The Goodies visit Serendipity Farm

Hi All,

This post has been on the back burner for ages. I had a brainstorm about 3 months ago (I did say “ages” there!) when I remembered an episode of a kids show that I used to watch back last century, when I was…a kid. As someone who had their formative years in the early 70’s I grew up with the remnants of the swinging 60’s and the peacenik 70’s emergence. I wore flared trousers and grew my hair long and as an Aussie kid I only had 2 television channels to watch. A commercial channel that on the school holidays usually had extended cricket games that seemed to go for weeks and the ABC. Our antipodean version of the BBC and we shared most of our television programs as well. We shipped off Rolf Harris (good idea on hindsight 😉 ) and neighbours and you gave us The Goodies. Everything is forgiven U.K. for The Goodies.

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I loved The Goodies. Even though the ABC must have really wanted to get their money’s worth as they aired it constantly. One series would end to be replaced with the next. A constant stream of Goodies and now part of my early childhood patchwork of memories. The Goodies was a show about 3 men who hired themselves out for work. Their claim to fame was that they did “Anything, Anytime” and they rode around on a 3 seater tandem bike. Not sure if that is even a real thing but they did so it was for the purposes of this post. At the time we all laughed and enjoyed the program but when I was reminiscing about it with Steve (who strangely didn’t watch it), I realised that The Goodies was a show WAY ahead of its time. Much like “The Good Life” the show about a couple who dropped out of living commercially and turned their suburban home into a self-sufficient block with good humour, gentle satire and the ability to completely engage an audience as only a good U.K. sitcom can do.

Despite Earl's best intentions, this aquilegia keeps coming back from the brink of damp ruin

Despite Earl’s best intentions, this aquilegia keeps coming back from the brink of damp ruin

Although poles apart, The Good Life and The Goodies both had the same message. The world in the 70’s was just starting to realise that over commercialisation was hurting the environment, our hip pocket and our chances of surviving as a species. Both programs highlighted a current of people wanting to get back to the land and live wholesome lives. Where The Good Life was hands-on, The Goodies aired issues of the time in a crazy and zany way. Painting issues with good humour is like Mary Poppins and her spoon full of sugar, it certainly makes the medicine go down in a most delightful way.

Telopea oreades a native Tasmanian waratah along the walking route that we took today in Beaconsfield

Telopea oreades a native Tasmanian waratah along the walking route that we took today in Beaconsfield

I remembered a particular episode of The Goodies where Tim, Bill and Graham went to visit Tim’s uncle’s farm to see how “real” food was produced and were shocked to discover that the farm was catering to public demand for “fast food” in hilarious forms. The episode dealt with the serious issues of genetic modification, our food being incredibly unhealthy and bad for us because of public demand for it (supply and demand) and cruelty in industrially farmed animals WAY before PETA was even thought about. As a small aside, I just checked when PETA was formed and found out it was 1980 9 years after The Goodies “Farm Fresh Food” went to air. As usual the boys were able to make these serious issues hilarious and light heartedly bumbled their way through the episode blowing up “battery hens” along with the hens that were fed directly from the mains ;).

See girls...I DO wear the shirt that you gave me ;)

See girls…I DO wear the shirt that you gave me 😉

At the end of the episode, Tim’s uncle refuses to feed the animals to the boys because, like most people buying generic “meat”, “eggs” and “milk” from the supermarket shelves, he never put 2 and 2 together when it came to animal cruelty and mass food production. I am not preaching veganism here folks, I am preaching sustainable and healthy farm production where the animals that you eat are produced in a healthy, entirely natural way without having to pump them full of hormones, antibiotics and goodness only knows what else just to get them onto the supermarket shelves A.S.A.P. at the smallest production cost to the farmer and the true culprit of all of this, my dreaded middle-man – “The Supermarkets!” Can we cue some danger music folks!

The final episode of head banging on Serendipity Farm...for now...

The final episode of head banging on Serendipity Farm…for now…

I wanted to illustrate this post with images that I sourced online. I couldn’t find any! This episode seems to have been one of the more obscure episodes and as such the diehard fans haven’t been spreading the love but the other day one of my wonderful blog mates Tanya from the exotic yet entirely sumptuously wholesome blog http://chicaandaluza.com/sent me a link to this very episode! I mean…what are the odds?! I would more likely win the lotto than get my hot little hands on this episode of The Goodies but here it was, right in front of me…30 minutes of memories and the entire contents of this post all wrapped up in someone on the other side of the world’s memories also.

One of three glass cases we bought for an extremely cheap price at Bunning's for "something". Still in the cupboards gathering dust. This one is going to live with Stewart and Kelsey and will become a Wardian Case (look it up folks ;) )

One of three glass cases we bought for an extremely cheap price at Bunning’s for “something”. Still in the cupboards gathering dust. This one is going to live with Stewart and Kelsey and will become a Wardian Case (look it up folks 😉 )

The U.K. in the 70’s was a hotbed of change. Maggie Thatcher and her heavyweight political thugs were setting up what was to be a bloodbath of the common man, tearing apart the unions and sending wage and industrial relations back to the dark ages, something that the U.K. is still reeling from today. The Goodies were a mix of middle of the road conservatism (Tim), scientific inventive know-how (Graham) and crazed way out sherbet sucking hippy (Bill) that melded together to expose and solve (in their own indubitably hilarious fashion) many of the problems that Britain was going through where in reality, the situation seemed dire.  If you have ever seen the punk episode where Tim wants to go to the punk ball you will know what I am talking about. Who saw THAT ending coming eh?

Still raining...sigh...

