“I’m not dead…I’m just busy!”

Hi All,

I feel like copying and pasting that sentence into several emails to friends and family and using it as my Facebook epitaph. I have decided not to use Facebook any more. It sucks time and energy out of you and it is totally addictive. I don’t want to waste valuable time sitting on my bum indoors when I could be outside in the sunshine (albeit the cold sunshine) facilitating change on Serendipity Farm along with my dear long suffering husband who might be dragging his feet, but he is still coming along for the ride. We have enormous gardens to build. Yesterday, when I was picking the last of the tomatoes and some ripe red chillies for The Virtual Vegan Potluck entry that is now all done and dusted and ready for posting in early May, Steve was planning aloud. That was difficult because Earl was on the end of a lead, Bezial was frolicking free and was up for a game with his harnessed kennel mate and when 2 American Staffies want to play, it’s not so much fun to be the man on the end of the rope! He was planning (while he was being pulled from pillar to post, spun around in circles and was anchoring himself to the nearest sheoak tree…) our plan of attack.

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This is Gok…prior to his recent cooking television series I had nothing but derision for this man-Gumby hybrid. I would see adverts for his television show about making naked women feel good about themselves and would cringe…one of those “empowering the people” shows that was really all about self denial and delusion but then I had nothing to do one evening and decided to watch television and was too lazy to get up when Gok’s Chinese cooking show came on. Truth be told my interest was piqued and I am now a complete convert of Gumby-Gok. I love the man. He has elevated himself into the stratosphere and I totally “get” why hundreds of women would strip for him and parade themselves naked around on television…Gok is the new Nigel Slater and he is the hipster king of U.K. cookery that this wonderful book was sent to me by the wonderful Tanya from http://chicaandaluza.wordpress.com/ a wonderful blog that I have been following for quite a while now. Tanya and I share an ethos, a sense of humour and a deep love for frugality and for living our lives to the fullest and Tanya decided that she wanted to send me a copy of Gok’s Chinese cookbook and I am absolutely rapt :). There are so many recipes that I want to make but the very first one is going to be congee. After that there is an amazing Chinese rice wrapped in dried lotus roots and after that the sky is the limit! I love you Gumby-Gok and I love  Tanya and Toli’s generosity as well 🙂

Steve is the heavy duty practical side of the equation…I am the numbers “man”. Together we figure it out and we put it into play and we usually end up with what we were after. It’s a great result when we work together… the only problem is that we work in such different ways that most of the time we spend trying to figure out what the HECK the other person is doing at any given time. Steve has plans…”those trees there are in the way…they will have to come out (read Steve wants some firewood for next year)… and after that we will put some poles in (read dig holes, concrete poles into the ground where only days before there was a perfectly good tree that we could have used for the same purposes…sigh…) and we can stretch that netting tight between them and after that…” I wasn’t listening by then…I was bums up doing callisthenics in an attempt to try to source some tomatoes from the jungle that used to be a tomato bed. “Next year we stake!” I say loudly and Steve looks at me in a somewhat alarmed way…obviously I must have interjected at some crucial point that most certainly DIDN’T require staking!

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I took this book out of the library recently on a whim…looks like I am going to be exercising my brain for the foreseeable future…

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Here is the button box that I recently gave my friend Kym. We swapped that lovely doily book for buttons…a great swap! We both get something that we want for something that we don’t want…the best of frugality mixed with barter 🙂

Steve says the magic words “after this garden, we will take out those trees over there and will make another one…” and THAT is part of why I love you still you smelly footed, stubborn mule of a man… you feed me what I want and I WANT more gardens :o). I have big plans for the first paddock on Serendipity Farm. Most of it is going to be a fully enclosed series of walk in, walk out vegetable gardens. I want to be able to grow chickpeas, amaranth, chia and quinoa along with buckwheat and various other hardy grains and lots of dried beans. Protein and calories are the order of the day. I am even going to have a go at growing peanuts after Sarah from http://gardeningkiwi.wordpress.com/ fame (and she IS famous folks…she has written a book :o) ) said that she bought a packet off her supermarket shelf (the ones in shells) and is growing them! She said “I like to experiment”…so do I Sarah…so do I! So peanuts are on the cards.

