The barometers on the rise on Serendipity Farm

Hi All,

It’s a magnificent day here on Serendipity Farm. The weather has cooled right down and is in the low 20’s, it is still dark when we get up at 6.30am and the little island out in the River is reflected in the river like a mirror. How lucky are we to be living here? I am constantly amazed at our good fortune to be allowed to not only live here but to own this place. We will always have a place to call home and even if the threatened global warming hits Tasmania hard, it won’t matter if the road and the Auld Kirk Church are under water, I am sure that some bright spark will start running diving tours of all of the submerged heritage buildings for a profit and we can just head up to the road at the back of the property…you have to remain positive (positively stoic in fact!) when you get repeatedly whacked over the head with bad news…bad news…BAD NEWS…no wonder we are all so stressed and depressed these days! Is there nothing positive happening anywhere? Or is it just not very newsworthy (more to the point!). Steve has headed into town for a much needed haircut. He was going to let his hair grow long until we had finished what we set out to do here on Serendipity Farm. Some sort of Sampson complex going on there but it was getting too long and was starting to get tangled up and finding its way into his mouth whenever he ate anything. After a brief dalliance with a bottle of chocolate brown dye and after him ending up looking like one of Alice Cooper’s roadies, he decided that enough was enough and that a haircut was due. We were all going to head into town and get some firewood on the way back at our friend who must remain anonymous 50 acre property (with room for a pony ;o) but the extractors on the car decided to give out and apart from sounding like we are driving a contender in the Nascar series, we can’t really tow our trailer so I decided to stay home with the boys so Steve could take the car in to get it fixed, get his haircut and deliver some gardening tombs to Harvey of “The Tassie Farmer” blogging fame. We bought these 3 books way WAY back when we were in Certificate 2 and were still innocent, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Despite being mature aged students we suspended our disbelief for a brief moment and raced out and spent a fortune on a pile of second-hand books that were the “best thing since sliced bread” according to our lecturer at the time. As my dear sister Catherine (a.k.a. “Pinky”) has pointed out in past comments when I was revealing my dwindling excitement about reading Mary Anne Schaffer’s “must read” list…”One man’s book taste is another man’s trash” (well, I paraphrased it…so what?! You get the picture!). Sorry James…Rowell is our trash. We have had these copies sitting on our shelves ever since gathering dust (in the hope that the dust would cover them and we wouldn’t have to look at them) and after having mentioned these books to Harvey when he came to take possession of his 3 new girls (hens) and telling him that he was welcome to them, he too has fallen under James’s spell and wants these books. We took no time in whisking them from the shelf and after falling about coughing, hacking and wheezing from all that dust, we hurriedly stacked them ready to be offloaded into poor innocent Harvey’s waiting clutch! “Beware of what you wish for because it might just come true!” Seriously though, we never used these books despite trying to isolate some information from them when we needed it most. They are dusty and dry and out of date. There are many older books that we used, but these books are just not right for our learning purposes. I hope that Harvey can use them and if he ends up like us, I hope that he passes them on to someone who may be able to make head or tail of them. Either way, they are no longer in the building!


I wanted to show you all some of the photos that Steve took when he was in town on Wednesday. This sculpture won a competition to produce something to place on the lawn. The prize was worth $10 000. Not inconsequential, and the winner just so happened to be one of my dad’s friends Tina. An amazing artist, sculptor, person and generally an all-round great gal. She deserved her money and this sculpture is a most interesting production. We have one of her enormous welded behemoths on the property. If anyone wants a large metal ships knot and is willing to find some way to lift it and get it off the property, please contact me…


This red spring end sculpture is most interesting. Not because of its colour or form, if it was trying for fame and fortune due to any of these attributes it would fall flat on its face in a puddle of failure…it is interesting because it has a sister spring just like this one burrowing into the ground to link both museums in Launceston. One in town, one in Invermay…a very clever concept


This isn’t “art” but I consider it aesthetically pleasing. Its part of the Uniting Church in town and this walkway leads people between laneways and offers a little exposure to church where often we forget about why churches are there. They bring comfort and there is nothing more comforting on a cold winters day when it is hissing down outside to stand in here out of the rain and wind and gather yourself together before racing off to your next destination. Cheers God

We are being promised hotter temperatures towards the weekend and everyone is clapping their hands and making most appreciative noises. I, for one, am brave enough to stand up and say “W.T.F!?” I LOVE this colder weather! If you don’t like cold weather WHY THE HECK ARE YOU LIVING IN TASMANIA! That is the ONLY reason that you would choose to live here apart from the beauty of the place. It is parochial, it is full of numpties and wankers (on opposite sides of the equation), it is sadly desperate for attention by ANYONE and is willing to sell itself short for a quick buck. It is a sad state of affairs here in Tasmania and so if you want warmer climes GO THERE! I have said all I am going to say on this matter now so we shall move on. I can’t wait for lovely crisp cold days. I am hanging on with baited breath for the day that the leaves start to be affected by the subtraction of various chemical enzymes from the chlorophyll in the leaves (James taught me all about this once…)

