Nice weather for ducks…

Hi All
I really am starting to wonder why we pay these weather forecasters to tell us what the weather is going to be. “Intermittent patches of rain, nothing serious, not lasting, nothing really” when its been raining since 6am and only getting heavier! Thankyou God for the rain, now I don’t have to water the plants today but in saying that, Steve won’t be all that happy because he has to fill in 2 hours wandering around in Kings Meadows in the rain while the car gets sorted out. We were sent a recall notice for a part in our car back 2 years ago just after we bought it second hand. We didn’t pay much attention to it, even though it was free to get fixed and just ignored it. On reading about the problem it didn’t seem all that important and wasn’t going to do anything to the cars already abysmal performance. What can I say…Daihatsu Ferozas are feisty little 4 x 4’s that can climb mountains in a most determined way, but put them on the road and you have to learn to pull over to the left for faster traffic and going up the Southern Outlet is a lesson in humility for Steve who previous to moving to Australia was a bit of a rev head and had a hot “5 most stolen” car in the U.K.  It does the job, we can carry wheelbarrows in it if we have to, it tows our trailer slowly but most admirably and we can drive up to the back paddock in it, even in winter so it’s part of the family (another one of the strays…). We got another recall notice about 2 weeks ago saying that we should really get the problem fixed because one of the consequences of not getting it fixed (for free still…) was that the engine might ignite…we booked it in immediately!

Heres what our little sturdy workhorse looks like…

Ours is a bit shinier than this one and we have a bigger roo bar and no spotties, but this is a pretty good representation of what we have. Oh, I just about forgot…we can do this to it as well!…

The boys are going to LOVE it this summer when we take off the top. We usually didn’t in town as its no fun taking your topless car to the supermarket and coming back to piles of rubbish and other nepharious substances that idiots have lobbed and gobbed into your back seat and finding that they have gone through your glovebox at the same time (idiots…do we LOOK like we are rich and keep things of value in our glovebox?) but out here, apart from the odd cockie poo and perhaps Yin using the back as a podium for his latest crowing sermon to his girls, its safe as houses!

The problem with having booked it in 2 weeks ago is that today it’s raining. We were both going to go to the big smoke today to wander around for a couple of hours, get a nice coffee, have lunch perhaps, who knows? Window shop, go to some of the smaller specialty shops that we don’t usually have time to go to and generally wander around a bit. I have had a bit of a bad run lately with my knee. It has always been a bit ‘dicky’ but after walking around a lot in town with my daughters it got a bit worse and various mishaps have seen it swell up quite alarmingly. This happens to me roughly once a year and it usually doesn’t bother me, but since we moved out here and the terrain is a whole lot steeper and more uneven, I now have a whole lot more respect for the disabled and the elderly. How DO they cope? I get most frustrated hobbling to and from the chook yard, to water the plants has become a marathon event (remembering that we have over 900 potted plants spread all over the place that are all crying out for water), just walking around the house is a hassle and if you are like me and forget to do half of what you are setting out to do, you just have to turn around and go back to do it, but when your unable to navigate as easily as you should, you really have to think about each and every trip. Due to the persistent rain and my swollen joint, we decided that it would be a good idea if Steve headed in on his own. We phoned up the girls to tell them that they wouldn’t have to look after the dogs which would have made them happy…the deal is still on for Friday though girls, we have to hand in our final unit to our lecturer so we need you to mind the boys…

Here’s what we are going to be looking like on Friday so we don’t want the boys seeing us in our degraded state, or they would lose the shreds of respect that they have for us and chaos would ensue! (thats why you have to take the boys girls, you are doing your civic duty :o)

Steve headed out the door with an umbrella, 2 large loaves of bread for our friend “she-who-shall-remain-anonymous” partner who apparently liked our bread when she and Nat came out for a rather deflating “Gorden Porty” not so long ago and we served bread and soup which I think was the highlight of the day! Enjoy Glen, we made it especially for you :o). Steve is picking up the ‘fixings’ for making an over the wood stove metal mesh shelf that we designed to prove our bread on. We make a lot of bread at one time and so it’s a pretty intensive affair when we make it and its getting more and more difficult to find somewhere to put the large bowls of dough that are rising without giving Earl the most fun that he has had in ages.

