As whacked out and strange as he was, I love me a bit of Frank Zappa. Here’s a most poignant discourse about mainstream education that rings most true…
“Schools train people to be ignorant, with style. They give you the equipment that you need to be a functional ignoramus. American schools do not equip you to deal with things like logic; they don’t give you the criteria by which to judge between good and bad in any medium or format; and they prepare you to be a usable victim for military-industrial complex that needs manpower.”
“As long as you’re just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you’re gonna be alright. But if you go beyond that then you’re gonna have these grave doubts that give you stomach problems, headaches…make you want to go out and do something else. So, I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming out.”
– Frank Zappa
Thinking about how next year we might just have to attend TAFE a few days a week and having to get my head around getting back into learning by rote and sitting down and behaving all over again. Not all that used to forced learning and we are quite used to studying when we like these days so this is going to be a difficult situation for this little black duck to bear.
Ms Pauline http://paulinekingblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/sometimes-i-sits-and-thinks/ has been talking about magic and bringing it back into our lives. This year I am dabbling in my own kind of magic alchemy of seed raising. The process from tiny dormant seed to big beautiful plant of purest green is the stuff that narfs wizardly dreams are made of. I have, prior to now, only bought post magic seeds and beanstalks for my annual garden but this year…THIS YEAR I am working my magic horticultural wand and I am attempting to magically coax life from tiny seeds so I planted out some seedlings. Yes, I did plant okra. I planted it because it is pretty much guaranteed to grow, has pretty flowers that the bees love and predominately because I tried it once and found it lacking. I am the sort that likes to give everything a second try just in case the first try was aberrant so yes…I am growing okra. I am also going to give Roselle’s a go and have planted out some purple artichoke seeds. I know that others are planting out peanuts and I am going to give them a go as well. I am not entirely sure as to how they will go here in farthest flung antipodean Tasmania but even if they fail, they are nitrogen fixing legumes so at least the soil will be better off after planting them even if I don’t get much of a yield. A cover crop with benefits…
Now we have a issue with a Kurrajong …
Jan, our friend who is just about to head off to Germany in the next 3 weeks, just gave me a large bag of vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Some of them date back to last century but I am going to give them a go. One of the bags looks like it predates me and is for something called Borecole, an old world name for kale. The manufacturer is one “Chas. Creswell & Co.” from Hobart Tasmania. I am going to give these seeds the old college try. I would love to think that something so old could still be vital and how amazing if they grow! The seed growing bug has me by the throat at the moment. I need to make some more seed raising mix but my last batch saw me institute a huge wooden splinter under my left middle finger nail while I was mixing in the ingredients by hand. It almost reached the quick of my nail and after liberal applications of peroxide to make sure it didn’t get infected after I pulled out the splinter, it has just about healed. I am loath to mix anything by hand till it is completely healed so am working on converting an old blender that we have (and don’t use) to the purpose. We have some amazing “black gold” compost that will be perfect for the job and I need to pick up some coconut coir peat to lighten it up enough to keep the seeds moist and the mix friable.
I picked up some chives in a pot for $2 from the lady who has a little plant stall at the top of a steep hill. I consider it my reward to buy a plant from the stall for having to walk the dogs up there when they are bored of our usual walks. I have picked up chocolate mint, various day lilies, dahlias etc. from this little stall and you just never know what might appear there on any given day so it’s wise to keep a regular eye on it and for only $2, walking up the hill is almost worthwhile. The weather has been a bit hit and miss of late but now that the glasshouse has been sorted out I can mess about propagating and planting to my heart’s content even if it is pouring down outside.
Steve and I finished the doors into Sanctuary through the side of the shed and now we can back the trailer up with loads of horse manure, seaweed, oak leaves and grass clippings and anything else that we can think of that will compost down well to deliver directly into Sanctuary. Prior to this, we would have to wheelbarrow loads of ingredients in through the door which up until yesterday, was a serious obstacle course to walk, let alone push a wheelbarrow into. Our entire property is on a steep incline and whenever it rains, the resulting water flows down with impunity. Part of Sanctuary is a quagmire and the problem is that it was the part where you have to walk in to get inside. We have a heap of spent horse manure inside the new compound area that needs to be transferred into Sanctuary but we simply had no way of delivering it inside aside from in buckets. I love the idea of having horse manure in my garden but shovelling it into buckets and carrying them back and forth up a steep slope? Not so much…
So we decided to take the bull by the horns and make a concrete path and ramp to bypass the mud. We discovered that the mud is the kind that squelches and sucks wellington boots off and the kind that Earl has to tip-toe over so we are also going to tip a trailer load of larger blue metal stones into the area where we are storing water in Blue barrels so that the mud stays under the rocks and doesn’t take over. Yesterday we decided it was perfect conditions to make the ramp and we spent most of the day shovelling concrete mix, concrete dust and water into a wheelbarrow and wheeling it up a steep incline into Sanctuary where Earl decided that he was both going to escape through the gate as we were shovelling and barrowing and make sure that he left his mark in the concrete. We gave up on trying to stop Earl leaving his paw prints in the concrete but were most steadfast in preventing him from escaping. 1 out of 2 aint bad Earl!
