So here we are again. I see you all decided to come back to visit Serendipity Farm this week so I guess my post with the photos at the end can’t have been all that bad. I am going to mix a few images through the post and put the majority at the end in a vain attempt to satisfy you all without polarising some of my dear constant (bolshie) readers in the process. It’s all about soothing you savage beasts these days and I am, as ever, your humble servant. Now that we have that obsequious and most belly scraping of introductory paragraphs out of the way, what have we been up to this week eh? (Actually, scrap that…due to the terrible weather conditions and the severe dearth of blog photos you are just going to have to live with them in the post today 😉 )
Well it’s 4.48am and I decided that I would sacrifice my RSS Feed Reader to the great unknown this morning in order to bring you a little slice of Serendipity down South and in the close proximity to Antarctica. Most of the time we don’t think about Antarctica but come mid-winter and it tends to be right up there in our thoughts. I opened up my email this morning and whilst tossing things into the junk mail bin and sifting through the paltry pile of “good” stuff, I found an email from a permaculture maestro who lives in the U.S. that I had actually signed up to and decided to read it. Within 2 minutes I was very excited by a couple of the links that he had put in his email and had headed off and spent 10 minutes discovering new and exciting things. Have you ever heard of a “wofati” house? It’s a most interesting variation of an underground bunker without having to live underground. It takes care of the heating and cooling of your house by having a huge load of soil banked up against the rear of the house. Interesting but not as interesting as the little debris house that I saw. “Debris house narf?” yes…debris house.
Now before you reach for your phones to have me committed I need to tell you that I am not going to build myself a debris house to sit in and contemplate my navel for the foreseeable future any day soon. Why would I do that when I already have Serendipity Farm house for that purpose eh? The reason I got excited about them is that a debris house is something bolshie using something that no-one wants to create something that will serve a purpose in a most interesting and delightful way. Say you are out in the woods…yeah, you, couch potato that you are, “out in the woods” (for the sake of this experiment let’s just run with “you” in “the woods” no matter how laughable or impractical/impossible that idea is OK? 😉 ) and say you got lost (highly likely if you live on the couch and don’t venture out into nature on a regular basis) and it was winter and you needed someplace to kip till they found you. Now I would rather be proactive about stacking up a little bush house of debris to wait out my time (complete with my own little debris couch) than just huddle under a shrub in the cold. I guess what I am saying is that things like this excite me because someone out there had a great idea to use what no-one else wanted to get something that they needed.
I guess what excites me most about these ideas is that they are entirely possible and sometimes we all need someone to dangle a carrot of possibility in front of our noses to get us galvanised for action. I have been the opposite of galvanised for some time now. I have been in active narfish hibernation inside the comfy confines of Chez Serendipity. I won’t tell a fib, I am entirely content with this situation and all talk of “going outside” is met with stern twitching, measured reasoning (“paper, rock, scissors I WIN…you go…”) and a degree of loin girding and dashing hither and thither that is completely unbecoming to a 50 year old woman. Yesterday our power went out and we took the 2 hour space of time before it came back on to zoom out and walk the dogs between rain squalls and wind gusts and I ladled my not inconsiderable derriere off the couch and trundled myself off to muck out my chook coop. “Pourquoi?” I hear you asking, when I have just admitted to being part wintery sloth? Well, the weasel man came you see…
NOW I have your attention! “The Weaselman?!” yup…The Weaselman. Well, he isn’t really half man half weasel but I have my suspicions. Let me back up a bit and give you the back story so that you don’t have nightmares tonight OK? (Here you get those wavy lines that denote going back in time but that I can’t quite replicate all that well in words…)” In the beginning there was God”…err…maybe I went back a bit far, might fast forward a few millennia to a bit closer to my existence…how about “Saturday 26th July 2014”…sounds like a good day to visit Serendipity Farm…Well Stevie-boy and narf7 have been increasingly alarmed at the size of our chook population on Serendipity Farm. We saved about 40 baby chooks from the quoll a while back that killed their mothers and took quite a few of their brethren. They were raised (I would love to say “by wolves” here but that simply wouldn’t be true…) by a bolshie old nana hen we like to call “Goldy” who looked after them admirably and who cared for them like they were her own.
It started to become apparent about 3 weeks ago, that we had quite a few roosters in their midst. We already had about 5 larger roosters that Stevie-boy knew that he was going to have to “deal with” (don’t ask my vegan friends…don’t ask…) in the immediate future but in the groundswell of “The 40” (for want of a better word for the orphans) there was an alarming dichotomy between the population that signified an overrepresentation of roosters. It was both alarming and disheartening because we saved them from the quoll dammit! It would appear that the quoll may have been doing us a favour…
So what’s a narf and a Stevie-boy to do when faced with a growing population of roosters that were starting to eat them out of house and home? It turns out we were doing what we usually do which was a combination of being stoic (buying more food) and sticking our heads, ostrich like, into the sand. Stevie-boy has been doing a bit of work with a friend down the road and our friend phoned Steve up and asked him if another friend (lots of “friends” out in the country, like “aunties” and “uncles” when you are kids 😉 ) could come up and have a look at our chooks as he was after a few more hens for his flock. We keep waving free chooks all over the place and haven’t had many takers yet because at the time we couldn’t be sure what was a hen and what was a rooster so our answer was “SURE…bring him up”.
