I found YOU on the road to Serendipity…

 

Hi All,

 

(Me?) “YEAH YOU!” You thought you were just skulking around in the background, hovering in the ether where no-one could see you but I know where you are and I am one of you. I spend most of my days hovering around the ether in various states of mental and physical undress. I can be found wearing ugg boots, knickers and a t-shirt at 3am and by 5am I am in the human equivalent of a cocoon of clothing. I wander the highways and byways of the internet searching out things that make me go “SQUEE”! That make me pause and think, that touch me so deeply I dissolve in tears, that anger me (a LOT of anger me’s…) and that infuse me with the delicious possibilities of hope. I love being an ether surfer and in my travels I found YOU. Yes I did…you thought that “you” found “me” right? Well I cast out my lure and reeled you in and you are now my wonderful trophies, free to come and go at your own free will (like Sting said “set them free and if they come back they are yours :)”…) but each and every one of you has their own peg on the Serendipity Farm wall where you can hang your hat and coat and shuck off your boots (sorry about that chicken manure…) and can sit down at the kitchen table with a hot mug of the beverage of your choice (except yerba mate… I don’t have any of that yet…or Bovril…if you drink Bovril you most probably won’t like Serendipity Farm much…”move along…nothing to see here!”…) and a biscuit/cookie (see, I cater for everyone!) or a calzone…matters not to me, we all float down here…

http://behappy.me/i-found-you-on-the-road-to-serendipity-heart-21039

I found YOU on the road to Serendipity

See I found this lovely card or whatever it is. Someone has a lovely Etsy type store (Behappy.me) and is selling this lovely sentiment along with a t-shirt that I may or may not be tempted to dig out the moth eaten sock under the bed in order to wear at 3am in my knickers and ugg boots. This lovely stranger has voiced my sentiments exactly. They have NO idea what this says about me, my life, and who and what I am but it sums this all up perfectly…our serendipitous relationship, you and I. I have NO idea who most of you are but I know you like sisters and brothers. I would probably walk straight past most of you on the street (and you would yell out “Hi Narf!” as you have seen me…) without knowing you but we share a connection and a small part of the universe through our serendipitous meeting and communal sharing and tasting platter. Isn’t life a wonderful thing where strangers, from the other side of the world, can meet up in real time, sharing their lives, their deepest innermost emotions and their support and knowledge whilst wearing undies, a t-shirt and their ugg boots and NO-ONE WENT BLIND! That is a miracle in and of itself 🙂

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Note to self…”when stoking the fire there is a right and a wrong way to grab the poker…you selected the WRONG way…try again…”

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Someone appears to not have a care in the world…when they say “it’s a dogs life” they aren’t fibbing!

One of the things about having “lovely” wooden floors is that you have to sweep all of the time. Maybe if you don’t have dogs and a husband who was born in a barn you might get away with every second day or so but not narf of Upper Serendipity on the Mer. I just swept the equivalent of a tiny narf in long hairs from the floor. I sweep at least 3 times a day and every single time I am amazed at how much hair we shed. Earl and I are by far the most prolific producers of hirsuitedness on the floor but that’s only because Bezials hairs are black and tend to want to stay stuck to his thick hide. For some reason Earl sheds hair constantly. I think he is part seal and that part of him is constantly trying to return to its hair-free genetic potential. I have very long hair now, due more to the fact that I am a tightwad and absolutely POSITIVELY refuse to pay some ditzy hairdresser $50 every 6 weeks in order to remain able to wander freely amongst the “normal” people without them pointing and whispering (more than they already do…). Stevie-boy trims the back of it whenever the split ends rise up and attempt to take over the masses but aside from that, narf7 and hairdressers are like vampires and garlic NADA!

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I snuck off a couple of shots at my daughters house in the city when I was staying there on Friday night…as you can see it is obviously not our house as this stack of stationary (and that most tasty looking Earth Worm Jim encased light) would have been ingested LONG ago by Earl

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Lots of books…good to see that my kids all love to read…my job here is almost done…

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My daughters have a fascination for all things early 20th Century when it comes to movies. Apparently the best actors tend to hae hovered around the 40’s and 50’s and most of them were horror actors

I had a lovely stay at my daughter’s house in the city on Friday night and we shopped together on Saturday. Next time we have decided communally that we will organise a stop-over on a non-shopping week (we shop once a fortnight) and will make it a 2 night sleep-over so that we can get the most out of my visit. We had amazing nacho’s on Friday night and I arrived back home exhausted after our full day shopping. I got to go to Tsing Wah, my daughter’s Asian grocery store and bought some excellent brown rice pasta, black sesame seeds and other interesting Asian ingredients for me to muck around with and keep myself amused with my bouche. I also picked up a lovely purple sweet potato. It is white on the skin but the flesh is purple. I am going to use this little sweetie to attempt to grow more purple goodness sweet potatoes from. I might not be able to grow taro here in Tassie but I can sure adapt and purple sweet potato comes a close second in both taste and novelty value

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This would be 50 bananas…well…my interpretation of them. You can click on this image to make it bigger so that you can see that dirty mark on the lower left hand side where Earl decided to jump on the kitchen table and onto my work whereby I did the narf7 equivalent of meltdown…after sweeping Earl physically from the table and with my hand on my brow lamenting the loss of my creative genius I sat back down…steadied myself and kept going…the sign of true artistic genius (well that’s MY story and I am sticking to it! 😉 )

