It’s that time of the month. No…nothing to do with my reproductive system, but everything to do with my regular cyclical need to go hunting for “new stuff” to add to my word documents. I check out what is new in the recipe, home handy hints and do-it-yourself sites that I haunt and I can feel a decent “hunt” in my near future. Steve loves it whenever I am overtaken with a desire to learn something as he gets the T.V. all to himself and doesn’t have to be subjected to (stupid) Chick Flicks and “Educational T.V.” and I am too interested in what I am doing to pay attention to the trash that he is happily watching and make my usual comments about the stupidity of American teenagers whenever monsters are around… Let’s just say that Steve and I have VASTLY different taste in what we like to watch on T.V. and leave it at that! I sometimes like to revisit a site that I previously wandered over, under, around and through on a regular basis but that has been left fallow for a season. One such site (I pilfered everything that I could and abandoned it like a rat leaving a sinking ship I am ashamed to say…) that is well worth your perusal is
You can stop your “Hyuck…hyuck” right now! This is a really useful site and it gives you all sorts of recipes for making do with what you find yourself limited to and what you can grow. I have a suspicion that they even have a section on how to use road kill but as yet, Steve and I haven’t descended as low as scraping up the possums and wallabies (albeit plentifully spread about the local road verges…) for our daily stew pot so I didn’t check that section out…I will give everything a go once. The old adage “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” comes to mind there and if you stiff me once I won’t come back for another round. This applies to websites as well. I have discovered sites that promised so much and that delivered little more than a pretty web page design and a whole lot of sales pitch. I want free stuff. I figured that anything with the words “Hillbilly” and “Housewife” were going to be basic and useful. There are many E-books that this site sells but under all of that self-promotion and the attempts to get you to buy their books, there is a wealth of information available for little more than the occasional “click” on the “X” button of some of their pop ups before you get down to the coalface of some really tasty information. As a magpie of information I get seriously delighted by good free information that feeds my need to know. It’s somewhat akin to me winning lotto to be honest. I have danced around the house with glee (to a most bemused Steve who has since learned to ignore my manic displays of gratuitous happiness whenever I find a particularly useful and most precious piece of previously unknown information) and have lauded my newfound information to anyone who will listen (again, Steve has long since learned to say “yep…aha…” and keep watching his television program as have my children because I go away pretty quickly in the hunt for more free stuff and allow them to get back to the more interesting things that they are engaged in). I can get totally lost for hours when I am hunting online and much like exercising before bed…researching before bed is a dead sure way to cause you to lay awake long into the night thinking about “things”. I have a hyperactive mind when I am in my “Knowledge” phase. Let’s align it with manic depression but let’s just say it is a sort of parallel experience. I get manic cycles where I race about cramming information into my poor long suffering brain for days on end and then there is a slow decline into what would equate to being “depression” in the Manic depressive, but in my runs to sloth. My brain decides that it would like a rest for a bit and I wind down from my previous overenthusiastic learning period to not wanting to even look at the computer. This can last anywhere from a monthly cycle to a period of 3 – 6 months before I get the overwhelming urge to get cracking and research my brains out. Unlike Manic depression, I don’t get unhappy…I just get lazy. There is probably a medical name for it but I prefer to think that it is my body’s way of getting me to exercise my mind on a regular basis to prevent it becoming mentally tubby. I might be somewhat hefty physically, but my mind is a super model on steroids!
