Chicken Fortresses on an Autumn Morning…and Other Things.

But first, I beg your patience a moment for a little word on housekeeping, if you please…

So wordpress has been posting ads on this site. Because I have a free platform, this happens. I know this. But until very recently, I hadn’t seen any ads here, and my response to them has been visceral, to say the least.

Blogger, also free, (and without all that nonsense) was my platform of choice for years. But I got myself trapped in an old template that was tricky to change without losing everything, (it’s just locked at the moment). And blogger has its limitations, I find.

So I’m wondering…

After a few months of using, I do find wordpress to be quite unwieldy, and the options for the free templates are limited. I already pay for my domain(s), and I don’t think what I do here justifies me buying more stuff. I mean, I’m not running a business from this space.

I see people using squarespace, and design platforms like it, which are supposedly simple, but I found them hair-pulling when I had a go. I like things to be ridiculously straight-forward in the design dept, because the sedentary nature of fiddling with design elements doth not sit well with my restless nature. Writing and scholarly activities may be sedentary, but to not quite the same degree. I move about a lot in my day, whereas if I’m sitting and doing geek stuff (sorry, pejorative there) on a pooter, I feel my impatience rise. Hours, days, months roll by, and I find myself in a kind of suspended animation, strewn with cobwebs, and not having drawn a breath. I have a thing about sitting for too long. Many a neurosis could be solved if one simply got off one’s backside for a bit.* But I won’t start on that one.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations, lovely reader, about what has worked for you, I would very much like to hear them.

I’ve been contemplating a different kind of blogging for a while now. So I’ve been experimenting with the delights of youtube, and posting videos. I’m yet to conquer the arcane mysteries of uploading videos in HDR (grrr). This video was filmed in HDR, but the quality is pretty poor as an upload. But there we go. Possibly best viewed on a phone, or similarly tiny screen. In fact, the definition is fine on a phone, but oh well.

But here’s a short video of me randomly pootling about with the Chook Ladies in my scruffy Autumn garden…you can tell I’m obsessed with keeping the chooks out of the Forbidden Zone.




*Just channelling my inner Katherine Hepburn. Who apparently liked to take early morning swims, even throughout Winter. I won’t go that far.

28 thoughts on “Chicken Fortresses on an Autumn Morning…and Other Things.

  1. I have stayed with blogger all these years apart from one brief foray into wordpress which drove me crazy because I couldn’t change the template to get it how I liked. Blogger has its limitations but it mostly allows me to do what I want. I have been forced to move sites a couple of times when the template has become locked or irrepairably broken, though. I’d love to move to squarespace and have a domain of my own, but can’t really justify the cost. So for as long as Blogger is free, and ad-free, I will stay there, and I recommend it to you now. It’s also far better with its comments section – wordpress comments requirements annoy me no end.

    However, I do think that for most small-time bloggers the heyday of blogs is over, and you are wise to look at other venues. I almost never watch videos, never listen to podcasts, but I know most other people do. In a minute I’ll watch your video though ๐Ÿ™‚ I imagine places like Instagram will prove temporary too – look at how Facebook is starting to wane now – but for the next few years visual journalling is probably the place to be.


    1. The video is very enjoyable ๐Ÿ™‚ Lovely to hear your voice, and your Australian accent ๐Ÿ™‚ And my, what a beautiful garden you have!


    2. Sarah, I wholeheartedly agree with all that you’ve said above. You reflect many of my own thoughts. And yes, Instagram seems to be The Way of the moment, yes.

      To add to this, I know that many are saying that blogging is dead, and I agree to some extent. But for me this is a major reason I remain blogging in this old-fashioned way – I want this part of my life to be quiet, flying under the radar, and connecting with others on an intimate, personal level. I even look for ways of lowering the profile of this already quiet blog. Which may sound strange, but this is a place of healing for me.
      And I love the conversations, having a narrative thread, rather than offering stand-alone articles. This is a way of remaining low profile, also.

      I feel something else is coming through, (does that sound woo-woo? I don’t mean to, because it’s not in the least). Seeing what I’m seeing, the next couple of years will prove very interesting indeed. As with most things, as soon as everyone’s jumped on the bandwagon, it’s too late.
      And that’s too much waffling from me, for now!

      Thankyou for your advice and input, it is highly valued! xx


  2. I’m going to be contrary and say that I prefer WP. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Like Sarah, I don’t listen to podcasts, videos are ok but mostly as an aside. I just like reading.

    I’d much prefer to have 20 readers who interact than 20.000 that have to be entertained a certain way. I blog for my amusement, not to “be” “somebody”. So I say run your blog whichever way you like, on a day to day basis (I don’t mean daily, but just be you, even if it’s not the same as last week)


    1. Ah, Pia, yes. I knew there would be some WP lovers – and the arguments for WP are pretty convincing, but I think blogger spoiled me for it, and now I find it very tricky to use indeed.