Stevie-boy and I decided to get all of our studies completed and up to date the other day and we sat down and drew 50 bananas each. That’s 100 bananas on Chez Serendipity and that might be 99 more than is needed to be honest. We had practice last year drawing pumpkins but this year it was harder. I will see if I can manage to share the scan that Steve took (for our lecturer…EVERYONE wants proof these days! Pffft! 😉 ) of my bananaesque results and aside from giving you a good laugh you can start to get an idea of how desperate a poor non-talented-in-the-drawing-capacity student can get when faced with having to get creative in reproducing their idea of 50 bananas. The first 10 – 15 is easy, anyone can think of that many but after that you have to really start to think…to process “what the heck do banana’s actually MEAN to me?!” and that’s when you start getting all existential on bananas…you pull out your Fraud (easy to do when you are talking bananas 😉 ) and your Kafka and you start questioning the existence of bananas…your own existence…the meaning of the universe and all things yellow. By the end of it you are heading to the internet and stealing other people’s work with impunity…Steve pinched Mr J Lennons self portrait and reproduced it in bananas, I pinched Mr Bingo of the Banana Splits fame and if I had more space I would have stolen Mr Warhol’s banana with gusto. All in all it certainly filled our brains with the yellow tasty sweet fruit for a good couple of hours

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Steve took this photo of one of our resident Black cockatoos. This one appears to be female as it hasn’t got red eyes. They live and breed on the property and we feel especially privileged to be able to watch them go about their daily routines around us

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Sorry about the terrible photo but those are MY hands holding that roasted rooster skin so we all know who is to blame! 😉 Seriously though, can you see the boys drooling?

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Steve might not like rooster skin but he certainly likes rooster pies…

We are learning about typeface now and we watched a really interesting program on studio the other day about the typeface called “Helvetica” and how it has shaped our culture. You wouldn’t believe that a single typeface would be able to conquer the world but it has! Helvetica has been used by so many global companies that you wouldn’t even know you were looking at it anymore, it is so widespread and prevalent in our culture. It has been the single most utilised font of the later part of the 20th Century and it goes to show that the written word AND how it looks are most definitely a way to a consumers heart, and more importantly their wallets

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I headed up to the veggie garden to get a few photos for you as I haven’t shared anything about the (neglected) veggie garden of late

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And saw THIS! Some bollocking bollocks has been scoffing my precious pumpkins!

Brunhilda is crackling away and enjoying her fresh baked logs. We had a bit of a problem with some of the bark being damp on some of the wood that we were burning so we had the bright idea to put logs into the warming ovens (as they don’t get used much) and dry them out prior to stoking Brunhilda with their delicious dry tastiness. She appreciates dehydrated wood immensely and is crackling away at her latest instalment with glee. I made scrumptious rooster pies last night. I made scrumptious rich rooster stock the day before. I have 2kg of rich lean rooster mince in my freezer and I am NOT going to tell you what Stevie-boy and I did on Sunday aside from to say it was them or us according to Frank…

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This looks like bush rat nibblings to me and that tells me that we are feeding the feral cats too much!

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Despite the nibbles I am harvesting these pumpkins and will cut out the nibbled bit and use them. At least I got something from the garden this year!

I am getting my mushroom groove back…my mushie mojo. They are everywhere at the moment. Glorious amanita’s, amazing coloured toadstools, gravity defying tall slender slimy topped beauties, small white alluring mushrooms that I am NOT ALLOWED TO EAT! And all loveliness in between. I am going to take my camera on my morning (drag) walk with Earl to see if I can’t get you some (blurry out of focus pictures of a large wet dogs nose snuffling and squashing on the objects of my desire…) lovely photos of some of the gorgeous specimens that we have been seeing lately thanks to this unseasonal early rain that we have been having. NO complaints about the rain from this little black duck but a bit of a grumble under my breath because we STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN THAT RAINWATER TANK INSTALLED! Err…when I say “under my breath” I meant that metaphorically not literally 😉

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I managed to collect these pumpkins and those potatoes from my visit to the veggie garden today. No more pumpkin for YOU bush rats!

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This is what yacon looks like. I rootled around under the plants and found this little baby and when I dug a bit deeper I felt bigger tubers. Looks like my yacon DID produce some tubers this year and now I just need to work out when to pull them up and shove them into some soil ready for replanting next year. Yacon produce energy storage tubers and rhizomes. The tubers are what we use and the rhizomes are to be planted out again (from what I can gather). Looks like it is time for me to go hunting on my old mate Google to see what I am supposed to be doing with this plant that did well on Serendipity Farm

I must say I don’t know what all of you Northerners were complaining about when you were going on… and on…and on…and ON about the cold. I am LOVING IT! It might be just because the cold is still a delicious novelty to me but I don’t think so. I think that I just love it. I love how I can come in out of it and get warm, how I can wear lovely homemade things (Jess, I am sporting those blue camo knit trousers and LOVING THEM!) with impunity and I can use the rain as an excuse to get out of walking the dog every single day! Earl and winter…not so much…but me and winter…BLISS! 😉

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As I was wandering around looking for “photo opportunities” for you all I noticed this little silverbeet seedling growing in a flat seedling tray and thought that it was the perfect example of how nature never wants to give in or up. I decided to come back to take a photo for you all to get that rush of happiness that seeing an underdog fight its way to survival brings…

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However a giant decided to squash him in his tracks…sigh…

I have to get some photos for this blog post. I seem to have forgotten to photograph much this week and what I did take photo’s of was blurry and out of focus but not artistically so. My daughters took a trip to Melbourne last week and the first I knew about it was an email saying “you might want to check this out through the day…” and a link to their Instagram page where I found images of them eating pancakes for breakfast, snacking on delicious frozen green tea yoghurt with lychees and tapioca pearls and wandering the streets of Melbourne with impunity. I must admit to being a little green (YOU DIDN’T INVITE ME?!!!) but they were so clever to keep it a secret that I must admit to having more admiration for their stealth than angst at being left out of the equation. Steve said that he would send me to Korea to incite envy in them both but that would be missing the point, I just love spending time with my daughters, they are great fun to be around and to be with and I think that is the ultimate in your kids attaining adulthood, being able to measure out their good company and swapping all of that “being a parent” for just “being mum”. They get to make their own mistakes, pay their own bills, do their own shopping and I just get to enjoy their excellent company and their amazing senses of humour (and their wonderful cooking skills…don’t forget that!).