Talking about super models on steroids check this baby out! Isn’t this an enormous stick insect? I would say it was right up there with the Elle McPherson’s of the stick insect world
When Stewart was out visiting us from W.A. a few years ago at Christmas time we took him to see some of the sites. It was a reasonably hot day and we took him over to see St Helens (lord only knows why!) and on the way we decided to detour and head up Mt Barrow for a look-see. We stopped before we got to the summit (because the road looked terrifying even for our little 4 x 4) and got out to have a look and noticed this little pocket of frost amongst the rocks. When mum came out last year in April we took her up this same mountain except this time we drove right to the top. What an amazing experience and the flora up there is really interesting as well
This shot was taken on the way through Scottsdale, a predominately poppy producing area with forestry as its backbone. How pretty is this poppy field? I just want to remind Roz here about how someone stole her poppies from her garden when she lived in Narrogin I remember how indignant you were and good luck to them trying to extract any form of opium from your little patch
For some reason there are all sorts of building activity going on in Sidmouth of late. I heard a jack hammer working on and off at a property to the rear of Serendipity Farm and there are workers in the Auld Kirk Church doing “something”. Earl doesn’t know whether to bark out the back at the jackhammer or out the front at the workers so he has to do a regular trot around the perimeter fence “Woooooing” as he goes. We have long ago learned to ignore him (here is hoping that Frank and Adrian and Glad are able to do the same…) and he has decided to cease and desist for a little while in between his patrolling. He and Bezial are laying on the deck sulking because Steve didn’t take them with him on his way into town. Steve has headed in to pick up some chook food and to do the shopping. He usually goes shopping on Monday’s but today was a spur of the moment decision to attempt to minimise the amount of fuel that we seem to be going through driving back and forth for all sorts of minor things (loaf of bread…litre of milk…walk the dogs…pick up a library book) that seem to be adding up to an inconsiderable amount of wasted fuel. We figure that if we combine our shopping with the need for chook food we are killing 2 birds with 1 stone and we can sit back and feel sufficiently smug for minimising our carbon footprint (for this 1 time anyway…). The jackhammer is going again. I initially thought that it was some sort of industrial noise being broadcast from George Town but it is a lot closer than that. There has been a lot of tree felling and clearing going on next door to Frank and Adrian’s (our immediate neighbours to the right) and we think that perchance someone might have bought that block and might be just about to build themselves an “abode”. Abodes in this vicinity seem to be big monoliths of architectural metal and glass (Frank’s house is no exception) and so it will be interesting to see what gets built. The nasty tree hating neighbour to the rear (who was laid low by one of the trees that he was felling that bit him back on its decent) has taken his property off the market again. I dare say the real estate agent that he contaminates on an annual basis has a list of people like him and around about November they pull up their Database of Time Wasters and sigh heavily and get ready to trot out the old advertisements all over again. Tasmania is a buyers paradise right now and apart from there being no jobs in Tasmania and it being full of Tasmanian’s you could do a lot worse than spending your holiday house money in Tasmania in the current desperate economic climate. You will get an amazing bargain believe me and if you don’t mind a filthy stinking pulp mill as your chief point of view when you get up each morning I hear that Rebecca Gibney has a house for sale just around the corner from us…
I found this shot of Bezial in his old Black Dog (most fitting name) head halter that we used to use. This one is connected at the side of his face but the new head halters connect behind the neck and give a much greater degree of control. Since I hurt my knee a few days ago picking blackberries Steve has been able to walk both of our boys on his own with no problems whatsoever regarding controlling them. Black Dog rules!
This photo was taken a few years ago (when I had short hair) and I love it. Not because of my place in the photo (I hate my photo being taken) but because Qi looks like the warrior dog that she is! We bought her a coat for winter and it had been a bit cold (spring) so she was wearing it in this picture. This garden no longer exists. The picture was taken outside the museum in town and this whole area has been redeveloped
I am still having a few teething problems with Windows Live Writer. I type out my posts in Word still (as I like to have them ready to go rather than be impromptu with my posts and type them up as I go) and even though the process is simply “Copy and paste into Windows Live Writer and insert pictures and then post to the blog” I haven’t worked out how to insert tags yet into Windows Live Writer. I have taken to posting tags in a vain attempt to lure unsuspecting citizens to visiting Serendipity Far. I don’t ever want a commercially based blog but it’s always nice to have visitors (when you don’t physically have to have them that is :o). I noticed the other day that when I added a you tube link that it was actually inserted into my blog as the video link rather than just text which was interesting as I hadn’t been able to work out how to do that before so at least Windows Live Writer has given me that option to share with you now (even though Google is in the process of making you tube a pale and sad copy of what it is today). I am all for finding new things to share with you all. If I can use you tube to share some brilliant links about horticulture, agroforestry etc. I will. I owe it to you to do the research and hunt these little sippets out because you all have lives and I don’t :o)