      And I absolutely agree with you – I’d much prefer 20 readers with whom I can interact on a genuine level, to a vast army that demands bright, shiny magazine-style things from me constantly. And as someone who writes here from a very personal, quiet corner of existence, it would be strange to want to cultivate that. In fact, some years ago I shut my site down for a couple of years because it had grown to a point where I just wasn’t comfortable any more. It’s much quieter now, and that’s the way I prefer things to be.
      It’s much more fun blogging just because it brings one joy – and also a record. For me, it’s also memories. The little things, and details that can be lost and forgotten in a life. xx


      1. Blogging is the closest I’ve ever been to a diary – and indeed I do remember less even from a couple of years before I started, not so mention way back and my childhood. Just a fog. And I use it as a personal challenge since I’m so introvert. It’s my school for reprogramming my inner perfectionist who thinks we will die if we ever admit to mediocre or gasp, failure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. One reason I do not like WordPress (apart from it being clunky to use and design with) is that when I’ve read your lovely posts on my phone in the morning and I type out a comment, it always asks me to sign into WordPress. For some reason my phone doesn’t save my password, the one I SWEAR is correct won’t work and after several tries/emails I just give up.

    I agree though…something else is definitely coming. I love blogging still but cannot for the life of me seem to rev it up anymore. But neither can I close it – the thought makes me hyperventilate! I have also thought about video (from safely behind the camera) and even (not a podcast per se but maybe) audio files posted somewhere. With a picture cos I like pictures. I dunno. Please just keep being SOMEwhere because I’d miss you terribly. x (Typing this on my laptop and copying it just in case WP gives me shit again.)(It bloody DID. Grr…)


    1. Oh Jo. WP just ate my comment then! And the one above…grrr (yup). I must say, I’m in a state of limbo with a few things. I want to keep writing here, but I want a change. It might be my usual state of restlessness, but anyway.

      I’ll continue blogging in the mean time, and on the IG. But I think I’ll definitely leave WP, because it’s just too much of a headache for the way my skew-wiffy brain is wired. I quite enjoy making vids actually, (oh YES! From behind the camera definitely). But I need to work out a way to get them in (proper) HD. xx


      1. I started transferring stuff back to Blogger yesterday. I don’t care if it’s ‘not good for growing my biz’, I just like it : )

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always used wp. I think the troubles with commenting are with the free versions. And the free themes are limiting. I pay for my hosting and it’s not cheap when it comes one lump. $155.00 was my last annual payment to my hosting service. But I sold memberships and books in the past and you don’t really own your content with a free hosting service. It’s a dilemma. But again, I think all of the logging in for comments is from the free accounts. And also, I didn’t see an ad within this post. Indtagram? I’ll never go there, too much of a trend and a time suck and mainly for those who want to market their art. I rarely watch videos but because I travel for my job I do listen to podcasts.


    1. Nicole – speaking of WP, I tried to comment on your post a few days ago, and failed miserably. Actually, I can’t blame WP for everything can I ; ) It’s probably me missing something. Anyway, I will say it here: I love the design and what you’ve done with your site. And your writing is as gorgeous as ever.

      I pay for hosting for a few of my blogs, so that all adds up to being a fair bit each year. So I definitely want a free design platform, (I can’t even choose the colours on this one!!)
      I’m on instagram, and it is getting a bit crazy, but I have a private account and just follow people I’m interested in, so it feels much cosier than it might otherwise. xx


  5. I do hate adds. And I never have had to have any, with Blogger.

    Sorry you had troubles with changing, on Blogger. Guess I have been very lucky, I never have had insurmountable problems, with Blogger. And I am not, not, not, not, not techy!!!!!!

    It was lovely to hear your voice, but like ‘Nicole~’ I rarely watch videos.

    Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    1. Tessa, I’ve never had big probs with blogger either. It’s happily straight-forward for the most part. I just wanted to do more with it, and felt limited by the template I’m locked into over there.

      Thankyou for your good wishes!! xx


  6. oh, and ugh, and argh. i attempted to use wordpress a few months ago and bailed before posting even a single blog because it was so horrid. if i’d carried on with it, the swearing likely could be heard from space. (much like the times i’ve attempted to assemble some ikea thing.) so i also will stick with blogger.

