Of witches, conjugated verbs and things that go BANG in the night…

Hi Folks,

So what does one do when one has buffeted their dear constant readers with a succession of small blog posts at regular intervals over the last week? One gives you a short post, that’s what “One” does ;). The “BANG!!!” in the title is somewhat of a misnomer…a dangling carrot in front of your jaded eyes if you will to lure you back to the fold. Steve headed in to one of the outer suburbs of Launceston to pick up some heavy items for a friend of ours who doesn’t own a car and while he was taking a side trip over to Woolworths to pick up some frozen Brussels sprouts (what can I say…SOMEONE  has to love them!) and 2 litres of “good” milk (don’t get me started on the watered down garbage that the major supermarkets are using as loss leaders to pull customers through the doors and that is ultimately going to shape Australia’s dairy industry into the future…I SAID don’t get me started! 😉 ) when he noticed a little white haired lady waving maniacally at him from a small silver car…it was Glad from next door!

Second fermenting Hilda the Booch's fizzy results with a bottle of Pomegranate juice Stage 1

Second fermenting Hilda the Booch’s fizzy results with a bottle of Pomegranate juice Stage 1

After a couple of days the booch is now starting to fizz nicely Stage 2

After a couple of days the booch is now starting to fizz nicely Stage 2

“Wendy (her middle aged daughter) absolutely positively HAS to have some “special tomatoes” that you can’t buy anywhere but here” she apparently said with the appropriate degree of sarcasm. Steve felt privileged to be inside Glad’s circle of trust and she went on to ask Steve if he had heard the massive explosion sound the night before at 9.30pm. Now if it was me that she was talking to the answer would have been an unequivocal “Nope…sorry…” because by 9.30pm narf7 is well and truly super glued into the land of nod, not to wake until her bladder threatens to burst in the wee (pun FULLY intended) small hours…but Stevie-boy is a night stalker and as such may have heard the sound, but nope, he didn’t either so perhaps one of the large trees that semi-fell in the strong winds that we had last week performed a slow waltz to the ground? “If a tree falls on Glad’s property GLAD HEARS!” At least someone bore witness to its demise. By the way…YES I know that capitals mean yelling…I like to yell it’s a much underrated form of stress relief.

Steve bought me 4 bottles of this delicious Swedish cider for our anniversary meal. As you can see, I drank one so these 3 bottles will probably last me the rest of the year

Steve bought me 4 bottles of this delicious Swedish cider for our anniversary meal. As you can see, I drank one so these 3 bottles will probably last me the rest of the year

Booch mid fizz and a Rekorderlag (I TOLD you it was Swedish!) glass that came with the purchase full of non-dairy kefir.

Booch mid fizz and a Rekorderlag (I TOLD you it was Swedish!) glass that came with the purchase full of non-dairy kefir.

Today we talk about “stuff”. The stuff that has seen the wet weather carry on, Steve and I starting our final course unit where we learn to take everything so far and cram it maniacally into a pathetic excuse for a “Web Page”. If we let our imaginations run riot we could both be up for some kind of award methinks…Steve could get the honorary “Stephen King” award for the most B-Grade movie images crammed onto a single web page EVAH! And I would most probably end up with some obscure award from the Druid’s society for writing posts so laboriously hard to read and for bastardising the English vernacular so badly that I had actually managed to shroud some form of elemental truth (like the Holy Grail) from view by my sheer unmitigated refusal to compromise my “art” for my readers comprehension or reading pleasure.

Why looky here... do I spy a little girl scout collecting funds by selling Freddo Frogs for charity?

Why looky here… do I spy a little girl scout collecting funds by selling Freddo Frogs for charity?

We will start where I always start when I first tumble out of bed in the morning bedecked in a pair of Steve’s boxer shorts that have rapidly receding elastic on one side requiring me to clutch at them and making only one hand available to grope in the dark for the wall so that I don’t run head first into the enormous chunk of wood that someone thoughtfully chose to place at the end of our bed and give myself a leg cork from hell. I have also been known to hook the droopy bit of the undies on this large chunk of wood and in my half-awake semi dreaming state, have occasionally found myself wondering why my walk out to the kitchen is taking so long…

Why no! It would appear it was Earl attempting to negotiate his dog door with a prize stolen from Steve's music room...

Why no! It would appear it was Earl attempting to negotiate his dog door with a prize stolen from Steve’s music room…

Once in the kitchen I get dressed in front of Brunhilda who could care less about how I look. She loves me anyway and is one constant in my life that I never tire of. I forgot! I always turn on the P.C. on the way past as Mr Kaspersky our Russian Heavy who manages security here on Serendipity Farm needs time to choose  whichever toxins he has chosen to surprise the hackers and spammers with on any given day before taking up silent sentry duty for the day. If you want to try to infest us with Trojans or burrow a worm into us I suggest you talk to Mr Kaspersky…it’s easier that way, at least your death will be quick…

"Excuse me... if you could just see your way clear to filling my box with Freddo Frogs I will be out of your way in an instant..."

“Excuse me… if you could just see your way clear to filling my box with Freddo Frogs I won’t trouble you any further…”

Mr Kaspersky doesn’t bother with email spam though. It’s beneath him and thus my bleary pre-tea eyes tend to have to stare in bemused mirth at some of the enticing ways that spammers attempt to lure me to head over to their sites…only this morning I had this delightful leader… “Local Sluts – Slut Finder”…not too sure whether “I” was being asked to take part in the slut hunt or whether “I” WAS the slut at the end of the rainbow, either way, my pre-dawn brain isn’t ready for any form of wanton woman so I promptly sent them out into the ether to float with Major Tom for all eternity.

"I think Fatty is dead..."

“I think Fatty is dead…”

The ex driveway at the side rear of our house that is still mostly flooded but that looks verdant enough to share with you

The ex driveway at the side rear of our house that is still mostly flooded but that looks verdant enough to share with you

I have given up trying to kid myself that I am not addicted to Pinterest. I am. I choose to get up at 3am to indulge myself to the max. I first work my way through our 3 email inboxes where I sift through and answer the ones that matter to me and sort them into piles for Steve and Piles for me. If I haven’t answered it’s into the bin…life is too short for bad wine and unsolicited emails. Next I click my RSS Feed Reader into action and let it load up in the background. I get between 40 and 80 blog posts a day depending on the day. Early in the week it’s the lower quotient and Saturday is the big day for email posts. I work my way through posts, reading those that I love and indulging my senses in some amazing word smithing, excitingly sustainable possibilities and soaking up information like the little black magpie sponge that is narf7.

I am constantly amazed at the resilience of nature. This artichoke had been pecked down to the core. Forget torturing mice to find cures, we should be looking at plants!

I am constantly amazed at the resilience of nature. This artichoke had been pecked down to the core. Forget torturing mice to find cures, we should be looking at plants!

While I collect and collate (for indeed I keep a word doc open to save anything I find particularly useful and a notepad page to navigate between my RSS Feed Reader and Google…) I Pin. It’s curious that I can multi-task when it comes to information collation but give me 3 things to do at once and I turn into a gibbering wreck. Steve found me a new weapon in my arsenal of pilfering the other day. I had noticed that certain websites that I visited offered the chance to download the post in PDF format. Steve headed over to this amazing free plug-in and promptly told me that it was, indeed, free, but that it was only for people with “real blogs” not sad free WordPress blogs like we had :(. Narf7 sighs…BUT in the near future we will be creating a permanent home for Serendipity Farm in our own space and we WILL go to the ball damn it! Steve also said “why don’t you just stick it on your task bar and whenever you find a particularly bolshie site that won’t let you copy things you can whack the URL into the PDF maker and Bob’s your proverbial?” why didn’t “I” think of that?!!! Genius man! I KNEW I kept you around for something! So now I can pinch pages with impunity and those websites that have HUGE posts can be saved quickly and tucked away into my exponentially growing database. Here’s the URL if you aren’t aware of this wonderful free plug-in…

http://www.printfriendly.com/

A Cape Gooseberry bush coming back from possum attack and winter to start doing what perennial food sources do all over again for another year

A Cape Gooseberry bush coming back from possum attack and winter to start doing what perennial food sources do all over again for another year

"Can I help you ma'am?"

“Can I help you ma’am?”

The power and reach of social media still amazes me. Aside from having the ability to meet  new and likeminded people you can find out SO much these days! A single picture on Pinterest can lead you to an amazing site. I found this site the other day that I immediately tucked into my RSS Feed Reader

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/

This online magazine has a wealth of low tech ideas to satisfy our modern needs and wants whilst rediscovering past solutions that are sustainable and kinder to our future. I immediately stuffed it (like a hamster cramming cheese into its cheeks) into my RSS Feed Reader so as not to lose it and eagerly look forward to new posts from this fringe online magazine.

This little fig survived a terrible dry summer with very little additional water.

This little fig survived a terrible dry summer with very little additional water.

This was an experiment. I filled this with compost about 6 months ago and am just about to dig in this spot to see if the next fig I am about to plant will benefit from this treatment. It's all about finding what works in your own little space

This was an experiment. I filled this with compost about 6 months ago and am just about to dig in this spot to see if the next fig I am about to plant will benefit from this treatment. It’s all about finding what works in your own little space

I find some interesting and informative things via my RSS Feed Reader posts and Pinterest. Only this morning (yes…I am writing this post today) I found a post about a book that Patty Smith wrote called “Just Kids” and logged on at 4.56am and put it on hold at my local branch of the state library. The library won’t be open for another 4 hours…how amazing is that? I guess it is only “AMAZING” to we last centuriers (yeah, I know…”no such word!” but whatchagonnadoeh?! 😉 ) who were born before computers. Yes… BEFORE COMPUTERS were main stream. Back when you had to send real letters if you wanted to communicate with someone you couldn’t easily reach by car and when a friend or family member headed interstate or overseas, that was it. You maybe phoned them once or twice but they were effectively out of your life. Now you just head over to Facebook or text them or send them an Instagrammed image of your foot with a moustache on it or something equally as trite, but the point is, you CAN almost immediately get in contact with them. We can bank in our underpants from the comfort of our computer chairs, we can order a bushel (is there still such a measure?) of baked beans from an online warehouse that will be delivered right to your door without having to get out of your underpants (unless you have a problem with the delivery guy seeing you sans outer garments that is…)

The possums have hammered this poor Japanese maple but it comes back every year without fail

The possums have hammered this poor Japanese maple but it comes back every year without fail

If you are isolated you aren’t any more with Social Media and our online system of commerce. I like to be balanced and remind myself that with great good (fun) comes the opportunity of great bad as in “us” being SO reliant on living our lives online, that we forget how to do so in reality. Plugged in and living in the Matrix where the real world is too hard to comprehend. Ok, so that probably arrived in this post because Steve and I have been watching a bit too much Crime T.V. lately but you can see where I am going. If we put all of our faith in the availability of everything online, one day someone is going to hijack that over-reliance of humanity on an easily hacked network and they are going to do something to make some money out of it. If they want to hack my Patty Smith book I guess I am just going to have to live with that!

