Using every bit of the metaphorical cow

Hi All,

Firstly, has anyone else out there noticed an increase in blog followers lately? Aside from the blog followers, are any of you experiencing a lot more spam making it through the spam filters for WordPress? Well I have been and so I went hunting to see what I could find. The reason I went hunting was that I am naturally nosey and I decided to see who my “new followers” actually were. It turns out that 6 of the last 10 blog followers are not actually bloggers. Several of them are blogs that show me how to make money out of blogging and the rest are either suspended blog accounts or remain unused. It turns out that this problem, as it IS a problem, has been surfacing on many blogs lately. It would seem spammers have worked out a new way to make revenue out of blogs and are exploiting a loophole where WordPress doesn’t allow bloggers to choose who follows them. A simple choice, like we get with comments, would solve the problem but apparently WordPress is loath to implement this change for some reason. At the moment all we can do is report these spam/faux blogs to WordPress. Here is a bit more information about the problem…

From the site above I found a link where I headed over to a forum post specifically to do with spam followers…

If you have suddenly become incredibly popular in the last few months you may have picked up some spam hitchhikers but at the moment we just have to grin and bear them. The only option available to us is to report them to WordPress but as I said, WordPress is in mass denial mode and seem to want to divert the problem rather than deal with it. Let’s just hope that these faux followers are merely a nuisance rather than a problem waiting in the wings that WordPress simply can’t deal with.


“Sorry? You want me to look dignified? Not today, I am too comfortable”


A very large boat heading out to sea via the Tamar River

Now I can get back to the title of the post after sharing that with you. I think that everyone needs to know that the spammers are trying to get in the back door so to speak before heading side left into metaphorical cows et. Al. We all need to be more aware of food waste and we vegans can’t be smug in that arena. We might not end up with lots of grisly and gristly entrails dripping with gore when we choose to make our evening meal but we do end up with a whole lot of skins, pips and “other” that needs to be dealt with. We can compost our bits or we can often use some of them to feed domesticated animals (Earl and Bezial would like it to be known that they are NO-ONES domesticated animals and therefore point blank refuse to entertain the idea of eating our veggie and fruit scraps) but what about those skins that worms fear to taste like citrus skins and onion and garlic skins? What do we do with them? I am as guilty as the next person of surreptitiously tossing them into the rubbish bin salving my conscience with “they will biodegrade before I do!” but if everyone throws their peelings into the bin that’s a whole lot of waste on top of the waste that is more difficult to get rid of. What’s a conscientious environmentally aware person to do?


After paring the white pith away from the zest they had to be covered with cold water and brought up to the boil


Draining the peel after one of it’s simmering sessions


After the final simmer in fresh water the peel is added back into the pan along with sugar and water


Here the peel has taken on a translucent look and the syrup is thick. After checking that the syrup had reached 230F (the recipe was in “F”) I removed the pot from the heat and allowed it all to cool down for 30 minutes. The end results are a delicious way to preserve all of the harvest and minimise waste.

Well, let’s think of a clever way to reuse those problem peels. You can use pips and skin of citrus in marmalade. Save them in the freezer till you need them. You can also turn citrus skins into zest for all kinds of cooking purposes that you can freeze until needed or you can glace or candy the zest for cakes and decorations or just dipping into chocolate or sugar and eating. Here are a couple of links for anyone looking to have a go at minimising their own personal waste in the citrus area…

The same principals can be used for all citrus zest, just make sure to get as much of the white pithy bit from the zest as you can because it makes the final product bitter. I am peeling some orange skins at the moment and just found out a small tip by good chance. I froze a lot of orange skins in a bag in the freezer and was adding them to the bag as I ate my oranges. The frozen (now thawed) orange skins are much easier to get the zest from than fresh orange peels so if you want to make a lot of preserved orange peel, it might take the edge off all of that pith removal. This next tip is specifically for lemon rinds and results in zest powder and the link after that is a spin on preserved lemons, using the preserved orange rinds to make a savoury ingredient. No waste, useable and desirable edibles and less landfill a win-win situation