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This is Earl’s equivalent of “are we there yet?”

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I love how some mushrooms almost appear to have a liquid coating on top of them. I realise that most of you don’t share my rapture at fungi but it takes all sorts to make a world 😉

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A pristine little toadstool that the chooks haven’t managed to find or scratch up yet…give it time!

I then headed out with the dogs to try to find “all of those toadstools!” that Stevie-boy had alluded to while he was driving up the driveway the other day and looking out of his side window…I hurried down (well, Earl MADE me hurry down) all the while looking for this mass stash of mushies and by the time I got to the bottom of the driveway I started to realise that either something had eaten all of the fungal fecundity OR Stevie-boy had best lay off the peyote when he is driving…either way it wasn’t going to be easy to find mushroom photos to share with you and so I headed further afield…

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The Jerusalem artichokes that I found (pinched) growing on the side of the road on one of our walks and shoved into this compost bed have all died back which means it is time to harvest them

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I really love the taste of Jerusalem artichokes and don’t care about their reputation as being able to induce flatulance at 100 paces. That’s what having dogs is for…blame the dog! These tubers are large, very clean and are going to be inducing flatulance in … err…”Earl”…tonight 😉

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All of these different shapes and sizes of leaf came from the old Japanese maple next to the deck. This photo was taken as we were walking back up to the deck from our walk

I have just extracted a most determined leech from a very distressed dog. SO distressed that he won’t eat his dinner now. Poor Bezial is now sitting out on the deck and Earl keeps poking me with his nose as if to say “if fatty doesn’t want his dinner, can I have it?” The life of a country mouse! I think that might be all for today folks. I have spaghetti bolognaise to make for Stevie-boy and I found some delicious sweet potato starch noodles when I shopped at the Asian Supermarket and am going to make a veggie and shiitake stir-fry to go with some of them for my tea. I saved Bezial’s dinner for later on when he calms down a bit and stops hyperventilating about the alien tiny most insistent vampire that was attempting to extract his blood…Woody Allen and all of his neurotic ways have NOTHING on this dog! See you next week folks when hopefully Bezial will be eating again and we can all settle down for another communal international fringe festival of Serendipitous joy whatever our circumstances, the weather and our neurotic pets are up to…See you then 🙂

 

This is what narf7 looks like when she has been dragged through shrubs, trees, spiderwebs and pumpkin vines. Note the wild hair

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Green Tea, Chainsaws, Moonshine and Redneck Rock down on the farm…

Hi All,

A terrifying thing has just happened…I headed to my “Blog” folder on my PC to look for the beginnings of a blog post. I usually have one or two ideas stuffed up my collective sleeve (I collect things in my sleeves so I am allowed to abuse the vernacular, mostly dirt and dog hair but whatchagonnado when you live on 4 acres out in the bush?) but today I found nada. Nada isn’t a good start folks…nada…zip…zilch…whatever you want to call it means that narf7 has to pull her finger out and get cracking with something for her dear constant readers to pore over with a microscope (you don’t? I am assured many do! 😉 ) for a Wednesday. Hump day arrives and narf7 has responded by being in recovery from her complete and utter addiction to Pinterest last week and by actually doing some work for once. Yesterday I spent the day removing rope and sundry “things” from a massive length of ex-fish-farm netting. The sundry things consisted of a huge amount of sludgy green algae (I removed it with that collective sleeve I mentioned earlier…), assorted chook manure that I kept finding thanks to the chooks being out now and most curious about what I was doing, several white plastic rings that I have NO idea what they were meant for but that made Steve excited to be the new owner of (for “own” read “throw in shed to make more mess…) along with so much thick nylon rope people are going to start talking about us unless I decide to find a tutorial for how to make a hammock that has a half-life.

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Here’s the view from the deck looking over the water at 7.30am on Monday morning and Steve just caught the sun coming up…

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And this is exactly the same spot the last image was taken but at 7am on Tuesday morning…it doesn’t look like the same place does it?! Anyone else think that we are in for a bit of rain in the near future? ;). Note, neither of these images have been Photo shopped.

We have been busy collecting wood and waiting for rain. We have various piles of debris on Serendipity Farm that we would like to imagine that we left there for the specific purpose of allowing the leaves to fall from the branches and mulch the denuded soil, harvesting smaller branches for a hugelkultur base for our soon to be realised ENORMOUS fully enclosed veggie garden (typing that just made me tired…) and for harvesting the larger portions for making Brunhilda the equivalent of a tasting platter. In reality we just piled them up whilst doing the metaphorical equivalent of putting our fingers in our ears and yelling “I CAN’T HEAR YOU” loudly…over and over again. Now we have to deal with our metaphoricals in a more physical way and after poring over ideas to make me look like I am a clever and savvy horticulturalist, environmentalist and permaculturist (all the “ists”) I came up with the idea to use the big bits for firewood. It’s amazing how much wood you actually get out of piles of ex shrubs. Steve and I know…we have been harvesting it all week.

