Sharing is good for everyone. The book that Dr Seuss forgot to write

Hi All,

 

I can hear the 3.30am mail plane flying overhead as I start typing this blog post. In the midst of my fogyish haze of sickness I pulled a blog post all about soup out of my head. I haven’t re-read it and what seemed like a masterpiece in the midst of my delirium may just be complete and utter rubbish so I am creating a backup blog post just in case. I started off this morning by not wanting to get out of bed when the alarm went off. Now that the mornings are getting colder it is a lot harder to vacate that delicious warm space (especially when there is a questing black nose just waiting to take up residence as soon as you get out…sometimes before you do!) and drag my sorry derrière out in the dark to the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love my early mornings, I am just not very coherent or lucid prior to that first cup of tea.

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Brunhilda prior to her inaugural relighting ceremony for the year. Note the lack of a couple of doors. Steve ran out of the special heat proof paint that she needs to be painted with at the beginning of each new burning season and was waiting to pick up another can to spray the last 2 doors. Aside from those 2 doors she is looking pretty shmick

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Doors on and you are now sharing the happiness of Serendipity Farm as Brunhilda arises, like the phoenix (without burning herself to smithereens), and starts her tour of duty for our cold season. Note the close proximity of the dogs. They didn’t move from that spot for 2 hours 😉

Since Friday Brunhilda has been back in action. We lit her because Friday was frigid. I even have the chilblains to prove it. It looks like we are going to have a very cold winter period here in Northern Tasmania and Brunhilda is going to be invaluable in getting us mind, body and soul through it. I can’t explain the symbiotic relationship that we share but needless to say we need each other. She purrs like a kitten when I feed her those first few small logs and I purr like a kitten when I get that kettle tic-tacking with the stones that my brother sent me from the beach from my home town that herald boiling point and the imminent arrival of the elixir of great happiness of the soul. After shuffling Bezial from the couch where he has nested in one of the blankets that we leave heaped up so that he can snuggle down for the night, to my warm patch in the bed, I can then begin my mornings.

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3am and awakened from her overnight slumber and purring like a kitten full of (logs) cream

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Narf7 doing the happy dance to celebrate the awakening of  Brunhilda

Most of the time I read my emails, answer a few blog comments and get started on my RSS Feed Reader but lately I have been discovering some wonderful Pinterest boards that follow my own boards and this morning was no exception. Firstly I have been downloading an amazing haul of precious information that Ms Rabid put me onto. She sourced it via her amazing hunter-gatherer husband Martin and all kudos to him; he is a hunter extraordinaire when it comes to finding the good stuff for the brain. As a penniless student hippy I know the value of free information and he has a goldmine of the good stuff. It would take me a year to get access to all of the pdf’s and precious info that Jess just sent me via the library and the hold and wait scheme let alone the time it would take me to process the information and copy out what was important to me so this is an amazing and most wonderful gift and sharing this information is what forms incredible communities.

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“Red sky in the morning…sulking dogs…

 

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The first of the trailer loads of free aged horse manure that we are about to use as part of our veggie garden renovation. Watch this space…

 

I just discovered that humans are the only thing that balks at change. We hit this seasonal “change” thing enough in our three score years and ten to be more than aware that it is happening and yet we sit back and watch and wait. The rest of nature/the world is all “Alrighty then…let’s get going!” Where Narf7 is holed up with 2 sulking dogs tapping away on a blog post (when she should be stoically braving the rain and getting out into that garden!), our chooks are out tunnel mining their way to China, the garden is waving it’s greenery at the sky the moss, that looks dead and crispy on the rock pathway that leads down through the semi civilised and jungle parts of the garden is “mossing” and the mail lady just sailed right on past our house like she does most days of the year. See continuity is going on all around us. We might be digging in our heels against the cold/heat coming our way but most things just don’t think about it, they are too busy living in the moment.  I have a lovely trailer load of horse manure that needs to be emptied come rain or shine (note to self… “You know when it was nice and sunny yesterday? You remember how that trailer load of dry horse manure sat there all day out in that lovely sunshine? Well next time SHOVEL THAT SHITE YOU LAZY NARF7 BOLLOCKS!” 😉 ) as there are another couple of trailer loads just waiting for me to shovel them up at the stud where Stevie-boy managed to score the owner using his backhoe to shovel the entire first load into the trailer without Stevie-boy having to put shovel to shite once. Autumn is one of the busy seasons and I needs to get me some BUSY