The onion skins make a wonderful natural dye for egg shells and natural spun wool and combined with alum and other mordants you can get some pretty amazing colours out of the humble onion skin. See some of these links for some really useful information and sites…

Anyone wanting to keep their own goats or sheep might want to head to that first blog where there is an extensive list of colours linked to particular plants. The second blog is now defunct but still there for us all to check out and this clever little cookie has managed to use some interesting things to dye skeins of wool including the humble black bean!


My lovely new friand/financier pan courtesy of my wonderful daughters


err…”Oops!” I always forget how powerful the vitamix is and this is what happened to my soaked skun almonds, they went straight from nut to paste!


After sieving the paste through a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the lumps I decided to soldier on and hope for the best that almond paste would suffice for almond meal


There’s quite a lot of butter in friand but what’s a slab of butter when something is delicious eh? 😉


The end result, lovely rich, dense little cakes that taste wonderful

I have just been doing a bit of nosing around on a website that I previously pilfered a few tutorials and articles from but haven’t had time to revisit for a while. Jess, a.k.a. “Rabid” from and LyndaD from  reminded me what a valuable source of information this site actually is. I was trawling around and discovered this amazing woman. She built a log cabin on a waitress’s wages all on her own and then after losing it to a fire just after it was completed, she and her partner did it all over again! What an inspiration of a woman! Check out her story here and marvel at how this woman was able to overcome the odds and never EVER try to beat her willpower to succeed, methinks it must be diamond skinned! that’s a lot of linkies in one post and I promise no more.

It’s now 4.24pm and suddenly it’s almost time to post this post and I have been phaffing around all day trying to animate teapots and kettles but realising that I am certainly NOT the I.T. Specialist in this family. The clucky who was sitting on eggs has hatched out 4 babies and despite being completely surrounded by feral cats as soon as they realised that there were 4 tasty little fluffy squeakies she still had 4 fluffy little babies. It would seem that her mother’s (Effel Doocark) uselessness with hatching out babies hasn’t passed down to this angry mother of a chook and she is ready to take ALL of the feral cats on at once! She attacked every single one that came close to her and is now sitting in the middle of a pile of grain that I tossed out for her on top of her fluffies and maybe…just maybe she might manage to keep all 4 babies but I am not investing myself in baby chicks anymore. The odds are against them folks and narf7 has no way to make those odds any better short of trapping all of the feral cats, driving them over the Batman bridge and hurling them out into the park on the other side along with the feral crazy man who emerges from his caravan to greet his day with a solid round of yelling each morning. Steve, the dogs and I get serenaded by his dulcet tones. Maybe he would like some cats to keep him company? At least he would have something to yell about then! 😉


This is Steve’s latest batch of homemade ice cream. It’s rich vanilla bean ice cream with homemade creamy English fudge pieces


The ice cream packed into a container and heading for the freezer


My choko now looking like some sort of exotic mantis giving a speech

I have decided to take up knitting for relaxation. I don’t know how that is going to work out to be honest because whenever I get a knot the relaxation quotient of knitting is probably going to get a reworking but the other day I decided to head off and find a sound wav of a kettle boiling. A simple little sound wav that I could put into my next animation. The very first site that I clicked on was infected with a Trojan and instantly, so were we :o(. Steve was out so narfy, the technophobic luddite had to think her way out of the fact that AVG appears to be on the blink and not updating properly and was only managing to “contain” the virus and every 5 minutes I would get a pop-up warning telling me that I had 3 viruses all vying for my attention. After ascertaining that an AVG scan just wasn’t going to cut the mustard and realising that I had NO idea where Malware Bytes was situation on our computer any more (after the last virus went through the start menu got erased)… and as I was downloading Microsofts answer to Armageddon I suddenly realised that we had been contracting a lot of viruses lately, all from websites. AVG SHOULD be catching these viruses before they have a chance to invade Poland but apparently the free version no longer does a very good job. It would appear that “free” is something that WordPress and most internet security services no longer want to host.


