Narfs triple bottom line

Hi All,

 

It’s 5.12am on a Friday. I should be up to my armpits in RSS Feed Reads, being furtively read whilst I tap out comments on a notepad blank page whilst contemplating how to answer those people who have kindly decided to maintain email communication with me even after finding out who I “really” am (I KNOW…amazing eh?) but I am not doing any of those things because yesterday we had the internet and telephone equivalent of The Weaselman visit Serendipity Farm. Mr Windy (for want of a better word) decided to wreak a bit of old school destruction on Serendipity Farm and trees fell over our phone line tearing it out of the pole which meant that we had no house phone. Curiously, for a while, we did have the internet! We had it right up to 4am this morning when it decided to fizzle out and die so after sitting blinking for a while I decided to think of something productive to do that didn’t involve the internet

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We headed into the city the other day and the whole city of Launceston was misty. Very cold, and misty. Steve took this photo of a spiders web

 

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Something else that we saw in the city, LOVE these little Croc men

Aren't the doors of our city Commonewealth bank lovely? Almost as lovely as this passing guard dog ;)

Aren’t the doors of our city Commonewealth bank lovely? Almost as lovely as this passing guard dog ;)

 

I would like to inform you that I have just worked out that I am officially seriously addicted to the internet. My whole life revolves around it. I didn’t realise how addicted I had become until we couldn’t access it yesterday and I was adrift. No email communication, not Facebook, no ability to research! Steve phoned up our lecturer and told her about the situation after a 45 minute ride over a cliff with an Indian lady who although assured by Stevie-boy that our phone line was indeed down and in hiding underneath a selection of Serendipity Farms finest greenery, insisted that he run through a series of “tests” that took the better part of 30 minutes to complete before she would even contemplate going any further. Next time we fib Stevie-boy, we pretend to do what she asks for and say “Nope, still doesn’t work” while standing still and doing bugger all…funny how we were supposed to get the opportunity to complete a survey on the phone about our “experience” with this most angst inspiring of ladies but she hung up on an obviously frustrated and twitchy Steve prior to putting him through to the “survey department”…bad luck ma’am, they sent us the survey in an email. Just before the net shuffled off, I saw it sitting there waiting for us when we finally get the net back on.

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Someone wasn’t all that impressed with the mist and the cold…

 

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We spotted this door in the mall in the city with a dog handle…maybe this is Earl’s inner city bachelor pad?

 

Talking about that…I have NO idea when that is going to happen because Ms Indian lady was more engaged in telling us how much we were going to have to pay the technician for a “false callout” than she was in giving us any kind of firm idea when said technician was going to bother to turn up. Wafting’s of “weeks” and “we will need to keep testing the line” were mumbled but nothing firm so goodness only knows how long we will be sans phone and sans net. It looks like we are going to have to reacquaint ourselves with the Beaconsfield online centre for the foreseeable future and that is how this blog post is going to get posted next week unless a miracle happens and a technician turns up in that time

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Earl is like one of those big hairy spiders…they look HUGE when they are stretched out on the wall but when they curl up they are tiny. Earl is all head and here is is doing his best to look small on Bezial’s couch

 

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Another lovely Grey day on Serendipity Farm but at least we didn’t end up with half of our house blown away in the recent wild storms like some poor people did

 

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“Someone”  decided to scratch up the covers that we have put over the sofa to protect it and when we heard him scratching away we headed into the lounge room and found “this”…it wasn’t moving but we figured out what had caused the problem…

 

So what is a narf to do while she is forcibly ejected from her chief source of contact with the outside world? Aside from going mad, I have decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into getting Sanctuary, my fully enclosed vegetable garden, up and running on all cylinders for our coming growing season. I have plans for a large bay of straw bales full of manure and compost etc. that is going to house my pumpkin community this year. I have plans for Stevie-boy to relocate a tap that is currently residing on the fence not too far away from Sanctuary down “to” Sanctuary where it will be easier to access water and I have plans to haul an enormous mountain of horse manure and oak leaves back up to Sanctuary to start forming gardens around the perimeter of the enclosure. I have mature blueberry bushes that need pruning and planting. I have grape vines that need planting. I have all kinds of trees that need planting but they will need a bit more thought as they will have to go outside Sanctuary and when anything is outside a protective zone, it is a sitting duck when it comes to possums and wallabies and anything else that feels like a snack.

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The son-and-heirs partner Kelsey turned 23 the day before my birthday and I wanted to make her a cake. Not easy because Kelsey is from Texas and as anyone who is anyone knows, everything is bigger and better in Texas. Here are two of the three cakes that I made

 

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A chocolate cake, a vanilla cake and a red velvet cake sandwiched together with jam and cream…

 

 

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The finished cake

 

 

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Kelsey’s quails

 

 

I seem to have allowed my addiction to the internet to have taken me away from the real world for quite some time now and this forced hiatus might just be the impetus I need to get me back into the real world and establishing some new habits involving the garden, exercise, planning, and the execution of those plans which tends to be my weak point. I am taking a lot of heart from the relentless efforts of Jessie of rabidlittlehippy fame. Although she had NO idea of what she was doing initially she has started to turn her half acre of urban normalcy into a permaculture paradise that might just go a long way to feeding her family over the coming year. I had aspirations of doing the same but somehow my addiction to the internet got in the way…no more. I don’t plan on sitting here twiddling my thumbs in angsty frustration until Dodo (yes…Dodo…I am not holding out any high hopes…) get around to sending out a technician to sort out our line. It’s time for narf7 to get proactive on her own derriere!