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When it’s very cold and you want your yeasted dough to rise you think outside the box. Under that towel is another towel, and under that towel is another one. Under THAT towel is a bowl containing yeasted calzone dough up against a freshly boiled kettle

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Calzones prior to baking. Note the dough contains Italian mixed herbs, Parmesan cheese and chilli flakes

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Didn’t Brunhilda do a magnificent job and not a speck of caramelisation to be seen 🙂

In saying that, it is SO nice in here. Brunhilda has been pumping out that gorgeous radiant heat that she is so very good at pumping out (…”dear auto-correct…PLEASE stop changing “pumping” to “pumpkin” thank you…) and she now has 2 American Staffordshire terrier “earrings”.  I am just loving all of that free stove-top space, oven space and the ability to just cook something as and when I like. I am going to bake Stevie-boy an apple cake to go with cream for his dessert tonight. Just because I can. The rain is hard, fast and steady outside and I figure it is set in for the day.  Lucky really because otherwise I may just have procrastinated myself out of another day of working on my studies.  I have arrived at a point where I have to sit down with small squares of paint swatches (by the way, “cheers” to the paint manufacturers who are now doing trendy things with paint swatches thus rendering them completely unusable as “squares” by poor long suffering design students…) and stick them into a blank journal in some kind of artistic manner. As a creature of order I have to stop myself from just sticking them all around the outside edge, forming a nice frame and being done with it as I get the feeling that “design” might have more to do with creativity than neatness. Might be time to crack out the kefir, drink me a couple glasses of the bubbly stuff and after about 30 minutes let’s just see how “creative” old Narf7 can get 😉

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Good old Sao crackers. Steve picked up a packet in the shopping as he figured he hadn’t had them in ages. Here they are topped with cheese and homemade zucchini, capsicum and chilli relish that our friend Jenny gave us

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Anyone for a sandwich?

I had a fan girl moment yesterday. I was checking my emails and one of them notifies me of everyone who has commented on Facebook, This blog and Pinterest and lets me know if I have any new followers (“Hi new followers :)”). I follow a multiple author blog called “Punk Domestics” which is a wonderful source of interesting ways to preserve, grow and “do” things. Yesterday I noted that one of my followers was “Punk Domestics”… “SQUEE!” Oh how PROUD I am! All of the painstakingly pilfered posts and the long hours bent over double myopically peering at the monitor have paid off, I am officially “cool” :). Seriously though folks, it’s always nice to get positive feedback from your peers. If anyone that I admire even looks sideways in my direction I will lay down on the floor and let them walk all over me. I might have to work on that reaction a little bit but generally I am in all consuming awe whenever someone that I admire and respect acknowledges my existence (I can’t believe it…I just spelled “acknowledge” correctly…without the spell checker!)

 

 

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2 blank journals with little bits of cut up paint swatch. As of 3.20pm today, they are still 2 blank journals with little bits of cut up paint swatch on them…I see no change in the immediate future…

I think I deserve an award. Not one of those awards that you give to someone who has done something majestic or magnanimous or even magnificent to advance the human race, but an award for something that I excelled the rear end out of today. I would like to say that it was something productive but alas it was probably the antithesis of productive. I would just like to ask you all, what is it about us humans that will allow us to go to tremendous measures in order to avoid doing something that we HAVE to do that we don’t want to do? The award that I would like to have bestowed upon my noble narfy brow is the award for incredible procrastination in the face of a rapidly approaching deadline to hand in our studies. Rather than sit down with a pot of glue, a pile of snipped up paint swatches and a brand spanking new blank art journal and start sticking as per instructions, I just spent the better part of 3 hours completely rearranging the lounge room. Not only did I shuffle a few books and sweep the floor, No, I completely rearranged the sofas, the book cases etc. so that it looks completely different.