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Ferals enjoying the autumn leaves

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The maple tree has finally started dropping it’s lovely red leaves

The weather for our winter so far (all 5 days of it) has been that glorious mix of crispy squeaky cold mornings and lovely sunny days. I love weather like this. It makes you feel clear headed and full of purpose (even when you aren’t and are just dragging along behind an overexcited dog hell bent on urinating on every shrub he sees). Today we cut more ex-fish farm netting and we collect more firewood. It might not sound interesting but when it all comes together it is both productive and delicious. I have been cooking a lot lately. Lots of wholesome soups and delicious Stromboli’s and my mind is starting to turn to food adventures. I am considering making a sweet Stromboli. How does adding some more sweetener to the dough and some kind of dried fruit and sweet spice sound? How about when I flatten it out (easiest dough to work with folks…) I spread over some grated apple and cinnamon sugar or grated chocolate and orange zest or jam and more sultanas, but this time they have been soaked in rum? Then I roll it all up, tuck in the ends and bake it for the sake of a happy man. I could call it “Stromboli Poly” and could serve it with custard and thick pouring cream. I reckon it’s a date!

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As you can see, we aren’t short of a few leaves here on Serendipity Farm. Do you like where we chose to put the craypot we got for $5 from the progressive garage sale?

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A close up of a vegans nightmare 😉

I got up at 2am this morning. I don’t know if it was the pressing need to write a blog post or just that my mind is a bit twitchy today. I am off to my daughters this weekend and my brain has gone into planning overload. I want to bake up a storm. On the phone yesterday my youngest daughter Bethany told me that they had bought me a tray of friand pans and had also bought me some Matcha green tea powder. They couldn’t find me any locally so they imported it from China! The food miles are prohibitive but apparently I have a certificate with my bag of fluffy green powder to assure me that it is “Genuine Green Tea”. I can only begin to imagine why they would feel the need to issue a certificate with their green tea…I don’t want to imagine it any more…all roads lead to adultered milk powder with stirred in spirulina ;). We are going to have a great time this weekend and I am taking the ingredients for making waffles over with me. I am also going to take the ingredients for friand. Apparently “Friand” is a peculiarly Aussie word for the French “Financier”. They are one and the same thing but we Aussies love to take something and make it our own (just ask the New Zealanders, they have been saying that we pilfered lamingtons, pavlovas and goodness only knows what else from them for years! 😉 ). I have been lusting after friand pans for a while now and whilst I can’t justify buying a set of pans for a single use, I CAN accept them as a gift 😉

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Steve has had Stromboli’s on a regular basis ever since we trialled them for The Virtual Vegan Potluck last month. As an Omni, he has smoked csabai and bacon and feta on his Stromboli’s along with grated cheddar cheese which I hadn’t grated on yet in this picture. This is the Stromboli pre-roll…

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And here it is post roll. You get a good look at our kitchen in the background. That board resting on the floor was designed to fit snuggly over the gas cooktop on that section of cupboards to the left at the rear of this image so that we can use it for extra preparation space. We don’t use this cooktop much in winter as Brunhilda is on pretty much 24/7 so it’s a good idea to utilise the wasted space when we need it the most, when we are up to our armpits in bread dough etc. over the cold winter months.

I have to report to you that Steve will be my guest poster on Saturday. I was twitching about having to get this post AND Saturdays post done yesterday and Steve gallantly came to the rescue. Steve is an attention hog folks…don’t let his mild mannered beatific smile lure you into any false pretences that this man is a benign sideliner…no sooner is my back turned then he has plans for this space. Apparently he is going to give you a history lesson for Tasmania “Steve style”. I just wanted to mention here that I can’t be held responsible for any content that my wonderful quirky Aquarius husband inserts here on Saturday…just hold onto your rollercoaster seat and get ready for a decidedly “side left” experience! I have given him free range so long as he doesn’t go on about religion and politics. He seemed a bit crestfallen there as just about everything going on in Tasmania at the moment has something to do with both and that is where he got the idea about history…you can’t go wrong with historical events…they have already been and Wikipedia has more than enough of them for the average bear. He didn’t really like what Wikipedia said. It bored him. He is easily bored so he is going to rectify that by adding in his own interpretation on events. Good luck…make SURE to affix your safety belts and don’t tell me you weren’t warned when I get back here on Wednesday 😉

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Glad allowed us to take a few shots of her driveway when we were talking to her the other day. See all of those leaves? That’s about 1/8th of the leaves to be raked and claimed by yours truly :). I love it when helping your neighbour is also helping yourself :). The road you can see at the end of Glad’s driveway drops off straight into the river on the other side.

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Aren’t these oaks lovely? The minister for the Auld Kirk church next door to us was buried in Glad’s garden somewhere as her home used to be the church manse. I wonder if Glad knows where he is?

I’m back. Did you miss me? I have been outside collecting wood and cutting net while the sun shone which wasn’t all that long to be honest but at least we were able to get some of what we wanted done. Steve has been wrestling with his chainsaws which have both apparently gone on strike. I decided to retreat to the safety of the house to protect my delicate ears from the ensuing stream of profanity and decided to finish off this post. I have fed Audrey and she is ruminating nicely on the kitchen bench. I like to give her a little bit of time out in the warmth of the kitchen to make up for the fact that she pretty much lives in the fridge. I have also transferred my milk kefir grains from their twice weekly dunking in “real” milk to a container of homemade soy milk made from organic beans and date paste. The grains LOVE date paste. I have been watching them closely to see if there was going to be any negative connotations with putting them into non-dairy milk on a long term basis but haven’t seen anything yet. If anything, they appear to grow faster when they live like this. I guess they know that they are going to have a nice holiday in regular milk every couple of days and have decided to make the best of it. I get the feeling that certain sections of the yeast/bacteria symbiosis that forms the complex relationship we know as kefir grains love nothing more than fruit sugar. I had read that you can double ferment kefir by adding fruit to the finished result for the kefir grains to continue to feed on. I use date paste because they seem to like it a lot. They actively feed on it whenever they are added to the date sweetened soymilk and I have started to get adventurous with my combinations

