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Death of a Cackleberry Farmer?

Updated on March 6, 2017
Beware the Grim Reaper. Death Comes Calling.
Beware the Grim Reaper. Death Comes Calling. | Source
Our latest adopted stray cat, Nike.
Our latest adopted stray cat, Nike. | Source

A Pain in the ... Back

As I write this I find myself lying prostrate in bed, a pillow under my lumbar, trying to ease the pain in my lower back. I have to admit that even though I exercise and try to keep fit, I am not as young as I used to be. There, I said it! The pain is the result of lifting and moving furniture from our home of six years "The Cackleberry Farm" to our new home in a town called Murgon.

The most recent addition to our family, adopted stray kitten Nike (so named because of the black tick on his nose), is trying to get my attention by first sitting on my chest so that I can't see to write. With some difficulty I turn onto my side, and he sits on the notebook. I also need to change position to relieve the sharp daggers stabbing into my spine and hip. If it wasn't so late I would much prefer to be sitting at my desk to write (cat free) but it is almost midnight here.

I am feeling guilty because I really needed to spend the day filling the trailer with some of our goods and shackles and relocating them to our new home. Instead I have been just sitting or lying around trying to rest my back. At least I have managed to catch up on a little reading but I still think the day was largely wasted. I should change my perspective and say it is Sunday, the Sabbath, a day of rest. There, that makes me feel a little better.

A small selection of our goods and shackles, packed and ready to go.
A small selection of our goods and shackles, packed and ready to go. | Source

Not a Cackleberry Farmer, but ...

Searching for New Inspiration

For the last few weeks I have been looking for the inspiration to write some flash fiction or a short story, but my search has so far been in vain. My muse won't hear of it - she keeps directing me to write poetry, or the occasional essay. Maybe it's her way of saying "You are not a good story or fiction writer, John. Don't waste your time and that of your readers, concentrate on your poems, or "The Cackleberry Farmer" series."

A lot of people seem to be writing about writer's block. That seems to be an oxymoron to me. If you can't think of anything else to write about, write about writer's block. Well, maybe there is something in the air, although I am not sure I believe in "writer's block" per se. From my experience I only have to pick up a pen and paper or open a Word document and I can write something. Whether or not it is suitable or good enough to let others read could be a matter for conjecture - but, so be it.

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword .. Not!

Actually, this is one of "those" pieces of writing, starting out with no real direction except my desire to get something down on paper ... other than poetry... and go wherever my pen leads me. Well, it seems that very pen may not even see this essay to a conclusion because the ink is beginning to run out and it is missing every second or third letter.

.. Excuse me while I find another pen.

OK, I am back, new pen in hand courtesy of 'Australia Post' and with the slogan "We Love Delivering" (the "Love" being a heart). I hope it is an omen for me to deliver some writing others love to read. The quality of this new pen, however, is also questionable. It seems little better than the one I replaced.

Perhaps there is something wrong with the paper. Has anyone else found that sometimes the paper in notebooks is faulty or hard to write on? In fact, does anyone else still write there rough/first draft in notebooks or just directly into the computer? Maybe I am a bit of a dinosaur in this technological age.

Dubious quality pen, compliments of Australia Post.
Dubious quality pen, compliments of Australia Post. | Source

And Now for Something Completely Different

As Monty Python would say, "And now for something completely different." It was only a month ago that I wrote how dry the land was and that we seemed to be on the verge of another drought. Well, I have to eat those words. Last night we had 120 millimetres (almost five inches) of rain. That is the highest 24 hour rainfall that we have had for as long as I have been recording it.

Great stuff! Our water tanks are full and overflowing. The only downside is that we will be moving into town in two weeks so can't reap the benefits. It also means the grass will grow faster and longer and I will have to mow probably twice before we leave (all two acres of it.)

120 mm (approx 5 inches) of rainfall was most welcome
120 mm (approx 5 inches) of rainfall was most welcome | Source

What Does the Future Hold?

Eureka! An idea just hit me as I write this, so at least one purpose has been served. Even though I am leaving this property I don't want to discontinue "The Diary of a Cackleberry Farmer" series as it is popular with my followers. I could, and probably will continue on from the last chapter "On the Road With the Cackleberry Farmer," but after I move to town I won't really be able to legitimately call myself a farmer, will I?

Our new address will be 38 Lamb Street, so maybe I could change the name of the main series to "The Lamb Street Chronicals." I think it has a certain ring to it. What do you think? It may lack the initial appeal of "The Cackleberry Farm" but it will be a truer representation of my new situation. "The Urban Cackleberry Farmer" just doesn't do it for me.

I'd Love Your Opinion

What should I do?

