History 101

A long time ago in a world that has changed a lot , a lot of very brave Englishmen discovered most of the world, what they didn’t discover the Italians and Spanish did, some French and Dutch did find some places to .

Ok so to Tasmania , well once upon a time the world was one , we (Tasmania) belonged to Chile and Australia was Italian, yes it was  I have looked on the maps of old and we fit .  I will fill dates in as I go here but a man called Tasman  who was very able came here in a boat , much like my mumbly cumbus but it was not powered by a mariner engine and was a little bigger. Ok he came here and said oh lordy that’s a place that has a lot of strange things and he wasn’t talking about the native or the land, he apparently saw a tiger and a devil and a few odd marsupials which are like a duck but live in weird places. He discovered Sidmouth by mistake as he was heading off to Hobart and got lost along the way , any ways we will talk more of him later. Now we English owned most of the world , you can all say you stole it from India Canada America blah blah but we didn’t it was ours and we paid for it in beans much like the Indians get beads . ok so the history of austral is from a humble cook, he came here and had a barby and the ate a natives pet and they didn’t like that much so he had to leave fast on his boat that he had an endeavour to board. Ok he came with some Italians and left them here to make stuff.

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Not an itailan at speed it Fran and I was playing with my timer machine lol

Frans off for one more day now and we are just trying to find some cloths that she still fits lol, the boys are not happy , ok where was I on my history lesson. History was never a strong point with me and was along with many of my school lessons a good time to put my head on the desk and sleep, I never got in trouble for this for some reason, maybe I was just to good at the subjects as is now proven in my potted history of Tasmania. Ok back to the boring history lesson. Tasmania is a land founded on trees and apples, we love to cut trees down and make all sorts of things with them , a lot of people in Launceston don’t like that we burn them as it makes smoke and smog and as it’s a basin they don’t like it much, I don’t like that we have brown outs as the power gets shifted from us to them but they don’t know about that . ok stop the whinging and political stuff Fran said no lol. Gold was found in Tasmania and we have it here in Beaconsfield but it costs to much for us to get to it so we now have a closed mine and lots of holes under the ground. When Tasmania was joined to the rest of the world we where pretty insignificant , not a great deal has changed in that respect. We have had some very famous people come from here Errol Flynn and some other dudes that play sport , they (Tasmanians  remember im English) love sport. I don’t understand a lot of sports as they involve weird rules and if you are to kick a football then so be it but off side and all that ehhh ok yes I do understand that one its all to do with where the player was when the ball was booted , but aussie football is weird it rugby crossed with jumping and fighting , much like WWE I guess but with a ball and a lot more men in the arenas at one time usually. Ok  history again….. We make a lot of wine and that’s part of what I love , we make wine , but we have a snobbery with wine and its getting like that with beer and food, alcohol is to make you drunk , merry and stuff like that , food is to make you not hungry and make you go emmm nice , its not how the grapes and hops and things where hand stroked by virgins and how the cow was rubbed with baby oil by the farmers wife every day for 6 weeks and then massaged with essential oils till it was humanly KILLED . ok back to the wine ( I don’t have any)  if I drink wine I sleep a lot more for some reason. Now in Launceston we have a lot or really nice old places , they have a lot of history about them and there are even some ghosts  around, I have seen a ghost before it was a old woman in a field in the pissing rain  on a country road in Essex , ok folks go look up Essex and ghosts and you will see we had heaps there. Headless carriage men army men and all sorts . A famous thing in Tasmania north is the beer, we make a good drop here called Boags and that’s been here for ages to , they make some in a place called Hobart but we in the north don’t know much of this Hobart apart from its got a mountain and a green part office there and  a lot of tourists go that way before the come to see us on the river.

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Cold has come and it was nippy this night

We live in a place called Sidmouth , I think that maybe a Englishman called Sid lived on the mouth of a river and when the earth split apart he was over on this part of the earth and came over in the great float of old, he missed his mouth of the river in the part that is now called the uk  and he named a lot of places here with the names he knew, like Exeter,Tamar, Sidmouth ,Launceston,,, get the idea, like Americans calling places after English places , same story all over , remember I told you we  owned everything at one time and just gave it all away like bill gates is doing with his riches.

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Pretty and pretty cold lol

When I first came to Tasmania I saw a lot of English things , I think that maybe birds  brought them over in there beaks as we have Hawthorns here and Sloe berries and lots of other uk trees, we have sparrows and starlings and other English birds so this backs up my theory. We have a lot of nature here and apparently we don’t have many foxes which is a shame as if we had more we would have less possums Earl hates them (possums). When we became a island we had a lot of migrants left on here from the great splitting of old and we had a lot of Italians left here , we have a vast Italian community in Australia and I think that they like Tasmania to , we have some Dutch and Germans and lots of other races in our little community but I have only met German and Dutch and English and the odd native so far. Ok history facts now.. did you know that…

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Good pics but I got a little chilly taking them lol (theres a theme here)

1816: First emigrant ship arrives with free settlers from England

We send our skilled people over here after the split from the world and they like it here and keep coming.

1834: Launceston “female factory” completed

There where not enough women so much like god we had to make  them we made lots as there are 4 to every man  im not sure what the Tasmanians used maybe apples and stuff like that ?

1842: The Weekly Examiner begins publication in Launceston

It’s a news paper that has articles about politics and sports and is bias nuff said.

1869: Submarine communications cable successfully establishes link between Tasmania and Melbourne.

Theres a sign for this at paper beach, haven’t seen the submarine yet.

