Steves newfound redneck ways

Hi All,


The title of this post was initially because of his newfound love of all things American Mid Western thanks to the new A & E channel on Austar. Everything is “Hog Wars”; “Gators in the swamp”; “Heavy Haulers” and “Pawn Stars”. The last one in that list is Steve’s current favourite and deals with a family of enormous rednecks that have a pawn shop and the customers that come in and try to flog things to them. His next favourite is a show about storage lockers that get sold off…so its EVERYTHING redneck down on Serendipity Farm and that is also a shameless plug for Steve’s “10 best Redneck Songs” that he will be posting tomorrow for you all to enjoy. Some of them are real classics and we love love LOVE the top song so we hope that you will all enjoy them tomorrow. Just to kick off the theme for today we have…


Steve isn’t the only one that can use youtube…


We just finished doing the walls of the lounge room and ceilings of both our bedroom and the lounge room. As predicted we had a bit of bleed through in the bedroom with tar on the roof but hopefully we have seen the last of it now and we are more than pleased with the results. Isn’t it a pity that you couldn’t get a tiny taste of that euphoria that you get after you finish a job to get you up and motivated to do it in the first place? We finished the final brush strokes to the loud strains of The Spin Doctor’s. We didn’t have enough of the blue paint left over to finish our own bedroom so we have decided to paint our room a different colour. We still have Steve’s music room, the middle room (spare room) and our room to paint so perhaps we will choose something interesting to paint them in? I did suggest flocked wallpaper but even though I was joking Steve looked stricken… I can’t blame him as if you have every tried wallpapering you may never recover from that experience. I am typing out recipes from The River Cottage Handbook No. 8 (Cakes) at the moment and would like to share this interesting recipe with you. It’s not the most delicious looking cake in the book and it isn’t the most adventurous either, what it is, is an amazing way to use up left over bread and it is very interchangeable with whatever you have in the fresh fruit section. I wonder if it tastes any good? I might have to give it a go as it says that it is great for a pudding as well…

‘Bird Table Bread Cake’

“Much as I love to watch the sparrows feeding in the garden, this dense pudding-cum-cake, based on an old wartime recipe, is a brilliant way to use up the end of a stale old loaf. I like to add a few nourishing seeds to give a little crunch” (Pam Corbin – author)

Makes 10 big pieces

Ingredients: –

250g stale bread, sliced and crusts removed (to feed the birds…)

100g raisins

100g currants

1 tbs linseed (flax seed)

1 tbs sunflower seeds

125g soft brown sugar

1 – 2 tsp ground mixed spice

Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon or orange

1 apple or firm pear, finely grated with the skin on

75ml canola oil or 75g unsalted melted and then cooled butter

1 lightly beaten egg

300ml milk

1 tbs Demerara sugar to dust the top


25 x 20cm baking tin, 6cm deep (or a tin with similar dimensions), lightly greased and base-lined with baking parchment

Method: –

Cut the bread slices into quarters put in a large mixing bowl and cover with about 500ml of cold water. Leave to soak for an hour or so. Preheat the oven to 180C. With your hands, squeeze out as much water from the bread as you can. Return the bread pulp to the bowl. Mix in the dried fruit, linseed (flax seed), sunflower seeds, sugar, mixed spice, citrus zest and apple or pear. Mix in the canola oil or butter, followed by the egg and milk. Using a wooden spoon beat everything to form a wet, sloppy batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours or until the top is crisp and golden. While still hot, sprinkle the Demerara sugar over the top. Serve as a hot pudding (what I would be inclined to do…) with custard or leave in the tin to cool before slicing and serving as a cake. Once cool, it will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin. For longer keeping store it in the fridge.

Variations: –

In summertime, replace the apple or pear with a handful of fresh berries or red or black currants. At other times, an overripe banana, well mashed, can be used as the fresh fruit element.

This is a very thrifty cake/pudding and one that will be trialled over the winter time on Serendipity Farm.