A tray of sausage rolls for Another one of Steve’s evening meals


Finished and ready for mass consumption


I had some milk kefir hanging about in the fridge and as neither Steve nor I use it I decided to put it to good use and make a cake. The cake recipe was for a buttermilk spice cake. The end result was incredibly moist and smelled wonderful. Being a spice cake this should mature nicely as well. I even made the icing sugar myself (from regular granulated sugar) in my vitamix.

It took 15 minutes to download the most excellent Microsoft malwares tool (from here should anyone out there find themselves up to their armpits in viruses with no-where to go…)…

After choosing “full scan” I was told that it was going to take over 2 hours…there went my morning of study! I spent the next 2 hours clicking “heal” on AVG every 5 minutes and knitting up a storm while I watched the monitor for those 5 minute pop-ups courtesy of Mr Virus and his host of minions, most persistent little buggers they are, so knitting was my only real option. I actually had fun! Once the malware removal tool had managed to find the 23 infected files and deal with them the PC was back to perfick and Mr Virus is going to have to wait till stupid narf7 plays Russian roulette again with wav sites…on second thoughts, I reckon I am going to record the sounds myself as then I am guaranteed virus free. It looks like we are going to have to pay for virus protection for the very first time. A sad but sorry indictment of the “free” software that is lagging behind and is going out of date faster than the viruses are replicating (lightning speed). As irritating as having a virus (or 23) was, there is a real danger that there are many people out there simply unaware that by clicking on a website you can become infected.


As you can see I have some knitting in prime position next to the P.C. (and yes Sarah, that IS one of your glorious U.K. meadow shots blatantly pilfered and used as my desktop 😉 )

Well that’s Wednesday done and dusted folks. It’s getting later and I have to liberate Steve’s tea from the oven. Tonight he is having marinated tofu and oven baked Chinese rice. We had 3 blocks of tofu that need to be used up and so tonight is the night. Lucky Steve likes it really ;). See you next Wednesday folks. Steve is going to have a look at working out how to format the animations so that I can share them with you along with a few photos. Take note, this post is 800 words less than your usual doorstop and narf7 is honing her craft ;). Till Wednesday, Ciao :o)

Here are my last 3 animations. You will have to click on the links below because WordPress won’t allow imbedded content. Make sure to turn your speakers on because the last animation has sound.

Industrious beavering about with feeding my mind


Hi All,

It’s that time of the month. No…nothing to do with my reproductive system, but everything to do with my regular cyclical need to go hunting for “new stuff” to add to my word documents. I check out what is new in the recipe, home handy hints and do-it-yourself sites that I haunt and I can feel a decent “hunt” in my near future. Steve loves it whenever I am overtaken with a desire to learn something as he gets the T.V. all to himself and doesn’t have to be subjected to (stupid) Chick Flicks and “Educational T.V.” and I am too interested in what I am doing to pay attention to the trash that he is happily watching and make my usual comments about the stupidity of American teenagers whenever monsters are around… Let’s just say that Steve and I have VASTLY different taste in what we like to watch on T.V. and leave it at that! I sometimes like to revisit a site that I previously wandered over, under, around and through on a regular basis but that has been left fallow for a season. One such site (I pilfered everything that I could and abandoned it like a rat leaving a sinking ship I am ashamed to say…) that is well worth your perusal is

