512, an extinct bird and an epiphany of sorts and the world of plants in fish terms as described by narf

Hi All,

Firstly, guess who has been blogging for 3 years today! WordPress just congratulated and thanked me…what for?! Cheers to everyone who comes along for the ride every week. I luv’s ya ALL 🙂

512, folks, is apparently to the internet what 42 is to the meaning of life. 512, is the magic number when it comes to P.C.’s at the moment but not in a good way. Apparently we are all hogging bandwidth to the nth degree. We are having a veritable smorgasbord of internet and each and every one of us all adds up to this magic number being breeched. One could ask why the boffins at the beginning of the internet didn’t think to use the number 512 billion, but I am sure they are currently kicking themselves for their lack of an intelligent narf7 back in the day. Not a lot can be done about the 512 problem aside from reset all of the large super servers and hope that we internet addicts don’t kick up too much of a stink in the meantime because the unthinkable is starting to happen… the internet is getting clogged up. Clogged up and shock HORROR…we can’t log on!

 

Extreme apologies to the person who owns this image, I am just using it to show what our small chook looks like. I think she must be a bantam throwback

Extreme apologies to the person who owns this image, I am just using it to show what our small chook looks like. I think she must be a bantam throwback

 

Now I was able to log on this morning at 3am and was able to do everything internetty and emaily etc. right up till 5.30 this morning when it all went kaput. I couldn’t comment on Ms Pauline’s latest blog post or Ms Snail of Happiness’s. I couldn’t reload pages and I was forced into the realisation that perhaps the internet might be having a little nap. That little nap has lasted 5 hours now and after phoning the girls, who are with the same service provider that we are, was told…

  1. We night owls aren’t all that happy about being woken up by you blackbirds!
  2. Err…nope…we haven’t got internet either

So it IS true what they say…misery DOES love company, if only to know that it is Dodo’s fault not ours. Stevie boy isn’t happy about the prospect of having to phone them up again as we get shunted to an offshore call centre where aside from having a terrible time understanding what is being asked of him, he tends to lose his temper with the ridiculous series of directions that he has to jump through in order to talk to someone in the know. Today he is just going to pretend to unplug the phone from the wall, run the internet cable into the phone hub etc. Why bother actually doing it when the only reason it is being asked for is that the person on the other end has a cheat sheet in front of them that says “ask this…then this…then that…” sigh… after pretending to satisfy what the operator has asked of him he may or may not get put through to someone in the know and after finding out that the girls internet is also out, methinks it might be a little more than just Sidmouth based.

Although this is still a pilfered image, it is much closer to what our girl looks like. She is much smaller than the rest of her brothers and sisters.

Although this is still a pilfered image, it is much closer to what our girl looks like. She is much smaller than the rest of her brothers and sisters.

Look what I found! A tiny little bit of already completed blog post! Oh joy of joys I don’t have to come up with the first couple of paragraphs, usually the hardest when my brain is spent and my energy is low. Today is blog post day but it is also 5.12am and nice and quiet, very dark (hello dark side of the moon) and I am merrily pilfering permaculture information while I type…I love multi-tasking ;).  I feel like I have been studying forever by the way. There is a little light at the end of the tunnel as our erstwhile lecturer has just informed we slaving minions that she is off overseas for three weeks to sun herself in the Pyrenees or wherever she is going in Europe (maybe she is off to ski in the Pyrenees…whatever she is doing she is AWOL!) and that we need to get a wriggle on with everything that is due in as goodness ONLY knows…she wouldn’t want to be thinking about a backlog of marking when she got back. Sigh…

This is what we have been up to in our studies. This image was taken to illustrate using the lasso tool in a tutorial we had to create

This is what we have been up to in our studies. This image was taken to illustrate using the lasso tool in a tutorial we had to create