1877: Gold discovered at Beaconsfield

See I was right

1888: Launceston proclaimed a city

Big deal its really not that big ok

1909: Irish blight wipes out potato crop

A black day for fries and crisps indeed

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Getting warmer now folks 🙂

Ok so I think that history is a long subject that I am not that interested in , I could go on here and make stuff up about the region being like France in the terwah and how we have the best area to grow grapes and how it is very like France as we have MAMIL everwhere ( I have been itching to use this an _acronym) Middle Aged Men In Lyra lol yes cyclists, I don’t understand this here I am older now and have a lot more about me than when I was young but I am blessed with a fast metabolism and cant really say im fat , ok now I wouldn’t dream of wearing lycra but I see them all the time beer guts wiggling in the breeze and there  2 wheeled perambulators propped up at the café and there they are looking like a pod of over ripe peas ready to explode out of there  rubber clothes , ech why it doesn’t make them attractive to anything else apart from other MAMILs ok so that’s my thoughts on them , they do annoy me and get in my way when I head into town. If any of Frans readers are of the mamil persuasion then forgive me , I just don’t get it , ride a bike in jeans and a t shirt and enjoy it and  just remember there are middle aged men like me looking at you and saying oh man do you have any idea what you look like..

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Nearly fire like eh

So I have come to the end of my Fridays posting and will do some more tomorrow but now I have a mission to animate something for Frans blog , wish me luck

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A bit cooler now

Saturday is here I have waled the dogs feed the birds and animated a flashing neon sign in my flash assignment (way ahead here ) and have made an animated stick man and if I was assed I would finish the rest of my animation but I am ahead enough for the day , I have some wood to chop and some fires to make , the cockys are out screaming and I also have to try and get you guys some pics to put in this post emmm ok I think that’s what I will do in a bit , you may yet get pics of chainsaws and stuff lol , ok thanks for listening to my blog hope you enjoyed it and come back some yallllll.

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Winters here in Tassie

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Bezials not to happy with Earl laying on him and Fran taking pics

Talking of Fran heres a vid for you all to watch and Christi you have to show the B>O the hootchi cootch lol

http://s1101.photobucket.com/user/bezial27/media/fran_zps4d701440.mp4.html

Enjoy your week and Frans home a day later so I will maybe start a guest post she can finish .

Ps All the pics seen here have not been photoshopped beyond belief they actually looked this way 🙂

hello easter

Hi All,

This is a special Easter post because firstly, I forgot it was Easter and secondly, I figured I shouldn’t post a spare post, even though I am not actually here to post it (don’t ask…I am magic ok?). This will be a bit smaller than my usual posts and will be more linky than usual. Here’s what I have been up to over the last few days…

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this is bun before the baking

I decided to bypass making hot cross buns this year as they stale a LOT quicker than regular hot cross buns and so I made a hot cross loaf using the following recipe…

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add sugar and cinamon

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Roll and fold time

DSCF0225Look a cherry , thats for the easter man (steve)

DSCF0238Time to bake well

http://thelittleloaf.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/healthier-wholemeal-hot-cross-loaf/

DSCF0260Emmmm

I made mine using regular strong white bread flour and I used a packet of mixed fruit with 2 cherries in it. I don’t know which mingy sod deals out the glace cherries in these packets of exorbitantly priced fruit but I recon it would actually be cheaper to bypass the cherries, especially if your man (like mine) doesn’t even like them! Anyone asking why he would buy me a packet of fruit with cherries in it to make “him” hot cross buns/loaf for Easter when he doesn’t actually like cherries needs to know that Steve shops at warp speed and rarely looks at what he is buying. So long as it’s roughly the shape of what is on the list, it’s in the trolley. I figure the 2 cherries are to be given a new significance and it’s sort of like “hunt the plastic baby” in a king cake…you find the cherry you win! I guess your prize is the cherry ;).

I baked a couple of loaves of regular bread on the same day because I looked in the freezer and realised that we weren’t going to make it till Tuesday when I get back from my daughters. The good thing about knowing how to do things yourself is that you don’t have to buy a loaf from the small petrol station cum deli that charges $10 a loaf and you can smugly pass them by without having to hock your children to satisfy your need for some quick carbs. I have been running around like a chook with my head cut off feeding kefir and storing it in the fridge and feeding Audrey to store her in the fridge for while I am away, effectively slowing the feeding frenzy down to the occasionally snack and rendering both of them strange bedfellows with the appetites of supermodels for the weekend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pirates are bak again

We got tired of our whiteboard because it decided that it didn’t want to release what we had written on it anymore. Rather than hurl it over the deck (my initial thought…) we decided to try out an idea that I had read about recently in one of the blogs that I follow. She linked the process back to the originator and I am pleased to share the link with you here…

http://www.marthastewart.com/271574/custom-color-chalkboard-paint

DSCF0277Pretty cool eh

DSCF0256it worked despite fran writing on it just before it was really dry lol

Ok Martha…can I have my sponsorship money now? No? Sigh… Steve mixed up a half batch ( ½ cup dark blue acrylic paint and 1 tbs sieved tile grout) to do a test on a piece of metal in the shed before we launched into painting our whiteboard (fool us once…) and after a rough coating and a nights drying time it was time to test it out…however we realised that we were deficient in chalk… we had none! We headed out to walk the dogs and saw Roxy, our friend down the road and asked her if she had a spare piece of chalk. Roxy has grandkids that come to visit and is the obvious choice to ask about chalk and all things kiddy crafty. She had 2 boxes of chalk and was generous enough to give us one of them. We got the chalk home and had a look at the box and noticed that it was old. We looked up the chalk online and discovered that it was manufactured by the “Cosmic” company back last century. A more fitting chunk of writing material for our upcycle of our defunct whiteboard I can’t think of. We got home and Steve tested out his tester board in the shed and it worked! After masking up the whiteboard he gave it 2 coats of paint and as Brunhilda was on for the afternoon, baking our loaves she kindly dried the white/blackboard in quick speedy time and we tested the board and it works better than regular chalkboard paint does! BONUS! If you have children, or a kitchen wall that bores you, or a back of a door that could be used for writing notes or amusing children or kids that LOVE to draw on walls (I had one of those…) or a husband who got VERY excited about being able to mask up and paint an entire wall of his music room in a blackboard union jack, have a go…the results were amazingly high quality and you can use any colour paint you like, so long as it is acrylic.