Still raining…sigh…

Aside from hilarious chronological and political story telling the music was wonderful, the dialogue was hilarious and full of double entendre that kept our parents snorting with glee where we had NO idea what was being alluded to. We last century kids got hefty doses of realism thrown in with our humour. No-one felt the need to shelter us from reality and indeed Sesame Street was a FAR different place when my children were watching it than it is today. NO sanitary wiped, germ free, everyone lives forever nonsense, they even integrated an episode where one of the main characters, Mr. Hooper (or “Looper” as Big Bird called him) actually died and decided to share it with the children watching. Everyone was genuinely sad but it was real folks. Kids NEED real, not being wrapped in cling wrap and stuck in the fridge till they mature like so much artisanal cheese.

Earl vs Steve. Earl 1, Steve nil

Earl vs Steve. Earl 1, Steve nil

I also remember an episode where chemical toxic waste was being served as tomato soup in drums and it turned everyone into clowns. Another double entendre and a very clever one at that. Dealing with the heavyweight issues of environmentalism and cutting edge humour wouldn’t have been an easy task but The Goodies were up for it and the results are still hilarious today. The Goodies were one of my favourite childhood television shows and thanks to ABC “thrift”, one of my children’s favourite television shows as well. We could do with less Telly Tubbies and a whole lot more Goodies when it comes to educating our kids about the real world and allowing them to develop a good sense of humour at the same time.

A man and his dog

A man and his dog

I think that might be all about The Goodies. I was going to ramble on for an entire post but I just fizzled out. You can all breathe a sigh of relief but do yourselves a favour and head off to Youtube where the BBC has actually released a fair few Goodies episodes for us all to enjoy. If you haven’t ever heard of The Goodies before you can settle down with a hot mug of whatever takes your fancy and a bit of cake (yes, you have permission for cake!) and have a good old fashioned last century politically incorrect chuckle at the antics of a few crazed Englishmen…go on…you KNOW you want to ;)…

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGoodiesBBC?feature=watch

It’s been wet-wet-WET on Serendipity Farm and I don’t mean that 80’s Scottish band who crooned “Love is all around” by the way, I am talking about precipitation and specifically, the kind that has been digging more of the twin canyons in our driveway out making negotiation of said driveway an “extreme sport” to say the least. I have had a bung knee thanks to an attempt at being somewhat fashionable and wearing something with a small heel to my last shopping adventure resulting in a decidedly unfashionable knee swelling event. Steve has been braving the mornings with Earl and an umbrella. He foolishly took both dogs yesterday and on the way back home in the pouring rain (sans umbrella, he only has 2 hands folks!) he let Bezial off his lead on the walk back up the driveway who promptly steamrolled him over into one of the gaping driveway canyons resulting in language that can’t be reproduced here in polite conversation.

The new bbq in situ with its Earl Free Protection Zone constructed around to minimise dampness

The new bbq in situ with its Earl Free Protection Zone constructed around to minimise dampness

We have been cooking, plotting the downfall of the possums and various weed populations and arranging and re-arranging the furniture and most importantly we have been waiting. Waiting for the rain to stop and for a chance to get out into that garden that has erupted into a crazed growth spike thanks to endless rain and elevated temperature. I have been racing out in between rain showers and raking the driveway and lawns to get fallen branches to put on our ornamental gardens to foil the chooks from scratching all of the mulch from the soil. I WILL beat the chooks…you had better believe it! One “chook” in particular is living on borrowed time. We allowed one of our white chooks who had been clucky for the better part of 6 months to hatch out a single egg. She managed to prevent the feral cats from consuming this baby until it turned into a rooster…sigh…a rooster that is now turning its randy eye onto any and everything. Poor ducky has taken to not going back into the roost as this rooster finds her particularly attractive. Tonight, it is going to become an ex-rooster and a delicious pot of chook stock. Problem SOLVED!

Steve's statement about my "help" to construct the bbq...

Steve’s statement about my “help” to construct the bbq…

I think the same white chook is sitting on about 7 eggs hidden over in the side garden where the tree fell down. She is just about due to hatch them out and unless we get to her and her chicks first and throw them into the communal enclosed outside area that now houses a wonky rooster that survived being set upon by his dad and his brother, a hen with 1 largish chick and a hen with 3 babies, the feral cats will think that they are fair game. It’s dog eat dog here on Serendipity Farm and Bezial is worried! Steve has headed into town to brave the Launceston locals and to do our fortnightly shopping. We are buying another copy of Kaspersky, our Russian hit man anti-virus software who has been protecting us to the max since we bought it from Office works. There are many other anti-virus software packages but what we can get here in Tasmania, let alone from Office Works, is severely restricted so Kaspersky, our proven saviour, is IT. We will load it onto our newly liberated Windows 7 rich laptop so that yours truly can surf Pinterest with impunity on the sofa till I fall asleep at 7.30pm and Steve can then use it to find guitar tab to play while he watches his horror movies

Dog love :)

Dog love 🙂

Some time on Friday or Saturday, my arch nemesis will return. D.S. I don’t even WANT to type the rest of it will rob all of we Eastern border dwellers of an hour of our sleep. That’s not 1 hour folks, that’s an hour a day! Call me a mathematical plebian but even I know that when you add it up that makes approximately 182 hours of robbed sleep in time. It’s bad enough for the people that have to get up an hour earlier to go get ready to go to work but think of we magpies…we hopeless RSS Feed Reader and Pinterest addicts who need to get up before the blackbirds sing to satiate our wanton desires and you can start to see why I ABHORE D.S. I only realised that it was the dreaded D.S. when I read a post from Sarah at the holistically wholesome and sustainably engaging quirky New Zealand love fest that is http://gardeningkiwi.wordpress.com/ . Sarah alerted me because N.Z. just commenced their own D.S. Sarah, unlike me, didn’t whinge or complain even once about it. I would imagine that was because Sarah (again…unlike me) is a natural morning person. Narf7 isn’t a natural morning person. I am a natural night-time person who endures mornings to get what I want. D.S. is like inserting bamboo skewers under my twitching early morning eyelids folks and I can only thank goodness that Steve and the dogs aren’t up to see me before that first elixir of mellowness known as “tea” soaks into my grouchy internal organs and seeps outwards to lend me an air of somewhat contented bewilderment

That big jar next to my Vitamix contains "Hilda the Booch" my new Kombucha scoby

That big jar next to my Vitamix contains “Hilda the Booch” my new Kombucha scoby

Here's a closer view of Hilda. The glass isn't really grotty, it was painted once and the bits in the line are all that remain. I got the scoby from David at Wholesome House, our favourite health food shop.

