Diary of a Cackleberry Farmer (Spring 2016 Edition)


Almost No Spring Edition

Greetings friends, and welcome to spring at the Cackleberry Farm!

This edition almost didn't happen for various reasons, but in the back of my mind was my promise to my loyal followers that I would keep the series going. I had actually retired the Diary of a Cackleberry Farmer from monthly publication but had specific requests to resurrect it. So, how can a writer refuse to write to satisfy demand? For that reason I decided to publish it seasonally.

So, although spring is a beautiful time of year, these last two months have been sad and drama packed and far from conducive to positive and uplifting writing. I will try to put these troubles aside (or maybe air them in a poem) and focus on happier stuff.


Celebrating Seven Years of Hubbing

Well, I did successfully manage to offload my troubles in a couple of poems, and personally, I am quite proud of them. Maybe I should be in this frame of mind more often when I write.

This hub actually coincides with notification of my Seven Year Hubbiversary. In a perfect world I would have said this is also the seventh edition in the Cackleberry Farm series, but it's not. That would have just been too much synchronicity - it's actually the eighth.

It is hard to imagine seven years have gone by since I joined HubPages, and I think it is around ten since we moved to what is now The Cackleberry Farm (originally just called "The Block").

Water Tanks
Water Tanks | Source

Back Home on the Farm

The latter part of this year has seen better than average rainfall and our water tanks are all close to being full which is a fortunate situation. Rain followed by warm sunny days also means the grass grows long and fast, and as a consequence, needs cutting. Luckily my ride-on mower is also running fine at the moment (which is not always the case).

The feathered girls are being good and productive and we are currently being presented with four or five cackleberries per day which is more than enough for just the two of us. The furbabies (my wife's name for the dogs and cats) are all doing well and are just as productive as the hens though in a different way .. with unconditional love.

We were also blessed to make the acquaintance of a wonderful couple, Rance and Marion, who are now our house/farm sitters. This allows Kathy and I to actually travel away together for the first time in years. Usually, any trip away lasting more than two nights has to be taken separately because of our dogs, cats, and chickens. This year we have actually been able to get away together on three occasions, without having to worry about the farm.

Rance and Marion have fallen in love with The Cackleberry Farm and our animals so we have no trouble convincing them to farm sit. They even drive their bus out and camp here occasionally while we are still home.

Raising Chickens, The Pet that Pays for Itself
Raising Chickens, The Pet that Pays for Itself | Source

No Personal Blogs on HubPages

Some may say that this series is too personal and more like a blog post, so shouldn't be published on HubPages. Maybe that's true, but I am not one for being told what I can't do, and am not a fan of personal blogs. I have trouble writing something new every day and also find it difficult to generate followers. So, for now HubPages just has to put up with The Cackleberry Farmer.

I could also make these articles more instructional on how to raise chickens, but hey, I've already done that in-depth in my article "Raising Chickens - The Pet that Pays for Itself," on PetHelpful. That means HubPages and you, my faithful reader, just have to put up with my ramblings.

Kathy and I have been busy planting and growing tomatoes, herbs, blood orange, pomegranate, and loquat trees, as well as some Jacarandas. The tomato bushes are loaded with fruit but for some reason they aren't ripening. Maybe now that the days are warming up it will accelerate the process.

A Parsley Crop
A Parsley Crop | Source
Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo | Source

The Cackleberry Farmer: The Poem

I may be a frequent writer of poetry but this is the very first poem I have put in a Cackleberry Farm hub. It is quite light-hearted and I hope you enjoy it.

Let's hear it for the farmers,

Men and women on the land

Who grow the crops we use each day,

And raise animals by hand.

Here's to the urban farmers too

Who try to be the change,

Promoting self-sufficiency.

Though they're often seen as strange.

But everybody raise your glass

To the greatest of them all,

The Cackleberry farmer

Who braves the rooster's call.

At sunrise every morning,

And sometimes through the night,

That cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo,

Wakes mere mortals with a fright.

But the Cackleberry Farmer

Simply rises from his bed,

Rubs his eyes, puts on his boots,

And makes sure the poultry's fed.

(and dogs, cats, and wild birds)


More by this Author

Comments 44 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

Well Happy Anniversary, my friend. Too personal for HubPages? I would submit to everyone that HubPages needs a lot more of what you provide.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Well, you were certainly quick today Bill, just as I am about to go to bed. Thanks for being the first to read and comment. I agree that personal stories and experiences are wonderful reading and people seem to appreciate it, but if you ever visit the forums (not recommending it) the advice is always "HubPages is not the place for personal stories, they are better as a blog post.. Blah blah blah". Thanks for the Happy Anniversary too.

whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 4 months ago from United States

Nice presentation of farm life there my friend. Enjoyed your poem. Keep on keeping on for another nine years. whonu

ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 4 months ago from New Delhi, India

Great hub and perhaps most appropriate one to celebrate your 7 years on HubPages! Congratulations!

