Landscaping

For the past few days, I have been working away at a patch of the backyard that we are going to use as our main food production area, as well as an outside seating space where we will have a fire pit. It was a run down, weed and rubbish plagued area. Before Christmas, we took 2 trailer loads of rubbish away from this space, pulled down the already falling down chook run, which we didn’t want anyhow as chooks in suburbia don’t work, and the fact that if you watch the news, this part of Australia gets mega sized pythons, so the chooks wouldn’t last long anyhow.

So, this is a couple of shots beforehand, taken by the realestate agent to sell the house, so good camera angles don’t show how bad it really was. (I forget to do before photos all the time…..)

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There was a lot of rubbish down behind that shed too.

So, I have removed the chook run, and will be able to re-use most of the materials, I did send the chicken wire off to be recycled, but some heavier mesh, most of the timber, steel posts and roofing iron will all get a second life. That project will be the next one.

I have made a large vege garden along the retaining wall, as bending over to tend veges is so, well, in your 20’s, not fibromyalgia affected 40’s. In between the posts of the verandah in the 3 spaces, I have strung plastic coated wire, and now have 2 varieties of grapes and a passion fruit vine planted, which will be trained up onto the wires, thus creating a screen from the neighbours place, as well as producing a bounty of food.

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It may not look pretty right now, but the big area to the left was where the chook run was, and was very uneven, so required a lot of earth to be moved to level it. The other dirt patch near the vege patch was a huge dip in the ground, now it’s nice and level. The end posts of the chook run will stay, as I am going to attach the previously mentioned heavy wire mesh to them to grow beans and kiwi fruit on.

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These are our first green leafy things, lettuce, spinach and rocket for salads, it’s the real pick and mix salad, we will just pick the leaves as we need them and leave the plants to keep growing.

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This is our passionfruit vine. I have already tip pruned it to encourage some laterals to grow, to train out onto the wire. There are 2 wires, so it will be trained onto both in time

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Below is one of the 2 grape vines, this being a white table grape, it’s been in the ground for about 3 weeks now, and is nearly high enough to start training as well.

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Below is the newest grape to be added, a Red Globe table grape. It’s still very short, so I will stake it up soon once it gets some length, and then hopefully by the end of the month, it too will be ready to train onto the wire.

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This space beside the shed will be producing bananas and Paw Paws. I have seedlings of the Paw Paws growing in seedling trays, once big enough they will be in there too.

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Lastly, this was the gift from my brother for Christmas, a weather station. It measures wind velocity and direction, temperature, rainfall and humidity.  The panel with the data is in my bedroom on the desk, and it will be invaluable with the whole food production thing.

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I don’t really know how I have managed to do so much, I have been very fatigued for weeks, and in pain, but being out there doing this has helped take my mind off it, if only for a while. I haven’t done it all in one hit, just as I have been able, so sometimes I have just spent 20 minutes doing some, then other times an hour.  The feeling of achievement is so worth it. I guess the food will be too, once it grows !!!

Andy.

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Merry Christmas

My brother arrived yesterday from Melbourne. We are all together for Christmas.

I love Christmas, well now I do, before, when I was with my ex, it was a time of misery, every special day was. She made it that way. Now, I guess I am one of those people that goes the extra mile, maybe even over the top, for Christmas. Of all the special days of the year, this is the most special to me.

Christmas is about family. You can believe all the superstitious stuff if you like, but trust me, you aren’t a virgin if you are pregnant. But the story of the beginning of a family, the celebration of a family, is really what it’s all about. I have said before I am not religious, and I don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious thing, and honestly, I don’t celebrate it for the commercial event it has become either. It is all about family. It is about family being together, spending time together, laughing, eating and enjoying each others company.

I guess with age comes the realisation of how important family is. Sure, there are always family members that really don’t give two hoots about anyone else, take my father for example, but all of us have someone in our families that care about us.

When I was younger, my brother and I weren’t the best of buddies. I guess it was because I would protect him from my father, but he didn’t seem to realise it, so I resented that. As time has gone by, and the older we have got, my brother realised just what I did, and now we are very close. I would still do everything in my power to protect him, no matter what.

It’s like that with Mum too. Many years ago, we were in a situation where Mum had had enough, but due to financial dis-empowerment, she didn’t leave my father at that time, but even though I was only 16, we stood side by side and tried to work it out, tried to see if we could, but mum was so brow beaten at that stage she didn’t have the confidence that she could do it. This time around, she has, she became empowered, and although still nervous about getting out of the bad marriage with my father, I reassured her that I wouldn’t leave her on her own. I have stuck by my word, it’s what I do, if I say I will do something, I will. She has always stood by me, and I will always stand by her.

