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Sometimes I find it hard to know who is trying to subvert whom. You see, I was in Melbourne last week, and my travels into the big smoke generally come with a long list of things to do! One of those items on the to do list was to enjoy a quality coffee and muffin and take a few quiet moments to enjoy a couple of pages in the latest book that I’m reading. The café in question sources some of their coffee beans from a family run farm and they then roast their own coffee beans at the back of the café. Oh, the coffee is good and the muffins are to kill for!
Anyway, another stop on the to do list was to get my hair cut. In recent weeks I had begun to look a bit scruffy, well that is what the editor was telling me anyway, and so I booked in an appointment at a business that I have been frequenting for more than a decade. Getting ones haircut is always a complex issue for the male of the species. As a delaying tactic, I tell the editor that if I was to get my haircut, I would definitely lose mojo. And I mean, who wants to lose mojo? You see, when I was in my late teens to about my mid-twenties I had long flowing locks and a pony tail, but alas time moves on and so too does the male hairline – and thus time stole some of my mojo. So I dither and prevaricate and generally put off getting my haircut until the editor stamps her foot (as an interesting side story, the editor cannot stamp her feet this week as a cheeky ant bit one of her feet and her big toe has swollen to beyond its usual foot stamping capacities!) and – correctly too – tells me that enough is enough. At that point in time, I book an appointment to get my haircut.
Don’t let the editor know this next bit but, it is kind of fun getting one’s haircut. This month there was a new guy and for about three quarters of an hour we just talked bloke stuff and he told me stuff about himself and I shared many funny stories from here. There was lots of laughs and sheer silliness. The new guy did a pretty good haircut too and the editor – in an ultimately fruitless attempt to get me to cut my hair more often – told me that I had actually gained mojo through a particularly good haircut. Surely this was a new strategy on behalf of the editor?
At some point during the haircut, the new guy asked me whether I’d seen a particular show on television. That particular question is a surprisingly common question. And I replied that I don’t actually watch much television. As a disclosure, regular readers will recall that I am something of a fan-boy of the very long running television show: Grand Designs UK. But other than that show, I just don’t watch television and haven’t done so for a very long time. So as the new guy and I were chatting away, at the back of my mind I began wondering whether the question that he asked was an attempt to subvert me to his world view or whether my reply was me trying to subvert him to my worldview. It is a fascinating question isn’t it?
The word subversion, from which the verb subvert is derived, is defined as: seeking or intended to subvert an established system or institution. I like the sound of that definition as it sounds a bit “Fight Club” to me! But then my mojo was left behind on the floor with my discarded hair, and then as the hours and days went on whilst I was enjoying my new haircut, I continued thinking about who was trying to subvert whom? And I’m not really sure of the answer to that question.
You see I don’t have a desire to obtain a lot of stuff that other people aspire to owning. How about that big screen television? No way! What about the dishwasher, or the smart phone? Nope, none of those items are for me. And I certainly don’t want to go into debt just to own a large SUV because I require a prop for my phallus! There are just so many material things that I don’t desire, that sometimes I feel that it is mildly subversive to deliberately turn your back upon the world of plenty.
In return for not pursuing those material things, I get to enjoy both a quiet environment and the time to enjoy it. I still have to work hard here, however I can define how I spend my time. If for example the weather conditions are less than optimal, I can do something else that doesn’t require me to be outside. Our ancestors had that freedom, so it is not a new thing at all. I still have to participate in the economy and earn a living, it is just that by not desiring the usual material things, I can participate less in that economy than many other people do.
There are both costs and benefits for either of these paths. I did tell you that this was a complex question!
There are both costs and benefits for either of these paths. I did tell you that this was a complex question!
Last week all of the tomato seedlings planted died in a late frost. Perhaps it could be said that the tomato seedlings had lost their mojo? A few days ago, the editor and I planted out about half of the remaining tomato seedlings and then we crossed out fingers and hoped that the light frost was not repeated!
|The tomato seedlings prior to being replanted a few days ago|
|Round 2 of the tomato seedlings in their neat rows in the tomato enclosure|
Observant readers will note that to the right of the above photo an entire row of gooseberry cuttings has been planted directly into the rich soil of the tomato enclosure.