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Earl inspecting the workmanship in Steve’s gumboots…

 

 

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Some of my new bowl haul that I got for my birthday. I LOVE bowls :)

 

Steve headed off into the wilderness the other night to pick this up from a lady who had advertised it on Gumtree. A great bargain and it is currently filtering our tank water for us :)

Steve headed off into the wilderness the other night to pick this up from a lady who had advertised it on Gumtree. A great bargain and it is currently filtering our tank water for us :)

So what’s first old girl…well there are all of those poor long suffering potted babies languishing (most of them upside down after the gales yesterday) in the side garden that need dealing with. I NEED to give them away. I can’t feel guilty if I give them away. Time for some serious culling and if I want to keep it, I HAVE TO PLANT IT OUT. That’s a really good incentive to give most of them away because planting anything out on Serendipity Farm is hard work so if you are a local, you know me, you are likely to open your door some day in the future to a box full of potted plants courtesy of narf7. Be warned!

We wanted to thank Jan's brother Peter for walking with Bezial when Steve can't at the moment and so we bought him some chocolate and chips and made him this card

We wanted to thank Jan’s brother Peter for walking with Bezial when Steve can’t at the moment and so we bought him some chocolate and chips and made him this card

Earl multi-tasking, basking in a sunbeam whilst keeping those freeloading grey thrush shrikes away from the cheese

Earl multi-tasking, basking in a sunbeam whilst keeping those freeloading grey thrush shrikes away from the cheese

An early morning shot of Earl at the bottom of the driveway and ready to go on his walk as soon as the flash wears off and he can see again ;)

An early morning shot of Earl at the bottom of the driveway and ready to go on his walk as soon as the flash wears off and he can see again ;)

The Earl, in it's natural habitat...

The Earl, in it’s natural habitat…

Stevie-boy has been home all week and most happily home too. We have knocked a couple of units out of the ballpark over the past week and even though the material that we are working with could bore an accountant to tears (and we all know that accountants LOVE boring statistics ;) ) we are soldiering on through acres of stats and (were) researching our brains out and wading through government departments in order to try to find out what we are required to find for our assignments but sometimes it is like finding a needle in a haystack to be honest and as Stevie-boy and I study in completely different ways, this kind of frustrating slow pace isn’t conducive to peace on Serendipity Farm. I will give you an example of how we differ in our approaches…

Narf7: – “Ok, so what do we need for this task? Read the Word doc, read the supporting blurb, go to the websites that we have to go to in order to complete the task, read them, list down the bits that we need in a blank notepad and make sure that we have answered the question appropriately, and in triplicate…”

Stevie-boy: – “Have a brief glance at the question. Deem it not important to read the whole question and race off to the website where you also have a brief glance at the website and start answering the question with a few brief words so that you can get back out to your shed where the REAL action is taking place”…

Are you starting to get the picture that we are like chalk and cheese when it comes to studies? Now that we no longer have the “research” abilities that we had yesterday we are picking out the bits of assignments that we can do without research and they are few and far between. It would seem that we might be going to have to head to the online centre to study and in the process; we might have to learn to study together in a more “friendly” way lest we get ejected from the online centre forcibly and told “NEVER COME BACK!” Now this is going to be a challenge!

Birthday food time!

Birthday food time!

 

First, I got these slipper socks from a wonderful friend who also sent me some gorgeous handmade soaps and here I am attempting to desensitise Earl to their presence...

First, I got these slipper socks from a wonderful friend who also sent me some gorgeous handmade soaps and here I am attempting to desensitise Earl to their presence…

"Lets make vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake!"

“Lets make vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake!”

So today is the day after my 51st birthday. I don’t feel any older or wiser but I certainly am regretting eating so much of the gorgeous beer battered tempura veggies that we made for dinner last night or maybe it’s the combination of beer batter and vegan orange poppy seed drizzle cake accompanied by homemade vegan Brazil nut ice cream with peanut butter cookie dough chunks and when you are not used to eating anything that isn’t steamed or raw you end up with a bit of a food hangover. I will wear it because my birthday meal was delicious. The vegan orange poppy seed cake was something that we are going to make again and again. It was really delicious, didn’t use eggs or butter and was very light and moist thanks to an orange drizzle that was spooned over the top of the cake while it was still warm. Here’s the recipe if anyone would like to have a go of it…

http://holycowvegan.net/2011/12/lemon-poppy-seed-bundt-cake-with-lemon.html

Please note, I substituted orange for lemon as I am not a great lemon fan and the orange swap involved just substituting orange juice and zest for the lemon juice and zest

An action shot of Stevie-boy who is too masculine to bother with using a stand mixer to cream ingredients

An action shot of Stevie-boy who is too masculine to bother with using a stand mixer to cream ingredients

Here is what happens when you are too masculine to use a stand mixer to mix in flour (sigh...)

Here is what happens when you are too masculine to use a stand mixer to mix in flour (sigh…)

 

One hot and most glorious smelling vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake fresh out of the oven

One hot and most glorious smelling vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake fresh out of the oven

 

And here it is after it has had orange drizzle ladled over the top... " Bellisimo!" :)

And here it is after it has had orange drizzle ladled over the top… ” Bellisimo!” :)

I am going to head off now folks. Most of this email was prepared earlier due to the threat of us losing the net for the rest of the day as we are getting a visit from a Telstra lines man who needs to hook us up a new junction box after last week’s storms pulled our wires down. Turns out, in the process, that he discovered that “someone” (DAD!) had done their own rudimentary wire fix by twisting two wires together and duct taping them together…sounds like something that dad would have done to me! They need to be properly housed in a junction box so I am going to finish up here now and get this scheduled to post as otherwise I might lose the net and not be able to post today. Have a great week everyone. I haven’t had time to read my RSS Feed Reader properly for the last week or so because we have been working hard on relentless studies but hopefully, everything will be back to normal (or something approximating normal) on Serendipity Farm in a week or so.