I am not sure of how this Christmas day will go. My father will be with us, I mean, he has a separate life, he lives in the granny flat, Jack, mum and I in the house, we do see each other, but we don’t do a lot together, because even now, even though he is no longer under the same roof, every opportunity he gets, he is a nasty shit. I really don’t remember the last time I actually saw him do anything genuinely nice for anyone else, or be genuinely nice to anyone else. I know both I and Mum are holding our breaths to see if we can get through the day without one of his tantrums, it could happen, who knows. We include him because we try, we are nice people, it’s to our detriment the majority of the time though.

Anyhow, I really hope every one of you have a fantastic day on Christmas Day. I appreciate every one of you that bothers to read my ramblings.

Merry Christmas to all !!

Andy.

The Midnight Hour

Here I sit as the clock enters the midnight hour. I have been up since 7.30am, and although tired, am still a bit wired. I have managed to squeeze a little bit of “me” time in each day for the past 3 or 4 days, don’t know how, but it is helping me to become a bit more settled into the new life than I have been so far.

For the past couple of months I pretty much haven’t had “me” time, it’s been go, go, go, packing the old house, cleaning the old house, driving 3,500km, cleaning the new place, fixing the new place, unpacking all our stuff, and now finally, everything is starting to settle, so now, I am finally getting a bit of time to chill.

Up until the past few days, I have been so exhausted by the time I have had dinner, that not long after, I have had to go to bed, because I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. I haven’t slept well either, although that hasn’t really changed, the pain from the fibromyalgia has been really bad, so interrupted sleep has been the order of the day, or more specifically the night, for weeks.

Mum has been unwell, as I said in a recent post, today she wasn’t good first thing this morning still, but has slept almost all day, I checked on her at lunchtime, because I hadn’t seen her, and she was starting to improve, and then after almost the entire afternoon asleep again, she finally was able to eat all her dinner, and actually stayed up and watched Django Unchained with me tonight. She even sounds better and has more energy too. She’s been ill since Saturday, so today was the first sign of improvement in all those days.

Today, I over did it first thing, as soon as I could I mowed the lawns, as they desperately needed doing, trying to get it done before it got too hot, but it was already warm, and very humid at 8.30am. By the time I was finished at 9am, I was feeling very woozy, I felt nauseous, and extremely tired, so I sat in the cool for a while, after having a shower because I was dripping with sweat. Later in the day, I sat and sewed the buttons back onto the new couch cushions, but didn’t do too much else outside, as I also ended up with a thumping headache by lunchtime. It wasn’t until about 6pm, that I realised the cause of my headache. I hadn’t had a single cup of coffee all day, and it was caffeine withdrawal. I immediately had a coffee, and woosh, the headache was gone. I had gone hours with this headache, if only I had realised sooner that coffee was the solution !!!

I also broke in the new BBQ tonight. We had sausages with salad for dinner, so I decided to fire up the BBQ and not heat up the inside of the house, so cooked the sausages outside. I have already come to the conclusion that it is the best BBQ I have ever cooked on.

So after all of today chores, we ended up with a monsoonal downpour late this afternoon, and it was a glorious thing to see. After all the gardening of the past few days, with the hot weather that has come back to us again, the garden needed a drink. I have been watering the new plants enough for them to survive, but now the whole garden has had a good drink, established and new plants, as well as the lawn. I refuse to water lawns, I like lush lawns, but don’t like watering them, the sky has to do that, and the grass has to learn to survive on that.

Jack has been working away at trying to learn to ride his bike today again as well, and he is certainly making progress, not a pro yet, but he is getting the hang of it. It’s nice having a garden where he can actually have the space to safely practice, and now hopefully, learn how to ride.

Anyhow, it’s now halfway through the midnight hour, so I will now attempt to get some sleep. My brother arrives from Melbourne in 2 days time, so still a few things to do before he gets here, but then, hopefully, I will be able to chillout a bit more over the Christmas break.

Andy.

Chewy lollies are nice.

I am sitting here after a busy day yet again, chewing on a fruit flavoured soft chewy lolly, thinking I am in heaven. Why does a small square of essentially just sugar make me feel so happy ? It’s strawberry flavoured, if you must know.

Maybe, it’s giving me such enjoyment because this is the first time I have had a moment to myself, except for when I collapsed into bed mid afternoon as the body, and the fibromyalgia fatigue got the better of me. It sucks having a chronic health condition like this, but still need to do everything that a single parent needs to do, like, everything.