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This is the front cover of a wonderful crochet doily book that my friend Kym from Western Australia sent me recently. I finally found where I hid these photos! Linne wanted to see the cover so here it is…

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And here is one of the lovely doilies inside that I am going to attempt to tackle in the near future

I was going to have a go at growing Brazil nuts but found out that they won’t fruit/nut anywhere other than Brazil because they need a specific and most endemic little pollinator before they will produce the nuts…but the tree looks lovely and I might just grow one…”because I can!” I dare say no-one else in Tassie has a Brazil nut tree growing in their garden and narf7 is bolshie enough to give it the old college try. I have grown mangoes, avocados, walnuts, hazelnuts, figs, carob trees and copious quantities of chestnut trees (easy peasy to grow folks, I just fished a forgotten bag of chestnuts out of the fridge and threw them into some moist coir peat in a plastic bag in a covered esky and almost all of them grew!) and love to grow something for free. It feeds the frugality in me and gives me a sense of purpose to produce things.

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These pumpkin vines are WAY too late in the season to survive the coming winter and were harbouring some small mango saplings that had grown in the compost, so I decided to sacrifice the pumpkins to save the mangoes

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This is what the compost heap looks like today and the sad withered greenery was once pumpkins…next season I am going to have amazing pumpkins that no native animal is going to have a chance to sniff let alone get close enough to taste!

I might have to have a stall somewhere to offload all of the excess food producing plants, however, because even though we have 4 acres, 20 walnut trees and 15 chestnut trees might just be a few too many for that kind of acreage if we want to have a hope in heck of planting anything else ;). That’s part of the problem. If we were rank amateurs we could head out with our heads full of hope and just “plant” but we aren’t…we are fully fledged, dyed in the wool, fully away horticulturalists and we KNOW how far apart we should space things, we KNOW how big they grow, we KNOW about forest plantings and pH and depth of planting and we just KNOW which makes it all the harder to plant out our wonderful free little babies. I might just go doorknocking in the neighbourhood and see if our long suffering neighbours would like some “excuse me…we live just down the road…you might have heard our dogs barking…here…have a tree for your suffering…” ;).

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There might not be many but these potatoes were found when we were digging up the mangoes from the compost bin…SCORE!

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The 2 mangoes in their overwintering palace, the glass house. Lets just hope they survive the winter

I need to self-flagellate…I missed Leonardo Da Vinci’s 561st birthday on April 15th! I also missed that crap mini-series that someone (trying to make a fast buck out of jumping on the bandwagon to link famous long dead (read “can’t sue me anymore”…) people with crappy vampire series…) made about him recently but unlike my sheer unmitigated glee at escaping that utter pile of dog excrement, I am a little bit sad that I missed giving this amazing man the kudos that he deserved. Some people deserve über kudos and Leonardo is one such man…let’s all give him a minute’s silence, heck, let’s give him 2! for being one über cool dude WAY back then that was likely to get you lynched, tarred and feathered or just plain tortured and dispatched. It just goes to show that the brain will out, no matter what is standing in the way (or how much armour or pointy weaponry they are carrying at the time…). I offer you the quintessential anthem to kudos that you deserve sir…ringing down through the ages you ARE remembered…you live on in so many people’s minds and as ACDC would sing, loudly and repeatedly…”for those about to rock…WE SALUTE YOU!”. We most certainly do Mr Da Vinci. :o)

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We didn’t think that these poor long suffering potted babies would survive the long, hot dry summer that we had, let alone live to give us any kind of winter display but here they are looking beautiful and begging us to plant them out this autumn…”I hear you babies…I HEAR YOU” 🙂

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We grew most of these small trees from seed. We aren’t too sure what we are going to do with them all but we might just find someone starting out anew and give them an unexpected bonus of some gorgeous trees 🙂

It’s just turned 3.29am Saturday 20th. Bezial turfed me out of bed because it’s COLD out here and he heard me telling Earl to stop shoving ;). I don’t mind, all the more time for me to tap away here and tie up online ends before my brain turns itself off early this evening. I am now the mother of a 23 year old youngest child. My daughter Bethany had her birthday yesterday and was celebrating with her sister Madeline (25) by having lunch at a new local Korean BBQ house. I hope they had a great time and I know that Bethany’s birthday cake will have been MOST interesting because they were using some purple bubble tea as the basis. They like to experiment with cooking and tend to only use recipes as a basis for their imaginative recipes and 9 times out of 10 they are successful. I tend not to be as inventive as they are but I am reasonably inventive and like to mess about with cultures and letting the cultures metabolise ingredients partially to see what happens to the end result.

