Two old tarts and Top Gear

Hi All,

I have discovered 1 downside to being 50. The recovery rate is somewhat slowed. Kym headed home to Western Australia on Sunday and it is Tuesday and I am still trying to tell my body that bread isn’t my friend. It has decided that it LOVES bread and flour products in general and appears to want to make up for lost time. Lost time equals a fat derrière body so you can just about give up on that idea! I stopped trying to match Kym and Steve when it came to wine consumption. I bow before their ability to imbibe and pass the torch to them both. I can, however, eat for the queen and it only took me a few days to jump right back into bad habits. Getting back into habits that you have cultivated can sometimes be a little difficult but my 50 year old body can get reacquainted with my 50 year old willpower all over again.

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Can you tell it’s cold and windy? Kym standing next to the lighthouse at Low Head near Georgetown. No penguins but I think that they all blew away

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Me telling lies about the size of the fish that I caught

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The only way that we can keep Earl out of the banana’s…

What is going to take longer to get back into is reading my RSS Feed Reader. I shared Pinterest with Kym and showed her how it can be a useful tool to while away an afternoon but was too scared to open up my RSS Feed Reader and so it had remained sealed like King Solomon’s tomb for the entire 9 days that Kym was here. I am a prolific blog follower and commenter and the blogs that I regularly follow must have thought that I had expired (some may indeed have drawn in a sigh of relief 😉 ) but narf7 is back…in pog form! It is going to take me a solid few weeks to get back to waking up early enough to deal with the backlog of blog posts in my feed reader as the feed reader wasn’t the only thing that had to be neglected while Kym and I cavorted around the countryside reinvigorating entire swaths of wineries.

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2 reprobate hippies and their long suffering (under walked) dogs on Paper Beach in winter

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I can’t even remember what was so hilarious…probably still under the influence 😉

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Guess who doesn’t have this sock/boot any more…sigh…

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When I was rootling around to find another earring to replace a faux one that was giving my lobes jip I found this silver gem bracelet that my wonderful daughter’s had bought for me a few years ago. No point leaving it in a velvet bag so narf7 is now decorated and shiny with bling 🙂 Cheers girls, I LOVE IT 🙂

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More bling, bought in a little shop in Liverpool but sadly broken on one of the links

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Some of the gemstones in the bracelet. I am going to have to get it fixed as I love this bracelet as well 🙂

Steve and I decided to put our studies on hold. I can’t say that I was sorry about that because our lecturer tricked me. He allowed me to think (uncorrected) that the unit that we are currently being subject to was “creative writing” when it is actually something entirely noxious and the word “creative” is dangled as a lure for unsuspecting narf7 moths. The unit is actually “creative thinking” and requires a degree of researching and waffling that even I find obsequious and repulsive. We have to learn all about the 6 hats of Edward de Bono. Beware folks! This might sound like a most entertaining children’s story or an excerpt out of a Rolling Stones magazine describing the crazy antics of Bono’s insane half-brother but it is a sad indictment of an entire cultures need to stuff everything into controlled boxes including creativity. No longer can we create wildly via thought. We need to farm our creativity and much like farmed fish, something has to give. You can’t stuff creativity into a box folks and expect it to give you something unique. What you end up with is a series of hats that are supposed to funnel you to a directive. They even tried to lure me with colours! As the irascible bolshie woman that I am I find it difficult to do what I am told at the best of times but when I am given a series of coloured hats to attempt to funnel my “creative thought” towards a target I find my heels dug in sharply and Steve is going to have to drag me forcibly through this unit. I feel a battle brewing on the horizon!

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Me looking decidedly like Katharine Hepburn but Ms Hepburn would NEVER allow her ankles to be photographed like shameless narf7!