You are a great asset to HP and it is always a pleasure to read your well written hubs. I loved this one too with lovely pictures, your story, poem all woven into a wonderful hub.

Thanks for sharing!

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks whonu, if HubPages is still around in nine years I'll try to be too.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

You are much too kind, Chitrangada. I'm glad you enjoyed this hub too.

Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 4 months ago from Florida

We love these installments and we love the Cackleberry Farmer! I do marvel at your photos. They are so lovely. I want to print and frame them; especially that bad-ass rooster at the top. Beautiful!!

You mentioned some rough times, and let me tell you my friend, I can relate. I have been in my own struggle on and off for months now. It has been quite hard to write. I am lucky if I can get my regular chores and duties done. My strength is gone a lot these days. Focus has been hard to capture. I hope all is getting better for you. I pray it is.

Congratulations on seven years here! Wow! Take care my friend! ~Missy

Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 4 months ago from LOS ANGELES

Happy Seven years hear on HubPages! I love hearing about your farm and all the animals and everything you grow in your garden. I wish that my life could be that simple. That's not to say that farming is easy work because I'm sure it isn't but it seems more rewarding. By the way I haven't received any alerts from CreativeExiles; are you still writing there?

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

I will soon be on HP seven years, seems impossible. Time flies! I envy you having cats, I love them but am allergic. That old cliché, A busy life is a happy life, seems appropriate here. Best wishes..

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 months ago from southern USA

Congrats, John! Wow, seven years. That's wonderful. Too personal ...oops, then I'm in trouble too. Hhaha.

Seems odd y'all are having spring and we are having fall. I'll never get that straight in my mind. I love reading your cackleberry tales. You have a lot of yummy things growing sounds like. I'm glad you have the couple to sit for you when you need to get away.

Enjoyed your photos too.

Peace and blessings

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I always enjoy reading your cackleberry farm hubs, John. I enjoyed reading your poem in this edition, too. Congratulations on your HubPages anniversary.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you, Dana. I am glad you enjoy hearing about my life on the farm. Sometimes I think I have nothing new to write but always seem to find something. Yes, I am writing at The Creative Exiles. I wonder why you aren't getting notified. Maybe yo sign up again. I wrote a poem there about four days ago..Song of the Outback.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Feel free to use any of the photos, Missy. I hope things are improving for you. I noticed you had been a little quiet here. Our problems are quite complicated, some are just things we have to get used to and deal with, others are behind us. Thank you for reading and the congratulations. You take care also.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes, Ruby, time does fly...seven years for you too, cool. I remember you saying before you were allergic to cats..what a shame. A busy life is a happy life..sometimes :)

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Theresa, thank you for reading this new Spring edition....yeah, it's weird being in opposite seasons. Peace and blessings back.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Alicia, thank you for continuing to follow this series. It is for followers like you that I keep,writing it. Much appreciated.

MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 4 months ago

John, congratulations on your 7th anniversary. Awww, you cats are so sweet! I'm glad you are writing about your Cackleberry Farm. I wish HP didn't discourage personal stories because I enjoy them more than all the regurgitated "informational" hubs put together. I think that personal stories are different from blog posts because blog posts often go farther than just informational and start pontificating.

Your spring is just beginning, and your photo of crocus is just lovely. Our autumn is coming along and winter is just around the corner. I don't like winter. I wish I were rich so we could fly between the U.S. and Australia seasonally and never have to see a temperature below 60 degrees. (Then we could visit you and your lovely wife on your farm, too.)

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

What a delightful comment, MizB. How great it would be to be wealthy enough to fly from one continent to another to follow the seasons, and also take the opportunity to visit our Hubber friends on the other side of the world. You would certainly be most welcome to visit the Cackleberry Farm anytime. Yes, I agree that personal stories should be encouraged because people do seem to prefer to read them than informational arrivals. Thank you.

Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 4 months ago from Oklahoma

Another interesting installment from the man who introduced me to cackleberries!

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey, Larry. Cackleberries are my favourite fruit :) Glad I introduced you to them as well. Cheers.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 4 months ago from Nashville Tn.

John, Happy 7th Anniversary! I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed reading this diary. Too personal? Not at all. In fact this is the kind of writing that provides the reader with real entertainment. I can't wait for your next one. Just love "the girls" !

