Flipper Hitler

Hi All,

This morning we were walking along the riverbank taking the dogs for a walk and suddenly a seal popped out of the river not 3 metres away from us and scared the living daylights out of us. Bezial was most interested and when the seal submerged, he watched the patterns on the water to follow it’s progress and was spot on looking where the seal re-emerged a few moments later…Earl, however, was MILES off. He was looking upstream when the seal emerged back downstream. He blames Bezial for blocking his sonar ;). Steve knows this seal well. It hangs around waiting for the excess baby salmon from the salmon farm around the corner from us to be ejected into the river. He calls the seal “Flippy” and that reminded me of a recent bought of memory hunting on Youtube that we undertook. Steve comes from Liverpool in the U.K. he used to listen to a most interesting and hilarious radio show as he drove from one guitar lesson to the next (he was a guitar teacher in the U.K.) called “Hold your Plums”. Liverpudlians are known for both their ability to charm the pants off you whilst pinching whatever isn’t nailed down AND their incredible senses of humour. This show was funny! It was sort of an online game show where people phoned up and had a go at guessing questions that the announcers threw at them. Some of the answers were hilarious and seeing Flippy the seal reminded me of an elderly lady in her 80’s who phoned up to have a go. I would like to share the link here with you because it had Steve and I laughing so much our stomachs hurt! If you fancy a bit of a deep belly laugh today, give it a go, it might just do the trick :o)


Here in the frozen outreaches of civilisation in the frigid tundra’s of Sidmouth we Inuit Pimblett’s have decided that we can’t hibernate any longer and we are just going to have to rug up all Russian style and get out into the brilliant sunshine of what amounts to a day trip to the Gulag peninsula in winter. The piles of debris aren’t going anywhere themselves and we need to chop some wood for Brunhilda who never sleeps through winter. She might not be ravenous but she can certainly pack wood away at a slow and steady pace and if we don’t feed her, she goes on strike. I have to rake the driveway and find it again underneath the thin layer of mulch that the chooks scratched up to liberate some unsuspecting invertebrates and to make the place look a bit tidier. We pulled down the temporary low fence around Steve’s precious grafted maple selection because at the moment they are just sticks and no self-respecting wallaby or possum would bother with them. We want to put up a more aesthetically pleasing fence for the coming spring to dissuade the natives from scarfing the new tender maple leaves and to keep the flow of our view out to the Tamar River which is a constant source of enjoyment and wonder for us…we live here…we own this!


Earl doing his best “Earlvis” sneer in preparation for his big debut. As it was, he got stage fright and Bezial had to step into the breech and “woof” for Steve’s animation


As you can see, the choko is starting to take over the kitchen and I am starting to think about where to plant it until the frosts go. Probably in a large pot in the glasshouse for the moment but wherever it goes, it had best go quickly as it is starting to reach for kitchen utensils…


What am I going to do with this bag of apples? I might turn them into apple butter or cook them down until they are quite dry and make an apple spread with some cinnamon.

The huge enclosed veggie garden isn’t going to build itself. We know that because we have been waiting and it hasn’t happened. We figure that means we are just going to have to get off our middle aged derrières and effect the change all by ourselves. We have the last net wall to go up and a gate to pick up from our friend Jenny who generously donated it to the cause and in early spring we are going to cover the lot with black bird netting and good luck to anything getting into the equation aside from us. The enclosure had an impromptu test the other day when we released the hound (the other one stayed firmly tethered to us but mobile) and he pelted up to the back garden and promptly got confused about how to get out. He barrelled into the net walls because he tends to use his brute force to get out of things but this time he ended up bouncing off the wall and stood there looking incredulously at the net…he then tried to bulk his way out of the wall again and failed again. Think sideways trampoline and you can get a bit of a picture of what Bezial was doing. After his second failed attempt he started to wander the peripherals (he was inside the enclosure at this point) pushing the net with his beak to see if he could shove his way out…nope…Steve ended up having to lift the netting for him (very heavy stuff) and release him. If a 40kg American Staffordshire terrier couldn’t muscle his way out of the netting nothing smaller could muscle their way in. I think we are onto a winner here :o).


My underutilised mandoline actually getting a workout for once!


The reason for the mandoline’s outing, we made oven baked potato crisps! Steve ate them all before I could get a photo but it was a test run to see if they were worth the effort it takes to make them…apparently they were :o)


Icy cold but sunny, Winter is delicious when you have a lovely warm fire to go inside to :o)

My leaves all washed down into the Tamar River and floated away to fairer climes (that’s you Victoria). Glad burned some of them and the rest washed away with the decent rain we had. We should have raked them but have been making excuses to stay indoors and out of that icy cold and ended up losing a wonderful free ameliorant for our new garden soil. We have a HUGE pile of horse poo mixed with straw but oak leaves are precious. Glad said that there are still some leaves there and we will head over to rake the leave from under the large oak tree that borders our properties but we really shouldn’t have missed that opportunity for a few trailer loads of free leaf mould for the sake of warm hands. Steve and I spend a lot of time juggling studies and working in the garden and it’s SO easy to push studies to the front and ignore heading out into the cold. We will chalk our leaf loss up to experience and next year we won’t miss out on that glorious free annual chance to bulk up our soil and add a new suite of organisms to our soil mycology.


Mass slaughter in the kitchen (note the nose prints all over the cupboards…) Steve usually brings a few bags of stuffed toys home after his fortnightly shop and this is the scene shortly after we dump them on the floor for the dogs to “play” with 😉


Steve bought me a bonus coconut in the shopping which I decided I was going to turn into coconut butter. First, you need to liberate your coconut, THEN you need to cut all of the brown skin away from the coconut meat and then you need to cut it up finely. I have a vitamix high speed blender and even then it still took ages to process the coconut flesh. Apparently it’s much easier to do this with dry coconut but the resulting finely processed fresh coconut tastes delicious and I am using spoons of it in my breakfast juk


Bugger…this is the second knife that has fallen victim to death by coconut…I am going to have to rethink the way that I liberate my coconut meat!


Mid way through the processing scraping down the coconut puree


Pureed, packed and ready to put on the lid and put in the fridge for future use

Now that I have outed us as lazy comfort seeking bollocks I can redeem myself by saying that today we are heading out, rugged up like Russian Babushka dolls, into the minus Celsius temperatures of Serendipity Farm to burn things. We are going to collect up some of the more aesthetically challenging heaps of branches and twigs that we heaped up and are going to drag them to our burning spot and burn them. Not only will be clearing up the place, but we will be keeping warm at the same time.

I just opened up my RSS Feed Reader this morning (yes…I am STILL doing this post today 😉 ) and had the glorious feeling of being able to manage my RSS Feed Reader…usually I would have somewhere in the vicinity of 600+ posts to manage and try to weave my way through what was “useful” and what was not necessary…I mean seriously folks…how many “recipes” for avocado on toast do we readers REALLY need?!!! On Tuesday I had a bit of a mental crisis. I was over trying to negotiate and satisfy my RSS Feed Reader. It had been a solid week of non-stop trying to eliminate it and I suddenly came to the realisation that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Once I realised that I had become a slave to my RSS Feed Reader I decided to take some action. I eliminated posts AND blogs. I now have a tiny core of key blogs that I read. I can now comment on posts again. I have the time to give each post that I read my undivided attention and I am not just skimming over the hard crafted labour of someone else’s mind to get to the next post and to be finished. I am back to enjoying getting up nice and early to open my mind up and learn from other people. I love the interaction of commenting and if someone has taken the time to share an interesting and informative post with us all, I figure I at least owe them a bit of a head’s up.