Here’s a closer view of Hilda. The glass isn’t really grotty, it was painted once and the bits in the line are all that remain. I got the scoby from David at Wholesome House, our favourite health food shop.

I foolishly got Steve to set the alarm for today. I have a bolshie desire to foil myself being forced into waking up an hour earlier and giving any powers that be a degree of satisfaction in this little black ducks lack of preparedness for this annual fleecing of hours. I stumbled out of bed with one eye glued to the other wearing only a pair of Steve’s boxer shorts (I DID tell you it hasn’t stopped raining here…) and a sports bra (probably backwards…it no longer matters 😉 ) and turned on the P.C. to see that it was 2.45am. 2.45am?!!! The temptation to head over to my saucepan collection and select 2 particularly loud specimens complete with lids to walk around the house banging together but I figured that it was my own fault for not setting the alarm myself and decided to get dressed instead… Bezial had suffered enough!

It's Steve's and my 13th wedding anniversary on October 7th...we plan on celebrating redneck style. Check out the moonshine glasses that Steve found in town. We will be sipping our port in style!

It’s Steve’s and my 13th wedding anniversary on October 7th…we plan on celebrating redneck style. Check out the moonshine glasses that Steve found in town. We will be sipping our port in style!

So Wednesday finds us somewhat sunny but deep in study again. That’s the thing about living the life that we do…it’s not all beer and skittles you know. We have to pay the ferry man for our lifestyle choices and so study we must. We have to put our veggie garden on the back burner and get stuck in to our final unit of this course where we learn to put everything that we have been learning together and make a website… technically we have to make 2 websites…one each, but let’s not nit-pick, at the end of the day we get to turn out a real and proper website! This has excited Steve and I to the possibilities of making more. We might make one for Earl and Bezial… it would probably get more hits than mine. People love dogs ;).

Our attempt to prevent the wallabies from scarfing the tender new weeping maple leaves. I am pleased to say it works! So far...

Our attempt to prevent the wallabies from scarfing the tender new weeping maple leaves. I am pleased to say it works! So far…

Before I bugger off and let you all get your lives back after tumbling you around the brain of narf7 and hopefully not damaging your psyche’s too much in the process, I want to share an amazing vegan food blog with you all. Don’t roll your eyes; this one would make the most discerning gourmet twitch with delight. I found this blog through the annual Vegan M.O.F.O where crazed vegan food bloggers decide to beat themselves over the head daily and post a food post a day on a particular theme. If I was ever to be crazy enough to join them I would choose Stromboli because Steve would eat every single one of them and STILL want more at the end of the month but I digress…back to http://thevegankitchenofdrcaligari.wordpress.com/ .

Have you ever seen a jasmine tea "flower"?

Have you ever seen a jasmine tea “flower”?

Neither had I till our friend Roxy gave me one

Neither had I till our friend Roxy gave me one

After pouring boiling water gently over the tea "flower" it started to open...

After pouring boiling water gently over the tea “flower” it started to open…

This vegan food blogger took a month worth of “cupcakes” and ran with it. When you think of cupcakes, you think of little sweet cakes with some form of icing (frosting to you Northerners) on top and perhaps a few sprinkles or a cherry to grace the top if you are feeling particularly adventurous on the day…well NO MORE folks! Dr Cal has deconstructed the average cupcake, found it wanting and knocked it right out of the ballpark! In his amazingly innovative way, he has undertaken a Frankenstein approach to cupcakes and every single cupcake that has rolled off the production line this MOFO has been an eye opening scintillating creation that boggles the mind. Think sweet cupcakes that take you all over the place with decidedly unusual ingredients and then forgedaboudit folks and think savoury cupcakes…savoury? Why not! Gorgeous little cupcakes that would be fantastic served at a pot luck or picnic and that would be an instant conversation starter at any “bring-a-plate” event anywhere. Dr Cal (forgive me sir, I don’t know your real name 😉 ) is as eclectic as his cupcakes and every single recipe on his blog is amazing. Do yourselves a Molly Meldrum favour and head straight over there…do NOT pass go and forget about your $200, you are going to need it to buy all of the crazy ingredients that you need to make every single batch of these heavenly delightful cupcakes and just make them and mainline them. Who needs drugs when you have cupcakes like this to free your mind from the oppression of everyday hum-drum life? Kudos Dr Cal and here’s to a lifetime of educating we jaded and oppressed vegans back into the folds of creative invention I salute you sir!

The tea "flower" almost fully opened

The tea “flower” almost fully opened

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

It was like a beautiful anemone at the bottom of the pot and the tea tasted lovely as well :)

It was like a beautiful anemone at the bottom of the pot and the tea tasted lovely as well 🙂

That brings us to the end of this post. About time, it is just about to hit 3000 words but you know how it is…needs must when your muses prompt. What are you still doing here by the way…you should be marveling and “Oohing and Ahing” at Dr Cal’s gorgeous creations! See you on Wednesday when narf7 may or may not be able to fit through the door after making and eating almost all of the months MOFO cupcake creations 😉

Today's Word Cloud picture

Today’s Word Cloud picture

Damn the man!