 

 

Vegan peanut butter cookie dough mix chilled in the freezer and ready to cut up to add to vegan Brazil nut ice cream

Vegan peanut butter cookie dough mix chilled in the freezer and ready to cut up to add to vegan Brazil nut ice cream

The ingredients for making Japanese wakame (seaweed) salad

The ingredients for making Japanese wakame (seaweed) salad

It might look like something from the black lagoon, but wakame seaweed is delicious and makes a really wonderful addition to any Japanese meal

It might look like something from the black lagoon, but wakame seaweed is delicious and makes a really wonderful addition to any Japanese meal

Wakame salad (sans toasted sesame seeds) and pickled carrot salad. Both of these were needed to cut the HUGE amount of battered gorgeousness that we consumed with gusto :)

Wakame salad (sans toasted sesame seeds) and pickled carrot salad. Both of these were needed to cut the HUGE amount of battered gorgeousness that we consumed with gusto :)

Stage 1 of the production line to make tempura, bear battered veggies for a most happy narf's Japanese birthday feast :)

Stage 1 of the production line to make tempura, bear battered veggies for a most happy narf’s Japanese birthday feast :)

 

 

Steve's Japanese beef in the frypan and one of the trays of delicious beer battered happiness

Steve’s Japanese beef in the frypan and one of the trays of delicious beer battered happiness

A mix of battered sweet potato, whole spring onions (NOT chook feet ;) ) broccoli florets and mushrooms

A mix of battered sweet potato, whole spring onions (NOT chook feet ;) ) broccoli florets and mushrooms

The salads and more mushrooms...you can NEVER have enough battered mushrooms according to Stevie-boy ;)

The salads and more mushrooms…you can NEVER have enough battered mushrooms according to Stevie-boy ;)

73 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Lokisdóttir
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 16:52:05

    Using a stand mixer to mix a cake is lazy and winds up giving you an inferior product in the long run. Also, are you calling me masculine? I’ll cut you. ^___^

    Reply

  2. gardeningkiwi
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 16:54:11

    Hello Fran. It is fortuitous that I read this post with a glass of red in hand so I can raise it to you and say Happy Birthday! Cheers my friend!
    I too am addicted to the internet. Without it I am lost. I pace about aimlessly seemly unable to achieve anything until I have checked in. A dreadful state of affairs! Just because it is cold and foggy doesn’t mean you cant go out and do things – that’s what beanies are for!
    All the best with your internet fixer man. And have a great time getting stuck into the garden – visualise the harvest…. hmmm yummy.
    Maybe no more red for me!
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 06, 2014 @ 16:57:49

      Hi Sarah, Glad we can form a Southern confraternity of Net lovers anon. I was starting to feel lonely there for a bit ;). Just having a glass of red myself so we obviously are women of similar and most excellent taste. Raising my glass to YOU my good friend as you are the one who is going to direct what and when I plant in my garden this year…watching your posts with great interest from now on! ;)

      Reply

  3. Margaret Griffin
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 19:50:19

    Fran, After looking at all that battered food I am surprised you weren’t prostrate on the couch for a week just contemplating how you were going to get up let alone planning an assault on the veggie garden. You and Steve certainly lived it up that evening.
    Talking about living it up, what about that cake you made for Kelsey? I trust it met the expectations and then some of a Texan.
    As for having to ring the technical support division of your telco, I sympathise. I learnt I needed to ring early in the day when I was at my emotional strongest otherwise I would be on the edge of hysteria after an hour long call later in the day.
    I hope you are now fully reconnected to the telephone and the internet and can indulge your addiction to your heart’s content.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 03:40:59

      I don’t think it was the battered bit that laid me low, I think it was all of the sugar in the icecream to be honest ;). Kelsey loved her cake and I think it lived up to the “bigger and better” legend ;). The technician didn’t turn up yesterday so Steve phoned up Telstra and got another Indian call centre where the man told Steve that he would have to phone up Dodo to tell THEM that the Telstra technician didn’t turn up even though it was THEIR technician in one of THEIR vans…so Steve got clever and phoned the technician direct as he had phoned up our house twice on the day he was here. Turns out he teed up for 2 other technicians to come around yesterday but they didn’t…sigh…so now we have to wait to see when anyone else is going to turn up to finish off the job as they have to tell us because they need to come onto our deck where our dogs roam free and if they forget to tell us to lock the dogs inside, they probably deserve what they get ;). Wonder how long it is going to take before they get back to us? Sigh…

      Reply

  4. Sue Dreamwalker
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 20:51:24

    As a;ways I was thoroughly entertained all the way through this excellent read Narf.. And don’t you just love those ladies from India who do such a thorough job.. :-) loved all the pictures and Earl seems to have ‘The Life’ on Serendipity.. I think he certainly knows what he is doing. Even if someone’s ‘Dad’ made a mess of that junction wiring.. SO pleased your addition is being managed and you are seeking Natures treatment for the cure..
    I confess to having the same affliction myself at times.. and have to take myself by the scruff and give myself a good talking to.. NO internet today!!.. :-)
    I said that an hour ago and thought Oh I will just visit one more then I will get out my paints.. an hour and a half has already gone and still I am here. LOL.. But well worth the stay..
    Loved the Cake.. Happy 23rd to Kelsey and a belated one too yourself… My you do not look your age at all… .. All that Farm air… I know when I had my 60th in May I felt on top of the world… and there I am going to stay lol.

    I can not say the seaweed did anything for my appetite but that Orange poppy seed cake sure did… and I have to agree with Stevie those battered mushrooms you can never get enough of..