The plus side (for there must always be a plus side to every difficult task) is that we are rapidly developing a new set of skills that are both challenging and rewarding. The more we slave, the more we know, the easier it gets and so while we aren’t donning snow boots and ski’s and sliding down endless slopes we are gaining valuable skills. Not entirely sure what we can use them for but if anyone wants a nice poster created let us know 😉

And this one was used to create a clipped image... we are learning a lot lately

And this one was used to create a clipped image… we are learning a lot lately

Here's the original for that clipped image, not a bad job really ;)

Here’s the original for that clipped image, not a bad job really 😉

Being nailed to your computer chair and only allowed out in order to walk the dog makes for a very dull week. I even got Steve to take the compost bin up to Sanctuary yesterday so that I didn’t have to look at the accusatory wafting’s of the nasturtiums gone feral, the comb over on the cut of sheoak that is now a fully-fledged set of waist length dreddies and the kale that no doubt the possums have been forced to eat due to having scoffed everything else in sight. We bought some lengths of metal clothes line encased in plastic in order to fix the top of Sanctuary to stop the little furry menaces from entering at will but thanks to our terrifying study schedule, we just haven’t had the time to do it and the one day that we did have time, it rained the whole day but whatchagonnado folks eh?

Here we have "converging lines" and this is going to be used for another task we have to do... lots of photos we have to take, lots of tutorials, lots of work...

Here we have “converging lines” and this is going to be used for another task we have to do… lots of photos we have to take, lots of tutorials, lots of work…

It is almost father’s day here in Australia. Yes…we do it differently to you guys in the U.S. as apparently our dads like to get gifts that make mowing the lawn easier or washing the car less of a chore in the early spring. Stevie-boy has been lusting after some man tools of late but our finances don’t quite run to these objects of desire…however narf to the rescue! I just got some online survey rewards, in the form of Bunnings gift vouchers, that cover the cost of the tasty tools and so the dogs are going to give Stevie-boy the tools for Father’s day. I can almost hear the manly “Squee’s!” from the future 😉

Sad dogs making the most of their terrible life by huddling in a sunbeam pitifully...

Sad dogs making the most of their terrible life by huddling in a sunbeam pitifully…

Well it is spring. It might still be August 27th in our neck of the woods but spring sprung back at the beginning of August and we have had very little rain, lots of sun and our temperatures are starting to warm up from single digits to angsty teens. Unlike other grumpy old people, I don’t mind the middle teens…I am not all that happy with the forty something’s to be honest. Those forty something’s have knobs on! Come to think of it. The thirty something’s are pretty terrible as well. Maybe I have a youth fixation when it comes to summer temperatures and like to stick to the teenagers and the twenty something’s…I hang with the hip and happening folks…the narf is most at home when blending into the lower denominators. In saying that, our growing season is now officially upon us. My wonderful friend Bev from the eminently learned blog FoodnStuff where you can learn all about producing food in our stressed Aussie conditions caught me lusting after her cuke-a-melons in a recent post and sent me a packet all of my very own! Not only have you made narf7 happy Ms Bev, but you have NO idea how happy you have made my eldest daughter Madeline who is besotted with all things cucumber and who is probably going to walk the 50km to my garden to eat my entire crop, she is that dedicated to the cause.

Cukamelons! And they are here on Serendipity Farm :). They might just be too cute to eat Bev ;)

Cukamelons! And they are here on Serendipity Farm :). They might just be too cute to eat Bev 😉

The blurb tells me that they are drought tolerant, that they taste like a cucumber crossed with some citrus and that they grow as big as grapes and are prolific fruiters...my kind of veggie! Thank you SO much Bev for your generosity :)

The blurb tells me that they are drought tolerant, that they taste like a cucumber crossed with some citrus and that they grow as big as grapes and are prolific fruiters…my kind of veggie! Thank you SO much Bev for your generosity 🙂

