Of witches, conjugated verbs and things that go BANG in the night…

Hi Folks,

So what does one do when one has buffeted their dear constant readers with a succession of small blog posts at regular intervals over the last week? One gives you a short post, that’s what “One” does ;). The “BANG!!!” in the title is somewhat of a misnomer…a dangling carrot in front of your jaded eyes if you will to lure you back to the fold. Steve headed in to one of the outer suburbs of Launceston to pick up some heavy items for a friend of ours who doesn’t own a car and while he was taking a side trip over to Woolworths to pick up some frozen Brussels sprouts (what can I say…SOMEONE  has to love them!) and 2 litres of “good” milk (don’t get me started on the watered down garbage that the major supermarkets are using as loss leaders to pull customers through the doors and that is ultimately going to shape Australia’s dairy industry into the future…I SAID don’t get me started! 😉 ) when he noticed a little white haired lady waving maniacally at him from a small silver car…it was Glad from next door!

Second fermenting Hilda the Booch's fizzy results with a bottle of Pomegranate juice Stage 1

Second fermenting Hilda the Booch’s fizzy results with a bottle of Pomegranate juice Stage 1

After a couple of days the booch is now starting to fizz nicely Stage 2

After a couple of days the booch is now starting to fizz nicely Stage 2

“Wendy (her middle aged daughter) absolutely positively HAS to have some “special tomatoes” that you can’t buy anywhere but here” she apparently said with the appropriate degree of sarcasm. Steve felt privileged to be inside Glad’s circle of trust and she went on to ask Steve if he had heard the massive explosion sound the night before at 9.30pm. Now if it was me that she was talking to the answer would have been an unequivocal “Nope…sorry…” because by 9.30pm narf7 is well and truly super glued into the land of nod, not to wake until her bladder threatens to burst in the wee (pun FULLY intended) small hours…but Stevie-boy is a night stalker and as such may have heard the sound, but nope, he didn’t either so perhaps one of the large trees that semi-fell in the strong winds that we had last week performed a slow waltz to the ground? “If a tree falls on Glad’s property GLAD HEARS!” At least someone bore witness to its demise. By the way…YES I know that capitals mean yelling…I like to yell it’s a much underrated form of stress relief.

Steve bought me 4 bottles of this delicious Swedish cider for our anniversary meal. As you can see, I drank one so these 3 bottles will probably last me the rest of the year

Steve bought me 4 bottles of this delicious Swedish cider for our anniversary meal. As you can see, I drank one so these 3 bottles will probably last me the rest of the year

Booch mid fizz and a Rekorderlag (I TOLD you it was Swedish!) glass that came with the purchase full of non-dairy kefir.

Booch mid fizz and a Rekorderlag (I TOLD you it was Swedish!) glass that came with the purchase full of non-dairy kefir.

Today we talk about “stuff”. The stuff that has seen the wet weather carry on, Steve and I starting our final course unit where we learn to take everything so far and cram it maniacally into a pathetic excuse for a “Web Page”. If we let our imaginations run riot we could both be up for some kind of award methinks…Steve could get the honorary “Stephen King” award for the most B-Grade movie images crammed onto a single web page EVAH! And I would most probably end up with some obscure award from the Druid’s society for writing posts so laboriously hard to read and for bastardising the English vernacular so badly that I had actually managed to shroud some form of elemental truth (like the Holy Grail) from view by my sheer unmitigated refusal to compromise my “art” for my readers comprehension or reading pleasure.

Why looky here... do I spy a little girl scout collecting funds by selling Freddo Frogs for charity?

Why looky here… do I spy a little girl scout collecting funds by selling Freddo Frogs for charity?

