Invasion of the Choko

Hi All,

It’s 3.13am Thursday morning and I have decided to tap away here for a little bit because I am waiting for my RSS Feed Reader to load. After it reached 525 posts and my eye started to twitch involuntarily I decided to head off for a bit and distract myself. Steve and I are juggling studies and dog walking with our annual winter wind-down. I have almost knitted a pair of gauntlets. I live in the knitting world between day and night. I spend a few short moments of my time knitting furiously before I start to fall asleep and have to lay my needles down and go to bed. Usually I am pretty tired by this point and have to make sure that my half asleep brain remembers to put the knitting back into my knitting bag and hide it in the spare room. There are always a pair of eyes watching me when I knit. I must admit, the pair of eyes has learned not to jump on me and steal my wool while I am knitting. I figure the pair of eyes turning 3 this year might be part of it but it is a small victory and something to be celebrated. When I was untangling the wool that I got from my daughter earlier in the week (and no Bethany, you STILL can’t have it back! 😉 ) he trotted past the tangled heap on the table and did a classic double take. He trotted back in a most interested way and after I told him “NO” he trotted off to a safe distance away (obviously my “NO” has a personal space…) and proceeded to watch me like a hawk for any signs that my defences were down and he could launch in to take possession of the delicious tangle of fun on the kitchen table. Alas…my defences didn’t drop and he didn’t even get to sniff the wool.

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As soon as Earl realised that I had picked up my camera to take a picture of him completely upside down with his legs in the air, both he and Bezial decided to turn away…party poopers!

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Steve thinks I am not going to use this photo and the next one. Earl is looking decidedly demented in this shot 😉

Earl isn’t like other dogs. Earl is as close to a wild dog as you are going to get without adopting a wolf. Up until now we have often felt like we are walking a tightrope with him because he just did what he wanted to do and we didn’t know how to deal with it. There were times when we first bought Earl when I would look into his eyes and see “alien”. He just felt completely and utterly foreign to me. Not a dog, sort of a bunch of muscles from mars. After numerous attempts to try to train him he seemed untrainable. It would be easy to think that Earl was stupid. He doesn’t listen, he eats the furniture and even after the humans go spare he still does what he wants. Nothing worked and unlike Bezial, he didn’t learn from his mistakes, he just kept making them.  He obviously thinks he rules the roost but something has happened to Earl over the last 6 months. He has decided that he loves us. He even loves his fat old sofa buddy Bezial. In allowing himself to love us he has also allowed himself to start fitting in to the hierarchy here. He is starting to listen to commands. “NO” is something he understands now. I don’t ever think he didn’t understand “NO” I just think he chose not to worry about it. Now he wants to please us and get cuddles and have us say “Good Dog!” and pat him. Earl is an attention hog. He loves nothing more than being loved and it’s lucky that Bezial could care less about cuddles because Earl is always there to lap up any attention that anyone wants to give him.

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I think this is priceless…all 3 of my boys looking completely and utterly doo-lally! SHHH! Stop laughing…Steve will hear you! 😉

Now the following image isn’t going to make an OUNCE of sense to anyone outside of Australia and of a “certain age” but here it is anyway…doesn’t Milo bear a canny resemblance to Steve in this image?! 😉

Milo with guitar

If Steve EVER finds this post it could be enough reason for a divorce! 😉

Where I said earlier that it would be easy to think that Earl was stupid I meant that he never seemed to learn anything. We spent 6 months trying to teach him the benefits of shaking hands. He eventually learned it and if you pull out a treat bag that little front paw is straight up in the air. Earl is the least “stupid” dog I know. What Earl is, is his own dog. He might have a feral edge a mile wide but that edge is completely tempered with how a dog should act. The problem is that Steve and I aren’t dogs and Bezial doesn’t think that he is one either and Earl is trying to teach us the ways of the pack. Obviously he is top dog in his pack order but after 3 years he is starting to see that there are benefits in allowing the pink hairless ones to think that they are the boss. There are some quality games to be had when you drop the toy that you are holding. Dropping prey is foreign to a dog. Why would you drop your hard won fluffy squirrel for another dog?! Earl recently showed me how clever he was. He often brings a toy in to the computer in the afternoon and presses it gently onto the knee of whoever is using the computer at the time. It’s his way of saying “a game would be nice around about now, you obviously need to check off that seat before you start to resemble Bezial…” it is also the precursor to his long and convoluted series of stages that he goes through before his meal. He brought the toy to me and pressed it onto my knee looking up at me with enormous doe eyes. Earl is VERY good at doe eyes. Nature gave him Chinese eyes but he has learned to open them wide and can melt hearts with those eyes. I think it’s the fact that you don’t expect that adoration and innocence from that body.

