Beware the Ides of March

Hi All,

Yes…it is March the 15th. That didn’t mean anything to me either until I heard the D.J. on the radio this morning saying that today was the Ides of March and it reminded me of the Shakespeare play “Julius Caesar” and here you are…a nice and most convenient name for my post for today. Yesterday was a hot day for Tasmania and last night was too warm for this time of year. I remember when we first moved to Tasmania and were looking forwards to escaping the Western Australian heat of February but it turned into a scorcher and because Tasmania is a very green and lush island when it gets above 25C the temperature is accompanied by its best friend humidity (my nemesis) and when it did start to cool down it was the coldest winter in years and my youngest daughter Bethany and I both got chilblains and this condition was so foreign to us we didn’t know what they were. We have had a couple of nice mild wet summers and winters…the growing season hasn’t been halted by extreme cold in winter but this year we are back to hot summer and by my mental calculations…a cold winter to come. At least we know that it is cyclical and is a crucial part in the 4 year cycle of the enormous black cicada’s with red eyes that spent this year clicking maniacally in the top of the trees trying to form a deafening single note repeated to infinity to drive all humans in the close vicinity somewhat mad (is that why people go “Troppo”? It isn’t the heat and the humidity…the cicadas finish them off!).

Just a note on how unobservant I am…we must have walked past this interesting willow tree 20 times as it is on the way to the dog park where we let the dogs roam free and I have never seen it once until yesterday when we were walking the dogs at Gravelly beach

Just call this “chaos photography”…it’s really amazing you know…the camera just sets itself, it focusses on whatever the heck it wants to and you are just the physical means to press the button to take the shot…avant garde guys…(not crap photography…)

Check out this amazing repurposed credenza (which is what we Aussies would call an office bench) and how this clever little vegemite has managed to take something that was left on the curb to be scrapped and turn it into something beautiful, functional and extremely practical. It is things like this that make Instractables a most valuable site indeed.

Then check out this lovely handmade tansu (step cupboard) featured in the same newsletter for Instructables. I LOVE this site. It is everything that makes me smile…a sense of communal sharing, people who are incredibly talented and able to solve problems and think laterally coming together and giving the rest of us the plans for how to make and do things that we might otherwise have never thought possible…

I keep going on about all the free stuff out there for the taking. Not only is this information free, but it gives us a great deal of power in our own lives. Whenever we make something for ourselves we not only cut out the middle man but we stop being consumer based and start making do with less. We are renewing, recycling and we are giving ourselves something to feel justifiably proud of. I have mentioned before that I came from a single parent family that lived on the breadline. I have also mentioned that for most of the time my siblings and I were not really aware of this because we had all of our basic needs met. One thing that I was a little bit touchy about was the stigma that went with wearing clothing that came from a thrift shop. Back when I was a child (not really all that long ago in the scheme of things but it was last century so I guess that makes me older than 12…) there was a degree of stigma associated with thrift shops and a lack of money in general. My mum worked very hard to shield us from our situation but as an adult I am well aware of how hard she would have had to work to keep our small family afloat. She lived a sustainable life because she had to. I dare say she would have been most happy to bypass thrift shops but they were our chief source of books, clothing and furniture back in those days. Now days I take great delight in walking into a thrift shop. They make me feel like I am on the brink of winning something. I have no qualms about raising my not inconsiderable posterior into the air whilst rummaging through boxes and shelves of someone else’s cast off items. I no longer feel cheated by circumstances, my societal view has totally changed and I feel like I am making a positive choice for our future whenever I choose to buy used clothing, furniture or other goods. I actively avoid buying anything new whenever I can. Apart from the sustainability of purchasing recycled and refurbished articles as a foil for exponential consumerism, I often get things that were built or made years ago before  built in obsolescence was a mandatory consideration for consumable items. I prize old things. I actively seek them out and feel lighter in spirit and soul whenever I am able to rescue something that isn’t trendy and that has seen a life of service prior to my taking on its ownership. I count myself immeasurably lucky to have been born and raised on the breadline. I don’t have all that far to fall when it comes to giving up my consumerist ways…I haven’t ever really been able to be a mass consumer and have had to live on my wits and problem solving abilities to get me to where I am today debt free and willing to have a go at pretty much anything that will advance the cause of sustainability on Serendipity Farm. My heroes are people who endure, much like the meaning of sustainability in the first place. It came from the Latin “tenere”, to hold; “sus”, up…”holding up” is a synonym for enduring and our human ability to change and endure is the baseline premise of sustainability.

How is this for lazy bollocks Tasmanian council workers? Do you reacon that this tree is over the need to be staked yet guys? I didn’t bother wasting your time showing you a photo for every single tree in a row that had a stake like this growing out of it. Call this “Future Chainsaw Grief” but you know what? When future councils are cutting these trees down they DESERVE to have their chainsaw teeth removed!

