round-about way it is. Mr Adams gave me a focal point and the key to the door that opened up my new life. 42 was indeed, my meaning of life moment. If you step outside your comfort zone and you dare to take a walk on the wild side, even if it is for only just a short time, you might just find your reason. I know…I did :o).

48 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kym
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 19:18:30

    A lovely piece on your awakening to life Fran x. I sure hope you have some cooler weather soon. We have and it is bliss. I even had to put the warmer dooner on last night, and my winter jarmies on this morning. I will probably be complaining about the cold in a months time, but for now it is heaven….


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 03:54:57

      Its definately cooler this morning and we have a couple of cooler days before we head back up into the high 20’s again so I am going to enjoy them while I can :). You and me both Kymmy! We will be complaining together but you are so right…at the moment I will be absorbing the cooler weather with absolute bliss 🙂


  2. deb
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 23:31:10

    i thought for sure that your sign off for today would be “so long and thanks for the fish”


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 03:55:53

      Lol my sister already did that on FB (beat me to it) and I know she reads the blog 😉 I have used it to sign off on the blog before so I thought I might leave it for posterity 😉


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 00:56:07

    We have a lot in common.


  4. christiok
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 03:48:54

    Don’t forget the heart, indeed! I love this post and all that it evokes. I love learning about you and Steve and your lives. Counting Crows is a BIG love of the Bearded One from back when we were getting back together in 1995-6. Music does take us places that we have stumbled through before, as you so beautifully say. I’m not a big listener of music and really never have been. An oddity, I know. But I do love James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, and turn them on when the mood strikes. The B.O. on the other hand is like you two with regard to music love. Our marriage and re-marriage stories rhyme, Fran, as you know, and I relate deeply to the part-time mom guilt but also to the clarity that the kids and our ex-husbands are actually making out fine and better than fine, and our choices and efforts weren’t so bad or wrong, even though they rocked boats. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!!!
    p.s. That mad red “weed” is pretty gorgeous if you ask me! And we couldn’t grow a succulent outdoors if our lives depended upon it.


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 04:21:56

      That mad red weed has a mad white brother that has infested the front of the property ;). I can’t really grow many succulents either Christi, not because of the cold but because of the native critters that love to sample a bit of everything on their nocturnal rounds on Serendipity Farm :(. I have a few that they don’t bother with (no idea why) and have learned to be happy with that. I used to have a huge collection of them and adore them but one by one they got eaten but ducks and wallabies and I haven’t the heart to replace them. I think that anyone who has been through a marriage breakup and who has kids knows how it goes. The guilt is always there BUT I know for sure that leaving my ex husband was the right thing to do. I wish he didn’t end up with my beatles records, my no doubt CD and some of my other CD’s though ;). Music runs deep in my soul and the only things that I can remember about my parents when they were together (before I was 10 and aside from the fighting) was music…LOTS of music. It runs through my veins and I couldn’t imagine life without it (well, a rich life anyway 🙂 ). I put it aside for a few years while I have been concentrating on doing things. Music has a way of distracting me from processes and I get carried away by it. Bonnie Raitt has a habit of making me cry. She was Steve’s dads favourite female singer/guitarist (Steve’s dad was a guitarist in a band as well) and Steve played me one of her songs not so long back that left me feeling broken for an entire day! I really do absorb what I hear/see with gusto ;). I didn’t even know this post was going to run like this to be honest. It just came out of me while I was listening to my CD’s at the same time as posting (see what I mean about music running away with me? 😉 ). Steve found not 1 but 2 copies of Rear View Mirror (My FAVOURITE Hootie and the Blowfish CD that got me through the tough days after my divorce) tucked away. I thought I had lost it but he gave me his copy as well so I won’t ever lose it again :). I guess some things are best shared and music is definately 1 of them. Steve’s best mate from the U.K. shared Jimi Hendrix with Steve (and Steve ended up being a major fan) and Steve, in turn, shared David Bowie (our shared love) with his mate who went on to love Bowie with a passion… funny how life goes but music can tie you together most powerfully. Have you ever been to a rock concert where thousands of fans are all singing the lyrics and the power that goes through the air is electrifying… makes lightning seem tame. No wonder rockers keep on going even when they should really stop (can anyone say zimmer frames?! 😉 ) that power up on stage, directed right at you would give you an amazing buzz and would be totally addictive. Your son is going to feel that buzz because their band is really good Christi, and if they can come up with the original goods to match their covers, they are going to go places. I loved their rendition of Dani California by the way and the guitarist completely nailed the solo (I know…Steve and I were listening intently to him 😉 )


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:21:50

        Martin also introduced me to Bowie. He’s a favourite of us both but neither of us think much of his new music. He’s an amazing artist who has continued to grow and expand as he has aged (apart from this little blip this year).