DSCF0264emmm i love shepards pies

DSCF0274emmmmmmmmmmmm  even better shot want some 😉

It’s Good Friday and as Steve is “sort of” a Catholic we are having veggie burgers for tea tonight. He was too lazy to head out in the Mumbly Cumumbus to catch any fish so its veggies for him ;). He had a most unctuous shepherd’s pie last night and I have been making lasagnes and calzone etc. for him to just be able to pull things out of the fridge/freezer for meals over the weekend. He has to water my veggies, walk the dogs (both of them with a combined weight of 75kg) himself, post my post and add photos, guard the house against burglars and alien invasion and all of the things that men do when they are left alone at home (basically weld his derrière to the television and have marathon horror movie watching fests all weekend 😉 ). I can’t tease him too badly because Steve and I have a new television love. I can’t tease ANYONE anymore because this love is base and degrading and we can’t help it, we are addicted… we love “Honey Boo-boo”. It’s official. We love her, her redneck family, and we love their crazy coupon clipping, pageant attending, crazy world. I think we might need to be committed after a few more episodes but for now we are loving Honey Boo-boo and her crazy antics…”work it girlfriend!” ;).

fpwIts a line from a pink floyd song people ,,, i made this for fran

We have been going deep into Photoshop and love where it is taking us. For our assessment we need to create a poster using a logo that we are designing. This morning we found tutorials on Youtube that showed us how to make faces into text and how to make psychedelic rock posters from the 70’s!!! You can’t show a penniless aging hippy something like that and not expect her to break something in a feeble attempt to do a cartwheel! Steve also found a fantastic site where you can download all different kinds of free brushes and patterns etc. And I can see where I am going to be spending the free portion of my week of holidays over Easter. Photoshop and the price of high class cameras coming down have given we mainstream plebeians the ability to mess about with photography where once only the professionals could go. This follows the trend of people becoming their own landscape gardeners, their own restaurant chefs and their own artisan craftsmen. Obviously there are now biafran near starving representatives of these specialised industries nailing boards over their once prosperous shop windows but what do we care? The lowly masses can do it all! But can we do it well? That remains to be seen! I read about how allotments were being snapped up years in advance by hipsters hell bent on doing their thang all natural like and being able to wax lyrical to their friends about how green and hip and cool they were…but apparently they didn’t factor in the workload that you have to negotiate when growing your own vegetables and as they can’t vault over it and get someone else to do it (Green wash time!) they are leaving in droves and abandoning their allotments. About time I say! Get back to your 2 jobs in the city with your dog/cat children and your desire to be young forever…leave the gardens for people who are willing to put in the effort and by the way “skinny leg jeans are passé!” there…I said it! “Flares are coming back!”… I said that too! Man I am on a roll! ;). Ok, that’s enough words folks. I have 3 loads of washing to do, a pile of veggie burgers to rustle up, some form of clothing to toss into a bag along with some shoe like things to keep my feet safe, I need to run around gesticulating some more and making strange noises that will alarm the dogs and I need to sink down into a chair with my hand on my forehead sighing deeply…all of this will be completely ignored by my dear other half who has seen my travelling histrionics so many times he no longer worries that I am about to hyperventilate myself off the sofa. Have a great Easter period folks and keep safe. Stay away from rabid hoe wielding hipsters running in the opposite direction of their allotment and if you are clever you will follow them in your car because those hoes will be thrown down in disgust and they ONLY buy good quality second-hand things from Etsy so you are likely to score something great ;). See you Wednesday when I may, or may not be significantly greyer than I am now 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHoney Boo Boo style water slide in sidmouth

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFattys on the pot again …

DSCF0278Almost the last of summers harvests

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhy not .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAour local tug boat

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA flock of cockys sitting on the wires

Ok folks sorry i didnt say much about the posts but this is steve and i suck at the typing lol fran says see you soon and have a great easter .. bye for now

The power of music

Hi All,

In honour of World Permaculture Day on May 5th 2013…(YES I am early but I am giving you plenty of time 😉 )

All of us would acknowledge our own work as modest; it is the totality of such modest work that is impressive. Great changes are taking place. Why not join us in the making of a better future.

Ingenio Patet Campus. The field lies open to the intellect.”

Bill Mollison
2 May 2012

I would just like to add…don’t forget the heart Mr Mollison, for that is where you find the courage to go on in spite of overwhelming odds. Your head might get you to the starting gate but it aint gonna’ win you that race!

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This is what represents Serendipity Farm at the moment. I went for a walk to take some photos of pretty things to cheer myself up because it has been so hot and dry, but outside its actually hotter and drier than inside and all that happened was I started measuring up against places like Texas and The Gobi Desert and found us wanting so here it is…my artistic rendition of what Indian Summer represents to Serendipity Farm!