Despite spelling autumn wrong (they spelt it “FALL”…sigh…) this American website gives you a bit of an explanation about the chemistry of autumn colouration in leaves and “why is it so” (cheers Professor Julius Sumner Miller) and because I am so lazy, I really don’t want to type out all of this information and paraphrase it and re word it so that I don’t get sued by some copyright troll on the other side of the world so you are just going to have to go there and read all about it. It does make for a most interesting read over a cup of tea and an iced vo-vo (or…should you be one of those very lucky people who still have waists…a Tim tam!) Stupid Word spellcheck wanted me to change “Iced vo-vo to Iced Volvo!” sigh…I rest my case Word and YOU try dunking an iced Volvo in your cuppa!

Are you back already? I bet you are just pretending to have gone to that website! Either that or you saw that very first listing of

x CO2 + y H2O light x O2 + Cx(H2O)y

And switched your brain off. I will have you know, dear constant reader, that chemistry is what makes us get up in the morning, it is what gives us that little taste of heaven in our caffeine

beverage of choice that motivates us to get out of the door and into the sunshine (so many chemical reactions involved with sunshine that I couldn’t list them all in this post) and the rest of our day is peppered with enzymes, chemical reactions and all sorts of related scientific bampf that we are not aware of at all but without which we would have died out before the dinosaurs were tramping the earth…this goes for math’s as well…EVERYTHING is to do with math’s. Even inert rocks are mathematical equations waiting to happen (and chemistry is packed tight with math’s…). So no matter how much you want to forgedaboudit…chemistry and math’s are here to knock on your door and shake you about a bit today along with the leaves and the season.


Just under those trees is where Steve and I sat to listen to thousands of people voicing their discontentment about the proposed gunns Pulp Mill. I am not giving gunns a capital letter, they don’t deserve one. This area is a great place to stage open air concerts etc. and is directly opposite Launceston College where my daughter Bethany went to year 12.


Making the most of our climate means making good use of deciduous trees. In summer they offer a delicious cool haven from the heat and they are just starting to think about turning on their annual display of colour and shedding these leaves to give way to bare branches and stark presence in winter. Then its back to bright green buds and we start all over again.


Steve didn’t take any photos of the museum that he went to in town. This building is directly opposite the museum and I love it. Whenever I go past it I love to look at the little tower on the end and imagine who inhabited that room at the top way back when this building was a home.


This photo was taken while Steve was walking so it is a little bit blurry. I love this mall and the tiles on the floor. You can find the Oxfam shop, a good cup of coffee, a good health food shop and some mighty fine sushi down here

I really do love the fact that we have 4 true seasons here in Tasmania. You get that lovely period between each where you just know a change is on the way. I love the descent into winter and a period of taking stock, buffering against the wind and rain and planning for the coming ascent into spring where the decline of winter slowly lets go to the vibrant green buds and everything starts to appear possible all over again. That’s what I mean when I talk about living in the country and being right in the thick of these changing cycles and learning our life lessons from these ancient primal periods of birth and death. How could you not feel part of it all when you are knee deep in its possibilities? I think that when we move to towns and cities that we block out a lot of these seasonal changes and we are able to phase out our awareness to our own detriment. As a very precious book says “To everything there is a season”. We take our lessons where we will and mine are being learned on the job on Serendipity Farm… Bezial is sulking for Steve. Steve is waiting for the car to be fixed and is taking all sorts of photos for me to use in future blogs (in fact most probably this one!) He refuses food and treats whenever Steve heads into town on his own. Earl will eat anything from anyone, but Bezial manipulates and makes his feelings known by abstaining from his food. I made pikelets today to throw out to the hens and to give to the dogs piled high in butter. Bezial loves butter. He will roll over and play dead for butter but not today…Earl has been devouring his way through more pikelets than I would care to count but Bezial is lying puritanically on the deck with his nose pointed to the front gate refusing all cossetting and playing the dog martyr. Whenever a choice piece of pikelet smothered in butter is waved in front of his unwavering nose he starts to drool but quickly covers up this breaking in the ranks by his treacherous saliva glands and remains steadfast. I just missed a phone call from a newly shorn Steve who has taken his newfound lack of hair to be culturally uplifting and who phoned me from the art museum in town where he was lauding the lovely paintings in the bowels of the refurbished museum. I am expecting him to dine on Prime Terroir Tassie wines for lunch down at Silt@seaport just before he heads off to put a down payment on a nice road bike and a set of lycra bike pants…should he be doing this he will be remaining in town to live with the girls where he can drive them around to their hearts content and whence I will be sending Bezial to live with him where he will no doubt spend his days sighing into his food bowl because I am not there…Earl can stay here with me and we will both live on the fat of the land (well, Earl will do that, I will just get fat!)