Here’s an example of what I would consider “Good” information closely followed by “Garbage”…

Check out this amazingly exciting post about medicinal plants…

http://permaculturenews.org/2013/10/09/medicinal-plants/

And then this…”post” if you could call it that…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2449000/Katy-Perry-John-Mayer-don-mouse-ears-stroll-Disneyland-date.html

Note the amazing content and awesome possibilities in the first and the complete lack of ANYTHING important or worthwhile in the second (including the nefarious pop-up that kept trying to open while Mr Kaspersky our Russian heavy kept shoving it back into cyberspace…). A perfect way to illustrate the potential for “Good” and for “mindless vacuous time wasting” offered by social media. I rest my case folks!

Enclosed chooks held captive for their continued existence for various reasons...

Enclosed chooks held captive for their continued existence for various reasons…

Free to roam chooks that return to their coop every evening to be shut in for their continued existence...

Free to roam chooks that return to their coop every evening to be shut in for their continued existence…

Fringe dwellers hell bent on repopulating the earth for THEIR continued existence... it's a constant cycle of chooks here on Serendipity Farm

Fringe dwellers hell bent on repopulating the earth for THEIR continued existence… it’s a constant cycle of chooks here on Serendipity Farm

Mrs 23Thorns witch post was most thought provoking. You don’t know who Mrs 23Thorns is? Where have you BEEN?!!! Go here immediately…do NOT pass go, you don’t have time…get some history into you for goodness sakes and don’t forget to take it with a liberal dose of good humour, tasty drive by bin dress ups and the ability to still stay sane whilst being married to the ubiquitous Mr 23Thorns (if you don’t know who Mr 23Thorns is, please take the time to create a small mental image of narf7 hitting her palm to her forehead…). But for the sake of a few hundred years, a mere twitch in the eyes of history, narf7 would be burned at the stake. I have “strange unguents” brewing and festering in my kitchen and a few birth marks…I dare to speak in the company of men! (They might not listen but I bloody dare to speak!)…I have the dubious pleasure of 13 (what a MAGICAL number) feral cats, most of them in various stages of “simple black” that race to the deck with upturned faces whenever I exit stage left…OBVIOUSLY I am a witch! But for a quirk of my birth date, I would never have managed to attain middle age.

2 of my minions...

2 of my minions…

Kind of typical, when you want to see them they aren't there!

Kind of typical, when you want to see them they aren’t there!

Mr 23Thorns has an esteemed position on the right hand side of this blog in my Blogroll. As soon as Steve gets out of bed and stops drooling and snoring I am going to get his amazing I.T. knowledge onto the problem I have of NOT having Mrs 23Thorns wonderful thought inspiring dances with history forever (I jest you not…theroadtoserendipity is immortal!) up there in lights with it. I am seriously considering placing her blog above your blog Mr 23Thorns. Not because I don’t respect your ability to conjugate a verb, but because she just struck a gong that has been threatening to blow inside my head and because she is RIGHT! We women have to stick together and she has shared that her name is Tracy and you sir, who would KNOW what your name is? So I am calling you Zebedee and as EVERYONE knows…”T” comes before “Z” in alphabetical hierarchy. So be it… and it was so.

Our little orchard that we have to figure out how to protect from the marauding possums this year

Our little orchard that we have to figure out how to protect from the marauding possums this year

A little cherry tree that was mostly dead but that appears to be giving it the old college try for at least one last time

A little cherry tree that was mostly dead but that appears to be giving it the old college try for at least one last time

If you would like to read Ms Tracy’s wonderful post that inspired that outburst (and her elevated position in the blog roll hierarchy) please feel free to duck over and give it a read. You won’t regret it. She certainly knows how to conjugate a verb AND she can spell as well. I hold her in awe-full esteem…

http://tracyloveshistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/of-witch-hunts-and-fairground-rides/

And just so’s he doesn’t sulk too badly, here’s Mr 23Thorns blog for you all to head over to and check…

http://23thorns.com

Evidence of driveway clearing and a few solid hours work

Evidence of driveway clearing and a few solid hours work

More evidence and undergrowth for possums to hide in

More evidence and undergrowth for possums to hide in

I just started a new Pinterest Board of blog posts that make me stop and think. My brain is an incredibly active place to be. It is constantly quivering between thought and action and usually thought wins out. I must have incredibly active synapses because my brain flickers past ideas at lightning speed. I can only begin to imagine that the reason I can no longer remember where I put the mobile phone or the butter is because my brain has honed its ability to process information far beyond my ability to translate its responses ;). Now…if I am going to hand you a shorter post than usual I had best finish right about NOW!

I thought you might like some pretty flowers. This is a Clematis montana

I thought you might like some pretty flowers. This is a Clematis montana

The side garden that appears hell bent on covering its nakedness with osteospermum daisies

The side garden that appears hell bent on covering its nakedness with osteospermum daisies

An orchid that we inherited from my dad that flowers maniacally every year. This is a single spike of 7 that the plant is currently sporting

An orchid that we inherited from my dad that flowers maniacally every year. This is a single spike of 7 that the plant is currently sporting

Lastly here's a Ceanothus and a bee.

Lastly here’s a Ceanothus and a bee.

I hope you will check out the links that I shared with you in today’s post. They are all incredibly worthwhile and worth the look-see (and my having to figure out how to link them into my post). Have a wonderful rest of the week and remember Wednesday is only hump day to a one humped camel. If you consider the Dromedary, hump day is both Tuesday AND Friday and Wednesday is free to be whatever the hell it wants to be again. It’s all relative folks 😉

 

heres the wordleJava Printing

Flipper Hitler

Hi All,

This morning we were walking along the riverbank taking the dogs for a walk and suddenly a seal popped out of the river not 3 metres away from us and scared the living daylights out of us. Bezial was most interested and when the seal submerged, he watched the patterns on the water to follow it’s progress and was spot on looking where the seal re-emerged a few moments later…Earl, however, was MILES off. He was looking upstream when the seal emerged back downstream. He blames Bezial for blocking his sonar ;). Steve knows this seal well. It hangs around waiting for the excess baby salmon from the salmon farm around the corner from us to be ejected into the river. He calls the seal “Flippy” and that reminded me of a recent bought of memory hunting on Youtube that we undertook. Steve comes from Liverpool in the U.K. he used to listen to a most interesting and hilarious radio show as he drove from one guitar lesson to the next (he was a guitar teacher in the U.K.) called “Hold your Plums”. Liverpudlians are known for both their ability to charm the pants off you whilst pinching whatever isn’t nailed down AND their incredible senses of humour. This show was funny! It was sort of an online game show where people phoned up and had a go at guessing questions that the announcers threw at them. Some of the answers were hilarious and seeing Flippy the seal reminded me of an elderly lady in her 80’s who phoned up to have a go. I would like to share the link here with you because it had Steve and I laughing so much our stomachs hurt! If you fancy a bit of a deep belly laugh today, give it a go, it might just do the trick :o)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoH3tL1SOZY

Here in the frozen outreaches of civilisation in the frigid tundra’s of Sidmouth we Inuit Pimblett’s have decided that we can’t hibernate any longer and we are just going to have to rug up all Russian style and get out into the brilliant sunshine of what amounts to a day trip to the Gulag peninsula in winter. The piles of debris aren’t going anywhere themselves and we need to chop some wood for Brunhilda who never sleeps through winter. She might not be ravenous but she can certainly pack wood away at a slow and steady pace and if we don’t feed her, she goes on strike. I have to rake the driveway and find it again underneath the thin layer of mulch that the chooks scratched up to liberate some unsuspecting invertebrates and to make the place look a bit tidier. We pulled down the temporary low fence around Steve’s precious grafted maple selection because at the moment they are just sticks and no self-respecting wallaby or possum would bother with them. We want to put up a more aesthetically pleasing fence for the coming spring to dissuade the natives from scarfing the new tender maple leaves and to keep the flow of our view out to the Tamar River which is a constant source of enjoyment and wonder for us…we live here…we own this!

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Earl doing his best “Earlvis” sneer in preparation for his big debut. As it was, he got stage fright and Bezial had to step into the breech and “woof” for Steve’s animation

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As you can see, the choko is starting to take over the kitchen and I am starting to think about where to plant it until the frosts go. Probably in a large pot in the glasshouse for the moment but wherever it goes, it had best go quickly as it is starting to reach for kitchen utensils…

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What am I going to do with this bag of apples? I might turn them into apple butter or cook them down until they are quite dry and make an apple spread with some cinnamon.

