Earl turns 1 and becomes a book critic

Hi All

We had a very busy day today. We visited our lecturer with a large home-made sponge cake to celebrate the end of our study year. We also had to do our fortnightly shopping which is now something that we have to actually think about. When we lived in town, we lived right next to a supermarket. Whenever we wanted anything, one of us just nipped up to the shop and bought it. We were not concerned about running out of anything because we simply didn’t. Now, we have to make sure that we get everything that we need because heading into town to pick up some more milk is not an option because it’s a 90km round trip and with petrol the price that it is now and showing no signs of going down, we need to think carefully about every trip that we take into town. We left the dogs at my daughter’s house where Earl and Qi decided to destroy a soft fluffy purple pillow that Qi had gotten for her birthday. There was fluff everywhere! Earl is turning 1 tomorrow and we figured that he was just getting all of his boyish youth out of him before sobering up and becoming an amazingly well behaved dog tomorrow. Apparently Earl decided that if he was going to have to settle down and become better behaved tomorrow, that he had best get it all out of his system today and while Steve and I were eating our tea in the kitchen, Earl was eating something else in the lounge room. Steve decided to head into the lounge room to see what Earl was eating. We don’t usually do this as Earl has a large pile of toys in there that he is slowly making his way through. We replace them as their numbers dwindle and he munches happily keeping him amused when he gets bored. Today he decided to eat a hard backed copy of the book that I had taken out of the library that I had only just requested…”Creating a Forest Garden”. He ate the spine…he gnawed on the back cover and was just about to start on the pages when Steve stopped him mid munch. After removing the book and phoning up my daughters to tell them NOT to get this book for me for Christmas as we now have to buy this somewhat degenerated and deconstructed copy, we headed back into the lounge to pick up the remaining skerrick’s of book spine that Earl was just settling down to nibble…I picked them up whilst maintaining a most stern look and Earl sat up and put up his paw to shake hands which is what he does when he really REALLY wants something badly. Not this time sunshine…you just cost us $50!

Oh well, I guess I actually have a copy of this amazing book of my own now, and no-one is going to want to pinch it from me due to its most interesting embellished tooth marks and drool stains on the back cover.  For someone who prizes knowledge above most other things and who thinks that books are treasures, there are no more depressing sights than a chewed book. I will make another cover for it and will just have to learn to overlook the pages with nibble marks on the edges. I wonder what the librarian will have to say when I tell them that “My dog ate my homework”…

As you can see…the odds of me being able to sneak this book suruptitiously back to the library without the bespectacled well educated librarian noticing the tiny little bit of dog nibbling is slim and next to none. I can only thank God that Steve headed into the lounge room (for some unknown reason known only to him) at that time and managed to stop Earl scoffing the pages so this book was rendered “fire lighter” rather than “ugly but usable”. Thankyou Steve…you saved the day again :o)

I have been doing an interesting experiment in our fridge. I purchased a block of fresh yeast that was vacuum packed in a plastic wrap. I used to use this exclusively when making bread but since we have moved out to the sticks, I now use a good quality dried yeast that gives us perfect results every time that we buy from the flour mill in town. I never got around to using one of the packages of fresh yeast that was purchased back in April this year. I left it in the fridge. It sat there for months…It swelled up and started to exist in its own little ecosystem and unlike its fellow yeast package that burst and that had to be thrown away, this one remained firm and pert like a faux breast implant. It had been in our fridge for so long that I really didn’t notice it any more until someone commented on it. Steve opened the fridge today and said “something smells like boiled eggs?” I opened the fridge and something indeed smelled like boiled eggs, but it took a while to isolate the culprit. After sniffing the eggs (nope), the mayonnaise (nope) and anything else likely to offer off an eggy smell due to its egg content I managed to narrow it down to the milk carton (nope) and the yeast. On actually paying attention to the yeast I noticed that what had been a firm cake of yeast only weeks ago, had suddenly turned into an alarming slimy liquid! I could smell the eggy smell, which wasn’t entirely unpleasant, more like mashed eggs for sandwiches, permeating through the swollen plastic bag. When removed from the fridge the bag started to expand alarmingly due to it being quite a warm day and we hurriedly removed it from the house with visions of the bag bursting and releasing clouds of eggy gas and liquid slime all over the place giving us more speed than we would otherwise usually use for something of this nature. We placed the ‘experiment’ on the driveway and decided to leave it there to see if it would burst. No doubt some possum out there will get bored and will play football with the fake breast with the liquid centre and might launch itself into the stratosphere… or if it remains, who knows what will happen tomorrow when it starts to heat up and the gas expands… We will keep you posted on this most interesting of experiments. Needless to say, I WON’T be using this yeast to make any bread, any time in the future!

