As Darwin Didn’t Say

Apparently, you can’t live without a kitchen. Well, not for very long anyway and certainly not for the two or so months we’re planning. We know this because a great many people, when told of the expected time frame of our latest project, tell us so. Well, usually they gasp a little first.  Admittedly, these are the same folk who blanched at the bedroom in the corner of the living room, so I’m guessing their lives are a little more predictable and a little less chaotic than those at Union Homestead.

But these decrees have led to many lively discussions around the temporarily relocated dining table, because “can’t” is such a funny word.  Like “need”, it’s meaning has been blurred over time so now a television set is a “need” and anything slightly out of the ordinary or not immediately achievable “can’t be done”. Not that we’re suggesting that anything and everything is possible; we all know from experience that simply isn’t so. The five year old Farmer definitely couldn’t “jump and miss a bar” of the school climbing frame despite his mother’s assurance to the contrary. The following six weeks his arm spent in plaster served as an excellent maternal reminder that sometimes can’t is definitely can’t, no matter how good the cheer-leading. You also can’t change the weather, run a petrol engine on diesel, make an omelette without eggs, or have a meaningful conversation with The Bean Counter during ESPN FC. It’s impossible! But with a couple of tweaks, a review of expectations, and some clever adaptations most things can be done. Just not the petrol/diesel thing; that one’s a straight, flat, not negotiable “no way”.

So, having been visited by Daryl d’Plumber on what must have been one of the coldest days this winter, we have been without running water in the room formally known as the kitchen for nearly a week. The food prep area has now moved two metres and one room to a corner of the living room and the laundry, another five or so paces south, now doubles as the scullery. We’ve kept the oven hooked up for now but no doubt the day will come when the BBQ, wood burner and, when our need for cake can no longer be ignored, lovely neighbours will be asked to step into the breach. We’re pretty sure we’ll survive whichever room we utilise to prepare our sustenance.


The goats will continue to incubate in the winter sun,


Kiki, despite being the littlest in the flock, will remain keyholder of the much coveted door-side nesting box,


The garden clock will progress, perpetually,


and we Homesteaders will continue to dream, scheme, succeed and fail, react and adapt.

Apparently, Charles Darwin never did say:

Darwinbut that isn’t important.  What is is the warm glow and feeling of strength these words give us whenever we are told something we are planning can’t be done.

So, will the Homestead be hosting a multi course, sit down, pull-out-all-the-stops dinner for twenty in the next couple of months? It’s unlikely.  But if you’re okay with pot luck and lively conversation around the woodburner come on over. Maybe you could bring dessert.


21 thoughts on “As Darwin Didn’t Say

  1. Adapt, adopt and improve! I dig your spirit. Slap together a sweet mud and stone stove in the yard and carry on.

    Hey, is your silky getting extra broody this season? Because Piper won’t leave the nesting box for days now. What gives? I’m worried and miss our evening walks and chats!

    And yes, Darwin definitely never said that. A point I bring up at least five times annually since I was a young lad. [oh, my phone tried to auto-correct that as “young lady”. That would’ve not been my desired sentiment at all.]

    As you were.

    • I like the idea of the mud and stone stove but the engineer among us keeps threatening to introduce a hot tub/pizza oven combo…maybe one day 🙂
      Kiki is prone to these early, early Spring broody periods. We managed to remove six snaffled eggs from under her when she popped out to stretch her legs today – you need to strike when opportunity knocks. Last year, by the time the blossom was on the trees she was a bit more hit and miss about tending the nest and when we introduced some fertile eggs she was quite happy to hand over responsibility to one of the others. We tend to just leave them to it rather than try and break them of their broodiness…seems a little callous to stop them doing what they are programmed to do.
      Thanks for taking the time to say hi

      • Hot tub/ pizza oven?! Genius! Just don’t get confused as to what is food and what isn’t.

        Piper allows me to gather eggs from under her so long as I coo to her while I do so. She is very pleasant. She was sitting on nine eggs yesterday and none were hers. Hers was on the other side of the nesting box?! Crazy silky.

        So, I shouldn’t be worried? I’d feel better if I saw her eating in between brooding. She’s my precious little fuzzy wumpkins and I do worry so.

  2. Hopefully Christmas dinner will be doable in your by then new kitchen. In the meantime, I should think that between woodburner and bbq you will probably manage – do you have a slow cooker? You can bake cakes in those, though admittedly I’ve never tried it personally (but my slow cooker cook book has recipes for cake). The only thing is, hopefully you’ll be back in business in the proper new kitchen by the time summer hits, because you will not be wanting the woodburner going when it’s 28 C out. I would think 2 months is about right for a completely gutted kitchen to come together again, and I guess the bonus of heading into spring before too long means that the bbq will be a more attractive option anyway.

    Love the Darwin quote, and it’s very apt in my life these days too. I might put it up on the wall somewhere here. I’ve been chanting “change is good” a lot, but it doesn’t seem to do much to put me in a better frame of mind. Was the quote someone’s wise words for the week? Can’t have been – it’s Wednesday (here anyway), and there’s no mention of dessert :).

    • The plan is to be able to bake the boys birthday (one day apart at the end of October) in the new kitchen. Fingers crossed. No,I don’t own a slow cooker, but we do a great steamed pud on top of the woodburner so maybe we can extend that with some creative, hit and miss, how can it go wrong experimentation.
      Change is good for sure, but it can be really scary when you’re in the middle of it. Nope, the quote just hi-jacked this weeks activities – it’s The Renovator’s turn at Sage Words this Sunday.

  3. I wish I could pop round with cake – I’d love to visit the homestead… sadly, it’s a bit far and I think customs would have something to say about trans-global transport of sweet treats! So, let’s hope local friends step up when cake is required!

  4. I should save this for ‘Sage Words Sunday’ but now that I am so old I’ll forget it by then but am reminded of the immortal lyrics of Tim Finn which I have always applied to my IT help desk in the front bedroom ‘Nobody told him it couldn’t be done’.
    In the case of the missing kitchen we can certainly help out and what’s more I have copious amounts of birthday cake in my freezer just waiting for cake worthy recipients – what’s that you say Farm Girl – of course it’s chocolate! Will see you soon.
    Love from the Cat Burglars

    • I never doubted you for a moment; we’ll have to tee up a rendezvous in the near future.
      Hooray for Tim Finn; Sage words indeed from a very cool song from the coolest of the Te Awamutu brothers (in my humble opinion).
      Love to all the Cat Burglars and a special shout out to the help desk 🙂

      • Looking forward to it. Possibly next weekend if suits you but see how the Renovator goes and what’s more this particular Kaiako is in the same boat blah curse those carrier monkeys although being a little further down the track professionally I just planned my maths and succumbed to ordering the groceries online all fueled with panadol and red wine. Bless the 21st century and blatant consumerism sometimes. Will text this week.

  5. A solid reminder that as long as you remain flexible and adaptable, it doesn’t matter what other people’s definition of “impossible” or “can’t be done” is. Their judgment and/or lack of confidence in either their or your ability to do what matters to you is meaningless; as long as yours remains focused on the goal. 🙂

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