Only the very BEST turn 50

Hi All,

Today I am going to depart from my usual post format because aside from being under the influence of a haze of white wine that seems to have settled upon me (curiously and most coincidentally) shortly after Kym set foot on Serendipity Farm, I have a plethora of photos to share with you that too many words would negate so here is the past week in images and captions…

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The hero who managed to stop Serendipity Farm from drowning single handedly. We had torrential rain that didn’t let up for days and suddenly backed up all of the drains at once and Steve headed out into the deluge and shovelled out all of the blockages single handedly…my hero :o)

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Kym and I stayed in Hobart on Saturday night right on the waterfront in Salamanca Place in Hobart. Here you can see the kitchen taken from the stairs leading up to the loft.

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Kym managed to capture the spirit of the evening (well the wine of the evening anyway! 😉 )

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Kym at least accompanying her wine with some food

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crawling up to bed…

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A HUGE bathroom with a washing machine and dryer…my kind of luxury!

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Small mugs? No problems! Just give me 2 Kymmy and everything will be fine 😉

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Delicious breakfasts and another cuppa (or two) set us up for the day

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One of the biggest dogs (or smallest horses) that I have ever seen…he managed to slobber all over my coat and leave his hairy calling card behind after I gave him a cuddle…dog lovers don’t care about their clothes when a big cuddle is on the horizon

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The coat in question being used to ward off the frigid air of a cold Hobart morning

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I doubt they would get many tourists hurrying to sit upstairs on this double decker bus in the middle of winter

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At the first lookout point on the way up to the top of Mt Wellington to see the snow

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Kym asked me what I thought about the steady stream of cyclists attempting to ride to the summit of the mountain…actions speak louder than words folks!

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A typical facial expression that Kym likes to effect…I am starting to get used to it now but if the wind changes Kymmy…you’re stuffed! 😉

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“Well looky here…what seems to have found it’s way into my hand?”…

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“It’s SOOO heavy…so VERY heavy…”

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“OMG did you see that Grizzly bear behind you Fran?! I just tried to stop him from eating you alive!”

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“Sigh…”

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“There’s that Grizzly bear again Kym!”

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“Hang on…I will get him for you!”

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“Narf7 saves the day! Another crisis averted…my job here is done!” 😉

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“Hmmm…Frank Zappa said “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”…”

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“No yellow here!”

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“MMMMM Snow!”

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“AAAHHHH BRAIN FREEZE!”

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“Here’s lookin’ at YOU Kym (kid)”

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Anyone can make a snowman…we made a snow duck :o)

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Just to show you how far away Kym was standing because of my AWESOME ability to throw snowballs 😉

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At the summit…Kym decides to become a Kymscimo or is that a Kymcycle?

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Almost frozen to death after waiting for Kym to find her keys (again…)

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Look…Bjork! (and yes…I am thinking about renting Kym out for impersonations…any takers?)

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Bezial waiting for his new BESTEST EVER friend to get back from Hobart

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Me trying to stop Bezial from drowning Kym in slobber while Earl looks on

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Kym fitting in on Serendipity Farm completely 🙂

How was that for a post? A bit different to usual and a bit later than usual but we have a delicious roast chook dinner to cook with roasted veggies, gravy and a HUGE homemade sponge cake to decorate for Kym’s 50th birthday TODAY FOLKS! Feel free to wish her happy birthday through the blog here as she will be here for the next few days (albeit plastered). Now that we are both 50 we are free to be as reprobated as we want to, in fact, we tag teamed on some wineries today and they didn’t know what hit them…”Look out Launceston…you’re next!” ;). See you all next Wednesday when I may (or may not) have recovered from Kym’s visit. I doubt Kym will EVER recover from her visit…sorry Bruce, she might be a shallow husk of the woman that you sent away but she certainly had a good time! 😉