As mentioned previously, I am a great fan of dense cakes with lots of flavour…spice etc. I especially like cakes made with ingredients other than flour. Almond meal, other nut meals, polenta, semolina, anything with an interesting texture. I prefer my cake plain rather than iced and I like interesting ethnic flavours. Here are some more lovely cake recipes that you can try if you like. I can recommend both of the following cakes as mum used to make them on occasion and they were really delicious

And this one…

Don’t say that I don’t give you anything…


This is the Albert Hall…not the original one in the U.K. but a pretty good town hall just the same. I love the old buildings in Launceston and spent the first month that we lived here looking up at the beautiful skyline and making the locals think that I was crazy (not hard…)


These 2 beautiful Ginkgo biloba are quite unique in the scheme of things. The tree at the back is a male and the tree at the front is a female. Nature being nature takes full advantage of their planting and the result is…


This is the female tree and around about this time of year Steve and I start to take a more active interest other than merely appreciating these glorious trees for their intrinsic value and we begin waiting for these little fruits to start their ripening phase…


They look very interesting don’t they? The Japanese take the seed from inside these fruits and treat it and use it in their cuisine. I don’t know which Japanese person first thought of using the seed because to get past the fruit is a feat in itself. As the fruit ripens it gains a pungency that makes your eyes water. Steve and I have collected fruit from this tree for the last 2 years and have subsequently grown many small ginkgo trees. To arrive at the pretty little ginkgo trees in our pots we had to collect the seed (quite high up in the tree) before council remove it…the fruit has a smell akin to a blend of parmesan cheese and vomit. It smells heartily disgusting. Steve has been nominated to clean the flesh from the seed by putting it into bucket of water to minimise the smell and making sure you use rubber gloves because not only is the fruit stinky, but it contains compounds that can severely irritate your skin. We read that it is very hard to get Ginkgo biloba seed to germinate but that hasn’t been the case for us and we will most probably collect more of this amazing fruit this year (with pegs on our noses) and grow another year worth of this beautiful, functional and most hardy of trees


The down side to painting is that we had to move all of the books from the book shelf. How the heck did all these books fit on those little shelves?! I am going to have to sort them out and see which books I am actually going to use and those that I am just hanging on to because I once had a use for them. We have been moving the furniture back in the lounge room and the colour has really made the lounge room feel like a much nicer place to be. We might even paint the bricks on the fireplace (that we don’t use any more) the same colour. That would be a very interesting effect and would stop your eyes from heading straight over to the beige bricks when you walk into the room. Steve has just suggested that we might skim it with plaster (well when I say “we” I mean “he”) and that would make it less obvious. Whatever we do with the room it already looks a whole lot better than when we started painting. Earl and Bezial have had free rein in the spare rooms for most of today. Earl is an “eater”. In the past we have had some serious problems with Earl and his eating, but to be honest, we had similar problems with Bezial when he was a pup. American Staffordshire Terriers mature later than other dogs and you have to put up with pup like behaviour until they turn 3. Bezial would deny it completely but he was an absolute terror! To look at this stately gentleman who looks on with disgust as Earl frolics around the lounge room in his after dinner romp you would think that he had always been a pillar of society. You would be distinctly wrong on that one. Bezial was an angel for a week after we picked him out as a little 9 week old pup in a local pet shop. 7 days to the hour that we bought him he turned into a monster. If we could survive Bezial (and his subsequent vet bills) Earl is completely bearable. He is starting to turn into a really good dog. He is very loyal and loving and apart from his occasional need to nibble on a book or two he is proving himself to be trustworthy. He is lying on the bed in the middle/spare room right next to his previous favourite snack food, some furry cushions, and they are still intact. Prior to this event, Earl would have gutted those pillows in 10 seconds flat but they are lying right next to him as he reclines. He still attempts dog surfing in the car whenever we go anywhere and has to be shoved back on a regular basis else he ends up slooping into the front seat. He still bullies Bezial occasionally when he thinks that he might have a bit of fun and he still doesn’t understand that he isn’t supposed to pull everything out of Steve’s pockets and drag it under the bed to be nibbled at a later date, but the extended period of time in the middle room with no damage whatsoever is giving us hope that we might be able to leave the 2 dogs alone next week when we have to go in for our first appointment with our lecturer.


Steve’s newfound redneckedness made him take a picture of this Boag’s (beer) truck out the back of the Boag’s information centre. Boag’s beer is brewed right across the road from this centre and this little truck is obviously claimed as advertising


Steve and I most definitely appreciate Boag’s and so this sign is obviously aimed at enticing our newly teetotal derrières into the centre…”BE STRONG!”