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I was talking to Roxy, our friend who lives down the road on the way past her home yesterday and as she volunteers in the local Beaconsfield thrift shop I asked her to keep her eyes open for any hand knitted jumpers that I could buy and unpick for the wool. She said “hang on a minute” and came out with a bag of wool. This bag contains 5 balls of a lovely khaki green wool. Not sure what I am going to make with it but I think I might make Steve some fingerless gauntlets

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She also gave me a large bag of hand spun wool that she had spun herself. I will be making myself some gauntlets out of this gorgeousness. I love sharing. We gave Roxy and Guy a whole lot of potted plants to plant out on their property and Roxy, in turn has been very generous back with veggies and this lovely wool. Developing community allows one mans trash to become another mans treasure. Roxy said that she had knitted herself enough beanies, gloves and scarves to last her a lifetime and I was welcome to the rest of the wool. I will try my hardest to do it justice. Any suggestions for patterns (pointing me in the right direction online) would be most gratefully listened to 🙂

I am not all that sure that my adventurousness is being rewarded. I have combined the finished kefir with some homemade coconut milk that I made a while ago (from fresh coconut meat not dried) and promptly put into the cold part of the fridge and promptly forgot all about. I found it the other day when I was hunting for cheese for a sandwich for Steve. I opened the top and it didn’t smell “bad” so I decided to throw it into the kefir mix. Not so sure it was a good move…it tastes nice but it seems to have added something explosive to my kefir mix. The kefir has started to bulge alarmingly in its 3 litre plastic milk container. I opened it this morning and the lid blew off! It is über fizzy, tastes lovely and as I have been adding more date paste to keep the mixture fermenting it is certainly using what I give it. I figure that I have made a sort of date, coconut and soy hooch. I tossed in a bit of leftover almond and oat milk this morning and the kefir assimilated it like the Borg. I don’t know what I have created but I feel like Dr Frankenstein once he lost control of his creation…it may yet go over to the dark side and need euthanising but for now, it’s great fun and so long as I remember to release the gasses from the finished kefir every time I go to the fridge, I shouldn’t have to clean up an almighty mess any day soon. (Note to self…remember to use it all BEFORE you go away for the weekend… 😉 )

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This is what “real eggs” look like folks. Those feathered Somalian pirates do have some benefits. The problem is, it is getting increasingly harder to find where the crafty minxes are laying!

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Remember that tree that rotted and dropped and is being propped up by another tree right next to the house? Well it’s still there…sigh…

The chainsaw just started and kept going so I figure that means “SUCCESS!” and it might be safe to step outside and check if the bit of drizzle that we have had so far is adding anything to our rainwater quotient. Steve now sounds like he is trying to play “The Chainsaw Song” by Jackyl (a band from the 80’s folks…I hadn’t heard of them either…) on one of his long suffering chainsaws. To illustrate what I am talking about here is a link to the song…watch it, and then you will understand what I mean…incidentally…I would like to apologise for the 30 seconds of “Kardashians” that you will be forced to watch before the actual video commences…please feel free to get a bucket in readiness for the inevitable vomit response that will highly likely occur…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A52p9jc-gOo

Now let’s get something straight from the get-go…Steve and I both LOVE this song. We are apparently both Sidmouth Rednecks in the making but manage to stifle it most of the time. You can be sure that we are both jumping around the kitchen for the duration of the song (and I dare you to remain seated…its catchy folks 😉 )…aside from that you might be forgiven for thinking that Bon Scott from ACDC has somehow taken possession of the lead singer of Jackyl…he hasn’t. The man’s name is “Jessie James Dupree” (somehow incredibly fitting) and aside from being a pretty good and most athletic singer in a redneck band, you may have seen him in the heinous approximation of a television show called “Full Throttle Saloon”. Much like Mr David Lee Roth who is also an athletic and very good singer, Mr Dupree seems to be squandering his talents. At least Mr Lee Roth is driving an ambulance…Mr Dupree seems hell bent on getting Mr Lee Roth as much work as he can handle.

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This is an Osteospermum daisy. It is my nemesis. I decided to share this photo with you because they do look pretty but they aren’t welcome here along with their Vinca major mates!

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Since we cleared out all of the competing undergrowth from around this lovely Protea it hasn’t stopped flowering. It’s probably the happiest plant on Serendipity Farm

Steve appears to have a desire to become an aging redneck. His hero is a now deceased man called Popcorn Sutton. Popcorn Sutton made the best moonshine in the U.S. Steve is in awe of the mention of his name. He has an uncanny ability to dance just like Popcorn Sutton and wants me to video him doing his hillbilly shuffle so that we can rotoscope him for posterity. Should this strange (and somewhat disturbing) video ever eventuate, I promise to share it with you all here on The Road to Serendipity, cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye folks! By the way…what is it about half naked men with long hair that appeals to me girls? Give me an 80’s Pearl Jam clip and I am gone! ;).

Here is a “Doodied up” version of Popcorn Sutton dancing…marvel at those moves folks and know that Steve has been studying them intently and can replicate them in minutiae…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E575kEtKRBs

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Finally we see fungus! Anyone who has been hanging around Serendipity Farm and this blog for long enough will know of my undying love and respect for my fungal companions here on planet Earth. I have NO idea what this fungus is, all I know is that they tend to grow on tree stumps and rotting wood in large clumps like this.