See results
On the road, Boondooma Dam
On the road, Boondooma Dam | Source

Say "No!" to Writer's Block

Wow, look at the word count on this article! 923 words and counting. By the time I finish I should have cracked 1000. I have amazed myself. this is another exercise in just taking pen in hand and writing anything that jumps into your mind. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and a lot of this won't mean anything to anyone other than my regular readers, but it works for me.

I hope it serves as an example for those of you who feel they are suffering from writer's block, and shows how it can be overcome. Pick up your pen and write. Just Do It! Let's give writer's block the chop.

Give writer's block the chop
Give writer's block the chop | Source

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 6 weeks ago from USA

      Little Nike is adorable. Did you take your other animals with you? Once a cackleberry farmer always a cackleberry farmer.

    • mansur1993 profile image

      mansur1993 6 weeks ago

      you should not

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, he is cute, Flourish. We are taking all but the roosters. Not moving completely until the 16th of the month. Yes, cackleberry farming is in the blood :)

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Mansur.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 6 weeks ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Urban cackleberry farming is the wave of the future. Keep showing us how it's done.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks, Chris. Billybuc is the expert at urban farming, hopefully I can do it justice, but have to do it within council regulations.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the name of your new series...perfect! I hope your back is better as you read this. Best wishes in the new home, my friend.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Bill, thanks for the positive confirmation of the new name for the series. I rested today and my make has improved a lot. Still niggling but getting there.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 6 weeks ago from San Diego California

      I love reading your stream of consciousness. I hope you are feeling better soon. I like that Australia Post pen, too. Our postal service doesn't issue pens like that to customers.

      I stopped writing by hand a long time ago. At the present time, I hack out my rough drafts on the Memo feature of my phone, using my two thumbs and taking advantage of the spell check finishing words for me sometimes. Seems tedious and slow, but I manage to crank out thousands of words this way. The added advantage is that I can email a copy to myself so it doesn't get lost in some fat finger technical disaster.

      Fantastic work. Peace and happiness in your new abode.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Mel, I just go with the flow and let my stream of consciousness sweep me away :) Actually, I just bought a new phone and when I am in town I will have constant reception (here on the Cackleberry Farm I don't) so I may take your tip and try writing in the memo feature and emailing it to myself. It sounds like a plan. I am feeling quite a bit better after a day of rest. If I had tried moving anything today I would have been laid up for a week. Thanks for the well wishes.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 6 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      John - Nike looks like an absolute love! What a blessing that he found you. I like the sound of Lamb Street Chronicles, but I can also see some benefit to retaining the old series name--who cares that you have relocated. It's the spirit of the article that counts. I do hope your back is feeling better soon. My husband has a disc that flares up once in a while and it's no fun (for him, or for me putting enduring the moaning). As for writing--I can't write for a very long time anymore (arthritis), so rely on the keyboard for most all of my efforts.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Round here city folk still shake their head at us country raised people. "You can take the boy out of the country but not the country out of the boy".

      Though the farmer must live without his precious dirt he remains what he is.

      I like this style of writing. Thanks for a great read.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 6 weeks ago from Europe

      I loved to read it. Hope your back eases quickly. A few months ago you wrote about the drought, and we said something like the Aboriginals could make a rain dance. Remember? Be careful what you wish for :)

      And I think a writers block only arises when someone persistently against all odds wants to write about things while there's tons of other material to write about. Maybe is convincing yourself to be something and locking yourself up in this position deadly for your muse. I think you perfectly know what to do, John. :)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 weeks ago from South Africa

      Ag shame, Joda! You have all my sympathy and empathy; I am 24/7 in pain due to osteoarthritis. I know what its like lying prostrate in bed, trying everything under the sun to ease pain.

      2016 was the driest year since SA started keeping statistics in the beginning of the 1900s. The interior of the country had some lovely rain last week, but not enough. Cape Town, however, has been declared a disaster area TODAY, as they only have enough water left for 116 days. Cape Town falls in a winter rainfall area, so, there is still hope that they will get rain in time.

      I don't think there is a big enough block that could hamper your passionate urge to write :))

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

      Isn't it funny how, when you want to write, and your muse tapes her mouth shut, you just start to write and it's interesting. You have mastered that aspect. I hope you will like your new home. I want to tell you about exercising equipment that has really helped my back, it's name is Tony Little's Ab Lounge. It is amazing how it stretches the back and midriff. You can see it on line. Take care....

