Serenading me in the paddock this week:
The Fab 5 – “Elbow”. You can listen to them soft, you can listen to them loud (which is better) – they have a terrific sound. Check out ‘Grounds for Divorce’ live at Abbey Road here:
“Amy Lavere” – she’s so cute and even cuter with her great big double bass. Then she sings the cutest little songs like ‘KILLING HIM.’
Check out Amy on the Jools Holland show here:
I’ve also been playing the wonderful ‘Raising Sand’ by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. But did you know that they also covered Led Zepplin here and there?
Check out a terrific cover of When the Levee Breaks here:
When you’ve done that, you will surely want to check out Black Dog:
Thought I might have a day off weeding and do something FUN! Fun, that is, that involves a mattock and a shovel. It’s got to rain soon and the little rain water tank down at ‘La studio’ will overflow. Last year, the overflow washed under the building – most unsatisfactory.
So I purchased 9 meters of down pipe and started digging a trench. Fortunately I didn’t have to dig too deep as there will be decking and gravel added to the area soonish to give more protection to the underground pipes. The main thing with the trench is to make sure it goes down hill so that the water will run out nicely.
One way to make sure that your pipes are going downhill, is to drop a golf ball in at top of the pipe and see if it runs through and out the end. If a golf ball can do that, then surplus rain water should be able to do the same. One thing that I did invest in was a hinged and screened end for the pipe. Drizzly rain can run through the screen, but when it buckets down, the hinge will allow fast flowing water to get away. Here’s the final product:
I think that’s 10 out of 10 for me and I deserve a nice glass of Shiraz.
Pretty normal sort of a day here. Weeding then some weeding, then the Responsible Adult came home so I cooked up some eggs and bacon for her. Then weeding, then pruning ready to take down to the revegetation area tomorrow. BUT THEN ……… an email from Big Sis suggesting I may be incorrect in respect to how long we have been at the paddock.
My first thought was a referral to Salman Rushdie’s works so that she could get comfy with the idea of ‘Magic Realism’, but then thought perhaps it’s time to get up front with the truth. Besides, it’s so long ago, I had probably forgotten. And of course, Big Sis is as usual – correct which I discovered after locating the original contract.
So … to be abso – bloody – lutely precise, we have been at the paddock:-
- 533,952,000 seconds
- 8,899,200 minutes
- 148,320 hours
- 882 weeks (rounded down)
- Or if you prefer 6,180 days or 16 years, 11 months and 1 day. We moved here on the 29th September 1995. But perhaps we should not get hung up on time spent, instead examine improvements made. So I put it to you that the big nasty weeds (Privet, Lantana, Camphor Laurel and Yellow Berry) are gone from the Paddock. About a thousand (Big Sis may now come and count them) Rainforest Trees have been planted and a new letter box (see pic at top) has been installed. I rest my case.
After a hard day in the Paddock, there’s nothing like settling down with a glass of read and a good book. At the cubby house, we prefer electronic readers to paper. A few years ago, I decided to read all Booker Prize winning books. A task that has turned out to have expanded greatly. For example, after reading Salman Rushdie’s brilliant ‘Midnight’s Children’, I got sidetracked into reading everything he wrote – some more than once. And after hearing the pommy author David Mitchell on Radio National, I decided to expand to all short listed and long listed books. Then proceeded to read all David Mitchell’s works.
Anyway, it got time to read Pat Barkers winner “The Ghost Road”. Before starting, however, I found out that it was the third book of a trilogy starting with a novel called “Regeneration”.
At about two thirds of the way through, I can tell that I will be going down the ‘read everything by Pat Barker’ road. Fantastic book. It is historical fiction based upon a WW1 soldier/poet and the psychiatrist who is treating him. The objective of the shrink is to get the poor bugger fit to go back to the trenches.
Not a cheery little tale, but highly recommended.
“The way I see it, when you put the uniform on, in effect you sign a contract. And you don’t back out of a contract merely because you’ve changed your mind. You can still speak up for your principles, you can still argue against the ones you’re being made to fight for, but in the end you do the job.”
Across the road there is a driveway bordered by some rather nice Azalea’s which has a sign – “Rest and Be Thankful”. Sounded like a good idea to me and for the first few months after we had moved to the paddock I did a fair bit of that. My day was get the kiddies up to the school bus (the top of our driveway), rest and be thankful, pick the kiddies up from the school bus.
One day, a man wandered down that driveway and introduced himself. Turned out to be gardening guru Colin Campbell. We had the first of many brief chats about this, that and the other and it was always a delight to bump into Colin – it was a bit like seeing an echidna or a particularly nice water dragon. He was a real charmer and blended in with the natural world extremely well.