I am going to have to go hunting for some photos to share with you today. I have gotten over feeling guilty about not matching up the pictures that I share with the post that I am posting for the day. That is the regimented list maker in me squirming at the fact that they don’t match. I am teaching my list maker to get a life and to look at things more laterally than black and white. It is going to take a while but I want to broaden my mental horizons and as Steve and I don’t use drugs (apart from our caffeine of choice that is), this will involve research and reading rather than recreational drug use. We bought a tee-shirt from the Exeter thrift shop that made Steve smile. It is a black tee-shirt (of course…) with a picture of a dope leaf and underneath it says “Food for thought”. I, personally don’t have a problem with marijuana use should a person see fit to use it. As far as I am concerned, there are worse things in the world to be introducing into your bodies (not the least of which includes McDonalds…) and it should be all about personal choice. I would hate to think what sort of photos I would take if I was under the influence of recreational drugs so you should be happy that I am teetotal when it comes to imbibing in illicit substances. It has come to my attention that some of you constant readers, who shall remain anonymous, appear to be fraternising with the enemy! You all know how I feel about Lycra wearing pushbike riders. I have no problem with anyone else riding a pushbike, in fact I used to ride a pushbike (mountain bike) for 40km each and every day when I lived in Denmark W.A. so as you see, unless I want to be seen as the world’s biggest hypocrite, I can’t denigrate the humble treadly as a perfectly valid, indeed noble, way of perambulating your way around your immediate vicinity. Those of you who seem to take offence at my utter abhorrence for Lycra clad moron’s taking over our road may not realise that my passionate outrageous indignation is for this segment of the cycling confraternity and no other segment. My outrage is isolated and specialised. It focuses with an undying determination to make sure that they know just how obnoxious they all are (not that they care…they are after all predominately lawyers and politicians who are used to public disgust and hatred) and how when the revolution comes, and the masses rise up and take over the system, that they are right up there with the French Queens in the beheading stakes! You are NOT EVER going to ride in the Tour de France…you are NOT immediately turned into the most handsome and desirable studdly man by merely hauling your aging carcass into a Lycra costume 2 sizes too small and you are NOT fooling anyone! Wanky cyclists are the bane of the road and anyone forced to use the roads on a regular basis. Far from lauding them as being responsible members of the community who are doing their bit for greening the world, check out their 4 x 4 and their wives 4 x 4 and their teenaged children’s 4 x 4. It’s all a massive great front for elevating themselves above the rest of society and making themselves feel superior. That is where my sense of outrage comes from. No-one is better than anyone else. Anyone attempting to tell me that because they wear Lycra, practice law (note the word “practice” there…) and drink only Campo’s coffee, swill wine from the finest Terroir and with only the best Provenance, and spend inordinate amounts of time quaffing only the finest gourmet foods available and frequenting the most upmarket restaurants are any better than the rest of us are merely kidding themselves. It’s a desire to create a class system in Australia and I totally oppose it. That is why wanky Lycra clad cyclists are right up there on my hit list of acidic and venomous rebuttal. I don’t like what they are trying to do. I don’t like how Australia is becoming a land of “middle management” and how we are all reliant on “someone else” to do everything. Society is specialising itself into oblivion. We need to be able to do all sorts of things ourselves to ensure our ongoing survival but by specialising our jobs and what we are personally able to accomplish we rob ourselves of the ability to be really useful to society. “Someone else” is being fired and made redundant at a most alarming rate whilst middle management look after their own jobs and those of their mates. Without “someone else” you can’t maintain an enormous middle management sector and the day is coming quite soon where pawn shops will be full of expensive pushbikes. I just had to explain my loathing of Lycra clad pushbike riders. They are a symbol of the decadent lifestyle that is bringing the world to its knees and as such earn my derision. I will attempt to minimise my disgust at the activities of these people who foster overconsumption of the world’s resources at a most alarming rate to those regular events that actively involve me and mine. I can’t promise not to rant about them on an occasional basis, because they are so eminently rantable, but I will try to keep my ranting to topical rants.
