5 Go mad in Sidmouth

Hi All,

Enid Blyton was one of my favourite authors when I was a small child. I got endless entertainment reading about whatever the “5” were up to on any given jolly set of hol’s. Enid was fond of a good mystery and we had ourselves a very Blytonesque mystery on our hands on Monday. We headed out to open the doors of the hen house to allow the hens into the enclosed area that they now live in. We lock the doors because of quolls, a native animal somewhat like a cat, that loves nothing more than a tasty fat docile hen added to its menu for the day and they hunt at night when the hens are at their most docile and compliant. We have the luxury of a cement floored hen house that was once a woodshed and even the most determined quoll is going to come up chookless when faced with 500ml of cement to have to tunnel through. We made small hen sized doors and a ramp down to the enclosed outer area and the hens go into the hen house at night and are ensconced safely till we let them out the next morning. We recently discovered one of the late great Effel Doocark’s daughters who had decided to head WAY down to the front of the property to lay a few eggs and go clucky and after waiting for the feral cats to eat her babies and then herd her into the enclosure along with her other sisters we discovered that unlike Effel, her daughters are EXCELLENT mothers. This hen managed to situate her chick’s right up close and personal in the feral cat’s domain and only lost 1 chick to them. We noticed her near the gate of the enclosure and with some careful manoeuvring; we were able to get them all into the enclosure…WIN! The only problem with enclosing feral chooks, as indeed this hen’s babies were, is that they have a taste for the outdoors and are rarely content to stay put. The chicks have grown somewhat and their mother has taken to going into the hen house at night to be with the rest of the flock but her babies are steadfastly refusing to go into the hen house and on Monday they escaped. Steve and I heard tell-tale “peeping” outside the enclosure and on further investigation we found them frolicking around in the leaves under the blackwood acacia trees and herded them back in. 6 more escapes later and we started to lose our cool! We had inspected the netting for holes…these chicks are not big and so could easily have slipped through a larger hole in the ex-fish farm netting that makes up the bulk of the enclosure.

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The Moscow State Circus comes to Serendipity Farm…

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2 ferals

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A little crab that we found in the middle of the road as we were walking back dripping from a recent walk in the rain with the dogs

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I had a little chat to Mr Crab and we decided that even though he might have thought that he wanted to make like a chicken and get to the other side, his life as a crustacean would be much more fullfilling (and long) if he would just learn to be satisfied to stay in the river

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We are finding more and more of these little reminders discarded on the side of the road that prove that cyclists are full of something other than the “clean green” image that they would like us all to believe that they represent …it’s not only Lance Armstrong that is shaming the world of cycling…

We decided that the chicks were escaping by flying over the top of the enclosure. This confused us a bit because none of the other chooks (including a couple of erstwhile ferals that we had herded in after we dispatched their brothers) had managed to fly over but there is a small mandarin tree situated inside the enclosure and we did notice the chicks all roosting in this small tree…after cutting several lengths of extra ex-fish farm netting we started tacking pieces into the trees that border the chook enclosure and the whole shebang started to look like the Moscow State Circus. STILL the chicks got out! We figured that perhaps they were climbing up onto some blackberries in the enclosure (left to try to encourage the chook to feel safe about laying their eggs outside) and cut back all tendrils…STILL they got out! We put another large piece of netting all along the side of the enclosure where the blackberries and agapanthus hiding spots were and STILL they got out. It was getting beyond a joke and so this time we cut the flight feathers of each of their rotten little wings and smugly headed inside to make a warm drink…when we headed out to smile smugly at the captured prisoners 30 minutes later they were out! “WHAT?!!! HOW???” We took turns to sit incredibly still outside the hen house watching for several hours when the chicks did absolutely nothing aside from lay with their mother and dust bath but as the day started to heat up and the shade disappeared so did we…and they got out…sigh…I had a really good look and decided that their might just be a weak point in the defences and we put ANOTHER bit of ex-fish farm netting up so that we were totally covered. Sure that we had fixed the problem we headed back inside…after checking a little white later they were still in the enclosure and we were ecstatic…”WE WON!”… An hour later 3 of them were out… Again we put up some more netting  and this time we had the whole circus represented…all we needed was a ringmaster and a lion…a lion would most certainly have sorted out our chicken problem! This time there was no WAY that they could escape…we had over engineered the enclosure and Houdini himself would have been flummoxed. When Steve went to close the doors at 8.30pm they were out… Now you can only BEGIN to imagine how bad tempered I was by this stage! I was to the point of leaving them out to their fate with the quolls…

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Steve is starting to branch out with his spoons now

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Mid summer acorns

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A little wallaby next to his blackberry and bracken fern home

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A most innovative name for a vessel that pootles…

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Summer twinkling on the river

We both ruminated about how the heck they were getting out because there was pretty much no way to escape from the top of the enclosure and we both decided that they MUST be escaping from lower down…We both headed off in different directions around the enclosure and inspected the lower part of the run with a fine toothed comb…after 20 minutes of painstaking inspection I heard Steve say “I found it!”…I headed inside the enclosure to where Steve was standing next to one of the poles used to anchor the netting to. What he had discovered was a teeny tiny space between 2 rocks that these miniature Houdini’s were tunnelling through to get out to the other side. They had to squeeze themselves between the rocks, up through a tunnel of netting and then take a hard right turn and squeeze out underneath another couple of rocks to escape! Kudos to them and I will NEVER underestimate the brain of a determined feral chook again! They haven’t escaped again and peace has returned to the Moscow State Circus and Serendipity Farm. I am thinking of writing a children’s book called “5 go wild in Sidmouth” or “The Great Escape 5” in the tradition of a good Enid Blyton sleuth. I might throw a chance meeting in with Justin Bieber and Harry Potter and a guest appearance by the wiggles and Elmo and I should get a book deal with ease 😉