Short but full of flavour

Hi All,

Thanks to Queen Elizabeth 2nd I stayed at my daughter’s house for an additional day which means that I am behind the 8 ball with my posts. Steve did a sterling job on Saturday’s post but now the baton has been passed back to narf7 who has been studying all day and who isn’t cram packed full of words. Let’s see what narf7 can pull out of the recesses of her mind to amuse and entertain you…I headed off to my daughters on Friday morning. We had walked the dogs and were talking to a friend on the way who mentioned that it was the queen’s birthday holiday on Monday which ensured that I had to stay another day because most of the shops that I needed to frequent were shut on public holidays…bollocks! I did have a great time at my daughters house and we had a lovely Korean takeaway and created some delicious food. I attempted to capture as many of the meals as I could but by the time we got around to eating we were starving so a couple of them slid down our throats before I could remember to snap. I would like to point out that I think that the queen is a bit greedy to be honest. I was chatting to “quarteracrelifestyle” this morning and she mentioned that the queen had actually had her birthday in New Zealand last week…I get the feeling that she is mooching for extra gifts and as she is officially the world’s richest woman I think that is a bit cheeky.

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This is Qi. She is our daughters Staffordshire terrier and lives with them in town. This photo was taken just before we left her at home to head out and pick up Korean take-away for our evening meal…Qi decided to pick up take-away of her own and rifled through my things till she found a bag of dog treats that was supposed to last her all weekend…they didn’t 😉

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Some of my daughters indoor chilli’s and spring onions that seem to be growing just fine by the well lit windows

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Breakfast on Saturday. Note the Chinese red dates and I discovered that “Aztec Berries” that are quite expensive dried fruit are actually Chinese Gooseberries that grow like topsy here on Serendipity Farm…kudos to the entrepreneur who managed to con someone into marketing them for him 😉

We didn’t get around to making waffles like I was planning to make because by the time I was able to get my youngest daughter out of bed it was closer to lunch time than breakfast. To her credit, she did have to adapt to my early rising habit although I did limit my emergence from my room till after the sun rose which I think was pretty big of me ;). The enormous Liquidambar tree in the front garden of the girl’s home has decided that it doesn’t want to be deciduous anymore. It has been taking longer and longer to lose its leaves and this year they seem to be firmly welded to its branches. Our poor sorry possum chewed specimen lost its leaves weeks ago but the girl’s tree is going strong. I remember our horticultural lecturer telling us that we must have been living in a microclimate. I think we must have been living in an alternate universe sometimes…strange things happen wherever we Pimbletts settle in a district. Glad next door has told us that we can have free reign over the leaves that have fallen from 2 of her enormous oak trees and we just have to find a spare day to head over there with our trusty trailer to rake and collect them. This will be our third year collecting leaves from next door…I am starting to feel quite nostalgic :o). Along with the enormous pile of horse dung and the remainder of the stall hay that we collected prior to now we have a good start on being able to fill our new veggie gardens with more than just chopped up branches.

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On Saturday night we had a chilli night. My contribution was to make guacamole

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My serve before the girls added beef mince to their portions

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My daughters have a most eclectic range of staple foods in their house. Here is the Asian quotient of their fridge…

We are almost ready to start putting the netting up around the perimeter of our fully enclosed garden. We had forgotten to get any strong rope to contain the netting and had to wait till I shopped to pick some up but now we are armed with more rope than we could possibly envisage needing so the next phase of our garden is just about to eventuate. I have decided to dismantle our existing veggie gardens and start using the material that they are built of to start forming garden beds around the netting as soon as we get the netting mounted on the poles we set into concrete a few weeks ago. Why pfaff around with limbo dancing my way into our existing gardens when I can rebuild them (like Steve Austin, the 6 million dollar man) stronger and better. We have enough netting to cover the gardens and protect them from the possums because the wallabies will be officially out of the equation once we get the fences up. I bought a chocko (cheers Jean for reminding me that they are useful food sources :o) ) when I was grocery shopping and plan on getting it to sprout and planting it out against the new fence. I also picked up some red coloured Jerusalem Artichokes that I was assured by the grocer were “just like the white ones, you know how some spuds are red and some are white? Same here…” That was enough to get me to buy a bag of them to plant out alongside their white counterparts…no racism here on Serendipity Farm!

