My new egg collecting bucket and Christmas looms

Hi All,

Steve just painted my egg collection bucket Donna Hay eggshell blue. It was previously an old tile glue bucket but I like to recycle and use these buckets for doling out chook food, water and now, for collecting eggs. I like Donna Hay eggshell blue. I chose a similar colour (a little more blue a little less green) for our interior colour scheme. We have a lot of wood in our house. The original owner must have loved bare wood because all of the internal doors are estapoled wood. We have removed all of the tiles and most of the carpets and so our floors are mostly wood as well. It’s lucky that we actually like wood, or we might not be as happy with our lot in life. We were reading the last Donna Hay magazine of my subscription when we reached a section on design (dahhhhlings…). This is part of the reason why I am not going to renew the subscription. As a recipe magazine, Donna Hay has let us down. There are more design, cookware and shameless self-promotion advertisements then there are recipes and of the recipes, most of them are not something that I would want to emulate let alone pay the massive amount required to purchase the upmarket ingredients required to produce one of her “simple dishes”. Donna Hay is no longer on my list. She is out of the circle of trust in fact. She lured me with her lovely cook books and delivered so little that my last copy of this magazine was left unopened for 2 weeks before I opened and read it. My daughter paid for my subscription to this magazine and it was a very thoughtful gift. The problem was in my interpretation (and assumption) of what Donna Hay actually was. She is a very similar premise to that awful woman of Planet Cake infamy. How these affected women aspiring to social greatness with their mouths so stuffed full of plums that they can’t even be recognised as Australian any more expect any form of mainstream acceptance I don’t know. You should have stayed with your books Donna. That’s where you excel and I would still be doe eyed and wistful when reading about romantic picnics in the Australian bush, rather than using your magazine as toilet paper on my next Donna free picnic…

Stylish recycling :o)

This is my last post before my mum gets here tomorrow afternoon for her Christmas visit. It is going to be lovely to see her again and hopefully she enjoys her stay. She will be spending some time with my daughters who can’t wait to cook all things Christmas with her supervision. I can imagine the delicious smells wafting from their house in town and I will be picking them all up on Christmas day after spending some time ourselves, preparing our Christmas canapés and various other premade ingredients to ensure that our Christmas day bbq is a great success. For once, I want everyone to enjoy a nice easy Christmas day without the usual stress of having to cook everything under the sun. We chose a bbq because it’s Australian, because it will most likely be quite warm on Christmas day and because there is nothing like sitting out on the deck with a plate of deliciousness and a glass of bubbly in your hand looking out over the Tamar River and sharing a lovely time. Bollocks to commercialism, this Christmas we are celebrating togetherness rather than trying to outdo the Joneses (whoever they are). This segues me back nicely to what I was about to tell you that Steve and I read in the back of the Donna Hay magazine. We were looking at the Christmas design section where overpriced articles are toted as “must have for this season” and gullible well-heeled socialites wave their long suffering husbands semi melted credit cards in the air in a procession of crass overspending. We made our little Christmas tree 3 years ago as an homage to our newfound love of conifers and our desire to stop killing small specimens of this family. In the back of the Donna Hay magazine, we were shown the latest designer Christmas trees which just so happened to consist of silver birch and poplar twigs of varying thicknesses with holes drilled through the middle and arranged on a central pole for $399. After getting over our shock of that item, we turned the page to see a few twigs held together with wool wound around them to the tune of $140. This is the prime reason that I no longer wish to remain subscribed to Ms Donna Hay’s magazine. I hate this sort of overpriced commercialism and don’t want to be supporting her and her corporate friends in spreading the lie that you can never have enough of anything. I saw a fantastic Christmas tree today. It would have cost the staff member who made it at the Beaconsfield Primary School the price of a bit of printer ink to make and it made a bold and very clever statement. The creator had lashed similarly sized twigs together and spray painted them silver. Toilet rolls had been covered with black and white printed motifs and hung on this ‘tree’ to give a very retro and unusual Christmas tree that showcased just what can be made with a bit of creativity and very little cash and recycled goods.