I dream about having a place like yours. You've got it all!

lambservant profile image

lambservant 4 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Hi John, Happy Anniversary. It has been a privilege and delight to get to know you and read your work. I love hearing about your farming. And tomatoes can be so fickle. They don't always do that well here in the Pacific Northwest. I know you and your wife have had some trials and I've said a prayer for you. BTW, is that your wife in the photo? Whoever she is she is pretty. God bless you John, keep writing and blessing.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 months ago from The Caribbean

Congratulations on your HP anniversary! You have been an inspiration, a source of humor, an outstanding poet and more. You've earned the right to write personal and other. Because you write well, we read all. Best to you going forward!

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Audrey, you are too kind. I am very touched by the comments about this series, and am glad the readers enjoy them. Yes, I am lucky to live where I do. It looks like,I will have to start planning the next chapter in the series.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for visiting, Lori, the happy anniversary wishes, and the prayers of course. No, that isn't my wife, but she is pretty. That photo is from a community garden and I am not sure who the lady is. It is a shame about the to,a ties, though they can be used to make green tomato pickles or chutney. So, glad you enjoy this series. Blessings to you as well.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks MsDora, I do appreciate such generous words. I just do the best I can a s a writer. If it gets readers I am happy. Bless you.

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello John, I for one very much like the Cackleberry Farm series. It reminds me of 'A Sand County Almanac,' and if you have not read it, find a copy and get comfortable in your easy chair. Congratulations on seven years on HP, that is an accomplishment for sure.

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 months ago from Los Angeles

Hi John, I always love to read about the latest from the farm and how you manage your life. Glad to hear that you've worked out a carefree way to spend more time with your wife. I enjoyed your poem and raise my glass to those who choose to work for a more sustainable life. Cheers!

DDE profile image

DDE 4 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hi Jodah, well done on sharing such interesting, informative and creative hubs.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks, Mike. It was your support of this series that is partially responsible for its continuation. I have not yet read 'A Sand County Almanac," but I will have to on your recommendation. A series I read many years ago called "The Diary of a Prickle Farmer" gave me the idea for this. Thanks for the contacts on 7 years.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hello Cat. Thanks for reading and for raising your glass. Much appreciated.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Devika, thank you for continuing to follow this series. Much appreciated.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 4 months ago from USA

Great little poem and wonderful photos. Happy HP Anniversary! Farmers are so important -- especially family farmers. I really dislike the commercializations and industrialization of farming.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Flourish. I agree with you about the commercialization of farming. As a Permaculturalist and organic gardener, I believe in multi-cropping and companion planting. Monocropping is destroying the ecology around the globe

Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 4 months ago from UK

I just love this hub, which I was drawn to by the image of the hen (I have several of the pottery variety in my kitchen -including a cruet). The name of your farm is lovely, and it occurred to me that it might be a great title for a children's story book. Nice poem too. Your lifestyle sound idyllic but I'm sure it' s hard work. How nice that you have been able to spend some quality time with your wife this year.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I am glad you enjoyed this hub, Glenis. My uncle used to call eggs, cackle berries so I adopted the name for my poultry farm. Yes, it would be a good name for a children's book. Thanks for the great comment.

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida

John, I happen to love this series. It gives us a glimpse into your lifestyle and who you are as a person. That's what friends are made of, right?

Seven years? Wow. I had no idea! Happy Hubbiversary!

Love the poem. It flows so well. No bumps or missteps in rhythm, as only a true poet can pull off.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Shauna. I continue to write this series only for Hubber friends like you who follow it. After the initial publication and reading by my followers they virtually get no more views, but that's OK by me. I guess I have to get to work on my summer edition.

lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


We love the 'Cackleberry' farm! Simple as that, and if HP has a problem with it (or anyone else for that matter) that's just tough!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for that supportive comment, Lawrence. I have been having trouble keeping the hubs in this series featured, but I guess that isn't really so important. As long as you and my other followers enjoy the series then I will keep it going.

lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


We all get that at times, this series is great simply because it's about real life! You folks have a life a lot of us 'city slickers' would love, but might not have a clue about, that's what makes it so enjoyable!

Keep 'em coming (please)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Lawrence.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids


My familiarity with farming is minimal. Due to a period in my life when I worked on rural newspapers I found that farm are of different kinds and farmers are in a complex business.

I had an uncle who was what you call an urban farmer. He lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raied chickens in his back yard, an activity which I don't think would be allowed now. That was in the era of World War II and "Victory" gardens were encouraged. I suppose he just took it a step further.

My own attempts at growing food were not overly successful. Keep up the good work.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Doug. Yes there certainly are many different types of farms. Mine is not commercial, so really just a hobby and lifestyle farm. We get more than enough eggs for our own consumption and grow a few fruit and vegetables if rainfall and climate is favourable. 2016 has been difficult for us, but we hope to be more proactive in the coming year. Thanks for reading.

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