You can stop your “Hyuck…hyuck” right now! This is a really useful site and it gives you all sorts of recipes for making do with what you find yourself limited to and what you can grow. I have a suspicion that they even have a section on how to use road kill but as yet, Steve and I haven’t descended as low as scraping up the possums and wallabies (albeit plentifully spread about the local road verges…) for our daily stew pot so I didn’t check that section out…I will give everything a go once. The old adage “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” comes to mind there and if you stiff me once I won’t come back for another round. This applies to websites as well. I have discovered sites that promised so much and that delivered little more than a pretty web page design and a whole lot of sales pitch. I want free stuff. I figured that anything with the words “Hillbilly” and “Housewife” were going to be basic and useful. There are many E-books that this site sells but under all of that self-promotion and the attempts to get you to buy their books, there is a wealth of information available for little more than the occasional “click” on the “X” button of some of their pop ups before you get down to the coalface of some really tasty information. As a magpie of information I get seriously delighted by good free information that feeds my need to know. It’s somewhat akin to me winning lotto to be honest. I have danced around the house with glee (to a most bemused Steve who has since learned to ignore my manic displays of gratuitous happiness whenever I find a particularly useful and most precious piece of previously unknown information) and have lauded my newfound information to anyone who will listen (again, Steve has long since learned to say “yep…aha…” and keep watching his television program as have my children because I go away pretty quickly in the hunt for more free stuff and allow them to get back to the more interesting things that they are engaged in). I can get totally lost for hours when I am hunting online and much like exercising before bed…researching before bed is a dead sure way to cause you to lay awake long into the night thinking about “things”. I have a hyperactive mind when I am in my “Knowledge” phase. Let’s align it with manic depression but let’s just say it is a sort of parallel experience. I get manic cycles where I race about cramming information into my poor long suffering brain for days on end and then there is a slow decline into what would equate to being “depression” in the Manic depressive, but in my runs to sloth. My brain decides that it would like a rest for a bit and I wind down from my previous overenthusiastic learning period to not wanting to even look at the computer. This can last anywhere from a monthly cycle to a period of 3 – 6 months before I get the overwhelming urge to get cracking and research my brains out. Unlike Manic depression, I don’t get unhappy…I just get lazy. There is probably a medical name for it but I prefer to think that it is my body’s way of getting me to exercise my mind on a regular basis to prevent it becoming mentally tubby. I might be somewhat hefty physically, but my mind is a super model on steroids!


Talking about super models on steroids check this baby out! Isn’t this an enormous stick insect? I would say it was right up there with the Elle McPherson’s of the stick insect world


When Stewart was out visiting us from W.A. a few years ago at Christmas time we took him to see some of the sites. It was a reasonably hot day and we took him over to see St Helens (lord only knows why!) and on the way we decided to detour and head up Mt Barrow for a look-see. We stopped before we got to the summit (because the road looked terrifying even for our little 4 x 4) and got out to have a look and noticed this little pocket of frost amongst the rocks. When mum came out last year in April we took her up this same mountain except this time we drove right to the top. What an amazing experience and the flora up there is really interesting as well


This shot was taken on the way through Scottsdale, a predominately poppy producing area with forestry as its backbone. How pretty is this poppy field? I just want to remind Roz here about how someone stole her poppies from her garden when she lived in Narrogin  I remember how indignant you were and good luck to them trying to extract any form of opium from your little patch