The huge enclosed veggie garden isn’t going to build itself. We know that because we have been waiting and it hasn’t happened. We figure that means we are just going to have to get off our middle aged derrières and effect the change all by ourselves. We have the last net wall to go up and a gate to pick up from our friend Jenny who generously donated it to the cause and in early spring we are going to cover the lot with black bird netting and good luck to anything getting into the equation aside from us. The enclosure had an impromptu test the other day when we released the hound (the other one stayed firmly tethered to us but mobile) and he pelted up to the back garden and promptly got confused about how to get out. He barrelled into the net walls because he tends to use his brute force to get out of things but this time he ended up bouncing off the wall and stood there looking incredulously at the net…he then tried to bulk his way out of the wall again and failed again. Think sideways trampoline and you can get a bit of a picture of what Bezial was doing. After his second failed attempt he started to wander the peripherals (he was inside the enclosure at this point) pushing the net with his beak to see if he could shove his way out…nope…Steve ended up having to lift the netting for him (very heavy stuff) and release him. If a 40kg American Staffordshire terrier couldn’t muscle his way out of the netting nothing smaller could muscle their way in. I think we are onto a winner here :o).

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My underutilised mandoline actually getting a workout for once!

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The reason for the mandoline’s outing, we made oven baked potato crisps! Steve ate them all before I could get a photo but it was a test run to see if they were worth the effort it takes to make them…apparently they were :o)

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Icy cold but sunny, Winter is delicious when you have a lovely warm fire to go inside to :o)

My leaves all washed down into the Tamar River and floated away to fairer climes (that’s you Victoria). Glad burned some of them and the rest washed away with the decent rain we had. We should have raked them but have been making excuses to stay indoors and out of that icy cold and ended up losing a wonderful free ameliorant for our new garden soil. We have a HUGE pile of horse poo mixed with straw but oak leaves are precious. Glad said that there are still some leaves there and we will head over to rake the leave from under the large oak tree that borders our properties but we really shouldn’t have missed that opportunity for a few trailer loads of free leaf mould for the sake of warm hands. Steve and I spend a lot of time juggling studies and working in the garden and it’s SO easy to push studies to the front and ignore heading out into the cold. We will chalk our leaf loss up to experience and next year we won’t miss out on that glorious free annual chance to bulk up our soil and add a new suite of organisms to our soil mycology.

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Mass slaughter in the kitchen (note the nose prints all over the cupboards…) Steve usually brings a few bags of stuffed toys home after his fortnightly shop and this is the scene shortly after we dump them on the floor for the dogs to “play” with 😉

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Steve bought me a bonus coconut in the shopping which I decided I was going to turn into coconut butter. First, you need to liberate your coconut, THEN you need to cut all of the brown skin away from the coconut meat and then you need to cut it up finely. I have a vitamix high speed blender and even then it still took ages to process the coconut flesh. Apparently it’s much easier to do this with dry coconut but the resulting finely processed fresh coconut tastes delicious and I am using spoons of it in my breakfast juk

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Bugger…this is the second knife that has fallen victim to death by coconut…I am going to have to rethink the way that I liberate my coconut meat!

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Mid way through the processing scraping down the coconut puree

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Pureed, packed and ready to put on the lid and put in the fridge for future use

Now that I have outed us as lazy comfort seeking bollocks I can redeem myself by saying that today we are heading out, rugged up like Russian Babushka dolls, into the minus Celsius temperatures of Serendipity Farm to burn things. We are going to collect up some of the more aesthetically challenging heaps of branches and twigs that we heaped up and are going to drag them to our burning spot and burn them. Not only will be clearing up the place, but we will be keeping warm at the same time.

I just opened up my RSS Feed Reader this morning (yes…I am STILL doing this post today 😉 ) and had the glorious feeling of being able to manage my RSS Feed Reader…usually I would have somewhere in the vicinity of 600+ posts to manage and try to weave my way through what was “useful” and what was not necessary…I mean seriously folks…how many “recipes” for avocado on toast do we readers REALLY need?!!! On Tuesday I had a bit of a mental crisis. I was over trying to negotiate and satisfy my RSS Feed Reader. It had been a solid week of non-stop trying to eliminate it and I suddenly came to the realisation that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Once I realised that I had become a slave to my RSS Feed Reader I decided to take some action. I eliminated posts AND blogs. I now have a tiny core of key blogs that I read. I can now comment on posts again. I have the time to give each post that I read my undivided attention and I am not just skimming over the hard crafted labour of someone else’s mind to get to the next post and to be finished. I am back to enjoying getting up nice and early to open my mind up and learn from other people. I love the interaction of commenting and if someone has taken the time to share an interesting and informative post with us all, I figure I at least owe them a bit of a head’s up.

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The somewhat alarming results of leaving a glass of non-dairy kefir out for a little while…a bit like Mt. Vesuvius!

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One of what the dogs have every single day on Serendipity Farm…and we wonder why they are fussy with anything else? 😉

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I spy…with my little eye…something…beginning with…”C”…I don’t expect you to look that hard but on a recent visit by dad’s old dog Milo, he happened upon this poor unfortunate feral cat that he promptly chased up this tree…

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The cat didn’t come down out of the tree for ages!

So the RSS Feed Reader took a hiding and is a mere shadow of its former self. I have limited my Pinterest action although that’s a hard one because that’s a new addiction and you can find some amazing stuff through Pinterest. I have found that I am redirecting my attentions now away from the gorgeous pamplemousse pies and back to sustainable and frugal hints and tips and crafty deliciousness so I might yet get something worthwhile out of my Pinterest addiction. Steve and I have been cooking up a storm lately. The weather and the free stove have been conducive to us wanting to cook. We have been baking all sorts of delicious things and we both decided that aside from the obvious benefits of Brunhilda, she has given us the ability to not have to worry about what we are going to cook for tea. The ovens are always on, there is always a range of temperatures that whatever we are cooking will fit into and we don’t have to wait for anything to heat up before we can start. We can warm things over her, we can proof our Stromboli dough (Steve has had 2 Stromboli’s in 4 days 😉  ) and she satisfies my need to experiment (read “play”) with my food in a most wonderful way.

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Chestnuts for me to cut slits in and then steam ready to make chestnut paste

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Some of the chestnut paste mixed with some date paste to be used in some sweet steamed buns

I have been messing around with pastes. I got Steve to pick up some adzuki beans and some more black beans on his last foray into shopping on Monday. He also bought me some sweet potatoes, some chestnuts and 2 enormous pumpkins and some black sesame seed. I have settled on eating juk (Korean thin rice porridge) for my winter breakfasts and have modified the recipe slightly to tweak it to my own personal tastes. I am now starting to get a bit more adventurous with the ingredients that I add. My pumpkin juk was delicious and I found a recipe for black sesame juk to try. I am making pastes so that I can use them to make a sort of “instant juk” like instant porridge for when we get back from walking the dogs and I don’t have to spend half an hour prepping the ingredients to make my breakfast. We have been snowed under in studies lately and our animations are starting to take a fair bit of time to produce. We need to get stuck into our work for the day pretty much as soon as we get in from our walks so having the options of “instant juk” is very appealing. Making my own black sesame, black bean, adzuki bean, reduced pumpkin, reduced sweet potato, chestnut etc. pastes in the fridge was a tantalising thought and so far I have made chestnut puree (half unsweetened and half sweetened with date paste) and am about to spend the weekend making all different kinds of pastes. Most of them will be sweetened by date paste and reduced down to thick unctuousness to increase their shelf life. Think “Korean jam” and the ability to stir a few spoonfuls of whatever flavour I fancy on the day into some water with some fresh ground glutinous rice and have my breakfast ready in 5 minutes is very enticing.

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An artistic shot of my last 2 remaining vanilla beans. I used them today to make a rich creamy vanilla custard to make vanilla ice cream tomorrow for Steve

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This might not look like much but it is creamy English fudge…well…the beginnings of it 😉

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And this is the end of it. Some of this is going to be chopped finely and folded through Steve’s vanilla icecream

My experiments with non-dairy kefir are a huge success. I have managed to harness my kefir grains to 3 days producing homemade organic Aussie soybean milk and 1 day basking in regular whole milk to refresh them and gird their loins. I have learned that kefir grains are sugar freaks. They adore the date paste that I sweeten my homemade soymilk with and float around basking in the glory of it. My grains get huge with this regime and despite dehydrating most of them a few weeks ago; I am going to have to dry another tray of them. I am keeping the dehydrated kefir in the fridge in a jar with some organic milk powder in it to snuggle up to in their frigid dream state to keep them happy. I sent some dehydrated kefir grains to Wendy from the wonderful blog quarteracrelifestyle (that you can find here… http://quarteracrelifestyle.wordpress.com/ ). She lives in New Zealand and we all thought that she would have her grains stopped at customs but they arrived safe and well and are now producing quality kefir for her and her wonderful husband Roger (who we still want to borrow by the way Wendy 😉 ). No doubt they will start to grow exponentially and they will get snowed under with grains and can give some to friends and family. I can’t believe that there are people actually waiting in line to get kefir grains! Mine just keep on growing alarmingly. I have several clusters of grains that are almost as big as my palm and that keep shedding small nuggetty grains into my milk. I have perfected the daily process of separating the kefir from the morass (you could hardly call the mix of soymilk and brown date paste that mine bath in “milk” 😉 ). I have also learned when to decant my kefir into new milk and how fermented I like my milk. It’s all a learning process and experimenting is huge fun.

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Chestnuts inside my vitamix waiting to be rendered into spread

Steve bought me a coconut on Monday and I put the coconut water (the liquid inside the coconut) into my non-dairy kefir stockpile in the fridge. I keep a 3 litre milk bottle with however much kefir I have managed to produce ready to use and drink whenever I feel like it. We have to release the gas from the lid whenever we open the fridge and the container has managed to swell up alarmingly in the past and actually crack the plastic on the fridge door. Never underestimate the power of gas folks! Think ginger beer and kefir isn’t too far behind it when you put a lid on it ;). Aside from experimenting with my breakfast and making pastes I have been thinking outside the box a bit. I have a “what if” brain. It keeps wanting to wrap itself around ideas and get busy with them. I have been ruminating over a “what if?” for a while now and as Steve is off collecting firewood with a friend today, my “what if” might get a chance to get researched today. “What if I tried to take the natural sweetness from root vegetables and turn it into a useful sweetener?” I am talking along the lines of date paste, but coming from sweeter veggies like pumpkin and sweet potato. I am going to experiment with “butters” to see if I can satisfy my veggie sweet tooth naturally and with minimal flavour additives to the root veggies. I have also been finding lots of naturally sweet thick syrups in my forays online. Things like pomegranate and apple molasses, a result of reducing straight juice down to a thick unctuous syrup like product that has keeping qualities. Obviously this was one of the ways that our pioneering ancestors managed to keep sweet things over winter and preserve the harvest. I wonder what juices I could extract and reduce down to make some amazing flavoured thick molasses? I am going to be experimenting so expect some results soon.