I think I will make a mobile out of my old key collection. I have some nice smooth driftwood sticks collected from the river bank over the road from Serendipity Farm and might attempt to get creative with them. I love creating things especially when they are made with found things or something that I have already saved for just such an eventuality. Our tomato plants are quite large now and we are going to put them into large pots so that we can nurture them, keep them away from the green vegetable bugs and caterpillars and when it starts to get cold we can move them into the glasshouse to see if we can’t ripen up our tomatoes this year. It’s a guessing game here in Tasmania. Most of Australia is starting to pick and eat their home grown delicious sweet tomatoes but we are lucky to get ours at the end of summer. I supposed we get the trade-off of being able to grow Brussels sprouts well in our cold climate but sometimes it would just be lovely to pick a delicious ripe sweet tomato to serve in a salad on Christmas day. We are using our wood stove less and less these days. At the moment it is still cold at night and doesn’t really matter if the house gets warmed up at night but when it’s hot we most definitely don’t want to be having to light the fire for hot water. We will eventually have some alternative source of energy production but for now, it’s wood or gas. Our stove is really cool when lit and slowly kept burning for a bit of hot water. If we damp it down, close down the stove covers and close the firebox door cover you could be mistaken for not even knowing that the stove was on. We are collecting firewood on a regular basis and will be doing so all summer and autumn to make sure that we have enough this winter to keep a regular burn going in the stove. It didn’t take us long at all to get used to using a wood stove, mainly because it is just like using a regular stove thanks to the arrangement of the ovens on either side of the firebox. We haven’t noticed many hot spots in either of our main ovens and the only problem is when you get overenthusiastic with stoking the fire and the ovens get too hot. This is perfect for pizza, but not so good for cakes. I would recommend a wood stove to anyone living in a colder climate area and am so glad that we decided to invest in ours.

Here are some of the woody household fittings and fixtures. As you can see, it makes up a large part of the aesthetic value of the house so it’s really lucky that we like wood

Here are the glasses that we have been collecting from various markets, thrift shops etc. for making Steve’s “Trifecta” extravaganza of dessert. If you haven’t read what it is in posts previous, it consists of a base of jelly set sloe vodka (our own home made) soaked sponge cake (again, home made and from our own free range eggs), covered with a rich creamy egg custard (home made again…) then topped with chocolate espresso mousse and all topped off with home made meringues crumbled roughly into freshly whipped cream and all topped off with fruit. Can’t go wrong there! 3 desserts in 1 AND you get fruit! That would mean that it was healthy :o)

This little baby made 3 sponge cakes and 3 trays of meringues yesterday. It doesn’t get used much on a regular basis but around Christmas time it pays for itself several times over. It’s not a kitchen aid and I am proud of that fact. I like that it doesn’t make sausages or icecream…its a stand mixer people…why do you need it to do the washing up, walk the dog and project the gettysburg address to the nation?! This one does just fine by us and we get to keep the better part of $500 in our pockets for a rainy day on the purchase price of a kitchen aid. Wise move grasshopper! :o)

We put lights on our Christmas tree and lights up outside all along the deck area but have only had them on once. I think that we might put them on tonight. It seems like a waste of effort to put them up if they don’t get to shine a bit. I wonder if anyone on the river can see our twinkly little strands of lights from their fishing spot? We can see the Tamar River Cruiser every day at 12 lunchtime so I dare say if you were in the right place, you could see us. Christmas really changes when your children grow up. It’s easier to dispense with a lot of the old traditions but in so doing, you risk losing that sense of Christmas wonderment and pleasure at the pretty lights and sense of occasion. I am quite surprised at how Christmassy I am feeling this year. As mentioned, I am decidedly anti-consumerism this year and hunting out Christmasalia from thrift shops and bedecking the tree with these items as well as taking back our Christmas day celebrations and making them fit our desires rather than societies expectations has given me a sense of freedom that I haven’t had in Christmases past. I guess I am a bit like the Grinch and my heart has grown three sizes this year thanks to this new and revolutionary way of dealing with Christmas.

We cleared out the middle room for mums imminent arrival tomorrow afternoon. This room was our junk room and a better analogy for what it looked like couldn’t be found anywhere. We had tossed everything that had no home into this room. Any boxes of ‘stuff’ that had entered the “too hard to classify” or “throw out or not?” had been carefully stashed on top of each other leaving this room overstuffed and very difficult to navigate. Mum had a hip operation this year and so standing on one leg, tiptoeing over the top of a stack of boxes and often resorting to standing on your hands to walk were not options for navigating to bed each night so we just had to get stuck in and clear this room out. Knowing full well that this would entail cleaning out other cupboards (to make room for the overflow) Steve and I gritted our teeth and proceeded. We found lots of things. We found a coin collection containing a jetton from the 1300’s. AMAZING you say. What is a jetton? Before we found it we would have had NO idea. We figured it looked pretty old and can only guess at who found it or came into posession of this old token. It isn’t a coin. It comes from times when these tokens were used by ancient accountants to balance the books. This one must have been in the middle of some medieval dispute because it appears to have been pierced by something sharp (a sword?). Who knows what this tiny thin piece of copper has seen and it beats me how it survived to the present day. The most amazing thing of all about this Medieval token is its value is not reflected in its age. Like many archeological finds, it’s monetary value is small. Here are a few photos of this fascinating token that gave me a most interesting afternoon of research to find out more about what it was, it’s history and it’s inevitable monetary value (or lack thereof)