Hi All,

I DID IT! It might have taken me 6 months but I DID IT! I damned the man. 6 months ago to the day, I barely blearily woke up assured that Daylight Savings wasn’t going to make me its biotch ever again. No longer would I stagger from my bed in October in a rough approximation of jetlagged for the next fortnight till I got used to having a precious hour of my day removed surgically by the nefarious powers that be, I would wake up an hour earlier AND I would hit Daylight Savings running…but then my ever inquisitive questing mind realised that this would be a pattern that would repeat itself and that I would just slide back into absorbing that extra hour come the end of Daylight Savings in April… how was I going to prevent this happening. You have to go back into the ether 6 months ago to see how very different my life was then…you have to imagine that wibbley wobbly cutaway scene that they are able to recreate on telly but that I seem to be having difficulty reproducing here in my post so it’s up to you guys to wibble and wobble ok? Righto, back to the story folks! 6 months ago I was a night person. I stayed up regularly till 1am reading, watching television and generally inhabiting the night. My mornings were a study in grouchiness and Steve was always up before me proffering my first (bucket) mug of tea with shaky hands and the scene was set with Steve, fully dressed and raring to go, both dogs twitching with anticipatory excitement at their prospective walk and me, stubbornly clinging to the bedclothes and my teacup in a vain effort to stay in bed…I grumbled…I complained, I muttered my way into my mornings with my ears pinned back in warning to ANYONE foolish enough to talk to me or even look in my approximate direction. I was a morning harpy folks! A full month before Daylight Savings was going to hit us I decided to get up slightly earlier to adapt to the full hour that Daylight Savings was going to steal from me. I started with setting the alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each week and by the time Daylight Savings hit, I was ready for it and it didn’t render me apoplectic and staggering like every year prior. Not THIS little black duck! I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and when I realised that there might just be a problem at the other end of Daylight Savings I just decided that if I could adapt to 6am…why the heck couldn’t I adapt to 5am? Now for me, this was tantamount to crazy land. I hadn’t seen 5am aside from the start of long trips and 5am wasn’t a time, it was a beginning…

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“Err…excuse me…someone appears to have forgotten to leave the gate open, do you think you could do me a favour and just open it up?…please?…pretty please?…”

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“I KNOW you aren’t going to leave me alone till you take a photo so just take it and bugger off!”

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Steve’s collection of twang (note the inclusion of a banjo so that we can blend in with the local’s if we ever need to 😉 )

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The invaders are coming to deliver a telephone mast to the other side of the river…”GET THE TIN FOIL STEVE!” 😉

After adjusting my brain to 5am and realising that there were so many possibilities with waking up at this ungodly hour, I started to wake up even earlier. In 6 months I have gone from a night person who shunned mornings to a very early morning person who went to bed at 7pm last night. Once you set yourself on the pathway to changing your habits you never know how much it is going to change your life. In the past 6 months I have managed to totally change my days and nights (although I don’t really know what happens at night anymore because I am fast asleep!). I went from having a degree of insomnia where I would lay awake worrying about the state of the world to being unable to prevent sleep and having no problems staying asleep. I went from someone who hated walking the dogs and exercise in general to someone who is out the front of the walk and eager to carry on. I went from bordering on obese to “ideal weight” with very little effort and you know what? I think it all came from that initial desire to damn the man and make a tiny positive change in my days. There is a Bupa health fund ad where people see their future healthier and fitter selves and that’s what I am doing today. If it wasn’t for my bolshie desire to bugger up Daylight Savings and remove its tentacle hold on my life, I wouldn’t be the vibrantly buzzing healthy specimen of early morning happiness and possibilities that I am today. One tiny little stubborn desire has entirely changed my ethos and my way of life.  I wonder what other tiny little changes could predominately effect our lifestyles? If something as simple as waking up 15 minutes earlier in my day could deliver this sort of massive change, what else could I start with by just putting my feet on a new pathway?

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Talking about a new pathway…this is a Stromboli. A Stromboli is Steve’s latest favourite food. This one consists of some homemade pizza dough (with the inclusion of mixed herbs, chilli flakes and home grown, dehydrated and powdered tomato) and cabanossi sausage made by Nige our local butcher at “Nigel’s on Tamar” (do I get some free meat Nige? 😉 ), bacon, home grown sliced last of the season tomatoes, thin sliced local grown onions and a mix of grated parmesan and cheddar.

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Once you top the Stromboli, you need to roll it reasonably tightly

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Next you need to cut the Stromboli midway through with a serrated bread knife

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Put your Stromboli, along with the baking parchment you SO cleverly rolled it up on to prevent having to do washing up onto a baking sheet

I got a request for sharing a recipe for those baked spring rolls that I shared a photo of in the comments section of my last post so here is my recipe. Steve and I customised it to be healthier than regular deep fried spring rolls because Steve isn’t a fan of anything deep fried (I, on the other hand, LOVE deep fried anything and that, my dear constant readers, is why I had trouble fitting through doors in a past life 😉 ) and although baked spring rolls need to be served up and eaten pretty much straight away to maintain their crunch, you can be smug and satisfied that you get pretty much the same taste with a whole lot less fat and a lot more nutrition…

Homemade baked spring rolls

1 packet of spring roll wrappers (usually 20 in a pack). We get ours from Coles as they are the only reasonably priced option in Tasmania but feel free to get yours anywhere you want to

A large quarter of a cabbage finely shredded

6 large carrots grated (the longest part of this equation)

1 egg (I don’t eat these spring rolls anymore and the egg binds the filling and reduces any liquid that would make the rolls soggy)

