A 3 teabag kind of day

Hi All,

Today the weather man is NOT my friend. For some reason we are accidentally getting Queensland’s weather without the tropical fruit. On days like this it is going to every man/dog for himself when it comes to the cool tiles in the bathroom and I call dibs! However much I complain Hobart has it much worse as they are being threatened with 38C which would be the mainland equivalent of about 50C and I dare say there will be power outages all over the place for the next 2 days as every man and his dog turn on their air conditioners and reverse cycle air conditioners to the detriment of those of us living out in the country. At least I am prepared for it! It is just on 9.30am and we walked the dogs quite a distance today to allow them to lay about slothfully and worn out for the day on the deck. The title of this post is most fitting. On days where I need an extra boost to get me through what needs to be endured I have been known to slip an extra teabag into my 1st cuppa for the day  and today is most definitely one of those days…I thought that I might save some of Steve’s artistic shots that he took after he liberated himself of most of his hair in Launceston on Wednesday…yes…you are WELL aware that I type up these posts a few days in advance so live with it. I am typing this one on Thursday with an overcast sky, foreboding clouds and the hens on full alert for some reason. They have been a bit skittish of late because we had a visit from a Sea Osprey the other day. This has been a regular occurrence in these gardens for a long time now as dad used to talk about this Sea Osprey coming in and taking one of his doves that used to live in the now defunct dovecote. The doves got moved to that gazebo structure that we gave to our friend who must remain anonymous but the Osprey had done its worst and killed off the female. Good luck with him/her hefting off one of our heifer hens, but poor Houdini is having conniptions. I don’t think that she has to worry all that much. We found her nest where she hatched out her babies and again, she was in plain sight of our regular day to day activities. Houdini is a really well chosen name for her because she blends into the background and you simply don’t see her. We must have walked right past her on several occasions with her beady hen eyes watching us intently and her remaining dead still so as not to attract our attention. We also found the missing 8th chick, dead in the nest. 8 chicks are hard to keep warm at night when you are only a reasonably small hen and so that poor little chick didn’t make it. Houdini’s remaining 7 babies are already streetwise little chicks. They don’t trust their mothers judgement and are already looking over their shoulders and making their own tiny minds up about whether or not to head out into no-man’s land for a scrap of bread. Their older brother and sisters are still all a family pack. The 5 ferals don’t go into the communal hen house at night and choose to roost in safety in the trees. The little rooster is cockier (no pun intended) than all of our other roosters thanks to having to think on his little feet and his sisters all do what they are told. Their tiny little feral brothers and sisters are already very street savvy and we saw them this morning climbing up through the blackberry bushes using their miniscule weight to allow them to reach the ripe blackberries halfway up the vines while their distraught mum clucked fearfully from below. Houdini breeds them tough and you have to be tough to survive out of the hen house on Serendipity Farm.

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When I was talking about Steve taking photos of “Art” earlier, I wasn’t excluding natures art. Steve has a particular fondness for dahlia’s as his grandad used to grow them and apart from the glasshouse full of tomatoes, that was all Steve had ever had to do with horticulture before he started his course.

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This indoor Conservatory houses delightful displays of orchids and other hot house plants. It is situated in the centre of City Park and is one of the lovely structures that can be found along with Victorian fountains, Rotunda’s and a lovely peace garden. The park is a great example of late 19th Century botany and some really lovely deciduous and conifer species can be seen here.

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Bright and vibrant Celosia pumosa flowers are interspersed between lush green ferns inside the conservatory and its a lovely (albeit humid on a day like this) place to wander around for a while enjoying the plants

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to get  hosta’s with flowers like this?