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 6 weeks ago from LOS ANGELES

      When I first saw your title I thought- "Oh no, is John writing from the grave!" I hope you're laughing because I thought that was a funny. Ha ha! No, seriously I knew that you were moving but I don't think I realized you were giving up the simplicity of country life. Or are you? Anyway I wish I had writers block. The truth is I have been writing like crazy but none are what I would call "hubpage friendly" meaning they lean more towards religion. Unfortunately, I may have to find a new home but that doesn't mean I will not put the occasional poem on hubpages and certainly doesn't mean I won't continue to follow and comment on all of the people I chose to follow. As long as they write I will continue to be a fan. By the way, Nike is too cute.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Dana, after I wrote the title I was a little worried that people may see it and think I died, writing this posthumously :) yes, it is a little funny though. We certainly will be facing some challenges with our animals in town having to build enclosures to contain them, when they have been free to roam up until now. Sorry, to hear you need to find a new home for most of your religious writing but I understand you have to find the best fit for your genre of writing. As long as you are still following your friends here and posting the occasional poem, that's fine. Yes, Nike is very cute.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for the tip on Tony Little's Ab Lounge, Ruby. I will check it out. I find that when I don't have a set topic to write about and just let the pen flow my real voice comes out and the randomness seems to add some sort of appeal to the writing. Glad you find that as well. I am looking forward to the new home and it's new challenges.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for the sympathy and empathy, Martie, but my back seems to be slowly healing. I just pushed it a little too far when it was already sore. Your osteoarthritis would be a lot more difficult to endure. Here in Australia this Summer almost every day has been 5 or 6 degrees above average for the month, with some days the hottest since records have been kept. Some parts have been having rain, others none. It seems we have similar climates. I hope Cale Town gets rain soon. Thanks for reading this.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for reading this Buildreps. Yes, the back seems to be improving..I just pushed it a little too far in the rush to get things done. A couple of days rest has helped. I thinzk those Aboriginals obliged with the rain dance :) over the last few years this country seems to have drought followed by flood and little in between. You are write I think that writers block only strikes when people are determined to write about certain things rather than stretch their literary horizons. There are certainly unlimited topics to write about and need to be covered.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Eric, glad you enjoy my writing style. That saying sure rings true....they can't take the country out of this boy. I'll do what I can with my reduced patch of soil.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Lind, we came home from town one day, it was pouring rain and found this little soaking wet kitten on our back verandah. Our house is situated about a kilometre (5/8 mile) from the road, and no neighbour knew anything about him, so how he found us is anyone's guess. He is a fun little guy, so glad he did. Thanks for your opinion on the name of the series..it looks like most votes are leaning towards "The Cackleberry Farmer Goes to Town" but we'll see. Hope your arthritis stays under control. I have some in my fingers but it doesn't seem to affect my writing yet.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi John - First, I hope your back gets back to normal and fast. Not for the moving sake, but just to have you feeling normal again soon. As for the Cackleberry Farmer, I don't think you will have much luck, with you in town living the life of luxury. (A little joke.) Glad to see you publish. Good luck with the move. Oh, and thanks for dispelling the whole 'writer's block myth'

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks, Mike. Maybe I was using the sore back as an excuse to postpone everything I have to do :) it is on the mend and I'm off to town today. Not sure about the luxury, but will be closer to conveniences. Have a great week.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm glad that you've adopted Nike. He'll have a good life with you. Best wishes for the future and for a healed back, John.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image

      Gwenneth Leane 6 weeks ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      Oh don't murder the Cackleberry Farmer. He was such fun, just give him a new name and a new job and he'll thrive whatever he does.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 6 weeks ago from Escondido, CA

      First-time reader of the Cackleberry Farmer. Sorry for the pain while am familiar with it and the cause too. My back will begin to ache just doing the dishes. I really liked this piece and found it inspirational. I think for my journaling I will begin a new one in a manner like this. That is my best exercise for writers block → journaling. I see it helps you too! Not sure of changing the series name. Maybe there is a compromise. Use Cackleberry Farmer in the real title then Lamb Street Chronical in the first Subheading?

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Alicia. Yes, Nike has settled in as part of the family. I am seeing a herbalist/holistic practitioner about my back and it is improving.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for the encouragement, Gwenneth. I won't murder him but he will probably continue with a slightly different name.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Tim. Better late than never :) Good to have someone who can relate to my back pain but I am sorry that you have to suffer from it. I am glad you found this inspirational and wish you well with your journal. That is what the Cackleberry series really is. That is a good suggestion in regard to the title and subheading too. I may take that advice.