The black orphan chickens (4 of them) that were abandoned by their mothers are now hanging around with the non-broody chooks. It just goes to show that chickens are not as stupid as their reputation that precedes them would have you believe. These little chicks had been hanging around in a pack of 4 and spending most of their days hiding in amongst the taller shrubs ducking out occasionally to pick at some food but generally staying hidden and out of sight of prospective predators. They had obviously taken a vote and decided that this wasn’t living and had decided to take their chances with the rest of the flock. It appears to be working as the non-broodies don’t seem to be attacking them and they just trundle along behind the flock. The ducks now put themselves to bed as and when they like. They are big enough to handle the feral cats and spend most of their days hatching plots to eat most of the available food. Big Yin has had the odd tussle with the ducks due to their naturally greedy natures and his desire to maintain some sort of food security for his girls. Nature is a very interesting thing and you can learn a whole lot about life cycles and the scheme of things simply by being observant. The good thing about the babies getting older is that now their mums are starting to lay eggs again. Just after the broodies hatched out their chicks we went down to 2 eggs and then no eggs a day. We are slowly building up and are getting 5 – 6 a day now which is a good amount for us to be able to share them around.

I noticed that the jostaberries and feijoas are coming along great guns at the girls house in town. Jostaberries are a cross between a wild gooseberry and a black currant. The girls call them meat berries because the taste is a curious mix of meaty fruit! This year they are going to be able to have a bumper harvest if they decide to cover the fruit as the blackbirds love them. I didn’t realise that the fruit is able to be used green as a gooseberry substitute so that might be a way that the girls can use them before the birds scoff them. The feijoa is a very tasty fruit that the birds don’t seem to be interested in. I would imagine that is because it is green when ripe which is not an indicator of ‘ripe’ to birds. The fruit is also known as a pineapple guava and the flavour is somewhat reminiscent of a sweet ripe pineapple but with more of a fruity perfume. The fruit alone is good enough reason to grow this pretty shrub, but the flowers also have a tasty secret for salads. You can use the petals of the flowers in salads. They are sweet and tasty. I didn’t actually believe the person that told me this, but tasted them anyway and got a pleasant surprise. Now that I am the owner of a book about forest gardening, I am going to use the information to start planting out areas of the garden. I am going to use the information from a post from Annie over at The Micro Gardener regarding using nasturtiums in the garden. I need lots of ground covers to keep the moisture in the soil and give newly planted shrubs a better chance of survival and growing a thick matting of nasturtiums over the ground would give me a great barrier against moisture loss, a good natural insect repellent, something for the bees to enjoy and I can only imagine that the hot peppery flavour of the leaves might put off the wallabies and possums from sampling my newly planted shrubs. That plus the fact that nasturtiums grow very easily from seed and you get an amazing coverage from a single plant so it should reduce the cost of propagating enough ground covers to initially cover an acre of forest garden. Add it up…it would equate to tens of thousands of plants!  I am going to give it a go. I had always thought that nasturtiums were very water intensive but after reading about their drought hardiness on Annie’s blog, they have now gone up a long way in my estimations and will become a mainstay in our garden.

We are going to be spending a long time outside today. Now that my knee is starting to come good, I can hobble about better and we really need to get these garden beds sorted out ready to get at least something planted out this year. It seems that everything has been conspiring against us to get up and going in the vegetable growing department. We are very stubborn, however, and are not going to give up! The main problem that we face is that we need to ensure that the garden beds that we make are protected from everything that wants to sample the contents. When you are penniless hippy students you need to think your way around paying for materials. We are just going to have to work out how to do this as cheaply as possible. We have a very large area that we want to turn into vegetable gardens. We have access to a large stand of tea tree poles in our front garden but we don’t want to totally remove these trees so need to selectively thin them. We are going to have to sit down and work out how to protect these beds but until we get them built, that isn’t an issue so we will be building some this weekend and hopefully, will have some photos to show you next week (unless we get rained out like some of the weather forecasts are predicting…) Whatever happens we will at least do something this weekend. We are certainly not twiddling our thumbs trying to find things to do with a very long list of things that need to be accomplished around here. Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy yourselves doing whatever you choose to be doing and hopefully you arrive on Monday’s doorstep feeling both refreshed and revitalised after a good rest.