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I COMPLETELY forgot to post this heart for valentine’s day! We noticed it when we were walking the dogs AGES ago in Launceston at the university campus…I heart trees 🙂

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This is a leaf hopper…usually leaf hoppers = BAD but this one is in someone else’s garden so he gets to be admired for his beauty and left to nibble another day 😉

I am going to be making more kimchi this weekend. I have a precious cup of kimchi left from my last batch that is going to culture my new batch. Steve rust treated and sprayed my new fire set black that I got for $1 from the tip shop and remembered a fire poker that we had inherited so that got the black spray treatment as well. The handle doesn’t exactly match the set we picked up but who cares? It pokes the fire and that’s fine by me! The best thing about that $1 fire set is that it is solid cast iron and was built to last. I don’t know why someone threw it out in the first place but I have noticed that garage sales are rich playgrounds for savvy people here in Tasmania. The average Tasmanian doesn’t like to get out into the world until around about 10am. We used to head off to the Evandale markets (when we lived in the city) nice and early at 8.30 and we would be finished and on our way home before the long lines of Tassie traffic were passing us in the other direction.

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This is the shop at Wychwood…isn’t it lovely?

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This is the family home at Wychwood but I couldn’t resist sharing this lovely trough of succulents with you all 🙂

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Just around the corner from that lovely trough of succulents is this lovely brick oven. I have a pile of used bricks in town with an oven just like this’s name on it…

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These are the sort of rocks that you find on the beaches around Tasmania. Beautiful weather worn, smoothed by the ocean rocks. It’s hard to leave them on the beach!

Steve shops at 7am in the supermarkets because there are only a few older people there at that time of day…he is usually finished shopping by about 10am and we only shop once a fortnight so these shopping forays take all different kinds of shops into account. We plan this once a fortnight shop meticulously and Steve has his plans of attack. Sometimes the plans of attack involve grabbing things off shelves without looking at them and then finding out when you get home that someone had decided to dump a more expensive product for a cheaper one on sale and Steve just so happened to have grabbed the more expensive product in his hast to be “OUTTA THERE” but that is happening more infrequently now that he is starting to realise that it just isn’t worth handing your tea addicted wife (since she was 2) a packet of über expensive teabags that don’t deliver that rich tannin flavour!  It takes me almost a whole day to do what Steve does in a couple of hours and even then I forget things and come home with heaps of other things that weren’t on the list. I did the shopping the last time that I stayed at my daughters. I did a GREAT job…I was very proud of myself for my efforts BUT (that year of living honestly has forced me to tell the truth 😉 ) I did have the entire weekend to chip away at the shopping list and stretched out the actual shopping over the 3 days that I was away. Some people are built for speed and Steve is one such person :o). Now he just has to allow the concept of “accuracy” to filter into his mindset 😉

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Who would like one of these gorgeous little birdhouses in their garden?

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I took a side view because I am going to have a go at making something approximating this birdhouse…wish me luck!

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I LERVE this chair folks…it is official. We have driftwood from the sea that washes down the river and onto the pebbly riverbank right in front of Serendipity Farm…we have Teatree saplings on the property that need thinning out that would be perfect to make something like this and we have lots of misshapen woody bits lying around from past thinning out ventures. This chair has my name all over it!

Remember how I was complaining about how hot it was in February and March? It WAS hot…it was dry…it was HORRIBLE and now it is cold…it went from 30+C temperatures down to 5C in a matter of weeks. My recent weight loss efforts have handed me energy to spare. It shielded me from our long hot summer and I certainly didn’t miss my extra layer of fat in summer. Everything has good and bad points right? That includes weight loss! Yeh, I might be able to power up our steep driveway in a wave of determination…yeh my knees might be happier than they have been in years…yeh I might almost have broken out into a run with Earl the other day and I might be able to keep up with Steve when we are walking the dogs and yeh I might be able to fit into clothes that I haven’t fitted into for years BUT then the frigid Antarctic autumn descends and suddenly my obsolete layer of fat has taken on a nostalgic quality in my mind…like a nice round nana (cheers for that analogy Jess 😉 ) that gives you a cuddle and a couple of her chockie bickies (that’s chocolate cookies to you Northerners) out of the biscuit barrel when you visit her and you KNOW that the roast dinner she is going to dish you up that night will have more than enough delicious roast potatoes AND there is desert!