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Admittedly this doesn’t look tasty. It looks like something that might once have been tasty but that has passed through the digestive tract of the enjoyer and is on it’s way to the sewer. It is, however, delicious! This is date paste that has had a good slug of Jack Daniel’s, a splosh of Hazelnut liqueur, a glug of Stones Green Ginger Wine and a gargle in some delicious maple syrup (all with the complete acceptance of my daughters who owned all of these ingredients 😉 ). It tastes like scrumptious smooth fruit mince and I am going to make some coconut vegan vanilla ice-cream and swirl some of this gorgeousness through it.

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This is a choko that has broken it’s banks and that is growing. I am happy for it to grow, in fact, I am ecstatic! Jean of the wonderful blog “allotment adventures” has been waxing lyrically about choko’s for a while now and has reignited my memories of these humble tasteless vegetables. I have eaten them boiled and this is what turned me off them BUT I have also enjoyed them immensely without even knowing that they were in what I ate. They are carriers of flavour, sort of the green vegetable equivalent of tofu (except nothing like it 😉 ). They work well in jams, marmalade and eke out the prize tasty ingredients by being content to stay in the background while the prized fruit shines. Love them or loath them, Serendipity Farm is about to have a choko vine :). Those strange looking things underneath the choko used to be red Jerusalem artichokes. For some reason once I put them into this bowl and they all deflated! The white stuff is not mould but is flour (Steve is a messy cook 😉 )

Earl and I have a special bond. Apparently he sees me as his property. He knows that as “property” I have my disadvantages. One of them is that I go ballistic at a moment’s notice. To own property like me you need to be dedicated. I am like owning an old degrading WW2 bomb, I am unstable and I am dangerous. I might look barnacled and benign but beneath my pock-marked surface I am ticking and Earl knows it. I would like to think that he has decided that I am his mistress. That I rule the roost here and that I am to be listened to but I fear I am barking up the wrong tree and Earl has just decided to let me do what I want to do so long as I keep scratching him in the right places, cuddling him and telling him he is a good boy and I let him sleep at my feet on the bed. There is a whole lot more to Earl’s love than that. I am doing him an injustice there. When Earl loves, he adores. If he was a human he WOULD be a Viking. He would be all man muscular and handsome and when he fell in love it would be that amazing real deal. There would be roses and feet being swept off and forever and lots and lots of fluffy squirrel donations but he isn’t a man, he is a dog and that makes him a little more manageable. He is satisfied with his lot aside from a constant need to be the cream that rises to the top. He knows that Bezial was here first and that Bezial has a part of Steve’s heart that he will never be able to fill. I give Earl that love that he craves and as the only “bitch” in the family I qualify for his undivided attention and Earl IS learning to fit in now. I wouldn’t trust Earl with anything other than a human but with a human I would trust him implicitly. Earl is the sort of dog that you could send your 10 year old child off with and KNOW that nothing was going to happen to them. He instinctively knows how he is supposed to act. There are no fears in Earl (aside from squirty water bottles and a strange terror of noises that come out of mobile phones that send him running) and I know that if any of us, Bezial included, were ever to be attacked he would fight for us to the death. I know that like I know the morning will come. I love Earl and my early fear of his animalistic alien-ness has mellowed to acceptance and real love. We have an understanding now that runs much deeper than the here and now and Earl and I navigate through our day’s one fluffy squirrel at a time.

