January 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama


In Defence of the Defenceless or How I Lost a Weekend to a Rooster

January 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

I rent a house on 25 acres in the country. Part of my country living, for about 8 months now, has been Doo, a strapping rooster that turned up one day from a neighbouring farm and decided, with all the lush food my garden had to offer him, that he’d make himself at home. Anyone who has ever lived in close quarters with a rooster will know two things: roosters have fantastic personalities, and they can make a lot of noise. They’re roosters! What do you expect?

My gripe at the moment is the lack of compassion of so many people for defenceless creatures great and small. An additional dwelling on my property serves as a holiday home rental for the landlords. Guests staying there last week, friends of the landlords, laid a complaint against our acquired rooster, saying that he crowed too much in the morning. The result? A call from the landlord telling us to get rid of it by whichever means necessary.

Needless to say I lost a weekend to the stress of this situation. He was not our rooster to “dispose” of, firstly, secondly neither my significant other nor I had any problem with Doo – in fact he had become part of our lives. I weaped, I ranted, I stayed up all night worrying about this poor defenceless creature whose personality I’d grown attached to.

I was enraged for a few reasons, and disheartened because I was reminded of the people who are what’s wrong with this world. I was enraged because this is the country – if you choose a holiday in the country, expect country noises, like roosters. I was enraged because do not use your power of connection to get what you want, that is not fair. I was enraged because we are the permanent residents on this property and our thoughts, feelings, desires at no point were considered by either vacationers or landlord. I was enraged because it was we, the soft-hearted, compassionate, respectful people who had no beef with the beautiful cockerel, who had to frighten him as we tried to catch him, and had to look into his eyes as he could not move in his cage, and had to listen to his frightened, confused mutterings as we transported him, and had to worry about whether or not he’d survive in his new home. I was enraged because nobody, except us, stopped to consider the real owners of the rooster and nobody stopped to consider the rooster. Finally, I am enraged because the landlord lied to us in order to “pull rank” on us, using his power against us, reliable, helpful, generous tenants.

Yes, he is a rooster, but who is to say that he is any less worthy than we? Who are we to decide whether he lives or dies just because he is making the noise that roosters make. I grow wild at this lack of consideration and compassion. There is a book that states we are meant to be looking after this planet, and all of its inhabitants. When did so many people forget?

We found Doo a delightfully lush new home, close to us so that we can visit, and in an area where he will enjoy the company (and titbits) of local visitors and campers. He seems happy and settled, and we rest easy knowing that we have handled the situation in the most humane way possible. We rest easy until we are, once again, called on to defend the defenceless.


My Massive Marrows

January 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

This summer I’ve become a veggie grower. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a little bit of time, a little bit of space and a little bit of inclination. It has not come without its challenges, but finally after much frustration, learning, and letting go, I am now reaping the rewards of my efforts and enjoying marrows the size of my calf, patty pans the size of a grown man’s fist, and a crop of melons that will keep me feasting all summer.

This has not been a solo project but a joint effort between me and my significant other. He has helped me toil and sweat to prepare the beds, to keep the ground weed free (well, as weed free as possible), and to water… and water… and water. He has had the added task of consoling me when the first little growers were lost to some roaming sheep, and then when some lambs got through the fence and had another go. He has also had to bear the responsibility of dealing with our mighty infestation of cabbage aphids because the site of their clusters had my skin crawling. Good chap! Patient chap – Oh, boy! Lucky for him I am finally able to cook up a storm for him, utilising the fruits (well, veggies really) of our labours.

This was a trial. We’re living in a new part of the country with a very particular climate, a climate that has also been behaving outside of the norm. Having never grown more than a few basics, this was the first time we’d tried our hand at cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and guess what?! This family has its own special type of aphid. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, and they’re awful. The cabbage aphids, or mealy bugs have been eliminated with a little pest control and some (rather late) companion planting. We’ve inadvertently learned a lot about companion planting. Next time will be better. We’ve also learned about making our own pest control sprays and I’ve learned to become tougher!

The best lesson I have learned is how nature is amazing. The plants that have not been successful have only not been successful because they have had some poor luck and went to flower – they fought tooth and nail for their survival. If I’d been munched by sheep, aphids and suffered floods then drought I’d probably have tried to spread my seed too. All of our survivors, however, have shown us that with a little bit of preparation, regular weeding and watering, some patience, and of course a dash of love, nature will do her thing and grow, and grow and grow. Oh, and taste delicious! We need just wait, and watch, and enjoy.


Ring-Ring… Ring-Ring… Ring-Ring

January 16, 2013 § 1 Comment

Remember the “olden days”, the days of yore, the days when if we wanted to connect with someone via the telephone we had to ring their home number and if there was no answer we had to call back later. Ok, so this was actually not that long ago. In fact it was so recently that I can remember it quite clearly (and I’m not that old).

Then? Then came the cellular phone. To be fair originally I think they may have been bricks in cell-phone clothing, but nonetheless they arrived to make our lives easier, to enable people to connect more regularly and with greater efficiency. I can remember my first cell-phone: a gorgeous little Nokia, latest model at the time – one I had to save up money from my first job out of school for, after all, in those days people in school did not have cell-phones and instead spoke to each other.

Now, if it were not for the access my cell-phone gives me to my loved ones flung far across the country – the world – I would send it in for recycling and laugh all the way home. Why? Simply because other people expect us to be at the beck and call of the grand master cell-phone, and more and more I am aware of how annoyed people become when you choose not to answer their calls and either they have to leave a message, or they have to get back to you via email.

I am a grand believer in remaining the boss of my cell-phone, I believe that is healthy and that is my right. I do not have to answer every call, and I do not have to respond immediately if a message is left. If I am busy working, I will continue working; if I am busy exercising or doing yoga, I will continue to do so; if I am busy with someone else, I will get back to you; if I am just not in the mood for “that” conversation” or to talk to someone I don’t know, that is my prerogative. The flip side of that is, if you are exactly who I’d like to catch up with, or be distracted by, or “just because”, I can choose to answer.


Like a see-saw constantly trying to re-centre itself, just as callers grow more impatient with my voicemail message, so I grow more determined to ignore the ringing in my ears. It is a determination to hold onto my time and decide how I spend it, and a determination to decide what the priority in my life is at any given moment. My sincerest apologies if this inconveniences you in any way, but please leave me a message (or better yet, send me an email) and I’ll endeavour to get back to you as soon as I can!

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