See when winter comes and stays…and stays…and STAYS it’s hard to be motivated to do anything other than stay indoors, read, crochet and hibernate. Consider my absence from my blog a stay of hibernation. Spring has been wrestling with winter in a most determined way of late. Things are flowering when they aren’t being drowned by another deluge. The sun has actually shone a few times. I may, or may not, have NOT needed my wellington boots to make it down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, twin waterfall prone driveway and I finally decided “BOLLOCKS to the rain. I am going to plant out a couple of fridge wickers…
On the plus side, I am getting the hang of this HTML thing. I have made a friend a website. She lost her job and has been having trouble finding another one. Seems in Tasmania, Australia, there are forty quadrillion people vying for every job and the sticking point is that there is roughly half a job a month being offered so you get the picture. The jobs are going to the girls with the biggest boobs who are between the ages of 17 and 18. My middle aged friend refuses to give up and is going to create her own job. She has started a business pet sitting in people’s homes. Seems a lot of people actually love their pets and don’t want to subject them to the impersonal, often inhospitable, nature of kennels and she is picking up a steady clientele of people who want to book her for their holidays. I made her a website using a template and she is pleased with it.
We are in the process of getting it up and running at the moment and I am working on a clients website (my next-year-lecturer George who has been VERY nice and let me make him a website for his business) for my final assessment at the same time. I will share the URL when we get it up and running so that you can all marvel at how a 53 year old, dyed in the wool Luddite, could even get her head around HTML let alone learn how to make and upload a website to a server. It’s a story. It’s a LONG story and I will just leave it up to your imagination but it involved/s (still running) long periods of tourettes like swearing and facial tic’s and a very patient husband and equally patient eldest daughter who sit on either side of me in class and prevent me from physically strangling my lecturer at any given time.
Next year we will be studying Screen and Media. Making films folks. Hey, “In for a penny, in for a pound…” may as well learn how to turn my ludditism into something that I can visually express. The end results of next years study should have me producing a short drama and a short documentary. I have some ideas about approaching a friend from my horticulture years who taught/teaches disabled people how to garden and who is involved heavily with community gardening to see if she will let me follow her around like a puppy to show how positive an experience gardening can be in people’s lives. Or I might make a documentary involving “A day in the life of Earl” whereby I strap a camera to Earl and let him run free…on second thoughts, I don’t think that Steve and I could afford the litigation on that one!
There comes a time when you have to admit that you might just have made a mistake about something that you have invested a lot of time, energy and effort into. Sanctuary appears to be the case in point. I love Sanctuary. It’s my little possum/wallaby free space where I tried to grow food. It took a LOT of water, a lot of tears and a lot of frustration to admit to myself that this space just wasn’t giving me what I needed it to. I am in the process of abandoning growing my veggies in Sanctuary and turning over our veggie production to water wicking fridges. I haven’t entirely given up on Sanctuary yet. There is a garden down the road. I think it’s about 3 years old now, where the owner espaliered 3 rows of fruit producing trees and vines and that currently is a mass of flowers and possibilities. I have decided that Sanctuary is going to be our fruit producing area. I have currants, all sorts of fruiting vines and small citrus trees growing in Sanctuary and plans of irrigating the area in a grid-work. I will be planting out rows of fruit trees, mulching them heavily and seeing how it eventuates. Sanctuary won’t die, she will just evolve. Change is good. I keep telling myself that. My inner self doesn’t like it, but I am learning to admit that sometimes my comfort zone is a bit of a prison. Time for a change.
I mentioned reading above and I have enjoyed reading a few novels as well as grazing my permaculture and cookbooks over the winter-that-never-ends. I just KNOW I am going to regret typing that in about a month when The-summer-that-refuses-to-bugger-off starts and the process of Serendipity Farm becoming a dehiscent husk begins the process over again but for now, we are wallowing in mud and as much as I love winter/rain/water/tadpoles, I am being driven a teensy bit mad by not being able to start the processes that I have normally begun around about now each year. Brunhilda should be a blissful memory but she is still in force, guzzling down the last vestiges of wood that we have taken to grubbing from all over the place. The good thing about making wicking fridges is that they need a fair bit of “roughage” in the bottom of them and I use chopped up branches and twigs as they are biodegradable and will add to the mix so the dead branches of long fallen soldiers live on intertwined with my prospective oca tuber planting of 2016. I have SO many ideas and so little time now to implement them but we will get there.
