Living the Good Life

The more you find out, the less you know. This week, short though it is because of Queen’s Birthday on Monday, seems to have been hell bent on pointing the accuracy of this cliche out to us.

Of course, we may be teetering on the verge of being precious as we’re all a tad tired.  Life is a bit of a social whirl for us hermits at the moment.  Over the weekend we had Grandad’s birthday meal (“Japanese tapas” at Dose Cafe – delicious), an “at home” with the Godfamily and all the associated hilarity you only have with friends you’ve known since you were the same age as your kids are now, and an evening safari across town (broken by a fish and chip tea with the elders) to the airport to pick up The Farmer from his Auckland sojourn, all which saw us late to our beds three nights running (gasp!).  Then there was that meeting at Farm Girl’s school about the inevitable site shift, a result of earthquake damage.  That was another late night by the time we’d churned over the whys, wherefores and whatever-will-bes and this weekend we’re gearing up for another bout of society as SURF New Brighton Change the World in 28 Days reaches it’s climax with the SURFun Off the Beach Blast and the Undy Five Hundy , and there’s also Jude Nextdoor’s birthday knees up.

Farm Girl in action at school
Farm Girl in action at school

But, all that aside, whatever the cause, the resultant feeling is that we’re still just wide-eyed, ham fisted beginners in this way of life we’ve chosen.

Take the firewood enclosure.  We’ve alluded before to our ability, or lack thereof, at building.  Everything assembled on the Homestead, with the exception of Pop and Uncle Trevor’s craft work, leans rather heavily on our two key fastening methods: those being binder/bailing twine and extremely long nails.  Don’t get us wrong, our expertise, with the twine in particular, is not to be scoffed at.  In her youth, the Milk Maid attained the salubrious Queen’s Guide Award and takes great pride in a well executed reef knot or a tidy line of whipping, but as a construction method it does have it’s limitations.  This week, the Goat Herd and Milk Maid finally got to the bottom of the firewood pile, stacked (read: thrown in exhaustion) down the south side of the house this time last year.  A stack of well dried fuel now reassuringly graces the garage walls and the acquisition of a well used picket fence, currently in sections, was proposed as a means to up the aesthetics of our firewood seasoning area.  Now, just to erect the fence sections so they are self supporting in a city still prone to the odd quake, but still separate for ease of future firewood stacking negating the need to hiff the logs over the top of the fence.

After dragging the sections into various configurations, propping, leaning, wedging and staking for the better part of a morning, the Milk Maid and Goat Herd found themselves utililsing the word “just” (as is “we’ll just saw the end off this, sink a couple of posts, concrete that….”) and decided it was time for a trip across to the dairy for a couple of peanut slabs to go with their coffee.  Those in the know would have had this problem solved in the screech of a power saw and a nail gun salvo. Our limitations are so painfully obvious.


Neatly stacked, awaiting inspiration which possibly includes the utilisation of binder twine and long nails
Neatly stacked, awaiting inspiration which possibly includes the utilisation of binder twine and long nails

Still ruminating on various fencing solutions and our inability to employ the majority of them, it was time to escort Melody the cat on her annual vet check up.  A deft hunter whose prowess belies her cutsey appearance, Mel gives us very little cause for concern.  As they wrestled her into the cage and into the back of the homestead mobile, The Farmer and Milk Maid were feeling pretty smug  She is one glowing specimen of fine feline fitness. This sentiment was echoed by Karen at New Brighton Mall Vet.  That is right up to the moment she peered into Mel’s mouth and found a dentist’s nightmare: red, infected gums and at least one tooth requiring extraction.  How could we have missed this?  Admittedly, Mel is not exactly displaying the symptoms of one suffering such ailments: her coat is gleaming, her appetite undiminished and her purr is an integral part of the Homestead soundtrack.  Still, she is the animal closest to us, sharing our inside space, and we are humiliated by our inattention.  We thought we had her care, at least, nailed.

2014-01-17 16.49.13

So as this short week limped to a painful end, peppered by a handful more undocumented examples of our ineptness (including the lack of ability to forecast the birth of Geraldine’s kids…still waiting), we headed off on our weekly community fix/shopping expedition. At one stop our appearance was heralded with unexpected enthusiasm.

“At last!  We’ve been waiting for you!”

It seems another customer is required to vacate their home to enable earthquake repairs to be made.  As asbestos has been identified, she will be unable to access her property during these repairs necessitating the need to rehouse her backyard chicken flock.

“We thought of you guys straight away as the perfect solution.”

A quick phone call, a two minute journey, and The Farmer and Renovator returned home with Raven, Autumn, Houdini and Chocolate.  Currently they are chilling their heels in Chicken Coop Solitary with their newly clipped wings and a liberal puffing of diatomaceous earth for mite control, with the ducks and Delia’s collectively unimpressed by their appearance.


Introducing Raven. Houdini, Chocolate and Autumn

And suddenly we’re all feeling pretty good again.  Not only have these newcomers swollen our flock number, they’ve also re inflated our flagging egos.  Yep, we know half of nothing about this life of ours but every day is a Homestead school day.  We know how to introduce new animals onto the Homestead, how to clip their flight feathers or trim their hooves, and ensure they are parasite free in a way that is nice to the planet. Sure we muck up or face our inadequacies on a frustratingly regular basis, but such is life and generally it’s a fun.


You could go so far as to say it’s The Good Life


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