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Just showing you that Celosia are not as delicate as you might think. I personally would rather plant amaranth for the same striking flowers but with an edible bonus…

It is most interesting for us first timer chook keepers to watch all of this unfolding. We are learning about rooster behaviour. When we got our first hens as complete rank novices to hen keeping we were assured that they were all girls. Well they weren’t and Big Yin and his very loud crowing is testament to our naivety. I am very glad that we got a rooster as Yin is an excellent example of what a rooster should be. We are quite sure that we have at least 3 more roosters in our hen fold. The 3rd and most recent is one of the ferals, growing faster than the others and with more of a comb on his head he has the cocky attitude of a rooster and is starting to chest the others to get them to do what he wants. Some of his sisters are not impressed with one of their previously benign and solid group taking over the reins. There is some resistance to this “do what I say!” chesting and we noted this with our original group of 8. We thought that this chesting behaviour, humorously like what men do when they are sizing each other up, was rooster behaviour but we were wrong because we only had 1 rooster out of that first 8 and Yin had a few chesty fights with some of his sisters before they were ready to submit to him being the boss. He is the unmitigated and unspoken ruler of all of the roost. I am going to have to do some research about latent rooster behaviour as Yin’s feathers had changed colour and he was up and crowing quite early on in the piece when we bought him. The 2 ambiguous “roosters” have not made a sound. They are separating off small groups of hens but these hens were their sister hens when they were hatched out so are they forming a harem or are they just sticking with their kin? Who would know? Anyway, I am just waiting for that first crow from either Henry (Rollin’s) or Trogdor (big beefy arm) to see what happens. I can imagine that all hell will break loose and I would also imagine that Henry and Trogdor are both doing a Kevin and staying shtum at the moment to size up the competition. Like their labour counterparts in the human world, they are the underdogs and as such need to well sure of their support before they make a leadership challenge. They seem content to wait at the moment and Big Yin is watching them…

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Most of City Park appears to be dedicated to Queen Victoria for some reason. This ornate old fountain was constructed in her honour along with a lovely old ornamental rotunda that serves as somewhere to get your wedding photos taken when you don’t want to pay for one of the more exclusive properties in the North of Tasmania (we have many…). This park also has a collection of Macaques that are very adroit at manipulating people to feed them despite the signs requesting that you don’t.

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The area around Queen Victoria’s little fountain is known as the Peace Garden and has something delightfully scented in flower for most of the year.

Bollocks!…I just found out that using Windows Live Writer has some negatives for my blogging use. For some reason it duplicates every photo that I insert into my post twice. There is something weird happening in the translation but I posted yesterday’s post in the normal way (straight to the blog) and it took me 5 times as long as posting it through Windows Live Writer so I am just going to remove the duplicated photos each time I use it and keep using it until I can work out why it is duplicating photos. The things I do/learn for your entertainment! I just took a photo of my “Capitalist” blender that I bought back in the day. It cost me the ridiculous sum of $1200 and I have to justify its purchase somehow by using it to make interesting healthy smoothies in an attempt to gain back in health points what I lost in money. There are many people out there who would envy my blender. They are the people like I was who lusted after this beast and you would think that after my purchase and receipt of this wonder from electrical heaven and upon using it and realising quite early on that it has a heck of a lot of shortfalls for its elevated price tag that I would be incredibly wary of any purchases like this in the near future but not me…I am stoically lured and tempted by the latest greatest promise to electrify my health and the only thing saving us from eminent poverty is that we are already there. That mysterious browny grey liquid in the Capitalist blender (a.k.a. The Vitamix…) is my healthy alternative to those massively overpriced weight loss shakes that they sell in chemists and that have made several people millionaires in the process. Those weight loss shakes are merely skim milk powder, a few vitamins and minerals and some bulk filler to make you feel full. You are paying a phenomenal mark up for what is effectively milky dirt (minerals come from dirt…) and so I decided that to supplement and complement my new healthy regimen I would introduce “The morning shake”. I don’t eat breakfast. I am not a morning person and the only thing that I am able to stomach in the wee small hours is a large heart starting cup of tea. After that, the logical progression revolves around liquids before lunch. We have given up booze so that is out of the equation (even though it would most certainly make me experience an elevated mood…I need to remember the healthy aspect of this regimen and keep booze out of the equation, at least till the blackberry wine is ready…) and that leaves my interesting liquid food inventions. Soup can be included here as liquid food as Stewart once said “soup is foods last chance to be eaten”… but I am not a meal eater before lunch and savoury soup is “meal” in my mind so we have just minimised the choices down to water and smoothie. Smoothie it is!