    Ok well I am heading now for the paint box.. and turning off the PC.. Great to catch up again.. and watch all that manure .. and good luck with the planting of those vines and fruit bushes… Talking of which I got snagged by a raspberry runner the other day Big ouch as the barbs ripped my calve . Hubby did warn me now two minutes before to watch where I put my feet.. Trust me!…. :-)

    Have a brilliant week… Hugs Sue xox

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 03:47:05

      Everything is just starting to leaf up and bud up and flower here which is strange because that usually doesn’t start till September but the plants know so I am trusting that we are going to have an early spring this year. I am going to get my capsicum and chilli seeds started and get some sweet potato slips going to plant out as well. Stevie-boy and I will be sorting out Sanctuary this weekend so that the possums can’t get in at ALL and it should be all GO in the garden from now on. My studies are keeping me out of the garden more than my laziness to be honest. OUCH on the raspberries! We have blackberries everywhere here that grab your hair if you aren’t careful and that need a good “nipping in the bud” for certain this year as not only do they tend to take over, but the wily chooks make nests deep in the middle of them and we can’t get their eggs! And here we were, thinking that chooks were dumb clucks! Nope, they are small wily little beasts that make up for their lack of brain size by their shear animal cunning ;). Hope you got back to painting. I have a poster to do today but I am producing it in Illustrator so it’s not the same as real painting but at least it gives my creative side a bit of a workout. Ditto on the brilliant week Sue. I am off to give my RSS Feed Reader a digging over as I have been neglecting it of late and it needs to be tilled! :)

      Reply

  5. Lynda D
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 22:42:53

    I just could not imagine how you are coping without the net. Oh, you just told me, doh! Golly, id die i think. Even worse would be losing my phone. Just a day with it left at home during the day is enough to give me the wobbles.

    Happy Birthday Fran!!!! Leading the way for me as always.

    Your differing study habits are about the same as hubby and me doing a project. We come at it from different planets but somehow arrive on the same page (with lots of yelling, kicking and tanties from him) while i remain cool and calm and wait…and wait…and wait for him to realise that i am right, as usual.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 03:55:56

      When we moved to Serendipity Farm we knew that our reliance on the net was going to become even more important to us and we just “assumed” that we would be able to get the net here. We were told by Telstra that it was a no go…a NO GO! We were dumbfounded and just sat there looking at each other blinking… we phoned around to other phone providers and were told the same thing till we hit Dodo and they said “SURE we can do it!” and then for the next 3 months kept telling us “err…no we can’t…YES WE CAN…no we can’t…etc…” until we got angry and demanded to speak to some kind of manager who assured us that he just got the lines tested and yes we could. After an initial few months problems we haven’t had many problems since aside from the vary rare time that the net drops out. The biggest problem that we have is having to tell Dodo that the lines went down because the Telstra call centre in India (which is probably the same call centre as the Dodo call centre ;) ) refused to deal with us because we are Dodo customers even though the man that turned up was in a Telstra van and worked for Telstra… when he didn’t turn up yesterday Steve tried phoning the Telstra line to ask them when to expect the technician (as we need to know because they have to come onto the deck and our dogs are on the deck…stranger technicians and our dogs are NOT a good idea ;) ) and was told by the call centre man that he had to phone Dodo…O…K… o_O

      Steve phoned the technician direct and we are still waiting to hear back…hopefully sometime soon as it has only been temporarily sorted out. Cheers for the birthday wishes. I had a great day and ate SO much I don’t think I need to eat for a week now :). Pity I can’t hibernate it off as we are snowed under with studies for the next month I am assured but I dare say walking the dogs should help me wear it off (and I am sticking to that assumption! ;) ). Steve and I are the same with our projects, our studies, our LIFE! Like chalk and cheese and we just don’t get each other’s ways of doing things. The problem is that Steve and I BOTH know that our way is the best way to do it and are both stubborn mules ;). Glad to see I am not the only one living with my complete opposite who hasn’t buried him in the garden (yet…) ;)

      Reply

  6. teddyandtottie
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 23:22:20

    A belated happy birthday Narfie! It looks as though you had a wonderful celebration! Kelsey’s cake looks amazing, too! I think I see a Narf recipe book in the not-to-distant future! Good luck with phone and net repairs! xoxoxoxox

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 03:56:49

      Cheers Ms Teddy/tottie, just about to head over to your last post as my RSS Feed reader is growing weeds on it and needs to be groomed post haste :)

      Reply

  7. Chica Andaluza
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 00:04:03

    Belated birthday greetings ms narf – and I’m with Steve on the mushrooms! The cake looks amazing, am off in a minute to see how it’s made. I think I have one of those tins too but have never used it. One of our pups does that hiding under the blanket thing too. If Luna can’t see us, it figures that we can’t see her ;) Fingers crossed that the internet doesn’t mess you around too much Stay warm!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 03:59:57

      That cake was amazing. You could use butter instead of the vegan marg but I wouldn’t bother with the eggs as it really didn’t need them. It was really moist (thanks to that delicious drizzle) and very light for a vegan cake. We will definitely make that one again :). Battered mushies are the bomb. I actually really liked the whole battered spring onions (even though they DID look like chooks feet ;) ) and Earl had scrabbled all of the sofa covers off the sofa which is his afternoon “game” after he has had his dinner. He loves to mess up the sofa and when we took that shot was laying very still so that we couldn’t see who did it…yeah Earl…WE CAN’T SEE YOU!” ;) It has been particularly mild here of late and the fruit trees are all starting to flower! I think we are due an early spring this year according to nature!

      Reply

  8. Kelsey
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 00:33:57

    ^_^ It was an amazing cake Narf! I am genuinely humbled by the effort you put into making my birthday a wonder one! I wish the special gift we have planned for you was sooner… I know you’ll enjoy it! Until then, maybe there will be some surprises dotted along the way…

    What am I going to do about all of this chocolate?! You didn’t tell them about the chocolate!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 04:02:08

      I was hoping that you wouldn’t mention the chocolate…just our little secret ;). Glad you liked the cake and LOVE my birthday gift. I am getting to go and see Bill Bailey when he comes to Launceston in November folks thanks to my wonderful son Stewart and his equally wonderful partner Kelsey :) How lucky am I?! I LOVE Bill Bailey and can’t wait to go and see his no doubt hilarious show :). You could wallpaper the unit with all of that chocolate and then whenever you got bored you could lick the walls? ;)

      Reply

  9. thecontentedcrafter
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 04:21:18

    Hello. My name is Pauline and I am a www addict…….. Maybe we need weekly meetings and a twelve step process too. When my old lap top was playing up last year I went through some serious withdrawals! I detest talking to another country when I have issues with any technology and one of the main reasons I have the providers I have is because they have a local call centre. You still have to jump through hoops but at least the accent is understandable and the sense of humour is akin.