It turns out our flock was too hybrid to be appealing to the “friend” but while he was wandering around insulting our flock and their lack of pedigree he said “you have a bit of a rooster problem here don’t you”…err, “YOU THINK?!” I guess that reinforced that he knew his roosters from his hens.
After a bit more wandering around he said “tell you what, if you don’t want these roosters, leave them locked in the coop overnight, I will come back tomorrow with some crates and will take them away for you”. Turns out The Weaselman (yup, you were right! 10 points Sherlock!) was an expert chook man (as most weasels are) and had a large flock of his own, a pole with a hook on the end for rooster hooking and the ability to get a couple of large crates into our coop cram packed with bolshie and hungry chooks that were hell bent on being let out for the day.
Roll on Sunday and The Weaselman came promptly at 10am like he said he would. The chook coop was humming as I usually let them all out at 7am and their stomachs were starting to tell them that something was amiss. I stayed inside with the boys because The Weaselman had brought his wife AND his dog and our boys wanted to teach it all about the ways of Serendipity Farm and I don’t think the poor moth eaten sock under the bed could stand the litigation so I shovelled them baying and howling inside to wait out the rooster apocalypse (“chicken? Moi?!” …”bluck…”) It turns out The Weaselman is a true pro. I am SO in awe of his chook prowess! He is small and thin and slinky and not only managed to get himself and his large crates into a somewhat small coop with 60 angry, hungry chooks and one bolshie very LOUD duck, but he hooked 33 roosters in about 15 minutes with minimal fuss and hardly any noise at all. Stevie-boy came back inside and said “they are gone”. I couldn’t believe it! The man is both a true weasel and a pro.
Apparently, he managed to find 2 hens that met his criteria for “good enough” in our humble mixed flock and Stevie-boy gave them to him gladly. I had already told him to take any hens that he wanted and the hens that he chose were pretty but airheaded so good luck to you Weaselman on that front. The best of my hens had refused point blank to go into the coop that day and was hunkered down and hiding out in the bush when The Weaselman came and escaped his eagle eyes. We only discovered her subterfuge when we noticed her wandering around outside the coop later on in the day looking at her 25 sisters and big yin and duckie and wondering how she could get her bolshie derriere into the coop to get herself some grain.
So Serendipity Farm is quiet. No chooks racing around, no roosters waiting to pounce, no rounding up, leaping on or molestation going on and a sweet peaceful calm has returned. The Weaselman had offered to give us back half of the roosters cleaned and ready for the pot (he is a man of many weasel like talents apparently) but after thinking it through between us, we decided to decline. He was doing us a HUGE favour and deserved to be rewarded accordingly and besides, it would have felt a bit like eating our neighbours…
What else have we done here on Serendipity Farm? Well we found a great recipe for batter that is naturally vegan that involves ¾ of a cup of Self raising (yes you people from the U.S. we Aussies call it “Self-raising” not “Self-rising” 😉 ) flour and 150ml of fizzy beer. That’s it, that’s all. Mix the two together and dip whatever you want into the batter and fry in hot oil till crispy, crunchy, golden and heavenly delicious. I was going to have something elaborate for my rapidly approaching birthday but changed my mind. Stevie-boy is an excellent cook and makes my birthday meal every year including a most awesome cake (yes, I will take pictures…) and we had been wading through Escoffier looking for suitable delicacies when we both decided (after tasting a fried battered onion ring in this mix) to bollock off the elitist grub and go with the fried flow. We will be balancing it out with Japanese élan so you don’t have to worry about narf croaking from a heart attack on her 51st birthday and Stevie-boy is poring over Google searching out “Bento Box” recipes complete with delicious quick pickles, tempura veggies, lovely sticky rice and seaweed salad, a meal fit for a king but eaten by queen narf of Serendipity Farm with an awesome slice of vegan sticky dense cake for dessert. What a lucky narf I am!
So here we are again…at the end of a blog post and ready to wave goodbye to each other again over the miles. Have a great week everyone. Please make the most of what you have, where you have it. Don’t look at what other people have and feel “less than”. You likely have more than enough for you and your world and when we stop and look around us we suddenly realise that our lives are pretty wonderful just the way that they are. Who needs a yacht or a condo in the South of France or Escoffier on their birthday menu when you can have your family, your friends, your pets, your favourite fry up and an amazing sticky cake to end the day in a most fitting and satisfying way. Viva la vie folks…”VIVA LA VIE!” : )
(Although…that yacht is pretty sweet…) 😉