For some reason there are all sorts of building activity going on in Sidmouth of late. I heard a jack hammer working on and off at a property to the rear of Serendipity Farm and there are workers in the Auld Kirk Church doing “something”. Earl doesn’t know whether to bark out the back at the jackhammer or out the front at the workers so he has to do a regular trot around the perimeter fence “Woooooing” as he goes. We have long ago learned to ignore him (here is hoping that Frank and Adrian and Glad are able to do the same…) and he has decided to cease and desist for a little while in between his patrolling. He and Bezial are laying on the deck sulking because Steve didn’t take them with him on his way into town. Steve has headed in to pick up some chook food and to do the shopping. He usually goes shopping on Monday’s but today was a spur of the moment decision to attempt to minimise the amount of fuel that we seem to be going through driving back and forth for all sorts of minor things (loaf of bread…litre of milk…walk the dogs…pick up a library book) that seem to be adding up to an inconsiderable amount of wasted fuel. We figure that if we combine our shopping with the need for chook food we are killing 2 birds with 1 stone and we can sit back and feel sufficiently smug for minimising our carbon footprint (for this 1 time anyway…). The jackhammer is going again. I initially thought that it was some sort of industrial noise being broadcast from George Town but it is a lot closer than that. There has been a lot of tree felling and clearing going on next door to Frank and Adrian’s (our immediate neighbours to the right) and we think that perchance someone might have bought that block and might be just about to build themselves an “abode”. Abodes in this vicinity seem to be big monoliths of architectural metal and glass (Frank’s house is no exception) and so it will be interesting to see what gets built. The nasty tree hating neighbour to the rear (who was laid low by one of the trees that he was felling that bit him back on its decent) has taken his property off the market again. I dare say the real estate agent that he contaminates on an annual basis has a list of people like him and around about November they pull up their Database of Time Wasters and sigh heavily and get ready to trot out the old advertisements all over again. Tasmania is a buyers paradise right now and apart from there being no jobs in Tasmania and it being full of Tasmanian’s you could do a lot worse than spending your holiday house money in Tasmania in the current desperate economic climate. You will get an amazing bargain believe me and if you don’t mind a filthy stinking pulp mill as your chief point of view when you get up each morning I hear that Rebecca Gibney has a house for sale just around the corner from us…


I found this shot of Bezial in his old Black Dog (most fitting name) head halter that we used to use. This one is connected at the side of his face but the new head halters connect behind the neck and give a much greater degree of control. Since I hurt my knee a few days ago picking blackberries Steve has been able to walk both of our boys on his own with no problems whatsoever regarding controlling them. Black Dog rules!


This photo was taken a few years ago (when I had short hair) and I love it. Not because of my place in the photo (I hate my photo being taken) but because Qi looks like the warrior dog that she is! We bought her a coat for winter and it had been a bit cold (spring) so she was wearing it in this picture. This garden no longer exists. The picture was taken outside the museum in town and this whole area has been redeveloped

I am still having a few teething problems with Windows Live Writer. I type out my posts in Word still (as I like to have them ready to go rather than be impromptu with my posts and type them up as I go) and even though the process is simply “Copy and paste into Windows Live Writer and insert pictures and then post to the blog” I haven’t worked out how to insert tags yet into Windows Live Writer. I have taken to posting tags in a vain attempt to lure unsuspecting citizens to visiting Serendipity Far. I don’t ever want a commercially based blog but it’s always nice to have visitors (when you don’t physically have to have them that is :o). I noticed the other day that when I added a you tube link that it was actually inserted into my blog as the video link rather than just text which was interesting as I hadn’t been able to work out how to do that before so at least Windows Live Writer has given me that option to share with you now (even though Google is in the process of making you tube a pale and sad copy of what it is today). I am all for finding new things to share with you all. If I can use you tube to share some brilliant links about horticulture, agroforestry etc. I will. I owe it to you to do the research and hunt these little sippets out because you all have lives and I don’t :o)

