Its official folks…Earl now OWNS Deviot. He urinated on every second guidepost from the Deviot Yacht Club back to the Auld Kirk Church in Sidmouth near our home today. We were getting tired of depressed dogs on shopping day and so Steve decided to give Bezial a much needed ego boost and take him to town. Poor Bezial does it tough in our household. He used to be the only dog here but had to push his luck and start acting like he was depressed and refusing to eat so that we would think that he was lonely, rather than the spoiled manipulative hound that he was and so we took pity on him and bought a new friend for him in the form of little imported Earl. You would think that Bezial would have learned about companions after Qi took over and ruled the roost when we were living in town but he just couldn’t resist the chance to try to take over the universe and the result is Earl. He has NO-ONE but himself to blame for the arrival of Earl (and perhaps Qantas can be held vaguely responsible for the depositing of Earl on Tasmanian soil…). Earl is a wonderful dog. He is fantastic with other dogs and can read them well unlike Bezial who gives off intense vibes and sets every dog this side of the Pecos (and the Pecos is a very VERY long way away from Sidmouth Tasmania folks!) off with his vibes. The problem is that Bezial HATES to share. He has never been much of a cuddly boy and expects Earl to be the same but Earl loves nothing more than cuddles, adoration and hugs. Bezial is somewhat disgusted at Earls upside down love fests but puts up with them for the sake of the peace and sometimes he just likes to go back to what it was like before Earl when he was numero uno and Steve was all his. Today he has travelled into Launceston in the front seat (usually a big no-no), he has had a walk in his sacred ground (an old swampy bit of land just up from where we used to live), he has shared a foot long breakfast sub (bacon, egg and cheese) with Steve and has been ferried all over the place and allowed out to walk in the park and various other special places all on his own. Bezial is in heaven.
Princes Square where Bezial dragged Steve in solitary delight on Monday
Earl and I travelled with Steve and Bezial this morning to be dropped off in the dark at the Deviot Yacht Club. We set off back home so that Earl would get his exercise (very important or he eats things…) and I would get mine (ditto to Earl 😉 ). We were armed with a trusty small torch and my mother’s walking stick inherited from her mother. Not because I had any physical need of it but because it was light and easy to wield with one hand in case of stray dogs deciding to “have a go” at Earl on the way home. Tasmanians don’t believe in adhering to rules. “Hey mate…if I was sposed to have moi dog on a loid…woi dint thay giv me wun wiv the dorg ay?”… Dogs run free from driveways with impunity in our neck of the woods and I would rather be safe than sorry! Thankfully mum/grandma’s (and perhaps her mum’s before her…) stick didn’t have to be employed to thwack dogs today and we had a lovely meandering walk home and as mentioned, Earl cheerfully pee’d on every second post and dethatched most of the road verge in his youthful eagerness to make his presence felt. By the time he got home he had no “presence” left to feel! He had to fill up with a big drink of water when we got in for the next round. We got to share the most amazing sunrise this morning. Rain is on the way but Earl and I just stood there marvelling at the beauty of it and feeling exceedingly special to be allowed to have God share it with just the 2 of us. Earl helped me make the bed (the middle pillow may never recover from his “help”…) and helped me feed the chooks by barking at the cats. I have been able to give Earl Heaps of cuddles and hugs as Bezial isn’t here to give me withering looks every time I do. We might have to do this more regularly as it’s good for the boys to be apart sometimes and get a special bit of attention each. Earl loves Bezial and misses him badly whenever he isn’t here. I know that somewhere underneath Bezials black bear coat that he loves Earl too but you wouldn’t know it! I raced around the house after Earl with a toy as he careened around the walls, floor and furniture in manic glee. He ended up under our bed with the toy in question and I actually managed to get him puffing which is very hard for the rubber band formerly known as “Earl”. When Bezial and Steve get home the 2 dogs will perform feats of callisthenic activity that would gain them automatic inclusion in the Australian Olympic gymnastics squad should they ever see fit to halt their interspecies racial intolerance but for today that means that I won’t bother hauling all of the rugs that Earl previously left in disarray back to their correct positions until they have finished their reunion frolics and all is calm on the Western Front.