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:52:38

        I actually don’t mind his new stuff…ever the avant garde my dear ;). I was a bit disturbed by the latest release to be honest, it was very Guillermo del Toro but even at his age, he is determined to be an individual…you have to love him for not selling out :). At least he still looks good in his own hair unlike Gene Simmons who makes me fall about laughing with his need to cling to the last vestiges of whatever that is on his head! ;). Ah the vanity of the aging rock star! I moved from The Bay City Rollers…to E.L.O. to Bowie in the space of a year…talk about a crash course in Music! 14 was my year of enlightenment 😉

  5. ChgoJohn
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 08:32:10

    50 pumpkins? Seriously? That is soo not a class for me. Much like you, music is a constant thread that runs through my life. It has gotten me through some rough times and helped me celebrate the good. I hear an old song and I’m transported to a time and place when that song figures prominently in a memory. What a drab world it would be without music to accompany each of us.


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:43:53

      Music and smell…is it any wonder I am instantly predisposed to running to seed? ;). Luckily I have it under control but my natural instincts are to spend my life in Tuscany somewhere with a never ending bottle of red, a wood fired pizza oven producing exponential loaves of bread and pizza, cheese and veggies from the land and living for all of about 2 years till I expire in a mass explosion of degustatory passion…but what a way to go! 😉


      • Linne
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 14:44:51

        If you haven’t seen/read “Eat, Pray, Love”, I think you might enjoy it. I just saw the DVD, thanks to my library, but haven’t read the book yet. ~ Linne

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 14:56:07

        Don’t bother with the book Linne, unless you really want to because I picked it up from my local op shop and found it to be a very pretentious read. I didn’t like the character at all! I saw her as incredibly selfish and couldn’t wrap my head around her choices but it takes all kinds to make a world :). I had such high hopes for it too 🙂

      • Linne
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 16:05:48

        Thanks for the heads-up! Usually I prefer a book to its movie, but not always. I was put off the book at first when I read an article on the author; I borrowed the DVD from the library, figuring if i didn’t like it, no worries. But I usually like Julia Roberts’ work. I didn’t relate to all the choices either, but I did to the opening up of oneself to paths formerly unexplored.

      • narf77
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 17:57:26

        Opening up = good, shameless self indulgence to sell a book not so good 😦

  6. Johanna GGG
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 10:11:24

    Wow that is quite an intense post but interesting – sounds like your kids had an interesting childhood – I am sure they are full of great stories about it. And it sounds like you were brave in some of your decisions and ended up in a better place for all that. Love your thoughts on music because we love listening to music – we have just turned around a cd rack that was against the wall to stop sylvia pulling the cds out when she was young – is exciting to find “new” ones.


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:48:08

      Hi Johanna, I love your shared CD’s on your posts, I look for every one and your taste is impecable (much more grown up and edgy than mine 😉 ). I love finding CD’s that I carelessly put somewhere and rediscovering them over again. I have been spending my early hours listening to old favourites and my days are tinged with different hues thanks to my ingestation of this wonderful stuff…sort of like clayton’s alcohol for the soul :). I am a firm believer that whatever you put into yourself is reflected in your outlook and your life and my revisitation of my previous musical forays is giving me an added tint to my days…lovely stuff :). I have yet to revisit the sad stuff but for now, I might just stay revelling in the good stuff :).