The somewhat alarming results of leaving a glass of non-dairy kefir out for a little while…a bit like Mt. Vesuvius!


One of what the dogs have every single day on Serendipity Farm…and we wonder why they are fussy with anything else? 😉


I spy…with my little eye…something…beginning with…”C”…I don’t expect you to look that hard but on a recent visit by dad’s old dog Milo, he happened upon this poor unfortunate feral cat that he promptly chased up this tree…


The cat didn’t come down out of the tree for ages!

So the RSS Feed Reader took a hiding and is a mere shadow of its former self. I have limited my Pinterest action although that’s a hard one because that’s a new addiction and you can find some amazing stuff through Pinterest. I have found that I am redirecting my attentions now away from the gorgeous pamplemousse pies and back to sustainable and frugal hints and tips and crafty deliciousness so I might yet get something worthwhile out of my Pinterest addiction. Steve and I have been cooking up a storm lately. The weather and the free stove have been conducive to us wanting to cook. We have been baking all sorts of delicious things and we both decided that aside from the obvious benefits of Brunhilda, she has given us the ability to not have to worry about what we are going to cook for tea. The ovens are always on, there is always a range of temperatures that whatever we are cooking will fit into and we don’t have to wait for anything to heat up before we can start. We can warm things over her, we can proof our Stromboli dough (Steve has had 2 Stromboli’s in 4 days 😉  ) and she satisfies my need to experiment (read “play”) with my food in a most wonderful way.


Chestnuts for me to cut slits in and then steam ready to make chestnut paste


Some of the chestnut paste mixed with some date paste to be used in some sweet steamed buns

I have been messing around with pastes. I got Steve to pick up some adzuki beans and some more black beans on his last foray into shopping on Monday. He also bought me some sweet potatoes, some chestnuts and 2 enormous pumpkins and some black sesame seed. I have settled on eating juk (Korean thin rice porridge) for my winter breakfasts and have modified the recipe slightly to tweak it to my own personal tastes. I am now starting to get a bit more adventurous with the ingredients that I add. My pumpkin juk was delicious and I found a recipe for black sesame juk to try. I am making pastes so that I can use them to make a sort of “instant juk” like instant porridge for when we get back from walking the dogs and I don’t have to spend half an hour prepping the ingredients to make my breakfast. We have been snowed under in studies lately and our animations are starting to take a fair bit of time to produce. We need to get stuck into our work for the day pretty much as soon as we get in from our walks so having the options of “instant juk” is very appealing. Making my own black sesame, black bean, adzuki bean, reduced pumpkin, reduced sweet potato, chestnut etc. pastes in the fridge was a tantalising thought and so far I have made chestnut puree (half unsweetened and half sweetened with date paste) and am about to spend the weekend making all different kinds of pastes. Most of them will be sweetened by date paste and reduced down to thick unctuousness to increase their shelf life. Think “Korean jam” and the ability to stir a few spoonfuls of whatever flavour I fancy on the day into some water with some fresh ground glutinous rice and have my breakfast ready in 5 minutes is very enticing.


An artistic shot of my last 2 remaining vanilla beans. I used them today to make a rich creamy vanilla custard to make vanilla ice cream tomorrow for Steve


This might not look like much but it is creamy English fudge…well…the beginnings of it 😉


And this is the end of it. Some of this is going to be chopped finely and folded through Steve’s vanilla icecream

My experiments with non-dairy kefir are a huge success. I have managed to harness my kefir grains to 3 days producing homemade organic Aussie soybean milk and 1 day basking in regular whole milk to refresh them and gird their loins. I have learned that kefir grains are sugar freaks. They adore the date paste that I sweeten my homemade soymilk with and float around basking in the glory of it. My grains get huge with this regime and despite dehydrating most of them a few weeks ago; I am going to have to dry another tray of them. I am keeping the dehydrated kefir in the fridge in a jar with some organic milk powder in it to snuggle up to in their frigid dream state to keep them happy. I sent some dehydrated kefir grains to Wendy from the wonderful blog quarteracrelifestyle (that you can find here… http://quarteracrelifestyle.wordpress.com/ ). She lives in New Zealand and we all thought that she would have her grains stopped at customs but they arrived safe and well and are now producing quality kefir for her and her wonderful husband Roger (who we still want to borrow by the way Wendy 😉 ). No doubt they will start to grow exponentially and they will get snowed under with grains and can give some to friends and family. I can’t believe that there are people actually waiting in line to get kefir grains! Mine just keep on growing alarmingly. I have several clusters of grains that are almost as big as my palm and that keep shedding small nuggetty grains into my milk. I have perfected the daily process of separating the kefir from the morass (you could hardly call the mix of soymilk and brown date paste that mine bath in “milk” 😉 ). I have also learned when to decant my kefir into new milk and how fermented I like my milk. It’s all a learning process and experimenting is huge fun.


Chestnuts inside my vitamix waiting to be rendered into spread

Steve bought me a coconut on Monday and I put the coconut water (the liquid inside the coconut) into my non-dairy kefir stockpile in the fridge. I keep a 3 litre milk bottle with however much kefir I have managed to produce ready to use and drink whenever I feel like it. We have to release the gas from the lid whenever we open the fridge and the container has managed to swell up alarmingly in the past and actually crack the plastic on the fridge door. Never underestimate the power of gas folks! Think ginger beer and kefir isn’t too far behind it when you put a lid on it ;). Aside from experimenting with my breakfast and making pastes I have been thinking outside the box a bit. I have a “what if” brain. It keeps wanting to wrap itself around ideas and get busy with them. I have been ruminating over a “what if?” for a while now and as Steve is off collecting firewood with a friend today, my “what if” might get a chance to get researched today. “What if I tried to take the natural sweetness from root vegetables and turn it into a useful sweetener?” I am talking along the lines of date paste, but coming from sweeter veggies like pumpkin and sweet potato. I am going to experiment with “butters” to see if I can satisfy my veggie sweet tooth naturally and with minimal flavour additives to the root veggies. I have also been finding lots of naturally sweet thick syrups in my forays online. Things like pomegranate and apple molasses, a result of reducing straight juice down to a thick unctuous syrup like product that has keeping qualities. Obviously this was one of the ways that our pioneering ancestors managed to keep sweet things over winter and preserve the harvest. I wonder what juices I could extract and reduce down to make some amazing flavoured thick molasses? I am going to be experimenting so expect some results soon.


A selection of ingredients to make some biscuits. The orange peel is awaiting me turning it into preserved orange peel and that biscuit barrel is getting a little bit low…time to make another batch.