Earl has a new arch nemesis by the way. We have started using ‘aversion therapy’ on him because he was behaving like a school bully with Bezial. He is a big boy and his birthday is on the 26th of this month. Earl will be getting a sponge cake, a large steak dinner and some toys. More than a lot of people get to look forwards to on their birthdays! He is still, however, effectively a puppy as American Staffordshire Terriers take a bit longer to settle down than a lot of other dogs. Bezial only settled down (a bit) when he turned 3 so we figure that we couldn’t allow Earl to rule the roost around here and stumbled on the water technique completely by accident. Earl was being particularly obnoxious and we were starting to despair of him. I can’t remember which one of us picked up the water bottle that we use to spray the smaller and more delicate plants with and just aimed it at him, but it worked! He ran off looking back over his shoulder like we had sprayed him with hydrochloric acid rather than simply good old healthy H2O. He now knows that should any ‘play’ suddenly turn into bullying, that “Mr Water bottle” is going to make an appearance and the bad behaviour suddenly ceases. It’s been amazing the change in him since then and Bezial has a whole new lease on life after being forced to ‘play’ by Earl whenever he saw fit. It’s also been good for Earl as it’s taught him something that he previously had no idea about, the concept of ‘respect’. Mr Water Bottle is our new best friend. Sorry “She-who-shall-remain-anonymous”, you have been relegated to second place by a plastic squirty bottle. You had just better pick up your game is all…

Look, I found these so that Earl can have designer Mr Squirty Bottles! (I am sure that he is just over the moon about that…)

I got a message from one of my best friends in the whole world Kym yesterday asking me about how to get her citrus trees to just ‘do’ something. My guess is that its food that they need as they are really heavy feeders and probably water as well. Perth is fantastic for growing citrus as all the elderly Italians will tell you Kymmy, and if you happen to see one of those elderly Italians bums up in their gardens full of flowers, fruit, nuts, chooks etc. (they are the most productive people on a quarter acre block that ever put spade in soil) just ask them what they do. It’s usually horse manure. I asked one once, as you know, I am NO shy retiring butterfly and if you want to know, you don’t get answers by not asking do you? He told me his secret was horse manure and bucket loads of it on everything. He also had the most amazing tomatoes that I had ever seen even though they looked like they were growing in silty sand and all the leaves were wilted, they were enormous! Before permaculture there were the Italians (and the Hmong, but they haven’t been in Australia for as long as the Italians have…) and BOY did they know how to produce from a small acreage. I remember passing very eclectic gardens where there was no room left, espaliered fruit trees were over all sorts of herbs and especially garlic around the bases. The front garden was full of flowers and vegetables all tumbled together. The back garden was totally covered in food including chooks, ducks, turkeys and anything else that would fit underneath the trees. Very industrious people the Italians. As soon as they move into the neighbourhood, they have gardens going and have built a brick mansion with columns on the front…that’s why I find it so hard to believe that they are toppling over the edge of a debt crisis like Greece. Is it because the governments of these 2 (and don’t forget Spain and Ireland) countries have simply forgotten how to survive like the older populace did, frugally and using everything available to get a good result?