2 packets of MI Goreng (ramen) noodles along with their seasoning packs OR if you are being über healthy, sub veggie stock powder (Massell is the BEST and is Aussie made :o) ) cook the noodles according to the packet, drain them and chop them finely with scissors and reserve the seasoning packs to add to the main mix or you could just add some dried Chinese noodles of your choice. We used to add rice vermicelli and that worked amazing well so it really is up to you :o)

You can add finely chopped capsicum, mung bean sprouts, finely chopped cooked mushroom (to remove excess moisture) and just about any other vegetable or Chinese add (we have previously used soaked dried wood ear fungus and white fungus to great advantage) in that you like at this point but we usually just use cabbage and carrot and the results are yummy

We add some form of protein. Steve likes finely diced chicken cooked with some chilli flakes and I used to have firm tofu but you can add diced up cooked omelette, bacon, any finely diced lightly fried meat, prawns, anything really and you only need about a cup of finely diced protein in total for 20 large spring rolls

Then comes the seasonings. I use lots of oyster sauce (for Steve), Thai chilli sauce, yellow American style mustard, a squirt of toasted sesame oil, lots of crushed garlic (about 7 cloves) and an equal quantity of crushed fresh or jarred ginger, a couple of squirts of Worcestershire Sauce and we add a couple of teaspoons of dried chilli flakes but we love hot food so I would suggest a little sprinkle if you aren’t sure as you already have chilli in the sauce (depending on how hot it
is). Steve likes pepper added and I used more of the Massell veggie stock powder (sub whatever stock powder you fancy to your heart’s content) and feel free to add any other favourite condiment to your batch that takes your fancy. It’s all about customising to your own personal tastes here…that’s what makes these delicious and what makes “homemade” the best.

Mix the entire mass together with clean hands. It’s therapeutic to be up to your elbows in Chinese food. Once you have an even distribution of sauce through the shredded/grated veggies you can start making the rolls. Open your packet of spring roll wrappers and keep a clean tea-towel over the packet to keep them from drying out as you work. I am pretty quick at rolling up a batch of 20 but I have had a lot of practice over the years. Here’s a great tutorial to show you how to roll them up…

http://www.steamykitchen.com/22276-chinese-spring-rolls-with-chicken-recipe.html

She also talks about draining off the liquid to prevent soggy spring rolls. Liquid is an antagonist to a spring roll and keeping the filling reasonably dry is especially important with baked spring rolls. This tutorial makes small spring rolls…yours are going to be big spring rolls but the rolling method is the same and feel free to go ahead and deep fry them if you fancy. The process is the same BUT we like to brush ours with olive or rice bran oil and bake them till they are crisp and golden brown. Either way you end up with something full of flavour, absolutely addictive and you don’t have to pay by the roll. Very economical and much tastier than what you can buy from the supermarket or most food vendors. Give it a go, if you like Asian food (who doesn’t?!) you are going to love these :o)

YUM just found another pictorial tutorial with a completely delicious looking recipe for more spring rolls. Remember, it’s all about customising them to your own personal taste and when you are eating a plate piled high with your own personal favourite flavours you can smugly damn the man all over again!

http://shesimmers.com/2011/06/fried-spring-rolls-po-pia-tod-html

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This is what the cooked Stromboli should look like. I didn’t include a photo of Steve as he was drooling too much to be anywhere near presentable enough for a photo 😉

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Cut crosswise into chunklets just like you would with a Swiss roll and eat…eat a lot…eat too much of it and there will STILL be enough left over to satisfy your appetite the night after with some home baked homemade oven wedges 🙂

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I forgot I had this casserole dish…I picked it up for $2 from a local thrift shop because it didn’t have a lid. How many times do I need a lid? Not many! This is a shepherds pie topped with a mountain of riced cooked potato. Ricing the spuds keep them separate and make a lovely crisp topping.

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I am still getting zucchini’s and a trickle of tomatoes and these are the very first of our ripened jalapeno chillies along with “something” curious that tends to invade most of my photos these days 😉

I am sitting here quietly on Tuesday morning tapping away with “eau de rotting kangaroo carcass” wafting through the air. The decomposing large roo that is about 20ft from the back door is starting to attract more than flies and crows and its wonderful aroma is starting to permeate more than it’s immediate proximity. The native wildlife has done it pretty tough this year and after a couple of bumper seasons, the bushfires that removed a lot of their grazing territory and the long, hot, extremely dry summer that we just had has resulted in a lot of animal deaths. Tasmania is the Aussie home of road kill, thanks to its cooler conditions and larger proportion of vegetation. The animals have been forced to eat pretty much anything this year and my guess is that our kangaroo friend up the back is the culprit who has been eating all of the potato leaves and rhubarb leaves and his toxin tolerance just hit zero. Steve had to take an impromptu trip into town because when we got back from walking the dogs our daughters phoned up to tell us that the hot water tap in the kitchen decided to turn itself on permanently last night and they had to turn the water off at the mains (at least they now KNOW where the mains is 😉 ). Steve was expecting a major job but $15 for a tap and a few extras and about the same amount of minute’s worth of work resulted in job done and happy campers all round. Steve thought that his midday adventures pootling around in the Mumbly Cumumbus were going to be extinguished but now they are back on the cards. I just finished my wireframe drawing of my poster, the final part of my assessment that needs to be submitted on Monday and have the rest of the week to put in a concerted effort to reduce my RSS Feed Reader and to plan our veggie garden that we will be starting on quite soon. I am hoping to convince Steve that our small orchard could do with enclosing fully at the same time so that we can prune the poor long suffering possum playgrounds and perhaps get some fruit next year.

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Proof…Irrefutable PROOF that Flares ARE coming back man!

