Tonight, for the first time in many long years of writing, I had no idea what to say. Seriously! That is how writers block sometimes occurs with me. It was a complex situation, because I knew what the subject was that I wanted to write about this week, but I just had no story with which to talk about that particular subject.
As an interesting side story, I am nowhere near short of ideas for the blog, because as I type this essay, I have a whiteboard that shares my desk and it is full of topics and story ideas. It is just that this weeks particular topic is hard to form a story around.
I enjoy telling stories. You know, with the topic I chose to write about this week, instead of telling a story, I could have reeled off a fire breathing sermon and hopefully people would be heard cheering in the pews. But I also know that those same cheering people would then go off and about their lives as if nothing had been heard. The topic I chose to write about is a boring one after all, and a fire breathing sermon is far more entertaining to some people. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of fire breathing sermons in the world, and one more from me would probably only add heat to an already over heated atmosphere.
Yup, I really lacked a story to tell around this boring topic that I had chosen to write about today. With my writers block in mind, I decided instead to sit out in the orchard as the sun set on this early spring evening. At that time, the chickens did what the chickens usually do, which means ransacking garden beds and digging up the orchard. Meanwhile, as the sun set lower on the horizon, a Boobook Owl hooted and the Currawongs sang their mournful cries to mark the end of another day.
So I simply quietened my mind for a while and opened it to the evening sights and sounds of the forest and asked myself the very hard question: How the heck do I write about what is ostensibly a boring but important topic?
The topic arose in the first place because the editor and I were discussing chocolates and the sheer variety that is available to be purchased these days. It can be quite confronting to see firsthand the sheer variety of chocolates available. The packaging is certainly very eye catching and a person may feel warm and fuzzy thoughts about some brands of chocolate and indifference and/or curiosity about other brands.
The funny thing about the sheer diversity of chocolates to be had these days is that when I was a kid, there was only a very limited variety of chocolates, and so you were taught to be loyal to a particular brand. As a kid I probably had endless arguments and fights with my peers about why my chocolate brand was better than their choice.
As a teenager, recurring zits (the technical name for pimples, which are a small hard inflamed spot on the skin) put an end to my love of chocolate. I couldn’t consume a chocolate bar without breaking out into a face full of zits. Actually it probably wasn’t that severe, it is just that teenagers tend to exaggerate otherwise minor matters!
Nowadays, I enjoy a small quantity of dark chocolate in my daily serving of Anzac biscuits – and there are no zits! But of course that may be because I have not purchased a chocolate bar for many long years.
So this evening I was sitting out in the orchard with the ransacking chickens and contemplating chocolate and that boring topic. Chocolate is much better to contemplate! Yum!
Earlier in the day, the editor and I had been working on the new strawberry terrace. I have to admit that I enjoy fresh sun ripened strawberries far more than chocolate because they taste better. As an interesting side note, the strawberry terrace project itself makes no financial sense whatsoever, because so far despite using a huge quantity of sweat equity, existing tools and a whole heap of recycled materials, the project has consumed about $500 of materials, and it is nowhere near completed. Now for that sort of money, I reckon we could purchase about 50kg (110 pounds) of strawberries from a grower or retailer.
The real problem is that the previous strawberry patch and enclosure had been ransacked by the wallabies (a local marsupial which are a bit smaller than a kangaroo, and which were captured on film fighting in my previous entry). Then the local Crimson Rosellas (one of the local parrots) broke into the holes that the wallabies had created and gorged themselves. Even the dogs got in on the thieving act and they consumed plenty of fresh strawberries. Finally, the leeches and millipedes cleaned up all of the remaining fruit. Last summer was a total strawberry disaster, and we didn’t harvest any berries for fresh eating, jam making, or wine making. Nope, less than a cup full of berries for the entire growing season.
And that is why we decided we needed a better strawberry enclosure. In fact making decisions is not hard at all, it just takes practice. For example, making a decision to start any new project is a relatively easy process:
- Identify a need;
- Work out a possible design;
- Identify and accumulate your resources;
- Work out most (but not all) of the details as to how the project will look; and
- Then do it (with some possible modification allowance along the way).
The thing is, I don't know whether any of these projects will work out. Or whether my decisions are the right ones. That is why it is the leap into the great unknown. Making the decision to do something is the easy bit. Acting on the decision and living with the consequences is not as easy. And it is not lost on me that choosing to not make a decision about anything - is actually making a decision, albeit passively! Perhaps that is why people seem to have trouble making decisions. Fortunately, I’m made of stern stuff, and I can stand in front of a display of chocolate bars without feeling dissatisfied, which is how you are programmed and intended to feel. Can you?
This week, a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch was placed onto the recently excavated surface of the new strawberry terrace. Just under half of the treated pine fence posts which form part of the structure were cemented into the ground too. And we hung the recycled screen door off one end of the strawberry enclosure (a tip shop purchase from way back). And just to top it all off, two rows of a beautiful mix of very fine composted woody mulch (not the usual and more coarse woody mulch) and mushroom compost were laid out in the enclosure. By the next blog we are hoping to have at least some strawberry plants in that glorious compost mix.
|The new strawberry enclosure progresses and hopefully will be ready to accept some plants over the next week|
|Mr Poopy admires the deep beds of compost which hopefully will be planted out next week|
|Two concrete steps were constructed. The screen is to protect the surface of the curing cement from a sudden rain storm|
|Another cement step was added this week|
Unfortunately we were unable to plant strawberries into those nice neat rows of compost because we ran out of time. We also were unable to provide daily doses of water to the transplanted plants and that is a necessity at this time of year, otherwise the plants will go into shock and die. Last week we moved and filled a water tank near to that strawberry terrace, and this week, I began the slow process of installing a water pump so as to provide water to the yet to be transplanted plants.
|The author begins the process of constructing a water pump for the strawberry terrace|
|The water pump and accumulator and circuit breaker is connected and is now ready to be installed|
Solar power geek alert (skip to the next paragraph if easily bored!) Enthusiasts of solar power occasionally talk among themselves about the mysterious "Cloud edge effect". What this means is that you can experience a day when there is a lot of high altitude clouds with sunny breaks in between. On those special days, the sunlight bounces off those high altitude clouds and photons skip all about the planets surface in ways that the local star (The Sun) never quite intended. On those special days, the electricity generated by solar panels can far exceed the expected output. This week, I spotted one of those special days and the solar power system was generating electricity at the maximum continuous rate of 160 Amps (or about 5.8kW). That is a lot of electricity...
|High altitude clouds caused a cloud edge effect which produced the maximum amount of electricity from the solar panels this week|
|Egg cartons and a plastic tray were used as an experiment this year with seed raising for summer vegetables|
|Growth in the blackberry and raspberry enclosure is very strong. Poopy expresses his thoughts|
|European honey bees and native wasps enjoy the warmer spring weather|
|Two flowering cherries. Show offs...|
|The local Acacia's (Blackwood's) are in flower|
|The prize goes to this red flowering camellia. It is about the size of an outspread hand|
|Leucodendron's provide a mass display of heat hardy flowers|
|We reckon this is some form of African daisy|
|The Echium's appear to have hybridised and we are now enjoying pink flowering forms|
|Succulents are not to be outdone|
|However, the African daisies have gone feral|