Here’s one, that some elderly industrious Italian somewhere in WA prepared earlier for you…

I think that the baby boomers really owe us all a massive explanation as to why in their reign, everything has gone to hell in a hand basket! Corporate greed, disregard about anything that matters other than power and money have threatened us all to near extinction and still we let them deal in the vagaries of stock markets that are like Pork Futures, simply glorified gambling. We need to go back to our parents and our parent’s parents to see how to really live. Most people are not all that happy. It’s not easy to be contented when so much seems to be spiralling into chaos around you. I guess that’s why so many people are taking things into their own hands and going back to basics. I heard on the radio that the Deloraine craft market was a blinding success with over 25 000 people walking through the gates. I also heard how sales were down. No doubt “the economic downturn” will be blamed, but something has to be laid on the shoulders of the sellers who think that ‘artisan’ means ‘exorbitantly expensive’. It takes more to make something with your hands, to put love and feeling and soul into it, but it’s worth nothing if you price yourselves out of the market people! A lot of the foodie, slow food, wine, boutique beer, cycling, and do-gooders would have you believe that it’s time to cash in on sustainability, artisan craftsmanship and anything hand made. A pot of jam is NOT worth $12 because you grew the raspberries people and you shouldn’t be surprised if no-one buys said pot of raspberry jam because they can get pretty much the same thing from the supermarket for $1.50. Yes, it’s not ‘handmade’, yes it’s from Yugoslavia, but you know what? It tastes almost the same on toast in the morning when you are racing out the door…it’s a hell of a lot cheaper and in this day and age where money is getting quite tight, you have to stand out in the crowd, not just expect people to watch master chef and pay through the nose! Sell you gear at a reasonable price, don’t expect it to sell itself. There are too many people out there being fed lies and promises about ‘get into artisan production its worth a million!’ Its only worth what people can pay and once things start getting REALLY tough, your ‘artisan’ produce is going to be the very first thing that people give up on. “Artisan produce nil…Yugoslavia 1”


This one is so Artisan and specialised they don’t even give you the price! Here’s the blurb…

• Made by hand in a monastery by a group of nuns
• Thick and sweet and only found at A.G. Ferrari Foods
• The monastery is located just north of Rome
• Sweet and juicy
• perfect for toast or ice cream
Sounds like it bypassed Artisan and is on its way to heaven doesn’t it?
Besides…who needs someone with a first name that they have changed by deed poll from “Sharon” to “Shar’one” to make them feel special and who has a hyphenated last name with 4 of their ancestral relatives tacked onto the end (what a wank!) trying to tell us that their raspberry jam is worth a small fortune because its hand crafted and artisan! Do they realise that with this internet age how many amazing recipes for making your own amazing jam are online for free? Get a big pot from the op shop; buy a wooden spoon while you’re there (so far you are at about $6 total). Save your vegemite, peanut butter, jam, olive and pasta sauce jars for a while. Head off to a raspberry farm in the height of the season and buy a stack of seconds or jam berries cheaply or even cheaper, get a friend to give you some raspberry canes. They will grow like topsy and if you have room (and protection from the possums and blackbirds and children and dogs and any other feral pest that wants to scoff them before you jammify them up) grow your own and save a whole lot. Head to the internet. You don’t even have to have a computer, just head off to the nearest library or online centre and book an hour and head off into the ether and find some amazing jammy recipes. Come back with your recipe of choice clutched tightly in your hot little hand and put that pot, those raspberries a swag of good old fashioned white sugar and perhaps something special that you found online (you can wank up your own jam people, you don’t need to pay through the nose for ‘artisan’) put in some vanilla bean…some rose water…some cardamom…some apple, whatever you want. Its YOURE jam, you put into it what you like and therein lies the problem for the artisanal crew. If you are charging a fortune for a product that people can first, find the recipe for online and second, can make quite easily themselves…how can you justify the exorbitant price that you are charging? You can’t’ and people will see straight through you. Supply and demand people. You have to create a demand for your product rather than just supply people with it and tell them that it’s worth it. We are an educated bunch now, don’t feed us gumpf and expect us not to question it. That would make us American’s and that, we Australians are most certainly NOT…well our children are starting to turn into them…’Like, you know…like totally, like….’ I just have to add, at this point that my children are not like that. I had to put that in because all of them have access to this blog (whether they read it or not, I can’t take the chance that they didn’t read this post!) and I take pride in knowing that they are all able to think, problem solve and question the world around them. They may not use those skills all the time, but at least they have them ready to utilise should the need arise. Its alarming to see and more alarming to hear the children of today mindlessly being led by the nose by consumerism. We made these kids, they are our future, we need to show them that the real world isn’t the place that their I pods would have them believe it is and should society collapse and the internet, Facebook, I pods, I pads, Twitter etc. cease to be, that they would still be able to survive even though nothing would be worth living for any more…