    I was thinking that what you need is one of those table-top fondue pots that we all had back in the 70’s. I used to make a tempura batter up, pile all the raw ingredients onto the table along with a pot of hot oil and everyone cooked their own as we went. The kids loved it :-) Nowadays of course it would be frowned on for many reasons, not least that kids and a pot of hot oil balanced over a tripod and a candle flame would cause many a government agency to twitch :-) I didn’t make beer-batter tempura though and still really want to try that!

    Wakame is my fav sea vegetable but that soup does look seriously undelicious! However the orange/lemon drizzle cake might well be a starter for another birthday soon :-) I love your collection of bowls too – especially those blue ones! You can never have too many bowls! I myself have just recently purchased some glass ones, with covers specifically for storing leftovers in the fridge so that I can feed puppy an unending array of taste delights that the humans don’t want :-) He particularly likes buckwheat porridge mixed with a little milk kefer and sprinkled lightly with a touch of yeast flakes……..

    We are sadly saying goodbye to a beloved family pet at the moment, Stanley, YD’s old fella – so I am likely to be absent from the www for much of the next few days.- I hope you can get some of that sanctuary organised, summer appears to be coming on fast!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 04:37:26

      What I would like to know is where do all of you get hold of these dogs that supposedly eat things other than raw steak?! Our two have to be the fussiest dogs on the planet! If I gave either of them a bowl of buckwheat porridge mixed with milk kefir and sprinkled lightly with yeast flakes they would look at me pityingly (not pitifully, as there is no WAY that they would consider that “food” and obviously I was to be pitied because I must have finally gone insane…) and would walk away doing the dog equivalent of shaking their heads.

      I am so sorry for YD Ms Pauline. Whenever I hear about someone who has to say goodbye to an old and faithful doggy friend it breaks my heart :(. I might be a flippant, irreverent fool in my comments but inside the narf is a soft centre made of marshmallow that deflates easily. Please give YD a hug for me…she can be assured that we fellow dog lovers are grieving along with her :(

      Spring is here as the fruit trees have decided to flower along with the poor long suffering almond sapling in the middle garden where narfs fear to tread (and never water). I am afraid that I am being tumbled into another growing season completely unprepared and am starting to panic about just what is going to take over and go mental in Sanctuary this year (hopefully not me!). Gotta fix the roofy bit first before I can even consider planting out anything as those wily possums rule the roost in there at the moment. I need to teach them a harsh lesson about just who is, and who isn’t allowed inside!

      Goodbye, Old Fella :(

      Reply

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 04:47:12

        Be a kitty lover for a bit Frannie and you’ll have it right – Sorry, I forget not everyone knows every detail of my extended family’s life. Stanley is YD’s 13+ original ‘Bovver-Boy’ cat. A man’s man, a Romeo to all females and a cat who takes no crap from anyone, male, female, human or animal!! He has been known to send a full grown German Shepherd howling down the garden path with his tail between his legs on more than one occasion…….. He went in to have an abscess lanced [the result of yet another altercation] and came out dying with Feline AIDS – also the result of some other altercation, some years ago apparently. It’s heartbreaking!

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 04:53:00

        :( that narfish marshmallow has been known to be deflated for cats as well. As a child I was surrounded by them. Mum was a quintessential cat lover (mad old cat woman) and despite their reputation for being aloof, I have known loving cats and every cat that I have ever known has been cram packed full of chutzpah. We have 3 ferals on the property (and the occasional visit by their dad) that are cram packed full of personality. Poor Old Fella (whatever his species) :(

  10. quarteracrelifestyle
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 05:20:10

    A belated Happy Birthday Fran :) Your food all looks amazing, you may be an internet addict but you still achieve much!! Love the little gift with the photo in the jar :) There is just so much to read on the net, I do have to shake myself out of couch potato status mid morning or I would never get anything done! I hate not having access, panic starts to rise in me “What if it can’t be fixed, oh my god this will be really bad…!” Not good.
    I don’t understand the beginning of your post “Now everyone knows who I really am….” Have I missed something…..?
    Jessie is an inspiration and a half isn’t she.
    I have to send your bean seeds, nearly time!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 05:25:45

      Yeah…”Now everyone knows who I really am” pertains to the internet junky bit ;) LOL on the bean seeds. Hey, I am still terrified at the thought that I am going to have to start planning ASAP for our growing season let alone WHAT I am going to be planning ;) Hopefully it won’t just be a riot of pumpkins and possums again…I have my eyes set on you guys, on Sarah the Gardener and on Jessie (rabid) in order to give me some kind of idea what to grow and when to get it into the ground. No pressure, but the whole of Serendipity Farm is waiting with baited breath on your next post… ;)

      Reply

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:04:18

        Ohhhh! :) I thought you might have thrown a hissy fit somewhere so I am pleased to hear that’s all it was :) :)

        Plant what YOU eat :) That’s all there is to it. Make a list, find out what goes in first and start there. I see others growing lots of interesting things we would like to try but we have about 30 – 35 things we grow to cover our diet for the year and preserve well and that’s what we grow flat out….repetitive and basic but we grow what we need. Then herbs for the same reason. I envy you your property size but not at all for your pests, that must be really deflating and downright…. vexing (is a polite word on www) !!!!! I felt so sorry for you last summer because I couldn’t handle that at all, wouldn’t have a clue how to stop it happening.