Today we found my earphones. I used to listen to music for hours on end and own a huge collection of CD’s, some of them helped me through my marriage breakup. Certain songs matched milestones, Pearl Jam “Alive”… Chumbawamba’s “Tub Thumping” EVERYTHING by The Counting Crows and Hootie and the Blowfish and a longstanding musical affair with Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 after I won their very first CD on an early morning radio station because no-one gets up at 5am and is awake enough to phone up D.J.’s at that time of day…all except me that is…me and my early morning habits…music was always there. I chose it. After I left my ex-husband and we vindictively divided up the C.D.’s I wore my music as a badge of courage and I hid behind it and wore my heart on my sleeve as I tried to work my way through the processes of unpicking a long standing relationship. Music is a bit like that nose/sniffing thing that I mentioned in the post before last. Music can hoist me high or lay me low and it takes me places that I have stumbled through before. Steve was hunting for something in the middle room built-in’s the other day and came out with a large stack of CD cases and reignited my love affair with music and infusing my brain with it as I type and think and hunt online. The next step was to give me anonymity. Steve likes to watch television unhindered by loud music so we needed to supply me with earphones. Steve retrieved his headphones from his music cupboard but they are those old fashioned Cyberman headphones and hurt my ears after I wear them for a while (which I inevitably do) and I remembered my funky set of Mochi earphones that I bought for my MP3 player when I used to go everywhere with music. I lost the time to listen to music and found myself “doing” more and ended up giving my MP3 player to my daughter and I promptly “Forgodaboudit”. We still had Youtube marathons into the night but no solo forays until Steve found my mochi’s and now I am hooked. It’s like I never left! My early mornings are going to be peppered with music. My very first CD that I listened to was Ben Folds 5. Next was Jeff Buckley and “Hallelujah” still makes me cry. Next The Whitlam’s opening number “There’s No Aphrodisiac” and who knows who after that…The Clash? Maybe Mark Knopfler “Sailing to Philadelphia?” How about Ben Harper “Diamonds on the Inside”? or ANYTHING from John Butler before he split with his trio…so many old friends that have been waiting patiently for me to get my mojo back…”I’m back!” :o)

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My favourite of the 50 Pumpkins…this one I could eat! 😉

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The first carrot cake that I can remember that I made that actually turned out! Usually they are tasteless or too wet or just plain ornery but this wonderful sourdough version turned out perfectly! Audrey, you are a star 🙂

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A close-up of the gorgeous crumb. Half is in the freezer and the other half is rapidly receding into Steve

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Isn’t this pretty? It’s Steves creation. I made pastry with grated butter straight from the fridge that made gorgeous flaky pastry. I also cooked a lot of potatos (steamed) and Steve cooked a heap of caramelised onions with chilli and made a delicious rich cheesy sauce and combined it all in layers with cooked capsicum (peppers) and made a fantastic (and most enormous) vegetarian pie.

Its Monday 11th of march and Douglas Adams would have been 61. His candle burned very brightly for a short time. I met Steve because of my early adoration of Douglas Adams. I read every single one of his books and was introduced to philosophy through their pages. Prior to reading the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy, I had never thought much about life, the universe and everything. The sky was up there and I sometimes lay on my back in the evening looking up at the stars and thinking about how small I was but not much more. Adams introduced me to thought processes outside my comfort zone and to the number 42. When my son was small he was given a small wooden mouse with a leather tail. We called him “Slartibardfast” and despite losing his tail in an early accident (children are curious…) he managed to stay with us through moves all over Western Australia. I have no idea where he is now or if Stewart still has him but I would imagine he would be in an ancient sandpit in a house in the Western Australian fringe outback as I type this. I actually owe my love of Douglas Adams books for meeting Steve. My son, Stewart, then 14, got tired of me complaining about having nothing to do and showed me how to use the internet. I could only type with 1 finger and back then (last century circa 1997) the net was populated by chat rooms, places where you picked yourself a little avatar that you associated with and you waited to jump into someone’s conversation. There were so many different chat rooms and I remember scrolling down the exponentially increasing list in awe and thinking “Where do I start?” As a Luddite technophobe the temptation was to just give up before I started but I chose a room called “Comic Chat” and entered. When I got inside there were reams and reams of text scrolling down the page and despite my best efforts to tap away with 1 finger, by the time I had anything typed the conversations had moved on…I was somewhat bemused at the speed of my brain being entirely unrepresentative of what was coming out of my fingers! I ended up just sitting there watching words scroll maniacally across the page till one sentence hit me…”What is the meaning of life?”…I had a SHORT ANSWER to that one! I quickly (well…quickly for someone who didn’t even know where the number keys were 😉 ) typed back “42!”…little was I to know that this was Steve’s final hurrah online. He had been tapping away for months trying to connect with likeminded people. His friend (also Steve) had gotten him into computers via gaming and he had been making brief but frustrated forays into the chatting world and had decided that he would ask this one question and if he didn’t get a satisfactory answer he was out of there for good! My very first sentence online would seal my fate for the rest of my life. How fitting and how poignant that Mr Douglas Adams would be my teacher and would deliver my ultimate happiness to me via being brave enough to step out into a brave new world. Cheers Douglas and Stewart for my new life, I couldn’t have done it without either of you :o). I saw the Google homepage tribute to Douglas Adams this morning and raced to Facebook to laud him but my sister Pinky had gotten there first. Oh well… I can get there first here! ;). I headed off into the ether for a few moments to find out about how 42 equates with life, the universe and everything and there are some very interesting connotations to the number 42. You can read about them here on my old paraphrasing friend Wikipedia if you are so interested. Aside from being interesting, this page was written by someone with more than a brain cell or two (which lends this Wiki page a bit more weight) because it is littered with some mighty fine scientific backup and there are some very amazing things that start with or end with 42…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_(number)

I found another page where Mr Adams had decided to give his view about Australia. A most humorous and fitting small article about us antipodeans that is well worth a few moments of your time to read…

http://www.jumbles.com/douglas_adams.htm

Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchet are my favourite fiction authors. It is curious to see that Douglas Adams died so young and that Terry Pratchet is facing his own slow demise at such an early age. Perhaps their brilliance in literature could only burn so bright for a short time? Was it worth it? As someone who has gained more than she could have possibly imagined from both of them and learned so much in the process I salute both of these amazing men and am reminded how “The Old Country” has spawned such a magnificent array of talented artists in all realms. I am bordering on sounding like an Anglophile there! Best stop that quick smart or I will have to hand back my Bolshie workers party pin (along with my Vegan confraternity pin after eating that Beurre bosc pear along with its previous occupier…)