Normally, I do have a little help these days, Mum will cook dinner or make lunch, which is a godsend, but for the past few days she has been laid up in bed with a virus that has knocked her for a six. So I have had to do it all again, and make sure she is okay as well.

I did 3 loads of washing before 8am, then went out and got some things from Bunnings, which included a gas bottle refill, and now I know my new secondhand BBQ, which was free, but cost over $1700 just 2 years ago, works like a new one still. I just don’t know how people can be so wasteful, spend $1700 and 2 years later throw it away. Anyhow, their loss is my gain.

Jack has been doing more painting today, his art is amazing. I know, I know, all parents think that, but he has actually won awards for his. And his photography as well. I will have to get some photo’s up of his work, so you can see it for yourself. I guess he was bound to inherit something from me, and being a good artist and photographer isn’t too shabby a thing to inherit from my genes.

Apart from the things I have already listed from today’s effort, I pruned all the plants around the garden as well, and now our garden is coming along quite nicely. We have planted about 60 plants in the garden since we arrived here a month ago. It was an established garden when we moved in, but very neglected and a lot of plants were just about dead. Apart from one tree, I have managed to resurrect them all. It’s amazing.

I love gardening. It is just so relaxing. That might sound crazy in some ways, because it is hard work too, but it relaxes my mind. I have too much going on in my head most of the time, I appear pretty chilled to most people, but inwardly I am wound up, nervous, anxious, pretty much a mess. So gardening is medicine. It makes everything go away.

Talking about the whole anxious/nervous thing, last Friday, we went to the local Carols by Candlelight, and it was the first time I have been out in a social environment like that since moving here. It was a strange sensation, I am always on the look out for my ex, but now, she is over 3500km away. Because of her schizophrenia, it was always a worry living in the old place, because you just didn’t know when you would run into her, and because she is a schizophrenic who is prone to act violently, I just didn’t want to have Jack witness that, or me have to experience that again. So every time we went out, I couldn’t relax. Now I have to learn how to.

Anyhow, enough of my ramblings tonight, I must try and get some sleep before it’s back into the daily grind again tomorrow.

Andy.

Another moment when being single gets the better of me.

I can’t believe I have been single for nearly 6 years now. Ever since I left the psychopath that destroyed me, I have gone through moments where it has got to me, that I am single, but I guess, I don’t want to be burnt twice.

It’s so hard, being in a situation where you’d love to have a relationship again, but being scared shitless of having the same thing happen all over again. Psychopaths reel you in, they are all nice and lovely to start with, so you just don’t know at the beginning.

I feel really lonely at times. It’s not so bad now that I live with my Mum, at least I have adult conversation, instead of trying to have in depth conversations with an 8 year old. But, I do miss having a partner, you know, all that nice stuff that comes with that.

I haven’t had a single romantic relationship since 6 years ago. I have done the online dating thing, and don’t get past the profiles, and then if I do get someone send me a message, I become suspicious quickly, and then just go my own way. All the weirdos don’t care if you are a single dad, but the nice ones (which is a matter of perspective I guess, considering what I am about to say), don’t want to go near you if you are a single dad.

I don’t get that. Why wouldn’t a woman want a man who is great with children, to the point that he has been doing it 24/7 for 6 years all on his own, can cook, clean, do the washing, and doesn’t worry about having to do it all on his own?

Maybe I don’t have enough tattoos. I don’t have any in fact. Maybe I aren’t ripped enough (ladies, if he is totally ripped, he only loves one person, and that ain’t anyone but himself). I’m a nice guy, maybe I need to be an arsehole? It seems that is what gets a nice woman every time. No, my mother brought me up well, and I guess having grown up with a father who was an arsehole made me not want to emulate him.

This always gets me around this time of the year. It must be the Christmas, but most likely the New Years thing, you know, where couples are meant to have a big pash at midnight. I don’t know. Maybe the love of my life is just around the next bend, who knows?

Andy.

Outing to Yarrabah

Today, we went off on a pure “just drive and see where we end up” outing. Just Jack and myself. My Mum is unwell, so I figured that if we went out for a little bit, she could have some peace and quiet to rest.

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed off to Yarrabah, an Indigenous Community to the East of Cairns, on the other side of Trinity Inlet. It is a bit of a drive, I thought it was closer, but was so well worth it. The drive had us meandering through the sugarcane fields, and after the downpour we had yesterday from Tropical Cyclone Owen, a lot of the streams were flowing. This was the first time we went to Yarrabah, so didn’t know what to expect, and it was also Jack’s first time going to an Indigenous Community. There are certain things you need to observe when entering Indigenous communities, and you must have the utmost respect for the place and it’s people.

