All things are GO on Serendipity Farm!

Hi All

I think that we are going to have to get Stewart and Kelsey to threaten to come over to Tasmania from Melbourne more often as we have done more this week than we have for 6 months! Admittedly, in our defence, it WAS winter, but we have been dragging our collective feet for a little while now about taking tentative baby steps back into hard slog in the garden. It’s not that we don’t want to…it’s not that we don’t like the results…it’s the ever-present memory of just how much hard slog there actually still is to even get the garden to a state where we can start to begin to think about planting our potted plants out and actually buying and propagating things again to put into it. I got excited the other day and actually thought about buying some annuals to spread around the garden beds visible from the house but after noting a hardy Hebe’s complete disappearance by what I can only assume was a mass chook dust orgy, I thought again. It’s wise to save your moth eaten sock under the bed for when it counts and fluffy short lived annuals are NOT a wise bet around here.  We have painted and coordinated the door, meter box and the seldom used gas hot water system and today, after we got back from stocking up on suitable “grub” for the Prodigal son and Kelsey’s visit (which we now think is on Sunday night rather than Saturday as always the parents are the LAST to know!) Steve whipped out a can of green outdoor emulsion and painted the rust crumbly mailbox. It might be sagging on its pole (“Stand up soldier!) a bit, but at least it looks the business now and may just pass muster till the poor mail lady tries to drop a letter into it and it slides slowly and dejectedly down its pole to half-mast like an aging pole dancer past her prime.

“Ok Herman…you stay in your bag and you THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DIDN’T DO!”…sigh…

Anyone else ever started to remove cobwebs and suddenly drowned in them! See that teeny little spider on the roof? Thats responsible for this uber spiders web!

Our haul of eggs and mushrooms. Not too shabby 😉

Steve’s new enterprise “4Q”…

Our vigorous activities have left us tired, satisfied and very happy. It’s amazing how much we can achieve when we have a deadline! I read somewhere the other day to forget motivation as it’s a fleeting concept but that discipline is the only way to achieve what you want. Discipline, meaning doing things when you really don’t want to…keeping something going till it grabs hold of you and becomes habit like my new “No Diet” lifestyle. I found my knees the other day people. I have been afflicted with excess adipose tissue for most of my life and while we were driving home I looked down and saw actual, real, human lady type knees! For a minute there I didn’t think that they were mine, but considering there was only Steve, Bezial, Earl and I in the car and I am the only one vaguely womanly I had to concede that this No Diet way of living really does work! It’s funny that it’s taken me so long to work out that if you want something you have to work for it. I have been bucking the system for quite some time waiting for miracles to fall from the sky and for my fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand and I would wake up in Angelina Jolie’s body Living in the South of France and with the key to a rather large (even for Switzerland…) Swiss bank account at my beck and call but it never happened. I was jipped! My fairy Godmother is a lazy so-an-so who seems more intent on granting everyone else’s wishes to get around to my humble wants and so I have decided to bypass her and go it alone. Find happiness all by myself! I started with dealing with the things that I really don’t like about myself and the things that I want to change. The “No Diet” weight loss is going along swimmingly but the “Stop being a bad tempered old stoat” seems to be taking a bit longer in coming to fruition. I guess it’s persistence over procrastination every time and like many years ago when I used to cycle 40km a day and purposefully chose the biggest hills to climb…it’s a case of looking down at that white line and just carrying on until you are suddenly over that ridge. Consider the lesson noted and ticked off the life list.

We both thought that this stone looked like an old fashioned milestone so decided to give it a job…

We have lots of little Muscari botryoides sprouting up all over the place on Serendipity Farm. I love their vibrant colour and their tenacity. You are going to need it if you live here little guy!

This is the top of our driveway

We might be living in a temperate climate but we will darned well have at least 1 palm tree!

Steve picked up a heap of guitar leads and paraphernalia when we were in town today. It had been stored in the unit out the back of the girl’s house while we were renovating out here and was promptly forgotten. He is messing about in his music room and I get the odd flashback to the 70’s with some incredibly loud Led Zeppelin and Hendrix and then sudden silence perpetuated with clicks, buzzes and strange tapping. I don’t know what he is doing in there but it involves a large unfolded map of words that he keeps muttering about whenever he emerges from his music room and saying things about one of his amplifiers. I find it best to not ask. It’s better that way. I have my own form of musical history but mine tends to be unplugged and involves a degree of lip pursing and blowing the contents of my lungs into a set of glorified pipe fittings. Steve’s musical liens are cooler. He used to be a guitar teacher and has been known to rock the suburbs in a most funky way. His walls are laden with drums, banjo’s and slide guitars and he is hunting for a violin and a lute if anyone has one going cheap. It’s a cornucopia of class and it suits him to a tee. A man needs his shed and Steve has both a shed AND a music room to retire to whenever I get too much to handle (and that is a daily event!). After he emerges from his music room the television is suddenly too quiet and needs to be turned up and he can’t quite hear what I am ranting about…a win-win situation all round! ;).

