Secret garden

gate to the secret garden
One of my long time dreams is to have a secret garden. Actually, my dream was to adopt one. An unkempt one that longed to be rediscovered – full of botanical gems and a history of memories – a keyed gate, an overgrown path etc…

Shortly after we moved in, I found it. Not an existing secret garden (my holy grail) but the gate that led nowhere. The gate that didn’t open. This is it. My chance to reopen a portal to my own secret garden from the edge of my backyard to the fields beyond. The site has been chosen, shady, secluded, a place to ponder in a neglected yet beautiful area.

There are many practical steps to creating a secret garden, so although my project is shrounded in whimsy and day dreaming, I have a plan regarding things to acquire:

  • reclaimed old clay bricks for a path to/from the garden
  • a garden arch (prefer old, but may buy new and give it an antiqued/rusty finish)
  • any old iron decorative border/edgings
  • non-invasive secret garden plants for pots – e.g. so far –>chamomile, wooly thyme
  • faery, goblin,elve,buddhas for the spirit populus
  • wind chimes

These are, as I see it at first imagined glance, the bare essentials for a secret garden. Only my research will uncover if there are more elements.

The project began with the a careful pruning of the plants surrounding the gate and an attempted opening. The gate yielded to opening after some years, but is very stiff as though trying hard to resist my will to open it. Hopefully it will settle into it’s new purpose with a bit of wishful thinking and a bit of magic spray (WD40).

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Gandalf arrives

There was a new wil-o-wisp sized addition to the shire farm a few nights ago. Gandalf arrived from a neighbouring shire and joined the household as Merlin’s little brother, by adoption. He’s all big paws clumsiness.

gandalf the grey (kitten)

Before he arrived, we had no idea about his colouring, but a few days ago I said that if he was the grey cat I’d always wanted, (just like Merlin was the black cat I’d always wanted and was found with existing Arthurian name – bonus points on the destiny factor) we would have to call the little grey one, Gandalf (the Grey) from Lord of the Rings, which would sit nicely with the existing mature Merlin in the wizardly relationship context. Well, he’s definitely grey and I can’t bring myself to wave my hand at fate at pick another name, so it sticks, no matter how cheesey.

*update* – I found out that a friend of mine has a Dad (that’s not the cool bit) who’s cat just died recently (that’s not the cool bit either) –> an old cat called *Gandalf* was he. An old spirit takes to The Wild Roads…a new kitten spirit steps off the roads, fleetingly – to be part of our lives.

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Expose some skin

I picked up Gaia the ever-broody, yesterday morning, to remove her from the eggs. I turned her over slightly to look underneath her (why not?) and gasped in shock to find a big bare patch in her underside. It looked like all her feathers had been plucked.

I immediately thought that she had been attacked by jealous females, or that my ignorance and lack of care had caused this. [I already have Babu’s death on my novice conscience]. Luckily, I only divulged this “wound” to my husband who also took a doctor like approach to this exposed skin calling for immediate isolation and care.

I turned to the Internet as always, to seek a chicken psychology for my obviously overly bitchy hens. Imagine my embarrassment to read that this is a normal part of a chicken. The exposed skin is the bit that keeps the eggs warm!. I’ve failed basic chicken anatomy 101 already. It would be a bit of an obvious design fault for a chicken to have insulating feathers right in the place they are trying to transfer heat from their bodies to an egg shell. People say that chickens are dumb. Look not at the chicken to which the finger points, but at the doofus who’s arm is at the origin of said pointing finger.

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Getting to know you…

As I befriend each of my new feathered friends, I’m leaning their personalities and discovering their names which usually relate to their distinguishable features.

1. Kali – the *big* hen [Kali is Shiva’s consort, meaning ‘The Black Female’]
2. Gaia – very very broody earth mama white hen with black markings
3. Storm – The fluffy grey
4. ? – white hen
5. ? – white hen
6. ? – fluffy black
7. ? – black hen
8. ? – black hen
9.Rasputin – the mad, bad rooster who’s ladies follow him around as if hypnotised with his beauty

1. Cirrus – the duck with a cirrus-cloud like brown marking on her chest
2. Withywindle – the old white duck who just wanders around alone
3. Vicar – the duck with a white collar
4 ? – beautiful young looking white duck

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Not enough time

I really really wanted to establish a permaculure veggie & herb garden this year but having just moved in I’m feeling like it’s a little ambitious. I think I might just plant my seedlings in boring and unefficient rows. I could still design my permaculture mandala in readiness for next year but the whole process just feels a little out of reach to me at the moment.

