STILL LIFE WITH CHICKENS: Auckland run final days

Even though I’ve more pressing matters, I’ve been unable to stop refreshing the ticketing page for Still Life With Chickens:

Tickets as at 21 March 2018.

Between testing Fortress Mamea’s acoustics with maniacal laughs, the almost daily reports had this wee nugget:

Performance report detail — click on image for full report.

‘Nugget’! Oh, this is so much fun.


Front Door Boots

The inhabitants of Fortress Mamea have at least two pairs of farm boots each: one for the front door, the other for the back door. Surrounded as we are by muck and mud paddocks and woodland, it’s much more efficient — especially when it’s something urgent — to have a pair of boots at each exit, ready to take us places.

Lately, my front door pair have been feeling a bit damp. I thought it was just the morning dew and what-not — but no:

The heel has disintegrated somehow. Time for some resoling or a new pair for the front door.

Ideally, I would segue to something writing-related, like how to know when it’s time for a tool to be replaced or upgraded. The thing is… none of my writing tools need replacing or upgrading.

I’m a month into 2018 and I’ve got projects on my slate.

I’ve no excuse to not write.



Fortress Mamea has around three acres of paddocks. Three acres is a lot of ground area. Despite the best efforts of the cavalry element and a small flock of sheep*, the paddocks were getting overgrown with grass and weeds.

The current lot of four-legs needed help and it was decided that kunekune pigs, with their ability to live on little more than grass, fit the bill. The pigs would be a twofer solution: get the greenery under control; then time for the freezer.

I was good with this plan. I like bacon. I like the smell of it cooking. I like its texture, the taste of the pork fat that it cooked in, and its saltiness.

The porkers arrived and they were babies and they were so cute but I was strong and I wasn’t going to get attached to them because I like bacon and pork sausages and —

Then someone went and named the new arrivals Fig and Prunella.

Nell & Fig. (Photo courtesy Deborah K.)

We have pet kunekune pigs now.

* I haven’t mentioned the sheep because they’re boring. And some of them are destined for the freezer.


Hello World

In the first eighteen months of the new Fortress Mamea, our chicken flock increased a number of times. (We can’t remember how many times; we’re softies with fuzzy memories.)

How could we say no to the girls when they got broody? They were merely heeding the call of nature. And when the fertilised eggs hatched and there were soon cheeping puffballs of fluff underfoot — how could we say no to life itself?

When some of the puffballs grew into ambitious young roosters and started beating up on Ghost Dog, ending the aspirants’ lives was an easy choice. After a couple of culls, I called a moratorium on our chickens having babies. It’s all well and good when everyone’s getting along, I could imagine my mother lecturing me, until it’s time for someone to end up in the pot.

The flock has remained at a steady twenty or so the past eighteen months. It’s required vigilance: collecting eggs every single day, turfing wannabe broodies out of the laying boxes so they don’t get ideas.

Throughout the month of December, I noticed one of our chickens behaving suspiciously. What with the festive season and everything else, her movements were noted but not closely observed.

More fool me:

Pollo and brood. (Photo: DJ Ash.)

Fifteen chicks arrived on New Year’s eve.

Brilliant. Just… brilliant.



The first warning signs showed a couple of years ago.

As good as it gets: Chrome 49.0.x.

Fortress Mamea runs on 10.6 Snow Leopard, an operating system that’s now seven generations behind the current OS.

We like 10.6. It works for us. The Lovely Wife can still watch ponies galloping in slow motion on Youtube, while I can keep in touch with friends and colleagues near and far (and still write, obviously). Online schmoozing sometimes required Skype which has been a no-brainer.

Until now.

‘Download the latest version now‘ certainly provides the latest version… which won’t run on 10.6.

I guess the Macbook Pro is slowly but surely headed for pure writing duties.

An upside could be more efficient writing.

But I wouldn’t count on it.


Eleven Years

Last Sunday was the eleventh anniversary of this website.

I kid you not:  unless my maths is awry, we opened in 2006, our first anniversary would’ve been 2007, which means 2017 makes this site eleven. Years. Old.

Random 2009 pic: less grey hair and my previous pair of specs on my part, otherwise the same old Dog.

I’ve a few productions under my writing belt, I’ve been published, and now I’m also writing for theatre. I have representation. Various projects are in various stages of progress. There are a disturbing number of people out there who I’ve never met who know my face and/or my work.

I reside in a new, improved (and defensible) Fortress Mamea. I remain enthralled by The Lovely Wife whose love and calming words have kept me out of jail all these years. Our children are making their way in this world. Our animals are happy and healthy and loved.

A touch over a decade on, I feel considerably more comfortable with referring to myself as a writer. I’ve a better grip on my process, my grasp of the rules and tools is less tenuous, and my slate of projects means I’m rarely short of a story or an idea to explore or develop.

… Yeah. I think I might have the hang of this writing gig now.


Interim Post #02

June 2015: The Exmoor Mini on a windswept paddock far, far from the West Auckland quarter-acre.


January 2016: The Exmoor Mini in her assigned paddock at the new Fortress Mamea.