Back in 2006, an 1890’s brick Victorian era workers cottage sheltered us from the rain. A few years earlier, the house had been a brick shell with a single mains power point. There was one tap over the kitchen sink delivering questionable looking water. Organising hot water was a priority, but then so was replacing the timber floors, because they’d rotted through and you could see the dirt. It’s a highly desirable area now, but back then, things were a bit more chill.
The big smoke was four kilometres (2.5 miles) away. Weekday work was a very senior role, which had it’s advantages, like the pay. The job itself wasn’t much fun, kind of stressful actually, but it was close enough to home. The walk to the big smoke was about an hour each way. An hour walking and you’d be at the building, step into the elevator, and be ejected out onto the eleventh floor. What new and difficult situation would fate have in store for me that day? Always an exciting prospect to ponder.
On the other hand, the walk was quite pleasant, and a soothing balm for the nerves. In winter I’d wear my long black coat whilst walking. Back and forth it would swish with authority, just like Darth Vader in that scene from Star Wars. He seemed like a competent bloke who had his fair share of problems, like Empire bankrupting Death Stars that were just a little bit too easy to destroy. That’s a typical work day for you when you’re at the top of your game!
The walk was soothing. And once out of the city, I’d take the back streets and enjoy the sights of rows upon rows of Victorian era workers cottages. Quite charming really, probably now under threat from folks who want to build apartments. The radio provided a solid soundtrack via the national youth music broadcaster.
Work required long hours, and somehow after work I managed to find time to take Sandra out for dinner, catch up with friends, work on the house, or study. There was no time for television. But the walk time home, was my time to spend alone in my head with my thoughts. The tunes accompanied that time, plus an authoritative swishing of the coat, when weather appropriate.
At that time of the early evening, the radio station used to run a listener request program. Each weeknight a listener could program three songs and provide a short story as to the choices, which would get transmitted to listeners across the country. I was a bloke who didn’t mind a challenge, and hoped I could spin a good enough yarn about a couple of song choices. But telephoning the radio station was almost impossible. Apparently, pre-interweb, they used to get people calling up the station all the time asking: Do you know the name of the song that goes something like da-da-da-da-da-ta-da-da-da? Certainly taking those calls would have been something of a personal nightmare.
Being the crafty and resourceful bloke I am, I thought I’d take an entirely different approach to getting my requests played. You see, some Tuesday nights, they’d have a ‘pet request’, but you were still posed with the difficulty getting onto their super busy phone line. Talk about impossible! But on the other hand, I did have pets.
In those days, Old Fluffy was the boss dog, and she was very photogenic. In her salad days, people would stop me in the street and ask to take her photo. In her latter years things may have changed, although I don’t believe so. I recall a strange lady in the park providing me with unsolicited advice: Your dog is fat. It was a bit of a harsh judgement, and to protect Old Fluffy’s honour, I replied: That’s just a lot of fur, to which the lady doubled down on her opinion. You can judge for yourselves, and I may have told the lady to: Get lost!
Back to the cunning plan to get my three songs of choice on the radio. So Old Fluffy posed for the above photo. The photo was printed out on good quality paper in full colour. So far, so good. Then with a sharpie I drew a big cartoon style talking bubble and added in the words in large writing: Love your work, Rosie! Rosie being the name of the DJ. On the back I wrote out a short story (from the dog, but with my contact details) and listed the three songs. Then because you could never get through on the phone line, I sent the picture in the mail to the radio station addressed to the DJ. And being super busy and under pressure all the time, that was the last I thought about the matter.
Fast forward a few weeks, or maybe even a month or two later. I’d had a very long and complicated work day. The day ended late, and I was pooped out. My team had long since gone, and the sun was setting and the evening was getting darker. I’d packed up my stuff and was looking forward to the walk home. The door to the office was locked, and just then my phone began ringing. Pet song requests were the last thing on my mind that day, and I may have even thought: What the f!@# could they want now?
And I turned away. The elevator took me down to the street, and I began walking. Home was where I wanted to be, so that is where I went. Yet on the way home, I got to listen to the DJ announcing Old Fluffy’s pet request. Turns out the phone call was the radio station calling me, and those were the days before mobile phones were as common as they are today. Missed that one, as I would have enjoyed recounting the short story live on air, but at least Old Fluffy got her three songs. She would have enjoyed them too. Lazy Eye by the Silversun Pickups being one of the songs, always got Old Fluffy up and jumping around.
Turns out I didn’t much like the person I’d become when working at the top end of town. I am the guy who enjoys sending in pet song requests to radio stations. Or writes even funnier articles on bubbles and water for the hippy press. Turns out, that’s who I am. And it brings joy to me, and I hope it brings joy to you too. We’ve lived here for thirteen years to the day now, and that’s longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. Nothing else fit.
The week has produced mostly cool weather. Occasionally it drizzled, but when the sun shone it was superb. One day we watched a storm out of the west run along the freeway and almost completely miss us.
The remainder of the huge boulder we began attacking last week was broken into fourteen smaller (yet still large) rocks. The rocks were all hauled back up the hill in the power wheelbarrow.
There’s nothing left now where the rock used to be, other than rock dust.
When you’re splitting apart a large boulder into many smaller rocks, there is a bit of science to the work, but also a lot of art. Getting the sizes exactly what you want is not always easy to achieve. Three of the rocks ended up being a bit thinner than what we were after, but all rocks have a use. And the thin rocks get used on the uphill rock wall in the new low gradient path project.
One rock wall on downhill side of the path project, is now complete. And we’ve begun work on the adjacent downhill rock wall where the path exits into the orchard.
There is still a lot of work to go on this low gradient path, but now standing at the beginning of the path, you can see the complete curve of the rock wall and exit into the orchard.
Observant readers will note that the tree fern on the up hill side of the path now has chicken wire protecting the developing fronds. We believe that a bird (Sulphur Crested Cockatoo) broke all of the original fronds, then began eating the pith. The pith is apparently edible, but is meant to be quite bitter. The chicken wire put an end to that mischief. We do have a lot of bird life here at the farm.
The King Parrots are very attractive birds. The one in the above photo is consuming the blossoms on the plum tree. For some reason, those birds also love eating the geraniums. I don’t know any other critter which will eat geraniums.
The extra spring warmth has zinged up the plants in the greenhouse. I’m waiting eagerly to see what the Babaco fruit taste like when they eventually ripen. We’ve tasted them once when travelling in the northern sub tropical part of the continent, but who knows what they’ll be like in this cooler more southerly location?
Berries grow well in this mountainous location, and alpine strawberries are proving their worth by producing berries when no other plant does.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 10am is 20’C (68’F). So far this year there has been 649.8mm (25.6 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 647.8mm (25.5 inches)