Speaking of working hard… Sometimes one has to work a little bit harder to regain lost mojo, and so it was that this week that I decided to clean up a bit more of the old logging detritus which is dotted about the farm in the most unlikely of spots.
|The author commenced cleaning up this old tree stump which had been left over from the days of the loggers|
Logging in this mountain range has been going on since about 1860. In this part of the mountain range, it did stop many decades ago. That doesn’t mean that the detritus has broken down into quality soil, and the above photo shows a blackened tree stump sticking out of the ground. However, the tree stump is completely upside down and covered in compacted soil. How the tree stumps ended up like that is well beyond me! There have been quite a few of them which I have cleared up over the past decade, so I have been getting better at removing them. The first step in that process is digging away all of the soil from the tree stump. Observant readers will note that the tree stump had been burnt at some stage in the far distant past as it shows blackened scorch marks.
|The author then dug away all of the soil from on top of and also surrounding the blackened tree stump|
The tree stump weighed far more than I do and so I used a very large steel house wrecking bar to lever the tree stump from the hole that I had dug. Once the tree stump was mostly clear of the soil, I was then able to cut up the tree stump into smaller pieces using the chainsaw and then burn it off. The tree stump was unfortunately far too wet to be able to be burnt as firewood.
|The tree stump was then cut up and relocated to a nearby fire where it was burned off|
The hole that was left over from removing the tree stump was then back filled with the soil which had been surrounding the hole. Over that newly flattened soil surface, I spread chicken manure and soiled chicken bedding. In another years time, that area will look green and lush and the native wallabies, wombats and kangaroos will enjoy the extra feed. Surely that good deed will earn me some additional mojo?
|The hole where the tree stump was removed from has now been remediated|
There is no shortage of firewood here as the big trees are constantly shedding huge branches and last evening this monster branch fell into the edge of the orchard. Note the previously fallen tree branch in the background of the photo below.
|A huge eucalyptus tree dropped this massive branch which narrowly missed squashing a few trees in the orchard|
Please don’t get the incorrect impression that I’m some sort of luddite! Some of the manufactured products that are available to purchase just amazes me. And they are usually far cheaper than a big screen television too! This week, I finally received delivery of a couple of grinding discs which have the most beautiful pattern of industrial diamonds on their surface. The discs are going to be used to sharpen carbide steel tools. You have to use industrial diamonds to sharpen carbide steel as that steel is just so crazy hard that few other products will actually cut it. Imagine trying to explain to an emperor two thousand years ago, that we can purchase a cutting disc which is covered in diamonds and is sold by traders for the price of a few coffees plus a couple of very tasty muffins and a haircut!
|The cutting disc which is to be used to sharpen tools with carbide steel cutting edges|
Long term readers will recall the many hassles that I have had recently with the watering system for all of the garden taps. This week, I upgraded the water pump which is the heart of the system to a slightly larger and better made water pump. The money spent on that water pump is not even close to being the equivalent of a big screen television, but that water pump is a very important piece of infrastructure for the plants, so it just has to work.
|A new and bigger fourth generation water pump was installed this week. That is the pump on the left hand side. The older pump can be seen disconnected from the water pipes|
|Poopy shows off his summer haircut alongside his good mate, Sir Scruffy|
Speaking of dogs, I have been experimenting with the dogs breakfast meal and I have discovered that the dogs enjoy blitzed seasonal vegetables with basmati rice!
|The most recent dog food experiments have concluded that the dogs enjoy blitzed seasonal vegetables with rice|
I spotted the very first small green cherry this week. It would be nice to harvest some cherries before the local parrots do.
|I spotted the very first small green cherry this week|
The recent rains have caused the almonds to swell to even larger sizes this week.
|The recent rains have caused the almonds to swell to even larger sizes this week|
Despite losing most of the apricot fruit this season to both heavy rainfall and the occasional light frost, I spotted about a dozen apricot fruit still slowly swelling on the dozen apricot trees. What a bumper harvest it will be!
|I spotted about a dozen apricot fruit slowly swelling on the dozen apricot trees|
The apples and pears are far more sensible fruit trees as they flower and fruit much later in the season, and they are all producing huge quantities of blossoms this week.
|The apples and pears are producing huge quantities of blossoms this week|
There has been a bit of sun this week and I noticed that many of the sub-tropical fruit trees which are a very long way outside their normal growing range went deciduous over the cold winter, but this week they have produced a few leaves:
|This pecan which went deciduous over the cold winter has produced some leaves this week|
|This white sapote which also went deciduous over the cold winter has produced some leaves this week|
And I just thought that it would be nice (and perhaps I may gain a bit of extra mojo by doing so?) to share a photo of the spring sunshine sparkling off some of the younger fruit trees in the more sunny orchard. It just looks nice!
|The spring sunshine sparkles off the leaves of the many young fruit trees in the more sunny orchard|
When the sun shines, the air is full of the buzzing of insects. It is really great to listen to them all and see them go about their business.
|European honey bees and a butterfly enjoy the lavender|
|The butterflies are out in force and I spotted them enjoying the Echium flowers in the spring sunshine|
There is so much going on in the farm with the warmer spring conditions, that I wouldn’t have time to watch a big screen television, even if I wanted one! Which I don't.