Some of the ingredients for Steve’s Stromboli that he had for his evening meal last night

Another thing that I have been ruminating over for a little while now is this blog. I have honed my RSS Feed Reader down to accommodate our busy lifestyle and to allow me to spend more time in the mornings prepping for our day. My mornings can now be spent initially reading and commenting on my RSS Feed Reads (and pinning worthy posts) and then I get time to deal with my kefir, put beans on to soak for cooking the next day as it’s easier to plan what I need for the day and the next day when I have a specific time set aside to do it. I always forgot to soak my soybeans for my non-dairy milk but now I won’t forget. Morning is when I plan out what I need prepped for my needs. I make a lot of what I use myself including my non-dairy organic soymilk for my kefir, my almond and oat milk for my tea and personal use, a regular progression of homemade date paste and the various cooked beans that I use in my day to day recipes. I love being organised and this newfound freedom to plan my prepping has me thinking that I am starting to get on top of this country living lark. I am thinking about changing the direction of this blog. I am going to drop it down to a single post a week. I tried to do that back when I dropped it from daily, to twice a week but all of my dear constant readers protested. I have noticed that I have a lot of followers who never comment and who are effectively “sleepers”. Some haven’t read a blog post in years and I realise that my long winded, eccentric posts might be a bit much for most people.


Oops! I am going to run out of images if I am not careful…this is the dough for the biscuits that I made yesterday. It is the same dough that I make for Quaker oat biscuits. The only difference is that I eliminate the cinnamon and sugar and add bacon and grated cheese

There are a small core of you out there that “get” me. That see what I am trying to do here and that appreciate my crazy tangle of muses that want to explode into the arena that forms this blog. I started this blog to satisfy the needs of my mum. She was happy to allow us to move to Tasmania so long as she could see what was going on and the blog allowed me to share with her, and with the rest of the world. It also satisfied my latent need to write. I have enjoyed posting and can truly say that it has never been a chore to me. Words flow out of me like water into a stream and writers block isn’t something that I have had to contend with on a regular basis. I still feel that there are millions of posts welled up inside me but the tide has started to change. I want to hone my posts and make them relevant to what we are doing here. I know that my dear constant readers are interested in what we are accomplishing on Serendipity Farm and I seem to have been stagnating here for a while. Winter and our derrières firmly welded to this P.C. throne as we try to keep up with our lecturers manic and erratic study load have left us with precious little time (or inclination if the truth be told…) to get out into the frozen archipelago that has become Serendipity Farm. You know how I said we rarely get frost? Ignore that as the machinations of a mad woman…it is practically snow here of late! I have been getting very interested in fermenting things. I am also harbouring a burning flame for planting out our food trees. It’s as if something is telling me to hurry up and I tend to listen to those small urgent voices that come from those primal places inside me more than the clamouring voices from outside.


And here they are! Delicious oaty bacon and cheese biscuits made with butter…and they are all for the dogs! It’s certainly a dog’s life here on Serendipity Farm 😉

I will be cutting posts down to once a week on a Wednesday folks. I want to get stuck back into the garden where we belong, forging the soil, the food forest and the base permaculture cycles that we need to get this place humming along sustainably and spring is coming…the ash trees are starting to bud up! There are bulbs erupting all over the place and jonquils are waving about in the frosty breeze. The whole of the Tamar river looks romantic and windswept from the daily mist events that waft up the river and then back down at regular intervals. I want to be out there living life and facilitating change. I don’t want to wake up one day too old to do what we want to do here and have to live with that for the rest of my life. I know that you will all understand the whys and wherefores of what I want to do and that you will also appreciate the new sense of excitement that will be injected into your posts. I am hoping that my natural cut off point (that just got breached 😉 ) of 2800 words (yes…my muses let me off about then 😉 ) will not expand to a 5000 word small novella once a week. Lets just see how it goes. That’s the glory of blogging, you take it for a spin, you test it out and if it’s a dud you bugger off and go elsewhere to find one that WILL work…see you on Wednesday where Steve and I are going to share some of the animations that we have been furiously tinkering over for the last month. We are suitably proud of them and our lecturer passed us on our very first try with all of them. We were most proud of ourselves when that happened :o). Have a great week everyone and prepare for a rollercoaster of weird experimentation, extreme gardening and narf7’s eccentric take on life, the universe and everything :o).

65 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cathyandchucky
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 19:26:29

    I always read your blogs Fronkii. Looking forward to sitting with you and Steve on the deck with hot drinks in August! Might have to wear either Earl or Bezial as a blanket though 😀 The look on that poor feral kitties face up the tree was priceless! Lazer green eyes going “What the Hell?” You need to make mea stromboli when I come over too. Mushroom and spinach or Pumpkin and goats fetta would do nicely please 😀


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 02:21:00

      I’m not sure if that was “make ME a Stromboli” or “make meh Stromboli” 😉 not sure I can make a mediocre one Pinky so we had best go with the first option ;). You could throw all of those ingredients together and have a gorgeous Stromboli 🙂 We only set foot on the deck to race out the door and grab some wood out of one of the wheelbarrows and head back inside at the moment…it’s frigid out there! 😉


      • cathyandchucky
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 09:39:24

        I’m bringing enough fat with me to heat Tasmania. I’ll be right (just like Dad, pig headed!)

      • narf77
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 09:42:52

        I think pig headed is a trait that both of our parents held dear to their hearts Pinky, I also think that each of their children inherited it and have honed it to the nth degree ;). I take it we will both be “doing a dad” and wearing shorts out onto the deck in the howling gale whilst trying to keep our tea warm for more than a couple of seconds? “Get it into you!” 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 09:47:12

        Hahahahaha! I know it’s gonna be frigid but thats what Tassie is all about in winter. I haven’t worn shorts in years Fronkii. The world isn’t ready for blinding white yet ;).

      • narf77
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 12:16:12

        Or what is left of my fat arse 😉

  2. teawithhazel
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 19:36:40

    i totally get your need to get the farm going and how disappointed you’d be if you let your dreams go..i only have a relatively small patch to manage but it’s so much work and i’m agonising at the moment at not getting my garlic, potatoes, beetroot and cabbages planted..if i delay too much i’ll miss out on my regular supply of organic vegetables in spring..good luck getting out into the cold to work on your garden..x


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 02:22:56

      Thank you Jane :). Fellow gardeners will completely “get it” where other readers might not :). When you think that the new area we are planning to use is as big as a tennis court you can see where some of this intensity about getting out there is coming from :). I will still be posting once a week and hopefully the content will be more relevant to what we are trying to achieve here and therefore more interesting for you, my dear constant readers 🙂


  3. rabidlittlehippy
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 00:13:47

    I hear you about regrets and have been facing my own assessment of the situation of late. Good on you for recognising that your RSS feed wasn’t enjoyable. Knowledge is awesome but when it’s fun. When it’s a chore it’s called high school. 😉

    I will miss your bi-weekly blogging and know that whilst not always punctual in reading and on occasion a sleeper in the commenting department, i DO always read your posts. I will now count Wednesday as exciting and wonderful as Saturdays and Sundays.