“Alas…poor Yoric…I knew him well Horatio…”…well that’s a fib because I never knew this little fellow. The feral cats dispatched him before he could grow and cause us to have fits. I guess there are some good things about feral cats!

Anyone would get the feeling that we get a bit of wind here on Serendipity Farm!

From the garden in front of the house

Steve caught these 2 naughty black cockatoo’s stripping the bark from this dead eucalyptus

It’s now Saturday and we are informed that Stewart and Kelsey will be coming tomorrow. It sounds like they have all had fun down in Hobart but I am not quite sure that Hobart is ready for all three of my children to be reunited in one place with the addition of Kelsey. Go get em kids! I am juggling typing the rest of this post, making potato salad, roasted sweet potato salad (both white and orange), marinated mushroom salad, marinating olives (black and green) with some of our home dried, home grown flavourful tomatoes and herbs to go with tomorrow night’s meal. We walked the dogs in Exeter this morning, picked up some more cream to allow us to double the size of the black forest spongecake that we are making for desert (photos in Wednesdays post) and we got home to stock up on wood for Brunhilda as she has a busy day ahead of her. We have baked 2 sponge cakes and everything is on track for tomorrows towering construction that we still need to make the Morello cherry filling and whip vats of cream and grate chocolate. We might even make some chocolate leaves.  Steve zoomed around and took some photos for you before the sun set and hopefully we can pull everything together and tie it with a pretty bow tomorrow. Steve made one of his 4Q forks and is now wailing away with Eric Clapton in his music room. Just to make it clear…Mr Clapton is not physically present but I bet he wishes he was! We have been listening to some amazing music all day. We started with Pink Floyd “The Wall”…then we progressed to David Bowie “Hunky Dory” closely followed by “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” (NO spell checker…I do NOT want to change “Ziggy” to “Piggy”! I doubt that Mr Bowie would have had a hit with “Piggy Stardust”!) And now Eric Clapton. What more could you want? A lovely sunny day…your washing gets dried on the line, the dogs are behaving and even Earl isn’t trying (too hard) to eat the sponge cakes cooling on the table.

Looking back to the house from the second (now tidy) garden

An old tree stump that we decided to repurpose for bird baths. This is Steve’s maple garden now and one day it will be a mass of different coloured grafted maples

Our bug house finally up and ready for it’s new inhabitants

Firewood futures and our other small bug house ready for whatever fancies moving in.

I have a nice grainy mustard to do in my potato salad, my coleslaw has an Asian lien with chopped roasted cashews and I am hoping that my avocados ripen before tomorrow. In fact I stuffed their brown paper bag full of ripe bananas in the hope that all that ethanol should force some sort of ripening action. We are going to have a bonfire tomorrow night and Stewart and Kelsey are bringing marshmallows, chocolate and cookies to make smores (glad to see that you don’t know what “smores” are spellcheck…at least you have a teeny bit of Australian in you!). We unearthed some ancient old wire forks on the property that I decided to keep and they can use those should they ever get close enough to the flames to manage to do anything other than singe their arm hairs, eyebrows and instantly burn their marshmallows. I just burst out laughing because spellcheck wanted me to change “arm hairs” to “arm chairs”! I am getting my money’s worth out of spellcheck today! Well my dear constant readers, I think that in this lull before the food induced storm that is rapidly approaching I might just bid you adieu. Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are and see you on Wednesday :o)

Change of posting time and for Andy and Sabrina

Hi All,

It became incredibly obvious to me today that I am going to have to change the time that I post my blog posts. We have started studying again and have been walking the dogs a bit later since the weather has cooled and it is still dark in the early morning. It is a whole lot easier to study before we walk the boys because we are bright eyed and ready to go and so I am going to postpone posting (lots of “post” there) until evenings because I get lots of free/spare time in the evenings to formulate posts, resize photos etc. and Steve is all for it because he gets to hog the television and Austar remotes (a mans dream) most evenings. Its a win-win situation for us and you can have your posts first thing in the morning. Some of you get up quite early in the mornings and should you wish to check out what is happening on Serendipity Farm before you go to work etc. you can. This is a very quick post to share that bit of information with you and now we have some guitars and equipment to share with Andy and Sabrina. Sabrina is my niece, my sisters daughter and Andy is her boyfriend. Sabrina wanted to show Andy some of Steve’s guitars and Steve is ever willing to oblige a fellow guitar enthusiast. It’s just a pity that we don’t live closer as he could give Andy lessons because in a past life he was a guitar teacher in the U.K. with 50 students and a thriving business.