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A selection of ingredients to make some biscuits. The orange peel is awaiting me turning it into preserved orange peel and that biscuit barrel is getting a little bit low…time to make another batch.

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Some of the ingredients for Steve’s Stromboli that he had for his evening meal last night

Another thing that I have been ruminating over for a little while now is this blog. I have honed my RSS Feed Reader down to accommodate our busy lifestyle and to allow me to spend more time in the mornings prepping for our day. My mornings can now be spent initially reading and commenting on my RSS Feed Reads (and pinning worthy posts) and then I get time to deal with my kefir, put beans on to soak for cooking the next day as it’s easier to plan what I need for the day and the next day when I have a specific time set aside to do it. I always forgot to soak my soybeans for my non-dairy milk but now I won’t forget. Morning is when I plan out what I need prepped for my needs. I make a lot of what I use myself including my non-dairy organic soymilk for my kefir, my almond and oat milk for my tea and personal use, a regular progression of homemade date paste and the various cooked beans that I use in my day to day recipes. I love being organised and this newfound freedom to plan my prepping has me thinking that I am starting to get on top of this country living lark. I am thinking about changing the direction of this blog. I am going to drop it down to a single post a week. I tried to do that back when I dropped it from daily, to twice a week but all of my dear constant readers protested. I have noticed that I have a lot of followers who never comment and who are effectively “sleepers”. Some haven’t read a blog post in years and I realise that my long winded, eccentric posts might be a bit much for most people.

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Oops! I am going to run out of images if I am not careful…this is the dough for the biscuits that I made yesterday. It is the same dough that I make for Quaker oat biscuits. The only difference is that I eliminate the cinnamon and sugar and add bacon and grated cheese

There are a small core of you out there that “get” me. That see what I am trying to do here and that appreciate my crazy tangle of muses that want to explode into the arena that forms this blog. I started this blog to satisfy the needs of my mum. She was happy to allow us to move to Tasmania so long as she could see what was going on and the blog allowed me to share with her, and with the rest of the world. It also satisfied my latent need to write. I have enjoyed posting and can truly say that it has never been a chore to me. Words flow out of me like water into a stream and writers block isn’t something that I have had to contend with on a regular basis. I still feel that there are millions of posts welled up inside me but the tide has started to change. I want to hone my posts and make them relevant to what we are doing here. I know that my dear constant readers are interested in what we are accomplishing on Serendipity Farm and I seem to have been stagnating here for a while. Winter and our derrières firmly welded to this P.C. throne as we try to keep up with our lecturers manic and erratic study load have left us with precious little time (or inclination if the truth be told…) to get out into the frozen archipelago that has become Serendipity Farm. You know how I said we rarely get frost? Ignore that as the machinations of a mad woman…it is practically snow here of late! I have been getting very interested in fermenting things. I am also harbouring a burning flame for planting out our food trees. It’s as if something is telling me to hurry up and I tend to listen to those small urgent voices that come from those primal places inside me more than the clamouring voices from outside.

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And here they are! Delicious oaty bacon and cheese biscuits made with butter…and they are all for the dogs! It’s certainly a dog’s life here on Serendipity Farm 😉

I will be cutting posts down to once a week on a Wednesday folks. I want to get stuck back into the garden where we belong, forging the soil, the food forest and the base permaculture cycles that we need to get this place humming along sustainably and spring is coming…the ash trees are starting to bud up! There are bulbs erupting all over the place and jonquils are waving about in the frosty breeze. The whole of the Tamar river looks romantic and windswept from the daily mist events that waft up the river and then back down at regular intervals. I want to be out there living life and facilitating change. I don’t want to wake up one day too old to do what we want to do here and have to live with that for the rest of my life. I know that you will all understand the whys and wherefores of what I want to do and that you will also appreciate the new sense of excitement that will be injected into your posts. I am hoping that my natural cut off point (that just got breached 😉 ) of 2800 words (yes…my muses let me off about then 😉 ) will not expand to a 5000 word small novella once a week. Lets just see how it goes. That’s the glory of blogging, you take it for a spin, you test it out and if it’s a dud you bugger off and go elsewhere to find one that WILL work…see you on Wednesday where Steve and I are going to share some of the animations that we have been furiously tinkering over for the last month. We are suitably proud of them and our lecturer passed us on our very first try with all of them. We were most proud of ourselves when that happened :o). Have a great week everyone and prepare for a rollercoaster of weird experimentation, extreme gardening and narf7’s eccentric take on life, the universe and everything :o).

Enter the Pamplemousse…

Hi All,

While I have your attention and before you settle into your blissful state of somnolence as you read this post whilst allowing your minds to wander to pastures green and escape the hustle and bustle of the real world…”What the HECK is a Pamplemousse?!”. I thought that might wake you up. I have been dabbling in blogs in other languages. Why not? I abuse the English language enough, may as well incite the grammar police in other countries to riot. I can’t have Madeline (my eldest daughter who is the self-appointed chief of police of the English vernacular) working 24/7 now can I? So I decided to head off and check out what other countries are doing with food blogs. Turns out they are doing just fine without the English language folks…so fine in fact, that I am veering side left to check out some of the amazing recipes that they are tossing around like so much flotsam on the sea. Every recipe looks amazing! I want to make every single one of them! Partly because they are exotic (grass greener on the other side of the fence anyone? 😉 ) and partly because they just look so damned good! I can’t believe that everyone outside English speaking countries has a masters in photography so some of this gorgeousness just HAS to come from the recipes themselves.

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This is NOT Ms Sihem. This is narf7 hanging out in front of her bestie Brunhilda with Earl who appears to be ripping up yet ANOTHER soft toy. You can’t see the hole in my track pants from this angle but you CAN see those split ends. The t-shirt is David Bowie and I am just about to feed Brunhilda yet another log to add to her log quotient for the day. Ms Sihem is an attractive well coiffured French woman who dresses in the gypsy style. I, am a strange demented West Australian who dresses in the style of “HoBo”.

Another part of the equation that makes it so tantalising for me is that I don’t understand what the recipe is about. It’s a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be solved before I can dish this lovely (but completely unintelligible) creation up to Steve (a.k.a. “Only 1 man!”). It looks good enough to bath in BUT what is it?! So I head off to my old mate Google Translate. I have studiously avoided swapping over to Google Chrome. I KNOW it automatically translates folks but it doesn’t have a favourites bar and that’s where I stash my pirates treasure of website bullion just waiting for me to revisit and roll in whenever I have a few secret spare minutes to indulge. Without them I am nothing…NOTHING I tell you! The day Google Chrome gives me a favourite’s bar is the day I jump but till then, they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming to Google Chrome! So for the purposes of this post let’s just say that I have been spending a goodly amount of time going back and forwards between Google translate and undecipherable blog posts with drool worthy images. Some of them have been quite a revelation leading me off to hunt down rare and wonderful ingredients. Some have had me excited about the possibilities of growing said ingredients myself! It’s a world of information and excitement out there folks if you don’t plan on actually doing anything with the rest of your life. You could just sit here poring over the net and becoming a resident expert on just about every cuisine in the world…but some of us have work to do and so I just cram these little undecipherable beauties into my groaning RSS Feed Reader (almost 500 again…) to delight me another day.

The word for today had me tapping the thick wooden doors to my wordy mental basement dungeon where I apparently store every single word that I have ever heard. It’s my talent… that and knowing that I spelled something wrong but not knowing how to correct it. I am just waiting for the game show that combines the two and I am IN! I have visited the great “Pamplemousse” before…just not sure where, so off to my old mate Google I go…type in P.A.M.{.{.: (bugger…fingers went too far right on the keyboard…backspace…backspace etc. till you get to the . before the M…try again dopey…) M.P.L.E (you know the rest, just building tension…I have to practice my writing skills or I am ASSURED that they will abandon me and move to a nice new human who is willing to allow them to flourish…) and the results are in folks…

A Pamplemousse is… (Drumroll….)… a grapefruit.

I can hear the palpable deflation of your expectations as I type this…you were waiting for something exotic, something amazing and delicious and utterly and entirely foreign weren’t you? Well misery loves company and so was I! It’s just very lucky that I don’t have more followers (and more of my followers that actually read my posts and aren’t just sleepers 😉 ) or I might have just been the cause of some serious literary depression there.

Now that we have our pamplemousse folks, what the heck are we going to do with it to render it so delicious that narf7 decided to take the time to translate the recipe? I might be tenacious but I am also bolshie, I am going to make this bloody thing come hell or high water! Here is the recipe folks…follow along…

http://mieletepices.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/gateau-reconfort-au-pamplemousse-rose.html

Here is my Google Translate version of what I am going to do with this grapefruit cum pamplemousse…

“Comfort cake with pink grapefruit and bitter almond

My cake comfort of these days, I love the combination of bitter almond and grapefruit is very special for me finally all cases. Because I made small madeleines for small (my son and his friends) but apart from my son who is used to off-tastes in common, other did not really like! I promised them chocolate madeleine’s for next time!

To go to the recipe, see more photos and leave a comment at the bottom click

ingredients:

100g soft butter
80g sugar
2 tbsp almond cream
150g flour
30g of wheat flour
2 large eggs
1 zest of a grapefruit
The chair of a grapefruit
3 melee yeast
1 pinch of salt
50g ground almonds
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 melee extract of bitter almonds

Extract of grapefruit zest, peel, remove the thin skin of each slice and keep the chair.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Beat the butter and sugar; add eggs, flavors, almond cream, and zest. Beat again until the mixture is smooth. Stir chair grapefruit and mix gently with a wooden spoon full of beauty.
In a separate, put the flour, yeast, salt and ground almonds, mix well container.
Stir egg mixture to the flour mixing very gently.
Butter a mold, pour the mixture and bake 40 minutes more or less.”