The parents of our (still to be planted out) olive pits bordering Marian’s vinyard in Deviot
This time we remembered to take a photo of the varieties of olive so that we have an idea of what to get scion material for when it comes time to graft
From the other side of the road looking at the teeny little bus stop for the area
I have finally become a fully-fledged card carrying vegan again. The only thing that had been holding me back previously was my ongoing addiction to black tea with milk in it. I couldn’t stand it black as the tannin makes me twitch and not using soy milk (no genetic modification for me Mateo’s!) left me with few satisfactory non-dairy milks to use. Everything I tried was either too watery or allowed the tannin flavour to seep through or tasted weird. I am a tea puritan and if I don’t get at least a bucket large cup of it once a day I am not fun to be around. I finally found the answer thanks to my daughter Madeline giving me back the remnants of a large bag of almonds that I had left with her when we moved here. To say that they were probably out of code is an understatement but they were in the freezer and they tasted pretty good so bollocks to codes! I ate a few as snacks and used the last of the bag to have a go at making some almond milk. I had read that it was good in tea and wanted to try it so soaked the remaining nuts overnight and used my VitaMix to process them finely, strained them through a fine sieve and the resulting “milk” tasted delicious. Taste was important but what would it be like in tea? I usually have 2 tea bags in my large tea cup but we tried 1 tea bag and it was delicious. I got the added bonus of the left over strained almond pulp. Not liking to waste anything if I can help it I decided to research what to do with it and the pioneering people who went before me most generously shared their knowledge and I ended up putting the pulp (after it was thoroughly pressed to remove as much of the milk as possible) onto a sheet of baking paper (next time I will use one of my re-usable silicone sheets that I got with my dehydrator but this time was an experiment), into a baking dish and placed in Brunhilda’s 4th, and coolest “warming” oven where I also defrost the dogs meat from the freezer over the course of the day. The 2 tasks were NOT combined on this occasion :o). The result was a very light fluffy almond “flour” that can be used in baking or combined with other things to make muesli. I am going to experiment with adding sesame seeds to increase the calcium. I love the taste, I can make it myself and I don’t have to worry about my ecological footprint and will be planting out some almond trees in the near future so that my milk futures are a step closer to being totally sustainable as well.
It would appear that Aurora have better things to do at the moment than fix this problem. It may not be totally obvious, but they have tied a rope to this overhead power line, thrown the rope through a branch on this tree and pulled it up. I guess they will get around to actually sorting out the problem one day…maybe…
Is that the overhead power line being precariously held there by this chunk of salvaged rope? No kidding guys! I shouldn’t give them too much jip I suppose, the outage was over 12 hours so we were sent a cheque for $80…”Woo Hoo! That almost pays our next power bill :)”
I am still madly in love with Brunhilda. I can hear the small weathered river stone that I placed in her ticking away as the kettle simmers on the hob. If I CAN’T hear the stone I know that the kettle’s water is getting low. I got this tip from my grandmother years ago and remembered it when we bought Brunhilda. My grandmother had a wood burning stove that always seemed to be on the go. She produced the most delicious roasts, cakes etc. from that stove and that’s what made me want one all these years on. Her kitchen was the hub of our fractured family’s existence and it was a very rare day that we didn’t go to see gran. My grandmother’s ingenuity went hand in hand with this kitchen and she made her own Tamarind paste long before tamarind was something that anyone had heard about, let alone used in their cooking. She grew herbs, made all sorts of lotions and potions and back in the distant past she would no doubt have been looked on most suspiciously by the religious establishment for her “nefarious” activities. Thankfully she was born into the 20th century but she was most definitely a pioneering spirit and was very artistic and creative and taught us all to be adventurous with our minds. Thanks for that gran. It’s only now that I truly appreciate what you did for us and I will be sure to give any dog that tries to stick it’s nose out of the driveway untethered a hefty “THWACK” for you.