  7. rabidlittlehippy
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:26:41

    Music is the best therapy I know! Like scent, music triggers so many memories. Certain songs have me in tears in seconds (Honey – Bobby Goldsboro will have me sobbing without fail) whereas others can drag me out of a crappy mood or cleanse me of anger (Van Halen – Jump played very loudly and sung along to at the top of my lungs usually deals with inarticulate rage) or change pretty much every mood I can think of. Music is powerful therapy. And when it’s personal therapy, inside headphones and kept to yourself there is something even more powerful about it. The old “smile and make everyone wonder what you’re thinking” concept. Wear headphones and smile and everyone wants to know to what you’re listening. I love the personal space created by music with headphones. 🙂 Throw your arms around me – Hunters & Collectors was the first song to which Martin and I danced. It never fails to take me back to that smoky pub as we swayed together, ciggy’s in hand and beers on the bar nearby.

    Your carrot cake looks amazing! I’m thinking of attempting a sourdough chocolate zucchini cake made with cacao. The health benefits are almost too much. I will need to add something naughty to it just to make it a little bit less than as perfect like its name implies.

    I am going to shame myself entirely here. I have never read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Ever. I’m thinking I’d better add it to my “to read” list. Can we still be friends after this admission?

    Your dandelions are edible too by the way. The young leaves in salad, the roots can be dried and used as a coffee substitute and the flowers make pretty salad additions or can be made into tea too I think. Then of course the “clocks” make great entertainment value for kids. 😉

    Kudos to you for having the courage to become that rabbit in the headlights. You could quite as easily have stayed in your burrow, never venturing far enough out to see those headlights. And once you DID see them you chose to move out from under the tyres, as attested by your presence and blog here today. I’d say you’ve got purpose and a reason for existence, even if only to share the wonderful thoughts from inside your head through your generous verbosity. 😛 It sounds very much like you all have risen like the phoenix from the fires of a family breakdown. I know that sounds clichéd but you sound like you’ve moved on to much greater strengths and things, all of you. I’ve not been through a marriage breakdown. My parents chose to remain together and have just had their 38th anniversary. Martin and I will have been married 6 years at the end of this month. We’ve been together for over 12 now though. The crap he has had to put up with from me! 😉

    Huge hugs to you and may the music continue to lift you, change you, mould you and shape you and never cease to remind you.


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 12:00:41

      My go to happy song is Tub thumping, my sister and I were both going through divorces at the same time when this was big and we would head out together and paint the town red…can’t remember what we did much because it seems to have been lost in an alcoholic tinge somewhere but we grew and we survived and we cried and we did it and today we are all the better for singing it at the top of our lungs 🙂
      You have to read Douglas Adams…have you read Terry Pratchett? (Please say yes! 😉 ) he really is a rite of passage for the reader :). The reason why those dandelions are so lush and green is that Earl and Bezial pee in their corner and do other less than sterling things right on top of them…you could say that they were fertilised on a regular basis…needless to say, I am NOT eating “those” dandelions any day soon :). Glad I could bring back some good memories. I love hunters and collectors and we Aussies just “get it”…the rest of the world is very polite about it but can’t understand how a song like that can unite us all…they don’t understand like we do :).
      The music is actually part of me like my scars or my teeth…its always there to remind me just like the smells I mentioned. I can plug it in and start up right where I left off. My children are all functioning adults, not entirely normal but then I would be disappointed if they were! 😉 and I not only survived, I bounced back and became “me”. I was just tagging along before on someone elses dreams…I am just glad I woke up when I turned 34 and decided that life was meant to be lived. I am living it now :).


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 12:22:00

        Terry Pratchett and David Eddings were my introduction to fantasy, an ongoing love affair nearly 20 years on. I started with Johnny and the Dead, then Only you can save mankind before Equal Rites and it was this 3rd book that sold me completely. Then it was on to The Belgariad series and I have never looked back. In fact I go back to the Belgariad with regularity. 🙂 My other form of escapism. 🙂

        Your dandelions had me roaring with laughter. Too funny. I am planning to grow some in my currently empty gutter gardens to harvest for salad purposes.