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This is an avocado…it appears to be trying to sneak away because it is MORE than aware of it’s fate. Tonight…this avocado will be made into sushi. “Fear me avocado!” 😉

My 25 extra kilos cuddled me in winter. They wrapped themselves around me and insulated me from the worst of the cold and I KNOW WHY SEALS HAVE BLUBBER! I might be able to zip around the place like Speedy Gonzales on steroids…I might be constantly marvelling at how loose cloth feels on my legs and how I have so much energy now but I fear winter. I really do FEAR winter. I am sitting here wearing 2 jumpers, a pair of leg warmers (YES leg warmers 😉 ), my warm slippers and I am STILL cold. Is this what you “normal” people feel in winter? I am going to have to scratch a chalky little note on our shopping list…my chalky little note is going to read “dear Steve…could you please pick me up 14 hot water bottles from K-Mart this shopping…I KNOW 14 seems a little extreme but humour me… I am going to strap them to my body for winter…I am going to knit myself a full set of long john’s (brightly coloured with flares…CMON’! Would you expect any less of me?! 😉 with little flaps where the hot water bottle necks are situated…I am going to sew myself into the long john’s (cheers for that analogy Linnie 😉 ) and I am going to spend winter in my improvised suit of warmth to take the place of my fat. I can just do a few cartwheels to empty them each morning, shiver for a little while as I fill them all and sink into happy hot fugishness through my days. I don’t suggest anyone visits me over winter (bad luck Kymmy, you already booked!) as my new suit might start to reek a bit BUT them’s the breaks folks and you do what you have to do to keep yourself warm and sane 😉

DSCF0920Some of the fire utensils from the $1 tip shop bargain that I got recently. The poker and broom are still in the shed awaiting second coats but already it looks a whole lot better than $1 in my books 🙂

Bezial just got up. He who tossed me out of bed at 2.30 is lying in front of Brunhilda at 3.57am demanding that I poke her and get her going. I am starting to wonder just who is the boss around here… Apparently Bezial already knows! 😉 Bezial has been waiting for this…he and I share a winter tradition of getting up together and me waking Brunhilda up from her overnight slumber so that he can lay in front of her for the rest of the day. Bezial just decided that she wasn’t warming up quickly enough and has gone back to the comfort and warmth of being tucked under my feather doona next to Earl and Steve…sigh…that leaves Brunhilda and I to do the work of warming up the kitchen together…she is crackling into life as I tap this here and its WONDERFUL! :o).

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Still harvesting things from our veggie garden and the spinach is showing no signs of going to seed or giving up the ghost any day soon which is great because I pick it every day 🙂

Last year I got up a whole lot later than I do now…Steve tamps the fire down before he goes to bed at 11 and I will be waking her up again at 3…she seems pleased with the new routine…she  and I have lots of possibilities as the colder weather progresses. I can now add a few new routines of my own into the equation. Now that I am up 3 – 4 hours earlier than the rest of the household why not use some of this time with Brunhilda’s early morning warmth to good avail? Time to start factoring in the warmth of the bread proofer that Steve made for me, essentially a shelf a metre above Brunhilda with a metal mesh allowing the wafting heat to rise through and slowly warm whatever I choose to place up there…I could prove bread up there overnight. A nice slow proofing so that the next day I can get Brunhilda cranking and an hour later I could bake bread…fresh baked bread before the sun comes up? Now THAT is an interesting premise!

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A gratuitous bum shot…I still can’t get over where it went! I have lost more weight since this photo but you are looking at the part of me that was the most significant to say the least…now I know it was there to keep me warm in winter!