I have leeks/elephant garlic! I was walking (who am I kidding, ” Earl was walking ME”…) Earl the other day and ended up navigating down to Bonnie Beach, a beautiful little volcanic sandy beach almost directly opposite Serendipity Farm. When I gaze “over the river” that’s what I see. There are some magnificent old oak trees in our neighbourhood. It was obviously a tiny enclave a long time ago where people decided to settle and stoically plant trees from the auld country. Oaks are one of those trees that keep on keeping on. There will be Aussie eucalyptus croaking all around them and the oak trees, like the stoics that planted them, point blank refuse to give up and indeed thrive. We have them in various stages of growth all over the place here. I am sure that my dad would have topped them if he saw them but I am leaving them. ALL of them. I have this statement that plays over and over in my head that says “Not in MY lifetime” and I smile whenever I plant something that one day will be a massive pain in the arse for someone else. “Not sorry”. We NEED more trees. These little oak trees grew from oak leaf mould that my dad spread around the place when he was alive. It would be about 17 years ago as I am quite sure that once his determined partner died he stopped doing anything in the garden and the harvest of his (albeit “forced”) effort is a plethora of little oak trees. We keep adding oak leaves to the mix and they keep obliging us by growing. We have one bordering Sanctuary that must be a fair age as it has acorns every year. Far from being annoyed I am delighted. Acorns are a food crop. You can prepare and eat them. You can use them as flour. If they want to grow here, they can. I actually replanted a little oak tree that I found growing on the top of a pile of oak leaf mould I had stashed inside Sanctuary and it’s leafing up already after no additional watering and only rudimentary protection from the wallabies that would graze it to the ground. Life is harsh around here for plants. If they survive, if they grow, if they have shade and food potential then I am on them like seabiscuit!
I read an article about an Italian author called “Elana Ferrante” and was instantly intregued. See “Elana Ferrante” is a pen name and the author was surrounded by Italian mystique (and lets face it, now much more elegant can your common or garden mystique get?) and was quoted as saying that he/she would stop writing if they were outed. Well some moron decided to have his 5 minutes of fame by outing this person and I dare say the Italian people are up in arms about them perhaps never writing again as apparently this novelist didn’t let anything hide. It was ALL out in the open and her novels were written with a bare, angry and often bitter stare at Italian male dominated culture. Well I HAD to go and take a stack of them out from the library now didn’t I? I was duty bound to after that interesting article and a plethora of supporting documentation that this author may just be one of the best living authors…so I took out the books and I read one. It was about a middle aged woman who had been emasculated by her past but who was the author of the outcome and it was OK. I headed off to the next book. “The Days of Abandonment”. I didn’t see this one coming. It started off OK with a middle class Italian family, one husband, one wife, a pigeon pair of kids and a lovely, well behaved (I hear they “do” exist…) dog. The husband decides that he wants out of the marriage and it’s ALL downhill from there folks! Good lord this is a bitter ride of terror and a mad dash to depths of a woman’s psyche that I couldn’t even imagine. I stopped reading it halfway through. This novel is slim. Only 188 pages in total but by the time I finished she was neglecting the kids, the dog was dying of poisoning in her ex-husbands study and she had attempted to felate an unattractive neighbour. Life had definitely taken a turn for the worst and hell, I am assured, was just about to let loose! I couldn’t read any more. At the moment I am reading for entertainment. For “light” entertainment to relieve the stress of endless days of studying. To give me a juxtaposition between the tangle that my brain becomes when it has to wrap itself around HTML and coding and putting it all together in an aesthetically pleasing, but still functioning website and my “real world” where I am the queen of my castle and sometimes things listen to what I say (unlike HTML and CSS which are the MOST bolshie things and that make Earl look like a pussycat in the obedience stakes) so reading these books was like a descent down some mad authors bitter, angry rabbit hole. I just wasn’t ready for it and I couldn’t face it let alone let myself become absorbed by it for any given length of time.
