I have a black hen who loves to come and visit me. She's a smart girl and definitely the smartest chicken out of all my hens and I say this because she's the only one (out of 15) that deliberately finds a way under my temporary fencing only to navigate 60 metres up to the house and proceed to call out with her familiar cluckery until I appear. When I go outside she shuts up and looks at me as if to say “hello” and then she'll follow me around the garden. She's good company around the garden too and also the least destructive chicken I've ever seen with limited scratching of newly laid mulch and hardly any stealing of greens from our vegetable garden…it's like she knows.
That's her, third black one at the back…
I can tell if she has been away from her pen for any extended length of time because she'll crouch down when I appear or approach me in the garden (then crouch down) and wait for me to pick her up and give her a free carry back to her hen house where she frantically runs to the feeder. Half my chickens are the black Australorp breed and I just love the look of the black feathers with tinges of purple, brown and black-opal greens shinning at the extremities of the wings. I can easily tell my special black hen visitor by her comb, as she has none…well hardly any.
She lost most of her comb in a fight with a large goanna (yes you did read that correctly) the goanna pictured right is a small fella I found in my garage the other day – only about 5 feet long and NOT the culprit. I happened to catch the end of the chicken Vs goanna drama when upon hearing a clucking commotion coming from the bottom of my property, I briskly advanced down to my chicken pen to investigate the issue (as it didn't sound to be an ordinary hen hissy-fit). When I walked into the enclosure I startled a large lizard which was intent on getting a feed of eggs and as I approached the hen house it scuttled past me and straight up a large gum tree. My dog (Scooter) made sure the big fat reptile stayed up the tree by camping straight under and barking incessantly.
I poked my head inside the hen house and there she was defiantly sitting on her nest with a few cracked eggs, a face full of lizard slime/saliva and a bleeding head. Actually, her head wasn't bleeding too badly but most of her comb was torn off.
Large Australian goanna are egg lovers and can be a nuisance around chicken pens. My open-plan, free range chicken pen design has many advantages; however, the trade-off is climbing animals are able to get inside the pen (obviously, dogs and foxes can't). Goanna are powerful animals and they're awesome climbers for size but they don't usually attack larger birds or animals. I suspect the fight between my chicken and this goanna was over eggs (over easy no doubt) and my big black hen wasn't going anywhere.
How does this story about the chicken and goanna relate to mortgages? Well, imagine the goanna is the big bad bank, the hen is the every day person with a mortgage, and Scooter the dog is the regulator…
The hen (struggling mortgagee) wants to protect her nest egg and try to grow her wealth ever so modestly and the goanna (big bad bank) is always muscling in around the fringes pinching any excess eggs (and then some). Scooter (the dog, regulator) has a good bark and may chase the goanna up a tree to keep him at bay for awhile but barking isn't any good without bite so all that happens is the goanna waits for the dog to go away and then he comes back to hassle the hen at a later time (after all the barking and concern in the media have died down).
At the moment there are a lot of home owners who are hurting financially due to the increased cost of living. Even in good times many people (families) struggle to meet mortgage demands because, rather perversely, as the economy improves and minimum wages rise slightly this cues the regulator to raise interest rates. Therefore, most of these gains for a home owner with a mortgage are taken away in higher interest rates and taxes. Ironically, for some lower income families with secure employment it would almost be better if the economy did fall (and stay) into recession because this seems to be the only way the regulator lowers rates and keeps them low, but of course we know the bigger picture would be worse.
Nevertheless, why do regulators and governments use middle and low income earners as a wing-nut to loosen or tighten for economic stability? Why can't mortgagees have lower interest rates in the “better times” relevant to their income and size of mortgage (in median terms). It would be nice if home mortgage rates (at least) were income biased meaning lower income earners could receive a mandatory discounted interest rate on the current rate and higher earners not. This would relieve some mortgage stress in the needy community and enable lower income earners the chance to afford a home closer to the type and area they would rather. I don't know for sure if this idea would be possible economically; however, I don't see any new ideas or real effort in policy changes from world governments or regulators seriously trying to help the low and middle classes. Where have all the true ideas and reforms gone from our politicians? Give us a vision that doesn't disillusion us.
In the meantime, we can fight back and small alterations in our lifestyle can help relieve some of our mortgage stress. Things like, keeping chickens and turning your scrap food from off-cuts, dinners, and stale breads into golden bum nuts (eggs). Selling just one carton a week @ $4.00 to a work colleague is better than nothing or trading some eggs with your neighbour for some veggies is better value than buying them from Bullies Supermarket down the road.
There's an imbalance in the world and it doesn't look like fairness will return soon to the economy; therefore, we should prepare to become more self sufficient for the long haul and buffer ourselves in case of even tougher times. If we do, we can tenaciously sit in/on our nest of eggs just like my black hen to help protect and fight-off any big, bad, greedy, goanna from gobbling away most of our hard earned wealth.
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Thanks for reading and thanks for your support,
Look, and see the Earth through her eyes
Mark Valencia – Editor SSM
Above is a goanna running in my garage, unfortunately he ran out of my garage and straight into my back shed (Right) and up a wall near my fishing gear! It wasn't easy getting him down…
Below – Goanna being released back to the bush