Note: the closest I could come to shining a light on what “melee” means is “lively crowd” so if you choose to make this recipe you need to first source yourself a lively crowds worth of bitter almonds and yeast and THEN proceed with the recipe. Always prepare your ingredients first folks! Mise en plus… By the time you get to making your recipe, you might need to enliven both crowds again so I dare say you should tell the bitter almond crowd that the yeast crowd said that their “mother was a hamster and their father smelled of elderberries” and vise-versa and that should keep them occupied and enlivened sufficiently to arrive at the desired results.

So there you have it folks…narf7’s next pamplemousse conquest. It is citrus season here in Australia and we are just about to be almost crushed under a deluge of “le citron”; “d’orange” and “le citron vert” along with our new friend “le pamplemousse” and now I am completely prepared to deal with this onslaught of citric goodness. I hope you checked out Madame Sihems’s gorgeously photographically bedecked blog. Madame Sihem appears to be the epitome of well-aged French cougar on the prowl and when checking out her “About” page (using my rudimentary 3 years of French as a guide) I discovered that she loves honey and spice for their “purity preparations” and she discovered using spices 6 years ago to (I quote) “I looked forward to my mother to turn the sleep laboratory kitchen spices.” Any younger men reading this blog who aren’t gay (that’s you Spencer 😉 ) might want to get in touch with Ms. Sihem as aside from being quite a presentable member of the middle aged woman confraternity and able to bake complete deliciousness that transcends the language barrier she is French! I rest my case. She has left her email address on her site for anyone wanting to contact her. I doubt she would be interested in any correspondence that I might generate or, indeed, my crazed pamplemousse post but I dare say she might exhibit a Mona-Lisa degree of pleasure at someone in Tasmania promoting her otherwise completely anonymous blog as furiously as this. She might even display a little pride in her blog, little knowing that my mania was fuelled by a lack of sleep and buggery-bollocks-all idea of what to post about today…

“So…how’s that garden going narf7? How are those walls holding up? What have you planted/done towards your coming springtime garden?” The answer to that is sweet bugger all folks! It’s cold out there…It’s cold and it’s covered in feral cats and chooks that are doing their level best to remove anything vaguely mulch like from every single acre of topsoil on Serendipity Farm. We are getting eggs again but we have to play “hunt the chook” to find them. We have our trusty egg hunting dog Earl (to be honest he is a “chook hunting” dog but after he extracts the chook, there are usually eggs as an added bonus…). We spend our early mornings dragging our cold and sorry carcasses out of our lovely warm bed, assembling a motley crew of clothing that makes us look strangely Russian in appearance to ward off the cold (and to cover every available inch of skin space possible), rendering us human weebles. “What’s a weeble?” I hear you say? (Yes…I hear you mentally…talent number 3! 😉 )…well a weeble is err…sort of…err…well I think I can illustrate them better in images…

Holy Crap we had this one!

This…is a “weeble”. If my sister Pinky is reading this she will probably recognise this as it looks a whole lot like a weeble that she had as a child in the 70’s.

Steve and Fran Weebles

If Steve and I were weebles, these 2 would be our anti-weebles…the day I get on a skateboard (safety helmet or not) and the day Steve takes up soccer are the day that we allow Earl out on his own to let the chooks out in the morning.

Come and sit on evil nanas knee while she sticks knitting needles into you!

I call this one “come-and-sit-on-evil-nanas-knee-while-she-sticks-knitting-needles-into-you” weeble. She appears to be modelled on Peter Griffin from Family Guy but predates him considerably so maybe the weeble creators might have a law suite in the offing (I am pointing this out in case they are looking in my direction!)

Children of the damned weeble

Lastly we have “Children-of-the-damned” weeble. I don’t think I really have to explain that do I folks?!

I have decided to use some images that I sourced from Morgue files, my free go-to site to find open source images. I might not always get what I am after but I rarely leave empty handed and I am often amused. That’s more than enough reason to go there…that plus it is one of my bullion sites anchored (so it can’t sail away) on my favourites bar. I wanted to see if I could illustrate Madame Sihem without plagiarising her image. I learned early on in my posting history that it isn’t nice to pinch other people’s images (even though I just pinched every single one of those weeble images because when I entered “Weeble” into Morgue File it came back with “?”…) and indeed it might even be fiscally painful if the other person chooses to home in on the pinchee and litigate. I try to use my own images but nothing around here (let’s face it…nothing in all of Tasmania!) is going to replicate a middle aged French cougar so off to Morgue Files I went, all bright and wide eyed and thinking “Brigitte Bardot”…and I ended up with 3 choices…here they are, so you choose which one illustrates Madame Sihem in your mind’s eye (which, let’s face it, is your very own word processor and television and film studio all rolled into one so you had best satisfy it if you want to live an interesting mental life…)…I am favouring the first image BUT you just never know how the wind blows…

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This is no doubt how Ms. Sihem would like to look…

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One of my 3 choices for “French Woman” on Morgue Files…it looks like this is the pigeons choice…

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I think we can pretty much discount Joan of Arc as being in ANY way similar to Ms. Sihem apart from her nationality. Remember this is a “pick your own ending” post so you at least have a couple of choices (some more likely than others 😉 )

I then tried to find something to replicate the “pamplemousse and amande reconfort gateau” (please excuse my terrible misuse of the French vernacular…Mrs. Quinllivin, my long suffering French teacher in high school would be rolling in her grave to hear me abuse it so…) images that Ms. Sihem has so deliciously pasted into her elegant post and Morgue File came up trumps again… I initially entered “Pamplemousse” and got “?” Ok. I then entered Grapefruit and got this…

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Excellent! Grapefruit is a good start. Now let’s just enter Grapefruit cake… I got “?” How about some other form of citrus cake…needs must you know! Ok…let’s try “orange cake”…I got this result…

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Yes…I can see that there is a very small proportion of “orange” on this cake however red is the predominate colour here so no idea how it got lumbered under “orange cake”

And this…

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Indeed this is orange. I think Ms Sihem would rather be tarred and feathered than have this cake featured on her illustrious French food blog!

Not quite up to Ms. Sihem’s gorgeous and entirely scrumptious photography illustrating her wonderful recipes and most probably not something that is going to have anyone racing from Pinterest to her site BUT it is the closest I have come to illustrating my point without getting sued! A good start as far as I am concerned. Again, you choose which one of the above images to insert into your mental word processor (I am assuming it can handle images as well and isn’t from so far back in the ether of last century that it writes in calligraphy!) This post is rapidly degenerating into a sort of “Make your own ending” post where some of you have mental images that aren’t quite congruous to the rest of you. How interesting! Has narf7 stumbled onto a new type of blog post format? I am not sure but for now I am having fun so let’s keep going…let’s see if we can’t find a cake a little more comforting…enter “cake” into the Morgue files vault…I need to first clear something up…what is it that exists in some people that makes them upload every single aspect of their lives for the whole world to see? Some of the “cakes” that have been uploaded by obviously proud photographers (and I use that word MOST loosely 😉 ) are so terrible that I would have binned and banished them from my mind forever let alone hit “upload” and “share”! I just can’t wrap my head around it folks so for a roundup of creative (open source) license let’s be at them Lawrence of Arabia Style…”NO PRISONER’S!!!)….

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This is the best I could do for Lawrence of Arabia. We shall speak no more of this image ok?

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First we have this slightly cake related image…it would seem someone was able to illustrate my daughter Madeline’s early “blue” phase in her baking career. She has completely eclipsed her earlier efforts and is a cake maker to be reckoned with now but that early “blue” phase is going to stay with us all for a long… long time…that and the blue mashed potatoes with the stone…but I digress…this aint what we are after today folks!

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This is the stuff that caterer’s nightmares are made of… 😉 sorry, a small aside but hey, we have all been here! 😉

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Most of we women of a “certain age” would associate the word “cake” with this image. I just don’t think that Ms. Sihem would go for anything as plain and nondescript as this…

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This dry, burned, misshapen excuse for baked goods is what I used to turn out in Home Economics as a young (and frustrated) narf7 late last century when home economics was specifically for girls only and the boys got to tinker around with wood and metal. It is the antithesis of what Ms. Sihem’s blog is all about…please disregard it completely and move onto the next image…

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“Move along…nothing to see here either!” (unless you count the fact that this “cake” appears to be a meatloaf in drag masquerading as cake but it’s probably best to just forget you ever noticed that and go straight to the next image…)

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Aside from being WAY too much cake, this image is somewhat disturbing because it was obviously created by someone who just wasn’t able to get into university to study architecture like they really wanted to and had to fall back on the career path of the masses and head off, tail between their legs, to catering school…

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I can find the plate… but not the cake! This plate is SO what Ms. Sihem would use to enhance her delicious baked goods…I just can’t find the baked goods worthy of placing reverently on its vintage green beauty!

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This slice of cake has all of the lusciousness of a pamplemousse. Let’s just say it appears to be dripping… but mere lusciousness alone can’t illustrate the sheer unmitigated heaven of Ms. Sihems glorious creations…back to the batmobile Robin, we have work to do!

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Too cute…

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Too flowery…

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Too plain…

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There’s that attention hog of a meatloaf trying to steal the limelight again…”I am onto you meatloaf!”…

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Not enough cake…

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And despite the obvious joy that this cake has brought to this man, this is altogether too much cake…

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Too disturbing…

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Too “other” fruity, not enough pamplemousse!

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What the heck! Let’s just decorate 1 cake to last all year. No-one likes fruitcake anyway so we can just wheel it out and get the kudos and put it back into cold storage for the next holiday on the calendar…we could do this for years!