We will start where I always start when I first tumble out of bed in the morning bedecked in a pair of Steve’s boxer shorts that have rapidly receding elastic on one side requiring me to clutch at them and making only one hand available to grope in the dark for the wall so that I don’t run head first into the enormous chunk of wood that someone thoughtfully chose to place at the end of our bed and give myself a leg cork from hell. I have also been known to hook the droopy bit of the undies on this large chunk of wood and in my half-awake semi dreaming state, have occasionally found myself wondering why my walk out to the kitchen is taking so long…

Why no! It would appear it was Earl attempting to negotiate his dog door with a prize stolen from Steve's music room...

Why no! It would appear it was Earl attempting to negotiate his dog door with a prize stolen from Steve’s music room…

Once in the kitchen I get dressed in front of Brunhilda who could care less about how I look. She loves me anyway and is one constant in my life that I never tire of. I forgot! I always turn on the P.C. on the way past as Mr Kaspersky our Russian Heavy who manages security here on Serendipity Farm needs time to choose  whichever toxins he has chosen to surprise the hackers and spammers with on any given day before taking up silent sentry duty for the day. If you want to try to infest us with Trojans or burrow a worm into us I suggest you talk to Mr Kaspersky…it’s easier that way, at least your death will be quick…

"Excuse me... if you could just see your way clear to filling my box with Freddo Frogs I will be out of your way in an instant..."

“Excuse me… if you could just see your way clear to filling my box with Freddo Frogs I won’t trouble you any further…”

Mr Kaspersky doesn’t bother with email spam though. It’s beneath him and thus my bleary pre-tea eyes tend to have to stare in bemused mirth at some of the enticing ways that spammers attempt to lure me to head over to their sites…only this morning I had this delightful leader… “Local Sluts – Slut Finder”…not too sure whether “I” was being asked to take part in the slut hunt or whether “I” WAS the slut at the end of the rainbow, either way, my pre-dawn brain isn’t ready for any form of wanton woman so I promptly sent them out into the ether to float with Major Tom for all eternity.

"I think Fatty is dead..."

“I think Fatty is dead…”

The ex driveway at the side rear of our house that is still mostly flooded but that looks verdant enough to share with you

The ex driveway at the side rear of our house that is still mostly flooded but that looks verdant enough to share with you

I have given up trying to kid myself that I am not addicted to Pinterest. I am. I choose to get up at 3am to indulge myself to the max. I first work my way through our 3 email inboxes where I sift through and answer the ones that matter to me and sort them into piles for Steve and Piles for me. If I haven’t answered it’s into the bin…life is too short for bad wine and unsolicited emails. Next I click my RSS Feed Reader into action and let it load up in the background. I get between 40 and 80 blog posts a day depending on the day. Early in the week it’s the lower quotient and Saturday is the big day for email posts. I work my way through posts, reading those that I love and indulging my senses in some amazing word smithing, excitingly sustainable possibilities and soaking up information like the little black magpie sponge that is narf7.

I am constantly amazed at the resilience of nature. This artichoke had been pecked down to the core. Forget torturing mice to find cures, we should be looking at plants!

I am constantly amazed at the resilience of nature. This artichoke had been pecked down to the core. Forget torturing mice to find cures, we should be looking at plants!

While I collect and collate (for indeed I keep a word doc open to save anything I find particularly useful and a notepad page to navigate between my RSS Feed Reader and Google…) I Pin. It’s curious that I can multi-task when it comes to information collation but give me 3 things to do at once and I turn into a gibbering wreck. Steve found me a new weapon in my arsenal of pilfering the other day. I had noticed that certain websites that I visited offered the chance to download the post in PDF format. Steve headed over to this amazing free plug-in and promptly told me that it was, indeed, free, but that it was only for people with “real blogs” not sad free WordPress blogs like we had :(. Narf7 sighs…BUT in the near future we will be creating a permanent home for Serendipity Farm in our own space and we WILL go to the ball damn it! Steve also said “why don’t you just stick it on your task bar and whenever you find a particularly bolshie site that won’t let you copy things you can whack the URL into the PDF maker and Bob’s your proverbial?” why didn’t “I” think of that?!!! Genius man! I KNEW I kept you around for something! So now I can pinch pages with impunity and those websites that have HUGE posts can be saved quickly and tucked away into my exponentially growing database. Here’s the URL if you aren’t aware of this wonderful free plug-in…

http://www.printfriendly.com/

A Cape Gooseberry bush coming back from possum attack and winter to start doing what perennial food sources do all over again for another year

A Cape Gooseberry bush coming back from possum attack and winter to start doing what perennial food sources do all over again for another year

"Can I help you ma'am?"