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A friend gave Steve 3 cleaned abalone to try the other day. Flattened to within an inch of their lives and stir fried in garlic butter and Steve says “YUM!” I might not have tried these delicious little mollusks but I do get the shells 🙂

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Thanks to most of Tasmania (stupidly) cashing in their wood burning stoves and buying heat pumps we have been having a lot of brownouts and blackouts of late. The power needs to be maintained in the cities so we smaller country outposts have to suck it up and wear the odd blackout. I used up all of my tea-light candles and got Steve to buy me some bigger candles for the next time that it dips below 15C and all of Launceston fires up their heat pumps. Steve stuck the candle into this bottle because it wouldn’t fit on my candelabra (too thin) and it bears a striking resemblance to a most intolerant breed of Southern Americans that shall remain anonymous. Needless to say, I call it my “klu klux kandle” 😉

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I steamed these meatballs rather than having them turn out dry from the bbq (prior to Brunhilda being lit) and tossed them through some stir fried veggies and noodles. Apparently they were delicious. Another experiment that worked. I also used some sourdough breadcrumbs that I had dried out ages ago and completely forgotten about but that I found when fishing around in the back of the pantry for something else and used them in these meatballs. Waste not, want not 🙂

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Steve’s ÜBER stash of candy coated chocolate balls that I considered eating my weights worth of in order to stop myself from doing my studies today prior to getting stuck into rearranging the lounge room. You will be happy to know that I didn’t eat any and no-one will be more happy to hear that than Stevie-boy 😉

I did have an ulterior motive (other than trying to avoid doing what I am supposed to do at all costs…), when I got back from walking Earl this morning I could smell something in the lounge room, something unpleasant. I have smelled this smell before and it’s usually emanating from something dead of the rodent persuasion. After completely rearranging the lounge room and sniffing everything in turn with my highly suspicious nose, I came up blank. I have a blank journal AND a blank space where a dead rodent should fit. I also found lots of earls hair banked up into a corner doing battle with a small pile of nail clippings from someone who shall remain anonymous. I then realised that the most likely place for the deceased rodent to be festering is in the roof where Steve laid rat baits. The roof space has heated up nicely over the last few days and a semi mummified ex rodent’s foetid carcass would have had just enough time to start reeking to high heavens by now. Problem solved but my studies still aren’t done…

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What we are subject to for the whole day when it is pouring down raining and it has sunk in that a walk is highly unlikely

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Little wooden hearts that Steve made last year when he got bored of making wooden spoons. I am just about to coax him out of his boredom in order to elicit another lovely wooden spoon out of him so that I can have a blog give away

I won’t show you any photos of the new furniture arrangement in the lounge room because I haven’t quite decided if I like it or not. I am reserving my (procrastinating) right to completely dismantle everything tomorrow and spend the rest of the day hauling it all back to where I dragged it from today. I think the next time that Steve wants me to do something particularly nefarious, he should just give me the alternative action of having to do some studies and I will be SO there. I hope you are all settling into your new weather patterns. Ours appear to be wet and cold and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Brunhilda is back and pumping out the happy rays of warmth and Earl and Bezial are now firmly welded to her deliciously heat wafting side panels. I am relishing all of this newfound cooking time where I can actually bake a cake that might have a normal base rather than half (burned black) caramelised. I baked a delicious apple blondie last night and it turned out fantastically. Steve had some warm from the oven with a large splodge of cream and even though he had eaten a large serving of spaghetti topped liberally with a hefty smattering of my slow cooked bolognaise, he actually had another serve of apple blondie. In my books, that means that it’s a winner! No protestation about “I am only ONE man” and a most content Stevie-boy. Looks like it might be time to crack out El Camino, my wonderful white sourdough starter from Spain and see if narf7 can get back on the sourdough horse…”YEE-HA!”

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Anzac Day lest I forgot

Hi All,

How odd?! I find myself sitting here at 3.13pm on a Sunday with no dogs noses demanding anything (they have already had their tea…), Steve is tucked up watching something actually worth watching on the television and I cooked him a delicious chicken curry from scratch last night so he wants the second half of it for his tea tonight so all I have to cook tonight is a bit of steamed rice to accompany it. I made 24 Anzac biscuits today…I like to think of them as “Résistance Biscuits”…never one to be mainstream if I have a choice folks, I am aligning them with the French Resistance because “Resistance is futile” when it comes to not eating them. Today’s batch deviated from the recipe that I found on the Aussie recipe website “Taste”…here’s how it started out…

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/21104/anzac+biscuits

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The first batch of biscuits was a teensy bit über crunchy and so I baked the second batch a little less. The tartlet case was baked only till it was set because I didn’t want it to be too hard to cut when Steve was eating it later in the day