You can even make a chicken tractor (don’t like that mechancial terminology) to rotate your chickens around to auto-fertilise and weed your garden. The chicken tractor is a moveable chicken coop. See these examples:. You can also have a permaculture gardens without chickens though, yet this still seems to ambitious as you need to devote time for planning. Hmmmmmm…..need to find some realistic guidance about the length of time needed to establish a permaculture model.

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We have moved in! Apart from the overwhelming chaos of living in boxes it’s cool. As we shipped our stuff from the UK we steam cleaned and wrapped *all* our stuff to be sure to get it through AUS quarantine but this now translates as a torture. Unwrapping things should be joyous, and yet your fingers can only take so much ripping of plastic and hacking at packaging tape. *sigh*…

On a more animal note, I’m bonding big time with the chickens, ducks and turkeys. Even though I had set myself a rigid unpacking timetable, I gave 3 hours of my time to the chicken coop on Saturday morning. I’m still learning the personalities of the chickens but have named the rooster, Rasputin. He’s a love machine, he’s mad, bad but enchanting. What other name?

I really know nothing about chickens – I don’t even know if they bite when you try to remove a broody hen from her eggs so I got some gloves. I felt a bit foolish when she just hopped off as soon as the big gloved hand came near — and I also felt very mean. I’m not used to “taking” from animals, and I must admit to feeling very guilty when she remarks about my intrusion on what would be her future little chicks. I’m too sentimental, I realise this! What will happen when we have cows and bits of them end up in our freezer????? You’ll soon find out if I can truly muti-task (type in a blog whilst weeping)

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Blue energy

I thought I’d make an exciting new energy discovery last night. I was walking down a darkened hallway opening a gummed envelope and I saw a neon blue flash of light.  No, it wasn’t me having a dream about getting a letterof acceptance from Hogwarts, but it wasn’t a one off phenomena either.  By sticking the envelope back down the blue flash could be called up at will.  Like any good wannabe scientistette,  I got my husband to verify my findings.  He too could see the blue flash.  I was relieved to find it was not my imagination or the result of reading waaay too much Robert Jordan lately.  (WOT reference for RJ geeks: Well, I *might* be Aes Sedai, can you prove that I’m not?)

Was this a potential source of free energy for the future? Maybe we could use this blue flash to run lightbulbs on our property?  My eco-thoughts got a little carried away…..

Anyway, I went straight to the holy scriptures –  the New Scientist magazine website – only to find that the blue flash has already been discovered.  Looks like I won’t be going on the ABC’s ‘New Inventors’ program just yet.   Interesting to note the suggestion that it could, in theory, cause an ignition.  Next time we’re camping, I’ll be putting aside my matches and pulling out my pack of gummed envelopes (recycled of course!).

Try it with the next gummed envelope you get. I can’t confirm that all brands of gum will yield a result.   Who knows, it could spontaneously combust and get you out of paying that pesky bill.


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Moon planting

Permaculture. I’m trying to find out about it and I always thought that it was just gardening terminology. Ok more than that, I know it’s a way of growing and nurturing with nature, for example using chickens to forage on fallen fruits – not that simplistic but you know, a holistic approach to growing plants and keeping animals.

By the green gods though – it’s much more than that! It’s so aligned to my secret religion (which will no doubt be revealed through these pages). I found this reference to an article from the Permaculture Association of South Australia’s 1988 Calendar explaining how permaculture practice can include planting according to the moon cycles.

This could be the start of my new permaculture obsession.

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Start at the beginning

How do you start to blog? The organiser in me was tempted to write a huge intro explaining my purpose, but my more chilled-out aspect argues that I should just start where my thoughts take me this day. So for the past few weeks these aspects of me wax and wane until after draft debut posts and dainty deliberations over choice words I began to realise that without spontaneous postings a blog might as well be dead. Three weeks after installing my blog software and I had no beginning. I was not born to blog it seems.

And yet….there is a purpose, there is….I can’t ignore it. I can’t just start this with a casual wave of my hand.

I’m not senselessly blogging into the 21st century because it’s cool. I’m doing it because I don’t have the patience to curl my fingers around a pen anymore. I want an account of our adventures into the unknown world of owning property. We’re moving to a hobby farm in two weeks and I’m scared. We’ve grown vegetables and herbs before but this is large scale. We are going to be responsible for the lives of chickens, ducks and also some cows in the near future. I don’t know anything about looking after them [i’ve planted some silverbeet to bribe the chickens into loving me]. I’m a passionate environmentalist but I can’t survive on philosophy alone. Even our water usage must be carefully scientific as we are just on tank water. I dream of worm farms and permaculture….but I feel a big knowledge deficit.


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sharing wild spells of magic found in nature, books, stories, backyard farming, ecology, permaculture


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