Just a little note here…I usually write ‘tomorrows’ blog post the day before I post it. Its my safety net so that I can post nice and early and get on with the rest of the day so you can all read about what we are up to (or not up to as the case may be) and we can be doing what you read about tomorrow. That is starting to mentally confuse even me so I am going to stop there! I guess I am just trying to explain why some things that I talk about are in the past tense in relation to ‘today’. Thats my explanation and your stuck with it now! Tomorrow you will read about Earl’s birthday and get photo’s to boot. Tomorrow you will read about how much it is raining here and all sorts of things but it will really be about today…now I AM confusing myself. I should stop there! The book remains well and truelly scoffed in the cold hard morning light…it wasn’t just a bad dream and lord only begins to know what Earl will eat in the future. I don’t even want to think about it as now Earl is not worth half as much as what he has dispatched via his wandering doggy lips. No doubt Earl will do something noble in his future that will totally redeem himself in our eyes, but for now he is just a walking, barking, peeing scoff machine hell bent on rendering all of our material posessions ‘gone’…I must tell you in a future post about my theory of what dogs actually are…you can skip that post girls, I have already explained it to you :o) Sorry this post is a bit late. For some reason, known only to Aurora power company, we have lost power for the last few saturday mornings. I dare say most of Launceston is giving their heat pumps a bit of a flogging and we rural serfs need to take one for the gipper so that they can live in the urban uninterupted power using way that they have become accustomed to. In saying that, its now just after 11am and we finally got our power back so I can post this for you to read. Its wet here…wet…wet…WET…and is not going to stop for the rest of the day so we are off to do ‘interesting things’ with wood. We have some plans to make bug houses, egg boxes, bird houses, bird feeders, wooden spoons, wooden frames…you name it. We have wood…power (for the moment…), natural God given talent and plenty of time to spend inside over the next 2 wetness guaranteed days and sweet bugger all to do other than mess about in Steve’s shed making things. Hopefully we make something to show you other than a mess as that is what Steve’s shed usually ends up with very little to show for it!

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 15:39:06

    OOER ! Did that yeast packet explode? It looks like it was about to ! My fejoa is laden with flowers this time, so maybe I’ll get to try one. Last year, any fruit disappeared,& I think down the bandicoots gullet! It was therte one day,& I was keeping an eye on them, then they were gone! Ah well, Earl plotted so you could have that book didn’t he? Thank god Steve went in when he did. I was glad to read the orphans have latched on to the unbroody hens too. That’s where Pingu should be, I’m sure he’d settle in well with the others. Remember gran throwing nasturtium seeds everywhere, down the beach when we went & anywhere? The seeds, have a go at mock capers too, & I remember as kids, having the leaf in fresh bread & butter. Also playing with a drop of water in a leaf. There must be strong oils in them, & you can also eat the flowers. A very versatile plant. There are so many plants that are still used in medicine too. Steves shed might get in a mess, but he sure m akes a lot of really good things in it!.

    Reply

  2. Pinky
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 19:15:14

    I’m thinking rolled up newspaper whenever I think of Earl. Is he getting neutered anytime soon? Sorry, I know he is your furry child Fronkii and Steve.
    That yeast looks like a teeny, tiny space ship about to fly away. Maybe it is, full of tiny yeast like parasites like the Triffids that will make you blind and take over the world as we now it!!!!!!!

    Reply

  3. Kym
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 20:11:11

    I’m thinking a muzzle might come in handy or maybe you could use Steve’s shed as a dental van and remove said choppers!! LOL only kidding…. gotta love those hairy babies of ours. We have a friend’s dog staying with us at the moment so Snoopy (alias Me Too) is all over me like a rash when Deezel, my friends dog, is anywhere near me. I think it is because he is a rescue dog. He worries that he will get replaced. Never!! He is the sweetest most loving little dog I have ever had. But today he is a pain lol…
    I’m currently looking at ground cover to put in my garden as the weeds seem to be loving the current lot of mulch. Strange but true. Anyway I might even give those nasturtium a try in one of the corners and see how they go. Wonder what that yeast will end up like??
    I’m off to the park to get the three amigos out of the house for a walk so have a great rest of the day 🙂

    Reply

  4. Kym
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 20:12:16

    P.S. Happy Birthday to Earl x

    Reply

  5. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:22:58

    Over Thanksgiving holiday when I was in 6th grade, my library book got damaged from grease in the kitchen. I worried and worried all holiday over that. I am a born worrier. I took it back and nothing was even said.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:37:11

      I, too, am a worrier and Steve could worry for Queen and country so between us we end up worrying about nothing most of the time. I am at least “trying” to minimise it…it’s hard when you feed off each others worries though!

      Reply

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