Friday, 10 May 2019

Yakkity Yak

Apropos of absolutely nothing - or maybe because I need some light relief from the double-onslaught of existential climate and election wars - I thought I'd mention one of my fave cartoon characters.

Yakkity Yak is an Australian–Canadian animated television series....that ran on Teletoon in Canada and on Nickelodeon in Australia from November 9, 2002 to December 12, 2003. The series was known for its surreal humor and featured animation incongruous with Nickelodeon's typical style. 

'Incongruous' definitely, or maybe just 'weird'. The cartoon was designed and executed by Australian Mark Gravas who now runs Kapow Pictures with his partner. This guy does some pretty weird stuff and I relate to his weirdness. Judge for yourself:

Yakkity Yak relates the adventures of a teenage yak (12 year old) whose life dream is to be a comedian. His best friend is a hyper-intelligent kid with a pineapple for a head, and he lives with Granny Yak, who rents a room to a mad scientist with crazy hair who actually looks remarkably like a pineapple himself. Each 30-minute episode consists of two short segments, in which Yakkity tries to achieve something in the dumbest way possible, his friend Keo tries to rescue him, and both of them usually end up suffering for their schemes in one way or another. The day is never saved, and lessons are never learned.

The last sentence of that abstract summarises all that is exceedingly frustrating yet very amusing in regards to the human condition - 'The day is never saved, and lessons are never learned'.

I love the graphics so much I made my own Facebook header in the Nickelodeon style.

Note: I'm breaking with academic protocol by not referencing this post. If you want to know more just Google it.

Friday, 29 March 2019


Sanctuary: 1. refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution or other danger.   2. a nature reserve.

We finally have our Land for Wildlife accreditation. It's part of what may turn out to be a useless plan to make Shanti some sort of sanctuary - for ourselves, some people and wildlife. I believe if you have an intention things manifest accordingly. The kangaroos have already destroyed a thriving banksia I planted and we have had more visitors in a month than we had in a year at our last abode. My gut feeling is that people really are starting to freak out and the wildlife is just doing it's best to survive.

If my friends and family have been paying attention they will know I am a 'doomsday prophet'. As a teenager I had lucid visions of a world in collapse and felt deep down in my psyche that the dreams were portentous. As humanity faces the existential crisis that is climate change and the decimation of the planet on multiple levels I feel vindicated. This way of thinking has coloured my entire life but after more than 40 years of living with this 'reality' I have made peace with what may well turn out to be a delusion. Included in my predictions though was an expectation that when the threat of extinction was realised by others on a large scale things would get really interesting. I think that for the past few years particularly there have been visible signs of that.

It's pretty telling that those in the first world with opportunity - with everything they have and are able to experience positively - are still are miserable. People often ask me 'what's going on, why is everyone so stressed? Why aren't we happy??' I don't think they necessarily assume I know - they're just thinking aloud. 

Whether right or wrong or just plain mad - this is my response. 

Many years ago I blogged a lot about things 'deep and meaningful' - the archetypes that shape human behaviour and spirituality. Those blog posts are gone now. There didn't seem to be much point - the time wasn't right and people don't read stuff anyway. There was the added fear that my employers would stumble across my rantings and brand me a complete lunatic. Before I wiped the content from cyberspace though I got my posts printed in several hard bound books. I'm camping out at the moment and those books are in storage but I am going to dig them out.

In the meantime life goes on - I'm building, planning a hybrid native-veggie garden and working for money. Just how realistic any kind of sanctuary is in a world where people are freaking out and acting more randomly, in a climate that's heating up and drying out - is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Shanti (again)

This is me lining my space. There will be another layer on top of this with some more (thinner) insulation in between. Going up and down the ladder is tough on my legs these days, but I'm pretty happy with the way this is looking. 

I'll lime wash the final ply layer to tone down the 'pine' look, but I am loving the pine - especially against the black framed windows. Two layers will create deep window recesses which will be quite nice too. 

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Shanti's 'skin'

Lots has happened since my last post. The builder has clad the walls, and finished the roof, gutter and flashing. Electrical and plumbing first fixes have been completed. We've dug trenches and the water tank is all connected up. 
Because of the noise trauma I experienced courtesy of a rental next door and holiday homes at our last location I'm soundproofing my end of the house. This is the first step in a more lengthy than usual lining process. It's costly too. A lot of my investment in this place has been allocated for this because I don't have the energy or will to move again (unless it's into a retirement home or a hole in the ground) so here's hoping it pays off.