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Lastly…you tell ME how you pronounce that without the library lady jumping over her desk and washing your mouth out with soap! 😉

Sorry about the bad photo but it was raining and a bit dark today so the flash kept going off. Here’s todays library haul. James Wong is a legend and the other 2 books are some recipe books that I have been interested in messing about with. The black book has some most interesting recipes in it “crack pie” and “cereal milk ice cream” are only 2 of the choices but I am having fun going through the yellow book that has recipes for making your own ramen…now who wouldn’t want to know how to make good quality ramen!

It’s windy and rainy and thundery and lightning and absolutely LOVELY! It’s great to have a bit of foul weather for once and to know that it really is winter. The weather worldwide seems to have become somewhat confused. Steve and I have been so grateful that we bought Brunhilda when we did. She is certainly paying for herself now with endless hot water, free cooking and house warming. We have been cracking through our media course and are learning heaps about Adobe Flash and have recently been animating household objects. Steve animated his coffee cup and I animated a set of 3 Babushka dolls that I picked up somewhere. Lots of fun and another feather in our caps should we ever need to look like Indian Chiefs. I am lusting after getting out into our new veggie garden. I need to source some hay but at the moment we are starting to prep ourselves for the impending visit of friends and family for my rapidly approaching “big” birthday. There is snow on Mount Wellington Kymmy! We can go up together and make a snowman. I want to post a picture of Kym and I making a snowman and throwing snowballs at each other (not sure how I am going to take a photo of us BOTH throwing snowballs but hey, leave it with me! 😉 ). My sister Pinky is coming over as is the son-and-heir and his Texan sweetie Kelsey so there will be quite a few more than usual hovering around Serendipity Farm.

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Here’s my gauntlets so far. It’s just about time to swap over to that brown wool so I am going to have to bite the bullet and cast off!

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These are my daughter Bethany’s. I forgot to take them off when I borrowed them the other day and only remembered halfway home so Steve will be taking them back on shopping day. I wonder if anyone out there would know where I could find a pattern (and the knitting ability) to make a pair of these? I LOVE them!

Steve headed off and took a few motion blur images of Glad’s little waterfall that runs through her property. She was out raking leaves (not bad for 91) and said “Knock yourselves out!” when we asked her if she minded us taking photos. She recently burned the junction where the waterfall meets the outflow pipe (into the Tamar River) to remove all of the oak leaves that were clogging it and its lucky that she did because this recent rain has caused the stream to flow wonderfully and it would have backed up into her garden if it was full of leaves. The roosters are crowing in unison under the deck. I wouldn’t care so much if they weren’t situated directly underneath me. They are big roosters and those large lungs are apparently there to increase the noise. We just discovered that one of the smaller “hens” is a rooster. It is going to be a most beautiful rooster because it is a cross between Big Yin (a standard golden Wyandotte rooster) and one of Effel Dookarks offspring (She was a blue Wyandotte) and it has a lovely grey tail. We might even keep him and see what he looks like. The other 2 are living on borrowed time. We were recently given the bones from a piglet purchased from a local producer by our friends. They were ostensibly for the dogs but Earl is “funny” about bones and when he saw how many bones were on offer he started to strut around and we decided to stop a problem (with Bezial) before it occurred. He got a couple of bones (that he promptly ran off to hide with his nose) and the rest went into a stockpot with lots of water while I was away. If I had been here, I would have done something with them but Steve just let them simmer till they reduced down to about ¼ of their original weight and the next day they had turned to jelly. The dogs didn’t want to even contemplate eating it. They are VERY fussy for big dogs. The feral cats got it all and enjoyed every single jelly filled mouthful. I think Steve just made instant canned cat food…”Jelly meat anyone?” 😉

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Here’s the back of them. Note the cute mitt conversion kit that…

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Flips over when you need your fingers to be warm