This is how we discovered that this token was indeed a token and not a coin. We discovered that it was French from this insignia as well.

This side is a little more interesting. Most of the jettons that we could find pictures of on the net had 3 fleur de lis (lys) on a shield but this one has a crown over the top and 6 fleur de lis. We were unable to find anything approximating this coin and only found mention of it being a “Multi foil” meaning more than 3 fleur de lis.

Here you can see just how thin this little copper token is. Before anyone thinks of breaking in to pinch it

1. It has been rehoused

2. It is worth a maximum of $20 and we can’t afford the litigation from prospective amateur burglers being chewed by Amstaffs…

We have just about finished tidying up (and covering what we can’t tidy up) for Christmas and we just have to work on getting all of the Christmas food sorted out. Hopefully all of you get what you are hoping for this Christmas and have a stress free (or minimum stress) Christmas. If it’s all getting too much for you, try hiding under the bed it seems to work for Earl :o)

Just before I go, I am going to post this Christmas ditty here because Steve hasn’t got room for it in his Christmas postings. It contains one of the funniest Christmas song renditions that I have ever heard and one of the lamest. See if you can pick which I like, and the one that I sigh at… Family Guy has brilliantly funny moments (“Bird bird bird…bird is the word…”) and terribly lame and uncomfortable moments as well (the old boy loving man and when they say the same thing over…and over…and over…IT’S NOT FUNNY SETH!). But this show can render me leggless through laughing so I forgive the occasional lame or uncomfortable moment a bit like I do with South Park for the very same reasons.

“That’s all folks”!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum.
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 11:43:52

    Don’t worry about enough room love, as long as I can crawl in to bed,& out to the loo!Just stack it all, & cover with a sheet! I’ve rung Stewart to see how he was,& he said it was one of those 24 hour bugs,& I think I have had it too. Not so bad this morning after eating one of those frozen electrolight icy poles that’s been shoved around the freezer for a while now, plus a banana.Hey, just as well we will be at home after that christmas dessert of Steves, ’cause if we eat the rum balls same time, we’ll all be legless!I am so looking forward to us all just enjoying Christmas day love,& a nice & easy day. That coin may have been something Pop Stahl bought back from the first world war love, & the slit could be a bayonet stab, plus I can see what looks like it may also have stopped a bullet! Sometging to remember there. I think it was such a harrowing year last year love, no-one felt like Christmas then, but this year is a new beginning,& how it should be. I do like that lovely blue paint colour.Be seeing you tomorrow evening with bel;ls on!See you at the airport Steve.


  2. Kym
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 17:49:56

    I love the colour of your bucket Fran. I have wooden surrounds on my doors too and I love them. I keep wondering if I should paint them to lighten things up but then I hate the thought of painting over jarrah. Such a dilemma! Have a wonderful Xmas. I will miss your posts lol


    • narf77
      Dec 21, 2011 @ 18:25:33

      You won’t have to miss out on any posts Kymmy, I have posts sorted right up to the day after boxing day so no-one misses out (including me :o) See you right through Christmas if you are game to read the posts :o)


  3. Kym
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 19:48:28

    Bruce says we are definitely coming over to visit those wineries lol. Do you happen to have shares? I have googles you on maps and it was great to see where you live 🙂


  4. Kym
    Dec 22, 2011 @ 19:49:25

    Oops that should be googled lol


  5. microgardener
    Dec 26, 2011 @ 12:35:14

    Absolutely LOVE that blue you’ve painted the bucket – inspired me to do the same with my yoghurt tubs I put my food scraps & bokashi in. Thanks for the idea! Have a wonderful time with your family.


    • narf77
      Dec 26, 2011 @ 13:07:37

      You made me blush Annie thankyou for the compliment, it is most definately a compliment if it comes from you :o) I can’t lay claim to the bucket colouring, that would be Steve :o)


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