Here’s the plan…all of these oysters (not sure what kind…don’t care…vegetarian…) keep shedding their very hard “skins” and this little black duck has decided to look into collecting said middens of oyster shells that are a total pain to the council because apart from having to get bulldozers to heap them up into middens they are a safety issue as they cut dogs (and anyone not wearing shoes) feet to ribbons, then washing them thoroughly (to remove all salt) and then crushing them roughly and then using them for mulch on the garden…what do you think? Our soil is reasonably acidic here and a bit of applied oyster shell lime might not be a bad thing…

Isn’t this a lovely wooden boat? There are heaps of them going for pennies in Tasmania and this one is up on the slips having its hull mended. I just think it was beautiful, most probably because of all of the wood…I am a sucker for all things wooden

Here is a really amazing deal…you go to this site…you put in a few details (real or fabricated I don’t think it matters as it sent me straight to the download site even though I fabricated most of the details) and you get access to 20 free e-books to do with permaculture and sustainability etc. Awesome content and all free. They have some amazing prices on their regular stuff as well but I dare say the postage would be quite expensive (from the U.K.) so I would go to “The Book Depository” for anything that you wanted (free postage to Australia and low low prices). Here is the link for those free books should you want to take advantage of them

I have gotten carried away with posting this weekend. Now that I post at night time and we are studying in the day it is difficult to find the time to post and so weekends find me with a bit of time and a whole lot of posting to do so that is when I get a few posts up my sleeve. I have to type out some more recipes from a few books and read a couple of books as well. I have the most amazing Captain Corelli’s Mandolin sitting on the desk looking at me accusatorily because I keep walking past it and touching its cover on my way to doing something else. It’s like top quality Belgium chocolate and I don’t want to guzzle it all at once…I want to slowly savour every delicious piece and am reading it in little well savoured chunks and allowing it to seep into my psyche slowly. Hopefully “Atticus” is going to feed my need for good literature like Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is currently doing with great aplomb. I then have an Australian author to tackle who has previously written crime novels and who has branched out into what Florida assures me is world class quirky stuff. Florida has read “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and must have found it as delightfully soul quenching as I did. She recommended Marelle Day’s book “Lambs of God” and by the blurb on the cover it promises to be a really good read. If it is, I can guarantee that I will be adding her crime novels onto my secondary book list (Please God let me live long enough to read all of this exponentially increasing list of books!) Since I gave up food as my solace from the world, I have taken up devouring books in its place. I am being fed with elegant sufficiency to say the least and as far as I am aware they are totally calorie free. Well done Nat by the way…you are looking fantastic! Nat gave up smoking and has taken up eating nutritiously in place of substituting food for smoking. It isn’t easy to go cold turkey (I know…Steve and I gave up booze…) but it is really rewarding and now that my body is starting to realise that it isn’t going to have to cope with any more boom and bust situations, it is starting to tentatively heal itself. No more feast and famine for me! I am feeding my body what it needs to heal itself first and perhaps as a side benefit I might lose enough weight to make me healthier. I guess it is like living sustainably…you have to go through a bit of a mind swap about how you are going to do things. Nat has a sparkle in her eyes that was decidedly missing at the beginning of the year; she is one of the lecturers at the Polytechnic who has been subject to WAY too much change in a very short space of time. Having mum die in January left me emotionally depleted, stressed out and feeling very tired. You would expect that to be the case but coming back from holidays and having the equivalent amount of stress levelled at you in the form of job cuts, workload increases and job insecurity is not far from what I had to deal with. I commiserate with anyone involved in education, health and law in Tasmania at the moment and hope that the worst is over now for all of you and that our state government don’t decide to give themselves a 38% pay raise for their atrocious misuse of public monies like they are postulating at the moment because our tubby little state premier is NOT above suffering the same fate as Marie Antoinette and there are not many of us still eating cake Lara…

What do we have here….


I LOVE pigs…one day I am going to get a pig or two (they like friends) and we will have pigs on Serendipity Farm. These little slips were on their way to their new home after being bought at auction in Launceston. Hopefully they end up somewhere nice with lots of delicious blackberries to rootle and live a nice long life.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 08:55:49

    MMMmmmmmmmmm pork crackle…..mmmmmmmmmm! You know Fronkii, you probably havent seen that willow tree before because it probably walked there. It has that look about it, kind of like a tree ent from Lord of the Rings. Hahahahaha!


  2. Roz Takes
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 19:52:42

    I too love pigs and well remember when I used to bottle feed the runts of the litters. Some of them grew up knowing they were human and cried to come into the kitchen on the little farm we had at Cuballing. Pigs can be wonderful but when they become pets how then do you send them to market.


    • narf77
      Mar 16, 2012 @ 21:46:16

      In our case you don’t they become members of the family along with the squillion exponentially reproducing hens and everything else that moves in…


  3. Pinky
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 20:10:10

    I think the trick is to never let yourself become attached to farm animals Roz. You have to only ever see them as food but give them lots of thanks for being your food. Thats what I used to do. Look after the beasties, give them love and good food and water and they tasted much better.
    The only other choice is becoming a vegetarian and that would never do for a carnivore like me!


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