Below is Robin's space with the bottom layer of ply sheets I will also be using. Having lived in a metal echo chamber last time it will be nice to be surrounded by the warmth of wood.
In truth I'd rather be working outside planting, bush-scaping and chatting to the wildlife. It is 10 years since we built the last house and my body is really noticing it. But this is rewarding in its own way and I'll just have to pace myself. 

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Shanti's 'bones'

The bones of the new shed-house went up in a couple of hours. I love the design. It's small and simple and the sloping front wall just finishes it off. 

Shanti Ohm.......

Monday, 24 December 2018


I spotted 2 furry little animals on the block the other day. I did some research and looks like we have Quenda - a sub-species of the Southern Brown Bandicoot. I had wondered about the narrow tunnels under the dense bush and bracken. Quenda dig for bulbs and invertebrates and sleep in shallow nests under the skirts of Black Boys(1). I feel vindicated in my efforts to retain as many blackboys as we could.

'A single Quenda can dig up to 45 pits a day which is equal to about 4 tonnes a year of soil turned over. This digging has several benefits including dispersal of mycorrhizal fungi that is important for tree health, increased water infiltration and nutrient capture leading to improved soil quality and improved seeding recruitment. The turnover of leaf litter also helps to reduce fuel loads making bushfires less severe.'

I think we need to keep these little critters on the property but turns out they need about 6 hectares of territory! I'm hoping the reserve across from our bottom firebreak added to our 5 acres and other remnant bush will be enough for them to thrive.

(1) Yes I still use this term for 'grass trees'. My Noongar friends also call them black boys and if it's OK with them, then it's OK with me.

Photo credit: I Photoshopped Jesse Steele's photo from the article 'Backyard Bandicoots at Mandurah'

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Back to Earth

My life has been a series of repetitive cycles. I've had several aborted attempts at creating a sanctuary for myself, a haven, a peaceful place to live: smallest practical house, biggest possible garden. Why have a big house you just have to keep clean? Especially when you could be outside in the dirt with all the wildlife.

Many years ago - decades actually - I was introduced to Permaculture. It was the heady days of the 'Orange People' (of which I was one) before the America's Cup turned Freo into yuppy-ville. Freo was a hippy Mecca and artists could still afford to rent rundown studios in the cappuccino strip. They were strange, confusing and liberating times. Some of my friends were vegan and had taken to growing potatoes in straw. The seminal book One Straw Revolution was compulsory reading (and yes, I did read it!)

Today - with my partner of 17 years on board - I am venturing back into Permaculture/alternative lifestyle territory on 5 acres of scrubby coastal bush. It's been a difficult 2 year haul just to get to this point: putting our house in country town 'suburbia' on the market; waiting, waiting and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning for house viewings; watching the latest royal commission unfold as banks tightened up their loan practices making the housing market slide into negative territory, stressing about whether we would lose the 5 acres we could actually afford before we sold our place and then, when it did, finding somewhere affordable and flexible to live while we built.

Although it's been difficult I am keenly aware that I am extremely privileged to be the co-owner of 5 acres. If I never end up with a dwelling on it I have some peace of mind knowing that I have somewhere to go - even if it's just to sleep there in a swag on the ground. 

I feel a huge sense of responsibility to look after this piece of land, which is why the clearing has been a bloody nightmare!! I have been in tears several times as one small gum tree after another succumbed to the bobcat. Not to mention lizards and frogs scrambling for their lives. The last 3 days have been another kind of hell. We had an open 1 metre deep, 75 metre long trench to get the electricity down to the shed pad (we will be going solar but this will be an 'integrated' setup until batteries become affordable). The last few mornings I have been down there early to rescue the small creatures who had fallen in overnight - mainly small lizards and tiny, tiny frogs that looked like grasshoppers in the bottom of the trench. Yesterday I found small kangaroo tracks in the bottom of the trench. It was a relief to see the poor thing had got itself out and to finally get the trench filled in.

I keep wandering over the block, looking forlornly at the savagery wreaked by the bobcat and lately a front end loader. All I can do is say 'sorry' to the plants and animals - over and over again like a mantra - and promise to make things better, to repair the sanctuary for the 'roos who use the land to fashion cool cubbies for themselves and chomp on grass trees in the summer. It's going to be a lot of work - my body is 30 years older and sore - but  I am so up for it. I'll just have to take it slow......

'Swale' graphic - Dr©Grafix (author)
'Forest Garden' graphic - (I'm now following this blog)