“Can I help you ma’am?”

The power and reach of social media still amazes me. Aside from having the ability to meet  new and likeminded people you can find out SO much these days! A single picture on Pinterest can lead you to an amazing site. I found this site the other day that I immediately tucked into my RSS Feed Reader

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/

This online magazine has a wealth of low tech ideas to satisfy our modern needs and wants whilst rediscovering past solutions that are sustainable and kinder to our future. I immediately stuffed it (like a hamster cramming cheese into its cheeks) into my RSS Feed Reader so as not to lose it and eagerly look forward to new posts from this fringe online magazine.

This little fig survived a terrible dry summer with very little additional water.

This little fig survived a terrible dry summer with very little additional water.

This was an experiment. I filled this with compost about 6 months ago and am just about to dig in this spot to see if the next fig I am about to plant will benefit from this treatment. It's all about finding what works in your own little space

This was an experiment. I filled this with compost about 6 months ago and am just about to dig in this spot to see if the next fig I am about to plant will benefit from this treatment. It’s all about finding what works in your own little space

I find some interesting and informative things via my RSS Feed Reader posts and Pinterest. Only this morning (yes…I am writing this post today) I found a post about a book that Patty Smith wrote called “Just Kids” and logged on at 4.56am and put it on hold at my local branch of the state library. The library won’t be open for another 4 hours…how amazing is that? I guess it is only “AMAZING” to we last centuriers (yeah, I know…”no such word!” but whatchagonnadoeh?! 😉 ) who were born before computers. Yes… BEFORE COMPUTERS were main stream. Back when you had to send real letters if you wanted to communicate with someone you couldn’t easily reach by car and when a friend or family member headed interstate or overseas, that was it. You maybe phoned them once or twice but they were effectively out of your life. Now you just head over to Facebook or text them or send them an Instagrammed image of your foot with a moustache on it or something equally as trite, but the point is, you CAN almost immediately get in contact with them. We can bank in our underpants from the comfort of our computer chairs, we can order a bushel (is there still such a measure?) of baked beans from an online warehouse that will be delivered right to your door without having to get out of your underpants (unless you have a problem with the delivery guy seeing you sans outer garments that is…)

The possums have hammered this poor Japanese maple but it comes back every year without fail

The possums have hammered this poor Japanese maple but it comes back every year without fail

If you are isolated you aren’t any more with Social Media and our online system of commerce. I like to be balanced and remind myself that with great good (fun) comes the opportunity of great bad as in “us” being SO reliant on living our lives online, that we forget how to do so in reality. Plugged in and living in the Matrix where the real world is too hard to comprehend. Ok, so that probably arrived in this post because Steve and I have been watching a bit too much Crime T.V. lately but you can see where I am going. If we put all of our faith in the availability of everything online, one day someone is going to hijack that over-reliance of humanity on an easily hacked network and they are going to do something to make some money out of it. If they want to hack my Patty Smith book I guess I am just going to have to live with that!

Here’s an example of what I would consider “Good” information closely followed by “Garbage”…

Check out this amazingly exciting post about medicinal plants…

http://permaculturenews.org/2013/10/09/medicinal-plants/

And then this…”post” if you could call it that…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2449000/Katy-Perry-John-Mayer-don-mouse-ears-stroll-Disneyland-date.html

Note the amazing content and awesome possibilities in the first and the complete lack of ANYTHING important or worthwhile in the second (including the nefarious pop-up that kept trying to open while Mr Kaspersky our Russian heavy kept shoving it back into cyberspace…). A perfect way to illustrate the potential for “Good” and for “mindless vacuous time wasting” offered by social media. I rest my case folks!

