Strider soup

Hi All,

I am a happy chicken because gunn’s (they don’t deserve a capital letter…) have just lost their prospective (and most shonky) partner who was going to bail them out of the toilet and give them the funds to get this massive great white elephant of a pulp mill up and running. I am all for looking after local businesses but when they are as corrupt and shonky as guns, I can make an exception. This is a case of the little men holding steady and refusing to give up against goliath. Hopefully gunn’s will come toppling down like the top heavy overweight plutocratic behemoth that it is! Are you starting to get the feeling that I am not enamoured of gunns or its politics? Tasmania is like the Wild West of Australia. If you had enough money (in the not too distant past) and were a big enough bully boy, you could pretty much do anything that you wanted in Tasmania. Times are slowly changing but you can see remnant pockets of corruption nestled in both the labour and liberal state government here and that makes it hard to work out who to vote for when it is time to vote. I want to make my voice count but when state government is this self-serving and has completely lost its ability to judge just who is voting for them and why they are in power in the first place, I don’t have a lot of faith in either of these major parties delivering any sort of positive statement to the people of Tasmania. We need jobs but not at the expense of our environment and we need health, law and education as well but they appear to be unimportant to our state government in the quest to achieve massive (38% is massive to me) pay rises for themselves when businesses are folding all around them and people are losing their jobs every day. It is a bit like King Canute in the state of Tasmania and our good lady premier is refusing to step down from her throne. I have a decided political lien to the beginning of this post today but I just heard about gunns partner pulling out and had to say something about it. It has been a most incredibly frustrating situation having no say whatsoever about this totally unsuitable development proposed to be built just around the corner from our home. The best our premier could say was “we need the jobs” and when queried why she was allowing gunns to be exempt from anyone complaining about the mill for 2 years, her answer was “we can’t afford the litigation”…sigh…that is what we have to live with out here. I figure there are a few of us that might need Frontier psychiatry…

Yeh…I figure after that I might actually need therapy!

This is a picture of a most contented Bezial. This was back before we got chickens and they took over the outside world. Bezial used to walk with Steve and I all over Serendipity Farm and if we stayed out in the bush too long (whipper snipping etc.) he would trot back to the house and lay on the deck keeping watch. He loves Serendipity Farm

Then Earl showed up…Bezial’s world turned upside down and is only just now starting to calm down a little since Earl turned 1

 This is a perfect representation of Earl. He has that look in his eye that shows that he is watching EVERYTHING and that nothing is going to escape this little brown and white dog…

It is Saturday morning and I have started to get up with the alarm (after listening to the news of course…there is a tiny bit of my dad in my genes that requires that much of me…) and sit here for an hour tapping away, checking up on my subscription posts sent to my email until it starts to get light at 7am and Steve can get up (I take him a cuppa) and we can head out to walk the dogs while it is still cool and crisp and all of those delicious wildlife smells are still hanging in the breeze. I was checking out the posts sent to our inbox and realised that I have some mighty stuff sitting there. Since I started using the power of Tags to add to my posts I am getting a lot more international people checking in and reading about Serendipity Farm and a fair few “like” ticks from some very well written and constructed blogs. It reinforces my belief that the internet is a most powerful tool for free information for “the masses” I realise that makes me sound like a communist there but it is difficult to separate the 99% of us living on salaries and wages and benefits from the 1% who control the world. I headed off to check out the blog of “The Sustainability Puzzle” who liked one of my posts enough to tick “like”. I know from my own blog hunting habits that it takes a fair bit for me to “like” a post so I take that as kudos indeed so “Cheers” Robert of The Sustainability Puzzle who looks a whole lot like Tobias (Toby) from Cert 3 so if you feel like taking a look (Nat) you can back me up there. Go check out his blog, it is very interesting and so informative that this little black magpie has had to subscribe to follow his posts. I can feel a wealth of free information coming my way that I might be able to share with you all and that will add to my militant outrageous indignation about how corporate greed is overriding the processes of change towards sustainability…