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And the foolishness continues…Just in case anyone wanted to know what colour our kitchen was 😉

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This is a Schacht Inkle Loom. I bought it for $5 from the year before last’s HUGE progressive garage sale that spans 15km along the Tamar River and is our favourite event on the yearly calendar. I have NO idea how to use it so any clever clogs out there who know about weaving (you KNOW who you are 😉 ) can tell me whether it is something I should/could be bothering with or whether I should just let Earl eat it like he has been trying to do for a year and a half

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The Mumbly Cumumbus just in from Steve’s latest “pootling” event on the river. He actually caught 2 flathead (fish) and the dogs got both of them… well Bezial got both of them as Earl was suspicious of Steve’s intentions and wasn’t going to eat the fish in case it negated us giving him large quantities of steak. Bezial would live on fresh fish if he could 🙂

I am starting to get excited about the prospects of being able to garden with impunity. To be able to plant things that nothing can get (aside from the insects but their predatory grubby friends can deal with them). In preparation for the garden I have been thinking about where to find lots of bulk to fill the prospective garden beds for free or at least as cheaply as possible. My idea is to use keyhole gardens (cheers YBert 😉 ) coupled with a lot of vertical action to gain the maximum amount of growing space. I found some Jerusalem artichokes growing on the road verge this morning and managed to procure a couple of them to plant out in one of my compost bins till I can sort out a corner of Serendipity Farm for them to live happily in and spread to their hearts content. I have visions of both Jerusalem and globe artichokes growing all over the place and if winter ever comes I have visions of spending long wet hours cuddled up near Brunhilda with the laptop, an excel spread sheet (Jess already beat me to it 😉 ) and my permaculture and food forest spidey senses tingling with the research possibilities. I love a good researching event and finding the right perennials, shrubs and trees to deliver food for our series of endemic conditions on Serendipity Farm is a wonderful challenge that I am up for. Permaculture gives us that option. It gives us a new way of looking at our problems and allows us to use our problems to form solutions. What might initially seem like a bit pain in the derrière can be twirled around till it’s good points are facing frontwards. Rocks in the ground? Dig them up and use them to make raised garden beds…Dry conditions causing you growing problems? Store water any way that you can through winter and use it on your gardens when the dry weather hits and use clever gardening tricks like mass planting, mulching, trickle irrigation, choosing food crops and plants that grow in arid conditions and you can bypass a lot of problems. There is ALWAYS  a solution…it’s just up to us to look for the answer and sometimes what you are trying to solve might not be the real problem. My Jerusalem artichokes come with a “you will NEVER be rid of them!” warning. I don’t want to be rid of them. I want food that will grow itself without too much effort. I want to be able to have food all over Serendipity Farm eventually, not just zone 1, but everywhere. I have a vision of fecundity and production and an eventual harmony/equilibrium of cycles on Serendipity Farm that fills me with a sense of hope and happiness. It’s often how you choose to look at things that gives you answers and I like to turn things around a whole lot and look at the bits that other people tend to shun…I’m a bit strange like that 😉

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Another lovely day on the river

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Steve’s aquatic companions

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The Deviot Yacht Club from the river. You can see the deciduous trees starting to colour up nicely

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Some of the houses in Deviot that span the riverbank

Well I am back to normal. I am just about to finish this post off as somewhat less than a novella but definitely more than a quick read over a 5 minute tea break. I hope that all of my dear constant readers are beavering away in their respective changeling seasons between the wet and the dry and vice versa. Spring and autumn are definitely bridging seasons and whatever you are trying to achieve this year, I hope that you get it at least started before the heat of summer or the cold and wet of winter sets in for the long haul. Have a great rest of your week and see you on the weekend, rested and ready to rumble :o)

The Al Pacino Chook

Hi All,

It’s 5am and I am peering myopically at the monitor on a sort of manic sleep deprived bender. I am not quite sure who I am, where I am or where I am going and to be honest, I’m not all that sure about you either! What has happened to bring about this alarming transformation? Was my grandad right about aliens preferring to hover around inlets (of which I conveniently live right next to one) and take sleeping bloggers on midnight joy rides? Possibly, but that’s another story and not entirely in the same direction as today’s post. The reason why I am a spaced out twitching early riser is simple…it’s daylight savings again. “But!” I hear you say…”But…didn’t she say that she was getting up an hour earlier a day for the past fortnight to ward off the dreaded daylight savings?”…well…yes indeed I did say that. I said it and I meant it and I adhered to my earlier rising and you know what? I liked having 2 hours all to myself and today my brain told me to wake up at 5am…only recently 4am and read my rss feed reader till my brain caught up with the day. That took a good 3 hours and despite feeling entirely elated (a very short lived feeling thanks to having to then walk an irascible pair of enthusiastic driven dogs) I was floating in a sort of Mr Burns like state in the episode of the Simpsons where they thought that they saw aliens in the woods. It was really Mr Burns spaced out on his drugs but I digress…that’s what I was like this morning and will be like for the next few days till I get used to waking up at the equivalent of 4am in old school (real) time. For a non-morning person I think I am doing pretty well.

The beginnings of our spring roll Chinese aniversary feast…note the madonna cone of noodles gracing the top. We figured you only live once!

One of the Clematis montana climbers on the deck just starting to flower

What happens when your camera decides to overexpose a shot AND what happens when you are too busy to keep an eye on your asparagus futures…they turn into extra big futures that may self seed and provide MORE futures…there are no losers in this story 😉

It’s Monday and today we spent our remaining sunny day this week (as promised by the weather men) sorting through our plants and being ruthless with separating those that we want to keep from those that we wanted to give away. We loaded up our trailer after tidying up the area and minimising our potted babies and shortening the overhead watering system that we had to use last year by half and took the plants that we didn’t want to keep down to a friend’s place to give them a bit of work to do on their property. They had only just finished planting out the last (much smaller) few pots that we gave them and today they got about 50 pots containing everything from Mock Orange (Philadelphus) to apple trees (no good here, the possums hoover the leaves from the trees before they grow!) through to several types of large conifer that we had dug up from under their parents 3 years ago when we were horticulturally “young” and everything green and plant-like was fair game for our trusty trowels. It’s just lucky that our friends are trying to line their creek with trees as we gave them a golden willow that will love living knee deep in a creek. We also have a black willow that they might get in the next trip. Not enough water here to make willows happy chappies so we may as well bite the bullet and give generously. Our friends were overjoyed and very happy with their haul and we were equally happy because we know that these plants that we have tended for the last 2 – 3 years are going to a loving home.