The drive took us up over the mountains, which was quite a climb up and over the range, but the whole thing was worth it. Below, is a photo overlooking the bay that fringes Yarrabah, who wouldn’t want to live in this slice of paradise ??

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We wandered on down from this amazing vantage point into the community below, and as we pulled up at the beachside, a lovely old Aboriginal lady in a wheelchair was having her morning wander around, and we had a little chat. She was an amazingly friendly and warm woman.

We then wandered onto the beach, where we discovered that 2 shipwrecks also inhabited the waters just off the beach. It was a popular photographic subject with both myself and Jack.

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Jack was trying to get the best angle.

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The western headland of the bay also was quite interesting and picturesque.

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We then decided to head back home, but took a detour before getting home to have lunch, which included a feast of Lychees we got at a roadside stall on our travels. Below, is the Western flank of Walsh’s Pyramid, with water streaming down some ephemeral waterfalls due to the heavy rain yesterday.

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We also happened across this colony of Fruit Bats, or Flying Foxes, which just so happens to be not far from our new home. I have been itching for a bit of an explore, but due to all the work we have needed to do, this has been the first proper opportunity.

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All the usual crap with fibromyalgia is happening still, and we still have tonnes more work to do, but it was nice to just kick back for a few hours, and start to explore our new home.

Andy.

Feeling very unwell

On Friday night, I had to take my mum to the hospital. She had been extremely fatigued and in pain for most of the day, it came on quite suddenly when we had been in town during the morning. When we got home at midday, she went to bed, no lunch, just straight to bed. I too was feeling wiped out, and tried to sleep but after an hour, and a throbbing pain in my right leg, I gave up trying to sleep. I went and collected Jack from school at home time, and when I got back, Mum was still asleep.

I checked on her, she was restless but asleep, so I let her be. Then, at dinner, she was very lethargic, and my concern for her at this point was quite elevated. We had dinner, got ready to go to bed, and went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I checked on Mum at 9pm, and she was breathing quite rapidly, you can really hear it when someone is using a CPAP machine. I said something to Dad, who seemed completely unconcerned. In fact, I have come to realise that he genuinely didn’t give a shit.

Anyhow, off we went, Mum, Jack and myself (because Dad didn’t give a shit), and spent the next 3 to 4 hours in the hospital emergency, where they did a variety of tests, including an ECG. Luckily, it wasn’t a heart attack, but it had all the hallmarks, instead it was the worst fibromyalgia flare up Mum has had yet. That’s the thing about Fibromyalgia, it can present symptoms of a heart attack.

We got home well past midnight, and Mum was off her head on Vallium and another pill they gave her at the hospital, and slept soundly until past 11 am on Saturday.  She was still not feeling great all day yesterday, but was noticeably better. Today she is almost back to normal.

So, now we get to Dad, and now knowing he doesn’t give two hoots about any of us, for sure.

Apart from his unconcern on Friday night, Saturday, seeing she HADN’T had a heart attack, he decided that it was game on again with all the nastiness. I found it very hard to stop myself from exploding at him, but did as mum had wanted, kept it together. Then came this morning, and I had had enough. So, I exploded. Jack was actually scared, and Mum and Jack both went to the room. I told him we knew he didn’t give a shit about us, how he was a nasty pig to everyone, and that I had had enough. He sat, completely unmoved, in his arrogant way. Surprisingly, he didn’t say a thing.

Mum, Jack and I left the house shortly after, as we had to get some prescriptions to be filled, and shopping to do. On the way into town, Mum told me that she was glad I said it.

When we got home, like the totally clueless fuckwit he is, he decided to be an arrogant pig again to Mum, but this time she found her voice. I haven’t spoken to him since this morning, and unless he starts being nasty to Mum, Jack or myself again, I won’t talk to him. I honestly don’t care if I never speak to him again.

Needless to say, I am now extremely unwell, I am having moments of dizziness, I am experiencing more and more intense pain as the hours go by, I feel ill in my stomach, and I have slept for most of the afternoon myself, even at one stage falling asleep without my CPAP machine, which I NEVER do. I’ve eaten dinner, but it wasn’t enjoyable. Right now, it is time for Jack to go to bed, as it is school tomorrow, and even though I have slept all afternoon, I don’t think it will be a problem to go back to sleep, as long as the pain doesn’t stop me.

I wish life would suddenly change. I wish luck would finally shine on Mum, Jack and I. I don’t know how bad it needs to get before things get better for us. I am still not depressed, I am just lost. It doesn’t come as a surprise when the next bit of bad stuff happens. I have always done nice things for everyone, I care about people. Why do we deserve this crap ?