    Looks like we might be on a crossover shift (had to make sure my keyboard typed that very necessary ‘f” then) again as I’m up awaiting my canner to finish its run. After something slightly less than 4 hours last night I am in need of sleep. I have bog plans for adjusting our chook/goat pen to segregate the inhabitants. It’s a needs must situation but hopefully not long term. And yes, all is well. 🙂 And after Friday being wiped from the face of the earth with a migraine the motivation is back with a vengeance. The only positive side of the wretched things.

    Sending much motivation your way for a busy gardening Sunday. 🙂


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 02:27:00

      Cheers Jess, again, you are a fellow gardener who knows the urgency that comes over someone when they contemplate the coming spring. The Ash trees have started to bud up early so I am thinking that it might not be the long hard winter that I initially thought that it would be. I am hoping that we don’t have a long dry summer as well as this frigid dry winter because northern Tasmania is threatening to become a desert at this rate! I guess it’s just all the more chances for me to put what I have been learning about water wise gardening into practice :). Glad that migraine is gone and that you are feeling motivated again. I had a self induced headache last night. Its amazing how sad your body gets after half a bottle of white when you aren’t used to drinking any more ;). Here’s to a productive and healthy weekend for both of us 🙂


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:24:34

        Ha! It would take me maybe 1/2 a glass these days.
        Don’t tell me about long dry summers. This winter is a biatch and all the locals have predicted snow. Not bad for 500m asl! However, I’ve noticed two things. 1, Its too cold for snow on those icy nights and 2. You kind of need precipitation in order for it to freeze to create snow in the first place. We’ve not had very much precipitation,
        I saw a great youtube video on why the climate is warming but the winters are colder, from a meteorologist too and it talks about the melting polar caps shifting the weather and thicker atmosphere at the equator and people getting other peoples weather. What with Linne channeling her Canadian weather down this way I think we have indeed picked up someone else’s weather. 😉
        Given the little sleep I’ve had this weekend (another 4 hour night) I think I’ve done pretty well. 3 rounds of pressure canned pumpkin in the pantry and now looking long and hard at the 40kg of oranges I have on the kitchen floor. And the kilo of limes and 2 of lemons. It’s bottled OJ next and then salted lemons and frozen limes.

      • narf77
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:53:52

        Sounds like you are a one woman production line! I just eat everything before preserving it but am going to start buying things when there are gluts (like my 99c a kilo amazing oranges I have been scarfing with gay abandon…) and get busy on them. I don’t bother preserving things that we aren’t going to eat and love trying to find interesting ways to preserve things. Steve is going to be online all day today so I figure I am making up for lost time so I am pinning Japanese mocha recipes ;). I will be baking friand today, and making some almond and oat milk, some vegan non dairy creamer and probably lots of other weird and wonderful things. I, too, got very little sleep but that is thanks to dogs bumbling around outside barking and stupid roosters going off so I gave in and got up at 2am! Welcome to the sleepless in Sidmouth club 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 06:04:17

        Ha, Sleepless in Sidmouth. That gave me a giggle. I too have roosters going off. Today is the day that I build the plucker and I think it’s time to send our boys off to freezer camp. We have 8 roosters, 6 mature and all of them have been tag team singing since 5. 😦 The neighbours will despise us!

        My glut came from the co-op of which I’m a member. And pumpkin soup is a bit of a staple here so canning them is a good thing for us. I still have 2 large and 1 small Jap pumpkin and a butternut to go, plus the 2 funky varieties I’ve bought that are out on the back deck. 1 is a little fellow I figured would climb well up fruit trees and I bought it purely for the seeds. 🙂
        Once I get the juice and lemons on the go I need to be digging another post hole in the chook pen so here’s hoping for little rain. Oh and I need to take our new car for a spin too. I’ve never driven a diesel before. 🙂

      • narf77
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 06:43:32

        Diesels are very economical. Pity the fuel is so expensive :(. They can be converted to run on chip fat though so that’s a bonus “come the revolution” ;). I adore pumpkin. It’s my favourite veggie now that potatoes are off the menu and Steve buys me 2 ginormous pumpkins (69c a kilo whole) a fortnight. I barely make them last and when I am talking ginormous, I mean about 10kg each! I also eat sweet potatoes now and am enjoying the glut that we have here at the moment. We only seem to get japs and queensland blues with the odd strange turban variety thrown in rarely but they all taste lovely and sweet and I am really enjoying messing around with them. Still working on how to make a natural sweetener out of them though…I have been thinking that you make date sugar by drying them out in the oven and grinding them…what about pumpkin? I could dry it out in the warming oven under Brunhilda (constant very low heat) and then try to grind them. They are very sweet naturally so I wonder if that would work? I will give it a go. I wonder if we have a co-op here? How would I go about finding out? How did you find yours? How many questions can narf7 ask Jess while she is in a state of comatosity? 😉 Our roosters are trying to eliminate themselves without our assistance. Big Yin is the dad of the 2 ferals and they just got big enough to think that they might try him on for size…they lost :(. Well one of them did and we got home from our walk to find him laying in the gutter pretty sad and sorry for himself. We put him in the outdoor chook run and Big Yin kept trying to get in and kill him, then his brother was trying to kill him! I know it’s nature and all that but do they have to be so bloodthirsty?!!! Might be time to give them all the chop including Yin! I am very VERY tired of chooks at the moment. All digging and no eggs (well plenty of them but hidden all over like easter eggs 😦 )…have a great sunday and see if you can’t get a nap in somewhere 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 10:30:01

        Cat nap. *snort* Not likely. But there IS a coffee in store today for sure. I NEED it.

        As for my co-op, I kind of fell into it as my friends started it. I think if you googled though you might find something, or ask around any of the hippy hang out places.

        Our roosters are thankfully not very bloodthirsty. They’ve left well enough alone with the 6-7 week old chicks and since their mum is the silkie they would have nothing to fear from her and before we had the ducklings sequestered safely, they were fine with them too. But 8 of the buggers is well noisy and they tag teamed or sang in unison from 5am this morning so if we want to avoid complaints…

        I reckon your pumpkin paste/ powder will either result in a sweetener or instant mash pumpkin so you win either way hey. Let us know how it goes.