        I wonder whether 34 may also contain some of that meaning of life. I turned 34 last year and this move and the lifestyle changes we’ve made have really brought me into myself. I too have been floating along, in and out of depression, following ideas then discarding them when boredom set in. This time I have found me, not a filler. I’ve not come through a divorce or major upheaval to get here but get here I have. 34 is an age of change, for the two of us at least. 🙂

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 12:39:03

        I have other dandelions on the property to pick and I might even make some wine with the heads they are so prolific. I loved the discworld series and my kids bought me every single edition for a perfect Christmas prezzie one year. I am yet to add a couple of them added since but love to revisit them on a regular basis. 34 is a bit early for us to be having a mid life crisis but at least we are ahead of the rest and can be happily ensconsed in our satiation of life when our peers are running around like headless chooks ;). Maybe midlife crisis is the wrong word, maybe it’s a life crisis and a subsequent move to really taking hold of what is real and throwing what is crap over the side…kudos to both of us for recognising the symptoms of a diseased life and doing something proactive about it though 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 13:02:43

        Dandelion wine sounds fine. And healthy! 😀
        The Discworld is a magical place. I haven’t visited in a while (maybe I’m due to go back again I think) and the descriptions that Pratchett comes up with. Light that oozes? The Ankh (did I remember it correctly) river, mud thick enough to nearly walk on it. And I love Good Omens, a collaboration with Neil Gaiman. Brilliant!
        I like life crisis. I’m not ready to see myself as middle aged at 34. It’s only the new 24 after all. 😉 I do feel like I’m still in the surgery phase though, cutting out and excising the diseased bits, surgery by surgery, cut by cut.
        As for Tubthumping, we were both in the same place at the same time… The PUB! However, my get knocked down was probably more related to just being too plastered to stand upright. Literally.

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 13:08:18

        Ditto…my dear sister and I were there when they invented stollies and after 10 each while sitting at the bar we pronounced them to be weak as piss (Aussie colloquialism folks!) and went to stand up and suddenly discovered that our legs no longer worked. We propped each other up until we got out into the cold night air where the temperature combined with the booze to render us legless and we only just managed to get home to our respective houses before ill effects set in…I don’t drink now. I don’t want to turn into the alcoholic that most of my family seems predisposed to being so I figure abstinence is the best form of protection 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 14:40:28

        I too no longer drink. I’m a chatting idiot when sober so you can imagine the verbal diarrhea I get when pissed. And coupled with the fact I would wake up and remember every moment of the previous nights idiocy along with a hangover (I get a hangover if Martin drinks) it was just getting more and more embarrassing so, along with being pregnant or breastfeeding for 57 out of the last 65 months meant it just wasn’t worth it. I did drink minimally through Jasper and Allegra’s pregnancies and after (a few swigs being considered a glass full to me) but I’ve had none since before Orik was conceived and rarely miss it. Martin loves knowing he has a designated driver too and is free to enjoy a few beers or wines without issue.

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2013 @ 14:57:32

        Ditto with Steve, but he is on the wagon at the moment too (same problem…solid alcoholic stock and hollow booze legs 😉 ). Imagine if we had a child!!!! Thank goodness the world wasn’t ready for that kid! 😉

      • Linne
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 16:29:21

        When you say ‘hunters and collectors’, you do mean hunting for meat and collecting wild stuff, don’t you? I have done that in the past; I grew up with a Dad who supplemented our food supply by hunting, and I have a long-time interest in aboriginal peoples and their ways. I haven’t had to kill anything myself yet (but I can, if it’s to keep someone from starving, esp. a child // that said, I did feed a mouse to a snake once, but that’s nature; something had to go and I was taking care of the snake for a friend), but I taught myself to skin and butcher (in the old days, these were women’s skills and they were proud to do a good job). I knew the basics of butchering, but learned to create particular cuts by studying the diagrams in my “The Joy of Cooking”. I could skin cleaner than my Dad and his friend, which put him in the peculiar spot of being proud of me for my skill, but also, I think, a bit set-back by having a daughter who had such skills.

        I follow a tribal custom of thanking the animal (wild or domestic) for it’s life; I think gratitude is key in this. We are all part of the Circle of Life (the Lion King had that right!) and acknowledgement is a requirement, so far as I’m concerned, anyway.

        I have read a lot of pioneer/homesteader/survival books, too, and keep copies of the SAS survival manual handy. The Foxfire series of books taught me a lot, too, with their stories of the Appalachian settlers and their varied skills.

