Friday, December 28, 2007

lap of the gods

Well, it's in the lap of the gods now. The little farm got the parental tick of approval. Mr Duck Herder put in an offer. It was all I could do to stop mum from putting in her own offer. I am in love with the 100 year old orchard. We ate 3 different varieties of plums - all delicious, all very very old varieties. Other trees are dripping with pears, apples, peaches and god knows what else. It would be such an honor to look after these trees - to get to know their ways. The fluffies would look so lovely moving about under their shady branches.
Ditto the humble little house. The current owners have looked after it so well. They have obviously loved living here for the past 19 years very much. Prior to that, the little farm was in the same family from about 1860 onwards. Six little children grew up here. People grew old and lived out their days happily and creatively here. This is a happy place.
Unfortunately we are not the only ones who love the little farm. But we remain hopeful that our offer is accepted, that in time, we may send our roots down into the earth and grow old here too.
Fingers crossed for us?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

boldly on

I guess each day we make a thousand cumulative little decisions that reflect who we are, how we want to be and who we are becoming. Trying to embrace an elegantly frugal life means lots of these decisions are about what will we have for dinner, how shall we spend the day and how can I avoid going to the supermarket!

And sometimes, the little cross roads we get to are BIG cross roads. We can just keep going along the way we are, leading quiet, safe little lives, doing the best we can with what we have, or we can LEAP EMPTY HANDED INTO THE VOID!

Mr Duck Herder and I have been doing lots of thinking and talking and dreaming about this little farm. We are going out again tomorrow, with the Parents of Duck Herder to undertake some more indepth infrastructure assessments - "how deep IS that well?", "When will the house fall down?", Does that dam really look spring fed?", "Could we REALLY live without a dishwasher?", "How good are those plums?","How good is the food at The Loaded Dog?"

Anyhoo, as mentioned in a previous post, the whole living on a farm this is DEFINITELY a Duck Herding thing, and something that Mr Duck Herder has perhaps inadvertently married into. BUT I LOVE this man, who once he got a feel for the place, nonchalantly announced that yes he could live here, and if would please just organise a long settlement to enable him to complete the next 16 months of racing, that would be all the nicer. He seems very calm

Me, on the other hand, not so much. My emotions have been wildly swinging from delirious bursts of joy, spontaneous tears of happiness combined with a bittersweet premature mourning for our current gorgeous lovely sunny, warm in winter cool in summer urban jungle orchard home. My excitement has been interspersed with plunging tummy curdling fears....."what am I doing?!"

Its that whole BIG DECISION thing. Perhaps I should just stop YEARNING, and WANTING, and be a better Buddhist and learn to be where I am.

And then the answer came. Christmas Eve. In a bon bon of course........ enclosed in a golden paper crown, surrounded by family and those we love....these words from Henry David Thoreau:

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Well. That settles it. Boldly on I say. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

chook money

The other morning I thought to myself that perhaps 20 fluffy chickens, 2 normal chooks and three ducks might just be a bit much for a suburban back yard. You see, Miss Nefley had just hatched out another 10 fluffy chicks - her second lot this season, and the third batch of silkies to hatch at the princess castle this spring.

I think we had a case of "fluffy backlog" as only four of the previous 11 young fluffies had gone to their new homes. Luckily, they were all lined up, and yesterday 3 were transported to Wagga with my mum and dad for a rendezvous with their new owners in the hospital car park, and another three were picked up by some very excited kiddies and their dad last night.

That just left one. And we have done what no silkie breeder should do, and kept the runt of the litter so to speak - because it is tiny and cute and bold and friendly and independent and races up to us when we go outside and sits on our laps when it is eating. Mr Duck Herder suspects that it might be deaf too. And so we will wait. and see if it is a she. She will be no good for breeding - completely wrong in all fluffy respects. But she has CHARACTER! And if she is a he, then hopefully Joe will give him a job as a chook run sales executive - because I could not dispatch of this tiny fluffy mop that races up to me every morning even if I tried.

So this morning, we woke up to the far more respectable number of 3 big, one small and 10 tiny fluffy chooks.