The next couple of weeks are going to be spent working our way through our studies. We will be putting in an application of interest in a course that will enlighten us in the magic art of Illustrator 5. The course also teaches printing etc. but the best bit about the course is that we can do it from home like we are currently doing our diploma. We have to go through an interview process but hopefully the fact that this is a certificate 3 course, we have been at Polytechnic in the recent past, we have completed 2 Diploma’s (by that stage we will have…) AND that we have a proven track record in working at home on our own should all go in our favour when they are making their selection criterion for this hugely popular course.
This old horse has most certainly seen more than a few winters and a bit of frost isn’t going to put him off!
I am utterly in love with my early morning pre sunrise winter ritual of getting up on my own and heading out to the kitchen to greet the morning. Steve likes to lay in a bit until I bring him his first cup of coffee in bed and I don’t mind one little bit. It’s dark when I get out of bed. It’s also inevitably quite cold in our bedroom as it’s the furthest from the kitchen where our heat source latently drizzles out the heat after being damped down overnight and coincidentally, the kitchen is the place where I find Bezial waiting for his early morning “me” time with me basking on his small sofa next to Brunhilda. I don’t know who loves Brunhilda more, to be honest, Bezial or me. I take pride in being able to navigate our house in the dark. Nothing to do with all of the carrots that I eat and everything to do with the dominant knee protrusions lying in wait to deliver a not inconsequential blow to any unsuspecting joint that dares to forget its place in the dark. I run my hand along the bedroom wall and can see the day when there is a well caressed groove in that short distance. After our bedroom (and the chunky footer of our bed…the most dangerous source of joint pain in the entire house…) I am ok to just walk. Once I get to the kitchen the very first step is to wake Brunhilda from her slumber. Brunhilda rises like the phoenix after a few sticks and has the polished river stone in my first kettle of water tap-dancing before I have time to settle down in front of the computer to immerse myself in the early morning magical world of rss feed reading. I can then lose myself for an hour (depending on how lazy Steve is feeling) in my gardening, recipe and sustainable living blogs over that first precious cup of elixir of life tea. Thus starts my day on Serendipity Farm over the winter. Summer is going to bring a LOT of changes. No Brunhilda to greet me and sunlight WAY before I decide to tumble out of bed. I dare say that the bedroom wall will be thankful for summer but I, my dear constant readers, will not.
The almond pulp left over from making my almond milk that I dried out in Brunhilda
What it looks like after being pulverised into almond flour. Both batches that I have made so far end up with a smell reminiscent of malted grain and should make an interesting addition to various baked items.
Well I just hit 2000 words. I keep trying to make my blog posts shorter but life imitates art here folks and I am known for my verbosity. The problem is that I was born to share and this primal need often overrides my ability to cull my posts. It feels like when you see people with their toddlers on a leash… just know that I am at least trying :o). I was looking up the lineage of the name Brunhilda. It’s derived from the Norse “Brunhilde” and my maternal grandmother, who I feel a close kinship with and an even closer ethos was called Hilda. My grandfather was called Hamilton. Neither of those names would appear today on the “most desirable baby names” list and thank goodness for that! Now that I have enough years under my belt to be able to throw around the odd thought or two with some life experience to tamp it into my philosophical Sherlock Holmes pipe… I have learned to embrace and enjoy my life sans mainstream acceptability. I am proud of my working class history, my upbringing and indeed everything about my life that brought me to the place where I sit here typing this post right now. I love each and every one of my children utterly and the man that I share my life with I consider my soul mate (even though we are complete opposites and will never understand each other till the day that we die…). I am most probably the luckiest woman I know. I dare say that there is someone else out there luckier…but I am content to be the luckiest woman on Serendipity Farm and am entirely grateful, thankful and in debt to God and to the circumstances that put me here. Cheers…and thanks for all the non-meaty fish ;).