        One year a job fell through for my sons’ Dad; we didn’t have the cash to move back to the city, so stayed on. We managed for 8 months on $5.00 cash (yes, I said five dollars!!). When the snow came, we had to give up. We weren’t as healthy as I would have liked, but we ate better than some of our friends. We hunted two deer (goat-sized, as it was on the Wet Coast), harvested Chanterelle mushrooms by the bagfull, dug for clams, prised oysters and mussels off the rocks, traded farm work for second growth corn cobs (dried some and ate some; they are usually not as pretty as first cobs, so the farmer couldn’t have sold them anyway). Once a truck went in the ditch and the driver, seeing the light from our kerosene lantern, came to ask for help. My sons’ Dad and a couple of visiting friends helped get the truck back on the road. In return, the driver gave us all the broken boxes and dented cans of food, even a bag of dog food for the dog. When the job fell through and our friends/employers left, they gave us a large sack each of brown rice and yellow split peas. Those were our staples for a long time. It’s interesting how far a little know-how can take you . . . I’ve never regretted those months; I know I can survive quite well in the right environment. Here on the prairies, I’d have more difficulty. i don’t know what’s good to eat, have no way to catch most of the wildlife (and really, only the jackrabbits come into the city) and for nearly six months of the year, it’s very cold and pretty much everything is covered by snow. I don’t think I’d last long here. If I were put to the test (and I sure hope not!), I’d try to get back to BC.

        Bet you know it’s getting late here . . . nearly 11:30 pm! Oh well . . . have to get ready for bed and post what I did today, too.

        Sending you sweet showers of gentle rains . . .

      • narf77
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 18:01:17

        I love your long comments 🙂 What a life you have lead! Have you thought of writing a book about it all? Its an amazing story and many people would love to read about it :). Hunters and Collectors are an Aussie band here in Australia and not much to do with hunting and collecting but they sing pretty good. We Aussies would be a bit “stuffed” if we had to try to survive here aside from mainstream agriculture because this is a very harsh country and there aren’t many native things to eat aside from the odd wallaby etc. I wouldn’t know how to survive off the land so I am turning our own 4 acres into land that we can survive off 😉 Hope you sleep well 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 21:36:50

        This is the song I mentioned earlier. Still so special to us.
        You have lead an amazing life. I would dearly love to read the book of your life, complete with stories of meals you’ve made, how you sourced ingredients and all. You’ve had some amazing experiences.

      • narf77
        Mar 16, 2013 @ 06:46:30

        That’s 2 of us who would buy your book so far and you didn’t even know you were writing one! 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 16, 2013 @ 06:59:23

        First poor 23 Thorns, now Linne. We are putting on the book pressure! 😉

      • narf77
        Mar 16, 2013 @ 11:37:14

        It’s not our fault that there is a serious dearth of good books and we are just directing the flow a bit 😉

  8. Roz Takes
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 11:52:51

    I do not remember Slartibardfast but I have a very vivid memory of a certain Inspector Gadget newly unboxed that immediately lost a part of himself in my garden. I searched on hands and knees for weeks before giving up.
    I am not sure that the lovely mad weed is a Valerian, the leaf is wrong. We had this plant growing in the side garden in Narrogin and it’s pretty pink flower covered the ground when nothing else would grow.
    As I type this it is raining! Feel I should go out there and dance in it.


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 12:10:43

      Slartibardfast was a wooden mouse that someone gave us for Stewart when he was a baby…it disappeared in one of the moves and I DO remember inspector Gadget and his missing (shooting off) hand…who in their right minds would make a children’s toy that lost bits so easily and then didn’t have the forthought to sell new bits eh? I think Inspector Gadget lived a long and fruitful life (upside down exploring the sandpit with Barbie…) minus his hand. I don’t know what that plant is but it has a white friend that populates the front of the property… its a kind of plant apartheid where never the two shall mix for some reason…weird really. We haven’t got rain but we do have 26C today which is amazing since all last week we had 30C plus temperatures and we probably had the hospitals full of native Tasmanians unused to this heatwave. It’s not so much the heat that I can’t handle, its the dryness and the way it is robbing my horticultural heart of its desire to set foot outside and look at the horror that is our garden :(. No rain in sight for us…I could do with that rain dance any time you feel like doing it 🙂 Do us a favour and get Martin out there shimmying for us to! 🙂


  9. Linne
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 14:56:10

    Wish I had time to respond in detail, but I don’t. I am awed at the many cross-overs between our lives and yet the absolute differences, too. I do have to say a loud “Amen!!” to Buckley’s “Hallelujah”. One of my own favourites. If you ever feel the need to expand your exceptional musical repertoire, you may find something on my Music page. I have included links to some of the songs on YouTube. It’s pretty eclectic, but that’s me . . .