Here is the old Oast house (hop house) over the road from the Boag’s information centre and this brewery has an amazing smell akin to hot Weetabix on a cold morning when the brewing process starts


Steve’s nickname is Frog (no idea why but it stuck…) and look…right near the front door of the Boag’s information centre they have this car park! We were obviously worth more to Boag’s economical stability than we initially thought…


It’s only when you move things around to paint or when you have to move houses that you realise just how much “stuff” you have. We just moved the bookshelf worth of books from the shelves so that we can paint behind them and Steve’s music room floor is now littered with piles of them. Admittedly we do have 3 kinds of books on our shelves…cookbooks (my personal hoard); gardening books (our shared passion) and “misc.” Misc. is not very well represented and tends to be obscure books that I have picked up at Thrift shops for very little money but that might just give me some information that I might just find interesting at a later date…in other words dust catchers. Mum gave us all books at Christmas time and they have all come in extremely handy especially the Jackie French’s Chook Book and the book with how to do just about EVERYTHING yourself that we initially scoffed at the “everything” title but on sifting through some of the pages we found so much do-it-yourself information that we couldn’t believe it all. One of the most pertinent “recipes” (if you could call it a recipe) was for an interesting brew that you make using yeast for invigorating your septic tank contents. This book thinks of it all! We have a septic tank and dad was forever getting it pumped out by “Nigel’s Pumping Services” in Beaconsfield. We don’t want to line Nigel’s pockets as we figure that dad paid for that Microlight that Nigel flies over our house dangled underneath on a regular basis…we are sure he is checking to see how the septic is going as he wants to add to his airline fleet and dads pesos are sorely missed…


I have a newfound appreciation for old door knobs since I managed to pick one up for Serendipity Farm at the Exeter thrift shop for $1. This one is firmly attached to one of the local auction houses in the centre of town


This is an example of what this auction house likes to sell…


Just the sort of thing that Steve would like for his music room (and minus the mouthpiece on that Baritone he couldn’t use it to terrorise the neighbours after a few ales…not that we drink ales any more however Steve’s newfound redneck ways might allow him to make a still and produce moonshine out of our blackberry wine…watch this spot…)


I loved this little door in the middle of that enormous door at the Auction house.


I mentioned in a previous post that I am a pack rat. I come from hoarding parents who were born just before W.W.2 and who were taught not to discard anything. They took their lessons to heart and both of them tended to keep things that had no use to them whatsoever. The difference between hoarding and being frugal is a very fine line. We kept the wire that we removed from the fence that we pulled down that was no longer serving a purpose for future use but we donated our old Massport fire to the Beaconsfield Tip Shop so that someone else could get some use out of it. We figure that we will keep things that we know will have a future use but we will share what we no longer need. I have mentioned a fair bit about our painting episode on Wednesdays post. I departed from my usual modus operandi and actually typed up a post on the day so some of this is older news. I have just sorted through the acres of books and have eliminated duplicates, no longer relevant books (all of my tofu books) and anything that I simply am no longer going to use. These books will be donated to the thrift shop where I picked most of them up over the years. I got to check out some of my books as I was sorting through and some of them are going to be priceless when we are working in the garden. They were collected prior to our newfound plant passion and I had forgotten that we owned them. It’s always good to go through your stuff that you rarely use. You just never know what you will find. Steve now has 2 new Austar channels to watch and one of them (A & E) is now his firm favourite. It seems to be redneck heaven but I can’t talk…I have been captivated by some of the programs including programs about people that go to storage lots and buy the contents of storage units in the hope of finding something worthwhile. It’s very engaging television and despite the cowboy rednecks I can’t help but be fascinated by what people allow to be sold off. The units are only allowed to be sold once the person renting the unit has not paid their rental fees for 3 months. One unit had a jaguar car in it! This channel is now dealing with all of those shows about extreme conditions and people working in them. The soft shelled crab people, the shrimp people, the ice road truckers, the heavy haulage people who specialise in massive loads or weird and wonderful loads and anything to do with bounty hunters, weird pest controllers and life in the mid-West of the good ole U.S.of.A. overall. It’s like watching Big Brother but with a whole lot more action and no eliminations. I think I might just spend this afternoon playing Animal Crossing. We have 1 week left to do whatever we please before our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are taken up by study for the rest of the year. The slack life is just about to come to an end and we will finally have our focus on horticulture renewed again. See you all tomorrow…I got $16 000 for my red turnip by the way…even the games I play have to do with gardening :o)


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