Colin was one of those sorts of people you just imagine always being there and it was a real shock when he died last week. Even though my meetings with Colin were brief, I will miss not seeing him.
|Rest in Peace, Colin – I’m thankful I met you
About a year ago, the Responsible Adult started to tell me stories of seeing pink snakes around the vege patch. All sorts of snakes visit the paddock – pythons, tree snakes, black, brown, tiger, whip – and they are all welcome. Perhaps not the browns and tigers so much but generally I can outrun them. Anyway, I had never seen a pink snake so my immediate reaction was to check the Cognac (The Responsible Adult and her girlfriend have been known to knock back a few) But the Cognac levels were OK so I have been waiting to see these pink snakes.
As the weather starts to warm, so does the libido of male snakes. So as I was around the vege patch the other day, two “pink” snakes did the horizontal limbo.
|Yellow Faced Whip Snake
After playing a fair bit of kiss-chasey, our lovers settled down to the business of making baby snakes which allowed plenty of time for a few happy snaps to mark the occasion. Getting a really good photo allowed me to positively identify these crazy kids as a particular type of whip snake that we haven’t had before.
If you want to know more about these, go here:
Categories: Snake, Wildlife
|6 years ago – similar to the area I’m working now. See what it looks like today at the end of this blog.
I’m still weeding. ‘Bravo, my Prince -what commitment!’ you say. Well, while there is no doubt that Paddock workers will never, ever finish weeding forever, there are ways to greatly reduce the numbers of weeds. Weeding should only happen in areas where you want something else to grow. Otherwise, mow, pave or build a chook house in that area.
|Really Rough Mulch – weeds
The great gardener Peter Cundall was once asked if grass clippings were OK to mulch plants. His reply was that any mulch is better than no mulch.
|Rough Mulch – mainly Bougainvillea
Mulch protects against weed regrowth while breaking down and feeding the soil around the plants you want to grow.
Nothing that grows on the Paddock leaves the Paddock. Everything gets recycled into the soil. The roughest mulch I use around plants are those very weeds that are pulled up. Living in Maleny means that the plants growing in the cubby house paddock need pruning very regularly. All prunings’ are taken down to the rainforest re-vegetation sites and mulched around plantings.
|Chipped mulch from Energex
If you prefer neat and tidy, then mulch from a commercial chipper can be purchased. My preferred supplier is Energex who trim trees away from the power lines every 2 or 3 years. These guys will let you have the mulch and are happy to receive a small donation to a charity in return. Or, you can buy mulch from commercial tree trimmers in your area. If you have deep pockets you can buy hardwood chips from commercial landscapers.
Even so, it’s all work, work, work. But is there a payoff?
The ultimate goal in all this is an area that requires zero maintenance (almost). This amazing feat occurs when your plantings shade and crowd out competitors.
The image below illustrates an area that was totally weeded out with lantana, privet, camphor, yellow berry and so on. Once cleared and planted, it required high maintenance from herbaceous weeds for about four years. Now that it has a canopy and lots of leaf litter, I weed twice a year. About 2 hours each time mainly wandering around looking for the odd privet tree or moth vine to pull out.It is the same part of the paddock as the photo heading this blog.
|This area is now pretty much weed free and a joy to visit.
Always on the lookout for new tunes to pop onto the ipod. Sometimes it’s nice to have people singing songs while weeding the paddock. So here’s a couple you may like to try.
Coco Rosie are two sisters who make lovely music and are sufficiently weird to appeal to both paddock workers and responsible adults. Try their song Lemonade here:
Or perhaps you would like to check out some Swedish electronic sounds. Fever Ray (the cute Sheila on the left) is part of an electronic duo The Knife. Try them out here:
And after a hard day in the paddock, what could be better than that ancient Welsh knight, Sir Tom. His latest album is great. Check him out on the Graham Norton show here:
Here’s my handy weeding tools. I call them Wills and Harry. Wills is a sturdy Hoe, good for chipping out shallow rooted weeds. Harry is some sort of home made blunt instrument, good for whacking things hard.
I picked up Harry and Wills from a market where this old guy regularly sells old tools and curiosities. Being well into my grumpy old ageness, I can say with total authority “They don’t make tools like they used to.” So I like to buy pre-loved tools. Apart from markets, there are plenty of old guys moving from a house to a unit or caravan looking to sell off old tools at a good price.
Having said all that, most of my weeds are removed by bending over and pulling the bloody things out.
Just to prove that I do actually weed down in the paddock, I thought I might do a before and after shot. When I first cleaned up the edge of the dam a couple of years ago, there was nothing but weeds, so the whole lot came out. Then the volunteer sedge grasses started turning up. But, they are easily smothered and killed by weeds. So a couple of times a year I go down and pull out the weeds. The grasses are now expanding nicely.