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:12:20

        Earl…guns…determination…cleverness…plastic covered wire clothes line…enough anger to hone a keen sense of frustration into a thin blade of desire to beat the furry little swines and a stubbornness that overtakes laziness is going to deliver us a vegetable garden sans possums this year. The triumph will be both palpable and very obvious because I am going to do the happy dance online for months! ;)

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:13:23

        Plant what I eat? So spuds, capsicum, chillis, garlic, ginger (not so easy), more spuds, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, more spuds, lots more garlic… if I am not mistaken that’s not a lot of variety but more than enough for me to panic over ;)

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:30:11

        Honestly, you do start some of my days with a giggle, you never fail lol. Thank you for that :) :)

        No panic or performance anxiety necessary, it’s just a garden lol. Yes, plant those :)

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 07:56:53

        Just a garden….ARRRGGHHH! (Time to hide under the bed again with the rest of my ice cream! ;) )

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 08:33:59

        LOL…have a good day there!

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 08:35:20

        Fingers in my ears…”I can’t hear you!” (fingers out of ears to eat a spoonful of ice cream…back to fingers in ears LALALALALALA) … ;)

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 08:46:38

        Lol, have you ever thought of writing a book Fran…a modern day Erma Bombeck?

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 09:01:47

        does that mean that I would have to put my ice cream spoon down? Not sure if I have to put that spoon down…

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 09:43:56

        Yes. You could sit in your pj’s and new socks, eat ice cream and just type!!

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 09:45:25

        With my feet? Better start learning methinks…

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 09:46:04

        Oh!! I was thinking how I would do it, a one finger typist :)

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 09:54:01

        I am an all fingers typist but haven’t yet transferred that touch typing to the toes…never too old to start learning something new! Now, how to get those stubby little buggers to do what I want them to do! ;)

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:13:53

        And English spinach and silverbeet! Can’t forget them :)

  11. Robbie
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 05:45:43

    “poppyseed bundt cake” OMG…I LOVE poppy seed anything…muffins etc…I can smell it over the internet! I am glad I am allergic to peanut butter but wish it were chocoloate since peanut butter is a good protein source! Your Texan cake is a a tower of sin!!! I would get fat if I lived with you:-) Your food is amazing, and I have to admit I don’t think I could ever achieve all that you do wiht food..you are an ARTISTwith food,too:-)
    I have to admit the bachelor pad with dog handle I was thinking it was a “house of ….” fill in the blanks..lol…too funny.
    Those crock shoes were adorable, but I fall on my butt everytime I wear those things, I just find some water + mud and down I go. I can’t garden in them…
    and to address the internet down…I go through withdrawal symptoms…pace, reboot it multiple times, pace some more + start chewing my tail-lol…I am horrible + if it were not for my garden I would be on it all the time since I hate housework..so thank goodness for my garden + all the work I would be an intenet junkie!!!!
    Love your posts they always make me smile and feel like I am right there walking the dogs!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 05:53:01

      I included that shot of Earl in his natural habitat just for you, I thought that of all people reading this post, you would “get it” having pitties of your own :) That orange poppyseed bundt cake was the business. It tasted amazing, was light, soft, almost like a sponge but with delicious moistness from the orange drizzle. We are going to make it again…and again…and AGAIN! It would be amazing with cream for people who eat dairy or ice cream as well. I am trawling my RSS Feed Reader at the moment and just found a recipe for “Sri Lankan Rose Cake” that looks amazing. I just had a brainwave for how to convert it using that bundt cake recipe and substituting rose water for the orange juice, black sesame seeds for the poppy seeds and maybe adding matcha to the mix? I could then make a delicious rose scented syrup to pour over and voila, deliciousness turkish delight cake! Can’t wait to try it :) Might actually give it a go today as I am so excited by the idea :) Course, that would mean that I had to eat it…but small sacrifice in the name of culinary science methinks ;)
      I am starting to twitch about the garden as nature seems to think that winter is going to be short but sweet here in Tasmania as the fruit trees are all flowering! EEK! That means getting sweet potato slips started, sorting out chilli and capsicum (pepper) seeds for planting out and thinking about planting out tomato seeds early September and I haven’t even moved that mountain of manure and leaves up to
      Sanctuary yet OR solved that possum problem… o_O (fear…thy name is narf!)

      Reply

  12. Robbie
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 05:47:25

    but rethinking the shoes, those must not be for people to wear!:-)

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:10:12

      Nope, they were huge and window displays but Earl couldn’t help salivating over them a bit as he has dispatched more crocs than any dog has a right to even dream about ;)

      Reply

      • Robbie
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 13:27:12

        I love reading about your “pits” and all the comical things they do…the picture of Earl above is so adorable..his big head:-) Early reminds me of Schatze( one that passed last month) + Chance our youngest pit bull…he is tan and white…but his head is all white…Earl is a perfect mx of those two as if they were his parents:-)

      • narf77
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 13:30:56

        :) Earl is certainly a character and just trotted out to the gate with me as I forgot to take the chook food bucket back into the shed (so it doesn’t fill up with water if it rains) and he shadows me and is my faithful little companion. If he didn’t run amok and make the feathers fly I would let him trot out with me but alas, his desire to defeather chooks is stronger than his desire to trot next to me ;)

  13. christiglover
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 06:12:42

    Happy Birthday to you and to Kelsey…and your respective cakes are fabulous! Austin is also 23, by the way. A very fine age. I love the picture of the “tiny” Earl. He really can get small when he wants to. And I can soooo relate to lack of internet and phone struggles. We’re supposed to get a hurricane tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Remember Where’s Wali? This one’s called Iselle, and she’s supposed to be fiercer still! We’re ready…sort of. :)

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 07:56:12

      EEK! At least you are halfway up a mountain and not down on the beach where Ms Iselle will be wreaking her initial havoc. Here’s hoping that she is tuckered out by the time she hits your hill! 23 was a very fine age…I don’t remember it much but I am guessing it was ;). HUGE hugs and fingers crossed for your meeting with Ms Iselle, please take care Christi! :)

      Reply

  14. cathyandchucky
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 10:19:53

    I feel your pain with the technicians Fronkiii. Even being with Telstra it still took them nearly six days to come. At least all our phone calls were sent to my mobile till it was fixed. Yeah it does sound a bit like Dads method of a cheap fix. You can fix anything with duct tape and wd40 :D your food looks divine.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 07, 2014 @ 10:34:38

      Looked and tasted divine, still suffering the after effects though ;). Still twitching over dads “fix” for running out of tile adhesive halfway through tiling the bathroom floor. We only noticed when we were ripping them up to sand the wooden floor down…had to stop three quarters of the way into the job as dad had switched to his trusty old liquid nails (save buying more expensive tile adhesive and no-one will EVER know…) and there was no WAY in hades that the tiles were going to come off the floor boards… so we did what anyone would do when faced with that kind of situation, FACEPALM and then heavy sighing and then we tiled over the liquid nailed tiles and sucked it up ;). Looks like dad struck again ;).