        Here’s to productive Sundays – raising you a glass of freshly bottled OJ. 🙂

      • narf77
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 12:32:24

        I think I might need some of that fresh bottled OJ, my sinus behind my right eye has me thinking that my right eye is a different size to my left…methinks the lurgy hasn’t quite finished with me yet. Our roosters have bellows for lungs and as only 2 of them are crowing at the moment (the other one is in a sad sorry state missing half his comb and his neck feathers) it’s a little bit quieter than usual. We are going to have to rehouse the damaged rooster ASAP as I doubt the others will let him back anywhere near the flock, he got right royally ostracised! Maybe we can give them all to Lynda D… I am SURE her neighbours would love them 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 13:28:06

        Not to mention her and her boys. 😉
        Sounds like you need to sniff some salty water and clear those sinuses out. Read instant but short lived agony whilst the flush happens and then relief from the draining sinuses. Ghastly idea though hey. We all have memories of copping a noseful of sea water. Bleugh. But you’re more than welcome to the OJ… IF you come and get it. 😉

      • narf77
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 15:04:56

        I will tuck my roosters under my arms and bring them via Jetstar…tell Lynda I am on my way…avec le coc 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 15:20:57

        If Big Yin and co. were ducks we’d have duck a l’orange. 😉

      • narf77
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 18:35:50

        I have plenty of sticky toffee orange zest now so bring it on you roosters! 😉

      • Lynda
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 20:50:27

        Hey, how did i get mixed up in your dastardly plans. Send them over Fran. I put up with 3 peacocks in my neighbour’s yard for a few years before i saw red and called the council. She has only just started talking to me again. Perhaps i could harness the power of the roosters and aim it at the house over the back fence with the never ending barking dog. It drives us nuts. Dont ever question, ladies, living on a piece of land no matter how small. I have 5 neighbours and i can hear their alarm clocks going off. My only saving grace is that im up at 5 so i am awake already. Good News – I got my first egg today. Im so so happy, as is Tom. Fran, Im going to come back to life as one of your dogs, Steak, home made cookies, toys and daily walks along a river. What a life.

        Hubby arrived in Hobart today for a weeks work. Im sad to say that he is involved in bringing one of your paper mills back to life. He’s a bit gloomy, as they told him it was alcohol free trip (suits him) and on arrival the other (12 including the boss) loaded up with grog. I wish i was there with him to keep him company so he had an excuse just to eat a meal and go to his room. Aspie’s find change, new environments and social scenes very difficult. He’s new to this job, so must impress. Its hard for me not to worry. Im not there to fix things and ive been doing it for 20 years.

  4. christiok
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 01:38:17

    It takes me all day Tuesday, getting up at 4am, to get one decent 600-900 word blog ready for Wednesday morning! (including the B.O.s drawing and editing)….I totally understand you cutting your blog to one day a week and will look forward to it right after I post mine. 🙂 I love how you are free to change as the need arrises. Just one of the millions of benefits of being your own boss. I love your blog, Fran. It is homebase for so many of us bloggers who met there. And continue to meet.

    And regarding the kefir, I just sent an email to your reader Hannah who lives in the U.S. state of Florida asking if I might send her some kefir grains! I sent Linne some (took 2 weeks to get across the border to Canada) and then I sent Linne’s sister who lives in New Mexico (a U.S. state south of here) and it took just 2 days! So Linne mentioned having read Hannah’s desire for grains, and we’ll see if I can be the supplier for the Northern Hemisphere, and you can be the Southern. 🙂


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 03:33:34

      Lol we sound like pushers! ;). Kefir pushers…I guess there are worse things to be ;). Jessie (rabid) sent me a link to a website that told you how to convert milk kefir grains to water kefir grains. Not too sure that the grains would be true water kefir grains because they are an entirely different kettle of fish but apparently they can be converted over to be happy with juice etc. I might add the link here so that you and anyone else can check it out. Using non-dairy milk means that my kefir practically live on something other than regular milk so I suppose my grains prove that it is possible for them to live and be happy (grow) in something other than milk. Here’s that linky…
      Have a fantastic rest of your weekend 🙂


  5. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:06:05

    Dear Fran. You should warn me. I nearly wet myself listening to “Flipper Hitler”. Hilarious. But I still don’t know what Hitler’s first name was so I’ll have to get my Google out.
    Did Steve ever listen to Terry Wogan on the radio in the morning. I used to love his program when I lived in the UK. He used to juggle on the radio, then he would run an exercise class on the radio. Terry was unique (probably still is).
    My ex husband was a Scouser and just listening to the Liverpudlian accents took me back to visits I made to his family in Birkenhead.


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:10:20

      Steve’s mum still lives in Waterloo Liverpool (on the way to Crosby). Steve probably listened to Terry Wogan when he lived down south but up north, when he was driving from lesson to lesson (teaching guitar to his students) he would crack up listening to “Hold your Plums”…


      • Allotment adventures with Jean
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:18:01

        I hadn’t come across “Hold your Plums” before and thanks to the wonders of technology I’ll be checking them out on YouTube. I love the English sense of humour. My brothers have a wonderful dry sense of humour, I love chatting to them over the telephone – they are both still back in the UK.

      • narf77
        Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:47:56

        Steve’s family all live in the U.K. but he really only keeps in touch with his mum 🙂

  6. Jerri
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:38:17

    Typed out a comment earlier but for some reason it didn’t take. So many potatoes out of the garden, maybe I’ll make chips tonight along with kale and zucchini chips. Have a mandaline, but I usually do better using a knife. You’ve given me an idea for our chestnuts. We have a tree in our front yard.


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 05:49:41

      You seem to have a new identity, maybe my blog rejected you as spam? ;). I have lots of chestnut trees to plant out, they are amazing things and I adore them. Try making maron glace…gorgeous! You can make an amazing chestnut cream as well that is fantastic in baked goods. I use date paste as a sub for sugar and it seems to work, proabably because no self respecting bacterium would bother with it 😉


      • Linne
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 13:48:38

        Can you use horse chestnuts too? I’ve always been told they are not edible, but in Victoria (BC) many of the streets are lined with them and the nuts lie in the streets unused (since I’m no longer there to pick them up in dozens to display in a bowl LOL). Anyway, I just wanted to know cause A. I may get back there in autumn some day and would have a huge supply and B. ’cause enquiring minds want to know . . .

      • narf77
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 16:36:52

        the only thing that horse chestnuts are good for is conkers where you string them up, let them go hard and whack the living daylights out of everyone elses conkers in the hope that you are the winner (when your conker breaks everyone elses). Aside from that they are not edible.

  7. Ally
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 18:29:57

    As you know, I am a ‘new’ reader of your blog. I always enjoy reading your musings, and I frequently ‘crack up’.
    Your papplemousse post had me in stitches!
    I don’t always comment, but I always read.
    And, I always appreciate your visits to my blog.
    I am very impressed by your coconut butter. I have never considered making it myself- it just never occured to me. So, thank you. 🙂
    I am envious that you have a seal friend nearby.
    I enjoy my ‘trips’ to Serendipity Farm. 🙂


    • narf77
      Jul 14, 2013 @ 18:35:16

      Cheers Ally :). The coconut butter was very easy to make and even easier if you do the “normal” thing and use regular desiccated coconut. I used a fresh one so ended up with a lovely smooth puree that tastes delicious. Glad you are enjoying the posts still and cutting them down to one a week will allow me to share a lot more about what we are doing here. I am on a bit of a cooking jag at the moment and we have been making all sorts of things. I made friand today as well as used up all of the orange peels I have been hoarding in the freezer to make sticky preserved orange zests which are delicious and much nicer (and cheaper) than the shop bought alternative. I love reading your blog and your recipes are gorgeous :).


  8. Chica Andaluza
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 21:14:51

    Brilliant clip – very funny indeed! My you’ve been busy this week in the kitchen. I want to get hold of a fresh coconut for a curry but am a bit worried about how I get the coconut out 😦 And as for those dog biscuits, I’d eat them myself!