I am going to have to go hunting for some photos to share with you today. I have gotten over feeling guilty about not matching up the pictures that I share with the post that I am posting for the day. That is the regimented list maker in me squirming at the fact that they don’t match. I am teaching my list maker to get a life and to look at things more laterally than black and white. It is going to take a while but I want to broaden my mental horizons and as Steve and I don’t use drugs (apart from our caffeine of choice that is), this will involve research and reading rather than recreational drug use. We bought a tee-shirt from the Exeter thrift shop that made Steve smile. It is a black tee-shirt (of course…) with a picture of a dope leaf and underneath it says “Food for thought”. I, personally don’t have a problem with marijuana use should a person see fit to use it. As far as I am concerned, there are worse things in the world to be introducing into your bodies (not the least of which includes McDonalds…) and it should be all about personal choice. I would hate to think what sort of photos I would take if I was under the influence of recreational drugs so you should be happy that I am teetotal when it comes to imbibing in illicit substances. It has come to my attention that some of you constant readers, who shall remain anonymous, appear to be fraternising with the enemy! You all know how I feel about Lycra wearing pushbike riders. I have no problem with anyone else riding a pushbike, in fact I used to ride a pushbike (mountain bike) for 40km each and every day when I lived in Denmark W.A. so as you see, unless I want to be seen as the world’s biggest hypocrite, I can’t denigrate the humble treadly as a perfectly valid, indeed noble, way of perambulating your way around your immediate vicinity. Those of you who seem to take offence at my utter abhorrence for Lycra clad moron’s taking over our road may not realise that my passionate outrageous indignation is for this segment of the cycling confraternity and no other segment. My outrage is isolated and specialised. It focuses with an undying determination to make sure that they know just how obnoxious they all are (not that they care…they are after all predominately lawyers and politicians who are used to public disgust and hatred) and how when the revolution comes, and the masses rise up and take over the system, that they are right up there with the French Queens in the beheading stakes! You are NOT EVER going to ride in the Tour de France…you are NOT immediately turned into the most handsome and desirable studdly man by merely hauling your aging carcass into a Lycra costume 2 sizes too small and you are NOT fooling anyone! Wanky cyclists are the bane of the road and anyone forced to use the roads on a regular basis. Far from lauding them as being responsible members of the community who are doing their bit for greening the world, check out their 4 x 4 and their wives 4 x 4 and their teenaged children’s 4 x 4. It’s all a massive great front for elevating themselves above the rest of society and making themselves feel superior. That is where my sense of outrage comes from. No-one is better than anyone else. Anyone attempting to tell me that because they wear Lycra, practice law (note the word “practice” there…) and drink only Campo’s coffee, swill wine from the finest Terroir and with only the best Provenance, and spend inordinate amounts of time quaffing only the finest gourmet foods available and frequenting the most upmarket restaurants are any better than the rest of us are merely kidding themselves. It’s a desire to create a class system in Australia and I totally oppose it. That is why wanky Lycra clad cyclists are right up there on my hit list of acidic and venomous rebuttal. I don’t like what they are trying to do. I don’t like how Australia is becoming a land of “middle management” and how we are all reliant on “someone else” to do everything. Society is specialising itself into oblivion. We need to be able to do all sorts of things ourselves to ensure our ongoing survival but by specialising our jobs and what we are personally able to accomplish we rob ourselves of the ability to be really useful to society. “Someone else” is being fired and made redundant at a most alarming rate whilst middle management look after their own jobs and those of their mates. Without “someone else” you can’t maintain an enormous middle management sector and the day is coming quite soon where pawn shops will be full of expensive pushbikes. I just had to explain my loathing of Lycra clad pushbike riders. They are a symbol of the decadent lifestyle that is bringing the world to its knees and as such earn my derision. I will attempt to minimise my disgust at the activities of these people who foster overconsumption of the world’s resources at a most alarming rate to those regular events that actively involve me and mine. I can’t promise not to rant about them on an occasional basis, because they are so eminently rantable, but I will try to keep my ranting to topical rants.


On the day that Steve and I went to the Botanic Gardens in Hobart on this occasion (we go quite often) we were both sick. We were just about to postpone this trip but got asked by 2 penniless kids (one of them a fellow student in our class) to give them a lift down to Hobart and so we hauled our sick sorry derrières into the car and went anyway. It was cold, rainy and there had been a severe weather warning and this was the most interesting sign that greeted us when we arrived at the gates. We went in anyway…


Just click on this to see it a bit better. It’s a most ingenious method of heating walls to allow espaliered fruit trees to carry on merrily regardless of the surrounding temperature. Copied from heated walls in the U.K. it is most clever and shows some of the lengths that man will go to to manipulate his current environment to his advantage


