The Chronicles of Smurf – Principle 2
Catch and Store Energy
I have learned much during my sojourn with the Suzy and her family. Memories of the Nan already grow dim. One must live in the present and adapt to new circumstances.
It appears that I was under a misapprehension regarding the Kidz. My fears on that score have happily been allayed — at least in part. The Kidz is not some Hydra-headed, ravening beast but rather two human young, the Fern and the Harper. They are offspring of the Suzy and her mate, the Hub.
Given the disparity in size, with the Harper being twice the height of the Fern, I infer that they cannot have been members of the same litter. Has some disaster befallen their siblings, or have these been given away to other homes? That would be understandable, as human young seem to take an inordinately long time to mature and the burden of rearing them must be considerable.
The Harper is a male with curly pale hair. He seems inquisitive, friendly and probably harmless. I am maintaining a polite distance for the time being, but I sense a potential future ally.
The Fern, on the other hand, is a small female demon with stubby, poking fingers, a nasty glint in her eye and a foul temper. Apparently she and I are peers, being three years of age: clearly she is developmentally stunted, since she can neither jump on to the windowsill in a single bound nor catch dust bunnies. I do not understand why the Suzy and the Hub kept this one, out of all the litter. Perhaps they could not give her away?
I have returned to my contemplation of the Twelve Principles of Permaculture. Studying the Suzy’s wall chart, I learned that the second principle is ‘Catch and store energy.’
Humans seem much preoccupied with conserving energy, yet are profligate in its expenditure. The Suzy, for example, spends much of her day in frenetic activity — instead of napping in a comfy basket or on a pile of neatly laundered clothes.
Each morning the Fern and the Harper must be washed, dressed and fed — not necessarily in that order — and whisked away through the front door, which I still must not pass. The Harper attends Big Boys’ School, where he learns to read, count and sing songs about kookaburras and gum trees; his younger sibling goes to Kinder, which sounds very like a day-cattery for humans.
Meanwhile, the Hub and Banjo depart for work in the ute. They are careful not to return until late at night, when the Fern and the Harper have been retrieved from Kinder and School, debriefed on the day’s activities, fed, and clad in their jimjams (night attire), ready for bed.
Each morning when the Suzy returns from dropping off the Kidz, there are chooks to be fed and veggies to be watered. I watch these activities with great interest through the kitchen window. Veggies seem a little pointless to me, but then as an obligate carnivore, my view is necessarily skewed. Chooks I very much see the point of, and I am looking forward to making their acquaintance.
Between rushing around, disappearing through one door and reappearing disconcertingly through another, the Suzy sits and stares intently at a large screen, rather like the Nan’s telly, and makes words and images appear there by the use of a keyboard and a ‘mouse’.
The latter is a lot less fun than it sounds. Conceiving it to be some kind of armoured rodent, I batted it around and eventually managed to disembowel it. It remained inert and entirely passive throughout. Not a single squeak. Since that incident I have been banned from the Office when the Suzy is not in attendance.
I imagine this screen-gazing must be some sort of relaxation for the Suzy, as she remains almost motionless for hours, only her fingers tippy-tapping. Yet she does not seem to find it relaxing: there is much tutting and sighing and an occasional ‘Oh for fuck’s sake.’
At intervals she talks to her phone, addressing it in a variety of tones from cajolling to extremely irate. It responds in a tinny, echoing voice, saying little of interest. Mostly something about dead lines and why they cannot / must / might be met / broken / shifted.
Apparently the problem is fuckwits. I am not sure what these are, but they play a large part in souring the Suzy’s existence.
Reading back over these memoirs, recorded in intricate scratchmarks on upholstered surfaces around the house, according to the custom of my people, I see that I have neglected to introduce one member of the household properly.
Banjo is a black-and-tan hound of the type known as an Awstrayan Pie-Eatin’ Dawg. Or so he assures me.
Mind you, Banjo also insists that his full name is Baron von Banjo the Magnificent, Bane of Cats. I have never heard any of the humans in the household refer to him by that name. I have strong grounds to suspect, therefore, that Banjo is full of shit.
Otherwise, he is pleasant company and not nearly as simple as many of his species. On the evening of our first acquaintance we had a brief but vehement demarcation dispute about whose food bowl was whose, exactly. I explained the facts of the matter to Banjo. The scratches on his nose will soon heal.
Since then we have got along famously. I have learned much from Banjo about the nature of the Hub’s work. Apparently this involves assembling large sticks to form the framework of a house. Banjo assists in this work by guarding the sticks, and many other important tasks. Best of all he enjoys riding in the tray of the ute with his ears flapping in the breeze.
Next week in the Chronicles of Smurf:
Principle 3: Obtain a Yield
Smurf is disconcerted by an unaccountable change in the household’s routine. What can this signify?