I have several environmental/sustainable blogs that I follow and I have several mind expanding sites including Instructables. Really folks, if you haven’t bothered to head over there and check it out you really are missing out on the most incredible wealth of information about how to bypass “the man” (that dreaded middle man that I have so come to loathe…) and learn to do and make your own “stuff”. Bollocks to paying someone out there to grummage (my own word so bollocks off spellcheck!) our precious non-renewable resources out of the ground to mass produce Brittney Spears tee-shirts and plastic toys to lure small children (and their surprising amount of pulling power) into fast food restaurants. Should you be desperate to have a Brittney Spears Tee-shirt why don’t you make your own? Learn how to screen print and make your very own amazing Brittney Spears (ech…is that an oxymoron or what!) tee-shirt and you might open up a market for sustainably produced tee-shirts that you can sell at markets and give yourself an incredible sense of satisfaction by producing them sustainably (use potatoes to print…think laterally!) while being able to make a bit of money. That’s what it is all about…think laterally to get what you want…do more with less… live simply so that others may simply live. Give what you are doing a bit of thought and take the extra 3 minutes to wash out a glass jar and toss it into the recycling. What are we saving our time for? We need to stop believing marketing and media giants who are making a (literal) killing out of our gullible (and if we are being honest lazy) need to be directed to what we want and need. We are developing into people who are “too busy” to think and choose. Once we give away our ability to reason…think and choose we have given away our basic fundamental right to what makes us human (our choice). I got quite heavy there didn’t I? You might be led to believe that I am some sort of environmental dynamo who spends her time wandering the Ethernet in search of ever increasing militant communistic incitement when to be honest I couldn’t be bothered with violent protest. You get more from your chosen victim with honey than you do with a stick and I choose to wave a honeyed stick to deliver my message. To be honest I am just as susceptible to anyone to some pretty pictures, some nice bright text and a few great recipes and am stepping out of the closet and straight into a 12 step programme to reveal my secret lust for food porn. I can’t help it, I am only human (and a greedy one at that who’s main vice is ingested with gusto) and I am only reading them for the article’s “I swear!”

Check out the latest at Ruth’s blog “The Pink Whisk”. She came second (SHE WAS JIPPED!) on the television series “The Great British Bake-off” and her blog is drool worthy indeed. She gives a light and humorous touch to baking and her cakes are delectable (the main reason I checked her blog out in the first place) and well worth checking out.

Again, I am so happy about how easy it is to share online. I hunted through that post above and found Ed Kimber’s blog (the guy that came 1st in The Great British Bake-off). I didn’t even know that he had one! This guy is someone who lost a tonne of weight and turned his life around and now puts his obvious love of food into feeding other people (a curious thing that happens to most people who lose a lot of weight…let’s just call it “food transference” and it tends to fatten up their nearest and dearest…). This guy is the king of techniques and perfect delivery. Check him out and see why he just pipped Ruth to the post…

And you can compare their different takes on the very same recipe. I am really excited about my new ability to isolate information that I am interested in. It’s just like cataloguing books in the library (I can hear you yawning but bear with me…) and is exactly what Google have started to do. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am online pretty much 24/7 when I am not studying, reading, crocheting and serving as general slave and scullery maid on Serendipity Farm and I “notice” things. Google searches are now watching what you are looking for. I went hunting to find out what a “Seral Community” was yesterday and once I had isolated the single entry on the first Google search page that had anything to do with what I was looking for (I DIDN’T want serial numbers or a serial crack for my illegally downloaded software…) and clicked it…Google set about the clanking of chains to make my next search completely compatible with my last search so it isolated “Seral” as a component of my next search, taking in to account that most people are hunting for something that is related to their last search. Good on you for that Google but it DOESN’T make me forgive you for attempting to “cloud” up our lives with a power hungry grasp for our free information. While it is still free I am going for it and am collecting and collating as much relevant content to what we are studying, my interests and to Serendipity Farm and its outcomes as I possibly can. One day I will have it all to share with anyone who wants it…perhaps Serendipity Farm will be the next Google? ROTFL! Narp!

I noticed this little teracotta dove on a brick gate post when we were walking in Rowella the other day. I really liked it because it wasn’t run of the mill cutesy and was a little bit different

I really liked this Hibiscus syriacus and when I was taking the photo I noticed that little insect sitting on the flower…on closer inspection the shrub was loaded with these little critters that were very quick and that had nefarious intentions. I am glad it’s not my shrub!

I quite liked this large planter. There are 2 of them in the garden on either side of a gate that doesn’t have any fence attached to it…just sitting in the middle of the garden on a concreted pole and latched onto another concreted pole. I am wondering if they are going to put a fence in or just leave it as a talking piece…it got me talking didn’t it?