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Steve was the little engine who could…but not for very long! 😉

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It’s egg central on Serendipity Farm and ducky has started laying her lovely blue eggs again! It must be all of the rain (and slugs/snails/leeches) that she is eating. “Duck eggs on shopping day girls” 🙂

I published my first solo post on the wonderful blog Not Dabbling in Normal on Monday and if any of you would like to see a short post by yours truly (I KNOW…it is a miracle!) feel free to perambulate yourselves over to NDIN and check it out. I have yet to wood burn my post 50 message of enlightenment but “I can and I will” is my new motto. I can wash and vacuum out the car and I will…I can plant a tree a day and I will! I can stop procrastinating about my latest study unit and I WILL get stuck in and finish the bollocking thing…you get the picture. Life is found in the “doing” not the planning and the first 50 years of my life has seen an imbalance of power with a lien decidedly biased towards the planning stage. Post 50 brings me “nearer my God to thee” and so I want to get stuck into the actualities of living. It certainly took me long enough to work it out but at least I did. That’s a good start…

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The road and most of Serendipity Farm!

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The top part of our ex-driveway…

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The twin canyons that have formed to allow the water to run straight down the driveway and into the Tamar River…never let it be said that we didn’t let the water do whatever the heck it wanted on Serendipity Farm…sigh…

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Almost 200mm down folks! Looks like we are going to have to do some serious drainage work on our driveway ASAP 😦 (when it stops raining that is… sigh…)

Kym headed home after making her very own first Stromboli. She wanted to know how to make a good reliable pizza dough and I immediately thought of the Stromboli dough. It isn’t actually a Stromboli dough, it’s a dough for calzones that I found online and discovered that it is amazingly malleable to various dough based recipes. So far it has baked excellent calzones, Stromboli’s (both savoury and sweet) and pizza bases both thin and crispy and thick and tender. I needed a post about “flour” for my NDIN (Not Dabbling in Normal from this point forwards folks) blog post and I immediately thought of sharing, developing community and how flour has allowed humanity to grow and prosper. There may or may not be a degree of historical realignment skewed to my version of events in my post but no-one can dispute the importance of grains and cereal crops to mankind. Kym made a fantastic first Stromboli and I actually remembered to take photos so you can share her glory here

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“More cowbell baby!” if you don’t know what I am on about you NEED to hunt down the Saturday Night Live episode with Will Ferrell, Christopher Walken as The Blue Oyster Cult…hilarious AND full of cowbell. “How’s THIS for a cowbell Bethany? Steve says “MORE cowbell baby!” 😉

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I might not have been able to take Steve with me on the day but here’s the front end of a cow doing a great job of looking like him 🙂

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Yup…Steve or Hippy Jesus…you choose 😉

Kym’s husband Bruce…a saint of a man who needs a medal, required only one thing of Kym when she returned back home…well he required two things but he only got one. The first was that Kym turn up on time (sorry Bruce that was ALWAYS going to be a questionable ask…) and the second was that she pack her bag with as much Tassie cheese as she could stuff in. Considering she only had 3kg of space she did an amazing job and included 2 large blocks of chocolate to (literally) sweeten the deal. To facilitate the cheese giving we decided to head off to Ashgrove cheese factory to sample their wares and see what we could find for Kym to bring back for Bruce. We discovered more than cheese and returned home with some of their amazing milk, some Gloucestershire cheese offcuts for Steve (future Stromboli happiness) and a good selection of some of the more delicious and unusual cheese samples for Bruce.  We also discovered a selection of fibreglass cows and a large Tasmanian native pepperberry shrub in full pepper production that I may or may not have pinched some berries from. Bruce also got a wheel of double cream brie that should keep his cheese buds happy for a while.

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“Sorry? What was that cow?…”

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“Bruce needs Kym to empty her suitcase and fill it with cheese eh?” 😉

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Kym sharing how she feels about that idea…

I headed into town on Monday to do the fortnightly shopping and to meet up with my daughters to “do lunch”. I was still dazed and confused after my 9 days of carousing and ended up taking twice as long as Steve does to do the shopping but at least I returned before Earl started to eat the furniture. We were going to head off to have lunch at a local Korean place but ended up picking up Subway to go and I must admit I have a decided soft spot for Subway sandwiches. Mine was HUGE. The girls serving us appeared to be having some kind of meeting with a higher power and they appeared to want to impress the suited man with a clipboard. The girls and I ended up with more salad than we would have thought possible to stuff onto a sandwich and my request for “extra jalapeno’s please” resulted in an entire jar being tipped on. I haven’t had Subway in quite some time and as a customisable meal it has a lot of things going for it. We arrived back at the girls house after an extended shopping trip all over Launceston at 3.15pm and after hurriedly scoffing my Subway (second degree mouth pain courtesy of jalapeno central) and swilling a much welcome mug of hot tea I raced off to pick up a sack of chook food and back to the grumbling stomachs of Earl and Bezial who usually eat at 3…needless to say they were a bit miffed. Earl (the gizzard of the South) actually refused his meal initially! I am not the only one who is going to have to get reacquainted with old habits 😉

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This is what happens when the clay under the soil gets sodden…arrivederci wattle tree!