Here’s a very simple recipe for making Raspberry Jam that anyone could make and I bet it tastes every bit as good as the jam from the Deloraine Craft Market and if you are upset about missing out on the doily on the top of your artisan jam, just purchase one at the op shop when you are picking up your stock pot and your wooden spoon. It should add about 20c to your total purchase…
Old Fashioned Raspberry Jam
Taken from the following website and the only changes made are to the infuriating Americanised misspelling of various words…
http://www.epicurious.com/recipesmenus/
Have a look at this site while you are there, it’s got some fantastic recipes just waiting for you to artisanise your life :o)
“This intense raspberry flavour of this jam makes it a long-time favourite. Warming the sugar beforehand keeps the jam boiling evenly and ensures success” (and we all want success now don’t we!)
Ingredients
1 litre of granulated sugar
1 litre of raspberries
Method:
1. Put sugar in an ovenproof shallow pan and warm in a 120C oven for 15 minutes (warm sugar dissolves better).
2. Put berries in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add warm sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel (see tips below), about 5 minutes
4. Ladle into sterilised jars, screw on lids and process in a water bath or to make a small boiling water steriliser, use a small round cake rack in the bottom of a large covered stock pot. Be sure that the pan is tall enough for 5cm of water to cover the covered jars when they are sitting on the rack
Kitchen tips: (Don’t say that I don’t give you tips!)
• To determine when the mixture will form a gel, use the spoon test: dip a cool metal spoon into the hot fruit mix. Immediately lift it out and away from the stream and turn it horizontally. At the beginning of the cooking process, the liquid will drop off in light, syrupy drops. Try again a minute or two later – the drops will be heavier. The jam is done when the drops are very thick and two run together before falling off the spoon.
• The intensity of this jam is due to the fact that it has no added fruit pectin. Adding pectin helps the jam jell, but necessitates more sugar, which dilutes the natural flavour of the fruit. Making jam without added pectin requires more careful cooking but the extra effort pays off in a deliciously old-fashioned, fruity product

Thanks for letting me have a bit of a rant there. It’s good for you to get things out. I have 10 regular followers out there and some of you might get a bit tired of reading my regular rants, but I give you permission to skip over those bits. I know that you probably already do, but by legitimising it, I have taken the guilt out of it :o). Time to head off and make the boys a bacon and egg sandwich. They have already had a slice of quiche, 2 thick slices of bread and butter and are laying on the floor like modern consumerist children when their mum took their I pod away because Steve is not here and they didn’t get a walk this morning. I am not giving them food to compensate…I am giving them food for my own sanity because when they are sated, they are quiet…sorry to all those people out there tutting, I doubt you read my blog anyway.  My 10 regular subscribers are people that understand reality, no do-gooders in their midst, no-one trying to make me feel bad for stuffing my dogs with food to get a mornings peace and quiet because they are all honest about their faults (if not to the world, at least to themselves :o) and we are all in this together and trying to make the best of it. If a bacon and egg sandwich stuffed dog makes me happy…who are you to deny me eh? The dogs are most certainly not going to complain about my procedure or my delivery and unlike me, they have no problem wearing a bacon sarnie off so it’s a win-win situation all round. Have a great day all of you and Tasmanians, remember all this rain that we are getting, that hasn’t stopped since 6am and that shows no sign of stopping any time soon is “intermittent”, positively “sporadic” and most definitely NOT ‘persistent’….I WANT MY TAX PAYER DOLLARS BACK FOR THAT REPORT WEATHERMAN (that was IF I ever pay tax, I want some of it back….) at least we don’t have to water today all my gardening friends and that is worth every persistent drop :o)