On the day that Steve and I went to the Botanic Gardens in Hobart on this occasion (we go quite often) we were both sick. We were just about to postpone this trip but got asked by 2 penniless kids (one of them a fellow student in our class) to give them a lift down to Hobart and so we hauled our sick sorry derrières into the car and went anyway. It was cold, rainy and there had been a severe weather warning and this was the most interesting sign that greeted us when we arrived at the gates. We went in anyway…
Just click on this to see it a bit better. It’s a most ingenious method of heating walls to allow espaliered fruit trees to carry on merrily regardless of the surrounding temperature. Copied from heated walls in the U.K. it is most clever and shows some of the lengths that man will go to to manipulate his current environment to his advantage
And here is the actual wall described on that sign
We are waiting for roosters to crow. There is an oppressive silence on the crowing front. One rooster rules them all and it’s a bit like watching the Discovery channel on Austar (all we can get in Tasmania…sigh…) and knowing full well that this is just the calm before the storm…Big Yin is the king of Serendipity Farm…sorry, Big Yin THINKS that he is the king of Serendipity Farm. He will only bow to Earl (who knows that he is the king of Serendipity Farm unopposed…). We are aware of at least 2 roosters who should have been showing signs of their rooster behaviour by now but who remain steadfastly quiet and non-threatening. I have done a bit of reading about roosters and have found out that so long as each rooster has at least 1 hen and they have enough property to roam on that there tend to be few problems with having several roosters running on the same patch. We shall see! Henry (Rollin’s) and Trogdor (with the big beefy arm) are waiting…we think we might have 2 more roosters but they are weird looking things and who would know? Everyone beats them up and they have formed a separate pod of outcast hens that shuffle and run around on the fringes of Serendipity Farm. It’s a bit like Animal Farm with chicken relations here. We have had numerous people tell us about how all hell breaks loose when you have too many roosters but how many is too many? We are not even sure how many we have! We are quite sure that one of the small ferals is a male because he is developing a comb. He is the first of Big Yin’s progeny to be born male. Big Yin throws hens which will most probably allow him to remain top dog on Serendipity Farm. Perhaps the roosters are aware that as soon as I hear a crow from either of them that they are “Outta here!” and are trying to extend their time here on Serendipity Farm. Another one of our conundrums. Life is full of decisions that have to be made when you live in the country and not all of them make you happy. As a quintessential sook I am going to have to start thinking about what to do with all of those feral cats AND our roosters. When you personalise things it makes it all the harder to deal with them in a negative way. For someone that has trouble killing mosquitoes, it is most definitely going to be a challenge thinking about the options for the feral cats and the roosters…
This really beautiful specimen of Calocedrus decurrens (Californian incense cedar) was situated (fatally) next to the kiosk and information centre of the Botanical Gardens. You can see how lovely its growth habit is but it must have been dropping limbs or has some form of infestation (insect, fungal or bacterial) because the last time that we went down to the Botanical Gardens it had been removed. The sad thing was that you couldn’t even see where this most majestic example of this species had been for the 100 odd years that it had taken to reach this amazing height.
This looks more like a lunar landscape than an indoor cactus house at the Tasmanian Botanical Gardens to me. I love it. It contains an amazing array of huge cacti and this is where I saw my very first Discorea elephantipes and it is what made me want to grow some for myself.