And here is the actual wall described on that sign


We are waiting for roosters to crow. There is an oppressive silence on the crowing front. One rooster rules them all and it’s a bit like watching the Discovery channel on Austar (all we can get in Tasmania…sigh…) and knowing full well that this is just the calm before the storm…Big Yin is the king of Serendipity Farm…sorry, Big Yin THINKS that he is the king of Serendipity Farm. He will only bow to Earl (who knows that he is the king of Serendipity Farm unopposed…). We are aware of at least 2 roosters who should have been showing signs of their rooster behaviour by now but who remain steadfastly quiet and non-threatening. I have done a bit of reading about roosters and have found out that so long as each rooster has at least 1 hen and they have enough property to roam on that there tend to be few problems with having several roosters running on the same patch. We shall see! Henry (Rollin’s) and Trogdor (with the big beefy arm) are waiting…we think we might have 2 more roosters but they are weird looking things and who would know? Everyone beats them up and they have formed a separate pod of outcast hens that shuffle and run around on the fringes of Serendipity Farm. It’s a bit like Animal Farm with chicken relations here. We have had numerous people tell us about how all hell breaks loose when you have too many roosters but how many is too many? We are not even sure how many we have! We are quite sure that one of the small ferals is a male because he is developing a comb. He is the first of Big Yin’s progeny to be born male. Big Yin throws hens which will most probably allow him to remain top dog on Serendipity Farm. Perhaps the roosters are aware that as soon as I hear a crow from either of them that they are “Outta here!” and are trying to extend their time here on Serendipity Farm. Another one of our conundrums. Life is full of decisions that have to be made when you live in the country and not all of them make you happy. As a quintessential sook I am going to have to start thinking about what to do with all of those feral cats AND our roosters. When you personalise things it makes it all the harder to deal with them in a negative way. For someone that has trouble killing mosquitoes, it is most definitely going to be a challenge thinking about the options for the feral cats and the roosters…


This really beautiful specimen of Calocedrus decurrens (Californian incense cedar) was situated (fatally) next to the kiosk and information centre of the Botanical Gardens. You can see how lovely its growth habit is but it must have been dropping limbs or has some form of infestation (insect, fungal or bacterial) because the last time that we went down to the Botanical Gardens it had been removed. The sad thing was that you couldn’t even see where this most majestic example of this species had been for the 100 odd years that it had taken to reach this amazing height.


This looks more like a lunar landscape than an indoor cactus house at the Tasmanian Botanical Gardens to me. I love it. It contains an amazing array of huge cacti and this is where I saw my very first Discorea elephantipes and it is what made me want to grow some for myself.


This could be construed as me taking seed from what appears to be a Pinus thunbergii at the Botanical Gardens. Of course I wouldn’t do such a thing now would I James/Nick? That would be unethical (apparently) and I should have asked for some seed (and most probably been told “NO” in no uncertain terms). I prefer to call myself a horticultural liberationist. No longer shall these specimens be limited to a single area to grow in their solitude to their inevitable death, alone and the last of their kind…someone (most probably some sort of amazing super hero) is now here to spread their seed further than the wind could possibly manage and give these poor long suffering plants what they want (diversification of environment) and allow them to spread their seed to the 4 winds and beyond! (yes…that is justification for pinching seed from the Botanical Gardens…not that I would of course)