    i keep hearing little puffs of “blogging is nearly over”, always from bloggers themselves. i don’t feel that way, until i begin to think how few younger people i know who read blogs or write them. there are other factors at work, though. i think what happened is that, like every other internet thing, or social media thing, it proliferated so much that two things occurred: first, there are so many blogs out there that no one can read even a wee subset of the ones on topics that interest him/her, so people wax and wane in their attentiveness to any given thing; and second, because of, you know, capitalism, blogging became another massive vector for marketing. often, i’m happy to learn of things from like-minded folk—that’s one of the joys of connecting with other minds online—but there is a slickness, a queasy-making *something* (revulsion is too strong a word—maybe turning away is better) that comes when a blog is all about stuff to buy and utterly suffused with ads, links, programs/diets/health coaches/spiritual gurus/etc, not to mention the writer’s own multiple platform announcements…

    within reason, some marketing of self is to be expected and need not be off-putting. authors need to put their work out there. artists benefit greatly from expanded audiences for their works: an internet/social media success story that jumps to mind is kim krans, creator of “the wild unknown” tarot deck (and other lovely things now)…her tarot deck jumped to prominence after cards were featured as props—without any attribution, by the way—in numerous photos that got pinned and re-pinned on pinterest, picked up in blogs, shown on instagram, and eventually a critical mass of people were intrigued enough to track down and purchase her tarot deck, all via the internet. including, ahem, me.

    a similar success story for a blogger, specifically, is “moon to moon”, a UK lady’s blog about domestic style, emphasizing boho, retro, and artisan-made things, which has sort of evolved in a way i find instructive…i’ve looked at that blog for years, and over time it went from a pictures-and-brief-commentary of things she found pretty, appealing, or interesting, interspersed with snippets about her current life, to something that looks much the same but feels intangibly different to me. she started featuring more artisans and clothing sellers, makers or retailers of this and that, doing giveaways of their products (if you followed the directives to “like” them and “share” them on social media, of course), featuring more interiors of shops and homes belonging to a sort of “who’s hot next” in boho style, which itself, of course, is having a huge moment in retailing…she got picked up by many other viewers of boho domestic wares and such, did “curated” lists for ebay, and eventually got on the radar of quite big marketers. with all the “exposure”, the feel of the blog changed for me. i’m happy for her, and i’m happy for the artists and re-salers and other folks who gained an audience for their works and wares, but the endless promoting of stuff combined with seeing “as featured on ‘moon to moon'” a few too many times just undercut the appeal for me. and that may be unfair, but i think it’s a pretty natural reaction to being alive in a time where marketing is so very, very ubiquitous and overdone.

    there is one more facet that may be worth mentioning…fewer and fewer people are interested in writing much or reading much. it’s all about the “byte”—sound or video—because there is SO MUCH to see out there, yes, but also because people simply lack patience, time, attention span, and robust reading or writing skills. one of the real reasons behind the decrease in facebook’s popularity—especially amongst younger users—is their preference for image-based communication that keeps verbiage to the minimum. hence, instagram and snap-chat have pulled many under 30s away from writing-based social media. what we do for fun, as an adjunct communication—pics and emoji—they do as a matter of course, as a preferred/only method of communicating.myspace and facebook were “hipper”, and definitely briefer, platforms than blogging. instagram and snapchat are briefer and less verbal than even that sort of thing. a picture these days is indeed worth a thousand words…and it works very well (and can be completely legitimate, especially for individuals) for marketing. so…

    it’s a question of preferences. some of us seek community, interchange of ideas, a sharing of meaning, like minds with like passions, deep information. others seek a series of brief interchanges that require minimal thought and time, and function to validate existence and remind them of friendship or affiliation without lengthy communication. both work, but only one of these preferences is compatible with what blogging used to be, and still is, for those who care…


    1. heheh…I so do relate to the swearing whilst tinkering with WP! At one point I was getting so frustrated with it I was even inventing new curses. The Bloke who happened to overhear me was quite impressed, “Oh, that’s a new one, I like that one”, he’d say.

      So yes. Anything capable of raising the blood pressure that much might need to be retired.

      And you have a blog(ger)?! Oooh! I must find you – I would LOVE to read your writing!

      Perhaps old style blogging as a major movement has had its day – when everyone knew one another. You know – that community feeling? I think it exists in pockets, and I’m still very focused that way myself. I love that I can have a sense of community and friendships that defy geographical borders. And I am at times in awe of the fact that some truly wonderful friendships have bloomed from being online in this capacity. That in itself is enough of a reason for me.

      But yes, the online world really is very slick now for the most part. Intimidatingly so at times. And I really do understand when people are trying to market something, there’s an added pressure to stand out from the crowd, which is very challenging. Because there are just sooo many people trying to do the same, and it must be hard to when you’re trying to be seen, and survive/thrive in such a saturated environment. It’s a vast ocean of connection now. A powerful tool that so many are clamouring to use, that sadly, things, people, certain ways of connecting can get lost amidst all that. When almost anything is possible, it comes with its own set of unprecedented challenges.

      I am familiar with Moon to Moon – I follow her on Pinterest now, rather than her blog. Because then I just get to see the pretty pictures. Also, I like her eye, which is not that ubiquitous, same-same template that boho has become now. That whole “what’s hot” thing gives me furballs.