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This is our half of the wonderful stash of natural soil ammendments that Steve Solomon recomended for our soil. Just to ensure there are no readers sending animal protection around…that lime isn’t actually to deal with “moles”. We don’t get moles here in Australia…it’s from a place called “Mole Creek” in Tasmania 🙂

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If nothing else grows on Serendipity Farm in the middle of the hot dry weather these most certainly do! Dandelions are loving the weather and are enjoying the extended Indian Summer

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Kid Creole on the left and his “Coconuts” on the right

We humans have art to express ourselves. Some of us are artistically challenged when it comes to attempting to reproduce what we see around us pictorially but then visual representation is only one of the ways that we are able to reach out and communicate with other people. Neither Steve nor I are dab hands with a paint brush, let alone a pencil. The fact that having to draw 50 pumpkins each for our Media design course (in an attempt to make us think about how to represent a pumpkin in 50 different ways) has us twitching and procrastinating when we have finished the rest of this unit should go a long way to showing you how desperately untalented we both are at drawing anything other than crazed stick men (Steve) and lopsided spheres (me). It’s curious that we should both adhere to other artistic pursuits though. Steve is very musical. He spent his misspent youth dabbling in the art of suspicious substances, enormous quantities of alcohol and generally “muckin’ abart” as a lad with his gang of mates. He had the dubious honour of being alive and of an influential age when Old Blighty was going through a rolling succession of workers strikes and Maggie Thatcher ruled supreme with an iron fist. Whenever inequality and hard times strike it brings out the quintessential artist in the working class and suddenly punk was born, closely followed by the rise of the first set of Goths…Steve straddled both classes and walked the fine line between the two. As a child he was exposed to music as a way of life. His father was a musician in a band and knew Ringo Starr of The Beatles fame. Steve picked up a guitar as a small child and by the time his teenaged angst hit it was second nature to use a guitar to fend off the blues. Steve used to be very shy and his guitar was the weapon that he used to fend off the world and give himself a medium to communicate. When I met him he had been teaching guitar for a few years and had a steady clientele of students and a quiet but comfortable life. Steve has 13 guitars (if you count a lap steel as a “real” guitar that is 😉 ) and has learned to bypass music as a means to communicate. He is now comfortable in his skin and is nowhere near as shy as he was when we first met but his music is a quintessential part of him and his first guitar, a white strat that he bought back in the 80’s, will be buried with him when he leaves the earth.

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I don’t even know what this mad weed is. I know it is a garden plant but it has gone mental all over the place and is another lover of this extended hot weather

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I am not sure what this tree is (there goes my horticultural street cred 😉 ) BUT I know it was on it’s last legs in it’s pot and we planted it out to give it a chance to die in the soil and we haven’t watered it once all summer and it is thriving! Apparently it must taste foul to wallabies and possums because it is putting on foliage and seems to love where we planted it go figure!

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This variagated sedum was almost completely consumed by duckies sister. She had a craze for eating our succulents and cacti and when she disappeared the xeriscape plant massacre stopped.

I was born to communicate…not always effectively but sometimes sheer volume can make up for a lack of direction and like Billy Connelly before me, I have learned the value of persistence…eventually you will get to the point! ;). I too was an incredibly shy child. I had a complete lack of drive and direction and life had been buffeting me around for 34 years before I decided to make my life count. As a result I left one marriage and embarked on a new life. All I knew at the time was that I wanted to really “live”. I didn’t want to arrive at the Pearly Gates and have my cap in my hand and nothing to show for the time that I was given. I couldn’t justify my existence and that was a terrifying thing. Why was I here? Why did “I” get this chance when millions of babies die each year or are not given the chance to even be born? I had to know or at least live a more worthwhile life and after leaving my husband of 15 years I headed off into the wilderness to think. I had never had time to think, or be myself before. I jumped straight from the terror of school into early motherhood and lost myself in the process…I was a pure example of how to function without thought. I can see how easy it is for people to just give themselves up to the processes like robots and how it would be such a tragedy to wake up at 65 and find yourself retired, married to someone you hardly know and suddenly having to face up to the fact that you haven’t done much with your life. I had my mid-life crisis at 34. After my marriage dissolved along with my family (my son chose to stay with my ex and I had to let him make his choice) I took my daughters and started a new life. I had 12 years of education, half a year spent having the BEST time at teachers college (before I got thrown out 😉 ) and a complete lack of a working history if you disregard 6 months spent working for a fish and chip shop and 2 months spent working in a café when I was 15. I was bewildered, terrified, completely unprepared for my new life and as a mother and a prize rabbit (August 1963 put me square in Chinese bunny territory) I was a perfect example of a rabbit bedazzled by life’s headlights. I spent a lot of time finding myself and my daughters will tell you that they were severely neglected. The poor little darlings were obviously left to fend for themselves…eating hotdogs out of an electric kettle and living under a rug…that’s how they tell the story…I remember it a bit differently girls! ;). I remember pulling the girls out of school when the sun was shining and it was too nice a day to be cooped up and driving them out to the tall Jarrah trees and we had a picnic with honey icecream cones purchased from Bartholomew’s Meadery on the way to the trees. We took Barbie and Woody along for the ride and they actually got married on a mossy log under the trees…I remember doing the same (some might say irresponsible, I say “enlightened”) thing on another lovely day when we drove out to a far off beach in Albany and just wandered around feeling our space in the world. If I was living under societal conventions I might feel a bit guilty about my daughters early childhood. More so because of allowing my ex to constantly move around to satisfy his need to climb the hierarchal ladder in his chosen profession but I have since learned that children who are cossetted and not given a modicum of freedom to explore the parameters of their world on their own and who are not taught the value of life lessons and the responsibilities of the natural world never grow up to be independent thinkers. We might have eaten hotdogs from a kettle girls BUT that was because the gas bottle ran out and I didn’t have enough money to buy another one. I remember it as fun…you might have been under a rug while I tapped away to a man thousands of miles away in a completely different timeframe but at least when he eventuated on the scene he didn’t take over your lives or try to change you in any way. The world has a way of communicating what we REALLY need to us, often against what our own perceived views of the world might be. It’s a true to life case of “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes…you get what you need”.