This is Steve’s guitar room. As you can see it looks like a bit of a typical musicians room and is off limits for my need to sweep and vacuum. The cabinets are full of equipment and guitar tab books

This is a Cole Clark lap steel made in Melbourne that Steve seldomly plays but read that Ben Harper was given one and said that they were really good so now he has one of his own…it is going to be a while before he sounds like Ben Harper playing it (OUCH! That was my clip behind the ear for that comment…)

The white guitar is Steve’s original Squier Strat, quite rare and Steve’s first guitar that he learned to play on (1984). The browny red one next to it is a telecaster. The amp is a marshall with a line 6 head (no idea but Steve is dictating these words and I am just the trained monkey typing…) the effects unit on top of the amp is a Digitech (old but very good) and don’t forget that baby blue ukelele…you never know when he might want to play “Somewhere over the rainbow” like Jake Shimabukuro…

Another marshall amp (100watt valvestate) and head with a GNX4 multi effects unit on the floor and behind that are 2 wah pedals (Ibanez “Weeping Demon” and “Cry Baby”) he also has a Digitech special aniversary Jimi Hendrix pedal in the cupboard as well.

This is a Fender Strat semi-accoustic guitar that gets a lot of playing time in the lounge room and that Earl is most probably going to eat one day

This is an RG2550 Prestige Ibanez that was originally blue. It got chipped and Steve had it redone by a car sprayer masquerading as a luthier. It looks nice but Steve wanted it perfect so he wasn’t very happy with the results. It has custom pickups and the scratchplate is custom as well

This is a cheap flame fender that Steve bought to lure Earl away from his good guitars (I bet he would still throw a wobbley if Earl ate it though…)

This guitar is very important to Steve. It is a Gibson Les Paul Studio and it belonged to his dad. Steve’s dad was in the Liverpool music scene and played in the same clubs as the Beatles. He knew Ringo Starr quite well and when he died, Steve wanted his guitar. He was one of Steve’s key influences in getting into guitar and he and his dad used to play along with his dad’s band at pubs occasionally. When we got it sent to Australia it was taped to a set of mini wheels that someone else was importing…go figure why you would strap a guitar to a set of metal wheels but the case didn’t take it and the headstock got snapped. A very common snap with Gibson’s and the person who repaired it did a really good job considering.

This is a Maton (Aussie made guitar) “Stockman” electro-accoustic guitar. It has a really lovely tone

Here is the music room again with a few of the guitar cases. Taking photos means lugging them all out and then putting them all back. The wardrobe in the music room is full of them and so is the wardrobe in our bedroom…13 in all (and 15 if you count the ukelele and the banjo) You can also see the banjo on the wall next to the Australian Flags so when the rednecks come, we will be armed (and well camoflaged…)

Now we are getting to the expensive babies in Steve’s collection. This is an Ibanez J Custom. This one was purchased with the sale of his 50th Aniversary Fender Strat in the U.K. and was brought back in Steve’s suitcase in 2 pieces (neck and body). We got in at midnight and got in the “To declare” line and by the time that we got to the front of the line the poor customs man was looking back at the HUGE line of Asian people loaded up with all sorts of weird foodstuffs that he exrayed the case…saw the guitar…looked at Steve and said “go on”…Steve thought that he was going to get done for trying to avoid import duty (which he was) and saved about $1000 on import tax thanks to that massive great line of Asians bringing in weird food. Cheers Asians!

This is a Patrick Eggle Vienna Pro. It looks a whole lot like a PRS and plays and sounds like one as well. A lovely British guitar that most Aussies won’t have ever heard of. Brian May (queen lead guitarist)  had one and Tony Iommi  (Black Sabbath) was sponsered by Patrick Eggle for a while so was the guitarist from UB40 (should anyone care that is…)

This is Steve’s precious left hand Jimi Hendrix Fender Strat. He never plays this so it is in immaculate condition. It is completely upside down because Jimi Hendrix was a left hander. Steve just had to have one…

As you can see the lettering is back to front but if you stand in front of a mirror it is perfect

This is Steve’s Blue Steve Vai Jem (7vsbl) bought with the procceeds garnered from the sale of his fathers guitars when we went to the U.K. after he died. They no longer make these guitars and it was purchased here in Australia in Perth Western Australia

Ok thats your bloomin lot for today. Lots of guitars and “stuff” and very little anything else. Remember you theiving lot…we have 2 very VERY big dogs! Earl is not going to let you take those guitars for the very same reason he barks at the cats…if ANYONE is going to eat those chickens (guitars) it is going to be him! See you all tomorrow with the first of my evening posted posts.