Nice and easy…a good recipe to send to the troops by savvy and canny Aussie housewives who didn’t want their menfolk to have to eat soggy or mouldy treats. The secret is the golden syrup that sets them nice and crispy and crunchy and as I had decided to make “biscuits” today Steve said “what about making Anzac’s? After all…it IS just about Anzac Day isn’t it?”…Bugger…the Pom remembered and I didn’t…my patriotic father would be spinning in his grave! My family has a very strong tradition with Anzac Day in many different ways and so Anzac biscuits (as penance along with a bit of self-flagellation in the privacy of the shed, Frank has suffered enough! 😉 ) were my saving grace. I also forgot my sisters 48th birthday yesterday. “SORRY PINKY!” I made you a nice card in Photoshop and you can consider some of that shed flagellation penance as yours ok? 😉

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A close up of the leftover Anzac biscuit dough pressed into a small individual tart pan and baked

Of COURSE my Anzac biscuits were not the same as the recipe. Nothing to do with pretention mind you, I could care less about elevating my recipes by cramming them full of super foods and strange overpriced ingredients. I would rather source something locally that would do the trick thank you! The reason for the swapsies was that this little black duck had run out of golden syrup :o(…I had also run out of coconut…now coconut and golden syrup MAKE Anzac biscuits so what was I going to do to save the day? First I remembered a pot of strange Chinese malty stuff that resembles almost set toffee in my pantry. I bought it back when I lived in Western Australia on one of our jaunts from the south up to Perth the capital city and our favourite place to go hunting for interesting ethnic ingredients. I bought it…I opened it…I looked at it…I tasted it…I forgodaboudit. It wasn’t that there was anything predominately “wrong” with it; it was just bland and stiff, sort of like über thick glucose on steroids. I figured that it would approximate the desired effect of golden syrup and after wrestling an approximation of 2 tbs of it out of the tub I forced the lid back on and hid it at the back of the pantry where it will probably stay till the next time I need golden syrup.

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The finished desert full of sticky toffee apple pieces cooked in a vanilla butter toffee sauce. Steve said it was lovely. The only thing missing was a great big dollop of thick whipped cream 😉

Coconut was harder…I then remembered that I HAD coconut flour! I had made homemade coconut milk and had dehydrated the resulting pulp and had jars of the stuff languishing on my pantry shelves! I tossed a cupful of it into the mix and crossed my fingers that the recipe would work. I mixed the bicarb soda and water and was assured that I had to remove the melted butter and pseudo golden syrup from the heat as it would fizz up majestically once the bicarb was added… I was expecting Vesuvius and removed the small saucepan away to the sink where I dumped the bicarb and water mix into the pan and cringed…nothing happened. Not even a pathetic “bloop”… I mixed everything together and then rolled the sticky mass into tablespoon sized balls and squished them down onto a baking paper (fool me once!) lined baking tray and after the prescribed time in the oven they emerged brown, über crisp and a complete success!

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This was the dog door prior to today. As you can see it had developed a curious coating of “filth” over the top of that wonderful silver colour that Steve found in the shed. Note the fluffy bathrobe…apparently “Earlvis has left the building” 😉

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Behold…the new dog door! Steve made it bigger so that Bezial doesn’t have to do the limbo when exiting and we don’t have to keep getting up to open up the sliding door at night time when he thinks he senses a possum invading his personal space

Steve was most pleased. Steve is a grazer and likes to open the fridge and cut a bit off “something” to walk around with in his hand…he likes to open a lid and extract another “something”, he loves nothing more than 1 ½ cheese sandwiches at odd times of the day smothered in the latest condiment of his choice wrestled from the fridge. Cold butter is the bane of this man’s life ;). The ability to walk past the newly instated biscuit barrel, do a double take and walk back…followed by a furtive lid lifting and extraction moment will give him endless pleasure. I have promised to ensure that the newly instated biscuit barrel remains half full at all times. I am on a baking jag and that won’t be hard. I found a recipe for chocolate sourdough biscuits (that would be “cookies” to you Northern folk) that I want to try so I might just fill up the biscuit barrel tomorrow and whenever I notice the level falling below half I can bake another batch of biscuits to ensure the barrels “never-ending” status.

