A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears
Bad Apple Press
After buying an old cottage in the Adelaide Hills, Georgie and her young family are transfixed with dreams of becoming hobby farmers, tending chooks, sitting by log fires, growing their own veggies and generally immersing themselves in the joys of nature. However, a stubborn cow named Ginger, acres of mud, a feral crop of artichokes, the coldest winter of the decade and a husband whose job means he is away from home most of the week but leaves him time to repeatedly bog the tractor on the weekends does not make their introduction to rural living ideal. Surely things can only get better from here …?
For anyone who has either made the escape from city living or dreams of doing so, A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears is an entertaining and humorous story about a tree change with more than a rocky start.
This is the perfect tonic for these trying times. There are many genuine laugh out loud moments and situations that I could identify with. Let me share a few with you:
In this instance the water pump has stopped working ( the house relies on a rain water tank for its water supply) After unsuccessfully trying to solve the issue herself Georgie rings her husband who is at work (a doctor): pps82,83
Husband: “OK where are you?’
Georgie “Out by the water pump thing.”
Husband: “Have you turned it off and on again?”
“Yes,” through clenched teeth.
“Right, well, you’ll need to check the valves. Go and find the black most westerly valve on the eastern pipe.”
‘Trumping through the long grass looking desperately for pipes.’ “I can only find one pipe.”
“Is it far east?”
“I don’t know which way is east.” ( Yep that’s me 😊)
“Is it pointing to the big pin oak?”
“It sort of points between the two pin oaks?”
“Okayyy….” Muffled sigh. “Can you see a valve on it?”
“There are two black plastic turny things.”
“They control the valves. Can you turn the westerly valve off?”
Wait for it….I can just imagine having this sort of conversation with my husband…😊
“I don’t know which way is west.”
And so on…you can tell this is probably not going to end well. 😊
Then we get to the story of Portuguese Millipedes. I thought this phenomenon was only local to the Perth hills and south west of Western Australia, I was wrong, South Australia suffers from them too. “The millipede is small, black and shiny and looks a little like a centipede (except its named for its supposed thousand legs, rather than the centipede’s hundred legs). You have to peer very closely at it to work out the front form the back, but there’s a tiny pair of black antennae differentiating the front engine of the millipede/ Millipedes are about 2 centimetres long with a dense row of grey legs, and a little moustache like, underneath. They are attracted to light and to white things and when disturbed roll into a spiral. At first, we thought just see a few millipedes. In fact, the baby is munching on the odd millipede and spitting it out in horror as she makes her way over the floor tasting everything in her path, is the first way I realise that the millipede is coming. Millipedes have a horrible smell and when you crush them this becomes even more potent. The baby soon stops putting millipedes in her mouth. Apparently, the millipede’s terrible taste and smell is part of its cunning plan for world domination, as nothing else on the planet wants to eat the millipede. They don’t seem to have a part in the food chain or any reason for their existence, except as a reminder of how minor irritations can overwhelm your life…It is as if some seasonal signal has awoken a zombie army of millipedes. They literally swarm into the house…” (p92/93)
This problem is real. I feel Georgie’s pain as I sit here typing in the almost dark, too frightened to turn on the light in case I am assaulted by a million tiny wriggly legs… every morning walking around the house with a dust pan and brush (or vacuum cleaner) to sweep up a carpet of these pests. I hear you Georgie 😊
And then we have stories of uncooperative cows, gardening 101, the driveway (or rather ski slope to the road), renovations etc etc. But its not all hilarious gloom (if there is such a thing I think Georgie invented it) , Georgie peppers the tales with laughter, a good dose of Aussie self-depreciation, and with observations of the beauty of nature and her new life in the country.
This read is the perfect pick me up, the laugh you need right now. Thanks Georgie for sharing your warts and all tree change story.