It might just be wishful thinking but these poor possum munched maples do seem to have more leaves since we erected our pseudofence around them

My little string leaved maple that got hit really hard by the marauders…yeh…I know…a horticulturalist should know the botanical name of her plant but whatchagonnadoeh?

Peaches and cream and the 5 leaves that the possums left on this gorgeous maple

Brunhilda lives! The amazing thing is that despite being damped down last night and us not bothering to fire her up all day she is still ready to burst into flame at a moment’s notice and apparently just did. Talk about a loyal kitchen appliance! I read a wonderful blog called “Baking Stuff, Mostly Averagely” (how could you possibly not love a blog called that, especially when she lies and is actually much more than an average baker) who is an expat Aussie living in Old Blighty with a fantastic sense of the vernacular and who has retained her sardonic Aussie wit. This is one of those blogs that I really don’t want to share. I want to keep it all to myself and await new posts eagerly because bursting out into spontaneous laughter at 5.30am doesn’t come naturally to me and anyone who can generate a belly laugh in someone who swore off mornings years ago is a blog to be treasured. I only give you her blog site now because I know she reads my blog and she will take me to task if I omit to share it with you all…don’t be greedy…just 1 suck you guys…the rest is mine! 😉 I mention it because her resident oven is called “Shit oven”. Brunhilda is the polar opposite of shit oven and shall be called “Saint Oven” or as my sister wants to call her when she steals her and ships her over to Western Australia “Black Betty”. Seriously, for a moment, check out this website if you are up for a laugh, a good recipe and a feel good moment to grace your day :o)

http://averagebaker.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/lamb-shanked/

Doesn’t the archway between the first and second gardens look pretty when the choisya ternata comes out. Pretty soon it will be joined by the snowball tree above it and the whole archway will be white

The flowering quince in fine fettle this year

Lots of maples and a few podophyllum

It’s been a weird old week so far. Warm and busy on Monday we planted out all sorts of things, Tuesday brought the ubiquitous return to study and brain melting mathematics as did today. We costed out our entire job and arrived at an unholy sum of $52723.60 and a whole lot of sustainable gardening including water wicking garden beds, a completely water free xeriscape garden planted for habitat and food for native animals and birds, food gardens complete with water tanks to water a xeriscape potager mixed in with some xeriscape perennials to attract beneficials and provide habitat for them. A massive project with an earthbag construction (a bench) alongside a wood fired pizza oven and we could have added MUCH more but a $50 000 budget doesn’t really go all that far when you factor in labour and materials for over half an acre of solid gardening! Mainstream sustainable ISN’T cheap. We are learning so much about planning and what it takes to create and stay in budget. There are 2 sides to every coin and as usual, Steve and I represent both of them. I tend to be the side of the coin that deals with the processes and Steve is the creative side and together we managed to slide through keyholes and out the other side into the secret gardens behind. We now have a unit on drainage to complete and a unit involving each of us creating our own show garden. We are going completely different pathways and Steve’s idea is very different to mine. I am excited that we are going to be able to use what we have learned coupled with our ideals and creative natures to arrive at a garden with a theme. Who knows, one day we might do something like this but I severely doubt it. I can’t see the point of exhibiting yourself when you could be bum’s up in the garden actually effecting change. I did some hunting yesterday and found a pdf about water wicking garden beds that excited me so much that after I had a very impassioned chat with Steve (who knows better than to play devil’s advocate when I am on a roll…) we are going to retrospectively work some water wicking garden beds alongside our fruit trees and into our poly tunnels and outside garden beds. A 50% saving in water is a mighty fine goal to aim for and water wicking promises to cut the cost of water AND give a better result. What’s not to like?

I liked this little design window so much I decided to share another aspect of it with you 🙂

Steve pruned this little Ceanothus last year and it is rewarding him with lots of flowers this year

Pots of redcurrants to plant out along the fencline as lures to the possums to bribe them away from our more precious foodstuffs. I intend on planting LOTS of lures to keep the possums content and fighting for their territory

I just stumbled around the garden taking some photos for you so that my rhetoric has some colour to it. Spring has most definitely sprung on Serendipity Farm and is dragging us kicking and screaming behind it. Earl and Bezial have started laying on the deck in the sunshine with intermittent stints of indoor cooling off before heading out again to bask like seals in the sunshine. Bezial, particularly, loves basking and all through summer he will lay upside down like a beached whale sunning his black belly and then trotting inside and flopping down with his head on the tiles to cool down before his next stint. Earl is a bit more cautious and as a dog with a semi pink nose, he needs to be. We have a tube of flesh coloured zinc that we apply to his pink little snout so that he doesn’t get it sunburned. Last year we also applied it to his pink little nether regions but as they are probably going to be leaving him sometime soon, it probably doesn’t matter too much if they swing about in the sunshine and breeze…let them enjoy themselves, for much like the roosters on Serendipity Farm…their days are numbered!