Doesn’t that bike chained up to that bollard just look like something that a museum curator would ride to work? This is the entrance to the museum looking out…


This magnificent black sheok is the parent to a single remaining baby black sheok that we managed to germinate and grow on. It suffered a little bit when we put it out of the glasshouse for a bit of sun the other day but is finally starting to look like it might survive. How does nature manage to get anything to grow when it is so very difficult to get them to grow in man made ideal conditions?


Another nice church in Launceston. We are rolling in them aren’t we?

Whenever the days start to cool down I get this incredible urge to start researching. I think it is something to do with the change of seasons heralding the wet rainy weather and how we are all supposed to hunker down and wait it out like field mice (I was just going to be clever and put “or De fledermaus” Thinking that this was the German word for field mouse but good old research put me straight on that one when I found that De fledermaus means “The Bat!” did you know that? See we both learned something today that saved us from self-righteous smugness in quoting this where we might have fallen on our faces over our mistake at a later date…) Waiting is not something that I do well and I like to fill my time with improving my mind and researching is like crack cocaine to my brain. I was going to say candy to my brain but it is more than that. I have a very hard time from stopping myself heading off all over the place to “find stuff out”. It really feeds my mind and in turn my soul with all sorts of information. I can’t say why I love to learn things. I guess some people are wired to want to find things out. Some might call us “busy bodies” or “know it all’s” when we try to share what we have learned but we can’t actually help this part of us, you see we are addicted to learning and why on earth would we want to stop? When it is cold and rainy outside I can make a cuppa and sit down here to just “go” all over the place. I can do it legitimately because it’s not like I can really do anything else and how lucky am I to be able to legitimately research when we are studying our Diploma? Hopefully I am actually interested in what we are researching as otherwise it is the flip side of the coin and it is like you lot looking at that chemical equation listed earlier… you could care less!

I keep wandering out onto the deck to let the sun kiss my face. In summer in Tasmania it grabs your face and hits it with a branding iron but now that summer is bleeding into autumn the sun has less of a direct angle and merely singes you tastefully. I love the feeling of the sun and wind on my face and we get copious quantities of both here on the deck at Serendipity Farm. I was out, just a minute ago, looking out at the little island in the river with Earl standing up on the deck rail next to me and Bezial was laying up near the gate looking maudlin and depressed as only a dog deserted by his master and left to look after the village idiot and their accomplices can look when I heard the distinctive sounds of a hen who has just laid an egg coming from directly in front of me. Now that might not sound surprising to someone who is a dear constant reader and who knows that we have many hens here on Serendipity Farm and can put 1 + 1 together and = eggs, but in this case the egg laying sounds were coming from a hitherto previously unknown egg laying area! As most of you are well aware we are being played for fools by these wily hens. Yin is at the top of the pecking order (literally and figuratively) on Serendipity Farm and usually is able to warn his hens to “shut up!” whenever a human is around so that they can’t find his clutches of hidden eggs all ready to be hatched out into his next battalion of baby Yins. Today he was remiss and was situated elsewhere on his never ending trot around the immediate vicinity of the house and surrounding area. His hens are scattered all over the place and he has to constantly trot around checking up on them and only settling down for a rare minute or two as usually there is some hen somewhere calling out in alarm at her own shadow or at the site of a sparrow… he was around the back of the house when one of our new girls, born on Serendipity Farm and all on the point of lay came trotting up from the tangled blackberries in front of the deck making that sound that we humans quickly learn to associate with “EGG!”… I decided to take full advantage of this occurrence as we have been trying to isolate this obviously HUGE clutch of eggs growing exponentially and surely soon visible by Google Earth for all to see and hurried down into the shrubs and dense undergrowth and tangled blackberries in a most determined fashion to find this nest. While I was up to my armpits in tangled undergrowth with blackberries nipping at my heels and stuck to my tee-shirt, I heard the phone go…sigh…knowing the old “Star, 10, hash” trick I untangled myself from the blackberries after not being able to find a single egg but noting all sorts of intricate tunnels burrowing through the undergrowth and the blackberries made by Yin the master tunnel maker, I got back up to the house to find that it was Steve who was just checking in…sigh… I can’t find that nest. I know it is down there, but those wily hens are managing to keep it from me for now…

That glorious sunshine is calling me again. I have Animal Crossing to play (I need to water my red turnip…NOT a euphemism you sordid creatures!) and I have to finish off that amazing book that keeps calling to me from the kitchen table where it lays on my way out to bask like an enormous human lizard in the sunshine. I figure you have places to go as well and while I have free time I think I am going to indulge myself in that sunshine and soak up some vitamin D for my bones. See you all tomorrow…


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