Steve recently received a gorgeous jar of Christi from Olalla’s jam. He allowed me a tiny taste but I know that this jam is precious to him. It’s a matter of supply and demand. No matter how much jam he demands, there is a very limited supply. Christi is one of the most generous and wonderful people that I know but it costs a FORTUNE to send things between Australia and the U.S. My daughters send a 4kg (that’s over 8lb) package to my son in a neighbouring state for his recent 31st birthday and it only cost them $17 to do so. I would have to SELL said 31 year old son to pay for the costs if I wanted to send the same parcel to Olalla…that should give you an idea about how expensive it is (AND he is a practicing accountant who won’t get out of bed for under $200/hour so factor that into the equation!). I am just going to have to try to get Christi’s jammy goodness recipes out of her. In the name of transcontinental happiness she just might grace me with the recipe to make Steve happy over his morning toast but the problem is that aside from not being able to get some of the more exotic ingredients, Christi has her own alchemy when it comes to jam. I have NEVER tasted better jam folks. This girl could jar it up and sell it, it is THAT good. I bow to her jammy genius and can only hope that my homemade spadle could do justice to one of her recipes. I have a couple of kilos of blackberries in the freezer…I have a homemade spadle that could stir for the queen and I have a 20 litre stainless steel pressure cooker base that doubles as an “Ace” jam pot…now all I need is that fairy dust that makes “jam”…something that Steve wants to dip his spoon into and eat from the jar 😉

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Who could resist these 2…butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths now would it? 😉

Another tome? “Et Tu Brute?!”…sigh…I guess some of you are still reading my posts and maybe I might be able to coax some strangers from the ether (via unusual tags 😉 ) to stray onto Serendipity Farm and spend the time it takes to get through a BIG mug of tea to read them. I told someone today that my blog is my way of allowing my muses to vent. I guess you, my dear constant readers, are starting to realise just how many muses this poor husk of humanity endures! Brunhilda has managed to heat a kettle of water from cold to just on the point of boiling in under 2 minutes…not bad old girl! She is in fine form and just the crackling is making me feel warmer. Apparently the roosters under the deck are feeling the love as well because they just started to crow…sigh…have a fantastic weekend folks…remember you only get 1 life and this is IT. Do something that makes you feel alive this weekend…bugger it…do something that makes you “SQUEE!” with delight :o). Have the best damned time that you can this weekend and when you have to trudge back to work they are going to wonder what that little smile of contentment is that  is hanging off the side of your mouth…don’t tell them, it’s all yours. See you Wednesday :o)

How to reuse, recycle and repurpose just about everything!

Hello Possums,

I just read a book about a 91 year old Tasmanian icon called Marjory Bligh. She has been rumoured to have spawned Dame Edna and Barry Humphrey’s always buys some of her books whenever she releases them. I used to subscribe to Grass Roots magazine, which to those of you living anywhere other than Australia is a 70’s alternative lifestyle and homesteading/smallholding magazine, and remember reading letters to the hints and tips and questions and answers page from Marjory. Like me, she is a last century woman but her experience of last century is MUCH more extensive than mine. The book was about Marjory and wasn’t all that interesting to be honest. What got me excited were the hints and tips that littered the pages and I typed most of them out and saved them. Marjory is the doyen of knitting and crocheting things out of bread wrappers, supermarket plastic bags etc. She came from the depression years and as such learned that everything has a value. You might not be able to see that value when staring straight at the item in question, but it’s there. Much like blowflies and mosquitoes…something somewhere out there loves them! So I decided that my shame that I currently feel whenever I have to throw out plastic bags is going to be quelled. I have started to collect them and go hunting for not only repurposing ideas but repurposing ideas that actually result in something desirable. That’s the secret folks…anyone can crochet a bathmat/hat out of a bread wrapper but it takes artistic flair to make something that people covet. THAT is my ultimate aim and so off to Instructables to hunt for a few patterns. Again…I LOVE this site. I love it so much I subscribe to it on my rss feed reader and look forward to seeing just how inventive some people are able to be and take magpie delight in collecting the shiny results of their hard thought out labour. I collected a home-made kayak the other day…well…the instructable for how to make one from start to finish…I also got to read the comments that enlightened me as to how to make this even better. I was also able to isolate a most interesting series of Instructables about laminating plastic bags to get a thicker plastic product that you can use for making more durable items…now THAT is a skill that a repurposing magpie might just like to learn!

