Yesterday became today

Hi All,

Today we built another garden bed. I am not too sure when we are going to stop building a garden bed a day but we now have 3 garden beds and I am not complaining. I have visions of broad beans dancing in my head. I love broad beans. They are one of those vegetable/legumes that you either love or hate, I love them and can’t wait to plant some and reap the rewards of our efforts. I also like Brussels sprouts. Steve and I walked the dogs in Exeter after we dropped off my library books. I donated those 2 copies of “The Gourmet Farmer” in the vain hope that they would take pity on me and give me a discount on Earl’s snacking copy of the book that he ate. Whether they take pity on me or not, I am glad to be rid of those D.V.D’s. I watched Hugh Fearnley Wittingstalls “River Cottage Summer” last night and whilst watching a segment on making bread with a sourdough starter, I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed before. After the chosen mumsy type lady with child in arms made her sourdough bread from her own home-made starter, Hugh’s bread man showed her how to make pizza bases and flatbreads. The flatbreads were very similar to pita bread and puffed up when he made them but the most interesting part of the segment to me was that he made these pita breads in a frying pan. I had a bit of a think about that and decided that even though I had shelved my own sourdough project as a bad lot (when it decided to take on another form and attempt to take over our household in a vinegar state) I could most probably use an ordinary bread recipe to make the same type of frypan pita breads. Our stir fry was delicious last night and tonight I am cooking a highly aromatic beef stew to be used in the electric pie maker to make tasty pies. When I was staying at my sisters last week I checked out some of her cook books and found a most delicious recipe for lemon dhal. I LOVE dhal which is curious because I hate lentils as much as I love dhal. Red lentils are the exception to the rule when it comes to my lentil loathing and split peas are to be coupled with the red lentils rather than their nepharious cousins, green and puy lentils, both to be shunned as disgusting. I made the dhal and a spicy potato curry dish while I was staying at her place because as the only vegetarian I needed to have something to eat. I am going to make the dhal and potato dish again tomorrow night along with a beef madras curry for Steve and some flatbreads courtesy of Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall.

We are starting to get a tiered and terraced look out here. My next job is to make some wooden barriers to stop the possums. They will be artistic and interesting at the same time (and will most probably not stop the possums so they will be amusing for you as well :o)

You can see a pile of blackberries and debris on the lower right hand side of this picture where we removed a large cottoneaster and a pile of adventitious blackberries. We still have to deal with the nest mother, but her day is coming soon! Like most things on Serendipity Farm, it’s not all that easy to get in to the nest mother. She is protected by her waving thorny tendrils that grab any invaders at a moments notice and she is situated on a steep slope in a garden comprised of very large rocks that tend to give way and roll down the hill when trodden on…

After we walked the dogs and made another garden bed we didn’t stop. We headed off to the glasshouse and repotted some overgrown tomatoes and gave them their own pots after mixing up some potting mix with some Eco fish and some organic veggie booster. It felt great to pot the tomatoes on as we have been a bit slack of late and rather than waste the tomatoes, we actually potted them on and gave them a chance to flower and fruit. When I was in W.A. I had some sweet juicy pear tomatoes from my mum’s tomato vines. W.A. and most of the mainland are able to grow and harvest their tomatoes long before we are able to harvest ours in Tasmania. We are unable to plant out our tomatoes until October because we have a high risk of devastating frosts until then so our growing season is a lot shorter than the rest of the mainland. We checked out some of our plants while we were making room for the newly potted up and staked tomatoes and noted that some of the plants that weren’t growing all that well previously have taken off now that the weather is hotter. Our glasshouse is full to the brim with plants all loving the delicious heat and humidity that the glasshouse brings. Anything that seems to be having trouble thriving gets put into the glasshouse. I had a lovely camellia that suffered badly and lost all of its leaves. We thought that it was a goner but put it into the glasshouse anyway and it has new leaves. Never underestimate the healing powers of a well situated glasshouse.

This is what Earl looks like when he gets enough exercise. A lovely, sleepy calm dog. He behaves. He doesn’t eat anything. He is a lovely boy (note his nose makeup to protect him from skin cancer, he can only lick off the lower bit :o). We have learned to exercise him even when we are totally over walking because the results of no exercise are terrifying!

