Today is the Fourth of July, 2012. The Kitchens Garden and its Farmy has been on the internet, blogging about day to day growing, cooking and farming in a sustainable manner, using organic methods for ONE YEAR! THE CROWD ROARS! (If you open your mouth like a lion roaring, then whisper the roar you will sound like a thousand of people cheering. So go ahead, give yourself a cheer!)
Now don’t panic, everything will remain the same on the blog. I am not going away. The blog is not going away. Your animals are not going away, we will still be doing what we do every day. And the journal will still go up for you every dawn. I love my good mornings!
Plus, as we discussed yesterday, we are now looking at turning the highlights of the blog into a book. Three books actually. The Stories. The Farmy. And a toddlers Children’s Book. So in case you want to double back and look at this year of work from the beginning -day by day, and maybe point out anything that I can polish up and use for any of these books, or just out of interest, I shall provide the link to this date on the blog a year ago. This will be at the bottom of each post.
Now, because it’s my blog birthday and I will cry if I want to, I thought I would do something completely different just for today and tell you a few stories from my youth. I used to be a wee bit naughty. I adore that word naughty. Do you remember Fawlty Towers! You’re a naughty boy! and smacking his own bottom, then hitting the straight face button and stalking off. What was his name I am having a blank.
Anyway I was not always good you know. I try ever so hard to be good now.To amuse myself I shall tell you a few stories about me that you may not have known. These are previously unwritten excerpts from the as yet unwritten book ‘Potatoes are your Best Friend’. A manual on how to survive with too many children and not enough money.
My life was a bit bumpy once upon a time. I was divorced with a bunch of very young children, by the time I was 27, soon after my mother died actually, and for a wee while the kids and I were sailing along, steered by our wits and just ahead of the wind! For years actually. I have always said that my children and I grew up together.
Here are 5 little stories from that time. Number 6 is from the Beach.
1. When I was home alone with all my children, I used to work as a life drawing model at a local art school to make extra cash. I was raising my kids by myself, and they were so young that I could not work very long hours so I was very thin. Like really thin. Racehorse thin. This is why I was popular as a life drawing model. My bones showed. Plus of course I could stay very still for a long time. That hurts by the way. Sit still right now and count to 60 .. No, not like that!.. count slower. Sit absolutely still without moving a muscle not even your eyes for a full minute. Go on. I’ll wait.
Hard isn’t it. Not hard for me though because I was modeling in the daytime plus working in the old folks home at night. So I was very tired and I found it very easy to completely zone right out of my body. I would come home from work in the mroning, have breakfast with my children, (we had a flatmate who rented one of the rooms in our rented farmhouse on the orchard and she stayed with the children at night.) I would take the kids to school, or kindergarten, zoom out to the community college, change into my robe (a cerise and black 50’s full length, full skirted dressing gown.. I loved that gown and wore it completely out, it took years!). The models changed or rather disrobed, in a big storage cupboard that smelt like oil paint. Then I would walk across the hall and into a class of between 15 and 20 students of all ages. I would get my instructions from the tutor, arrange my body, then fall asleep. Asleep. Fast asleep. Absolutely and completely asleep. I would sleep stark naked in the center of the classroom, on a raised dias in front of a crowd of people. My eyes closed, my mouth just so, knees together, my arms placed by the tutor were relaxed, my breathing would slow right down and I would sleep without moving a muscle. Sometimes I went so fast asleep that the tutor would have to wake me to stretch and change poses. I was a legend.
2. Something else I am sure you did not know. About the same period I used to steal toilet paper. This is true. I am ashamed but there you are. The kids and I did not have a lot of money so if there was more than one spare roll of wrapped toilet paper, I would grab it and stuff it in my enormous handbag. Fast. Even though absolutely no-one is looking at you when you are in the toilet, I always whipped it up with a lightening strike, into my bag and bam it was stole. Then my conscience could not get a chance to speak I suppose. I had an entire wall of toilet paper in my house one time. It became such a problem. I was a compulsive toilet paper thief. I probably should have been in therapy. Of course I am over it now. But I am proud to say that I never stole the last roll in a stall. That would have been bad.