That dubious looking smoothie in my Capitalist blender comprises sesame seeds and sunflower seeds for protein and calcium blended until they are completely smooth (1 actual benefit of the Capitalist blender is that it is as powerful as a Mack truck) then I add ½ tsp. cinnamon for taste, ¾ tsp. crushed chillies as everyone knows that they are the latest greatest weight loss enhancer and then I add about ½ cup seedless dried dates for both sweetness and iron enhancing power and blend it all together till smooth and add enough water to make it up to a large amount. I forgot…my secret bulk filler…rolled oats. There you go…my very cheap and eminently healthier and more nutritious version of those waste-of-money diet shakes and you know what? It actually does stop me from being hungry until a more realistic hour when actual food is more acceptable to me. Steve says it tastes like shi@ but I am actually quite partial to it so when I write my weight loss book and make my millions, you can all say that you were there at the beginning and know the secret…

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This Chinese shrine is apparently very old. I don’t know very much about it apart from it is very ornate and for some reason found it’s way to Launceston. We are now inside the museum that Steve wiled away a bit of time in while he was waiting for the car to be fixed.

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These next photos are of work produced for “Artrage” and are particularly good. I really respect people who are able to take the pictures in their heads and reproduce them with skill. This goes for anyone who is able to translate their respective muse with skill and honesty. You might have to click on these photos to get a better look at their content. Bethany (my youngest daughter), who has decided to take Art this year at Polytechnic, was also in this museum this week. She was more interested in the older paintings and Art work upstairs while Steve was more interested in this Art created by students. Beth was laughing when she said that you would think that their tastes would be directly the opposite. Never judge a book by it’s cover…

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The newly refurbished Museum (that took a year and a half to complete) is an amazing space to show off the amazing local talent that we have in Tasmania. When we first moved here I knew that “Tasmania is full of artists and New Ager’s” that was it’s reputation. Now that I live here I know that it is cram packed full of numpties and forestry workers (curiously very difficult to tell apart…) but there is a smattering of very talented people who regularly share this amazing talent with we Artarded masses that can only look on in wonder at these people’s talent. I have to admit that my daughters are both very artistic. They are very good at drawing and using computer programs to create really fantastic work. I wish I could draw…that’s not quite true…I wish I could draw caricatures because I would LOVE to illustrate some of the political bunfights that are going on at the moment…I have some fantastic ideas for political cartoons if anyone with an ounce of artistic talent wants to take them and make some money…

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A lovely space and totally empty apart from Steve…

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When I say totally empty, I omitted to mention the curator who was following Steve around nervously. He knew that he was being followed but had no idea why the poor woman was following him until she bravely stumbled out “excuse me sir…you really aren’t supposed to be taking photographs of the exhibits…” so this is where Steve’s photographs inside the museum that Bethany tells me is clearly sign posted with large signs everywhere saying “Please no photo’s”.

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This last photo is of some street art that Steve couldn’t resist sharing with you all. We have some really good graffiti artists in Launceston and some most obscure political satirists who use stencils to make their point. Some of the stencil sprayed work is so obscure as to be baffling! I hope you all enjoyed Steve’s foray into illegal art photography for your benefit and this last street scape that I actually find quite attractive.