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This used to be dry as a bone…not any more! Now we have a swamp to make our melaleuca trees happy (and the moss…don’t forget the moss!)

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The perfect place for a pond…in fact…the powers that be appear to have chosen it for just that purpose!

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Mush…

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Daffies covering more mush 🙂

Today (Tuesday) I got up at 4.30am. I am trying to get my head around early mornings all over again after 9 days of waking up at 7am and going to bed at 11pm. I love the extra time that getting up early gives me but there are swings and roundabouts to everything and the swing is that with early mornings you have to have early nights. I have been enjoying spending time watching a bit of television with Steve lately. Kym got to watch Aussie rules football twice in the 9 days that she was here. That is a sporting record for this house Kym! It is also the very first time that Aussie Rules football has been allowed to remain on our television for more than the 2 seconds that it takes to realise that something sporty has managed to find its way onto the screen. All this week (as a lead up to Father’s Day) we get to watch a mega marathon of Top Gear. Top Gear is an enigma folks. You don’t need to love cars to watch this show. The collective genius of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond is the stuff that ratings executives dream of. You take one naughty boy (Clarkson), a man child (Hammond) and one intellectual duffer (May), you combine the three and pure magic happens. I challenge any one of you pooh-poohing me from your computer screens right now to watch a classic episode of Top Gear and not laugh at least once. Add the enigma known as “The Stig” to the equation and you are hooked. This show is as addictive as crack cocaine and twice as much fun. Steve and I are watching it and recording it because the earlier I wake up, the sleepier I am getting. I fell asleep on the couch last night at 8pm. Not too bad for me but a sign of what is to come. Soon I will be dozing at 7pm and night time television watching will be a distant memory. Swings and roundabouts…it all comes back to what you are willing to take up, and give up.

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Kym and I sitting in front of the amazingly gorgeous quilt that Kym made for me for my birthday. Isn’t it wonderful?! :). I am a very lucky narf7 to have such a wonderful talented friend :).

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Bezial and Earl photo-bombing! At least you get to see more of the gorgeous quilt 😉

I just added “The Stig” to the dictionary on Word…crack cocaine folks! ;). Well this is going to be where I finish today. I have a day of trying to force coloured bowler hats onto my uncooperative head and I can’t see it ending nicely. Steve and I have to cram a fortnight of work into 2 days and the subject matter is decidedly slanted at raising my ire and my natural bolshie tendencies so I don’t like my chances of not twitching so I decided to get this post done nice and early in the equation so that my twitching and angst doesn’t get transferred to my blog. See how much I love you all? ;). Have a great week folks. I post every Monday on NDIN (Not Dabbling in Normal) so feel free to head over there and see what narf7 can do with a few words and pictures. Until we meet again for our communal cuppa over the airwaves, take care and wherever you are, remember that life is in the “Doing” not the planning…Mr de Bono could have done with taking that to heart!