Earls nose stick and nether region stick when he lays on the deck too long…

The Al Pacino Chook! “Are you looking at me?…”

Talking about Earl, it’s his birthday next month and he will be 2 years old. He is settling down nicely and is actually starting to pay attention especially when I am yelling and my arms are cartwheeling. He has learned that this doesn’t necessarily mean “Game ON!” any more and that there might be bad consequences to these actions. He loves to play a game called “hunt the tiny shard of bone that you are NOT allowed to have in the house but love to bring in anyway as someone is usually going to chase you”. It’s a fun game until they catch you and hurl that shard of bone out onto the deck where you promptly trot outside, find it again and play the fun game all over again. The other night the fun wore off after about 5 times and Earl made a conscious decision NOT to bring the bone back into the house and got treats to reward him for actually using his brain rather than overriding his thought processes and just frolicking about regardless. Earl will get the standard birthday meal on Serendipity Farm. Homemade hamburgers with the lot including bacon, eggs, cheese and enormous burger patties on toast with lots of butter as the bread quotient is not really appreciated if it’s not toasted and slathered with butter. After that, he will get a large layered spongecake covered in cream and usually a few bags of toys to rip up and the odd balloon which in Earl’s case doesn’t last very long at all. 2 in dog years = 14…no WONDER you act the way that you do Earl! I am surprised that you haven’t pinched the car keys and driven off into the sunset with the 4 x 4. It’s also no wonder why Bezial would rather eat his own feet than romp around with Earl…on today’s equations (that might be somewhat off kilter thanks to a day spent mathematically ruminating…) that makes Bezial 35! He would rather be sitting on the couch with a beer watching the footy than running around trying to rid the world of cats.

A white lilac in bloom and a depleted stock of plants that still need to be planted out

One of Steve’s bonsai azaleas

Steve and Bezial are having a bonding day on Friday. Earl and I will be bonding but not by choice, more by necessity. If Steve and Bezial are gone, I had BETTER want to bond with Earl because otherwise he will eat my shoes in boredom. Bezial (apparently completely undirected by Steve) wants to go to the pub and have a beer. He also wants to have a hamburger of his own and go for a long walk in town. Steve has to have a haircut to stop him looking like a scruffy hippy and so it’s a good time for him to spend some quality one on one time with Bezial who has never stopped resenting the fact that he isn’t still numero uno and that we bought first Qi, and now Earl. If he was an only dog, he would get ALL the treats. He would be able to lay, unhindered, upside down on the deck whenever he liked without someone biting his fat belly or chewing his feet when he wasn’t expecting it (please note we are talking about Earl being the antagonist here not us!). He would not have to be shackled with oppression and would be allowed free reign on Serendipity Farm to come and go as he wanted because unlike another dog that shall remain nameless, he is completely trustworthy and doesn’t eat chooks, cats, wallabies, rabbits or anything else that he might sniff out. He is a GOOD DOG and he lets us know that we let him down badly by purchasing other dogs every single day. Seal eyes have nothing on Bezial. I think he was a martyr in a past life…a saint perhaps or someone used to the finer things in life. Aside from a good roll in swamp water, he is a very upper class dog with fine tastes that run to fussiness and manipulation. He refuses to be reminded of his wall eating, gear stick eating, window sill eating, power cord scarfing, and plant nibbling cat chasing ways. He says we are lying to try to bring him down to Earl’s level and that we are NOT to be believed. The day he caught a sparrow and ran around the garden with it sticking its terrified head out of his mouth eventually being caught and disenfranchised of his toy that was not only still alive, but that ran away soggy to the bone under our gas bottles is NEVER to be mentioned. He was merely a callow youth feeling his oats and entertaining a little light banter with the native creatures. No animals were hurt in his romp and he most CERTAINLY didn’t break his head halter and run maniacally after the neighbour’s pesky cat that stared at him incredibly cheekily from his own window. Telling you that he leapt out of our car and frolicked with a teeny little white fluffy dog and almost gave its owners a heart attack would be shameless and typical of the humans that this poor upstanding dog has to live with…time to go out on the deck and spend the rest of the afternoon sighing and remembering how life was before we lost our minds and bought Earl.

A Japanese star azalea just about to bloom en mass and all sorts of little pots of things coming waking up, stretching and coming to life after a long cold winter

My pots of native raspberries that I rescued from the garden under the deck before we replanted it…only thing is…they are all growing back under the deck as well! Oh well…more possum lures!

For the life of me I can’t remember the name of this weed but its prettier than the bare glasshous. We use a product called La Blanche to cover our glasshouse in summer to cut the glare from the bare glass and it cools the glasshouse significantly. Must get some more!

I want to get this post posted early tonight mainly because everything is earlier now that I wake up at 5am. I am hungry for my evening meal at 4pm and I start yawning at 7. I must admit to having more energy than I have had in years at the moment but that might just be the natural frolicking results of it being early spring and all of those little lamb vibes may just be assisting me to stride with purpose on our cold early morning walks. I like getting up earlier and I love being happy and looking forwards to our mornings walks with the dogs. I am not quite so happy by the time that we get home but I am hoping that those strange vitamins that I found in the back of the cupboard haven’t got a half-life and are actually assisting my newfound happy demeanour. Happy birthday to my niece Sabrina who is the baby of our immediate family. She moved to Perth and is working as a lab tech in one of the large hospitals up there. That makes you officially OLD now Pinky…Pinky is my sister who lives in Western Australia. We are only allowed to get together on rare occasions because the time space continuum couldn’t stand the pressure of our craziness. My daughters are creating Halloween costumes this year that require the use of a soldering iron so I might have some interesting photos to share with you someday soon! Till next post, I hope that your passions burn brightly and you spend your days doing something that feeds your mind. Too many of us forget our minds and they get left behind us in the rush to get through our days. Mine melted on Tuesday but I packed it back in and it seems to be holding (for now). See you on Saturday 😉

Listening to…

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Californication

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlUKcNNmywk