Chicken pikelets

Hi All,

That’s not “Chicken Pikelets” but pikelets for chickens. It rained solid most of yesterday which was a most welcome event here in dry arid outback northern Tasmania of late. I was starting to think that we lived in the Kalahari Desert! With all that rain comes the inevitable cooling down and this morning has a nice crisp quality about it. Steve headed off to town to do the shopping (much quicker and easier without the boys and I) and so I decided to treat the boys and the girls to pikelets. Pikelets, warm, fluffy and dripping with butter have to be a most delicious treat for humans let alone for hens and dogs but our dogs are somewhat fussy (read SPOILED) and after being in the position of being their indentured slave for several years I know that you can serve pretty much anything up to these 2 so long as it is dripping with butter so dripping with butter was the order of the day. They ate 5 large pikelets between them and were not too happy with me for throwing out so many good pikelets over the balcony to the waiting hoards below. The hens enjoyed them and for once, little shy Pingu was there getting her fair share of warm offerings from the deck above. She usually hides but last night we put her into her old dog crate that she used to sleep in when we had her living inside and it seems to have melted away some of her timidity as she was competing with her siblings who are much bigger than her. We have decided to keep little Pingu. Whether or not she ever produces an edible egg we don’t care. She is the little girl that we saved from the brink of extinction and just like a premature baby; she is small for her age. As I tossed pikelets down to the hens and roosters (yes…we have more than 1) below, the feral cats came out for their fair share and enjoyed the pikelets as much as the hens did. I could hear an increasing level of outrageous indignation from the small cage that we have confined Harvey’s 3 girls who are moving to another home today inside last night. They were rudely plucked from their perches and Harvey has most curiously chosen 2 of our original girls (not much older than their adopted babies) and one of them hatched out the younger black hen that he chose as well. It seems only fitting that these 2 should head off to Harvey’s place together and the other little girl is quite docile so it shouldn’t take long for them to get used to Harvey’s small children’s inquisitive hands. They will have a great life with Harvey’s family and I will just have to give him that pikelet recipe…

It’s Monday and most of you are back at work. My son Stewart is just about to embark on a huge adventure and is moving from W.A. to Melbourne. He is coming to take a brief hiatus from the stress with us here in Launceston before he heads off to Melbourne to go house hunting with various real estate agents. When I say “house” what I really mean is a 1 bedroom fully furnished inner city apartment. He has decided to take a 6 month lease on one of these most expensive of options to get an idea of where he actually wants to live. He figures that he should have a good idea about where he is and what he is after by that stage. As always, Stewart is a quintessential planner. This is something that he inherited from me and should stand him in good stead on his new venture into the big wide world. It’s funny how what is new and overwhelming at first soon becomes humdrum and mundane. When we first moved to Launceston we were always worried about getting lost. Now we look at the size of the place and laugh our heads off at our initial response. We used to pay top dollar in an inner city car park because we knew where we were parked at all times. The car park was right next to a cathedral with a massive great white spire and could be seen all over the city so at any given time we could get a bearing on where we were in relation to the car. After about a fortnight of paying hand over fist for the privilege of knowing where we were, we decided to find cheaper (and in fact we ended up finding free…) parking close to the city. I guess that is a direct correlation to Stewart paying top dollar for an inner city pad until he learns the ropes. I personally think that he is being extremely clever. A 1 bedroom unit stops all freeloading relatives and friends from “just dropping in” whenever they are over that way. Having a relative living in another state suddenly opens that state up for the possibility of being a “holiday destination” but if that same relative only has room for himself and no room to swing a cat, it stops those self-same freeloading relatives and friends from taking advantage.  Well thought out Stewart :o)

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This is your second slideshow in 2 days. Hopefully it doesn’t confuse people. Yesterday I showed you how we used to have our garden and the state of disrepair that it had slid into. Some of you thought that we had taken it from the disrepair to the nicer pictures…we already did that once (when we first moved over) and the next incarnation of this poor neglected garden will be hardy…water wise and easy care… Today’s slideshow is to show you the lengths that we had to go to to remove the troll from our vista. I just wanted to show you that a lack of money never stopped us from working out how to acheive our goals and usually in an attractive way. Those potted spoiled cossetted plants are now living vicariously out the side of the house getting regularly sampled and sometimes actively scoffed by various vermin (hens included). It makes us feel terrible to see this happening to them but it is the wrong time to plant them out and we have to find places for them in between the rocks that litter this hilly property. We have all sorts of ideas and have tried to implement most of them to no avail. When you have hills, rocks and clay you need to rethink your modus operandi. We will plant out in autumn, we will use raised beds and we will install irrigation and tree watering systems to ensure that they get the best chance in life…that is AFTER we are able to dig holes, erect possum and wallaby proof barriers around them and find some way of stopping the chooks from scratching all of the mulch from around the bases…sigh…there are a few photos of indoors in town. We loved this little house and made it our own little personal haven. I might do a post on our changing kitchens (yes…we had 2!) for you all to see how we transformed this area from the stark rental sparce space that we arrived to, to where we could feel suitably eccentric with our colour choices and how we went about using the vertical space indoors because our house was so tiny and there were 4 adults living there…

Having Steve win a scholarship to study this year has made our financial load a lot easier to bear. We had to dip into savings in a big way for me to head over to W.A. for mum’s funeral (thank you to my sister and her partner Jason for helping out there :o) and it seems like every bill under the sun is due in February. Is it just us or does that happen to everyone? Having Steve win the scholarship has made it so that only one of us has to pay for our studies this year and makes it a whole lot easier to handle. Being a penniless hippy student gives us a lot of time to dedicate to whatever we want but it also makes it harder to save up for unplanned eventualities. We are living frugally and saving up again as we like to have a financial buffer against prospective storms. That is why we want to get our veggie gardens up and running. It’s also the same reason why we were talking about planting some plum trees out on the property while we were walking the dogs this morning. I am now constantly on the lookout for edible trees/shrubs etc. that grow well in our local climate and conditions. I noted that plum trees seem to be real stayers in old neglected orchards, overgrown house ruins and all over the place (growing like topsy ferals) in general. Steve and I collected a few dark blue/black small plums from a tree bordering the shoreline pathway where we walked the boys and despite them being water stressed the flavour was incredible. People in Tasmania seem to dislike fruit. They all have orchards and there are feral plums, apple trees and stone fruit trees all over the place but they tend to have dropped their load without being harvested. Perhaps it is because Tasmanians are spoiled for choice here with an abundance of many kinds of cold climate fruit all over the place for the picking. Familiarity breeds contempt and most Tasmanian’s don’t eat much fruit. I am constantly amazed to be walking past someone’s property only to see perfectly good fruit all over the ground. At least the birds are enjoying it. I want to plant some Washington hawthorn trees (Crataegus phaenopyrum) around the perimeter of the property. I love them! I discovered them by accident whilst walking the dogs on Auld Kirk road. In autumn their leaves turn the most beautiful colours (predominately red) and they have enormous thorns and large leaves to accompany the pretty edible berries (that you can never harvest because they get scoffed by the birds long before they are ready to harvest) and lovely flowers. I want to plant some strategically placed plum trees around the property to feed the birds and lure them away from our main crops. I am really looking forwards to learning about landscape design this year. No doubt we will have to produce some landscape designs of our own and hopefully we will be able to use our own property for this exercise. I am much more interested in Permaculture and sustainable design than I am in “ordinary gardens”. I am not being a garden snob there…I just don’t see the point of spending your life tending something that doesn’t give you food! I can see the possibilities for our property and they excite me beyond belief. I was ruminating about market stalls in yesterday’s post but if we could make enough money from our stalls we could use the proceeds to furnish Serendipity Farm with edible shrubberies. Who knows…we might even be able to lure the most elusive of creatures to our garden…”The Knights who say Ni!”

There is something about that first cup of tea in the morning that sets me up for the day. No matter how many extra cups I have, it is that first cup of tea that centres me and drags me sleep muddled and protesting wildly into my day. I dare say some of you have the same sensual relationship with coffee, but tea is my beverage of choice and I have been imbibing of the amber elixir of life since I was 2 years old. Some might say that my mother and grandmother before her were setting me up with a crutch for life, but I prefer to think of my first cuppa as being my medium between me and the world. If I don’t get that first cup of tea, it would be most wise to steer clear of me until I do! I have a mission today. I am now totally addicted to playing “Animal Crossing” on the Wii console that Steve hooked up to my enormous monitor in the kitchen. I would like to think that he did this because he loves and considers me in all things but I am more inclined to believe that he did this to free up the even more enormous television in the lounge room for his own personal use. Clever boy! And you were wondering why he won a scholarship? :o). I am just about to abandon you here to head off and play for a good proportion of Monday. Steve is off shopping in town so I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs and those thumbs could be put to good use wandering the tiny hamlet of “Yam-Yam” (the name that one of my intrepid children gave to our own little personal island in Animal Crossing) looking for fossils, fish, insects, shells, fruit and attempting to placate and delight the rest of the locals living in my own tiny sphere of influence before they move out of town in disgust. It’s one of those games where you can hook your Wii up to the internet (wirelessly of course…) and go through a portal door to one of your friends little islands where they indubitably have different fruit to your island, a different shop and all sorts of different friends. This means that should you be lucky enough to have many friends throughout the world and they all have no lives whatsoever and spend hours each day playing their Wii game of Animal Crossing, that you can all integrate your tiny lives together and share all of your fruit, your gifts etc. I am selfish. I once managed to connect with my son in W.A. and pilfered all of his fruit. We now have 6 different kinds of fruit in Yam-Yam and the door between our islands is firmly locked! I like playing my game myself. My 2 daughters each have a character sleeping away (I know they are sleeping, I have snuck into their little houses and stared at them while they were asleep!) in Yam-Yam that can be reanimated at any given time (say…when they come to visit me :o). I occasionally wake them up and make them drag their sleepy limbs around town to perform tasks for me (somewhat like real life to be honest!). Madeline’s character has a rose between his teeth and it died long ago so whenever I visit her house to make sure that her character is still breathing (hey…I am still her mum you know!) it’s somewhat disturbing to note the dead flower and the falling petals…Bethany’s character is laying resplendent surrounded by her scientific furniture that she collected. The game is great fun and for people like me, who like to plan and organise things (obviously there are many people like me as this game has a wide following) this game is as close to heaven as you can get. Now, after lauding this game to you all (and hoping that some of you buy a Wii console and this game and decide to connect with me and give me all your fruit…) I am off to shamelessly abandon you in preference for this game. There…I said it! I know that you all like to check in but I am now out to lunch for the rest of the day so see you tomorrow :o)


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 10:05:00

    OYVAY!!! I hope your not inferring dear sister that Jason and I are going to become “freeloading relatives”????? ;P ;P ;P Bwahahahahahahhahahahahaha!
    Dont worry. Jason and I will only ever stay at a nice hotel when we make the trip with Stews treasures when he wants them sent over. lol.
    Love the piccies of your old place especially that lovely Camellia bush outside the back door. Did you crown lift that?


    • narf77
      Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:00:38

      Only someone intending on being a freeloading relative would take umbridge at that…(you appear to have herded yourself into a corner there dear sister! :o)


  2. narf77
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:02:04

    And by the way…we did crown lift that camellia as it was blocking the back door! It needs another good crown lift again and we need to do something about that back yard as it looks like a demolition site at the moment (sigh…)


  3. Kym
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 22:05:02

    He could always have a fold out lounge chair in his little lounge 🙂 I love that colour in your house by the way. I will have to find that wii game and see what it’s like. Trouble is I don’t have lots of time to play, but you never know I might find the right key to unlock your door lol


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