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Steve took a photo of the small tins of loose leaf Chinese tea that the girls gave me

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And here is an artistic shot of the tins…

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The red coloured Jerusalem artichokes that will soon be under the ground ready to sprout for spring when the time is right

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Doesn’t this happy looking choko look like it is hovering over our bamboo countertop! I don’t know how it happened but lets just be happy that most choko’s are content to remain grounded 😉

Our rainwater tank is full to the brim! Steve checked the other day and discovered that there are actually benefits to rain aside from watering the garden. We have been drinking our tea and coffee made with rainwater and it does taste different. My daughters gave me some small tins of Chinese tea leaves along with a large friand pan, some Matcha green tea powder and a lovely reversible blanket to wrap around myself when I am up early before Brunhilda heats the kitchen up in the morning. I have to find myself a recipe for vegan friand’s. There is bound to be some clever clogs out there who has found a way to replace the 5 – 6 egg whites with some vegan equivalent, I just have to hunt them down. I am going to make some vegan green tea ice-cream with some of the Matcha powder and I made a cup of the Chinese loose leaf tea this morning. Thankyou girls, I most certainly appreciate my gifts to the max :o).

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Some more of my daughters pantry cupboards…

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And this one is a bit messier than the others but still laden with interesting ingredients

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The noodle cupboard…

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And this cupboard contains various “stuff”

Steve and I noticed something when we were out checking what we had to do with the veggie garden today. A pane of glass had been broken on the roof of the glasshouse…on further inspection we were able to deduce (just like Sherlock and Watson…bags I being Sherlock!) that something rotund had either fallen off a branch from the sheoak tree that towers over the glasshouse or attempted to negotiate a landing on the roof that went terribly wrong. We know this because exhibit A was the inside of the glasshouse where just about every single potted plant that remains inside was upturned. We figured out that one of our erstwhile possums had made an error in judgement and had found itself trapped inside the greenhouse with no way out aside from the way it came in. We also noticed that there were large shards of very sharp glass pointing inwards reminiscent of one of those fly traps where they can’t crawl out once they venture inside…we have NO idea how this possum managed to get out without cutting itself and there isn’t any blood visible so we have a mystery on our hands (and Steve had to use one of our chook food bags and some silicone and some logs to ensure that nothing else ventures into the glasshouse). Somewhere on Serendipity Farm there is a possum with a bad headache…

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There are a lot of unusual condiments and herbs and spices ready to be used to add interest to everyday meals

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The large blocks of milk chocolate to the right of this image are Belgian chocolate that gets grated into warm milk for “real hot chocolate”. It certainly is fun to cook at my daughters home 🙂

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My evening meal on my last night there consisting of Seasoned sushi rice topped with ingredients of your choice also known as “Chirashizushi”. My bowl contained rice, finely sliced carrot, daikon radish and cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, half an avocado, pickled ginger, toasted black and white sesame seeds and nori squares. It was delicious!

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My daughters added egg and raw fish to their bowls

The days are getting decidedly shorter on Serendipity Farm. It’s dark by 5.30 and it’s still dark at 7am when Steve wakes up. They are also getting a lot chillier and Brunhilda hasn’t had a break since the beginning of May when we broke her out of her somnolence and press-ganged her back into service. We have finally learned how to feed her and are no longer wasting wood and ending up with a house that feels like Florida in a heatwave in the middle of winter. Steve got an infrared filter in the mail today. He has been hunting for interesting camera equipment online and so far has managed to pick up a good quality table-top tripod, a timer that Steve can use to take long exposure images with his camera with and that allows him to manipulate shutter speed and remove camera shake completely. After that he ordered an adaptor ring that will allow him to use his old Nikon lenses with his new Canon camera. He also ordered the infra-red filter he received today and a set of U.V. polarising filters and 3 variations of neutral density filters. Buying them online saved him a fortune. You have to wonder why we Aussies have to pay so much for what the rest of the world seems to get for a lot less. We have been most pleasantly surprised to find that buying from Hong Kong hasn’t been an issue. The infra-red filter took a week to get here as did items ordered from the U.K. and the U.S.A. The postage from Hong Kong was also free so we just need to see if his filters get here along with the adaptor ring (both ordered from the same company) for a clean sweep of happy online purchases. Even if they didn’t turn up, they cost so little we were willing to take the gamble.