I am just finishing off todays post whilst waiting for my RSS Feed Reader to download todays haul. I have dumped a few peripheral blogs that I no longer read and am tailoring my blog feeds to what I am now interested in. My interests tend to evolve on a regular basis but revolve predominately around vegan food and recipe blogs and baking sites along with some gardening and environmental sites. Most of the blogs that I follow post infrequently which is amazingly lucky for me because I have so many of them. I have almost managed to get back to a maintenance level where I empty my feeds every day. It takes me about a week of intensive shuffling to do it after a weekend away. I am going to have a LOT of feeds after my week with Kym but there is an option called “The Panic Button” that you can press that eliminates all posts older than a specified date (you choose) so I might just have to get ruthless on them or die trying to eliminate them. My choko is sprouting nicely, my gauntlets are almost finished and now I found a tutorial reminding me how to cast off, I should be able to finish them soon :o). That should tell you how long it has been since I last knitted! We are enjoying using rainwater in our kettle to make our daily beverages now. I also use it to make my kefir. I have been batching up my excess non-dairy kefir and freezing it in ice-cube trays ready for warmer times when I can get back to drinking green smoothies for breakfast without sustaining frost bite of the lip.

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These are my lovely rainbow wool socks that my son bought for me one mothers day a few years ago. Earl “redecorated” them :(. I am in the process of pulling what is left of them apart, re-joining the hand dyed wool together and then I might just attempt to recreate a pair of those lovely hooded mitts. I know that they will probably be HUGE and I won’t be able to do or feel anything with them but as they are chunky wool, at least I won’t have cold hands!

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The biscuit barrel is starting to get low…time to bake some more! That’s my non-dairy kefir doing its thang next to the bickies

I just found an excellent blog site (that I promptly added to my feed 😉 ) all about making and using worm wicked water beds. An excellent resource and here is the website for anyone interested in this wonderfully water-wise way of vegetable gardening…

http://www.jas49580.blogspot.com.au/

And here’s another great blog with free PDF’s about soil mycology and how to build and use water wicking veggie garden beds. You can now get an idea why I never manage to get entirely through my RSS Feed Reader…I keep finding new and amazingly useful sites! 😉

http://www.wickingbed.com/

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This is one of Steve’s sponge cakes. He just tossed this one together for a friends birthday tomorrow. He will be taking orders when he recovers from the effort 😉

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I KNEW this choko had designs on taking over Serendipity Farm! This image was taken this afternoon…the image at the beginning of the post was taken about 2 hours earlier…it is growing exponentially! By Wednesday we will all be trapped inside and it will be demanding to be fed…actually…look at the end of it. it bears an uncanny resemblance to “Audrey” from The Little Shop of Horrors!

It would seem that I have fallen prey to the dreaded lurgy folks. Not bad, but definitely making me feel tender and sniffy. How lucky am I that I can settle down next to Brunhilda and fall asleep over my knitting or a book. Steve is off hunting Aurora Australis somewhere in Deviot. Apparently there are sun spots at the moment and that means a greater than average chance (60% if you care) of seeing the Aurora Australis from the Southern states of Australia. As Tassie is about as far south as Australia gets (apart from our vested interests in Antarctica…) we have a good viewpoint. Steve has plans for taking some time-lapse photography tomorrow involving the river and some yachts. This wind brings the yachters out en masse. I think I might be just about to call this post done and dusted folks. Today has been “smooth”. Not bad to be smooth when you are sick, just coasting along and nothing major…just “smooth”. Tomorrow will hopefully be just as smooth and won’t have me crusty and with a handkerchief permanently welded to my nasal area. Wish me luck and see you on Wednesday :o)

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At least if the choko manages to eat me, it will get its just deserts! 😉

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43 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 19:13:40

    Dear Fran. I am so sorry that you are not feeling well. Hope you are much better very soon. Keep warm.
    Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I am so excited by your magnificent choko! Wow is it sprouting. Did you ever see the movie “The Day of the Triffids” about the plants that attack people (and probably want to take over the world but I can’t remember). Better not turn your back on that choko of yours, when these plants start growing before your eyes – that’s the first sign !!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 06, 2013 @ 19:16:00

      I also thought of Day of the Triffid Jean! I read that book and it scared the living daylights out of me when I was younger. I think they made it into a series and I couldn’t watch it ;). I have my eye on that choko (triffid) and have stationed Earl right next to it…one false move and it’s OUT! 😉