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Let’s just say it is midway between this…

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And this…

And be done with it folks! We shall speak NO more of it! Either way I have been enjoying my early morning French lessons. Who knows, it may be Spanish superlatives next! How about some Latin lusciousness or at the moment I will settle for some Russian Rustic rather than be outside dressed like a weeble being dragged protesting along behind Earl in the frozen tundra’s of Sidmouth. I am all caked out folks. Ms. Sihem has managed to get to the end of my post and despite my most tenacious efforts, remain elusive and enigmatic to most of you. There is a great big world out there cram packed with interesting people and I have decided to head off and do my level best to bypass my lack of linguistic ability by honing in on our culinary differences and adapting them to my baking prowess. Narf7 is going to bake her way around the world! Wish me luck and see you all on Saturday when if this fine weather keeps up, you might just get another glimpse at that massive great walled garden, even if it is only to put up the last wall ;).

Invasion of the Choko

Hi All,

It’s 3.13am Thursday morning and I have decided to tap away here for a little bit because I am waiting for my RSS Feed Reader to load. After it reached 525 posts and my eye started to twitch involuntarily I decided to head off for a bit and distract myself. Steve and I are juggling studies and dog walking with our annual winter wind-down. I have almost knitted a pair of gauntlets. I live in the knitting world between day and night. I spend a few short moments of my time knitting furiously before I start to fall asleep and have to lay my needles down and go to bed. Usually I am pretty tired by this point and have to make sure that my half asleep brain remembers to put the knitting back into my knitting bag and hide it in the spare room. There are always a pair of eyes watching me when I knit. I must admit, the pair of eyes has learned not to jump on me and steal my wool while I am knitting. I figure the pair of eyes turning 3 this year might be part of it but it is a small victory and something to be celebrated. When I was untangling the wool that I got from my daughter earlier in the week (and no Bethany, you STILL can’t have it back! 😉 ) he trotted past the tangled heap on the table and did a classic double take. He trotted back in a most interested way and after I told him “NO” he trotted off to a safe distance away (obviously my “NO” has a personal space…) and proceeded to watch me like a hawk for any signs that my defences were down and he could launch in to take possession of the delicious tangle of fun on the kitchen table. Alas…my defences didn’t drop and he didn’t even get to sniff the wool.

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As soon as Earl realised that I had picked up my camera to take a picture of him completely upside down with his legs in the air, both he and Bezial decided to turn away…party poopers!

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Steve thinks I am not going to use this photo and the next one. Earl is looking decidedly demented in this shot 😉

Earl isn’t like other dogs. Earl is as close to a wild dog as you are going to get without adopting a wolf. Up until now we have often felt like we are walking a tightrope with him because he just did what he wanted to do and we didn’t know how to deal with it. There were times when we first bought Earl when I would look into his eyes and see “alien”. He just felt completely and utterly foreign to me. Not a dog, sort of a bunch of muscles from mars. After numerous attempts to try to train him he seemed untrainable. It would be easy to think that Earl was stupid. He doesn’t listen, he eats the furniture and even after the humans go spare he still does what he wants. Nothing worked and unlike Bezial, he didn’t learn from his mistakes, he just kept making them.  He obviously thinks he rules the roost but something has happened to Earl over the last 6 months. He has decided that he loves us. He even loves his fat old sofa buddy Bezial. In allowing himself to love us he has also allowed himself to start fitting in to the hierarchy here. He is starting to listen to commands. “NO” is something he understands now. I don’t ever think he didn’t understand “NO” I just think he chose not to worry about it. Now he wants to please us and get cuddles and have us say “Good Dog!” and pat him. Earl is an attention hog. He loves nothing more than being loved and it’s lucky that Bezial could care less about cuddles because Earl is always there to lap up any attention that anyone wants to give him.

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I think this is priceless…all 3 of my boys looking completely and utterly doo-lally! SHHH! Stop laughing…Steve will hear you! 😉

Now the following image isn’t going to make an OUNCE of sense to anyone outside of Australia and of a “certain age” but here it is anyway…doesn’t Milo bear a canny resemblance to Steve in this image?! 😉

Milo with guitar

If Steve EVER finds this post it could be enough reason for a divorce! 😉

Where I said earlier that it would be easy to think that Earl was stupid I meant that he never seemed to learn anything. We spent 6 months trying to teach him the benefits of shaking hands. He eventually learned it and if you pull out a treat bag that little front paw is straight up in the air. Earl is the least “stupid” dog I know. What Earl is, is his own dog. He might have a feral edge a mile wide but that edge is completely tempered with how a dog should act. The problem is that Steve and I aren’t dogs and Bezial doesn’t think that he is one either and Earl is trying to teach us the ways of the pack. Obviously he is top dog in his pack order but after 3 years he is starting to see that there are benefits in allowing the pink hairless ones to think that they are the boss. There are some quality games to be had when you drop the toy that you are holding. Dropping prey is foreign to a dog. Why would you drop your hard won fluffy squirrel for another dog?! Earl recently showed me how clever he was. He often brings a toy in to the computer in the afternoon and presses it gently onto the knee of whoever is using the computer at the time. It’s his way of saying “a game would be nice around about now, you obviously need to check off that seat before you start to resemble Bezial…” it is also the precursor to his long and convoluted series of stages that he goes through before his meal. He brought the toy to me and pressed it onto my knee looking up at me with enormous doe eyes. Earl is VERY good at doe eyes. Nature gave him Chinese eyes but he has learned to open them wide and can melt hearts with those eyes. I think it’s the fact that you don’t expect that adoration and innocence from that body.

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Admittedly this doesn’t look tasty. It looks like something that might once have been tasty but that has passed through the digestive tract of the enjoyer and is on it’s way to the sewer. It is, however, delicious! This is date paste that has had a good slug of Jack Daniel’s, a splosh of Hazelnut liqueur, a glug of Stones Green Ginger Wine and a gargle in some delicious maple syrup (all with the complete acceptance of my daughters who owned all of these ingredients 😉 ). It tastes like scrumptious smooth fruit mince and I am going to make some coconut vegan vanilla ice-cream and swirl some of this gorgeousness through it.

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This is a choko that has broken it’s banks and that is growing. I am happy for it to grow, in fact, I am ecstatic! Jean of the wonderful blog “allotment adventures” has been waxing lyrically about choko’s for a while now and has reignited my memories of these humble tasteless vegetables. I have eaten them boiled and this is what turned me off them BUT I have also enjoyed them immensely without even knowing that they were in what I ate. They are carriers of flavour, sort of the green vegetable equivalent of tofu (except nothing like it 😉 ). They work well in jams, marmalade and eke out the prize tasty ingredients by being content to stay in the background while the prized fruit shines. Love them or loath them, Serendipity Farm is about to have a choko vine :). Those strange looking things underneath the choko used to be red Jerusalem artichokes. For some reason once I put them into this bowl and they all deflated! The white stuff is not mould but is flour (Steve is a messy cook 😉 )

Earl and I have a special bond. Apparently he sees me as his property. He knows that as “property” I have my disadvantages. One of them is that I go ballistic at a moment’s notice. To own property like me you need to be dedicated. I am like owning an old degrading WW2 bomb, I am unstable and I am dangerous. I might look barnacled and benign but beneath my pock-marked surface I am ticking and Earl knows it. I would like to think that he has decided that I am his mistress. That I rule the roost here and that I am to be listened to but I fear I am barking up the wrong tree and Earl has just decided to let me do what I want to do so long as I keep scratching him in the right places, cuddling him and telling him he is a good boy and I let him sleep at my feet on the bed. There is a whole lot more to Earl’s love than that. I am doing him an injustice there. When Earl loves, he adores. If he was a human he WOULD be a Viking. He would be all man muscular and handsome and when he fell in love it would be that amazing real deal. There would be roses and feet being swept off and forever and lots and lots of fluffy squirrel donations but he isn’t a man, he is a dog and that makes him a little more manageable. He is satisfied with his lot aside from a constant need to be the cream that rises to the top. He knows that Bezial was here first and that Bezial has a part of Steve’s heart that he will never be able to fill. I give Earl that love that he craves and as the only “bitch” in the family I qualify for his undivided attention and Earl IS learning to fit in now. I wouldn’t trust Earl with anything other than a human but with a human I would trust him implicitly. Earl is the sort of dog that you could send your 10 year old child off with and KNOW that nothing was going to happen to them. He instinctively knows how he is supposed to act. There are no fears in Earl (aside from squirty water bottles and a strange terror of noises that come out of mobile phones that send him running) and I know that if any of us, Bezial included, were ever to be attacked he would fight for us to the death. I know that like I know the morning will come. I love Earl and my early fear of his animalistic alien-ness has mellowed to acceptance and real love. We have an understanding now that runs much deeper than the here and now and Earl and I navigate through our day’s one fluffy squirrel at a time.

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Lastly…you tell ME how you pronounce that without the library lady jumping over her desk and washing your mouth out with soap! 😉

Sorry about the bad photo but it was raining and a bit dark today so the flash kept going off. Here’s todays library haul. James Wong is a legend and the other 2 books are some recipe books that I have been interested in messing about with. The black book has some most interesting recipes in it “crack pie” and “cereal milk ice cream” are only 2 of the choices but I am having fun going through the yellow book that has recipes for making your own ramen…now who wouldn’t want to know how to make good quality ramen!

It’s windy and rainy and thundery and lightning and absolutely LOVELY! It’s great to have a bit of foul weather for once and to know that it really is winter. The weather worldwide seems to have become somewhat confused. Steve and I have been so grateful that we bought Brunhilda when we did. She is certainly paying for herself now with endless hot water, free cooking and house warming. We have been cracking through our media course and are learning heaps about Adobe Flash and have recently been animating household objects. Steve animated his coffee cup and I animated a set of 3 Babushka dolls that I picked up somewhere. Lots of fun and another feather in our caps should we ever need to look like Indian Chiefs. I am lusting after getting out into our new veggie garden. I need to source some hay but at the moment we are starting to prep ourselves for the impending visit of friends and family for my rapidly approaching “big” birthday. There is snow on Mount Wellington Kymmy! We can go up together and make a snowman. I want to post a picture of Kym and I making a snowman and throwing snowballs at each other (not sure how I am going to take a photo of us BOTH throwing snowballs but hey, leave it with me! 😉 ). My sister Pinky is coming over as is the son-and-heir and his Texan sweetie Kelsey so there will be quite a few more than usual hovering around Serendipity Farm.