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Thanks to Lizzy having her birthday on Monday Steve ran out of bread to give the chooks for their morning treat so he whipped them up a delicious looking damper

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Look how fluffy and light the crumb is…more like scones than damper!

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This is a peculiar predilection of the Londoner…this is “Pie, Mash and Liquor”. Pies, mashed potato, peas and a liberal splattering of white sauce containing parsley was just what the doctor ordered for Steve apparently

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Apparently this is what men who are forced to feed themselves eat for tea on a Saturday night…homemade oven wedges and fried rice 😉

Time is fleeting folks and although this might be a shorter post than usual, I can justify it because most of my dear constant readers are from the summery north and have more interesting outdoor activities to undertake than reading blog posts about some southerners winter activities. To my Southern readers, you can count yourselves lucky this time that narf7 has managed to contain herself and keep her post to a comfortable 1 cup of tea/coffee length this time. Have a great rest of your week everyone. I will be attempting to wade through my RSS Feed Reader blogs but thanks to it being summer in the north, I didn’t have over 1000 like I would usually have and it would seem like summer has rendered you all externally restless and thank goodness for that or narf7 would still be here next week trying to climb the equivalent of Mt Everest of blog posts ;).  I returned to lots of new followers on my Pinterest boards so that should tell you what a busy little beaver I was in my week of addiction. I have settled down to a steady hum that encompasses both blogging and Pinterest in a less manic way. I can’t promise that I won’t get addicted to Tastespotting and FoodGawker in the coming weeks but at least I know that my addictions are as fleeting as this post and everything should be back to normal within a week. See you all on Saturday when hopefully we will have this external netting fence up, some of the garden borders created and filled (and hopefully planted out) and I will have had time to do a post a bit of justice.

Whats love got to do with it?

Hi All,

Ok so I don’t usually do this kind of thing but for Joy, I will make an exception. Joy the Baker is one of those bloggers that has it going on. She might seems like a shallow hipster from an initial glance at one of her posts, she might seem like someone as vacuous as a turnip who could care less about anything but shoes and doughnuts and her latest baking pan but if you actually bother to read her posts rather than just ogle at the food porn that she so lovingly crafts, you will instantly realise that this girl has chutzpah. I don’t know what chutzpah actually is. You see I am an Aussie and that is a Jewish word. I am in love with the Jewish vernacular…who couldn’t love words like “Chutzpah” and “Shmendrik” and “Pisher” and “Schlimazel”, all spoken with passion and with an image of Woody Allen and his glasses sliding errantly down his nose burned into my psyche for all time. If you would like to get versed in Jewish insults you can find 22 of them here in this wonderful post by “The Editor and the Beast”…

http://theeditorandthebeast.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/twenty-four-insults-a-guide-to-yiddish-words-in-american-english/

Joy has Chutzpah and under all of the hipsterescent blog speak and polished food porn perfection it really is worth the effort to read her posts. Today she turned 32 and you know what? Today’s post is dedicated to “Joy”. Here is her 32nd birthday post and I particularly love the list that she writes at the end of it. We should all write birthday lists like that :). Feel free to head over and see what got me tapping away at this aberration of a post that is a decided departure from what you, my dear constant readers, are used to imbibing when you come to visit on Serendipity Farm…