Enclosed chooks held captive for their continued existence for various reasons...

Enclosed chooks held captive for their continued existence for various reasons…

Free to roam chooks that return to their coop every evening to be shut in for their continued existence...

Free to roam chooks that return to their coop every evening to be shut in for their continued existence…

Fringe dwellers hell bent on repopulating the earth for THEIR continued existence... it's a constant cycle of chooks here on Serendipity Farm

Fringe dwellers hell bent on repopulating the earth for THEIR continued existence… it’s a constant cycle of chooks here on Serendipity Farm

Mrs 23Thorns witch post was most thought provoking. You don’t know who Mrs 23Thorns is? Where have you BEEN?!!! Go here immediately…do NOT pass go, you don’t have time…get some history into you for goodness sakes and don’t forget to take it with a liberal dose of good humour, tasty drive by bin dress ups and the ability to still stay sane whilst being married to the ubiquitous Mr 23Thorns (if you don’t know who Mr 23Thorns is, please take the time to create a small mental image of narf7 hitting her palm to her forehead…). But for the sake of a few hundred years, a mere twitch in the eyes of history, narf7 would be burned at the stake. I have “strange unguents” brewing and festering in my kitchen and a few birth marks…I dare to speak in the company of men! (They might not listen but I bloody dare to speak!)…I have the dubious pleasure of 13 (what a MAGICAL number) feral cats, most of them in various stages of “simple black” that race to the deck with upturned faces whenever I exit stage left…OBVIOUSLY I am a witch! But for a quirk of my birth date, I would never have managed to attain middle age.

2 of my minions...

2 of my minions…

Kind of typical, when you want to see them they aren't there!

Kind of typical, when you want to see them they aren’t there!

Mr 23Thorns has an esteemed position on the right hand side of this blog in my Blogroll. As soon as Steve gets out of bed and stops drooling and snoring I am going to get his amazing I.T. knowledge onto the problem I have of NOT having Mrs 23Thorns wonderful thought inspiring dances with history forever (I jest you not…theroadtoserendipity is immortal!) up there in lights with it. I am seriously considering placing her blog above your blog Mr 23Thorns. Not because I don’t respect your ability to conjugate a verb, but because she just struck a gong that has been threatening to blow inside my head and because she is RIGHT! We women have to stick together and she has shared that her name is Tracy and you sir, who would KNOW what your name is? So I am calling you Zebedee and as EVERYONE knows…”T” comes before “Z” in alphabetical hierarchy. So be it… and it was so.

Our little orchard that we have to figure out how to protect from the marauding possums this year

Our little orchard that we have to figure out how to protect from the marauding possums this year

A little cherry tree that was mostly dead but that appears to be giving it the old college try for at least one last time

A little cherry tree that was mostly dead but that appears to be giving it the old college try for at least one last time

If you would like to read Ms Tracy’s wonderful post that inspired that outburst (and her elevated position in the blog roll hierarchy) please feel free to duck over and give it a read. You won’t regret it. She certainly knows how to conjugate a verb AND she can spell as well. I hold her in awe-full esteem…

http://tracyloveshistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/of-witch-hunts-and-fairground-rides/

And just so’s he doesn’t sulk too badly, here’s Mr 23Thorns blog for you all to head over to and check…

http://23thorns.com

Evidence of driveway clearing and a few solid hours work

Evidence of driveway clearing and a few solid hours work

More evidence and undergrowth for possums to hide in

More evidence and undergrowth for possums to hide in

I just started a new Pinterest Board of blog posts that make me stop and think. My brain is an incredibly active place to be. It is constantly quivering between thought and action and usually thought wins out. I must have incredibly active synapses because my brain flickers past ideas at lightning speed. I can only begin to imagine that the reason I can no longer remember where I put the mobile phone or the butter is because my brain has honed its ability to process information far beyond my ability to translate its responses ;). Now…if I am going to hand you a shorter post than usual I had best finish right about NOW!