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Isn’t this pretty? My love for fungi knows no bounds 🙂

I might make this a slightly shorter post than usual and leave it here folks. It is starting to get late and it’s already almost dark at 2.45 in the afternoon! I have my evening routines to start at 3 when we feed the dogs and everything flows from there till about 7pm when we get to both sit down (after racing around after animals all over the place) and have a well-earned rest. We think Frank and his wife have headed off to Canada as they have been strangely quiet on the Western Front. We did see a good friend who used to work at the Alanvale Polytechnic when we attended horticulture lectures there for 2 years (Hi Nat :o) ) who used to be the head groundskeeper. He wasn’t ANYTHING like Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons and was more like Mr MacGyver (Mr Smarty-pants fix it with string…) from the hit television series of the same name that back in 1985. Corey could fix ANYTHING and was/is the most laid back person I have ever met. Today we saw him driving a truck load of gravel for a new house being built right next door to Frank’s house.  So we have impunity to see just how many roosters we can populate Serendipity Farm with in the 6 months that Frank will be absent without leave. Let’s take some bets on how many shall we? The winner takes them all! 😉

The confessions of a self-absorbed hierophant

Hi All,

I made it! I managed to stay up till after 12 for the very first time in years! Steve and I stumbled out of bed at 5am so that he could go fishing and I could get my very first post of 2013 up and running. It’s amazing how hung over you can feel without even having a drink ;). I have had a most interesting few days. In preparation for my 2013 ethos (I like to have a goal and a theme 😉 ) I have been “doing” lots of things. I want to be a better (read less lazy) cook this year and create a lot more “from scratch” things. I want to hone my skills this year so you can expect a lot more tutorial type posts and interesting recipes…at least photos of what we cooked. I made Steve a savoury pithivier the other day and rather than use milk to make the base sauce, I used white wine. It was delicious apparently and the leftovers got recycled into a huge quiche the next day using zucchini, our own eggs (14 of them…we have 9 dozen to get through and rising!) and some of our spinach. I want to become more organised and condense my processes down and get Serendipity Farms cycles integrated better this year. We are composting everything that can possibly be composted and it is amazing how something turns from a problem into an asset with a little bit of knowledge. Finding ways to effect positive change on a shoestring is what warms the cockles of my little penniless hippy heart. I found out an incredible amount of information last year and stashed it away for future use. I learned how to make hugelkultur gardens, how to ferment, how to grow a sourdough (even though Herman is still in cryogenic stasis as I type those words…) and how to do all sorts of things from scratch bypassing the consumer dollar in the process. We spend our money locally as much as we can and have stopped buying supermarket meat in favour of our local butcher Nigel from “Nigel’s gourmet on Tamar”…he didn’t give me anything to plug his business there folks…his quality produce was all that needed me to laud him and there are so many small primary businesses out there that could use a bit of a capital injection from we the public. The supermarkets are insidiously replacing all of the branded products on their shelves with their “own labels” to maximise their profit margins. Check out the back of these products and take note that they are not supporting Aussie farmers in their endeavour to rule the Australian consumer dollar…they are importing cheap foods from goodness only knows where and packaging them here in Australia to try to make them look better. Don’t support them if you have any other option…even penniless student hippies can choose to shake their moth eaten sock into their open hands to the benefit of Australian producers.

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The quiche of a million eggs for your perusal!

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Here is a photo that Steve took from his aluminium coracle whilst pootling around on the river the other day. If you look REALLY closely (or if you click the photo and make it bigger…) you might just be able to make out what that red blob is up on that deck…its me! Our house is only really visible from this position in the river and from here you can see The Auld Kirk Church, Steve’s shed and our house and those rocks in the foreground actually belong to Redwood island which Steve is conveniently anchored near to give you a bit of perspective. All of those trees are pretty much ours and the area in front of the house used to be landscaped and terraced garden…not any MORE it isn’t! 😉

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These tyres contain the entirety of a packet of seed that we were given to us by the funeral directors back in 2010 at my fathers funeral. At the time Serendipity Farm was in no condition to broadcaste seed around but we found this packet the other day and decided that our veggie garden needed some flowers to confuse the predatory insects and so Steve built this little tyre garden while I was away at my daughters house. As you can see there is a plethora of possibility here in this tyre…not being an annual person myself, I have no idea what these little green babies are (hopefully not weeds!) but whatever they are they can at least get to see the light of day from their packet and act as little first defence soldiers in the war of integrated pest management

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My little Moringa oleifera that I have been gestating in the glasshouse that will eventually be planted on Serendipity Farm

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The fecundity of the well fortified old compost heap…

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This is an old beer can…one of the cluckies who had been hunkering down for over a month in the new chook pen (before it was a new chook pen to be exact!) was actually sitting on it. I bravely checked under her and was duly repelled with great gusto and all for this remnant of my dad and his drinking buddies…sigh…

I have some dried fruit soaking in the last of the Christmas rum ready to make boozy Eccles cakes for Steve today. Steve has been steadily working his way through the Christmas booze because he wants to give his liver a bit of a rest for lent this year and wanted to start early ;). When we were taking the dogs for a walk up the highway the other day I found a tiny little metal spoon bowl that had become separated from its handle. I have NO idea how it got to be on the side of the road but I picked it up and we brought it back home and Steve make it a handle out of a Serendipitous twig and took a bit of adventitious rust off it and now it sits proudly in the cutlery draw, given a new life by someone who saw it’s intrinsic value. Steve has managed to get on top of the list of spoons that needed to be made and I even got a massive great Spoondle (a cross between a spoon and a ladle). He got creative for Roz’s spoon and decided to make a cross between a wooden spoon and a spatula…the Spatuloon is born! I love that we can both make spoons. The end results are startlingly different and entirely personalised to our own view of the wood that we are working with. I also love that the small pieces of wood that Steve cuts his spoons out of get recycled into small spoons and the remainder get bagged up ready for fire lighting futures. The sawdust gets swept up and bagged as well to use for odour control in my indoor compost bucket and for increasing the suite of organisms in our compost heap. By the way folks…add all sorts of things to your compost…add leaves and broken up twigs from all sorts of plants and trees and tip your beer can dregs into your compost bucket… they all add something exciting and new to your compost brew and make for adventurous growing seasons and who doesn’t love to see what amazing fungi grow out of their compost heap! I know that composting will never be the same for me after opening up the compost bin at Polytechnic in my very first compost turning event and seeing fungi mycelium threaded right down through the compost pile…the fecundity of it all excited me along with the cycles and processes that were initiated by what went into that compost and got me wanting to grow my own fungus…I LOVE fungi :o).  Earl has been getting restless whenever his snout manages to get within sniffing distance of the bowl of walnuts in Steve’s music room…he has personally asked us to do another spoon draw so that he can reintroduce his questing nose into that bowl full of walnuts as he loves to crack them in half and leave them lying around for foolish barefoot hippies to find… another spoon draw is on the horizon folks :o)