Much like everything on Serendipity Farm, the ramp and path were not easy to accomplish but again, like everything else that we have had to work hard to achieve here, it comes with a great sense of accomplishment and our efforts at having to think outside the box, heck, create new boxes to think outside of, are their own reward. I can’t use the path for a few days and by the time I can use it, I will be in the city staying with my daughters for a few days. Steve will be left in charge of the watering, the chook feeding, the chook fetching, one clucky chook needs to be brought inside at the end of the day from her chosen nest out on the property as the quoll is back on the scene and recently killed one of our young point of lay girls who was most unlucky to choose that day to go clucky on a single egg. He also has to walk the dogs, feed himself (but he has lasagne, fish pie and many MANY homemade pasties in the freezer so that’s not too difficult) and anything else that Steve deems important for a few days. By the time you read this I will actually be home from my daughter’s house and I am writing this blog post last Friday in preparation for my fleeing the coop for a few days.
Steve is outside whipper snipping parts of the garden that have gone completely feral. Some of the periwinkle and forget me nots have almost reached thigh height and taunt us daily as we walk down the driveway to take the dogs for their morning walks. Everything seems to be enjoying the lovely spring weather and taking the opportunity of the regular rain that we have been getting to grow like topsy. We planted out most of our Brachychiton discolor that we grew from seed that we sourced online back in 2009 when we first started to study horticulture and were studying in class. Being an Eastern rainforest species, we had no idea if they would grow this far down in Tasmania but we had a really good germination rate and most of them survived the last 5 years of neglect to be planted out down the driveway last year and all of them are thriving. If you would like to see what a Brachychiton discolor flower is like here is a link…
We just restrung the hills hoist washing line that appeared to have the original string that it came with about 30 years ago dangling precariously by threads. We discovered plastic coated metal clothes line at Bunnings (Big hardware store) and restrung the top of Sanctuary with it to stop the possum invader hoards and we had some left over that we decided we would fix the poor sagging washing line. There is something incredibly satisfying in accomplishing something with your day. Today we strung up the clothes line, I cut the marauding honeysuckle vine out of a rosemary bush, Steve cut down 2 saplings inside the compound that had the ability to grow into major problems in about 10 years time and I chopped them up and we put them on the compost heap inside Sanctuary. Those gates/doors in the shed that lead into Sanctuary are amazing. Steve whipper snipped part of the garden that was threatening to collapse under the combined weight of the forget-me-nots and the periwinkle and we have been pottering around “doing things” all day. I am just about to see how amazingly explosive my old blender can be when filled with compost and subject to high revvage in order to turn said compost into light friable seed raising mix potentials. I am not too fussed if it blows up as I rarely use the food processor that it is attached to anyway but I need this seed raising mix!
I will get back to those packets of seeds that Jan gave to me. There are lots of herb seeds including chives, dill, parsley and peppermint along with caraway which will be most interesting if it germinates. Lots of flower seeds that I will grow in punnets and plant out among the veggies to confuse the pests and a good selection of veggie seedlings including San Marzano tomato seed! Keep your fingers crossed that they germinate even if the use by date might be slightly overdue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I love a good experiment and adventure and living the way that we do is a constant chance for a bit of adventurous experimentation. We have learned to solve all kinds of problems and encounters with pieces of string, flour and salt glue and a dab of spit and polish and we are thinking of calling ourselves “MacGyver 1 and MacGyver 2” If Dr Seuss had been around to write another Cat in the Hat opus, I am sure he could have done worse than doing a deal with MacGyver 1 and MacGyver 2.
Time to head off and get back into the garden. The dogs would have me believe that it is time for them to be fed but I am thinking there might be a bit of time to prune something, pot something up or at least stand on the deck and plot some kind of garden resurrection. Hopefully you are all up to your ears in something that delights you and makes you smile or like us, up to your armpits in mud and horse manure and smiling politely with your mouth shut because no-one wants horse manure in their teeth 😉