I just picked up another book that I heard being read out on our local ABC radio on the “overnight” program. I read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” on the way back from W.A. I finished Nige’s book “Toast” off in my 5 hour hiatus in Tullamarine airport while waiting to travel to W.A. and a most entertaining and well written book it was too. As entertaining as Nige’s book was, it didn’t compare to the literary brilliance of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society”. I loved this book. I read it like a premenstrual woman would eat chocolate. It fed my soul and will remain up there with some of the best books that I have read. I don’t know what it is about books like this but it gave me a sense of satisfaction and contentment that fed me for days. If you only read one book this year, read this one. My sister recommended the latest Sherlock Holmes movie to me as well. It is apparently hilarious with a full frontal nude scene with Stephen Fry. Not necessarily something that would make me laugh but apparently it is a great movie. It looks like we are going to get a run of good movies. I want to see Mr George Clooney in “The Descendants”. I love the way this man acts and how he chooses movies that are a bit offbeat and that tend to leave the beaten path. I loved “Oh Brother Where Art Though” and most other movies that I have seen him in. I also want to see “Hugo”. I heard that “Warhorse” was an amazing movie as well. It looks like the dam has burst and released some good movies onto we parched movie viewers. We haven’t had much of late to write home about to be honest. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” is apparently going to be released as a movie next year. I will be lining up to watch it. Hopefully it won’t be like most other movies and not live up to the book. This is why I decided to request the book “The mud house” by Richard Glover. I heard a single chapter of this book read aloud about 2 weeks ago and it was entertaining so that is enough for me, I am going to give it a go.

Did anyone else notice the lack of Wikipedia a few days ago? The American government is trying to censor the internet again. It’s another attempt to make the internet pay only and they didn’t even bother to try to cover it up this time! Wikipedia had a blackout for 24 hours and by the look of some of the pages regarding said blackout most college students had apoplexy because obviously, you need Wikipedia to do your homework. The more I read about situations like this the more I want to bang my head on the desk in front of me regarding the future of our species. I previously mentioned about how I thought that Apple was trying to make the internet pay only by getting everyone hooked on paying for aps. It’s just a hop step and a jump to paying for all of our online content from this point. Hopefully our free internet content has many supporters situated in high places or what the American government is trying to do now, is going to be copied by many other countries. Big lobby groups have very big sticks… I guess it’s back to the library for me. I picked up my requested book today along with a book that was sitting on the top of one of the display columns in the tiny Exeter library. The adventitious book is called “The French Country Garden” and called me from its lofty position in the library thanks to the delicious picture on the front cover. I have visions of large trees, handmade wooden arches, all sorts of wonderful vegetables coupled with companion plants and herbs all mingling together to facilitate a fantastic edible garden. I saw a large area covered with creeping thyme today at a local nursery. Apart from the fantastic smell of thyme in the hot sun, the thyme was covered in tiny little bright purple and lilac flowers giving it the added bonus of being both a ground cover alternative to grass, an herb and a bee attractant. I love plants like this and will be liberating a small portion of this creeping thyme to bring back to Serendipity Farm the next time I go to Exeter.

This is the tiny beach that Bezial owns (in his mind it’s his and who are we to argue?) that sits just in front of the Deviot yacht club. You can see the Batman bridge in the background and we live a little bit further on from there. We are just about to walk the boys up to this bridge for their exersice today

I have mentioned this house before in a past post. I love this house. It has a twin in Albany Western Australia that I also love. I don’t know why I love it, it just pleases my eye and makes me feel good inside. It is situated just up from the Deviot yacht club and we regularly park our car and walk back through Deviot with the boys. It’s a very pleasant walk with some lovely houses and gardens to look at. I got 3 loquat babies that were growing on a road verge just around the corner from here. They are going great guns in the glasshouse and will soon get to move out to their respective “forever homes” on Serendipity Farm (after being fortified against possum attack that is…don’t say I don’t learn from past mistakes!)

The compound fence appears to be stopping Earl from his relentless desire to scoff our chickens. Even the cats have decided that the smallest of the chooks are now too big to eat. I think Earl may have sampled a little bit of the fence palings and decided that treated pine leaves a lot to be desired on the taste spectrum. It didn’t stop him from nibbling on the bottom of our T.V. unit last night when trying to get his trapped Kong out from underneath the unit. Earl is an enigma. Both Bezial and Earl got to go to the beach again today. It’s nice to take them somewhere to splash around and cool them off after their walk as they get so hot. Bezials favourite place (after the swamp in town) is the Deviot yacht club and its tiny beach. Today they frolicked and romped in the water enjoying the cool sensation and they have both been lying down quietly ever since we returned home despite us being outside for quite some time. Earl didn’t even eat anything while we were outside. We are cooking on our bbq again for the immediate future while it stays hot. Our wood stove doesn’t heat up the house all that much but at the moment the heat coupled with the humidity is hard to bear and the house stays warm all night. I would prefer a good night’s sleep to having the large amount of cooking space that we have in the wood stove so back to the bbq we have gone. When I am making flatbreads tomorrow I might make extra bread dough and make some pizza bases and loaves of bread. I have an idea about putting sunflower and pumpkin seeds into some of the chia and multigrain bread mix that we have sitting in the pantry to give it more nutrition. I was about to pick up a couple of loaves of Helga’s bread yesterday when I suddenly realised that I have the capacity to make my own that will taste even better than Helga’s so why was I automatically reaching for the loaves on the shelf? As mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s all about habits. Bad ones in my case. It has been easier to just grab a loaf of bread from the shelf than to make my own from scratch but my home-made loaf has it all over its shop bought counterpart in cost, taste and satisfaction. It is going to take me a while to get into the habit of making my own rather than buying it. The unthinking consumerism that plagued me when I lived in town has given way to the occasional splurge due to our remote location as well as Steve doing most of the shopping now.