    Love your flower pictures, too. Gorgeous, weeds or not.

    Do you use mulch in your garden? I expect even with it, the heat would have sucked it dry by now. I used to make raised beds in various gardens I had while living on our “Wet Coast”; inland, I had to learn to make lowered beds; planting in troughs that helped to hold the water. But a long drought . . . I will think of you dancing in the rain . . . hope it helps. ~ Linne


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 15:03:47

      I have very ecclectic tastes Linne so we might cross over more than once ;). I am going to dance around on the deck in the hot sun and bollocks to it raining! NO sign of it coming and I figure that Frank might enjoy the spectacle (serves him right for watching me with his binoculars eh? 😉 ). As penniless student hippies we have a dearth of the folding green stuff and we need an enormous amount of mulch. I get the leaves from our elderly neighbours giant oak trees but they rot down to amazing leaf mold but not much more and with 4 acres to cover you can only begin to imagine how expensive that is BUT I don’t let it get me down because I collect up the eucalyptus bark and chop it up and use it around the non native plants on the property and slowly but surely I am going to cover them all…I was hauling some down the driveway as Steve walked ahead of me with both dogs this morning and calling out “Hang on babe I am just mulching this Rhododendron”…Steve just walks ahead, he knows I will end up back with him eventually :). I love this property with a passion that burns and to have a place to put down roots and to give back some of the beautiful life that the elderly lady who owned it before my reprobate non gardening father and his partner bought it 23 years ago had instilled here…lovely things, ferns and she had single handedly put taps everywhere! We have only to walk about 20 foot and theres a tap! We are here for a reason, I know we are and I refuse to give in. Nature, you have a battle on your hands! 😉


      • Linne
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 16:40:12

        You may want to check your leaf mould for acidity. Depends what it’s going on, of course. I remember reading somewhere that mulch can use up a lot of Nitrogen while it is rotting, and there was a recommendation to mix some rotted animal manure in with it to counteract that. Of course, if you were flush with cash, you could buy stuff like bloodmeal, but four acres’ worth?? I think not!

        When we lived in the old log house, neighbours who were there permanently and very ahead of their time did sheet composting where they planned to create fields (the land there was very red with iron, thin and extremely stoney; I couldn’t get a spade in to turn over even the top layer, so resorted to building up, expecting that the roots would eventually loosen up the soil; which they would have done, if we’d been able to stay. Those neighbours also had long covered areas, sort of roofs on tall logs, and they did some bulk composting under those, too, turning the stuff with a tractor and front bucket; when ‘done’, it was spread onto the clearings. Eventually, they had lovely fields and raised Highland cattle (from Scotland, not our Highlandds). Alfalfa is very good for enriching soil, but it takes water, so then you’re back where you began, aren’t you? You might watch for spoilt hay. It can be composted, but again, it often contains weed seeds, so if you can cover it with black plastic to increase the heat, that will help. And water it as much as possible, too.

        In the next few days, I plan to post a few recommended books to read; you may have read some of them already, but you never know.

        Ok, gotta quit here. CUL8R ~ Linne

      • narf77
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 18:12:05

        Excellent info and I will be researching these methods Tomorrow (Saturday here for us 🙂 ). Thank you for sharing Linne, you are a real font of information 🙂

      • Linne
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 16:48:16

        Forgot to say, I think you’re right that we cross over in many places. I’m very eclectic, too! and very dual in a weird way. I like Victorian and Zen sparseness; being a hermit and connecting with people; a sophisticated life (in my imagination only) and (in reality) a very plain, hand-made life. Luddite with a computer, that’s me!

        I do think you are lucky to have that home place (and it is even luckier to have YOU!) You are doing what we wanted to do with the log house and the land, but it just wasn’t in the cards. And I know what you mean about people not appreciating such a wondrous piece of land and not caretaking it. The log house was so lovely (at least, it was what I like!); but the earlier tenants had ‘gentrified’ it by putting up wallpaper of green ferns on one long wall in the living room. And I remember wallpaper that was dark red with black velvety designs on it; very boudoir-ish; definitely not my taste and certainly not at all suited to the house. How we longed to have the money to restore the place! We had the skills, between us, and most of the tools we would have needed. But it wasn’t ours and we weren’t allowed to do much. All the work we did do is long gone now and the place is back to way before we came along, close to what it was when first built. In a way, I’m glad; the home I loved so much exists now only in my mind and the minds of a few others. The place people gather nowadays is very different from ‘my’ place. And I like that.