Now I need to get down to brass tacks. I have some delightful and most wonderful blogging mates who are steering me on the road to oversupply. My problem is that the garden pretty much does most of the work itself. You plant the things, they grow, they do what nature intended but it’s all of the peripherals that I need to get my head around. What seed to plant when? How long do they take to grow/fruit? When do I need to be planting the seed in order to get the maximum benefits of our short growing season? I am alarmed at reading posts about people chitting and planting and seedlings up and out of pots and time ticking…ticking…TICKING and Sanctuary stagnant in a pool of nasturtiums and acidic soil and me with NO idea how to remedy most of what I perceive as “threats” to our growing season (forgive me…I am in S.W.O.T. mode…you can’t drive all of those studies out of your mind en-masse…some of them hang about to interject at inopportune moments…). I have had most wonderfully kind people tell me to email them with my plan…my “Plan”…so that they can help me with it. For me to email my “Plan” I need to HAVE a “Plan”…eek! See I have a confession to make. Trees and shrubs do things themselves. I am a tree and shrub person and after digging a “root growth zone” (James, my long suffering cert 3 horticulture lecturer would be beaming now if he heard me call a “hole” a “root growth zone” like it rolled naturally off my tongue 😉 ) and amending the soil interface (beaming…positively GLOWING! 😉 ) so that the tree/shrub has the best chance of integrating itself with its new surroundings, it’s a matter of a bit of water at the right time, a bit of fertiliser (if it is needed) at the right time and away she goes…job done…hands dusted and off to cook the dinner.

Steve spent most of the other day standing on the deck with his binoculars and a camera trying to get a shot of "the remote control warship" that someone was sailing around Redwood island...on closer inspection it was just someone in a canoe... time for glasses Stevie-boy ;)

Steve spent most of the other day standing on the deck with his binoculars and a camera trying to get a shot of “the remote control warship” that someone was sailing around Redwood island…on closer inspection it was just someone in a canoe… time for glasses Stevie-boy 😉

Maybe it was too dark to see the canoe properly? ;) We called this image a rain-beam as it was right smack bang in the middle of a day full of rain.

Maybe it was too dark to see the canoe properly? 😉 We called this image a rain-beam as it was right smack bang in the middle of a day full of rain.

Veggie gardening (on the whole), annual and perennial gardening appears to be a different kettle of fish. You know how some fish are big and laconic and just lie like slugs at the bottom of the creek and occasionally swish so that you know that they are still alive? Well they are the “Tree” fish… they don’t need much. They wait for their food to come to them via the water and their huge gaping mouths. There are other smaller fish that move around a bit…hover in the shadows of tree branches and overhanging edges and wait for smaller fish to dart by so that they can inhale them…they are the “Shrub” fish. Sometimes they need other “fish” to grow with them so that they are happy but on the whole, they are pretty self-sufficient and just do their own thing. Then you hit the fish that need a few mates in order to feel comfortable. They may or may not have complex patterns of relationships whereby they feel a strong need to travel a gazillion miles upstream in order to produce seed or tubers that are vital to their ongoing survival and quite a few things can go wrong in those processes that could result in these fish not getting the results they need. They are still pretty self-sufficient but they have various stages of development that might need a bit of close attention and actual intervention in order to keep them going. These are the “Perennial” fish folks…they keep on keeping on but they sometimes need a bit of work, the odd clump broken up, a bit of a cut back when they die back down (hibernate kiddies, don’t panic, “STOP CRYING!”  They aren’t dying just having a big long sleep for the winter…) and while it isn’t a lot of attention, it’s a whole lot more than the “Tree” fishes and the “Shrub” fishes need

Stevie-boy made this feast while I was AWOL at my daughters. He used Guinness to make his beer batter and it turned out really well. Looks like that beer batter translates internationally ;)

Stevie-boy made this feast while I was AWOL at my daughters. He used Guinness to make his beer batter and it turned out really well. Looks like that beer batter translates internationally 😉