      Reply

  2. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 20:21:05

    Ew, I cannot stand chokos. The dogs are just gorgeous as are the rainbow used-to be-socks. A mate of Rogers wears socks like that with his orange slippers lol. I wear black ones only, verrry exciting footwear in this house!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 07, 2013 @ 03:03:44

      I get the feeling I would get on with Roger’s mate 🙂 I am drawn to bright colours, must be the magpie in me. I thought that I couldn’t stand chokos either BUT they are fantastic in preserves. Did you ever hear of those pie melons that our mums (well mine…) used to use to pad out the marmalade and other jams? Well choko’s do the very same thing. They don’t add much flavour but they do add the bulk. I previously hated them as well but am willing to give them another go. I think we were both force to consume them boiled (ECH!).

      Reply

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Jul 07, 2013 @ 07:26:14

        Yeah, you probably would lol. We bought him a bright pink hate as a joke and he loved it, wore it all the time. I’m a jeans and brown jersey sort of girl lol. No, I’ve never heard of pie melons…I dislike few vegetables but once I do (and yes, from eating them boiled) I fear it stays with me for life. I cannot stand parsnip, I have childhood memories of sitting over a plate gagging on it and being told to sit until it was all gone….I smell it now and almost want to bring out a large cross to ward away the evil lol

  3. cathyandchucky
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 21:18:59

    I am looking forward to coming over and seeing you Fronkii. With luck, you wont have turned into a choko! I’m referencing that ancient TV show that had Hattie Jaques in it (i think) and people were getting turned into pumpkins if they touched you. Do you remember that show?

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 07, 2013 @ 03:05:32

      Yes I do but no-one else seems to! You try finding it on the net and Steve thought that I was making it up. Big bouncing pumpkins that touched you…I was terrified! Sounds hilarious now doesn’t it? ;). It was probably even a comedy but at the time we were little kids and that scared the daylights out of me. The choko is more likely to consume me whole like Audrey out of The Little Shop of Horrors (well Audrey 2, Audrey 1 was the girl wasn’t she?).

      Reply

      • cathyandchucky
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 09:30:25

        The one kids show that gave me the heebiejeebies was about Stonehenge and a weird town led by an odd smiling man. Reminded me of a real estate agent for some reason! They give me the heebiejeebies too! THiese weird cult people kept saying something like “Happy day” or something like that.

      • narf77
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 09:41:06

        I remember that one as well! (I am just off to hide behind the couch for a bit…) I saw that new Sarah Jane kids show (the end of it last night) and it was a bit sad wasn’t it ;). Oh well, at least K-9 was the same! Reminded me of Earl a bit 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 10:06:48

        Yes that is a sad show to watch as we now know she was battling cancer for a long time during the making of it. Earl would love to have a laser that shoots out the end of his nose. We’d all be dead!

      • narf77
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 10:13:43

        I didn’t know that :(. Earl would love something that would laser off the gate latch and then he wouldn’t need the laser any more, he would use his God given abilities to do the rest! No more feral cats 🙂 no more chickens :(. I guess it’s swings and round-abouts 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 10:21:35

        Yes she had Ovarian cancer and was battling it for years apparently. Have you thought about the Zapper collar devices for Earl at all Fronkii? Tahlia and Corey used them on their hounds (Big rhodesian ridgeback and tiny staffy crossed with a rat) and it works, when they’re remembered to be switched on. You could make the boundary the chook pen and the edge of the lawn area:D

      • narf77
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 10:31:49

        Earl has an amazing ability to ignore pain. I doubt that it would stop him to be honest :(. He rolls upside down in the blackberries if he thinks there might be a tasty clucky chook in them and ends up covered in thorns and scratches and could care less about his head or his body…just the end result. He is learning slowly though and I would rather teach him verbal commands than resort to shock collars.

      • cathyandchucky
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 10:52:54

        Whatever works Fronkii. I didn’t really think it would work. Bit like raising children, what works well on one of them, wont work at all on the other 😉

      • narf77
        Jul 08, 2013 @ 15:14:45

        If we did it to Bezial he would never move again! 😉 Earl could care less if he is focussed on something, you have to make sure he is paying attention or he is “gone”. It’s the feral in him 😉

  4. LyndaD
    Jul 06, 2013 @ 21:49:20

    I was thinking about Triffids as well. Those old novels we read at school seem to somehow stick though ive probably read hundreds since and dont remember any.