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 6 weeks ago from Kuwait

      Great hub Jodah! :) Little Nike is so adorable. :D I write on paper rarely, mostly I write on computer and mobile. Once, I wrote a rough draft for my book on paper. To my surprise, I could pen down my thoughts faster while writing.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 6 weeks ago from Florida

      He he...this was wonderful! You and I do have so much in common don't we? I am very surprised to see a few that have the writer's block lately. I'm like you - maybe not consider it writer's block, but just hard-pressed to come up with an idea. I think it's from getting busy in our other areas of life. It's frustration from trying to get things done, but really wanting to write.

      Like you, I can usually put down something; that's why I chose a little exercise for myself with the "Maleficent Ode." I wrote it, because it's what I had time for I think. The desperation of wanting to write, but not coming up with the correct idea I wanted for the fact my other duties have my mind at the moment.

      I did not know that you were moving into the city. I'm sort of sad about that. I loved your "Cackleberry Farmer Series." However, we must move where life takes us, and now we may get some adventures in the city! I picked "The Lamb Street Chronicles." I think you must change as you move along. You will now be a city slicker instead of a farmer, but I think it's going to be awesome!

      This was a good essay, Jodah. I, for one, love this kind of write-up, where someone just sits down and talks to us. You know this about me though. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      You do a great job just writing with minimum effort and producing something interesting. By any name, your chronicles will be just as good , but I like the sound of Lamb Street Chronicals. Good job!

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks, for reading, commenting, encouragement, and your confirmation that the Lamb Street Chronicals sounds good.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Missy, yes we do have a lot in common :) thank you for your in-depth and helpful comment. I think you hit the nail on the head that not being able to write what you want is often is often frustration at being so busy in other aspects of your life. Yes, I am moving but not to the "city". Murgon is a small country town, but saying that our house does front onto the Main Street. It will present a lot of challenges, especially with our animals so hopefully all goes well. Glad you enjoyed this and think "The Lamb Street Chronicles" deserves consideration.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Hello, Sakina. Glad you enjoyed reading this. Yes, Nike is a nice addition to the family. He is very playful. I sometimes write directly onto my computer but I find the phone difficult.Maybe I just need to practice. I find I can write a lot faster on paper than I can type, and don't make as many mistakes. Thanks for your comment.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 6 weeks ago from Oklahoma

      Jodah: a rose by any name:-)

      Great read.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Larry :) so true.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Oh, John...ouch! Or as my little granddaughter says, "Major owie!" I can relate to the back pain. I have a sciatic nerve that kicks up once in a while and I am in near constant pain for a few months before it dissipates. Sharp daggers and hot fireplace pokers pretty much sums up how it feels. Lifting furniture would put me in traction. Nike is adorable, by the way.

      You're not a dinosaur at all for writing with pen in hand. I still write down notes with anything I can get my hands on before I forget what I was thinking in terms of ideas or phrases. Envelopes, napkins, paper towels...it's a long list. But my mind works too fast for my hand to follow when I write, so I take the notes to the computer keyboard.

      Good news about your needed rain; not so great about mowing that much before you make the final move. I am excited for you and your family in your new adventure. Although we are saying goodbye to Cackleberry Farm, we await new stories about "The Lamb Street Chronicles." (Well, that's the one I picked in your poll.) I hope you're feeling better, John.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you so much, Genna. My back is finally starting to improve, but my wife also suffers sciatica and it isn't nice. Thanks also for voting in the poll. We will be living in the new house from the 16th but still travelling back and forth for a few weeks to finish everything.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 6 weeks ago from Texas

      I heard a saying once, "Never give up, this may be your day for a miracle."

      Keep on writing John.

      Blessings, hope you back is better and if you can get some Stopain liniment. I think it would help.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Shyron. I will continue writing no matter what. My back is much better now so I can start doing a lot more. I appreciate you reading and for the kind advice.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A great hub and sharing such experiences allows you to feel better in reading such positive comments. Never give up! Pain will disappear and you will heal each day.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You shared an experience in a positive way.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you, Devika. Good to see you back.

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Yes, Devika. Writing about your personal experiences certainly does help, especially through the supportive comments like yours.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      I was torn between 'The Cackleberry farmer goes to town' and changing the title to 'The Lamb Street chronicles'. I think both would be a great hit.

      By the way, I just think that your muse wanted the break as the two of you write great flash fiction, but that's just my humble opinion.

      Hope you're recovered somewhat.

      Lawrence

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks, Lawrence. I am totally recovered and feeling very fit now after all the hard work moving. I got some treatment from a herbalist/ alternative therapist and it worked wonders also. Thanks for your opinion of the names, and you may be right about my muse wanting a break. Blessings.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

      John, how about "On the Lam(b) With the Cackleberry Farmer"?

    • Jodah profile image
      Author

      John Hansen 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for reading and the suggestion, Shauna. What does "on the lam" mean?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

      It means on the run.

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