This is number 1 of my 2 arty shots for the day. The beaches in Tasmania are predominately pebbles and brown sand. Not like in W.A. where I originate where they are blindingly white and bordered by bright blue/green sea. It has taken me a bit of time to get used to these humble spaces of land between the sea and river. I now love them and regularly pick up small pebbles and add them to my collections in my potted plants (when the ducks leave them alone that is…). This little oyster was golden and mauve. Very pretty and I wanted to share it with you. The river is salt where we live and oysters grow on the riverbanks all around which makes it dangerous to allow the dogs into the water at low tide because they get cut feet that quickly get infected. Some people eat these oysters (mainly foolish tourists) but the locals leave them alone to filter out the wastes of Georgetown further up the river and around near the sea

My final photo for the day and number 2 in my arty shots is this little jellyfish. The river teems with these little fellows in summer. I remember walking over the Batman bridge and being amazed by thousands of them in the water below, all heading back out to sea on the tide. Many of them wash up on the various riverbanks and beaches around the area and dry out to transparent husks. I wonder if there are any nutrients in jellyfish? Nothing seems to eat them but Earl is most amused by them and spends time poking them with his ever inquiring nose. Lucky they are past stinging you Earl!

It’s today! How did that happen? I was supposed to be getting a blog post up my sleeve but I spent the later part of the day cleaning and doing other things. Sorry guys, but at least you are getting today’s news today! Not that we have a lot of news. I emptied and scrubbed out all of the various water holding receptacles for the needs of the endemic Serendipity Farm poultry. They got immediately invaded by the Nazi ducks. They consider every water bowl on this property as their own personal Poland and invade daily. Once they have gained entry they proceed to toss in anything shiny that they can find, at least a beak worth of mud each and lots of organic matter. I don’t know why they do this in EVERY bowl, but they do.  They even swim in the single concrete trough even though their boat/pond is clean and functional. I guess it is their way of saying “mine”. I wish “mine” would run to them cleaning the darned things out themselves, but I guess that’s the bottom half of the iceberg that is country living. The top 10% is the lovely external vision of the lovely view, the clean fresh air, the opportunities and as one wise man once said “the serenity”. Immediately under the surface of the millpond of country life (that I just scrubbed with my little scrubbing brush) is the remainder of the iceberg. 90% of hard slog; sweat and tears all bundled up into the ever increasing risk of us both becoming alcoholics and blithering members of the local mental asylum (a 50-50 chance of either). The 1 thing that makes this all worth it, is it’s our own little iceberg and we can do what we want with it (after we finish scrubbing everything, feeding everything, collecting the 1 egg we get a day if we are lucky and walking for hours on end to stop Earls jaws from being bored). We have so many plans. Today we are picking up 10 bales of hay for more garden beds. We have plans of getting some of our precious babies out into the garden, mass planted so that they get the ideal conditions and mulching around them. Irrigating the area with brown dripper hose…so much to do and so little money! At least we have plenty of time (or so we think…who knows what is around the corner!). Have a fantastic weekend everyone. Enjoy your lives right now as this is where we have our choices and where we are able to influence what happens tomorrow. Yesterday is gone (how many country songs are written about that? Must be 100’s!) and you can’t do anything about it anymore apart from learn from it’s lessons. Today is where we can excel and hopefully, excel we shall! :o)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. microgardener
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 09:47:46

    Been flat out for a few days … just catching up on your posts. Tiered beds looking great Fran. Looking forward to your flat bread recipe. Amy reheated a curry my mum made and froze for us while she was here recently and made her own version of naan out of mini pita breads lightly spread with butter and garlic and cooked in a slow oven till they were semi crisp but still tear-able! They were amazingly good and so quick (a fake naan I know but a handy substitute). 🙂


    • narf77
      Jan 22, 2012 @ 14:22:40

      Firstly, I love your new avatar :o) Second, those naan are making me drool! I made the flatbread out of chia and multigrain bread base and after they proved once, I rolled them out flat and cooked them in a lightly olive oiled cast iron frying pan. Delish! I am having fun inventing healthy things and using my past life as a cook to enhance our present state of being. Curry is so very good for you and if you put some turmeric in its elevated up there with the best. I have 2 cardamon plants in the glasshouse that are going great guns. I bought them for $2 each at a little nursery in the frosty highlands of Tasmania. I wish I could get hold of some turmeric. I bought some once from Woolies but haven’t seen it since.


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