http://joythebaker.com/2011/07/angel-food-cake-with-vanilla-strawberries/

Now narf7 might have been around that block but she aint no holler back girl no SIR! And narf7 knows a little bit about pinching other people’s pictures and waving them about and pretending that they are her own. I didn’t know early on in my blogging career and waved with impunity but as soon as I learned, I stopped using other people’s images. How am I going to illustrate this post for Joy without images that are worthy of her customary awesome food photography and little heart at the bottom of the page…hmmm…not enough time (or inclination to be honest) to take lots of arty hearty shots…I know! “To the Bat mobile Robin, we are off to Morgue File!” Morgue File is a wonderful source of free images. You don’t have to join up, you don’t have to allow spammers to sell your first born when they turn 21 (unless you particularly want to that is…) and you get to choose from a large database of photos. You just click on the free photos button (because otherwise they are going to naturally direct you to their paying bit 😉 ) and type in what you are after into the search bar… for instance…narf7 wants “hearts” so narf7 typed in hearts and lo and behold… she gets pages and pages of “hearts” or…to be honest…what people load up as “hearts” which may, or may NOT be what you are after…it’s free folks, you take your chances! Here is a linky to Morgue Files. Have it tattooed to your left inner wrist if you are a blogger…it’s that valuable!

http://www.morguefile.com/archive

and here is my search for “hearts” so anyone out there with too much time can load up and see where I got all of the following images…a post in images…that you, my dear constant readers, are not usually privy to, but this post is less words and let the images tell the story so here we go…

http://www.morguefile.com/archive#/?q=Heart&photo_lib=morgueFile

Once upon a time narf7 wanted to do justice to a post by one of her blogging heroes, Joy, of Joy the Baker blogging fame. Joy takes amazing photos, Joy is a professional, Joy is hip and cool and everything that narf7 isn’t but for some reason Joy resonates with narf7 and manages to never EVER get thrown into the RSS Feed Reader equivalent of Death Row. I wanted a heart or two to pay homage to Joy and her wonderful photography so here we go…

Lets start where I actually wanted to start…a nice picture of a heart…

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A heart in a coffee…that’s exactly the sort of image that Joy would like…but wait…she likes tea! (I KNEW there was more to this infatuation than just food porn…) this will NEVER do…

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How about a nice heart shaped doughnut? A squiggle of fake icing blood and you have a true representation of what love is all about…but this image isn’t anywhere NEAR as classy as Joy’s wonderful images so I am going to have to dig a bit deeper…come on Morgue Files…don’t let me down…

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I could stop here…I really could folks. This is just about what I was after but look a bit harder…that’s why these images are free…that top cupcakes icing has been compromised and as our lecturer would say “too much tension created by half cupcakes and quarter cupcakes and one eighth cupcakes…DO IT AGAIN!”…sigh…

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That’s…sort of better…see that dent in the top right hand corner? And we thought that food bloggers had it easy!

Obviously if I am going to do justice and homage to Joys amazing photography I am going to have to look a bit further…the problem was, the further that I headed down the list the stranger the images became. This next image seems alright at first glance…

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but it’s too shiny…good chocolate doesn’t look like that folks. Too shiny and plastic looking…NEXT!

How about this one? Candy hearts. You can’t go wrong with bright coloured sugar but again…look at bit closer and suddenly what seems like a collective of tiny diabetic coma’s becomes a bit more stalky/creepy…take note of the heart at the bottom…”meet me”…seems innocuous enough but the rest of the hearts have been turned over except for “marry me”…now forgive me for being a bit world weary and jaded but surely there should be SOME degree of separation between “meeting” and “marrying!”