I thought you might like some pretty flowers. This is a Clematis montana

I thought you might like some pretty flowers. This is a Clematis montana

The side garden that appears hell bent on covering its nakedness with osteospermum daisies

The side garden that appears hell bent on covering its nakedness with osteospermum daisies

An orchid that we inherited from my dad that flowers maniacally every year. This is a single spike of 7 that the plant is currently sporting

An orchid that we inherited from my dad that flowers maniacally every year. This is a single spike of 7 that the plant is currently sporting

Lastly here's a Ceanothus and a bee.

Lastly here’s a Ceanothus and a bee.

I hope you will check out the links that I shared with you in today’s post. They are all incredibly worthwhile and worth the look-see (and my having to figure out how to link them into my post). Have a wonderful rest of the week and remember Wednesday is only hump day to a one humped camel. If you consider the Dromedary, hump day is both Tuesday AND Friday and Wednesday is free to be whatever the hell it wants to be again. It’s all relative folks 😉

 

heres the wordleJava Printing

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

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind bat

Hi All,

What the hell is she talking about now? At least I don’t bore you dear constant readers ;). What today’s post is about is communication. That vital synaptic leap between the brain of one to the brain of another… a mutual process of understanding we know as “communication”. You might have the best most amazing idea in the world…you turn it around in your head, you feed it with possibilities, you craft it carefully and lovingly…you sample it and it tastes sweet and you want to share it with your friends but unless you are able to take that kernel of an idea and plant it firmly in the damp earth of someone else’s mind you are lost. I spend my mornings reading blogs through my rss feed reader. I keep evolving with what I do and don’t like and regularly throw blogs into the ether to make way for amazing new blogs. My new blogs are all about possibilities…fermentation, making things yourself, xeriscape gardening (and one combines xeriscape gardening with vegan cooking… what’s not to love!)And what I love about these blogs is their ability to communicate their ideas and processes with a wider audience. I am a processes girl. I learn through following processes and getting familiar with those processes. When my guitar teacher (who ran away from his wife leaving her available to become my dad’s partner and who inevitably left us Serendipity Farm but that, my dears, is another story! 😉 ) told me that practice makes perfect…aside from lying, he was outlining the perfect way for me to learn. Not everyone learns like this. There are many ways that people learn. Some people (take Steve for example) learn on the fly. They like to hurl themselves into the “experience” and pick it up as they go along. That way of learning scares the hell out of me! I need to start at a point where I understand “something” about the process and work in incremental stages from there till I arrive at the other end. To see Steve jumping in at the deep end and swimming with the fishes of his creativity is like being probed by aliens…frankly terrifying. Are you starting to get a bit of a picture of how difficult it is to sometimes translate what is going on inside “my” head to that of my wildly arm waving Don Quixote of a husband? 😉

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“Well what do we have here then eh? A lovely little Aussie Christmas beetle (Anoplognathus montanus) still hanging about after Christmas Day…”

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“RUN!”…

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The fixin’s for a batch of Steve’s favourite calzones. He has gone from being very suspicious about the idea of a calzone to demanding them on a constant basis 🙂

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This is a Boozy Oatwell Slice…the hybrid result of a man who just couldn’t make his mind up “I would like an oat slice…but then that bakewell slice you made the other day was delicious…and I could go a batch of eccles cakes…” rather than bake 3 separate things, I combined them all and a new classic is made…AND Steve loves it! 🙂

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“Quick Steve…get the chilli and garlic spray…there is something in the vegetables!”