This could be construed as me taking seed from what appears to be a Pinus thunbergii at the Botanical Gardens. Of course I wouldn’t do such a thing now would I James/Nick? That would be unethical (apparently) and I should have asked for some seed (and most probably been told “NO” in no uncertain terms). I prefer to call myself a horticultural liberationist. No longer shall these specimens be limited to a single area to grow in their solitude to their inevitable death, alone and the last of their kind…someone (most probably some sort of amazing super hero) is now here to spread their seed further than the wind could possibly manage and give these poor long suffering plants what they want (diversification of environment) and allow them to spread their seed to the 4 winds and beyond! (yes…that is justification for pinching seed from the Botanical Gardens…not that I would of course)
I spent most of last night researching new and most interesting recipes. I love discovering a good website and our last computer was cram packed to the gills with saved favourite’s sites. I don’t do that anymore and put any interesting web sites that I find on my travels into word documents to be added to and perused at my leisure at a later date. A good way to manage favourites (that numbered into the hundreds on our last computer). Today finds me still playing Animal Crossing. I had to log in as Madeline’s character who because of their enforced sleep (while I play the girls characters are asleep and can be seen as such if I go into their houses…quite ingenious game play actually) had apparently gained an enormous amount of interest on what she had collected in her bank. I decided to have a look (nosy mums and all of that) and discovered that she had over $1 000 000 in her bank! I might nose around undercover but when I see an opportunity to add something to the game (if you donate to the town fund you can get new buildings and amenities built by the town…another interesting feature to keep you interested) I jump at it. I phoned Madeline up who was just as surprised as I was that she had over a million “bells” (they are not called dollars as this game is played all over the world and they don’t want to alienate a country by not using their monetary unit and using someone else’s) in her bank account and we all decided that we would like a windmill in the game so off to the town hall I went (as Madeline’s character) to donate the moolah. After that I had to vote to say that I wanted a windmill rather than a lighthouse (you get to choose) as Madeline’s character. Log out, then log in as Bethany’s character to vote for the windmill…log out, then log in as MY character to vote for the windmill. If you have more than just one of you playing the game you all have to have a say or they will wait until you do to facilitate whatever it is that they are building. Great fun and incredibly frustrating at times because occasionally some of your little animal neighbours will ask you to give a message to one of “The Sleepers” and you have to log off, log on as the other character, give the message, log off, log on as me and then go and see the animal again to get rewarded for giving the message. Sometimes I just want to catch fish nice and quietly but you just have to avoid your neighbours as they are always after something. Strange how I am trying to make my own little Nirvana where I am the supreme controller and the bloody neighbours are hijacking my plans…oh well, you can’t escape reality for long can you? See you all tomorrow when it’s “Festivale” day on Animal Crossing and I get to collect sweets by trying to outsmart my neighbours and trade them for collectable rare furniture. It makes no sense at all does it? But to me, it is a really great way to get my list building collecting need satiated.
Lastly before I sign off in this post for today, I am getting back some of my lost admiration for Mary Anne Schaffer’s list. Steve picked up a book that I had ordered from the list called “Angle of Repose”. It won a Pulitzer Prize and as such I was expecting a dry American novel reflecting the dry prairies that the book was about but this book is one that I can’t put down. Despite the subject matter consisting of generations of a family going back to the Wild West and how I would usually run for miles (even with my dicky knee) to get away from something like that this book has enthralled me. It is amazingly well written and I have been alternating playing Animal Crossing and reading this book. I gave up pretending that I was interested in catching fish and read the book for most of the day yesterday. Imagine Tim Winton, turned American taking steroids and the best of his game and you get Mr Wallace Stegner. This man is a true artist with words and his simile linking the aging process with an angle of repose is very poignant. The angle of repose was, prior to doing our Diploma in Horticulture and learning about the properties of soil and its various components, something that I would have known absolutely nothing about. It is peculiarly a term regarding the displacement properties of soil and how if you dump a pile of sand, rocks, silt, etc. on the ground (or dig it up into a mound) after a while it will settle and drop and shift until it reaches its “Angle of repose”. To me (who needs to process everything into ways that I can understand them before they stay put in my brain) it translated into balance and equilibrium. The point at which everything is happy to stay where it rests. That is the angle of repose and it changes over time as external influences act on it… wind, rain, heat etc. all affect this angle of repose just like life is affected by what happens to us and our choices and reactions to those “happenings”. What a craftsman with words this man is and I have no hesitations in recommending this amazing book to anyone. It’s not so much the subject matter or the language in which this book is written. The man who wrote this book was born in 1909 and also wrote “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”. He is American literary royalty and I now know why. I would never have chosen to read this book on my own. It would appear to be dry, old fashioned and boring. It isn’t. Ok, I am off to do what I do on a Sunday. I am going to enjoy myself reading, playing my game and waiting for them to build our windmill. After that I am donating money pilfered (YES PILFERED GIRLS :o) from the girls ($200 000) added to my not inconsiderable bell savings to build a lighthouse to go with our windmill. Life is good and so I leave you all to find your own ways through your Sundays. Hopefully your day feeds your soul like mine is going to. See you all tomorrow…