We just tested my knee to see whether or not it is ready for a walk tomorrow. Bezial has been sulking and refusing to walk with Steve and Earl and so I need to get back on the horse as soon as possible or Bezial is going to be known as Jabba-the-dog rather than Emo dog. We decided to all walk down to check the mail and take a little walk up the road and back. We met and were talking to some English tourists who were taking photos of the little light house out the front of Glad’s house and who admired the boys. They came from roughly the same area that Steve lived in the U.K. and are visiting Australia for 2 months. I hope that they enjoyed their Tassie stop on their whirlwind tour of “The Big Country”. My knee feels fine apart from being stiff whenever going downhill but now that we have the Black Dog head halters (I think that they should be at least giving me a free one for all of the free publicity and gushing that I am doing about this amazing product…) Steve can take both dogs while I hobble my way downhill until we get to a nice level footing. We had a nice walk up and back and had a look at our boundary fence and have decided to start getting stuck into little patches of our problem area each day now that it is getting cool enough to stand out in the daylight without frying or sweating yourself inside and into a cool drink. If we divide our problem area into grids and tackle a small chunk of the grid each day pretty soon we are going to start seeing results. Some of those results are going to be gargantuan piles of debris that will need to be dealt with later on in the cooler season but as I have learned from physics (at least 1 thing…) “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” and our action will result in the acquisition of a massive great pile. On the positive side we will be able to see some progress in the area and this should give us the incentive to keep going. It’s like anything else really, if you get some sort of pat on the head (physically/literally or metaphorically) then you get an added incentive to carry on and being able to see areas that are clear of weed infestation and hacking down those massive great overgrown Buddleia globosa will give us a whole lot of added incentive. I think we might take a little photo of Glad’s nice little lighthouse now that Tasport have decided to repaint it. It took 2 of them a week to spray paint this tiny little lighthouse. Steve and I could have done the same thing in a day with a paintbrush, but you don’t want to be so efficient that you do yourself out of a job now do you? I think I might head off to finish off my book. It is one of the best reads that I have ever read in my life. That is saying something because I have read a lot. See you all tomorrow when my eyes recover (I feel glasses coming) from the teeny tiny print and I have hopefully finished the book and didn’t just fall fast asleep in the kitchen to be woken up by Steve just before bed time…

Well I did indeed finish the book and it ended incredibly abruptly. I am still not all that sure that the ending fitted the pace of the book but methinks that Mr Wallace Stegner got to the end of the letters that he was pilfering to write his book and ran out of things to say…who would know…I guess I will find out when I read another one of his books from Mary Anne Schafer’s list as he is represented more than once and the next book will be all of his own content. I also need to add that we walked 4km this morning with the dogs and my knee is still functioning so I figure that means it is on the mend and Bezial can sigh a happy sigh of contentment once again because everything is as it is supposed to be on Serendipity Farm. It’s not only his owners who are adverse to change…

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:36:46

    Have you tried making a pot of strong tea Fronkii? I have a pot (its actually a coffee plunger pot) every morning and can make it as strong as I like. Noice! Unushuall!!!
    I’ve never understood the “No taking of photos” idea in museums. What? Do they think we are all going to run off and copy their supposed “original” creations? Have you given up alcamahol for health reasons Fronkii? Jason and I have become card carrying bogans since Stewart left and have developed a fondness for UDL Green apple flavour! Hahahahahaha. I love the stealth capabilities of chookens. Ninja chooks!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 25, 2012 @ 11:42:33

      Lol…unlike you, Stewart is apparently living like a Sloan Ranger! I just gave him a call (to see if he was still alive) and he has been living like a king, dining on sushi, he has a personal trainer now, loves his little unit, is loving work, is finding bargains all over the place and generally made the best possible career move for himself as well as personal move possible. He can find out who he actually is in Melbourne. Even I wouldn’t stoop to the green apple U.D.L’s Pinky…you are sinking into Hillbilly oblivion! Steve and I have given up the booze for health reasons. We were turning to our friend in a bottle a little bit too much to ease our stresses and so we decided to go cold turkey and so far…the turkey hasn’t pecked us. It’s really hot here today. 38C in Hobart (only 32 in Launceston and probably 27 here…) so you can bet that everyone will have their air conditioners on blasting away. A big mob of sooky big girls blouses the lot of them :o). Have a great weekend and keep in touch.