    I Tried – Moe Moe Foo Koo.

    I think Earl was just trying you on for size and it took a while – finally he deems you worthy of his affection and obedience (of sorts).

    I love Steve’s ever changing hair colour but the beard is kind of wild man or borneo!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 07, 2013 @ 03:07:01

      He saw that photo and said “nup, time to minimise the beard!” ;). I am reading the Momofuku book and the owner of that chain of restaurants actually WANTS people to think of Mother-foo-koo ;). He is that sort of guy 😉

      Reply

  5. thinkingcowgirl
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 02:03:34

    Maybe Steves beard could stand in for hay? 🙂 If not, you can have some of ours….just about to bale it…. Ok, enough with the unhelpful suggestions cowgirl…

    Very impressed with your knitting skills, is there no end to your talents? Sorry to hear you’ve got the lurgy, but maybe you’ll dream up some new ideas while languishing in bed. A bonnet for Earl?

    I’ve never heard of Choko but I think it could spell trouble!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 07, 2013 @ 03:09:31

      A bonnet would certainly keep Earl busy for the length of time it took him to get it off his head and then eat it (say a minute 20?). Steve is reducing his beard to a goatee today ;). I could certainly do with some of your hay, no chance of a large bale sent through the post? ;). I was very impressed with my knitting skills as well! I had completely forgotten how to knit but my fingers hadn’t…the sad thing was that they HAD forgotten how to cast off and were most stubborn in their refusal to even try to. I had to sadly go to the internet, a broken woman, and find out how…

      Reply

  6. teawithhazel
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 09:32:13

    you don’t see chokos much here in melbourne but they seem to grow like weeds in sydney..i remember eating them boiled with butter and loving them but then again i was virtually living on air at the time..hope you feel better soon..x

    Reply

  7. Littlesundog
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 09:33:29

    I don’t know how you expect me to be anything more than a blubbering, blathering jelly brain after all of that information about my beloved Earl! I must confess, I had to research the Choko, as I had never heard of it. Apparently, it isn’t grown here in the states. I’ll just have to feast on your heavenly photos of tasty delights – well, that is if I can take my eyes off of all of these new photos of Earl!

    Reply

  8. Linne
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 12:19:12

    Lovely to hear of Earl’s progress . . . or at least he’s getting very good at displaying progress . . . 😉
    Never heard of chokos until your posts; Mum used apples as extenders and often vegetable marrow. I’ve only liked marrows to eat when done as she prepared them: she would make a stuffing similar to turkey stuffing, cut the marrow in half, take a thin slice off the bottoms so they didn’t tip, then stuff and bake on a cookie (bikkie) sheet. Seems to me she added dabs of butter and some salt and pepper before stuffing.

    Love your gauntlets, but why are you casting off when you switch to brown? Or did I misunderstand? I simply start at the end of a row with the new colour and work the ends in later. Same would go for those rainbow ones, too; Knit as far as you like with a colour, then start with the next one, leaving a bit of a tail on each. Sometimes I tie a loose knot with the tails so as to prevent the yarn pulling out. As to the ‘cap’ on them, I would finish the fingerless part, then on the back pick up stitches partway down (wherever you want the cap to come to) and put them onto a needle or two. Cast on stitches onto another couple of needles (I prefer the old style of using four to hold the stitches and one to knit with; a square is easier for me to manage than a triangle). Knit in the round and shape as you come near the top of your fingers. I find it helps to slip a hand in to make sure I’m at the right place. Hope that helps; if not, or if you have questions, let me know, ok?