I can get lost in that site! Here are a few examples of why…

First up…who wouldn’t want to make a purse/wallet out of an old juice or milk carton?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Recycled-coin-purse/

And after we have spent the day slashing and hacking at our honeysuckle problem, we can sit down to a glass of our ultimate revenge!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Honeysuckle-Infused-Vodka/

Try this one…”You too can make yourself a torch out of a coke can and a box of cornflakes…

http://www.instructables.com/id/Torch-made-from-coke-can-and-cereal-box/

Here is another example of total irony…a rubbish bin made out of rubbish! Gotta have one of those…

http://www.instructables.com/id/Trash-can-made-of-plastic-bottles/

We had a visit from our friend who must remain anonymous and she brought us some firewood and came to see what we have been up to on Serendipity Farm. She brought some photos with her to share with us of her adventures since we last saw her. In this photo we get to see Glen her partner. He is not in the witness protection programme and as such is quite happy to share his delightful countenance with us all here. In this photo we can see Glen and a friends little dog who apparently not only loves him, but looks remarkably like him…

I wanted to share a photo that made it to the paper of our friend and some fish that she caught in Strahan on the West Coast when fishing. I had to maintain her anonymity and so allowed Steve to head over to Photoshop and attempt to give her a new identity…hmmm not too sure whether Marilyn would have appreciated fishy fingers Steve…methinks its back to the old drawing board

Looking exactly like your partner is somewhat kinky and not to be encouraged in any way shape or form!…(imagine the kids!!)

This is getting warmer and the pixelated look is somewhat better than looking like your old man but we decided on the next one with our friends approval…

WONDERFUL! I dare say our friend will be probably heading off to her plastic surgeon in the morning to effect these changes…well done Steve, you have a career in plastic surgery design! (the lord only knows…it pays more than landscape design…sigh…)

I could go on forever here (and those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I am NOT exaggerating there 😉 ) but if you want to get as excited about reusing and repurposing as I do and feel sufficiently happy that you are doing everything in your means to helping ease congestion at the tip whilst creating something new and unique, check out the “Green” section on Instructables. And for any new readers who are not aware of Instructables…here is their address…

http://www.instructables.com/

Steve and I decided to start a new blog using Google’s alternative to WordPress. It would appear that Google is on the brink of taking over the internet highway and always the thinking person’s magpie; I am going to ride the crest of that ever encroaching technological wave until it flattens WordPress into a mangled disassembled heap. Do you think I might be a little bit angry at WordPress…DO YOU THINK?! I can’t believe how WordPress have hurled their non-paying bloggers into the ether totally unprotected by anything…we are free falling and those who are not willing to grab hold of someplace else are about to land in a painful heap. I lost half of the blogs that I follow and half of my subscribed readers thanks to their new updates. They didn’t warn anyone…they didn’t test these updates…they have also cast all non-paying bloggers off from being able to ask any questions about blogging apart from the forum where long suffering volunteers have to field the angry protestations of exponentially angry bloggers. I started to get 100+ comments from blogs that I follow thanks to Word Press’s new “you must untick the box underneath the comment that you make or you will get every single other post posted to that article”…we were not told that…we just had to work it out ourselves folks…I guess it would take up too much bandwidth to tell all of the free bloggers out there so to heck with them…let em’ work it out themselves! Ok WordPress…I have given you a fair bit of my mental blood sweat and tears since last October when I started blogging. I have NO idea how hard this must be for everyone who has been with you for years but consider me a big hairy magpie rat that is leaving your sinking ship… We are off to BlogSpot.

I decided to take the easy way out and share a few of my friends (the one who must remain anonymous…I don’t think I have any normal friends!)  photos with you today. I will save more of Serendipity Farm and what we have been doing for Saturday. For now enjoy these lovely squid. Aren’t they beautiful?

This water is stunning! Almost as lovely as the red squid…

We have worked our way most carefully through the minefield known as Adobe Illustrator cs4 to create a picture for our new blog. We wanted to be “clever” and call it “The Odd Life” as juxtaposition with the wonderfully wry and truthful 70’s U.K. television sitcom “The Good Life” where Barbara and Tom turn their ¼ acre house and garden into a sustainable plot along with utilising the methane from their livestock to heat their home and generate power. I loved that show…EVERYONE loved that show. It was hilarious…it was ground breaking…it was (like many good U.K. television programs before and since) WAY ahead of its time and apart from that it launched Felicity Kendal as rear of the year and the countryman’s idea of a “good sort”. We tried all variants of “The Odd Life” until we arrived at what we thought was a witty alternative involving both the “Odd” desirable quotient combined with our newfound skills as landscape designers who occasionally have to turn to the use of Theodolites. So together they became “The Odo Life”…I am NOT going to spell it out folks! 😉 Anyway…at a day in the not too distant future (when I overcome my laziness and get my act together to do a first post and share the new blog with you all…) we will head on over to Google without a passing glance back at the WordPress titanic that attempted to swallow us into its sea of ineptitude. I am not ungrateful for the 8 months of use I got from their site. I never once complained to them about how infuriating their site was when posting regarding photos going missing…entire posts disappearing and having to be posted again…all sorts of irritating things that I would have to jump through Word Press’s hoops to attain and all because it was free. I have discovered that WordPress isn’t the only free fish in the sea and have decided to attach myself remora like underneath the good ship Google…”Long may she sail”! Goodness only knows I am too lazy to have to swap blogs more than once!