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Here’s the new dog door in situ. Note the “Not A Barn” sign…you saw it? Steve doesn’t …sigh…

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Bezial showing his willingness to exit the dog door (at least in the daytime when it’s not all that cold outside…)

I have been threatening to adopt a Biafran…to go doorknocking to deliver baskets of goodies that I want to bake. I want to get stuck into perfecting a really good loaf of sourdough so that I can regularly turn out something both presentable AND delicious. Not a whole lot to ask is it? I think it’s time to get into the neighbours good books and start dropping off fresh baked loaves of bread and home baked treats. I love to experiment and as Steve so succinctly put it the other day “I can only eat so much, I am only 1 man!” When my recipe wanderlust sets in it’s hard to get it to stop. The freezer is full to the brim of lasagne, chilli, pasties, calzone and lots of individually portioned soup (my food of choice for my evening meal) and can’t handle anything more. This happens to me occasionally. I think the cold weather brings out a primal need to nest and my baking up a storm seems to be linked to that desire.

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Here’s a cute shot of Earl for all of his multiple fans around the globe…

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And here’s Earl thinking “I’m SURE celebrities get something for all of this posing!”

Did you notice that I have started splitting my posts up into MUCH smaller paragraphs? You can thank the wonderful wordstress “Thinking Cowgirl” for that. She reminded me that I am actually typing for an audience here and not just to vent my muses. She has a wonderful blog that you can check out here…

http://thinkingcowgirl.wordpress.com/

Her latest post on Baroness Thatcher’s demise really got me thinking. We got most of Ms Thatcher’s thrashed and broken union leaders who came out to the Antipodes to lick their wounds. No matter what you thought about the woman, she certainly knew how to scare people! This cowgirl knows how to write…her style captivated me from the very first post that I read and I wouldn’t miss a post now. I like to hoard them, like Mr 23 Thorn’s posts, and savour them over a nice big mug of tea when I haven’t got anything else to detract from the wonderful flavours that these wordy alchemists are able to infuse their posts with.

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We went to Launceston yesterday after visiting our friend in the witness protection and took a few photos for our course while we were there. This beautiful old Acer vitifolium caught my eye and I decided to share it with you

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I love Boston Ivy/Parthenocissus tricuspidata (or Virginia Creeper as mum used to call it). It’s a very useful plant for covering up unattractive areas and it turns the most glorious colours in autumn each year.

Words are beautiful folks. If you can weave them into something that can reach out and grab the attention of a complete stranger and carry them halfway around the world and enlighten them with your common condition you have something special at your fingertips. You ALL owe her a huge “thank you Thinking Cowgirl” because now you don’t have to stick a piece of chewing gum onto your monitor if you get interrupted when reading a Serendipity Farm blog post ;). Now if I can only learn to harness my muses for good who knows what I could do? Just thinking…it might be best to let sleeping dogs lie! 😉

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An interesting number plate that we noticed on our walk with the boys in town. This one is from my home state of Western Australia (3886.8km or 2415.14555 miles away from Launceston for those of you who aren’t sure of the translation). We were curious to see this obvious “work vehicle” parked in a leafy suburb in Launceston Tasmania… when the driver gets home do you think he will have some “splainin’ to do?” 😉

I am going to backtrack to where I told you that I made 24 Anzac biscuits and add “and I had some mix left over”. I could have made another 4 biscuits but I decided to get creative. I filled a small individual round flan tin with the mix and pressed it into the tin. I then baked the mix but not to crunchy brownness because I didn’t want Steve to chip his teeth on what was “supposed” to be a dessert treat! I then cooked some of my traditional “toffee apple apples” by peeling and slicing them and tossing them gently in butter and spices (in this case cinnamon, mixed spice and a pinch of ground ginger) and cooking them until tender and then adding about ¼ of a cup of sugar. I did this to make a sort of sticky toffee sauce that you could replicate with rapadura or coconut sugar or even honey if you wanted. After removing the caramelised mix from the heat and cooling a little I added some vanilla and then heaped the mix into the flan tin. I then made some vanilla custard and Steve got dessert, a rare but most welcome event

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Bezial just demanded to get in on the “cute” action as well…he says he is every bit as cute as Earl but without the chicken plucking capabilities