    I would have suggested to Steve that he trim the beard a bit closer to springtime and enjoy the extra insulation for now. If he wants it more tidy, braiding (maybe with bits of thread or yarn?) would help . . . 😉 ~ Linne

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 07, 2013 @ 14:14:09

      Hi Linnie, I am casting off because that gauntlet is finished…I might be a bit of a sloth but dragging a ball of wool behind me would be tantamount to a challenge to Earl to do his worst (and just when he was starting to come good… 😉 ). Cheers for the heads up on how to get the cappy bit. That’s the great thing about this social-media-majiggery you get to ask people (in the know) how to do things. I have NO idea how to do that but you did…see? We are all part of a great big community online and if we harness ourselves to people with similar ethos, the sky is the limit for chances to learn and grow :). Anyone else want to weigh in on the gauntlet idea feel free (by the way Bethany… the answer is still “NO” about getting that wool back 😉 )

      Reply

  9. Chica Andaluza
    Jul 07, 2013 @ 20:53:55

    I have never hrard of a Choko but I did have a Japanese friend called Shoko – however, no resemblance at all! Sorry you are feeling a bit “miz”, hope you have another “smooth” day and start to feel better soon 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 08, 2013 @ 02:50:42

      I am already feeling smoother, not so crusty ;). I think eating my weights worth of oranges might have done something towards terrifying the bugs.

      Reply

  10. christiok
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 01:45:08

    “A bunch of muscles from Mars.” You have the gift of description, Fran, no doubt about it. I KNOW Earl! I love it when you pour all your considerable wordsmithing talent into a single character, today the inimitable Earl. And I especially love how he adores you. Ruby is that way about the B.O. And Garfield is my kitty cat.

    Your birthday fast approaches — and as your jam took 3 weeks to get to you last year, I better get it posted this week. Looks like 4-berry again…by the way, I’m up to 44 out of 200 wedding jams (1/2 pints). Yours will be a full pint, though. No half-pints for 50 year olds. Especially ones with the lurgy. 😦 Feel better soon!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 08, 2013 @ 02:56:37

      Its funny that you should mention your amazing jam Christi because Steve and I had been hoarding the very last of the last jar. We had been circling the fridge and hovering with our hands over it and finding the other one watching our moves (like dogs do with the last bone…). There was about 1/16th (yes, I measured 😉 ) of a jar left and a friend down the road had his 56th birthday yesterday. We decided to make him one of Steve’s amazing sponge cakes and to stop us fighting over the last drop of jam we used it to spread in the centre of the cake before we slathered it with fresh whipped cream. Steve took it down to him yesterday (Sunday) and he was incredibly happy and when Steve told him that there was some very special jam inside the cake that came all the way from the border of Canada and Washington State it made his day. Your incredibly generous gift has made a lot of people happy Christi :). I am already feeling better. I think my new way of eating doesn’t allow the bugs to remain happy for long. I have been eating oranges like candy and the bugs are not amused! ;). Earl dragged me from hill to dale on our walk yesterday and today he doesn’t get a walk because Steve is off to town to shop so I can only imagine what he is going to be like. Next time I will talk about Bezial 😉

      Reply

  11. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 11:54:14

    Aww, I just love that photo of your “three boys”- They’re all so adorable! Looks like one big happy family to me… If only you had muscled into the shot too, it would have been perfect.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 08, 2013 @ 15:24:10

      :). I love your work in the mags that you have been sharing with us by the way. You are a force to be reckoned with in the food photography world :). Can’t wait to be able to brag “I know her!” when someone points out your work 🙂

      Reply

  12. Namita
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 13:32:15

    Hi I relished every bit of this post and laughed so many times reading your description about Earl. At one point of time we had 7 dogs and 4 cats,all rescued. My mom would get hysteric at times. Feeding them was never an issue, taming them was. All the furniture would be chewed, slippers half eaten, doormats torn and a dog would even jump and pull away washed clothes from the clothes lining. But they are so selflessly loving and such stress busters!
    And yes pls let me know how to make non-diary kefir. Thanks!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 08, 2013 @ 15:32:37

      Easy peasy on the kefir. Do you have any milk kefir grains? I have been dehydrating some lately and if you would like some (for free) let me know. I sent some to New Zealand only a few weeks ago and they got there. After you get hold of some milk kefir grains you just plonk them into some regular milk to rehydrate. I put mine into soymilk (I make my own) for 3 batches of kefir and on the 4th batch I let them swim around in regular milk. They seem to like it a lot. I also use date paste (just dried dates soaked in boiling water and then blended) to sweeten my homemade soymilk and my kefir love it. I can give you lots of information if you would like to start making the kefir yourself when you get hold of some grains. My soymilk kefir tastes fizzy and tangy and a lot like yoghurt. You can add more date paste to sweeten it and it has a lot of probiotics (40 – 60) which are amazingly good for your health :).