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Here’s my gauntlets so far. It’s just about time to swap over to that brown wool so I am going to have to bite the bullet and cast off!

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These are my daughter Bethany’s. I forgot to take them off when I borrowed them the other day and only remembered halfway home so Steve will be taking them back on shopping day. I wonder if anyone out there would know where I could find a pattern (and the knitting ability) to make a pair of these? I LOVE them!

Steve headed off and took a few motion blur images of Glad’s little waterfall that runs through her property. She was out raking leaves (not bad for 91) and said “Knock yourselves out!” when we asked her if she minded us taking photos. She recently burned the junction where the waterfall meets the outflow pipe (into the Tamar River) to remove all of the oak leaves that were clogging it and its lucky that she did because this recent rain has caused the stream to flow wonderfully and it would have backed up into her garden if it was full of leaves. The roosters are crowing in unison under the deck. I wouldn’t care so much if they weren’t situated directly underneath me. They are big roosters and those large lungs are apparently there to increase the noise. We just discovered that one of the smaller “hens” is a rooster. It is going to be a most beautiful rooster because it is a cross between Big Yin (a standard golden Wyandotte rooster) and one of Effel Dookarks offspring (She was a blue Wyandotte) and it has a lovely grey tail. We might even keep him and see what he looks like. The other 2 are living on borrowed time. We were recently given the bones from a piglet purchased from a local producer by our friends. They were ostensibly for the dogs but Earl is “funny” about bones and when he saw how many bones were on offer he started to strut around and we decided to stop a problem (with Bezial) before it occurred. He got a couple of bones (that he promptly ran off to hide with his nose) and the rest went into a stockpot with lots of water while I was away. If I had been here, I would have done something with them but Steve just let them simmer till they reduced down to about ¼ of their original weight and the next day they had turned to jelly. The dogs didn’t want to even contemplate eating it. They are VERY fussy for big dogs. The feral cats got it all and enjoyed every single jelly filled mouthful. I think Steve just made instant canned cat food…”Jelly meat anyone?” 😉

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Here’s the back of them. Note the cute mitt conversion kit that…

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Flips over when you need your fingers to be warm

I am just finishing off todays post whilst waiting for my RSS Feed Reader to download todays haul. I have dumped a few peripheral blogs that I no longer read and am tailoring my blog feeds to what I am now interested in. My interests tend to evolve on a regular basis but revolve predominately around vegan food and recipe blogs and baking sites along with some gardening and environmental sites. Most of the blogs that I follow post infrequently which is amazingly lucky for me because I have so many of them. I have almost managed to get back to a maintenance level where I empty my feeds every day. It takes me about a week of intensive shuffling to do it after a weekend away. I am going to have a LOT of feeds after my week with Kym but there is an option called “The Panic Button” that you can press that eliminates all posts older than a specified date (you choose) so I might just have to get ruthless on them or die trying to eliminate them. My choko is sprouting nicely, my gauntlets are almost finished and now I found a tutorial reminding me how to cast off, I should be able to finish them soon :o). That should tell you how long it has been since I last knitted! We are enjoying using rainwater in our kettle to make our daily beverages now. I also use it to make my kefir. I have been batching up my excess non-dairy kefir and freezing it in ice-cube trays ready for warmer times when I can get back to drinking green smoothies for breakfast without sustaining frost bite of the lip.

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These are my lovely rainbow wool socks that my son bought for me one mothers day a few years ago. Earl “redecorated” them :(. I am in the process of pulling what is left of them apart, re-joining the hand dyed wool together and then I might just attempt to recreate a pair of those lovely hooded mitts. I know that they will probably be HUGE and I won’t be able to do or feel anything with them but as they are chunky wool, at least I won’t have cold hands!

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The biscuit barrel is starting to get low…time to bake some more! That’s my non-dairy kefir doing its thang next to the bickies

I just found an excellent blog site (that I promptly added to my feed 😉 ) all about making and using worm wicked water beds. An excellent resource and here is the website for anyone interested in this wonderfully water-wise way of vegetable gardening…

http://www.jas49580.blogspot.com.au/

And here’s another great blog with free PDF’s about soil mycology and how to build and use water wicking veggie garden beds. You can now get an idea why I never manage to get entirely through my RSS Feed Reader…I keep finding new and amazingly useful sites! 😉

http://www.wickingbed.com/

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This is one of Steve’s sponge cakes. He just tossed this one together for a friends birthday tomorrow. He will be taking orders when he recovers from the effort 😉

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I KNEW this choko had designs on taking over Serendipity Farm! This image was taken this afternoon…the image at the beginning of the post was taken about 2 hours earlier…it is growing exponentially! By Wednesday we will all be trapped inside and it will be demanding to be fed…actually…look at the end of it. it bears an uncanny resemblance to “Audrey” from The Little Shop of Horrors!

It would seem that I have fallen prey to the dreaded lurgy folks. Not bad, but definitely making me feel tender and sniffy. How lucky am I that I can settle down next to Brunhilda and fall asleep over my knitting or a book. Steve is off hunting Aurora Australis somewhere in Deviot. Apparently there are sun spots at the moment and that means a greater than average chance (60% if you care) of seeing the Aurora Australis from the Southern states of Australia. As Tassie is about as far south as Australia gets (apart from our vested interests in Antarctica…) we have a good viewpoint. Steve has plans for taking some time-lapse photography tomorrow involving the river and some yachts. This wind brings the yachters out en masse. I think I might be just about to call this post done and dusted folks. Today has been “smooth”. Not bad to be smooth when you are sick, just coasting along and nothing major…just “smooth”. Tomorrow will hopefully be just as smooth and won’t have me crusty and with a handkerchief permanently welded to my nasal area. Wish me luck and see you on Wednesday :o)

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At least if the choko manages to eat me, it will get its just deserts! 😉

Slagathor the Viking dog

Hi All,

earlking

Slagathor the Viking dog, Master and slayer of all he surveys and servant to none

If you want the full doganese version of it, it is “Slagathor the Viking dog, Master and slayer of all he surveys and servant to none”. That’s what he would have us believe his name is. His name is “Earl” to us. I was dragging down the West Tamar Highway this morning behind a most determined dog who didn’t walk yesterday because Steve went to town to do the shopping. He spent most of yesterday running around barking at both real and imaginary creatures and he is most definitely one of “those dogs” that needs a decent walk every day.  Bezial was limping around today so he got a day off and as a new convert to walking every day, I volunteered to walk Earl. I think a lot when I walk alone. Earl isn’t much of a conversationalist and prefers to sniff and pee so I allow my mind to wander where it will. My mind tends to wander all over the place and I got to thinking about what Earl would call himself if he was given the choice. I immediately remembered a cartoon by Mr Gary Larson, kind of the cartoon crossover between the animal world and everything else, a most entertaining maestro of the scientific pun and lord of the intellectual laugh.

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PLEASE don’t sue me Mr Larson…I am a geek like you!…no really…I am!

It’s Tuesday, we both passed our first Adobe Flash unit and we don’t have anything to do today (study wise) because we have both completed everything that we can (that our lecturer will release to us…he is more of a control freak than I am!) in advance so today belongs to us. Steve wants to use the P.C. today because he is going to try to sort out our unused laptop so that I can use it while I am at my daughters house this weekend. Off again you say? Yup :o). It turns out my ex-husband is coming to Melbourne to celebrate his 50th with the first batch of kids. Not a bad option since they are all adults and most of them can pay their way. I got roped in to look after Qi and the house while the girls are away and will be absent without leave again. The problems come when you realise that the girls don’t have “television” as we know it in their home. They don’t actually watch free to air or pay TV! They spend too much time online and watching more than enough old movies to open their own dvd store from their home. They have dvd’s everywhere and lots of old dvd’s on a well stocked hard-drive. The problems come from narf7 and her bolshie desire to keep that part of her (well stocked) brain that could be dedicated to learning how to operate technology free for things that actually interest her. This weekend I am going to HAVE to learn how to use that little black box of theirs that contains the magic treasure. I am going to have to (gulp…) learn to use the remote control!

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Steve has been messing around watching YouTube tutorials about how to make infra red images without an infra red camera. He recently purchased an infra red filter but has very kindly allowed me to fill the rest of this post with some of his creations using Photoshop.

Not only that, but I have only just recovered and regrouped from the last visit to the girls in the RSS Feed Reader context. I don’t want to spend another 2 weeks trying to regain control. Qi doesn’t like to walk without Bethany (my youngest daughter) and so walking the dog is out of the equation. What’s a narf to do in an empty house with no telly and a slothful dog? Bring her own…THAT’S what! Steve is the technological brains in our house. Not only is he the brains trust, but he is actively able to update his brains trust, he is interested in how things work, he is the most stubborn mule born since mules were given that moniker AND he enjoys it. What more perfect partner for a bolshie narf7 who could care less about remote controls, television and most technology. I use technology to deliver me “stuff” that I want. Information…knowledge…like number 5 from last centuries wonderful movie (when they knew how to make wonderful movies 😉 ) “Short Circuit” narf7 “needs input!” Steve came up with a great idea to keep me from resorting to forcing the dog out on a skateboard that involves our unused laptop (almost pristine condition…can anyone say “vista operating system?” 😉 ), my exponentially increasing RSS Feed Reader that I have named Audrey 2 (“FEED ME NARF7”!) and narf7… spending my days reading blogs, pinning and occasionally running around the house to activate the dog.