At $15 a pop unsexed, these little fluffy bundles more than pay the chook feed bill. I made $90 yesterday - thats $165 for the season so far - and I expect another $150 or so from this last batch.

$315 - thats CHICKEN FEED!!! (and duck feed)

And I love how happy silkies make their new owners. Fluffy Chooks = love.

silly, stupid, fluffy love in all directions.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Poem


I see a twinkle in your eye.
So this shall be my Christmas star
And I will travel to your heart:
The manger where the real things are.

And I will find a mother there
Who holds you gently to her breast;
A father to protect your peace;
And by these things you shall be blessed.

And you will always be reborn;
And I will always see the star
And make the journey to your heart:
The manger where the real things are.

Leunig (of course)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

missing duck

hello there folks. long time since last post. so, explanation?

Well, there has been a lot going on - mostly inside my head I think. Things have felt just a little too big and too internal to blog. Don't feel special though - I have been just as neglectful of my non-cyber friends as well.... I apologise if I worried anyone by my prolonged absence -especially you Rhonda Jean. :-)

Even now I am not sure where to start. I feel like I have have been through an accelerated spiritual awakening - or perhaps I am still in it. That sounds so ridiculous doesn't it. But I am not sure what other words to use.

I have fallen in love with a farm. I think. But I am not sure. How do you know? How do you tell the difference between grasping and knowing - between wanting and intuition?

I have always dreamed of returning to the land - of living in the bush - of space and freedom and a simpler, pared down life. But for most of my twenties, I was busy doing other things, that this yearning was just a vague thing - not really a yearning at all. And I was still topped up from an idyllic childhood full of space and trees and ponies.

And really I didn't know WHAT I wanted out of life - I had lovely jobs, knew lovely people and formed two relationships with men that knew EXACTLY what THEY wanted - so it was really just easy to support their dreams and goals, because mine seemed so quiet and little compared to the biggness and certainty that fueled theirs. They KNEW what they wanted out of life - whereas I just seemed to drift and float - as different opportunities opened up in different ways. Increasingly though, that yearning has gotten stronger and stronger. Sounds simple yeah? But I married a city boy, who has never dreamed of such a life.

When my first relationship broke up there was a long period of starting to find out who I was and what I wanted to do - for ME. I had just bought my own little town house - all on my own, and at the time that seemed like more than enough planet to call my own. I daydreamed about one day moving to a farm, but getting some real estate behind me, and some sort of a career seemed like the most important thing.

And then I met Mr Duck Herder and we fell very much in love. And for a SECOND time, I moved into the house of my beloved ( this time with quite a lot of reluctance and resistance and TEARS) But, for Mr Duck Herder, being an athlete is the most important thing in the world. And he pushed HARD for us to live here (after a brief interlude squished into my little town house while we turned what was once the home he bought with his first wife into the princess castle) so he could be in the midst of his running, cycling and swimming mecca.

And I have learned to love it here. And our house is truly beautiful and comfortable and if you wanted to life in town - perfect in all regards.

But I still YEARN.

My beloved is an athlete - a pretty good one at the end of his career. For the last few years, and for the next 16 months we have agreed that this is his time to achieve everything he possibly can as an athlete - before his body gets too old. So he is not working much, but training heaps. And the deal is that then we can move to a farm.

But what if this is the farm? This 120 acres of rolling pasture and creek flats on a permanent creek - with spring fed dams, a well, and old orchard, a 100 year old stone and mortar cottage .......surrounded by national park on one side, in a quiet, little oasis, 1 hour from ONC, perfect sandy hillsides for my pine nut plantation, with some exquisite remnant veg, yellow tailed black cockatoos, echidnas, wombats and snakes.

And Mr Duck Herder has been out to have a look. And he says he could live there. We would need to somehow negotiate a long settlement - to take account of his next year and a half of competing.

It could possibly work out.

But I am beset with fears. What if he doesn't like it? Now the tables are turned, and we are sort of planning to make decisions that are about what I want, and the changes and compromises will be his, I am scared. And I feel pressure.

and that's what has been going on.

On the garden front however, there has been BERRIES!!! Lots and lots of mulberries, youngberries and raspberries. For breakfast every morning.

yum yum.