      Reply

  13. brymnsons
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 18:44:36

    Great post Fran. I’m currently sitting in my resort room with the aircon on! What a change from home eh. Loved the photos, especially with your “boys.” Would love to see some snow and make a snowman 🙂 so looking forward to that x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 02:50:46

      I am sitting here this morning feeling like it has snowed inside it is that cold! Lucky you have an amazing feather and down doona on your bed (too hot on ours, we have some sort of wool padding that makes it stay uber warm). We might even pick up a hot water bottle next shop to make sure you are toasty warm when you hop into bed, it really is that cold! We are going to be burning “heaps” off today. A chance to warm things up and tidy up at the same time. Might even cook some baked potatoes in foil in the coals but Brunhilda would be jealous 😉

      Reply

      • brymnsons
        Jul 10, 2013 @ 13:26:06

        Brrrrrr sounds cold. I’m stocking up on some warm before I freeze at home again. Getting in training for Tttttassie 🙂

      • narf77
        Jul 10, 2013 @ 14:01:52

        Hope you like Choko’s as that’s what you are getting for tea ;). Steve is going to buy you a hot water bottle to make sure you are warm at night and I should knit you a beanie…not too sure if you will be able to see out from under it as it will probably look like a Coles supermarket bag by the time I have finished but it will be fun to see you drive wearing it! 😉

  14. Joanna
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 19:29:46

    Was thinking of you as I dislodged a jar of sticky date molases from the shelf which it had adhered to the other day and still thinking about that Stromboli. Hope your lurgi is getting better and now I am going to investigate choko’s they look fun to grow if not to eat by what you say. Stay warm and toasty, sending you heatwave vibes from sweltering England xx

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 20:09:31

      Sticky date molasses? That sounds like something I could get addicted to! I am going to have to look it up now. Do you make it yourself or is it something you buy? Choko’s are a fast growing annual vine that yield an interesting vegetable that you cook like zucchini. They are also called chayote’s and I am going to give them another go with my adult tastebuds ;). My cold seemed to only last a day and has decided to disappear. I have been eating my weights worth of oranges and drinking lots of liquid so that might have gone partway to halting it in its steps. You can have some frigid coldwaves from Sidmouth to balance out your heatwave 🙂

      Reply

  15. Joanna
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 19:31:31

    My investigations have yielded this precious jewel on Wiki
    Due to its purported cell-regenerative properties, it is believed as a contemporary legend that this fruit caused the mummification of people from the Colombian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it. The very well preserved skin and flesh can be seen in the mummies today.[citation needed]

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 09, 2013 @ 20:10:53

      Is that chokos? If so, might be good for we women of “a certain age”…you might just have hit a home run with the fountain of youth! 😉

      Reply

  16. dwayland
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 08:12:28

    You’re right, the pic of Milo didn’t make sense to me, but it cracked me up anyway. Your coconut vegan vanilla ice-cream swirl may not look fabulous, but it sure as heck sounds yummylicious! I’ve been away on vacation again (much needed after all the work that was the baby shower). Hope all is well. 🙂

    Reply

  17. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 06:03:19

    How you read over 500 blogs per day I don’t know. That would take me all day, well possibly a week. It would take me nearly a day to post as many pictures and write as much as you, but then I usually run into some kind of Internet or computer snag. I’m just technologically impaired.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 06:36:29

      Me too, I have Steve, the uber I.T. man to fix my stuff ups for me although, to give myself a bit of credit, I am trying to learn :). I have a lot of muses all vying for my attention and for the chance to spill the inner beans so I never (touch wood) have a problem with creating posts. Anyone out there who wants a spare one let me know…it will usually run to around 2800 words though, that’s when my muses are satisfied and let me drop to the keyboard exhausted after channelling me with gay abandon 😉

      Reply

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