    • narf77
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 03:12:26

      Steve ate a few and last night the dogs begrudgingly had a bit of a bite or two (ostensibly just to keep the female quiet and stop her waving her arms around like a windmill…sigh…). With fresh coconuts, make sure to pick one that is heavy for it’s size and that you can hear a lot of liquid sloshing around inside it. The older they get, the more they absorb that liquid so the more sloshy, the fresher it is. First up you find the one of the three circular spots on the outside of the coconuts hull that will pierce with a skewer. Pierce it and make the hole you just made bigger by scraping it away with a metal skewer and then turn the coconut upside down over a bowl and collect the water inside. It’s very tasty (so long as it’s fresh). I usually add it to my non-dairy kefir…I think of it as “another suite of organisms for my intestines” ;). Steve uses a hacksaw to cut the coconut in halves for me so that I can at least use the halves for “something” in the future. They make excellent pots for small plants and lovely little bird nests and bug houses when stuffed with leaves and twigs and a bit of small holed wire tacked around the outside. When they say that there is no waste from coconuts they aren’t fibbing, they are also excellent to light your fires with. I then take a knife (not a sharp one, a serrated bread and butter knife although I tend to kill them this way 😉 ) and drag it from one side of the coconut through to the other side. I repeat this around the side of the coconut in a sort of wheel spoke pattern (if you get my drift) until I get to where I started. After that you slip the knife between the meat and the shell of the coconut and lever it away from the shell. It will snap off (the coconut meat, hopefully not your knife 😉 ) and just keep going around the outside till you get back to where you started and then you will usually be left with a circle of meat in the difficult bit to reach. I just cut across it randomly and then lever it out with the knife again. Once you get it all out you have 2 coconut halves that you can pretend to be the Knight in Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail” who made the horsey sounds. Most satisfying (still waiting to be able to use that sound in one of our animations 😉 ). You also have a large pile of coconut with brown skin on it. Make sure to sample a few bits as they are delicious. After you render your pile somewhat smaller you can use it how you like. If you want normal white coconut you have to slice the brown skin away but that’s not difficult. You can throw it into your blender and render it “mush” that you can then make fresh coconut milk out of. You are left with the mush to use in biscuits or cakes and it has the same result as almond meal, makes them lovely and moist and taste yumalicious. You also get that exercise and the knowledge that you are a clever clogs extraordinaire ;). Last…but by NO means least, you get a future blog post in it’s entirety that you can stash away for when you have a cold, a hangover, a bad day or all 3 at once. Nothing like a spare blog post to make you feel like you won lotto sometimes ;). Have a wonderful week and “GO the coconuts!” they are certainly the fruity nut of choice in this house 🙂


      • Chica Andaluza
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 06:35:11

        That was by far the most brilliant response EVER I have had to a comment! Now I know exactly what I need to do and Big Man is on standby with a skewer and a hacksaw and I have my little food processor and a video of South Pacific to hand (yes, I will have to make a comedy bra which will be too small for me after having used the half shells to make Monty Python Horse noises 🙂 ) You are a star Miss narf7, I salute you (and I would do it with coconut shell horse clopping sounds if I could)!

      • narf77
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 08:19:45

        No need to thank me…I am like the lone ranger (can I PLEASE have Johnny Depp as Tonto? Just for 1 day? I figure he would be broken by the time I finished with him, he is an old fart too! 😉 ), I will just ride off into the sunset satisfied that my job here is done…that plus I have my coconut halves from my coconut conquest just sitting there so I can serenade myself with the coconut husks in your honour :).

      • Chica Andaluza
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 17:13:43

        He’s all yours….and I’ll accompany you with my shells 🙂

      • narf77
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 03:42:55

        I fear you might have to stick with using those coconut shells as horse props as after seeing and admiring your impressive bosum I doubt you would be able to put a picture of you wearing them as a bra on your blog, you would IMMEDIATELY go straight to XXX rating! ;). You would certainly get a few new followers but I am not sure you would want them 😉

      • Chica Andaluza
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 04:14:34

        I agree, my cup does rather “overflow” 😉 Could cause an international blogging scandal!

      • narf77
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 04:53:20

        Yup…a storm in a coconut cup 😉 it puts the spotlight back on “Iv’e got a lovely pair of coconuts” doesn’t it? 😉 I can see you dressed in your pearlies doing the coconut dance 😉

      • Chica Andaluza
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 08:28:05

        Aha – you’ve seen my party trick then!

      • narf77
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 09:38:18

        lol nope, but I have a VERY good imagination 😉

      • Chica Andaluza
        Jul 15, 2013 @ 17:14:36

        He’s all yours…and I’ll accompany you in the serenade with my coconut husks…a nutty duet!

      • narf77
        Jul 16, 2013 @ 03:43:47

        lol…now all we need is one of those carrot whistles and we can make a video for Youtube (we can combine the 2 vids to make 1, we are now technical wizards remember 😉 ) that will go viral! 😉

  9. brymnsons
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 23:10:50

    So much to do, so little time 🙂 I will be grateful for your Wednesday post, especially now they have changed my favourite magazine’s delivery date to Thursday. You have some interesting challenges with your food experiments Fran


    • narf77
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 03:21:45

      You will get to see what I do here when you stay Kymmy :). I have to make non-dairy almond and oat milk at least twice a fortnight. I soak the almonds overnight, skin them in the morning and make my milk. I then have to make homemade organic soy milk that I have to soak the beans and at least I have a machine to do that for me but I also have to soak dates and make date paste to keep the kefir grains happy. I have to dunk the kefir grains in new “milk” every day. I get the resulting non-dairy kefir to drink or use how I see fit (I have been freezing it for summer green smoothie cubes). Last night I made some friands for the first time. I have never tried making them before but I used Poh’s recipe from the Red cross big bake site (lots of great recipes there) and it is easier than making muffins! You just chuck everything into one bowl, stir it together and slug it into your pans. The girls bought me a lovely big friand pan as part of my mothers day haul (cheers girls it works amazingly well and doesn’t stick!) and it got it’s Serendipity Farm debut last night and performed admirably. I will make friand again, easy peasy and very dense and moist. Even though I processed the living daylights out of the almonds that I soaked overnight and skun and basically turned them into the raw equivalent of almond butter the recipe just ignored my faux pas and carried on regardless resulting in lovely dense rich buttery cakes that are well worth the effort. I made them plain vanilla but next time I am going to use some chocolate or rich jam or something scrumptious to tuck into the top of them along with some spices. I also decided to use all of the orange peel that I had been stashing (some might say hoarding 😉 ) in the freezer and a couple of bowls in the kitchen. One bowl had gone over to the dark side and we won’t talk about it any more but the other one was only a day old and was fine. I found out a great tip…if you freeze the skins (I had a large bag in the freezer) they are MUCH easier to get the zest from the pith. I found a good recipe online (read about it on Wednesday 🙂 ) and made candied orange zest. I ended up with a HUGE jar of them for the price of some sugar and the by-product of a haul of 99c navel oranges. Steve and I tried a couple last night and they were delicious, nothing at all like shop bought peel chunks (ugh!). I can use them in cakes and biscuits and to decorate and to dip the ends in chocolate. I will be making them again and will try lemons, limes and pamplemousse skins ;). I love messing around in the kitchen when the heat is free 🙂


  10. Littlesundog
    Jul 15, 2013 @ 03:58:20

    Thank you for another great Earl moment. My goodness, that coconut puree looked lovely… and “death by coconut”?? What a way to go!! I LOVE coconut!