I doubt I am the only one who gets absorbed by movies and novels. They become a part of me for a while. If they are good, it can last for a fair while. The movie “Dead Man Walking” stayed with me for months. These novels are now going to make me cross myself whenever I even think about the name Elena Ferrante so please, if you aren’t up for a dive into the mind of how low a woman can go, don’t read them. I found a novel that my dad had left here that I must have read the back cover blurb and decided to keep. I donated most of the 5 boxes of books (moving boxes, my dad was a avid speed reader with the library on speed dial) he was currently working through when he died to the thrift shop but a few caught my eye. I am SO glad I kept this book as it is slowly returning a bit of hope and sanity to my bereft psyche. Elena Ferrante caught me off guard and gave me a solid punch to the solar-plexus. My new salve novel is called “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” and is set in the early part of last century and revolves around a couple of older Jewish boys living in America and the story of how they attempt to get one of their families out of Nazi occupied Prague. The blurb on the front says “Perfection. There are perhaps for other books I’ve loved this much, and none that has made me cry more” – Tom Payne. Daily Telegraph. I can handle tears. The book is incredibly well written and I am enjoying every page. Even though the print is TINY and there are 659 pages and I am pretty much going to end up affected by it, it’s not dragging me around backwards through a blackberry thicket with scant regard for my welfare like Elena Ferrante was.
Well I am rooting for heading into the city today. We have another little car now as our tiny 4×4 appears to have spat the dummy and refuses to play ball any more. Our little minty green Hyundai can be seen stoically navigating the twin river Grand Canyon that our driveway has become and the 2 dogs love it. Bezial can get in easier (no steep climb up to the seat and no jumping) and Earl gets surround vision. He was SO excited we have instituted an on leash (metal chain) policy for him in the car and he is calm, happy and able to see from every angle. I found a stash of mint growing in the dog park the last time we went to the city and it’s growing in a bowl of water on the kitchen table. I might harvest some more (with roots) so that I can plant a fridge wicker out completely with spearmint. What a luxury! I love mint simply for the smell it makes when you brush up against it as well as for tea and there is nothing better with the humble British pea than a nice dose of minty sidekick.
So I figure I will take some photos that I might be able to use here today. I need some as all I have area few images that I took of some crazed crochet creations that I wrangled from a myriad of patterns (crab claws anyone?) to send to Ms Twisted (LINK LINK LINK) and her twin 5 year old boys. They started life as Lalylala dolls and how they ended up as “monsters” was a thing of terror. They will ALWAYS be one offs. I need to get hold of a monster book that Phil recently reviewed on her wonderful blog. If you crochet GO THERE…GO THERE NOW! Even if you knit. She does both. Most probably at the same time. Most meticulously and with manic precision she creates a magnificent collective of the bizarre, the beautiful and the simply inconceivable. Go look. I will wait.
So it’s goodbye from me for a while. I guess I am back? Most probably. I decided that when I wanted to post I would. I don’t want to be a slave to my blog but I also have this burning need to share what we are doing here in case it helps someone else out there. I am sure we will be hauling fridges within a few weeks and the machinations of filling, stocking and operating them will be documented and shared. Anything that helps people to grow their own food, to get a bit of hope in these scary times when social media appears to have hijacked us all and is taking us on an insane roller coaster ride that we keep forgetting to get off is good. I want to add to that “good” bit to redress a bit of the imbalance. Sides…you can’t keep a narf7 down for long. Wet or no, there are stories to tell and as long as there are people who want to listen to them, I will tell them 🙂
Just before I go, I would like to give a little mention to my sister Pinkiii who has recently had surgery and who is making some incredibly brave changes in her life at the moment. They say that the older you get, the more you realise that family and friends are priceless. As my closest remaining relative I just want you to know how proud I am of you Pinkiii. Here’s to a whole new life 🙂
Over and out
It’s goodbye from me, and it’s goodbye from him …