The best bangers and a mighty tasty calzone

Hi All,

Earl and I braved the highway today for a long walk home. Steve and Bezial are having a bonding day in town and Earl and I are spending a nice quiet morning at home. I quite like the idea of pottering around not doing very much but apparently Earl isn’t all that enamoured of this situation and is sitting on his recliner looking decidedly morose. Steve headed off to town to his awaiting hair appointment with Bezial and dropped Earl and I off up the road next to an apple selling stall and we had a cold but enjoyable stroll home veering off the side of the road whenever a large road train thundered past. I am very glad that Earl isn’t scared of loud noises or walking while traffic zooms by. We arrived home and Earl raced through the house excitedly looking for Steve and Bezial and returned looking quizzical which turned into deflated and now, as previously mentioned, he has receded into morose. Steve just phoned to tell me that Bezial had half a breakfast subway and a frolic with Qi at the girls place in town while Steve was getting his hair cut. Not one to be outdone, I promptly cooked Earl 5 eggs for his breakfast and I dare say the dogs will both sniff each other to detect illicit treats that have passed their lips while they have been apart. With a bit of luck Steve will be able to get some bones from Nigel’s Gourmet Meats on Tamar. Nigel makes the BEST sausages in the world. There…I said it. I just told you that any sausage eaters in your midst need to be EXTREMELY jealous because his bangers are the best. He makes the best Thai chicken sausages around and Steve recently had some amazing pork and black truffle snags that would make the queen drool. Nigel also produces the very best dog bones and Steve will be dropping in today in the hope that he has some left for the boys to share later on this afternoon. I will get another Gillian Flynn book to read…this one is called “Gone Girl”. I really enjoyed her last 2 books that I read and only discovered her through a food blog that I read.

This was the only “person” at the counter when we went to buy a whipper snipper head recently…he stared at us…we stared at him…not to sure what kind of customer service this was so headed on over to another counter!

A gorgeous big Japanese Maple on our walk around Kayena that we do on a regular basis with the boys. I love this house, this tree and this garden. What’s not to love?

Another one of our walks…this time up a steep hill near where we live. We are hill daredevils now! This road leads nowhere BUT it’s a pretty nowhere so we might just take a right here next time we are huffing up the hill…

I have been procrastinating about reigniting Brunhilda. We are on the dregs of dry wood in our woodshed but the weather has taken a turn for the worse and its cold today. I have wrapped myself in a doona as I type and Earl is out on sentry duty on the deck waiting for Steve and Bezial to come home. The weep-weep bird is back along with a particularly annoying new bird that sounds like a cat in distress. It would be bad enough with one bird making punitive cries all day and night but there are two of them singing/crying in unison! I was shaking out the blanket on Earl’s chair this morning  in a vain effort to minimise the hairs floating all over the place in all of the rooms and noticed Adrian next door wandering around looking for something. I think she was trying to find the source of the crying. Hopefully she realises that it is a bird and not something terrified or hurt which is what it sounds like. I just finished a rough draft for the article that I have been asked to write about the Tamar NRM. I can’t praise them highly enough for the recent series of free events highlighting sustainability and natural resource management. Back in the day it was called “farming” and “how to make do with what you have” but as trends change, so do the names that support said trends and everything is green in the state of Tasmania. We just heard that Tasmania has the worst jobless rate in Australia. I am not surprised. There isn’t much going on in Tasmania at the moment and the government seems hell bent on pushing unsustainable quick fixes as our future rather than supporting slow growth via quality food production and clean green tourism and businesses. They cling onto the past with a tenacity verging on panic. No-one wants to say the obvious that Tasmania has lagged WAY behind the rest of Australia thanks to its parochialism and nepotistic desire to cling to the past. The Tamar NRM is showing people how to make positive changes in their lives. Whether you have money or not, you CAN make small changes to how you do things that will add up to a cost saving to you and less of a drain on the world as a whole.

I need to thank Spencer from the wonderful resource http://anthropogen.com/ for sharing a fantastic link with me this morning. I actually subscribe to this blog but somehow missed this amazing article that is completely pertinent to our situation here in Temperate Australia. Here are the two links that caught my eye and got me excited…

http://permaculturenews.org/2012/09/06/perennial-food-plants-food-forest-gardens-and-food-security/

What a fantastic idea and a wonderful way to create a sense of community through ensuring our ongoing food security. That initial post led to this next one which is the first of (hopefully) many land owners sharing what they are doing to shore up their food supplies on their land

http://permaculturenews.org/2012/10/11/food-from-perennialising-plants-in-temperate-climate-australia-for-september-2012/