I spent most of last night researching new and most interesting recipes. I love discovering a good website and our last computer was cram packed to the gills with saved favourite’s sites. I don’t do that anymore and put any interesting web sites that I find on my travels into word documents to be added to and perused at my leisure at a later date. A good way to manage favourites (that numbered into the hundreds on our last computer). Today finds me still playing Animal Crossing. I had to log in as Madeline’s character who because of their enforced sleep (while I play the girls characters are asleep and can be seen as such if I go into their houses…quite ingenious game play actually) had apparently gained an enormous amount of interest on what she had collected in her bank. I decided to have a look (nosy mums and all of that) and discovered that she had over $1 000 000 in her bank! I might nose around undercover but when I see an opportunity to add something to the game (if you donate to the town fund you can get new buildings and amenities built by the town…another interesting feature to keep you interested) I jump at it. I phoned Madeline up who was just as surprised as I was that she had over a million “bells” (they are not called dollars as this game is played all over the world and they don’t want to alienate a country by not using their monetary unit and using someone else’s) in her bank account and we all decided that we would like a windmill in the game so off to the town hall I went (as Madeline’s character) to donate the moolah. After that I had to vote to say that I wanted a windmill rather than a lighthouse (you get to choose) as Madeline’s character. Log out, then log in as Bethany’s character to vote for the windmill…log out, then log in as MY character to vote for the windmill. If you have more than just one of you playing the game you all have to have a say or they will wait until you do to facilitate whatever it is that they are building. Great fun and incredibly frustrating at times because occasionally some of your little animal neighbours will ask you to give a message to one of “The Sleepers” and you have to log off, log on as the other character, give the message, log off, log on as me and then go and see the animal again to get rewarded for giving the message. Sometimes I just want to catch fish nice and quietly but you just have to avoid your neighbours as they are always after something. Strange how I am trying to make my own little Nirvana where I am the supreme controller and the bloody neighbours are hijacking my plans…oh well, you can’t escape reality for long can you? See you all tomorrow when it’s “Festivale” day on Animal Crossing and I get to collect sweets by trying to outsmart my neighbours and trade them for collectable rare furniture. It makes no sense at all does it? But to me, it is a really great way to get my list building collecting need satiated.

Lastly before I sign off in this post for today, I am getting back some of my lost admiration for Mary Anne Schaffer’s list. Steve picked up a book that I had ordered from the list called “Angle of Repose”. It won a Pulitzer Prize and as such I was expecting a dry American novel reflecting the dry prairies that the book was about but this book is one that I can’t put down. Despite the subject matter consisting of generations of a family going back to the Wild West and how I would usually run for miles (even with my dicky knee) to get away from something like that this book has enthralled me. It is amazingly well written and I have been alternating playing Animal Crossing and reading this book. I gave up pretending that I was interested in catching fish and read the book for most of the day yesterday. Imagine Tim Winton, turned American taking steroids and the best of his game and you get Mr Wallace Stegner. This man is a true artist with words and his simile linking the aging process with an angle of repose is very poignant. The angle of repose was, prior to doing our Diploma in Horticulture and learning about the properties of soil and its various components, something that I would have known absolutely nothing about. It is peculiarly a term regarding the displacement properties of soil and how if you dump a pile of sand, rocks, silt, etc. on the ground (or dig it up into a mound) after a while it will settle and drop and shift until it reaches its “Angle of repose”. To me (who needs to process everything into ways that I can understand them before they stay put in my brain) it translated into balance and equilibrium. The point at which everything is happy to stay where it rests. That is the angle of repose and it changes over time as external influences act on it… wind, rain, heat etc. all affect this angle of repose just like life is affected by what happens to us and our choices and reactions to those “happenings”. What a craftsman with words this man is and I have no hesitations in recommending this amazing book to anyone. It’s not so much the subject matter or the language in which this book is written. The man who wrote this book was born in 1909 and also wrote “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”. He is American literary royalty and I now know why. I would never have chosen to read this book on my own. It would appear to be dry, old fashioned and boring. It isn’t. Ok, I am off to do what I do on a Sunday. I am going to enjoy myself reading, playing my game and waiting for them to build our windmill. After that I am donating money pilfered (YES PILFERED GIRLS :o) from the girls ($200 000) added to my not inconsiderable bell savings to build a lighthouse to go with our windmill. Life is good and so I leave you all to find your own ways through your Sundays. Hopefully your day feeds your soul like mine is going to. See you all tomorrow…