I would like to point out here that while I am not aware of any young person’s reading this blog at the moment you just never know what the future may bring so I feel it necessary to occasionally address them personally in order to keep my audience fully satisfied. You are just going to have to deal with it my dear constant readers with the narf switching between the vernacular for my regular audience and the odd hip and happening smattering of kidenese that may just slip out…yeah baby, I am dead hip and happening…positively GROOVY baby! 😉

Isn't this a clever idea for a chair? It would be really easy to make and it is even solid enough to resist the avid attentions of one Mr E. Dog...love the room as well :)

Isn’t this a clever idea for a chair? It would be really easy to make and it is even solid enough to resist the avid attentions of one Mr E. Dog…love the room as well 🙂

Now we get to the fishies that make me twitch. I am already twitching. I have a facial tic going as I type this stressful line…we get to the “Annual” fishies. The little buggers that flock in huge swarms in order to survive…the ones that get picked off by all of the bigger fishies (or in our case, all of the swarming waiting native animals that would call them sustenance) and that panic and bolt and that are entirely unpredictable, needy, over-reactive and just plain pains in the derriere. You need to hold their hands to nurse them through and to make sure that all of their needs are met or BAM…dead. Yup…dead kiddies. Deceased. Sorry about the abrupt lesson in vegetable gardening doom but I am with you on being bewildered and befuddled. I am a kid when it comes to understanding the rites and passages of annual vegetable life and I can only stand on the bank of confusion watching the little buggers dart about in other people’s gardens. Some people (who shall remain anonymous because I am DEAD JEALOUS of them and I would have to type their names in green) have these little fishes all corralled. They have made little fishy farms and have herded them in with great aplomb. Their fishy farms have special gates and they feed their fishies all kinds of weird and wonderful things. They talk about “growing conditions” and “putting things in the soil/water” and making up strange unguents to feed the fishies and how they apply strange and wondrous spells that involve moon cycles and moon plantings and seaweed (see…it all ties in to fishies!) and permaculture massaging and all KINDS of strange and wonderful things that are entirely foreign to me. I watch from the bank getting more and more bewildered and spring is rising inside me and making me wild eyed and crazy…”I have to do something NOW!” but what the bloody hell am I supposed to be doing?!

Oh the SHAME! We were overtaken going up a hill by "this" today... :(

Oh the SHAME! We were overtaken going up a hill by “this” today… 😦

Back under the bed…under the bed is safe (aside from Earl who is prone to licking you when you can’t move your arms…) to those people whose names shall remain anonymous and most decidedly green by both association and application I love you dearly. I admire you SO much I might start fan pages for you all but I just…don’t…get…it 😦 Could some of you write a book? A lovely thing that I could hold in my hand and carry up to Sanctuary and pretend that I am Dr Livingstone (and Stevie-boy is my willing helper chimp) and that I CAN conquer the strange and wonderfully terrifying new continent that is “Vegetable Gardening”…please?…Pretty please?

Steve found this to lure me off the computer... apparently there is a big wide world outside?! Whodathunkeh? ;)

Steve found this to lure me off the computer… apparently there is a big wide world outside?! Whodathunkeh? 😉

Well…looks like I am on my own for now folks. A terrifying proposition as those little fishies are swarming and seething and started earlier than usual this year and if I don’t coral a few of them they are going to disappear and my chance to harvest fishies this year will be all done and dusted. Might be time to take a few photos of Sanctuary, swallow my sad middle aged horticultural pride and send my “plans” (pathetic, sad and such as they are) off to one of my Greenest of the green online mates to give me a bit of a run-down of what I should be doing and when…oh how the mighty have fallen! Wish me luck folks…between the studies, the guilt and the lack of food (I am back on the healthy food wagon) I am a pathetic husk of a woman, but a most determined one. See you all next week when all being good, Stevie-boy, my helper chimp and narf the intrepid will have at least conquered the inner sanctum of Sanctuary and stopped the possum invading hordes from being able to invade and moral will have been restored considerably 😉