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A line of drought hardy nerines all heralding the autumn that just won’t come

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No sign of that lovely red lily from Saturday but look what I found growing right next to the spent stem! This little crocus has managed to grow and flower in the middle of the worst drought we have had in years! Again, you just can’t pick what will and won’t grow here 🙂

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There are at least 2 mango seedlings that grew from the mango seeds that I tossed into the compost and we will make sure that they are protected for their first winter on Serendipity Farm and after that they will be planted out in the food forest. I LOVE free plants 🙂

I would like to appologise to my children for being a somewhat absent mother for a few years there. I DO feel a level of guilt for having to tear you away from your lives but I know that what I did gave us all back our lives including my ex who is now happily married with another child. What might seem chaotic and devastating can be seen from the distance of memory to be very different clothing. My communication…my “art” if you will is my desire to represent my world and my view of the world in words. I might stumble over myself and I might have to endlessly check my spelling because my fingers can’t match the speed at which my myriad muses want me to type but there is a fire inside me and like all good bushfires, it won’t quit till one of its ignition sources is quenched and that doesn’t look like happening any day soon. Maybe one of my parents should have realised that I had a penchant for words and steered me into journalism…My parents had their own battles and I didn’t factor into their peripherals much so I was pretty much on my own when it came to trying to work out what life, the universe and everything meant to me as a child and a young adult. I owe my ex-husband a lot. Aside from my children, he spent the 15 years that we were together plodding along following his own set of processes to give us all what we physically needed to survive. He kept it all together when we were really falling apart and for that, I owe you Robert. I am not sorry that I left you and now that you are happy on the other side of Australia I feel somewhat vindicated in my choices. This post has been somewhat cathartic! I didn’t intend it to be a treatise about my life but in a round-about way it is. Mr Adams gave me a focal point and the key to the door that opened up my new life. 42 was indeed, my meaning of life moment. If you step outside your comfort zone and you dare to take a walk on the wild side, even if it is for only just a short time, you might just find your reason. I know…I did :o).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkGrkNu6mDg

The Rise of the Stickmen

In the beginning there was nothing…then there was something…then there was Captain Cook. By the look of it, Captain Cook went everywhere and linked all of the continents in a series of three massive world voyages. We owe a lot to Captain Cook as well as Captain Kirk, but that is another story! Today we will commence our party discussion on Captain Cook and how he forged the Stickman Party.

Aka Johnny Cash. Note the midriff buttons are undone…must have just come from a particularly large lunch with the queen…

Here is a picture of Captain Cook.

Here is a picture of his wife Elizabeth…one can only guess that she is the reason why he spent so long voyaging at sea

If you look closely, you can see where Captain Cook docked in Australia and in a different voyage pulled in to the bay right next to where Olalla nestles…

Here is where Captain Cook travelled

The vice president of The Stickman Party has torn himself away from his Friday activities (watching television) to share with you all his version of history via Captain Cook…

Captain Cook discovers Australia! (looks like the natives got to that Kangaroo first…)

Captain Cook greeting the natives in America somewhere…”history” says it was probably California, but does that pale skinned English gentleman look like he would want to spend time in California? No! Neither do we! We think he dropped into California to get a couple of oranges to stop the crew from succumbing to scurvy (yet again!) and then hightailed it off to cooler climes as fast as he could. History might not show him docking in Puget Sound but history also said that the earth was flat, that Australia was the edge of the world and ships would spill off the edge if they went there and that natives wouldn’t hurt you…

“Natives won’t hurt you Captain Cook!”…”oh…wait a minute…YES THEY WILL!”… too late old chap…a lesson learned in the name of history (and probably the reason why Christopher Columbus came with 3 ships, a lot of guns and a no nonsense attitude towards “the natives” 😉

A little known correspondence from Captain Cook to his wife on his deathbed goes as follows…

With his dying breath he pledged his allegiance to the queen, to his country and passed on his incessant need to wander the globe seeking truth, justice and the holy grail to a future generation of men willing to tell the truth as it really is rather than rely on the general perception and dictated that they shall portray the truth in tale and picture to enlighten the public about the world, the universe and everthing…with that he gave up his last breath and passed the flag on to an eagerly awaiting public and its only now that brave men are willing to take up his challenge and form The Stickman Party uniting around the globe to carry on the abandoning of familial duties to further their own curiosity.

And thus began the history of the Stickman Party…the truth tellers and the documenters of history as it REALLY is!

A hand full of oca and a head full of rising sap

Hi All

Today is the first of spring and the weather has turned on a most magnificent day for it. We had a nice sleep in (7.30am) by ignoring the chickens scolding us underneath our bedroom window, the cuckoo shrike tapping  on the kitchen window and calling out, the dogs alternately hopping into bed and hopping out in anticipation of their walk and got out of bed when WE wanted to. We then fed some bread and butter (our chooks are connoisseurs and will only eat butter) to the chooks and the feral cats; let Pingu out for a few more chunks of bread and butter and then the rest of the coop for a mass orgy of bread and butter flying in the air. Sparrows, cats, chooks, duck EVERYONE had some and then we headed out to walk our boys in the beautiful spring air in Exeter. We parked the car and headed off for a nice long walk and then dropped in to drop off a few “Barbara” pumpkin seeds to the local nursery man who was most grateful and gave me a hand full of what we call “New Zealand Yams” but on further research, their real name is “Oxalis tuberosa” or Oca in their native South American Andes homeland. The New Zealanders are prone to pinching things and renaming them after themselves starting with kiwifruit, a native of China and Pavlova, Lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits ALL of which originate in Australia and now Oca from the Andes…I won’t be hearing that you don’t pinch things you Kiwis! I think you have been learning from your native Kakapo flightless parrots. I watched a Discovery channel programme about them a little while ago that showed how they might not be able to fly, but they can certainly steal things! Australia might be founded on convicts but you have no excuses for pinching things but we do forgive you because your economy is totally stuffed and heck, most of you are heading over here to become Aussies anyway so I guess we will go easy on you for the while…but we are watching you…