3. Once and stop me if I have told you this story before, a man I knew a little broke into my house. It was the house on the hill above the sea. I was single for many many years when my children were small and some men think that divorced and still single means available. And this man was one of those. The kids were at their Dad’s for the weekend. And I was fast asleep in my bed in my bedroom with the yellow walls, in my little rented house on the very top of this hill. I had been out the night before so I was really really fast asleep. I woke to a sound and there was this man standing beside the bed. I screamed (well more like a pathetic eek actually – very embarrassing) then grabbed the sheet and YANKED IT OVER MY HEAD! This was my total reaction to an intruder. Covering my head with a sheet! Bonkers. After I had recovered from my fright I asked him politely what the hell he thought he was doing. He confessed to me that he had come in through the lounge window. I can fix that for you, he said. Then he went on to tell me that he had looked through my bedroom window first to make sure I was alone before he broke in! Oh how generous of you, I thought. My mind was boggled. I opened my patio door to let my ancient three legged half blind dog rush in. She stood ..um.. threateningly next to me and we asked him ever so firmly to leave. Why is it, I said to Mazolet Mazout the Marzipan Kid (that was the dog’s name), after I had locked the door and jammed the window shut with a stick then climbed back into bed. Why is it, that when you say No to a man, he hears Maybe. Mazolet Mazout the Marzipan Kid did not answer as she was still wondering how I was going to protect myself from an intruder with a sheet over my head!
4. Oh here is one. This was terrible. Do you know what a sausage sizzle is? Well in NZ all kinds of groups have sausage sizzles to make money. They get a big grill (we call it a barbeque) and someone’s dad and he would grill sausages and wrap them in a buttered slice of white bread, draw a line on the sausage with tomato sauce from a plastic squeezy bottle shaped like a tomato and if you were lucky there might even be a wee bit of onion. Well, once there was a tire store that had a sausage sizzle to attract customers and they were giving the food away. Free sausies, the sign said. When the kids and I were young we did not eat a lot of meat, it is expensive in NZ and as we drove past, on the way home from the beach, we could smell those sizzling sausages. So I parked, we worked out the game plan. I tweeked my skirt up higher and let the strap of my top slide off my shoulder just a little and sauntered over to talk to the man about buying FOUR new tires. While I had them working out which ones and how much and when would I come in to have them fitted .. Oh dear I will have to get back to you with a time, do you have a card?.. the kids mobbed the sausage sizzle man and ate as many as they could stuff in their gobs! When I saw that they had started jamming bread in their pockets as well, I said thank you very much to the man, took his card, smiled brightly and said I shall call you later today. (Not!) gave the children the look and the sign and we all walked with nonchalant swiftness back to the car. The kids wiping their greasy hands on their shorts! Then wiping their faces on their T Shirts and grinning like idiots.
5. Oh here is another one. At the supermarket there are those nice ladies in aprons giving away little tastes of something. Well, I would stay out of sight and the boys would send Bad Baby Sopsta the youngest and cutest, again and again to get two morsels at a time and bring them back to them. They would be hiding around the corner. While this was going on another two sons were at the deli making eyes at the butcher and looking starved but clean. We all have these blue eyes and two of my tiny boys at once doing their best Oliver imitation could haul in the luncheon sausage. It became a competition to see who could cadge the most free stuff. They never left a supermarket hungry. Never. Naughty, naughty, naughty.
They can still get by on the smell of an oily rag these kids.
6. Last one. This is from another era. When I was little and lived at the beach I once staged a murder to prove that police men in police cars don’t see a thing. They would slowly cruise past our house on the beach every afternoon, all summer, looking official but really they were checking out the surf. I know this because I squirted tomato sauce all over my sister then got my Dads enormous bone handled carving knife and repeatedly pretend-stabbed her, both of us screaming our heads off (ha ha plonk) out on the balcony, in full view. I could not believe they did not see it. They just drove on by their eyes on the sea. We were both deeply disappointed.
There now. Some of the skeletons from my closet. Actually that was fun.
Good morning. Mama had a better day yesterday. I let her back into a little field with not too much tucker but she was very grateful to be out of the barn. It was 100 degrees again, is that the third of the fourth day in a row? The prolonged heat is getting to the animals, particularly Queenie which is a surprise. Daisy is still giving 33 pounds of milk in the morning and 28 in the afternoon. Just like clockwork. And stands out in the sun munching on her clover while everyone lays about under the trees.
Have a lovely day. Tomorrow we are back to business as usual with a farmy walkabout!
Now, to the beginning of our Book Project. As promised, here is the link to the very first Kitchens Garden blog entry. I read it and am mortified that I promised to link you back to every one. It becomes immediately apparent that some of those days are not really worth linking back TO. This one is just.. so, well .. enthusiastic and a little confused. Plus the picture seems to have gone. But the next one is not until the 7th so you have time to recover!
Posted on July 4th 2011. sustainable chatter..