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Pinky my dear younger sister’s new spoon in its finished but raw state…

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If you can take your eyes off that spiders web in the top left hand corner for a bit, you will notice that the spoon is now a different colour. It has been rubbed with Eco-oil, a natural food safe blend of orange and tung oil that gives wood a lovely lustre and enhances its natural beauty

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You can tell that these hands belong to Steve…firstly by the hairy arms and secondly by the long fingernails…murphy’s law states that all guitarists must grow their fingernails at an exponential rate because fingernails get in the way of playing…

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This is my Spadle…its huge and pot ready and I can’t wait to wave it about like excalibur over my head when diving into cauldrons of bubbling harvest futures

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A selection of wooden spoons that Steve has made since he decided to become “The Spoonman”

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Earl wistfully prodding the walnuts with his nose

Not long after I found the little spoon bowl on our recent walk I noticed a large tree growing on the road verge and my horticultural bones started to twitch…”Steve…I think that might be a chestnut tree!”…my horticulture spidey senses were on full alert and indeed it WAS a chestnut tree! I haven’t seen an adult chestnut tree in flower and it was a very interesting thing to behold. The flowers are long and pendulous and have a very “interesting” fragrance…not entirely pleasant but my guess is (assisted by the clouds of flies and beetles covering the tree) that they are not aiming at bees and butterflies to pollinate them. I could see tiny chestnuts forming on the ends of the branches and another free food source has been isolated. I am definitely going to plant some chestnut trees out now. If they will grow on a road verge with no outside source of irrigation they are definitely a tree for Serendipity Farm. As we were walking back to our car I noticed a red clover (Trifolium pratense) plant growing in the gravel on the side of the road…again my horticultural senses twitched because deep in the over clogged information highway of my mind something put 2 and 2 together and came up with “bonus!”…I did a bit of research when I got home about red clover because I hauled the red clover plant out of its desert gravel pit and put it into one of our incredibly useful dog dung bags (we use them for horticultural purposes more than their intended use!) and it is sitting in the laundry sink happily bathing its toes in fresh water as I type this. My ethos is “never let a chance go by” and I am glad that I didn’t because this baby had a HUGE root system and because it was covered in seed ready to broadcast if it was worth cultivating. It’s always a good sign if your query results in 2 results lauding the health benefits of said red clover before you get to the Wikipedia entry and apparently I learned something in my horticultural endeavours because I found out that red clover has been used for centuries as a metabolic diuretic, an expectorant and a blood purifier. It contains lots of nutrients and phytoestrogens to balance hormonal activities and is being researched for its uses as a natural treatment for cancer, menopausal symptoms and skin disorders. It makes a pleasant cup of herbal tea and 1 – 2 tsp of dried flowers infused in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 – 30 minutes is all it takes to add this delightful natural remedy into your diet. See what a bit of knowledge can give you? I am going to spread the clover all over the place on Serendipity Farm…I am going to infuse the “lawn” with it, I hope to attract bees from all over the place by having a lot of it growing here. Knowledge is power of the highest degree and the kind of power that this freely sourced knowledge can give you is immensely empowering to those of us living on a shoestring

Trifolium pratense red clover

This is a lovely stock photo of red clover…MUCH better than I could take for you so you can acutally identify it in the wild using this shot

Pirate Ship

I am hoping that I can sneak this photo by the internet trolls… I am going to give full kudos to The Examiner our local rag for this shot. Its of the pirate ship that I talked about not so long ago and a Melbourne man built it from scratch and has been sailing it around since Christmas… I don’t know about pirate but at $5 a person to take a sneak peak on board, he might just be rolling in dubloons by the end of the season!

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Here is what the little found spoon looked like after I extracted it from the pocket of my jeans

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Here it is resting on the twig that I picked to be its new handle

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And here is what it looks like now after a bit of a clean up and a nice new twiggy handle 🙂

We are off to take some rubbish to the tip tomorrow. I have a plethora of amazing books to pick up from the local library as it opens again on January 2nd and Nigel slaters complete back catalogue appears to have landed in my request box ;). We try to combine as many things as we can into a single trip and tomorrow (today really but I typed this yesterday 😉 ) we will be walking the boys in Exeter, heading up to the tip and perusing the tip shop for any hardwood that we can find including floor boards to make spoons and spatulas with, going to the local op shop to see if anything new has arrived and picking up my weights worth of free books from the library. I don’t know why more people don’t take advantage of the library. I know it is easier to just buy a book but when funds are tight, it’s not an option and when time is an asset that you have plenty of, typing out the best recipes from a good cookbook isn’t an issue and if you run out of time you can just request it again :o). I have a wonderful selection of books at the moment ranging from vegan cookbooks by the iconic Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a vegan pioneer who has, along with her good friend Terry Hope Romero, dragged vegan food kicking and screaming out of the “too hard” box and directly into the oncoming path of mainstream society. I purchased “Vegan cupcakes take over the world” in a selection of vegan cookbooks from the U.S. a few years ago and now we have “Vegan pie in the sky” (on my desk waiting to be typed out) and “Vegan cookies invade your cookie jar” is waiting for me to pick it up tomorrow…I get very excited whenever I get near the library. It’s a knowledge thing…a fundamental ingredient in my makeup that gives me a “good dog!” pat on the head whenever I head into that hallowed hall of literature and I never cease to amaze myself at how greedy I can be when it comes to books. I never have a spare space on my library card of 15 allowed books and regularly use my dear non-literary husband’s library card to shamelessly hog 15 more books. I can never hope to get through all of them in my allotted 3 weeks but whatchagonnado eh? 😉