Sunrise Sunday morning…and we didn’t even get any rain!
Freezing cold but very pretty…these photos don’t do it justice
Back (segueing nicely) to Brunhilda… anyone over the age of about 10 will have heard of Bugs Bunny. I actually didn’t like the smug little git and aligned myself more with that little black duck that raged even more spectacularly than his more mainstream cousin Donald. Bug’s was the cartoon equivalent of a psychopath and most certainly NOT to be idolised by anyone’s children. He did whatever he wanted to and turned his antagonists into gibbering idiots on more than a solitary occasion. My most lasting memory of a journey that he took underground almost in its entirety with Daffy Duck (we can only guess that Bugs and his pathological ability to lie drove Daffy to the depths of travelling underground to Pismo beach as ducks tend not to like being in this sort of environment) occasionally sticking his head out of the ground uttering the famous lines “I shoulda taken that left toin at Albukoikee”. I discovered the following and I quote: –
“Some of Chuck Jones’ colleagues got lost commuting from the Southeast US to Hollywood and ended up lost out in the New Mexico boonies. The experience was memorable enough to create an inside joke that ultimately became the means by which Bugs Bunny ended up in the middle of nowhere. The joke was that Bugs was actually trying to get to Hollywood but got diverted in Albuquerque.”
The Bugs and Daffy episode ended up with Daffy showing his greedy side at the expense of his sanity and physical wellbeing but another episode involving Bugs Bunny and his poor long suffering antagonist Elmer Fudd, involved Bugs toying with poor addled Elmer and pretending to be Brunhilde to avoid being “pwugged” by Elmer’s gun. Pathological lying…psychopathic bullying behaviour AND cross dressing all designed to amuse children…can we now, perhaps, understand why the baby boomers are all a bit “exit stage right” about life?! Here’s a picture of Bugs being found out in his lie and an inch away from being “pwugged” from the episode “Herr Loves Me, Hare Loves Me Not”…
I got this from this site where you can purchase this very hand painted film cell framed for a mere $1,325.00. I can’t quite justify paying that sort of money and will be content with hoping that my brain keeps remembering this film cell in its entirely free format inside my head for many years to come…
I wonder if my grandmother’s lineage harks back to Norse kinship. She was a most determined and strong woman and should any of you have a bit of spare time you can head on over to this site and read a bit about Wagner and his Ring cycle operas (3 in total).
It would seem that I have more than a paternal smattering of Germanic heritage. Reading this description of a Valkyrie most definitely reminds me of my grandmother…
“(The Valkyries are female, but they are warlike females. Not only that, Brünnhilde has to have a voice capable of outshouting a full Wagnerian orchestra for 4-plus hours. Hence the cliché of the massive armour-girt soprano with breastplates and horns.)”
Grandma was neither massive nor loud but was most definitely the patriarch of our family where women were survivors and were born to serve their man. You didn’t butt horns with grandma and come out the other side wholly intact…although that most CERTAINLY didn’t stop me trying…
Is it Earl locked out…or Steve locked in?!
Steve’s tea tonight…home-made chicken and mushroom pies made with cheese shortcrust, free range rooster and a local salad dressing (no food miles there 🙂 ) That egg is one of 15 eggs that we found in a hidden nest today. No doubt we will be finding many more eggs from now on. The secret is to listen for the hens telling everyone that they have laid an egg and backtracking to find the source! We will beat you yet Yin!
Well I just hit 3000 words and that’s my curtain call folks…forgive my foray off into the world of the Valkyries but to be honest, you could all do with a good cultural shake up, and what’s better than a Wagnerian Opera to stir up your inner cobwebby machinations. I might even delve into Donald Duck and his desire to teach his nephews a lesson when he thinks that they have been smoking cigars and they have actually bought them for him. He makes them smoke every last cigar and then finds out his error…lesson learned on both counts! We can all learn from both our elders AND our children and thus ends the lessons for today dear brethren…see you same time on Saturday for the matinee session…