Well we made it through Monday and we collected some wood. We also made a plan to tidy up the driveway (at least the bits you can see) and haul off the brushwood that is littering the area to burn or to stockpile somewhere less visible. Half of what makes a “lovely garden” is what you see; it’s a pity that most “lovely gardens” are so maintenance intensive folks! The best thing for the garden, a “natural” garden, is to let everything stay where it drops. Let the wood lay there, the leaves, let the chooks scratch and dig and let the fungus grow. Your garden will look like utter shite BUT it will be a happy garden :o). Is there a happy medium? Apparently there is. I have seen them. Gorgeous green gardens full of fecundity and health…permaculture paradises that make Serendipity Farm look like something that slithered directly from the surface of Mars. Do I know how to turn Serendipity Farm into something approximating these gorgeous vistas? Nope. I have all of that horticultural “stuff” crammed inside my head…so does Steve…but we found ourselves wanting to take the easy way out and just “BURN THE LOT” when it came to brushwood and fallen branches and Steve did the WORST cut with his chainsaw on a poor tree resulting in a massive branch bark tear…time to send that Chainsaw license back methinks Steve!

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We live in a very pretty state (I DO feel sorry for that poor woman lugging her groceries up that steep pathway though 😉 )

What is it about “stuff” that you have crammed in your head that makes it SO difficult to get it to translate out into the real world? What do these magic green fingered permaculturalists have that we don’t? Is it because we are lazy middle aged sloths? Most probably. I dare say the vim, vigour and verve of some of these idealistic creative people would make me tired just to be in their presence. I am a bit like Garfield…I occasionally have to curl up and fall asleep in a sunbeam. These people put in dawn to dusk hours and the results speak for themselves. Steve and I wander around our “garden” hand in hand in hope that the fear that rises whenever we venture from inside the house will somehow abate if there are two of us sharing it… it doesn’t. Everywhere we turn there is something else to do and sometimes it is as much as we can do to just go outside!

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Most of the older houses in Launceston have these lovely old balconies and stained glass windows. I love the eclectic mix of styles that has evolved over the years and am not sad that we moved to this pretty part of the state 🙂

I have vision…I have all kinds of PDF’s and word documents and friends online who can give me ideas and help and hope but that all amounts to sweet bugger all if we don’t take all of that wonderful “stuff” and use it…”DO” it. We look at each other sometimes like we are both thinking “paper, rock, scissors…YOU DO IT!” but it needs both of us to work together and I can’t help thinking that there is some kind of life lesson here. We are at least planning the work and I guess that is a start but Steve and I take dragging our feet to a new level. I guess we just have to keep our eyes on the big picture and not the nitty-gritty stuff that we have to do to get there. The initial start-up capital in a permaculture garden and food forest is the work that you have to do to observe, to plan, to implement and to work out how you are going to do what you want to do with your property. Part of the problem is that we have to do what we can with a very small budget. One could almost say a minuscule budget. What the hell, “No budget at all folks!” This results in a lot of frustration and a lot of invention. In the process we learn a lot and you can’t really ask for more than that…aside from a ready-made permaculture garden and food forest I guess 😉

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This is a HDR rendered image. Please don’t ask me what that means. The net was down this morning and I couldn’t find out so you might have to do a bit of detective work yourself on this one. All I know is that you end up with something a whole lot brighter than the original 3 photos that you use to compile the shot, you have to take a normal an underexposed and an overexposed photo using a tripod so that you don’t get any movement and then Photoshop does its magic on them and turns them into this.

We are off to our friend in the witness protections home today for a visit. We hermitage dwellers very rarely deal with humankind. Aside from blogging and sharing online, I probably go to town once in a blue moon…make that every second blue moon but today we visit and we talk garden and we reinvigorate ourselves and our friend back into all things horticulture. It’s a kind of tribal thing. You start to lose perspective and purpose and one or other of us pulls in the reigns. This time our friend wants to start making some spiral gardens. She is a victim of Tassie’s treacherous native animals as much as we are but add rabbits and bush rats into the equation and even her unmitigated optimism is starting to flag. She no sooner plants things than they get eaten. She has been growing hardy pentstemons on her property for years. NOTHING touches them folks. They must be poison on a stick for these creatures because they will scarf potato and rhubarb leaves with glee and live to tell the tale. She bought a lovely white pentstemon and low and behold, it got scarfed! It gets hard to keep yourself buoyed when you read other people saying “just plant LOTS of things” and you know that if you do that, you are going to have lots of sticks in the ground :o(. Everything has to be fenced off or protected in some way or it gets inhaled and digested by something out there.

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This looks a whole lot like photos that were hand painted in the early part of the 20th century.