    Fran, where on earth do you find the time and energy to put so much into a day? I think I work hard, but you, my friend, can run circles around me! Nice post… so much to take in and think about. It took two cups of tea to read this today… if only I could have a sample of all of those goodies you posted photos of… well except whatever Earl and Bezial eat! LOL


    • narf77
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 04:19:23

      I reckon, if you took that steak and casseroled it no-one would know! Never been that tempted to try it yet though…might test it on my visitors in a couple of weeks 😉 (lol). I made friand yesterday (little almond meal based cakes with lots of butter to use up 6 egg whites we had left over from making gorgeous vanilla bean icecream the day before) and they were a great success. Easy peasy recipe and just throwing everything in together like muffins. They are very moist and buttery and I could see them becoming an addiction for Steve :). I also used up the huge pile of frozen orange peels that I have been saving. I HATE waste and they smacked of king sized waste to me so I removed the pith and turned them into sticky gorgeousness. I have half of a gallon jar full of them and some amazing orange flavoured thick unctuous syrup that aside from inducing diabetic coma’s has the heady scent and flavour of oranges to boot. Who needs overpriced maple syrup when you can make something like this for the price of a bit of sugar? I am going to try this with lemons and limes…YUM! I also found a recipe for preserved orange rinds (like salty preserved lemons but with leftover orange rinds) that looks promising and a recipe for powdered lemon zest that would work for orange zest as well that you can use in all kinds of cooking applications. So many experiments…so little time before spring rocks up and Brunhilda is off the boil! Wish me luck 🙂


  11. Joanna
    Jul 15, 2013 @ 07:26:04

    I am going to go back up and look at the clip in a minute but just wanted to hear a bit more about that choko, is it a new pet or something, I thought it was something you were going to eat but it appears to have taken up residence, I am very slow on the uptake sometimes. If I liked drinking kefir more I would fling it in some soya milk and see what it did, but I really only like making bread with it and the goaty soft cheese. I still haven’t got my head around your climate, I thought it was winter but you said it is almost spring now, maybe you just have a short winter? Anyway I loved this post and all the photos and owing to my short short term memory now have to go back up top to see what I have missed. Oh yes, I have a friend who does something involving carrots that makes them incredibly sweet, I have an idea it used a pressure cooker but I can’t remember. I will ask as it might be of interest in your rooty experiments. Fudge, steak, oat biscuits with cheese and bacon, I think I might like to come back in my next as one of your dogs xx


    • narf77
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 08:29:03

      You and I both have short term memory lapses. Where you might have to go to the top to see what you just read (that way my post could last you a couple of days! 😉 ), I have to do it as I am typing it out or I tend to repeat myself! ;). The choko is an annual vine that grows. Its other name is “Chayote” and I think it is from South America/Mexicoish if I am not mistaken. It grows like topsy, takes over everything it sees and generates more than its weight’s worth of fruit that you can then start the cycle over again with and use for bulking out meals (it’s a bit like zucchini) or using to bulk out quality fruit in jams and preserves. It is traditional to grow one over the Aussie “dunny” (outdoor unplumbed toilets of yore) or chook house as they have lots of useful (edible) leaves through summer and shade where and when they are needed but are gone before winter comes and they become a nuisance. Mine can’t be planted out till the frosts have gone. I am an experimental horticulturalist. I am also optimistic. I am hoping that climate change is going to allow me to grow a lot of things that we used to grow when we lived on Mainland Australia. You have to keep a positive mind about things sometimes or you would just crawl under the bed and stay there! 😉

      I have a few vegan readers and the experiments with non-dairy kefir are predominately aimed at them. I want to share how I go about doing it as mine are thriving, growing, producing something that is rich in Iron (from the date paste) and fibre (how many milks can boast that eh?) and that is well worth giving the old college try. I would LOVE to hear what you friend does with carrots (that sounds like the intro to a rude 70’s sitcom if ever I heard one…spoken with Sid James’s accent 😉 ). The next dogs we get are going to be Jack Russell terriers! They are ferocious little blokes with hearts of gold and all the energy in the world. The only difference between them and American Staffies is that I could pick one up or make it go where I wanted it to go if it was being bolshie with me on my morning walks. With Earl, it’s sort of “hang on Earl…I need these knees for the steep driveway on the way back!” sigh… ;). They decided that they might give the cheese and bacon biscuits made with a cup and a quarter of butter a try…they were less than impressed…they are finally starting to eat one or two but under duress…


  12. Linne
    Jul 15, 2013 @ 14:08:22

    Well, Narfie7, I shall miss the Saturday post, but as I’ve been contemplating the same thing, I shan’t complain . . . I read all your posts, but sometimes don’t have time to comment as I feel they deserve.

    love your recipes; hope I get to try them out myself one day. For now, using the bread maker has to do. Seems to me I’ve read that in the old days, chooks were left in the henhouse until later in the morning (by which time they had laid their eggs) and then let out for the rest of the day. Don’t know if it’s worth a try or not.

    It’s hard to get my head around Hallowe’en in springtime and Christmas in summer; I understand it, I just have trouble imagining it . . . I wonder what Bradbury’s ‘The October Country’ would have been like if he’d lived in Tassie . . .

    As to sugar from veggies, I know there is a variety of beet (sugar beet, surprisingly enough!) that beet sugar is derived from, but I don’t know the process. Seems to me that roasting some veg brings out the sweet taste, but don’t know, again, if it would aid in making veg sugar. Do you have any trees whose sap you could use? Here I know some people have made syrup from birch trees, and while sugar maples are most desirable, my eldest son made a passable maple syrup from the sap of an ordinary maple tree. Hint: do NOT boild the sap down in the kitchen!! Do this outdoors!! It took 14 cans of sap to make 1 can of syrup. I don’t understand why he only wanted to do it the once time . . . we could have had home-made syrup forever, otherwise. 😉

    Well, more blogs to check out. See you Wednesday. ~ Linne


    • narf77
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 16:42:06

      I am thinking along the lines of date sugar where you get dried dates and dry them out until they are brittle in the oven and then powder them into a form of sweet powder that can be used like sugar. I figure if dates are good to go, maybe sweet root veggies like carrots and pumpkin and sweet potatoes might be able to have their starch harnessed in the same way? I am ever the enquiring minded narf ;). I doubt I could be bothered boiling sap as it doesn’t get cold enough here to slow the sap down enough for it to get to the right consistency but I did know that you can use birches and liquidambars. I figure if the possums scoff it, it is probably edible and they do a number ever year on the liquidambar and lo and behold, it’s one of those tasty trees that bears a sugary sap (clever little buggers eh? 😉 ). I was aware of the sugar beets as most of the U.S.’s sugar comes from them. We do it old school here with sugar cane. At least we don’t filter through bone char here in Australia so even if I did use sugar for myself (I use it in cooking for Steve), I would get drummed out of the vegan confraturnity for even looking into the bag! ;). I have been doing more cooking. Today I made a spice cake with kefir instead of buttermilk. Not much difference as far as I can see and it looks moist and smells delicious.