The boys have been using their latent “ratting” powers to hunt for mice in the pantry cupboard. Our endeavours to ensure a rat/mouse free cupboard have resulted in Bezial being confused because he doesn’t have to do any of that sort of “dirty” work anymore…apparently that is what we bought Earl for…and Earl getting excited because of his close proximity to food and cat biscuits to be specific. In all it was a fruitless pointless exercise that exposed a gaping hole in the theory that the animals that live with us are “Wild Creatures” and should be treated as such. Our dogs are pampered sloths that require food (only the best), water and a king sized bed to recline on at night. They require that we do what they want whenever they want it and that we spend at least 50% of our waking hours walking them in ever more interesting places (can’t go to the same place 2 days in a row or Bezial balks and refuses to walk…) and spend our evenings sitting on the sofa acting as dog pillows or should we dare to do anything else (like me sitting here in the kitchen/living area typing or researching) one of them (paper…rock…scissors…LOSER) has to lay here sighing heavily next to me on the floor until I do the right thing and go into the lounge room to do my duty. It seems like we hold the Midas touch when it comes to creating ideal situations for our fellow creatures to live a life of decadent sloth. Our feral cats all lay outside oblivious to the tasty little morsels that would lure them should they be actual wild cats rather than fat sleek capitalist’s growing in number on a daily basis and creating slaves of our dwindling resources. The hens are just money pits who have decided to conserve their energy and suck up as much free range grain as they can…why lay eggs? They expend energy that you might be using to grow exponentially larger to take over the world! We feed cheese cut into small cubes to the local cuckoo shrikes, bread to the sparrows (who also take advantage of the free range hen food and the dogs bones laying around the enclosure) and anything else that wants a free feed drops around to eat grain, potted plants and anything else that it can lay its hands/beaks/feet on in the full knowledge that the dogs and cats are so full that they couldn’t be bothered to lift up their lazy slothful heads to attack them…life on Serendipity Farm is indeed “A Dogs Life”…

I really like this little old cottage and its lovely garden in Rowella. I love that Japanes maple that is starting to change colour quite early. That symbolises an early and hard (cold) winter…that and my trick knee…

This is the sea wall at Bonnie Beach. I just really liked the look of this picture and decided to include it for you all to see how the tides affect the banks of the Tamar River. I haven’t ever seen tides like we get on the river. They occur twice a day and mean the difference between a pebble beach for the dogs to walk on and suddenly water up to the top of this wall. When looking out of the windows in the day you can sometimes see Egg Island as almost able to be walked on from the point and at other times it is indeed a separate body. Interesting whirpools occur under the Batman Bridge and the jellyfish take advantage of these incredibly strong currents to coast in and out to and from the sea almost like they are surfing under water

This sunflower is pretty isn’t it? We grew it and it is in the glasshouse as it got a rather late start in its lifecycle and needed a boost to get it to flower. Like most “late” things this sunflower is actually quite small but Steve did his best to make it look humungous for you all to be dead jealous of…are you impressed?

We have just gotten back from our walk in Beaconsfield and I took a few photos of the stump left after the removal of the massive big Ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) that was just removed from the park area opposite the main shops in Beaconsfield. I know it had to be removed because it was dangerous and there was no WAY that the West Tamar Council (remembering that they support the pulp mill…) was going to spend anything on bolting and bracing/cabling this ancient old tree who has been watching over this tiny mining community for more than a century but it had a real presence, and it is somewhat fitting that the removal of this majestic old tree coincides with the closing of the Beaconsfield mine very soon and what amounts to the end of the town. There are “For Sale” signs up everywhere and the locals are being stoic about their chances of keeping a sense of community but it is inevitable that once the only source of employment for 50km dries up, something is going to have to give. The natives steadfastly refuse to give up their blinkered view about how society should work…men go out to work…you buy a house…you have kids…you retire on your pension and you go fishing in your boat that you bought with your superannuation. Life is so much more complicated now and filled with so many choices (or so the superannuation, life insurance and general media would have us believe) and it’s “way too hard” to make up your mind about anything important any more…best you farm off your choice and your decisions to an expert…who just so happens to be one of my dreaded middle men! If you wipe out the experts you have to rely on your own ability to think both in black and white common sense and laterally. You have to suddenly develop problem solving skills and seek alternatives to your usual materials, resources, sources and you have to start weighing things up…thinking about consequences and taking responsibility for your own actions… in short…you become a responsible ethical human being who actually gives a stuff about other people and who thinks twice before negatively impacting on the world. Everything is habit and progression. If you don’t progress you stagnate…simple as that. We develop habits like callouses. They come with experience and life and our habits are how we choose to deal with what life delivers into our inbox. They are entirely up to us and are the result of our unique way of coping. The problem is that once we have gotten through what we have to deal with, we tend to wear our bad habits as little mental and emotional accessories, cluttering up our thought processes and getting in the way of us making any sort of positive change. I see it like hermit crabs pasting bits and pieces all over their shells (or is that shrimps making a hole? I am a horticulturalist NOT a biologist!) getting more and more weighed down until they either move house to a nice clean shell (take control of their negative habits) or simply sit put (stagnate) in their existing shell mounding it up with resentment, pride, fears and anything else that will excuse their bad habits and give them a sense of self entitlement for these behaviours. I don’t fancy sitting around in a pile of my own resentment so despite “hating change” being one of my problems, I am attempting to do something about my bad habits.

