In the Ramparts…

In the ramparts of the castle high above the river, the archer looked down at the boats tying up to the bank. Taking careful aim, he stretched his bow taut.

“Hold breath, and release” he said to himself.

But, there were so many of them, was it even possible to win against so many.

Overcoming his doubts, the archer sighted a regally decorated soldier about to disembark, he drew back his arrow, aimed carefully…

“Time to go Tommy! It’s our time to ride on the boat now.” his mother called.

“Okay Mummy!” Tommy said, skipping over to his mother’s side.


Thank you Louise for our photo prompt this week!


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Whipped by the Wind

Ahead, the forest of green whipped back and forth, as if the wind was constantly changing directions. They edged forward, unsure of what was to come. Sliding silently through the forest was a dark shape, it’s shadow flitting just in front of them. Taking cover behind a large rock they waited, breathing in short, shallow breaths.

Gliding past them, from behind, came a pair of shadows, seemingly unbelievably large. Thinking it safer, they slipped through the wall of green. Staying low. Ensuring that they didn’t get tangled in the whipping plants, they progressed to the other side.

Kelp ForestParting the greenery on the far side, they were dazzled by the colours before their eyes. Moving into the open, they looked with wonder at various colours and shapes filling the space between the forest and the distant wall. As they explored the plain in front of them, they remained in a state of awe. Everywhere they looked, there was something new to see. A dazzling array of life.

After twenty minutes of exploring, it was time to leave. Finding the guide, they left the realm of wonder behind. Ten minutes later… they were sitting around a table, talking about all they had seen and done. Hot coffee cups steaming on the table, forgotten.

“We’ll be back in port in fifteen minutes, we hope you enjoyed the dive.” The captain of the dive boat announced.

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The Growth Serum

FFfAW 260716 Louise

(c) Louise

The sun beat down, scorching the ground. In any other place this would be a disaster, but here…

“The lettuce will be ready to pick tomorrow!” Sam exclaimed, “It’s even bigger this year! Wow, this new method really works.”

“I’ll fill the tank for another run,” Bob said.

With a creak, the tank lid opened. Bob lifted a brown glass bottle and poured the contents slowly into the tank. The liquid in the tank turned milky as it mixed with that poured from the bottle.

“Ready for bottle number two?” Sam asked.

“Okay,” Bob replied, awaiting the second bottle.

This time he poured it into the tank, with small sloshes. Each time it hit the tank’s contents, a puff of smokey vapour appeared. As the bottle emptied, the vapour dissipated into the air.

“Time to start the pump?” Bob stated, “this drip irrigation method takes hours, but it really does the job.”

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City of Sand

The city was crowded. Mothers and children everywhere. It was noisy and dirty. Strangely, there were very few men. The air was hot, inside was even hotter. Most of the families sat outside, in whatever shade they could find, seeking some solace from the burning sun.

Occasionally, a vehicle would pass. Sometimes the people would chase after the vehicle, waiting to see who, or what was inside. Other times, they would run and hide. Sometimes, they would escape into the surrounding countryside, and wait. maybe for days.

Unfortunately, this was not the only such city, they were numerous, with seemingly more being developed every week. To those who lived in them, they felt alone and forgotten. It was like the rest of the world didn’t exist; it was like the rest of world didn’t care… every now and then some form of tribute, trickled in to the cities.

Periodically, often during the night, there would be a screeching or loud crashing sound in the sky. At these times the residents would flee, hiding wherever they could. Often, when they returned, parts of the city were damaged, sometimes the cities would be filled with strangers. Often violent strangers.

When the strangers visited, often some of the people of the cities would die. Some of the older boys would disappear. Some of the older girls may be injured, or worse. Unfortunately, that was life, and it didn’t seem to change. Year, after year, it continued.

These are cities on the sand.

This is Syria!

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Bill’s Breakfast -FFftPP

“You never do anything halfway….” Bill said, “why is my bowl only half full?”

“I’m sorry!” I exclaimed, “I was distracted by the view.”

In the distance, contained within a glass and wooden cage, a family of strange creatures were starting to eat.

“That’s funny,” I said. “Their bowls are only half full too.”

Bill moved next to me and looked at the family of creatures.

“It’s just not fair.” He said, stamping his foot for emphasis, “They look like they need to eat more, they are tall and skinny looking.”

Returning to his bowl, Bill stated “My bowl is still not full, do we have any more?”

“No!” I replied dejectedly. Nodding towards the creatures eating from their bowls. “They haven’t given us any today.” Registered & Protected  BAVF-EJ4H-ZCLC-FVRJ

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Animals for Small Holdings

When buying a small holding or homestead, it is natural, to consider which animals may be suitable to raise.  Some animals are kept as pets, others for milk or eggs, some for wool or hair, finally some are raised to be eaten.

backyard chickensChickens are one of the most popular animals, easy to keep and they can provide you with fresh eggs. Keeping ducks and geese, can also provide eggs, a bonus for geese is that they are great watch dogs. Ensure that any birds are kept safe from predators at night.

Keeping goats, at least two, is also easy. They onlyGoats on bedding straw require the space of a garden, supply them with plenty of fresh water and additional hay. Goats always need a shelter, available 24 hours a day, to protect them from wet and windy weather. These delightful animals make great pets, especially the miniature varieties. All goat varieties are able to provide milk, and some are able  to be brushed for their hair.

Small holding Two SheepsSheep are also able to be kept on small holdings, but require more space than goats. They are primarily kept for their wool, and once sheared, will need to be sheared regularly. Sheep can also provide milk.

Although it is possible to keep cattle, either dairy or beef, there are miniature breeds of cattle, which may be more suitable. Small Holding Miniature CattleDairy cattle are primarily there to provide milk and cream. Beef cattle as expected are raised for meat. Full size cattle require quite a lot of space for grazing.

Although it is possible to keep pigs on a small holding, they require a rotating field system. Giving them access to open fields, or woodlands is ideal in the summer. Whilst in open fields Small holding family-of-pigsthey will need a shelter, and ideally some wallows. During the wet winter months, it is recommended that pigs be kept in dry quarters with lots of straw.

For more exotic residents, alpacas and llamas can be raised on small holdings. Stock alpacas at a rate of two per acre, and llamas at five per acre. Both of these animals require a rotational field system, and access to shelter. Whether a fully enclosed shelter depends on the regional climate. Additional food will also need to be supplied as a supplement. Both alpacas and llamas are social creatures and will require that there is always more than one.


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FFfAW – Dream State.


Photo by Nonnaci

Looking through the view port, all I see is grey. The light behind the foggy port is slowly fading. Why, I think to myself, have they painted the inside of this submersible in such strange colours.

The deep ocean has enough strange creatures, creatures which I am about to see first hand. This is my first dive as a grad student in marine biology. I have been lucky enough to get an internship on a University Research vessel. Someone must have a sense of humour, I muse, They have named the vessel the ‘RS Nemo.’

The descent to the ocean floor takes about 45 minutes in the ‘DSRV Dory.’  As we cruise along ocean floor, I see fish I could only imagine in my dreams. Suddenly the submersible is rocking from side to side.

“Wake up! The movie is over”, my daughter calls. “They found Nemo!”

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