      Reply

      • cathyandchucky
        Aug 07, 2014 @ 10:44:19

        Oh no! I know when we had to lift a few of the kitchen tiles so we could re-lay full sized ones under the new stove we ended up having to cover them with an old towel and just smash away at them with a small sledgehammer then use a cole chisel to bash off any remaining tile adhesive. Liquid nails is very good at what it does and I don’t even know if they make a dissolver for that.

  15. rabidlittlehippy
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 23:14:31

    Happy birthday my friend. Glad your tootsies are nice and warm in your slippers but warn Earl that if he decides to eat them I will make Earl-skin slippers for your 52nd birthday! ;) :P

    Don’t know why you’re looking to me for inspiration. I’ve spent the last 2 months sitting on an ever widening rear end, reading those www’s to which I too am seriously addicted. Not much happening here although to be fair, not much weather to do anything and not much to do either. Well actually, that last is a total bald faced lie! LOTS to do and no motivation with which to do it. :(

    Here’s hoping your net is back up and running full pelt soon, the beer batter hangover eases and the studies ease to allow some serious Sanctuary time. :)

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2014 @ 11:25:25

      You just outed yourself with the slippers ma’am ;). I adore them :) The soap is gorgeous as well and I sniff it every day :). At least you talk the talk, I don’t even do that at the moment. I am seriously atrophied when it comes to the garden, aside from some moments of sparking when I get out and have a few ideas. I need to get rid of all of those potted plants. Might haul them around to the people we gave the last lot to but I know that he doesn’t want a lot of trees and that’s what we have a lot of…oh well… This weekend is serious Sanctuary time indeed. We are possum proofing first and we HAVE to plant those poor long suffering blueberries out as they are starting to bud up in the horse dung! Wish us luck :)

      Reply

  16. brymnsons
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 09:07:08

    Good to see you had a feast for your birthday Fran. I love the cake you made for Kelsey! What an amazing looking creation, you have out done yourself :). Just post one over eh :D
    Good luck with the possum problem…. Get some current running through that sucker, my what BIG eyes you have possum lol.
    Sad when we have to say goodbye to our fur family (or feathered for that matter ). A child was reading a story to me about an old dog and the boy had to decide when to put him to sleep! Oh my eyes had started to fill and I had to blink a lot to hide my sooky self and be professional. Happy planting too x
    We are going to Perth next weekend to celebrate my birthday, so not as far this year lol

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2014 @ 11:44:06

      HAHAHAHA on the big eyes ;) Problem is that I would forget the current was running and “I” would be next in line with those big eyes ;). Have a BLAST on your birthday and make sure that Bruce spoils you appropriately. I am thinking that as we are over 50 now, that we should get twice as many prezzies…that means he needs to buy you a carton of teapots not just 1 ;) HUGE hugs in advance for your birthday Kymmy :)

      Reply

      • brymnsons
        Aug 08, 2014 @ 20:17:18

        Thanks Frannie x. I’m thinking as I get older I really don’t need much for prezzies, but enjoy time with people celebrating so going to Perth has made me a very happy chappy :D . You turn the current off when you go into Sanctuary, but I guess you may forget, only once though, I’m guessing :D . x

      • narf77
        Aug 09, 2014 @ 06:33:00

        That’s if I survive the “once” ;). HUGE HUGS and Steve says that his gypsy dance last night was in honour of your birthday and to stop the gypsy’s from stealing YOUR tears as well…you made it, you are part of the family apparently ;). If you have NO idea what I am talking about, go to my page on FB and take a gander at Steve’s lily whites in action ;) and thank the good lord that he didn’t go to Guys place and get his mankini (borat style) as he had too much to drink or I wouldn’t have been able to resist posting THAT photo! ;)

  17. brymnsons
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 20:17:57

    Well maybe twice lol

    Reply

  18. Littlesundog
    Aug 09, 2014 @ 04:42:53

    So much yummy deliciousness in this post! I found myself salivating over the many photos of food! And then you melt my heart with photos of Earl! YAY!! I hope you had a wonderful birthday – it appears you did! I had to laugh at Margaret Griffin’s opening comment… so funny.

    It’s a rarity that we lose our internet here, but when it does happen I get busy outside. There is always something to do out there. I would hate to have to be without my bloggy friends for too many days though. Gads!! Unthinkable!

    Aren’t the 50’s great? All that wisdom we have now? :D

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 09, 2014 @ 06:36:50

      I am trying to condense all of that wisdom down Lori so that I can actually remember it as by the time I have waded through all of the useless information that my head keeps insisting on remembering to find those nuggets of wisdom, I have forgotten what I needed them for ;). Outside = cold. Inside = studies…a bit of a lose, lose situation for old narf methinks but at least if I stay inside and study I am warm ;) Earl sends more slobbers and has been particularly cute on the computer chair again so will make it into next weeks blog post. He says he was trying to type you an email but he STILL hasn’t developed his opposable thumbs…I haven’t the heart to tell him…

      Reply

  19. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Aug 10, 2014 @ 07:26:32

    I had rather a lot of comments to add until I saw your (and I may be wrong, but I don’t think so) kombucha on the bench picture. I’m in the pool Ms Narf, swimming in the kombucha pool and it’s a rather lovely pool to be finally in. (I may of course be wrong though with your pic, in which case your fermenting something or other has still equally got my attention… and what is it??)
    ps. I never thought a floating gelatinous piece of bacteria would be so exciting.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 11, 2014 @ 04:15:30