More mushrooms growing after we have already harvested a kilo of nice big mushrooms from our freebie bags. After they finish shrooming, we can use the mushroom compost for our garden

One of the feral cats has decided that she likes Steve and follows him around meowing. He does feed them every evening so I guess it might be cupboard love, but she seems particularly taken with him

Serendipity Farm is emerging from its week of drowning and aside from it now being leech heaven around here, we are hoping that the sun will dry it out a bit over the weekend

Its the first day of spring! Time to wash the car and clear out the boat ready to launch it on that lovely water in the background…

While I was at the nursery in Exeter I took advantage of their kind offer of a bag of red wriggler worms for free. Our compost heap does contain worms, however they are the enormous native kind that breeds slowly and that just slug about waiting for blackbirds to eat them. Red wrigglers are adapted to living in compost heaps and the small bagful that I placed carefully into our overladen heap should be incredibly happy to be relocated. Their home at the nursery was seething with comrades but here on Serendipity Farm, they will be pioneering their way into history. Once they breed up we will start a worm farm to collect the worm tea for use on our plants. So many ideas! Steve found me heaps of online information about permaculture the other day and I have been immersed in videos of hope and sustainability. There is nothing like being a penniless student hippy to make you realise that consumerist gardening is not for you! Who can afford to populate their gardens with purchases from mainstream nurseries (and indeed, who would want to!). Our pathway in life gives us lots of time but precious little payola to spend but never people to let problems stand in our way, we negotiate our way around the outside like gyrating, belly dancing hippy buffalo girls and find a lateral way to solve our problem. No money for plants? No worries! We haven’t just spent the better part of 4 years studying horticulture for nothing you know! We learned how to grow plants from seed, from cuttings and how to bud, graft, layer and many cleverer hints and tips to allow us to grow our own.

Thursday over at Beauty Point walking the dogs in the sunshine aren’t we lucky to have such lovely places to walk our dogs?

A clever way to enhance a standard wooden fence

The rest of the fence is the same and most certainly makes this home one to remember on our walk around Beauty Point

We fixed up the glasshouse and have a heat bed of our own to get our cuttings to strike and our seeds champing at the bit and we have the will and the desire to find solutions to our planty problems. The gazillion strawberry plants languishing at the Exeter tip that I waded through mud (after asking permission from the tip guy) to save from a waterlogged death are all potted up and flowering like crazy. I planted the oca in with the strawberries so that I know where they are and aside from the strawberries there is a tiny little Babiana corm that I found amongst the debris and planted and that is now sending up greenery to greet the sun. I love gardening. It’s one of the most positive things that you can do. It’s a way to feel the cycles of the seasons and immerse yourself in the natural world and as the spring sap rises in the deciduous trees and shrubs I can feel it bubbling inside me and rising in unison, full of possibilities and the excitement that comes with effecting change.

Myvanwy doing what she does best. She is a hybrid of Herman and Ethel Merman and is a 75% all white hydration. She appears to be rising magnificently and taking her time to fall so it looks like there is a lot of happy yeasty activity going on in that nice tall glass jar. She is raising at least double every time we feed her and so Miff, is going to be our next baking event. Anyone laying bets as to how she turns out?

Steve’s delicious creation soup the other night.

We found a packet of cloud ear fungus that I must have bought in a past life hiding up the back of the cupboard the other day and decided to use it in our cooking. You soak it in warm water, cut out the bit where it joins to the tree and it is crunchy and vaguely seaweedy. Delicious and we will certainly be using the rest of the packet soon

A young currawong looking through our bedroom window wondering if he might just move in. I know life here is paradise for animals but inside is off limits matey!

I have grand plans for how to slow the rapid descent of water from the sheoky dry bit up the top of the block down to the marshy melaleuca infested area down at the bottom of the property. I am going to build a hugelkultur garden bed. We can’t dig the usual swales that permaculture suggests to perform this task, but if you look a little outside the box you can usually find an answer and hugelkultur seems to be ours. You can start with biochar logs (slow burned to get a honeycomb pattern in the charcoal) or you can start with regular garden debris and we have a depressing amount of garden debris littering Serendipity Farm. I think that the true value of permaculture is being able to use what you have available to effect change rather than having to wait until you have enough money to do it. I can “take a frown and turn it upside down” and those piles of debris that were hanging about waiting for me to hire a mulcher or tote them off to the tip are now a positive asset on Serendipity Farm. I can cut them up, lay them in a long line, cover them with chopped up branches and dead plant matter, I can head off to our friend who has given us all the topsoil that we can handle and get trailer loads of soil to spread on top of our branches along with bagged manure (probably sheep) and then cover it all over with some large bales of hay and I can plant fruit and nut trees and other edible shrubs and herbs directly into it. It’s all about looking at the reality that you have in a different way. Seeing what you have as positive and learning how to use it to your advantage.  I no longer look at the tangle of debris down in the garden as being a massive pain that has to be hacked away in sections, but somewhere that is going to protect our young fruit and nut trees until they grow enough to be able to stand on their own two roots. I am also carving what has to be done into small manageable portions. Instead of being totally overwhelmed with 4 acres of hassles, we now have 4 acres of future edible food forest just waiting for us to wade in and make it happen. We are going to use everything that we have learned to give us what we want here including vertical gardening, aquaponics, hugelkultur gardening, permaculture, biodynamics, xeriscape gardening…all SORTS of things that just typing out here make me excited. I love learning and even more than learning…I LOVE putting what I learn into action and having something to show for those hours spent hunting for the elusive, precious information in the first place. Life is good people, let’s live it!