      So yes, I think you can tell I am aligning with the community/friendship side of blogging – as far as my own contributions to it goes. It’s an extension of how I’ve always operated, and will continue to do so for as long as the technology is available! xx


  7. ah, wordpress…how i love to hate thee. I’ve been in a wrangle with my site the last day or so…for some reason the theme (yes, a free one although I do pay for my hosting <—which is an 'ownership' thing) keeps readjusting itself and making everything wonky. What i hate very much, is wonkiness where I don't want it. AND, because, like you, I grow ever-more fearsome when forced to sit at the computer faffing about with tech things, I'm having the urge to throw my hands in the air and storm off. Again.


    i somehow just can't.

    I don't think blogging is dead — i think those of us who value it, will keep on going, in our own muddled way. I feel as if my persistence has something to do with the preservation of the attention span and other, generally contrarian inclinations. Funny you should mention lowering your blog's profile…that's exactly what I'm intending to do….which is also contrary to what i ought to be doing if i fancy ever selling any books. Seems other things are more important to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Video, alas, is limited for me here in this far-flung land of dodgy internets — but i will always persevere for the sake of seeing/hearing a treasured friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I listen to a handful of podcasts quite regularly. I do so while I'm at work — the de-shiting of stables happily allows one's mind and attention to wander. ๐Ÿ™‚



    1. Ack! Mel, I do feel your WP pain. “Tinkering” amounts to psychological torture that drives me out into the garden. I direct my WP rage into digging holes in which I fantasise burying that whole damned platform. Ahem. Sorry. Intense.

      Yes – the lowering of the blog profile. NOT something you read about people doing, um…at all. But this is why I no longer have any of my social media connected to my blog. It’s basically a self-contained entity now. I have no problem with readers from here connecting with me on IG or pinterest, or goodreads, but I don’t necessarily want traffic coming from the other direction. It’s my little energetic boundary plugging. It’s purely psychological, but I feel held here, and feel a sense of connection with the lovely souls who come by here – not just to comment, but silent readers too. The world of social media, it feels not so peaceful and contained. It’s not that it’s necessarily malign, but that it’s a whirl of revolving doors. Whereas this is my virtual hearthside. A sanctuary that complements my mountainside home.

      I need more podcasts in my life, I’ve decided. Perfect for being in the garden : )

      I hope your WP tangles are sorted with relative ease, m’dear. May the tech gods be forever in your favour. xx


  8. *sigh* that was the loveliest thing ever. I LOVE your voice and your beautiful garden and I chuckled out loud at the chook fortress and your various barricades. what a gorgeous treat that was…thank you! xoxo


  9. Another thing which appeals to me with blogging, and which is probably its reason for decline, is that you can take your own bloody time writing as well as commenting and replying. This thread wรณuld have been dead in hours on Twitter. When people text you (something I generally discourage), they expect an immediate reply or else. Well excuse me for not bringing the phone into the loo with me! It’s all snap ans zap and on to the next new shiny thing. Mustn’t miss out. Can’t remember any of it.


    1. Absolutely Pia! That’s such a good point that you make. The rapid-fire nature of Twitter, and a lot of social media, results in not really having the opportunity to sit with our thoughts, and be considered. Or at the very least feel as though we’re still a part of a conversation, even if hours have passed since we engaged with that. I do think a lot of that rapid communication possible feeds our fear that we might be missing out on something – that we’re late to the virtual buffet, and yet there’s still too much to consume! xx


  10. Hi Antoinette
    This post didn’t come through like they usually do and my comment details have gone. I often have trouble with WP connecting to me on Blogger. I did try to set up a WP account but it was just too complicated for me and I didn’t like the design restrictions. So I shall be sticking with Blogger, it suits me. Ninstagram won’t let me join it says I have violated their rules????? I don’t join in with FB or Twitter, they are just so time consuming, so I’ll stick with what I have. I have noticed that I have less page views and commenters than I used to so I guess the migration to iG is to blame. Loved your video it was nice to hear your soft Aussie accent and see your garden, I tried to do a movie myself but couldn’t get it to load and it was all a bit wonky so well done with your successful effort.


    1. Oh god – what a bore for you trying to comment, Elaine. I’ve had that headache before too when I was with blogger and tried to comment on WP blogs. Gah. I don’t know why WP is so unnecessarily uppity.

      I don’t bother with FB and Twitter, even though I had accounts. I just don’t enjoy being on either, so I’ve left them to gather dust and cobwebs. IG does seem extremely popular, and I get why. I enjoy being there, in a limited way. But I don’t feel I can really stretch my legs there, so…I’ll be sticking with good ol’ blogging for a while yet.

      Thanks for your nice words about my vid – I’m still struggling with getting it looking right. Apparently there’s a youtube bug that’s responsible for making things difficult. But I don’t know about that – my skills are pretty wonky in that dept.


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