Its articles like these that keep me fired up for what we are doing on Serendipity Farm. Last week I became incredibly enthused with water wicking. I heard about it initially through Bev at http://foodnstuff.wordpress.com that uses water wicking beds to combat using precious potable water on her vegetable beds. Water wicking promises up to 50% less water used to grow vegetable crops whilst increasing the yield and quality of vegetables thanks to a much more efficient watering system and more readily available water to be used by the plant on call. I learned that you can create a wicked water bed next to your fruit trees and alongside young trees that need initial watering until their roots are able to seek water lower down in the soil profile. The more I learn about these amazing ways to do things that are more efficient along with less energy intensive the more excited I get about applying these ideas to Serendipity Farm. If you are after some quality information for free, check out these resources through http://www.soilandhealth.org/ thanks to Steve Solomon and now Justin Crawford. Its people like these and the many bloggers out in the ether sharing what they learn and know with the rest of us that facilitate a growing grassroots community of resilience and hope. Cheers to all of you and thank you SO much for your efforts. They truly are appreciated by us all :o)

It was a lovely day today on Serendipity Farm. This photo was taken by Steve as he walked Earl. The road goes right up to the edge of the river at this point and gives a lovely photo opportunity most mornings as we set off

I really like this shot of the river…Steve’s phone probably takes better photos than our camera!

It’s a magnificent sunny spring day here on Serendipity Farm. The sun is shining…the sky is bright Microsoft blue and everything is happy and sparkling. The local art group has chosen today to park at the Auld Kirk church next door and are drawing and painting this lovely day for posterity. Our chooks are suspicious of them and are protesting at more humans interrupting their clucking and scratching. Someone has a little Chihuahua type dog and Earl and Bezial have their ears cocked listening whilst pretending to be asleep and basking on the sun warmed deck. Our American hippy friend is apparently going to come to our house and use a Geiger counter to show us how bad our lights are for us…hope he doesn’t go too close to the computer, the fridge, the television and Earl or that sucker is going to go off the dial! Our American Hippy friend sees conspiracies behind every hedge. I prefer to save my conspiracies for when I give a damn about something as much like anything else, the novelty wears off pretty quickly if you immerse yourself in something constantly. He dropped off a couple of conspiracy D.V.D.s for us to watch and one about food forests which I might even watch. He rode his loud old motorbike (that we can hear all the way from his place) up and didn’t even come inside. We had even managed to find a Frank Zappa album in Steve’s collection to add his sort of ambiance to his visit. He was run over by a truck in Nam (or somewhere like that) and has a built up shoe and a strange way of walking but for a man of his age he is most definitely NOT boring. He has a long dreadlock ponytail, an unusual way of looking at things and wants our pile of old steel up behind the house. He can share it with our friend in the witness protection’s partner. The boys whined on the deck while he was here because for some reason they absolutely love him. Bezial thinks that he is his best friend EVER something that was reinforced into Bezials food controlled brain when he bought the boys some pig’s ears and was forever forged in Bezials mind as “A Good Sort”. He is our sort of people. Not completely “right” and definitely not someone that you would take home to meet your parents.

What a lovely part of the world we live in 🙂

As you can see, the road really DOES go right down to the river and this is taken on the border of Glads place next door and our property

I am sure that our respective neighbours will someday come to understand that Steve and I are not manufacturing crack, growing dope or plotting to relieve them of all of their worldly goods. I actually got to talk to one of the more upper crust neighbours who are terrified that our boys are going to eat her fluffy little “Nelson”. I was walking Earl because Bezial has a dicky digit and both he and I need the exercise or bad things happen. I just “happened” to let slip that we are studying our Diploma in Landscaping…not something that I would usually care to slip into the conversation (not being a wanker by choice) but this lady holds sway in the local vicinity and my little ploy appears to have worked because today, Steve was walking Earl on his own (Bezials digit is still dicky) and the middle classers who own the 7/11 on the corner (really an expensive environmentally correct house but it looks just like a 7/11 to us ;)) actually “spoke” to Steve! Normally they would rather walk into the house as the pit-bull toting rednecks wrangled those monsters past…maybe they need a hand with their lavender and rosemary hedges and their dry stone walls and their climbing roses? 😉 Best not ask us then!