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You wanted pictures of the veggie garden…you GET pictures of the veggie garden…this is the view from the house side of the veggie gardens…

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And this is the view from the other side…that blue tarpaulin still has some of the organic compost underneath it waiting to be used to fill duckies old boatpond and used as a raised herb garden

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Some of the rainbow chard that I cut to give to the chooks surrounded by sage and cucumbers and snow peas

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3 different kinds of zucchini, some chives, some snow peas, some cucumbers and a rustic attempt at allowing the cucumbers to go viral

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English spinach, beetroot, sage, cucumbers and those exponentially grow-before-your-eyes zucchini plants

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The spinach and beetroot bed…beetroot leaves are delicious by the way and every bit as good as silverbeet

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Looking back towards the corn and silverbeet

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Tomato mania! I am standing up taking this photo and you can see how crazy they have gone!

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A bed full of lettuce, rocket (going to seed but still tasty), capsicums (peppers), jalapeno chilli’s and more! I think you will all agree that our summer veggie garden experiment appears to be paying off 🙂

I think I may have stumbled onto the next greatest thing in vegan cooking…I am saying this because I know that Hannah, the vegan degustatory equivalent of Albert Einstein reads my blog posts…I hope you are reading this one Hannah because I am sharing my new found secret passion with you right here…right now. I LOVE cheese…I love it with a passion rivalled only by my love for potatoes (and butter…and bread…and…well you get the picture!) and I have sorely missed that cheesy flavour since I went over to the bright side of the street where the vegans hang out in the hipster side of town… it was one of the main reasons that I stuck steadfastly to my vegetarian past and stubbornly refused to cross that dairy free line. Eggs…no problem…cheese and butter “NOOOO!” but cross I did for health reasons and here I am still lusting after that deep cheesy flavour that comes from well-aged cheddar and I haven’t found a vegan alternative yet. I do love the taste of aged nut cheeses and I like vegan homemade yoghurt but the nut cheeses are expensive to make and while I was staying with my daughters they introduced me to something revolutionary that gave me back my cheesy hit without any effort on my part…magic! We had a complete weekend of cooking; we made homemade pizza and 12 different Korean recipes and Asian sago pudding and delicious icecream and all sorts of things. The girls had cheese on their pizza along with all sorts of weird things. They like to experiment with their food and often take recipes to their limits in the process. They have all sorts of unusual multicultural ingredients in their home and as they are going through an Asian phase at the moment they had purchased lots of Asian products in tins and jars to experiment with. Apparently my youngest daughter Bethany had bought a jar of Chilli bamboo shoots on a whim and after opening the jar and trying them she didn’t like them and the jar had remained on their fridge shelf gathering the fridge equivalent of dust for a while. When we were considering what to put on my vegan pizza Madeline (my eldest daughter) said “why don’t you put some of those chilli bamboo shoots on it?”…never one to shirk my duty to try new things I agreed and thus was born my newfound addiction to these wonderful fermented little shreds of vegan cheesy happiness. They taste almost identical to aged vintage cheese. If you don’t believe me Hannah, head down to your nearest Asian food store and buy a jar of Double Coins Chili Bamboo Shoots and see for yourself. I know you are a very innovative girl and are not averse to trying new things and I am sure that you will be able to integrate them into some of your wonderful vegan recipes…time to start a new trend Hannah and you will be right there at the beginning :o). Don’t say that I am not a generous blogger :o). I just let Earl (who likes to stand up and give me a kiss when I am typing on a regular basis) a sniff of the chili bamboo shoots and he started licking his lips and attempting to insert his doggy tongue into my precious jar of cheesy vegetable goodness…Earl is a cheese fan of old…I rest my case!

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Here it is Hannah…it might not look very promising but these fermented little strips of pure cheesy flavoured goodness were enough to lure Earl to attempt to stick his nose into the top of the jar and Earl is a true cheese afficionado of old! Check them out and let me know if you don’t agree that these shards of vegetabley goodness are not a craze waiting to happen 🙂

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We sprayed the roosters past wishbones and were going to thread them together to make a garland for the Christmas Tree but completely forgot them and so they will have to be this year’s project. We are going to spray some of them red and some gold over the top of the green but we only had green spray paint at the time…

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The end result of an experiment to see what happens if you dehydrate a whole raw egg…what happens is that you get something surreal that the dogs ate with gusto!

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A quick mercy trip to deliver a fridge to my daughters resulted in an impromptu trip to Launceston. I took lots of photos and will share them with you over the next few posts as this post is crammed to bursting! I just wanted to share this one with you to show you how pretty Launceston is 🙂

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The genius of street art…what is it? Not sure, but it does resemble my 5am face should I ever be foolish enough to look in the mirror at that unGodly hour!

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This is OBVIOUSLY the next fashion trend for the season…Steve and I will be sure to embrace it fully the next time that we visit…

So much for me cutting my post size down for 2013! I guess you have to work at “resolutions” don’t you? You can’t just expect to go cold turkey on your muses right up…I hereby give you 300 less words this post! I expect lavish applause and multiple congratulations for that… (Good luck getting me to repeat it 😉 ). See you on Saturday and have an amazing rest of the week my wonderful dear constant readers :o)