Here are a couple of photos that Jenny took for me to show to my mum over the school holidays. It had become a bit of a running joke that mum collected weird and wonderful pictures of toilets and Jenny captured this toilet in Strahan while on holiday in January. My mum died before she could see these pictures and Jenny hadn’t the heart to share them with me before now. These are for you if you are still reading the blog wherever you are mum…I am sure that you would have loved them for your collection :). This one shows the way to the toilet…

And here is the ancient Thunderbox itself. Thunderbox is an Aussie word for outdoor long drop toilet. This one was the sole toilet for all of the fishing boats in Strahan for many years! As most fisherman love to imbibe liberally whilst out on the briny sea can you only imagine how many of them didn’t quite make it to the toilet and how many of them found themselves sobering up VERY quickly in the cold Tasmanian sea? 🙂

I have been using Facebook again sporadically for a few weeks now. I love how I can find all sorts of interesting things that I couldn’t otherwise find via social media sites. I can share websites and interesting articles with friends and family that I might not bother to share otherwise thanks to the ability to “click” and share…sometimes I dare say my friends and family would rather that I didn’t just “click and share” but you know what? Learning is good for you…it keeps your brain mobile and active and when your brain is active and alive, the rest of you tends to follow. That’s my theory and I am sticking to it! I am now adding interesting sites to my Google reader via RSS feeds and it’s so much easier to head on over to Google Reader and read what I want, when I want rather than be bombarded by emails informing me about posts. It took a little bit of getting used to but I now prefer it. It does, however, make my inbox a bit of a sad place now as most of my family and friends are not regular communicators and if I didn’t occasionally head over to Facebook I dare say I wouldn’t hear from them. I guess living 3870km away from most of your family makes it possible to allow them to sink into the distance quite easily. Social media has allowed us to rediscover our family and distant friends that we had lost touch with. I met Steve’s friend and flatmate Tony’s wife Pim who Tony met on a worldwide trip in Thailand 20 odd years ago and who have now been married for 20 years. I would never have had the chance to meet her and share a most refreshing friendship if not for Facebook and other social media making the world a much smaller place. It would have been MUCH easier for Steve and me to communicate. We met online back in 1997 when the U.K. was still a HUGE distance away media wise and had to put up with massively expensive sporadic phone calls and using a slow dial up network that often dropped out and with tremendous lag times just to keep in touch. Now you just hook up to Google Chat for free and buy yourself a nice cheap webcam and you can talk to whoever you like wherever you like for free with almost instantaneous speeds. The world is a much smaller place thanks to social media and for that I am thankful. We can also find out about all sorts of events and happenings that we might otherwise never hear about. What was once something endemic is now capable of becoming viral if it holds enough interest to the average Joe. I can head on over to Project Gutenberg whenever I want to check out a free eBook. With over 36 000 of them available both fiction and non-fiction I can surely find SOMETHING that interests me. I can find out pretty much anything that I want to so long as someone else has been kind enough to share the information. A last century magpie like me who has point blank REFUSED to learn how to use the Austar remote could be forgiven for ignoring the information highway completely but I love it. I love learning things and am amassing a small fortune of information pertaining to our interests and what we are trying to do here on Serendipity Farm. Life is constantly evolving and our ever changing world is constantly updating. I love that I too can constantly update along with it and can choose…the word “Choose” being the operative word here (at the moment) what I do and don’t want to learn. Here’s hoping that we can keep the net free, open and honest and that the powers that be (including my new massive mother ship zeppelin of choice Google…) remain stymied in their endeavours to make it the biggest cash in opportunity of the millennium. Knowledge is power and choice is the weapon that delivers it to our waiting ears. We need to make sure that this ability to learn what we choose is not taken from us in the name of exponential profit growth.