  13. Africanaussie
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 08:42:27

    wow I didn’t think chokos would grow there – yours looks good. Your coconut paste looks marvelous, what a great idea. I have taken to mixing oats with yoghurt, seeds etc, and letting it oak for a couple of hours before I eat it in the morning. I can understand though why you would want something warm for breakfast. I am looking forward to seeing your illustrations.


    • narf77
      Jul 16, 2013 @ 09:41:12

      Have you tried putting the oats and fruit and seeds in the fridge overnight? They soak up the liquid (yoghurt?) and are delicious and tender in the morning and also much better for you :). I have shied away from too many grains because I tended to the (shall we be nice and say…) “Plumper” side for most of my life and don’t want to be back there any day soon. I use oats in my milk that I make to put in my tea (along with almonds). I have been thinking about trying overnight oats and might give it a go. I can’t source steel cut oat groats here in Tassie though so am going to have to hunt further afield. Thankyou for the lovely comment and hopefully Steve can work out how to save the animations to share with you all :).


  14. Joanna
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 18:43:32

    I buy jars of Basra date syrup and I found one made from grapes the other day, brown and gooey. Bravely I mixed some into some goats kefir yesterday and thought of you while I drank it, it was almost bearable, I think I just don’t like creamy textured drinks, not a big smoothie person either, I’d make a hopeless vegan from that perspective.


    • narf77
      Jul 17, 2013 @ 02:57:01

      lol vegan’s come in all different coloured stripes from those that exist on raw food only (preferably hand stroked by virgin’s from someplace exotic) to those that live on kellogs cornflakes and a selection of meat analogues. Was that grape syrup nice? You could just drizzle it on your morning oats or you could use it folded into your bread to give an interesting flavour layer. I drink green smoothies because back when I started to, I wasn’t a morning person and didn’t eat breakfast. I needed “something” that wasn’t overly filling and that I could stand to consume in the morning. I now eat breakfast every day, usually my juk porridge made with pumpkin or lately of chestnuts (yum!) and in summer I will go back to my green smoothies because they keep me full. Food is fuel to me and I need it to be filling because hunger is my danger zone. We can’t get that Basra date syrup here (let alone the grape version). I wonder if I got some grape juice and reduced it on Brunhilda if I could get a similar effect? I guess that is all that maple syrup is really ;). Cheers for the heads up on that one and forgedaboud the creamy textured drinks, they aren’t for everyone and certainly not all vegans 🙂


  15. thinkingcowgirl
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 01:28:07

    Like Little Sun Dog I feel positively sloth like when I read all that you get up to! But it’s always a treat. One post a week will definitely make it easier to keep up….but won’t they just be twice as long?! 😉

    The picture of the cat is hilarious…did you photoshop those eyes? …

    I like the sound of those baked crisps…how thick were they and did you brush them with oil? In winter when the stove is going all the time I can see doing those in the slow oven.

    Have fun with all your extra time. 🙂


    • narf77
      Jul 17, 2013 @ 03:06:54

      If you have some of that “Extra Time” spare can I have a bit please? 😉 I am forcing myself to not only keep my posts “at” the current level, but actually honing them to reduce them a bit! I know…don’t faint! The cat wasn’t photoshopped, that was abject green terror in those wide eyes. They know our dogs and Bezial just walks through them ignoring them as he knows that if he leaves things alone, he can go without a lead. Earl isn’t able to do that because he would chase every last animal on the property and would hurdle the fence after them and we would never see him again (but we WOULD read about him in the newspaper the next day going out in a blaze of dead livestock 😦 ). Milo was my dad’s old dog and he was given to people who live down the road. He occasionally comes to visit us and when he does the cats understand that he isn’t a dog to be trifled with! He is a huge dog and very fast and the cats are now officially mortally terrified of him ;).
      Those crisps were just sliced on my underused mandolin (so pretty thin) but on it’s thickest level (we didn’t want them to burn). I brushed a teeny bit of oil over some baking paper (too lazy to wash the tray 😉 ) and just lay them in thin layers. They took up 3 baking trays for a single spud but the end results were so delicious that Steve ate them all before I could take a shot. I tossed them in a mix of spices and seasoned salt with some kefir lime powder in it and they smelled amazing. They would go amazingly well with some grain fed beef steak as an alternative to chips 🙂


  16. Namita
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 17:47:46

    Hi! as always another lovely post with such beautiful description of farm activities- seal sighting, leaves.., oh! want to be there to experience. You are beautifully busy with nature. You are blessed. I loved the picture of our dear Earl!


  17. nat
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 14:13:08

    Hi Guys I love reading your post and finding out what you are up to, I just don’t comment very often (mostly because i read them at work when i am actually meant to be working). Hope to see you soon.
    ps notice the new email address


    • narf77
      Jul 22, 2013 @ 15:52:31

      I was just on autopilot there and almost threw you in the spam! LOL!!! Sorry Nat :). The new email address is now stuffed into our email contacts list :). So glad you still read the posts, we miss the close community at the hort department and we miss the good friends we made when we were there and you are RIGHT at the top of that list :). I hope everything is going well at the moment, you would be flat out teaching etc. and we are flat out studying. I just had to record some audio of my voice and have decided to never speak again if I sound like that! Hand signals only folks ;). Hugs from down the river 🙂


  18. DaveScouse :)
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 01:17:29

    I am afraid I have a confession to make. I am the person responsible for uploading the “Flipper Hitler” clip to YouTube. I remember hearing it when I was a kid and it stayed with me. So imagine my delight when I find an old tape with it on and found my Tape-to-MP3 gadget! One day I will find more “Hold Your Plums” Classics – Hopefully some Eileen and Geoffrey ones (The “Dial M For Murder” one is quality of I can ever find it!)
    Glad it is still making people laugh even now! If life you gives you Blemons (Steve will explain how the ‘fruit machine’ always sounded like Blemon instead of lemon) then just use the nudger! Ooer 🙂


    • narf77
      Nov 06, 2013 @ 03:35:46

      Sorry for taking so long to get back to you Dave. I was delighted to see your comment the other day and Steve was as well :). Steve had a couple of “Hold your Plums” cassette tapes that he brought out from Liverpool with him but we couldn’t use them as we don’t have a tape deck but we did find some through Youtube thanks to kind people like yourself who uploaded them. They are hilarious! I spent time on the floor laughing so much I couldn’t breath at some of them and had to post links to my Facebook page to share. Humour is everything and it certainly takes people all over the place and a good sense of humour speaks louder than anything else about a person. Cheers for sharing on Youtube and cheers for commenting here. Steve thanks you from sunny Tasmania for your efforts and for a little taste of home 🙂


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