      Reply

  2. Roz Takes
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:03:27

    Today you reminded me of a heatwave we had here in Perth long ago when Air Con was out of our reach. I used to wet a sheet and hang it in the doorway to catch the slightest breeze thereby reducing the temperature. Sort of a Kalgoorlie safe. More comfortable than the bathroom floor.
    Love your Blender. Martin’s favourite piece of kitchen equipment is his Breville Kitchen Wizz Pro. As seen in Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen. Seems to do everything but eat the food so I might try your recipe for smoothie.
    Perhaps your knee may benefit from some Glucosamine or even Fish Oil tabs but glad it is getting better.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:19:59

      Despite being vegetarian I dabbled in fish oil tablets for a bit and they do work. I am trying to get my omega 3’s and 6’s from flax seeds and as soon as we can buy hemp seed I am set. One of the best things for nutrition known to man and very tasty to go with it. I bought some not so long back from a local health food shop. It had been crushed (so we couldn’t grow our own hemp, must have been that because we would have had to fill Tasmania up to harvest enough of it to get high, very VERY low THC content) and was titled “hemp seed for your “pet” knowing full well it would be tried by customers but the health food shop owner was marvelling at how people had been unable to pick up on the entendre as he wasn’t legally able to sell it for human consumption and at $65 a kilo people were buying it for their bloody dogs! Go figure Tasmanian ignorance eh? Anyway, I am waiting for it impatiently! Tell Martin to go check out this site. It was on my “must have” list for a bit until I figured out it was nowhere NEAR worth the $2000 pricetag…still…if you bought one up front you wouldn’t need a food processor, blender, mixer etc. Check it out…

      http://www.thermomix.com.au/

      It took some serious detective work to find out the price I can tell you…that is something that they really don’t want you to know till you are standing there with a high pressure salesman (much like electrolux salesmen of old…)

      I think that the best thing for my knee is to lose a bit of weight. Regular exercise, flax seeds and eventually hemp seed and we are only going to get a couple of days of this heat and it has been entirely bearable out here on the river. Poor Madeline and Bethany are sweltering away inland in Launceston and are most probably outside as it gets pretty hot in the house in town. We phoned Stewart in Melbourne today and he now lives in Collins street in a very swanky fully furnished appartment with access to an amazing array of restaurants and everything is his oyster. He likes work and its a much more relaxed climate. As he said “if a client decides to leave it isn’t the catastrophe that it was in Albany as Melbourne is a much MUCH bigger fish. Glad to see that he took a risk and that it appears to be paying him off in kind. Give my love to Erin when you next hear from her and Greg too. Have a great rest of the weekend and Steve is glad that you are enjoying his posts. He has had 50 views today on his blog and is completely blown away by the interest.

      Reply

  3. Roz Takes
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:27:28

    Have checked out the Thermomix was on our must have list as well but the price was way overboard. Some of the Clients at the Association have bought one as it is especially good for blind people. Makes bread from go to whoa.Soup too apparently. We are quite happy with our Breville.
    Stewart is going to love Melbourne. From where he is he can go out to eat every night of the week and not have the same meal twice.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:57:03

      Stewart has also signed up to a very expensive personal trainer just around the corner from home to make sure that all of those meals don’t ruin all of his hard work up to now :o). You are right about the thermomix, it looks fantastic, probably is but for $2000 I would rather leave it on the shelf and do a bit of hard labour with a knife, stove and whisk.

      Reply

  4. Pinky
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:39:56

    And Stewgor has a projector and a screen that slides down from the roof! My lord he has chosen well. So proud of him Fronkii. The world is now his oyster. Yeah i’m getting a bit too reliant on a glass of wine or a gin and tonic of late too. Cant have beer as Jason is gluten intolerant so we’ve been saved from beer o’clock each day. It is nice to relax over a glass of something you like but we never go further than that.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:01:34

      Methinkuth that Stugor is dining out on oysters with a Spanish lien. He is becoming quite the uncle skellington (ask him) in his new inner city home. He told me that where he lives is considered the “Paris Sector” of inner Melbourne. He has gucchi next door and all sorts of high end shops in the district. He also told me he spent $200 on socks and underwear…must be to keep up with the Jones’s although the lord only knows why the Jones’s are going to be looking at either of those undergarments! Steve and I, as stay at home hermits were starting to drink our way through a substantial amount of the amber fluid. Since we stopped we are feeling heaps better and so is our bank account. We haven’t stopped having a glass every now and then, just not at the moment and not on a regular basis. It has been so hot around here that we have resorted to cordial! Hopefully tomorrows cool spell is just about to head our way…

      Reply

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