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“Beetroots conquered and divided SIR!” Not only do we get the root but we get the delicious leaves to use like silverbeet in whatever we want. Tonight I am having some in my soup 🙂

Serendipity Farm is all go at the moment. Not the sort of “go” that eventuates in enormous swathes of things being done, but lots of little patches of “done”. I am spending a lot of time in the veggie garden much to Steve’s surprise. He expected that he would have to be the brawn where the veggie garden was concerned but Dame Elizabeth and mum are spurring me on and won’t let me rest if something needs doing out there. Yesterday I was mulching everything with some of the tinder dry lawn clippings and dead oak leaves that we got from Glad’s place. They were perfect to grab handfuls of and shuffle between the plants. The veggie garden is looking suitably smug now in its new blanket of deceased vegetative matter and I know that once it rots down it can only add to the fecundity of the soil. I am already learning the distinct benefits of being a “Doer”. This is my year of “Doing” and instead of thinking about projects I am actively hurling myself into them. When I say “hurl” I mean Fran’s planning type hurl rather than Steve’s jump in with both feet hurl. When mum used to be in her garden for most of her days I simply couldn’t understand the attraction…what is out there?! Now I know. Mum’s final communication with me (aside from her stint as chief muse that is…) was received, planted and has grown to fruition. I finally “Get it” mum :o). The sum of the process is worth so much more than the little bits that make it all up. We almost had an Hitchcockian case of extreme vertigo when faced with the garden when we first got here. Nothing would have changed unless we stepped out in the faith that we could, indeed, make a difference. We are slowly introducing cycles to the property…compost heaps to take care of green waste, food scraps and anything that will rot down to minimise landfill and to maximise our soil; vegetable gardens to feed ourselves; chickens for eggs, meat (roosters), nitrogenous manure and spent hay bedding that can be used for mulch and composting and many more. Today I took another wheelbarrow of oak leaves and dry lawn clippings to mulch the strawberries that are in containers by the side of Steve’s shed. I can feel the information that I have been collecting flowing out of me as I work…”make sure to cover all of the bare earth so that you minimise soil evaporation…don’t use the green leaves, make sure you only use the dead ones to minimise nitrogen draw-down…Don’t plant those chives with those snowpeas! They release substances that limit the growth of the peas…” It takes knowledge AND action to effect change. Incidentally, if you would like to see a good companion planting guide check this one out via Sustainable Gardening Australia…

http://www.sgaonline.org.au/?p=6986

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One extremely squished ex-golden nugget tomato courtesy of “The possums”…

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How much more fortification do we need?!!! Aside from buying a long metal chain and situating Earl in the wood shed to the right of this photo, we are not too sure what to do next…barbed wire perchance?

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Lets just call these pears “Romeo and Juliet” because they are together and still alive only because the possums haven’t found them yet…say goodbye to Romeo and Juliet 😦

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The butterfly Romeo and Juliet…for some reason butterflies love to hide under this tarpaulin where I keep the grass clippings and spent oak leaves that we got from Glad and every time I open it up, I find a few dead butterflies…

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The potato futures that we tossed into the compost heap the other day are all starting to grow!

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Some of the recent items harvested from Serendipity Farm including the rare golden nugget tomatoes (well NOW they are 😦 ) and a bouncy ball that was found in the bushy area next to the Auld Kirk church…”throw it over to the filthy heathens children…we shall save them YET!”

I have been singing the praises of the Tamar NRM for a long time now. They are an amazing source of information and practical application for how to manage your land using natural resources. Amanda, the powerhouse behind all communications and the lady that keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently recently asked me if I would like to write an article about my attendance at many of their workshops last year and how it has affected what we are going on our property for their next newsletter and I accepted. I just sent her 2 pages of words which was very difficult to do because my muses would have liked me to write a small novella, but for the sake of those reading (most probably mainly farmers who could care less to be honest) I reined them in this time. You can only imagine how difficult that was! ;). I sent a few photos to accompany the article but it will be interesting to see what Amanda does with my words and photos and how it looks in the next Tamar NRM newsletter. I might even link it so that you can all see it. Well the possums did it this time! I was out walking Earl this morning because Bezial is having one of his sporadic limping episodes. It curiously coincides with Bezial running maniacally around Serendipity Farm like a mad dog but he insists it is NOTHING to do with that. Earl and I arrived back home to Steve twitching more than normal. Apparently, while we slept, the possums decided that waving their hairy little arms through the bird netting to grab the occasional snack wasn’t enough…they decided to chew their way through to our tomatoes! We had a beautiful golden nugget tomato loaded with almost ripe perfect golden little orbs that were completely trampled flat and all of the gold stolen. I WOULD phone the police, but after heavily fortifying the entire “fruiting” bed (containing anything that a possum would be vaguely interested in…) and throwing some ex-fish farm netting over the top for good measure (they might chew their way in from the top!) we realised that what we had just made looked suspiciously like we were trying to hide “something” amongst our tomatoes…the spotter plane, most fortuitously flew over right at that time and we are waiting for the cops to bust down our door and demand to be taken up to see our illicit grown products. Best not trouble them while they are plotting the downfall of the Sidmouth 2 😉