Steve took this photo today as he was standing on the deck having a coffee

Looking back towards Glad’s place. As you can see, spring is making everything green here now

Gone girl tastes too good. It’s rich and creamy and I know I am going to “eat” it too fast for my own good and get sick and when I get to the end after rushing/gulping it down in one long marathon, sneaking it into the toilet and carrying it myopically into the bathroom when I am brushing my teeth I am going to be disappointed that I didn’t make it last…sucking the last of the marrow out of its bones and I will be sad. Was that poetic? It’s how I feel when I get a good book and can’t stop being greedy about it. I am a greedy person…generous AND greedy and I love to share my greed. I love how Gillian Flynn writes…she directs you like you are dancing with her and her hand is on the small of your back expertly ferrying you around the dance floor till you arrive at the winner’s podium shocked because you can’t even dance. Authors like that are rare and I am feeling a bit shell shocked that I have only just started her third and most recent novel and I am already lamenting “The End”. I put the book down (with difficulty). I just had to smile because I spelled “difficulty” correctly. The ONLY reason that I can spell that word is that my grandad taught me a little rhyme to remember how to spell it and even though I learned that little rhyme about 40 years ago, it has stuck with me and that word has never tripped me up. I guess one word is better than none! I think I might have to stalk Ms Gillian Flynn and see if I can’t get her to write her next novel A.S.A.P. because the book that I am reading was only printed in August 2012. As nice as she was to write a book for my birthday, it doesn’t make up for the fact that I am going to have to go cold turkey pretty soon so she is just going to have to write faster. If any of my American dear constant readers live anywhere near Ms Flynn, please feel free to head over to her house and tell her that I would like her to write another book… better still…how about she does what they did with the back to the future trilogy and writes 3 at once? Just sayin’…

This little seaplane often comes in for a landing on the river here

Going…going…

Gone!

It’s now just on 5pm and I have a batch of Italian herb bread dough on proving to make Steve some more calzones for his tea tonight. He must have liked the last lot because they are all gone, even the two that were frozen for later consumption. I ran out of sopressa so it’s all bacon, mushroom, capsicum and spring onion with cheese today. For some reason the bread dough was completely different this time to when I last made it. I am not phased because murphy has my name in his book of laws right up there on the first page and constantly feels the need to update me with his erstwhile laws right in the middle of doing just about everything so I am used to things going a bit skewwhiff. It smells good and that’s enough for now!  I might finish up this lazy post pretty soon. I have meandered through the day in a bit of a haze. Unlike most of Australia, Tasmania is still pretty cold through the day and as the last day of the Launceston Royal Agricultural Show has just about come to a halt we can plant out our tomatoes tomorrow! That might sound a bit strange but it’s a tried and tested date that all Northern Tasmanian vegetable gardeners adhere to religiously. If you plant before then…you are a “bloody idiot”! We were bloody idiots way back when we first moved here in 2007 because we didn’t know any better. We made a lovely veggie garden and planted out a multitude of unusual tomato varieties in complete blind ignorance. We didn’t even know to stake them and so we ended up with frizzled dead frozen tomatoes that had to be replaced (muttering and complaining) with more multitudes of varieties because most of them died. We flouted the “after the show” rule and lived to pay the price. Older now, and one would hope wiser, we are preparing to plant our tomatoes, capsicums, chillis and a small punnet of lettuces that Steve bought the other day at one of the local hardware shops (actually Woolworths in “local” disguise) car park sale. Our friend in the witness protection, who works at said hardware shop, was run off her feet and unable to say much because she was being trailed by elderly ladies and buffeted with questions from all sides.

Steve got all artistic today

and again…

Last weeks calzone fillings and a close approximation of this weeks calzone fillings 😉

And so our time together has come to an end…it’s actually come to an end because my calzone dough has risen up nicely and needs to be given a bit of a thump to remove some air and then I will cut it into 4, roll it out into nice 20cm circles and will cover half of the circle with filling, scrunch up the edges in a rough approximation of something that I saw on a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall program (so it must be kosher…), brush it with egg wash and shove it into a nice hot Brunhilda oven to bake. Steve is out trying to stop Felix from scarfing our feral chooks 3 little babies. He can’t sit out there all day and the mother is going to have to take her chances with a proven chick killer. It never stops here on Serendipity Farm! See you on Wednesday :o)