Today we regroup…if only to revive our flagging spirits and pass on some info on keyhole gardens, spiral gardens and other permaculture processes to take our mind off our dry dead stick gardens. After a couple of cups of tea anything is possible! I might take a bit of my latest sourdough carrot cake with chocolate icing for her and we can plot our plans of our own little world’s domination. “We are the top of the food chain damnit! We DEMAND you stop eating our plants!”… Yeah… that’ll work! ;). After we visit our friend we will head into Launceston. We will drop off some eggplants and dehydrated bananas for our daughters. Dehydrated bananas are THE BOMB people. They look like something that Earl just deposited high in a shrub (he is weird with where he will “deposit”…) but taste like heaven. After Steve picks up some thick dowel from the shed in town, we will head to the city and will take some photos of “stuff” for our course. I will hold (read get dragged around the park Willy-nilly by…) the boys while Steve sets up the tripod and camera. After that we head off to Bunning’s (hardware heaven to you Northerner’s…) to pick up some plywood to make a better dog door. Bezial is having problems going through our limbo inducing door and we are tired of getting up and opening up the sliding doors onto the deck for him to go out and join Earl in his nightly forays into possum heckling.

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This last HDR shot really shows you the dramatic look you can get when you use this technique. It looks more painted than real and I really quite like how it looks. What do you think?

I have been promised the lure of a few thrift shop hunts if I hold the dogs in the park (you can read me SO well Stevey boy! 😉 ) and after we tussle our way around the city with two very boisterous country dogs hell bent on peeing on every single lamppost, phone booth, sign, traffic light and anything else that stands still long enough to be considered as a perfect place to scribble “Earl woz ere’” in pee… we will allow them to drag us back to the car and will head home. I have 2 mature coconuts to crack and deal with. Not sure what I am going to do with them but Steve bought them for me on shopping day and I will probably make some coconut kefir out of them. I want to try souring some cream with kefir for making Steve nachos. I am drinking my second fermented date sweetened alcoholic non-dairy milk kefir daily now. It’s great stuff! Who’d-a thunk that chickpeas could be milked let along turned into kefir? The curious thing is that rather than curling up their little brainiac like curds and croaking in the weird things I am trying to culture them in, Kid Creole’s coconuts are thriving and breeding exponentially! What have I done! I am starting to feel like Frankenstein with his monsters…how far can a vegan go before she is entering territory too strange for even we crazy plant based fools?!

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(Bugger…I just ran out of photos for this post…do you think they will notice I am using an old photo? Did I mention that a possum ate all of the foliage off that lovely begonia? Do they know that I gave that leather chair to the girls? Can they see a slightly more rotund me taking a photo of herself accidentally in the kitchen window? Nah… I think I got away with it 😉 )

It’s just hit 6am. Time to wrap this post up for the press tomorrow. Are they easier to read divided up into smaller paragraphs? I hope so ;). I am only here because my RSS Feed Reader threw a tantrum and decided not to work from 5am onwards so I am taking advantage of my spare time and value adding it. See you all on Saturday folks…hopefully you spring living folk in the North can post something other than salads and smoothies for us poor autumn dwelling folk here in the South ;). See you then :o)

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http://www.notquitenigella.com/2012/11/02/sketti-with-buttered-ketchup/

I am driving this image like I stole it alright? I didn’t have time to make a batch of sketti and butter BUT this wonderful lady did! Not only did she make this fine upstanding recipe but she wrote a post about it AND she is a food snob! Go check out her wonderful post (not that I did but hey…I owe her SOMETHING for the lend of her photo!) and marvel at how delicious 2 meals for $4 can look…Steve…you have a foodie future 😉 now I just need to find Honey Boo-boo’s mum June’s email address and beg forgiveness for pinching her families secret recipe…

Just a very quick post script here…Steve wants to add something to the post. He was watching Curtis Stone who shamelessly went to the U.S. and traded on his “Aussieness” to get himself a television show and is now back in Australia flogging Coles supermarket and his “feed your family for under $10 a meal” deal. Steve says that anyone out there who needs to fill up on less than $3 to feed the family should use his “Skettie” recipe that he borrowed from Honey Boo-boo’s mum June a few posts ago. He also says that the first “Skettie” meal would cost you $3. The second one you would only have to pay $1 for the packet of pasta as you would still have half a bottle of tomato sauce and half a container of margarine left. That’s 2 meals for $4 Curtis…Steve says “BEAT THAT!” 😉 Just a note to Woolworths…Steve is waiting for your call…