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This is the “Queen of Hearts” jam making spoon with it’s own little heart for Valentine’s Day. It was a very clever idea but Steve isn’t happy with the watermark in the wood on the spoon bowl so away he went to make you another spoon…nothing is too good for our dear constant readers!

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Enter the gorgeous Ms. Myrtle…a stunning example of a local Tasmanian wood and something that I want to enter the draw for, let alone you lot! You get to choose which spoon you would like should you happen to win the spoon draw…be sure to let us know in time for this Saturday’s draw!

Well it’s spoon day again! Steve spent a few hours making what he called “The Queen of Hearts” on Thursday. He made it out of a lovely piece of Ash but in his haste he didn’t notice a little watermark in the wood that made the spoon look a little discoloured. Ash is pure white wood and this little watermark is very distinctive. He went to the trouble to make The Queen of Hearts spoon a true jam tart spoon with a little heart and a smaller tsp measure at the end for tasting the jam…you have to hand it to him, aside from being a great ideas man (re- booze bus…) he tried to make this spoon for multitasker’s…”make the jam, feed the baby…make the jam, put sugar in your tea…make the chutney, add some spices and salt…” but that little watermark made him twitch…he rubbed the spoon down and now it feels like smooth bone…light as a feather. Ash is hard wood…it broke 3 of his blades but this spoon is delicate looking. I can see this spoon lasting through the tough times, much like the Ash tree that it was made from, it is a stayer. Not happy with the watermark, Steve headed off and came back out of the shed today with a gorgeous Tasmanian Myrtle spoon. It is the most gorgeous colour and is just as light and smooth as the Ash but now he isn’t sure what to do with the Ash spoon. He has asked me to ask you to see which spoon you would like for the draw. Anyone who reads this blog, who wants to enter the draw for a spoon, please let me know in the comments and I will put you into the draw. This spoon draw will be drawn on Saturday so you really don’t have much time to get yourself into the draw. Steve wanted it to be drawn and sent so it has a chance to get to the recipient for Valentine’s Day and as mentioned, the choice of spoon is yours. Earl is twitching with happiness to be drawing another walnut draw. Little does Earl know that I have added a few ex-Christmas nuts to the bowl and there will be a choice of walnut, Brazil nut, Almond and Hazelnut. Again, if you would like to enter the draw please get back to us ASAP to get your name in the draw…we already have 7 people on the list so don’t wait or you might miss out :o). I will leave you with this Facebook reply that my little brother made when I was ranting about our recent tomato loss to the possums…

”I feed my possums to stop them running amok, and it works but the possums here aren’t as invasive nor as big as over in Tassie…brush tails ringtails and pygmies are full after a piece of bread some apple and a dried apricot. And because I’ve been bribing them with food, the nectarine tree near my back door has tripled in size and is well loaded with good fruit…in saying that, when the fruit has a week to go from being ripe and pickable, I’ll be camping out there with a metal colander /strainer on my head and a fly swat chanting subliminal messages to them under my breath.!”…

Oh NO dear constant readers…it runs in the family 😉