      Yup, hooked on the booch Ms cityhippyfarmgirl and loving it! :) I had kefir as well but as I had converted it to non-dairy milk, I figured it was more water kefir than regular and decided to put it on hiatus and just use the booch. I can make a loaf of bread with booch (like sourdough) and I can culture other things with the results (which I prefer to whey) and so booch is my mate. I love it for it’s long culturing time (mine is a 10 day cycle) as you aren’t constantly having to baby it along and it just bubbles away happily. Her name is Hilda booch ;). I wish I could work out what to do with the baby SCOBIES though as she is VERY prolific with them and it feels like murder throwing them into the compost :(

      Reply

  20. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Aug 10, 2014 @ 11:49:24

    Oh, I hear you… I am hopelessly addicted to the internet. My entire life and livelihood revolves around it, so if my connection goes down for even half an hour, I’m up in arms and fighting back panic. It’s especially critical since most of my photo shoots are done remotely, with my clients either halfway across the US or the world itself, so I can’t do anything without that critical link. Now, the blogs are where the addiction comes in… Surely, I don’t need to read about so many recipes or travels or random stories everyday, but I do crave that creative stimulation.

    And by the way… Happy Super Belated Birthday, Fran! It certainly looks like a delicious, festive event, so I hope you enjoyed it to the fullest. :)

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 11, 2014 @ 04:19:48

      Thank you Hannah :) I had a great day (still recovering from the fried food hangover though ;) ). I found a most amazing vegan cake recipe for a lemon and poppyseed drizzle cake that turned out SO tender and moist that I tried the recipe again just using orange (no seeds) and again, wonderful. I am going to start messing around with the recipe and seeing how far I can take it. My next cake is matcha, black sesame and rosewater drizzle. Wish me luck, I LOVE vegan experiments! So with you on the net. I was wandering around the house trying to think of something to do! (Cleaning Fran? Cleaning? ;) ) It was about then when I realised that I was hopelessly addicted. I need it for studies but that’s just a cover for my hopeless addiction ;). Same here on the blogs though, I have 109 blogs in my RSS Feed Reader now and thank goodness they don’t all post at once or on a daily basis! ;)

      Reply

  21. Joanna
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 19:14:21

    Just reading and looking at your comments and I saw a whole bunch of black sesame recipes on the old Guardian yesterday, including one for macarons, those fancy little sandwich almond things, made with black sesame in stead of almonds and I must admit my eyes popped a bit. I am busy trying to shift some of my middle aged fat which is making it hard to adorn my toenails with their usual pink summer loveliness, the bend in the middle and galloping with dogs will be much improved if i can do it, so not baking at the moment, though when I am I would love to have a go at vegan cake. I hardly post at all either so am always delighted when I pop up on your feed and you are one of the nicest commenters I know, stay warm and keep battering the mushrooms xx

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 13, 2014 @ 04:01:44

      Battering the mushies is the best way to relieve frustration AND not get put in jail for it ;). I have never eaten a macaron. Mostly because of the heinous amount of egg whites (thus verboten to me) in them but some of the combinations are awesome. I saw a black sesame macaron with matcha ganache not so long back and actually saved the recipe. I can’t eat it but I can sure as heck live vicariously through watching someone else eat them! ;). I just love commenting Joanna, I love interacting with people and enjoying their posts, what they share and who they are. People are amazing creatures :). I don’t even want to talk about my recent addition to my adipose tissue. All self inflicted and now in the throes of being peeled off. All I want to know is how come it goes on so easy and then its such a bugger for it to come off? Nature eh? ;). Hugs from 5C Sidmouth where that’s a heatwave compared to the normal 4am temps lately. I get a day off today! WOOT. I finished my studies yesterday and nothing is due in till Friday (already finished that one) and am off to my daughters for the weekend for some belated birthday fun :)

      Reply

  22. Joanna
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 04:57:22

    apparently http://www.willpowder.net/versawhip.html is the secret to making vegan macaroons….

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 13, 2014 @ 05:18:32

      I can’t get that product here (and it is expensive) but I can get Orgran “No egg” and the first recipe here looks good too…

      https://lucysfriendlyfoods.wordpress.com/tag/vegan-meringue/

      http://www.orgran.com/recipes-search/251/

      Reply

      • Joanna
        Aug 13, 2014 @ 19:05:46

        I am always amazed at what people make – gripped by their obsessions / enthusiasm – I tend to stay clear of piping and precision but such fun to look at and admire :)

      • narf77
        Aug 14, 2014 @ 04:15:35

        The only precision involved with that cake was being able to use a palete knife (found on the property when we inherited it ;) ) to smooth the sides. I took it with me in the car and bloody lucky I did as the sides started to sloop with all of the wild cornering that Stevie-boy was doing on the way into town and he had to be forced to stop the car twice on the way in so that I could do my magic with the palete knife ;). The orange and poppyseed cake was amazing. I made the recipe again the other night when we went out to friends for dinner and it was again, amazing. Today I am baking it to the max and am going to make the same recipe but subbing in matcha, black sesame seeds and rose scented drizzle to take to my daughters. Wish me luck, SO many things could go wrong, but that’s the fun of baking isn’t it? :)

      • Joanna
        Aug 15, 2014 @ 07:33:23

        Sounds amazing ! And I do indeed wish you luck – cake icing in cars could maybe be considered for one of those extreme sports – like the people who iron on mountains and surfboards ? Real bakers do it cornering in cars …

      • narf77
        Aug 15, 2014 @ 07:43:27

        When Stevie-boy is “driving” he thinks that he is driving a car in the Indie 500 so you can add a factor of “X” on that extreme cake decorating and I am ready for the cake decorating olympics! ;) Just about to read that blog post about commenting you sent, promises to be interesting ;)

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