A lovely little Acer rubrum, a waterwise small tree, one of many that we managed to get to grow from some seed that we bought online. We now have lots of little shrubs all budding up and needing to be repotted. Might be time to do some giving away, planting out, swapping and THEN with the few that are left, we can repot…anyone else out there procrastinating about repotting?

Where the Acer rubrum is hiding amongst his compatriots…one small stand of many small stands dotting Serendipity Farm and all needing our care and attention in the near future

A lovely Nectarine blossom on one of the fruit trees out the back. This is a lovely yellow nectarine and we have a delicious white one next to the chook yard. Here’s hoping that Big Yin doesn’t show his girls how to jump and eat them all like he did last year…

We had our fortnightly visit to see our lecturer the other day and got to paint our assessment model so we are now officially able to share it with you here. We are suitably proud of our efforts and our lecturer seemed to be pleased as well so it was a win-win situation as our lecturer now has 2 models to use for the upcoming Polytechnic open day to show what our course (only offered this year for the first time) is all about. Steve and I didn’t have to learn how to use AutoCAD this year so we could get stuck straight into model building which fitted in nicely with the open day because all of the other students in the course are still getting their heads around the dreaded AutoCAD and without us there wouldn’t have been any models to share. Nat made a flitting visit and it was great to see her. I told her that I would put something about her in the blog because the poor girl doesn’t get to even look at the blog much as she is so busy these days. Her class will be putting on a floral display at beautiful Entally House soon and I can’t wait to see it when it’s done. All of the annuals have been grown especially for this event by her students and it’s an amazing chance to learn how to grow for a specific event and how to pull it all together. Good luck Nat, but you don’t really need that because you are fantastic at organising and are a true asset to the Horticultural department at Polytechnic. Our friend in the witness protection gave me a whole lot of Hippeastrum bulbs a little while ago. She had been keeping them in her polytunnel but we have just stuck them outside in the sun. They are happy enough and hopefully they will flower this year. Our friend is a very generous person and we like to be generous to so sometimes the give and take can go on for a long time with a single gift starting it all off :o). I am off with her to a soilweb presentation in Launceston on Wednesday while Steve stays here with the dogs. I have all sorts of information about permaculture to give to her as I know that she will be as excited as I am with the possibilities that it brings to our lives.

Our original (practice) model construction on display inside the Horticulture Department at our Polytechnic

Our final model painted and ready for submitting to our lecturer with yours truly hovering around anxiously in the background with a paint pot in case we missed a bit…

We passed our model making 🙂

Spring appears to have awoken more than the plants. Steve has been following “The Bearded One’s” stick drawings on Christi’s Olalla Washington farmlet.wordpress.com blog for quite some time now and he decided that he was going to put some drawings of his own on my post for today. I watched him feverishly crouched over his piece of paper (shielding it from my inquisitive eyes whenever I went too close) and when he finished with a final flourish and presented me with his magnificent creations I told him not to tell me what they were (which should tell you that they need a degree of interpretation to say the least!) so that I could attempt to guess. Here are his pictures and firstly my interpretations and then what they are actually meant to be…

Err…

My interpretation of the first picture: I think that this looks like one of the young roosters that has broken into the shed and has invaded the chook feed. They are constantly hungry and hover around under the deck avoiding Big Yin and his deft attacks, crowing, jumping on any passing hen and tomorrow night, they will actually BE their namesake…”chicken” and “stock”!

Steve’s actual description: He said this was originally a self-portrait (no…he hasn’t drunk his 2 bottles of Guinness that he picked up in Exeter this morning…) and then he changed it and it is now “The Cockatrice of Doom”…I think that Steve is having flashbacks to Nam!

Hmmmm…

My interpretation of the second picture: I have been eating a lot of kimchi and lots of cooked beans lately…I think that this is Steve’s way of telling me to not only stop nagging him about his Guinness habit but also to lay off the farty stuff. He is obviously holding me down and I am trying to elevate him from his one true love…Guinness…

Steve’s actual description: I am full of the lightness of spring and he is thoughtfully grounding me and stopping me from flying away. The large pint glass of Guinness in MY interpretation has been replaced with the 20 litre bucket of skeeter pee (lemon wine)…at least I got the booze bit right!

Eek!

My interpretation for the third and final picture: THE ZOMBIES ARE COMING!!! They are rising along with the sap from the graveyard next door and they are apparently armed and dangerous! They have a couple of pigs in tow (for sustenance?) and have attracted some blowflies as they lurch towards our home and our certain doom…(note to self – I must stop watching the Crime Investigation channel before I go to bed…)

Steve’s actual description: We are walking hand in hand through the spring garden where the roots and shoots of the trees are awakening (at least ONE of us remembered our horticultural studies…), the birds are flying above us and our two dogs are with us and Steve has plus fours because he can’t draw board shorts very well…

Ok so I kind of got it a bit wrong. I got it HEINOUSLY wrong. You know those shows and quizzes where you are supposed to guess what your partner has answered for a specific question? Well I don’t think that I will enter us in any of those shows aside from the entertainments value as we are guaranteed NOT to win. We are totally the polar opposite of each other and that is more than obvious by our answers BUT Yin and Yang we are. I am starting to sound a bit like Yoda there so I think it’s time to call this post sprung! See you all on Wednesday when I will have been to a Tamar NRM day all about soil with our friend from the witness protection and I will be all hyped up on mountain dew and knowledge…my favourite state of being! See you all then :o)