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By the way, just before I go…since we pulled out the massive diosma hedge that had taken over the side garden all of the roses that had been stunted and crowded out have started to flower. We have 2 Cécile Brunner’s, a bourbon rose that has seen better days but that we can coax back to happiness and lots of standard tea roses. Look at the flowers on this one. They come out yellow, turn to orange and end up pink. It makes for an interesting variation of colours on the shrub.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum.
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 12:59:19

    Now that was a right good rave love, I thoroughly enjoyed it ! Please get a strapping bandage for your knee too, the support will help a lot. With the jam, any jam, I add the juice of a lemon to take the edge off too much sweetness, & it does help set the jam. Another way of testing if ready, is to put a teraspoon of jam on a cold saucer, & if it wrinkles when you gently push a finger through it, it’s done ! I could have made a small fortune making jams, but the know it alls came out with, you had to buy certain types of jars, have an industrial kitchen to make them in & all that jazz, so I didn’t ! I’ve not killed anyone with my cooking yet,so bugger “em! I make for me & family, & use any jar I can lay hands on after sterilising in the microwave! Any strong smelling jars, try a solution of mustard for a bit to remove. As for the bottling side, any tall preserving type of pot will do, & a folded teatowel in the bast.Cover jars with cold water, bring to the boil & boil gently for half an hour will do the trick.When you see the price they charge for a preserving outfit, it’s enough to put you off trying! Think back to former times, when all these new gadgets had never been thought of.To all those farmers wives & their husbands who do, past & present,I salute you all. You have your heads screwed on the right way, & know the value of doing these things.I just enjoy doing it, getting the satisfaction of knowing I can, & reaping the benefits through the year.Same with growing my own fruit trees & vegies.Then I can thimb my nose in the shops at the exhorbitant prices they charge for the same thing. There, now I have had a rant too Pen ! It does you good too, to vent the spleen!

    Reply

  2. Pinky
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 22:09:52

    I want a bacon and egg sandwich now thank you very much Fronkii.
    If you think your having some wet weather now, just wait a day or so as the apocolypse is headed your way. Our weather has been so bad over here (Albany) that we have reverted to winter gear and fires again. Hail, flooding, thinder and lightning all day for the last 3 days or more!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Nov 09, 2011 @ 07:56:11

      We are getting ‘thinder’ and lightning right now. Steve is very lucky that he got back from his early morning walk with Earl just as it started pouring down and showing us that that pretty grass growing in our guttering is NOT going to stop the deluge and that we should probably stop drinking beer on the deck and get up on the roof (when we are sober again) and pull said grass out of the guttering along with most of the tree debris that has built up over the years….The dogs didnt end up getting the sarnie, they got quiches instead :o)

      Reply

  3. pfundtie
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 22:20:03

    Mustard!?
    Don’t let’s be silly, now lemon, that’s different…

    Also, I made jam by accident mum, you don’t need a recipe.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Nov 09, 2011 @ 07:59:54

      I just read that post and can’t for the life of me see where I mentioned ‘mustard’ anywhere you crazy munt! I think that you have been watching too much Disney and not enough cooking shows….I also made jam by accident but it wasn’t as nice as ‘real jam’. See you Friday

      Reply

  4. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 06:35:52

    I keep waiting for rain here. It was supposed to today, but hasn’t happened yet. Our dog, Barney, is more dependable when it comes to predicting the weather, well, thunderstorms. He starts getting scared, the only thing he seems scared of.
    Artisan shows or art/craft shows is what I used to do for a living.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:52:22

      I have discovered that I am more analytical than I am artistic :(. It was a sad lesson to learn and we found that Steve is very artistic but he IS an Aquarius after all ;). My artistic lien tends to be with the minute. I love tiny things, I love dot work and tiny lines and anything small and perfectly formed especially fungi 🙂

      Reply

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