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I really love this little image. Its a study in greyscale and it looks like a charcoal drawing

All of this involves me having a laptop, at my daughters, that will work. Not as easy as it might seem because that laptop has to plug into their internet service AND work. Our laptop is even more bolshie than I am. At least you can occasionally get me to change my mind through explanations and guilt (guilt works the best…) but our laptop is a product of its operating system and Vista plain and outright SUCKED folks. We bought the laptop for me to write a book. Steve has delusions that I have talent. I am under no such delusions and know that everything that comes from the tapping fingers of narf7 comes from the myriad collection of motley muses that cohabit my brain. I KNOW that the moment I sat down to attempt to write a book, a short novella, a short story, an ESSAY those self-same muses would go shtum. They are like our laptop…bolshie to the core, revolutionaries every one and prone to fits of incredible temper followed by months of stilted silence. All I can say is that it is lucky that there are so many of them because at least 10 of them are sulking at any given time. I wouldn’t want to upset the delicate balance and equilibrium that seems to have settled into my brain between muses output and narf7 input and so that bolshie laptop remains somewhat pristine and it even has a mouse…

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You can create some awesome images by simply inverting an image but this one took a lot more work. Doesn’t it look like a snowy vista with a river in the middle? It’s actually a warmish day in a park and those ripples on the “water” are actually melted tar

I won’t be here when you read this. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it! I will be (hopefully) reading blogs and pinning like a maniac (imagine a crack addict in a room full of free crack…sad but true) and organising my RSS Feed Reader, my Pinterest boards (now that I know how to use them) and the laptop. Consider narf7 a pig in muck this weekend :o). I might have to leave the dog behind to go for a walk but I will bring her back treats and will spoil her rotten. My daughters will be in Melbourne and I will be stuffing their dog full of meat and bones…MEAT AND BONES! I won’t be allowed to look after Qi again for a while because I corrupt her. I am like a dog virus. The girls just get her thinking that she is a small human (she eats what they eat) and suddenly “grandma” bursts onto the scene loaded up with raw meat and bones and all hell breaks loose. It won’t be that bad…I can’t actually get the raw meat in time but there might be bones…

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This looks like some sort of alien planet.

I am typing this while a free PDF downloads. I love finding free recipe PDF’s and this one had 92 pages of wonderful looking gluten free recipes. I also love finding new blogs to subscribe to and read. While I am at my daughters I will be flensing my RSS Feed Reader. I am just about to download the new version of FeedDemon 4.5 that bypasses the need to synchronise with Google Reader. By the time you read this Google Reader will be staggering around on its last legs. It will have 1 solitary day to live and if you are still reading your feeds through Google Reader, it might be a good time to run…yes RUN folks…off and sort out a new reader because as of Monday July 1st, Google Reader shall be no more. I am luxuriating in the thought that come Monday I won’t have to wince when I open my RSS Feed Reader, indeed I will be positively glowing. I foresee a July where all of the blogs that have stopped sending out feeds, where blogs that have stopped giving good content and where blogs that aren’t pulling their weight have been eliminated from narf7’s RSS Feed Reader…”I have a dream!” folks…and it’s positively blissful :o)

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The Tamar River on steroids or crack

Bored of reading about RSS Feed Readers yet? I will give you a break now and will change tack. If you wanted to get that free Gluten Free PDF by the way feel free to go here and get it…

http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/ebook/

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The same image but treated in a different way. It’s really amazing what you can do in Photoshop

Have you ever had one of those “DUH!” moments when you have been pondering a problem and suddenly the answer rolls into your addled brain and it really IS like a light switch goes on…well I have had 2 of them in a week. My first consisted of me fretting about the state of a woollen round rug that we keep in front of the fire. Steve and I watched a television program about how wool is an amazing product (yeah…I know…scintillating…) and in the program we learned that wool is actually fire retardant…it doesn’t burn folks! They showed a mock up bedroom inside a shipping container that they filled with woollen bedding/toys/clothes etc. and one full of manmade fibres and the manmade fibre bedroom went up in flames and the woollen bedroom didn’t. Simple as that. What better to put in front of Brunhilda (who is prone to hissy fits when you toss wood into her) to stop the sparks than an old (inherited) woollen rug? The problem was that Steve is less than careful about banging off bark, dirt and anything else that wood contains onto this rug and as I am the sweeping freak (at least 3 times a day, we don’t use the vacuum cleaner on a regular basis) he could care less about bits on the floor…someone else makes them “go away”…so I had a problem with a fringe around the edge of the rug constantly trapping and filling up with woody crumby bits that I had to extract by picking up and shaking the rug…no easy sweepy fix to that one. We had another fringed oval woollen rug (also inherited) near the back door to try to catch the dirt and for Bezial to bask in the sun’s rays. It too managed to hold and trap dirt, dust, dog hairs and woody crumbs. I was perplexed to say the least!

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The green of the trees has been turned to pink in this image and they now look like they are flowering.

The rugs are quite old and worn and the fringes were in various stages of decomposition which also added to my angst. While I was standing next to Brunhilda I suddenly had that “DOH!” moment…if the fringe was making me twitch so much, why didn’t I just cut it off! 15 minutes later the fringes were gone, the rugs looks neat, they don’t catch bits anymore and narf7 is a happy camper. A very simple fix that required me to actually think about the problem and see it for what it was. I needed to simplify the problem and stop complaining about it in my head before I could actually deal with it. I just had another “DOH!” moment at 4.30am precisely. I was working through my RSS Feed Reader that I have just updated. You have a single solitary day to update your feed reader folks before Google Reader goes defunct on your derrière (if you are using Google Reader that is…). I thought that I was protected because I downloaded FeedDemon 4.1 but it turns out the owner of FeedDemon has decided to call it quits but before he goes out with a Googly bang, he has most magnanimously decided to allow FeedDemon to go on in Perpetua without him and he has even more magnanimously deigned to give us the Pro version that up until now you had to pay for and now it’s free! Kudos sir! If you want to take advantage of this new FeedDemon 4.5 version that is entirely independent of Google Reader (which 4.1 wasn’t!) feel free to read my last post which is just a repost of Mr Bradbury’s own blog post and gives a link to the download for FeedDemon 4.5

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This is a motion blur image but given the Steve treatment its a study in pink and aqua. Steve just said “It’s Barbies Bridge” 😉

Now we can get back to the reason for “DOH!”2…I have an exponentially increasing amount of non-dairy kefir that is threatening to blow up our fridge. It is one of those products that I need to think more about as to how I am going to use it. I can’t heat it or its beneficial probiotic bacteria and fungi will croak. I don’t want that! I want the benefits of this wondrous mix and so I have been trying to think of ways to integrate it into my diet. It is freezing cold here in Tassie at the moment (no surprise there folks, we just hit the winter equinox and we are a hop, skip and a jump away from Antarctica…) so my spring and summer green smoothies are no longer as tantalising as they were when it was warm to hot. I was pinning a recipe for some wonderful blueberry, mango and coconut ice pops when suddenly I thought “why don’t I freeze my non-dairy kefir and make ice blocks!” That way I can store them in a freezer bag in our larger freeze and they can be used in smoothies when it gets warmer and by then I will have a huge supply of them that I can keep going…what a great idea!

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This is one of my favourite images. I just really love the colour combinations. Who wouldn’t want a lavender tree fern?

I tend to be one of those people that hang onto a problem and work at it from all sides. Steve is exactly the same. I am sending this post from my daughters thanks to Steve being clever (and most stubborn) clogs who has managed to get our bolshie laptop to toe the line and do what it is told. It was no mean feat folks, this plastic mound of diodes and plugs is plain nasty. Not only has he forced it to do his bidding but he has stuffed it full of my personal shortcuts and all kinds of programs that I can use to while away the hours till my daughters get back on Sunday after flying to Melbourne and visiting with their brother and his Texan sweetie Kelsey who live there and their father who is just about to turn 50. If you ever find this blog Robert and you read this post…Happy Birthday and no hard feelings :o) and yes…I have LOTS of wrinkles ;). I will be clearing out my Pinterest Boards and RSS Feed Reader and will most likely be using the Wii fit (the dog refuses to walk with me…) and playing Zelda and Animal Crossing till my eyes are as crossed as the Animals are. Steve waited till I went to bed the other night after spending the whole day trying to get the laptop to do his bidding. He knew that I would tease him about his stubborn refusal to leave the stupid thing alone and after I went to bed he snuck back to the P.C. (after telling me he was done with it for the night) and sorted it out. Once Steve gets hold of a problem he never lets go till it is solved. Hopefully he is like that about us…I am most definitely a “problem” that isn’t going away any day soon 😉

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This image is a little disconcerting. Bezial looks like he is an elongated sausage dog but really he is sitting down and most of what you can see behind him is shadow. He is telling us all to “Move along…nothing more to see here folks”…I guess that’s Bezial’s way of saying “see ya later!” He never was a very convivial dog 😉

I am in the process of organising photos and images for this post. It’s early Wednesday morning and I am just about to wrap this post up for the day. We already have a pilfered Larson image (someone else pilfered it first so does that make it alright?!) and a doctored image of Slagathor the Viking Dog. Now I just need to find a lot more. I know that my daughters have a prehistoric version of Photoshop on their desktop P.C. that I should be able to resize images with so I might head out and pound the pavement a bit when I get there on Friday and see what I can take some pictures of. No doubt there will be pictures of Qi in various stages of dog-eyes when I have finally tired of chasing her around the house with one of her toys and there might be more photos of the contents of the girls cupboards. I am fascinated by the amount of weird and wonderful ingredients that they have managed to amass! I am amazed and envious! I might take a few photos of the girls rat and Madeline’s Indian Ringneck parrot Taylor. Taylor hates EVERONE AND EVERYTHING. The rat doesn’t like me much either so I might have to feed him via a chopstick through the bars of his cage but he will get fed girls! I might just have to get creative about it ;). Ok, that’s it…that’s all for today folks. Its Saturday evening, I have no doubt been pinning and cleaning out RSS Feed Readers all day and I have probably scheduled this post to post itself. Have a fantastic weekend and think of narf7 categorising her brains out and loving every single minute of it…why oh WHY didn’t I become a librarian…I would have been in career choice heaven! 😉

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.

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! 😉

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