      • narf77
        Mar 15, 2013 @ 18:15:07

        Its like internet relationships…in your mind they are perfect 🙂 You can do what you like with them and you can imagine any possibility you want. When they translate into reality you wonder where you friend went! ;). Steve and I have managed to stick it out for 15 years now (2 online) and although it was a hell of a culture shock at first we rode through the storms and are living an odd couple life here on Serendipity Farm. FYI I am Felix and Steve is Oscar 😉

  10. Chica Andaluza
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 15:05:34

    Phew – didn’t see that post coming. Very honest and hearfelt. Could relate to so many things in it about your youth, the music, the marriage, the breakup. Like you…no regrets, wouldn’t be where I am today if the shit hadn’t happened. And that can’t be a bad thing can it?!


    • narf77
      Mar 15, 2013 @ 17:56:46

      Damned right 🙂 The music pulled it out of me, may as well let it flow, cathartic and all that 😉 Glad you stuck around for the ride 🙂


  11. twotreesherbals
    Mar 18, 2013 @ 21:38:02

    wow. thank you so much, this post really fed me this morning. i got up midway through and put on pearl jam’s ’10’ (first cassette tape i ever bought)! 34 has been my year for momentous change too, and i think my sons and your daughters would have quite the talk!!


    • narf77
      Mar 19, 2013 @ 04:00:34

      How old are your son’s? My daughters are 23 and 25 (my son is 31 this year 🙂 ) and I get the feeling that maybe my daughters could babysit for your sons BUT I do get the feeling that your sons would fit right in with their ethos :). Alive was my song that I played whenever I felt down after leaving my ex. I left because life is meant to be lived, to pulse through your veins and you are supposed to spend time with people who feed you, not stagnating away. I gave my ex his freedom and he has remarried and has another child and I went off to find life. Life is a great thing to find and was worth everything I gave up for it :). Glad you got fed…sometimes it’s soul food that your body needs. I got that from your posts so the feeling is mutual 🙂


      • twotreesherbals
        Mar 20, 2013 @ 14:18:03

        yes! exactly! my sons are four and eight. ‘black’ was the first song i taught myself on the guitar,..and music has been a wonderful aide in leaving the past where it is and transforming every day.

      • narf77
        Mar 20, 2013 @ 19:11:21

        I was in the same place you are in when I was your age. I left my ex and found myself. I spent 2 whole years working through everything…and I mean EVERYTHING and came out the other side more honest than I have ever been and knowing that I was going to live this life to the fullest with what came along :). It’s a great ethos that has stood me well ever since 🙂

  12. thinkingcowgirl
    Mar 23, 2013 @ 08:43:56

    Just catching up here…I like your description of the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment…I’ve had a few of those in my life too, scary but good in the end…and courage building. I think Steve and I might have been hanging around the same sort of groups of crossover punk/goths… 🙂

    I’m pretty sure the **** (won’t say THAT word 😉 ) is Red Valerian, particularly if you’re getting the white one too. Maybe the drought has just made the leaves a bit weird. Here in Cornwall it’s a lush lovely but grows easily in wall


    • narf77
      Mar 23, 2013 @ 10:23:22

      Yeh, it’s red valerian alright, pity it isn’t the other valerian as I could eat that ;). It does really well here in Tassie and grows weedlike when everything else has wilted and croaked in the heat and the dry so I guess it has it’s benefits ;). I will remind myself of that when it has died back down and is laying all over the place wilted and brown ;)…Did you like the Virgin Prunes? or The Stranglers, The Cult, The Sisters of Mercy, Christian Death (before the lead singer topped himself…) and Bauhous? That was where Steve’s happiness directed him ;). I was lame…the most exciting I got was Bowie and I actually ADORED the Bay City Rollers and my nan made me tartan everything… I can’t believe I just admitted to that :(. The truth will out! 😉


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