This is a small cruise boat that you can take a tour around Strahan and that runs rings around the little boat that takes tours up the Tamar…

Isn’t Strahan pretty? We might have to head over there one day when we get a few spare minutes.

Lastly, this is a photo taken directly in front of our house. The little lighthouse is in Glads (our 88 year old next door neighbour) front verge and we are directly to the left (in the photo) of there. You can’t really see us but you can…if you peer…see the top of our house. This photo was taken on our friend and Glens boat on a trip up the Tamar River. Ok, thats your bloomin lot for today folks…

I wonder if any writers out there would like to buy some of my never ending supply of words? Anyone wanting to take advantage of this constant stream of concepts…ideas…crazy adventitious sharing…I am open to offers. I prefer to barter so if you have something of interest let me know. I could probably part with about 50% of them and STILL have enough to tide me over for the next 50 years. After that I doubt that anyone would want to listen to me anymore anyway so it would be a bit like a 99 year lease where (in this case) the words revert to the state. Good luck with making sense out of them “The State”…my muse appears to be a little psychotic at times and tends to channel the more mentally alternative members of the afterlife so you might be buying in to a little more than you bargain for but what price words when you are stuck with writers block eh? I sometimes feel like a human sponge…I sit down with an enormous cup of tea (can’t be having to get up halfway through…) to my newfound rss feed reader (in this case Google) and wade through all of the exciting word porn that gets delivered right to my waiting mind. It’s like allowing a small child into one of those enormous pick-and-mix sections in one of the larger more upmarket department stores where the sweets are less likely to make them glow in the dark with a 20 litre bucket…a large scoop and free rein for a day. Not only would the child eat more than the 20 litre bucket that they would no doubt fill to the maximum, but the resulting illness from overindulgence would last a week. The headiness of me being able to read all of my favourite blogs and web pages (aside from a few of the really crazy ones that don’t have rss feed because the government or aliens might get track of where they are that is…) has rendered me somewhat static. The dogs hate it…Earl Sits at my elbow nibbling the oversized jumper that I am wearing trying to get me to take him for a walk. Steve sits in the lounge room a happy man because he can watch whatever he likes with impunity because I am not there offering verbal insults to his favourite obese American Redneck populated Alligator, hog and storage shed hunting television programs and Bezial can bask in front of the fire knowing that at least one family member is here in bodily form albeit mentally no longer in the building. Knowledge is more than power for me. It’s like mental food. It feeds my mind and when I occasionally find the mental equivalent to that never ending free upper class pick and mix buffet for my inner child it delights me for days. I am a cheap date. Give me a bowl of good home-made soup, an enormous screen and the ability to hunt for my mental stimulation and I am yours. Steve says that “You might not want the results”…I think that is his way of saying he still wants me around…that’s love for you :o)

Again my posts escape and run amok…it’s a bit like being taken by aliens…you suddenly arrive at the spot where you were only minutes before feeling somewhat abused but not quite knowing how or why…I get to this point in my posts knowing that I have posted but no idea how I managed to get to 2500 words so quickly. I just love sharing with you all. I think we are just about to start taking some hard wood cuttings this week. Steve wants to get some scion material from a heritage listed weeping elm in town and a small weeping birch in one of the malls to graft onto his rootstocks. I will be taking some cuttings from a wonderful cold climate shrub that I fell in love with hanging over a garden fence in Beaconsfield called Stachyurus praecox. We are also going to take some Washington Hawthorn cuttings now that they have lost their leaves and are ready for hard wood cuttings. We haven’t had the inclination or time to actively pursue our previous horticultural zeal for plant propagation but we are slowly getting back some time to want to grow plants again. “Break out the heat bed and make some room in the glasshouse Steve…Fran’s green thumb is back!”Stachyurus praecoxStachyurus praecox I just have to leave you with this little Green Instructable that tickled my inner irony button. I love how re-using saves the planet AND your wallet and this little Instructable might do more to protect you from the credit crunch than you might immediately think 😉 See you all on Saturday and until we get to share some mental space again…remember to use your mind…like everything else that we are given in life, it needs exercise or it ends up sluggish and overweight and the LAST thing you want to be known as is “Fathead” now isn’t it? :o).

http://www.instructables.com/id/Credit-Card-Flower-Box-Fridge-Magnet/