Here are our “ratters”. Note they are looking down which is where the pots and pans are…we thought this meant that they could sense rats… what they could scent was that container in the lower left hand side with the red glass knob that contains dog biscuits…sigh…

Bezial has decided that he has a better chance at getting that box of bird seed and Earl is wondering why the door that covers the fridge is closed as he has a better chance of opening the fridge and getting something alltogether more tasty…

Here is the place where that amazing old Ash tree stood. The area now gets no shade and will most probably just be turned into a grassy (water sucking) space devoid of any sort of character. I miss that beautiful old Ash tree already…

And here is Steve with Bezial standing on the stump of the tree. At least I have photos of this lovely tree and the boys will miss it if only because it was a great place to catch up on the Beaconsfield dog news and leave a little “article” of their own for the locals to ruminate over

The title of today’s post is the result of me ruminating mentally about a discussion that our lecturer had with us yesterday over a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee whilst sitting out in the sunshine watching another group of students tend a vegetable garden. That sounds good does it? Well sign up for Horticulture at the Alanvale Polytechnic, there are worse ways to spend your days believe me! We were discussing our exponentially increasing amount of chickens and how the hidden eggs are posing more than a stink bomb threat to us on Serendipity Farm. Every time one of our clucky girls finds an abandoned clutch of eggs at least some of those eggs are viable and ready to go. As soon as she decides to pluck that very first chest feather (symbolising her desire to sit on those eggs for a bit…) and settles down to 3 weeks of sitting, pecking and running from nest to food, water and back, we have the chance of more chickens. I thought that chickens were delicate little fluffy things that got eaten by everything but Houdini is an amazing mum and every single one of her chickens has survived and grown on. Her first 5 feral babies are now a firm clique here and with their own little rooster in charge looking out for them they live in an enormous Kunzea ambigua on the fence that borders Glad’s place. Houdini’s fluff balls are now small chooks and it looks like we might have another 3 roosters in that pack of 7 and suddenly we are being forced to deal with the roosters. This brings me back to what we were talking to our lecturer about. He appreciates a good sustainability moment and actually built himself a mud brick house on a bush block property out in the sticks near Mt Barrow. Tasmania is full of beautiful places to live and areas of wet and dry sclerophyll forest that lend themselves to being bolt holes for errant hippy sustainable alternative types who leap out of the wilderness to upset poor hard working salt of the earth forestry workers…hopefully you can detect the sarcasm dripping from my disdainful words there as our state is being held hostage by old school mentality that needs a severe update. We can’t keep raping and pillaging Tasmania for its raw resources, it’s too valuable a resource for that. We need to encourage effective food production using the abundant (at the moment) water that we have available, we need to think about harnessing some of the creative energy that is being postulated all over the place in arts councils, theatre and musical ventures and sorry to say, artistically temperamental people tend to severely lack common sense…there I said it! They tend to be too busy creating to think about the real world and whenever you let a group of “artistic” people together you end up with all sorts of fanciful ideas that are bandied about bouncing from one stage to another and very rarely getting off the ground. We need creative people. We need beauty and passion and creativeness in our lives to balance out the cold stark hard face of reality but we also need common sense and people who are able to implement (doers) ideas. Let’s all get together here and work out a sustainable plan for Tasmania. A REAL sustainable plan, not a pile of elitist ideas about “greening”; “ecotourism”;” “clean-green” or any other garbage bampf that our government and their spin doctors are touting at the moment to try to get us to part with our money. Note anything “Clean, Green or Sustainable” always comes with an enormous price tag…

So what do we do? First…we stop postulating and start implementing. On Serendipity Farm this means listening to something that our closet hippy lecturer posed yesterday and doing something about the growing rooster population on Serendipity Farm. Strider…Steve’s pet rooster has decided to spend his days attacking Steve. I am as “Sooky la-la” (Kym’s word and now common speak on Serendipity Farm…) as the next person but if you want to have a go strider…BRING IT ON! There is nothing so cathartic to your sentimentality (at least in my case) as something “taking the piss”. I will have to explain that to overseas readers…that is Aussie speak for challenging behaviour tantamount to pushing your buttons. Steve’s Stryder is “taking the piss” and as Steve is most probably too Sooky la-la to remove his head and stop the problem and as our lecturers idea of tossing all of the roosters into the shed and then releasing the hounds (what a terrifying picture that leaves in my mind!) is NOT going to be something that we are even going to contemplate, it is going to have to be good old fashioned “Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall” type homesteading on a Serendipity Farm scale. See…I DID  get around to explaining that title didn’t I? I just went all over the place to do so. I like to share my inner journeys with you here on Serendipity Farm and if you have a spare moment for a mental cup of tea and a bit of time to think about “things” we can share many a moment here in the Ethernet postulating all about the meaning of life…42 if I am not mistaken…see you all tomorrow

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