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Or how about this…pleading…or demanding? You get to choose…

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From here the selection rapidly slid into a selection of the strange and the macabre. At first this message seemed full of dark foreboding…

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Until I realised that further down the page it had a partner…

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There…that’s better now 🙂

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There are people that love chilli

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Badly photoshopped tanks…at least the thought was there 😉

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This appears to be a Cercis Canadensis… It’s heart shaped and something that a gardener could, indeed, love but it is a bit far off the mark for what I needed

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Yup…it looks like a heart but that’s about where the similes stop

Far from finding a pretty little paisley or pastel heart image that I could use in my post, the images listed under “heart” were starting to make me twitch.  Its starting to get disturbing and this is where you see just how “interesting” Morgue Files can be. Love is obviously a very subjective word to many people out there. I totally “get” the image of the egg below…if you don’t own chooks that have only given you an egg a week for 5 months and then you release them (hopefully so they run away and stop costing you an arm and a leg to feed for NO RETURN…) ostensibly to make them happy again and you start getting more eggs than you can deal with (after hunting them down in forks of trees and in the middle of blackberry thickets…) you KNOW that eggs = love.

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“EARL!”…remember how Earl was sitting at my computer desk on my computer throne a couple of posts ago? NOW you know what he was up to! You might have tried to cover your tracks by calling yourself “Earl53” but I am onto you…no more leaving you alone with the PC till you are at LEAST 3! Joy just turned 32 Earl…a biker chick in a bikini is NOT going to make her feel better!

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Sigh…then we have someone called “JusBen” who seems to take the word “heart” a bit too literally…his 2 entries in the “heart” arena are…

SONY DSC                                                                                                                                           A heart monitor and…

file000735740454byJusben                                                                                                                                       A couple of lamb hearts.

I think someone needs to take “JusBen” aside and give him a little bit of a quiet chat about the sorts of things that people looking for “hearts” are actually after! At the risk of giving Joy the Baker a heart attack of her own should she EVER foolishly stumble over here to find Serendipity Farm in full possession of her 32nd birthday and linking it with lamb hearts…I had best move on quickly…

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Another meaty heart. Yes, it DOES look like a heart and you might love chicken BUT it’s simply “wrong”! How about this lovely Rorschach blot of an image…hopefully someone’s child produced this and they have placed it here through blind parental love is all I can say!

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I get the feeling that someone of the feminine persuasion forgot their anniversary and rather than get off the couch mid “Day’s of our Lives” to hustle their way to the closest petrol station to pick up one of those cheap scented car trees to make up for it, they decided to gift their partner (the long suffering “Ron”) this wonderful homage to their love…

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You gotta love the bold statement and the underlined “Ron” just in case she forgot and put someone else’s name there…

file9491342304279bymaena                                                                                                     Yeah, we are sticking with the egg = love theme with this image…

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                                                                                    We can only imagine that this image is a warning message to we “heart” seekers?

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I have NO idea at all why a pyrex baking dish full of stuffed and baked onions were listed under “heart images”. I am not even going to attempt to work it out. All I know is that I gave up on finding something suitable for what was GOING to be my original post around about now. Don’t get me wrong, there were some lovely images. My favourite one was this one…

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A perfect representation of real love…”it’s on my shoe…course I love you!” :).

The last image is just plain terrifying…I will leave it here as a reminder to “be careful what you wish for…it might just come true…”

10th_December_2010_011creepygingerbreadlovebybusinessplansThere you go Joy…don’t say I didn’t think of you.Have a happy 32nd birthday. You might be officially “old” but at least you can still take a better photo than these gingerbread zombies and the only place to go from here is up! Cheers…thank me later :).

Note, if my wonderful little treatise leaves you more terrified of MorgueFiles than excited and champing at the bit to go steal yourself your weights worth of images, try signing up for Pinterest. I did…after the ubiquitous waiting period where you are supposed to feel like you are being hazed or inducted into the Grand Moose club or something they approve you and you get to stick red pins into every single image you see online. After you steal it, you can repin it all over the place and fill up the interweb with your own Morgue of pictures and hints and tips and other “useful stuff” that we all know we are never going to look at or use ever again. I reckon those gingerbread zombies could do with having a big red pin stuck right through the middle of them…

Narf7’s job here…is DONE! Go forth my dear constant readers and fill your posts with beautiful, quirky and just plain downright terrifying images with impunity because “The Man” can’t touch you…they are ALL free :o)…just tell them narf7 sent you 😉