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This grey protrusion is a basking seal. This photo was taken about 200metres from our front gate from Steve’s boat this morning

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Flippy pretending to be a shark…”you won’t fool Steve THAT easily Flippy!” 😉

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A huge sea eagles nest on the river bank. This nest is very old and is constantly in use and is approximately 2 metres across

We just took delivery of 4 more large rolls of Ex-fish farm netting with the promise of as much as we can handle to come. I have visions of Serendipity Farm partitioned off into undercover bliss including an entirely enclosed orchard area that is currently battered and bruised after years of possums being allowed to run amok amongst the trees and our enormous edifice full of protected vegetables. We have smaller projects including compost heap construction and protection of various small garden beds but the luxury of being able to take what the fish farm sees as waste and turning it into our treasure makes me even happier.  Steve has just headed out to see what the river might yield in the Mumbley cumumbus. He is ostensibly “fishing” but in reality he is trawling around like Huck Finn on the river with his straw hat and his fishing line tied to his toe while he eats his cheese sarnies (1 with Brit Piccalilli…Crosse and Blackwell no less, and the other with some of his delicious home preserved ultra-thin cucumber pickles) in ex-pat heaven. It’s a really lovely day here, nice and cool but with the sun shining brightly and packed full of possibilities. Earl and Bezial are hoping for fishing futures and I am hoping for some photos that I can put in today’s post but aside from that Steve is Scott free and able to bob around on the waves in comparative solitude. That’s one of the benefits of being a penniless student and the shining beacon in our gratitude quotient. Sometimes it is difficult when we would rather have the money to instantly gratify our wants. It’s not like we want the moon…a water tank would be nice, a few solar panels to hook up to the water heater when Brunhilda is in hiatus and a mulcher to mulch all of the debris that we are generating via our sporadic concerted vegetative ethnic cleansing episodes…I could care less about fame and fortune, give me a $15.95 copy of Jackie French’s “The Wilderness Garden” and I feel like I just won lotto. I consider myself to be a very lucky woman. I am completely content with my lot and the possibilities in our lives and I am constantly excited and invigorated by simple things. In the eyes of society we are unimpressive and easily dismissed and that’s how we like it :o)

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One side of Redwood Island (Steve’s prime fishing haunt)…

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The other side of Redwood Island…All of our photos are taken with our 7 year old totally outdated FinePix Fujifilm camera. No lenses, no special whistles and bells…we are lucky if it zoom’s when we ask it to but it does take a lovely photo.

Its 5.44am Wednesday and Steve just headed off with his boat in the dark. He has just finished scrying his crystal ball (http://tides.willyweather.com.au/tas/northern/sidmouth.html ) and found the timing is right for a morning’s fishing/pootling in the river. It might be dark but I can’t hear the wind chime’s gentle melody so there isn’t any wind to chill the early morning air further…I love the hint of chill that is starting to creep in before dawn. I love that we have had Brunhilda on 3 times this week. I also love the free hot water and the ability to cook our meals on her as well as cook pots of legumes, have the kettle gently simmering ready for a drink and keep things warm in her lower ovens…my autumnal (sorry my American friends, “autumnal” is a MUCH more lyrical word than “fall” 😉 ) processes are waking up and it’s still summer. I know that New Zealand is enjoying our customary weather (hot without rain…peculiar for them at this time of year thanks to the recent cyclone that has tumbled our weather around) and we have theirs. Cheers for the swapsy guys…any time! I don’t mind the last gasps of summer in February because we have had this little rain fuelled interlude that has soothed the savage beast and eased the crustiness of Serendipity Farm…the garden is happy, I might even get some germination of the free roadside seed that I have been collecting over the summer and broadcasting in the side garden.

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Mandolin + home grown cucumber = very finely sliced cucumbers…

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What we choose to call Steve’s “Never ending refrigerator pickles” 😉

I just found a fellow Tasmanian’s blog…she is about my age and shares my ethos and has a lovely enthusiastic gardening blog like mine. If you want to check out Kate’s blog, head on down south to Cygnet and have a look at her world…

http://vegetablevagabond.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/time-to-sow-and-reap.html

Aside from her delightful blog, she has some really good Tasmanian links that I will be spending some time this morning checking out. Most of Tasmania’s “Hippies” live down south and there are so many seed swapping groups, transition towns and all kinds of sharing going on and I am envious. I wish we had something as vital as that up here but our local groups are not as active and tend to be a bit “closed shop”. There are some very active members but I am going to have to dig a bit deeper to find relevance to our ethos here on Serendipity Farm…oh well…I can admire from a distance :o)

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This last series of photos are an homage to an old video game hero of mine…I thought that this little beetroot (one of our recent harvest) looked remarkably like one “Earthworm Jim”…knowing that I can’t claim to have replicated him (on pain of being sued blue and black) I shall call my little creation “Beetroot Nemotode James” 😉

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Here he is nestled amongst his brethren waiting for his fate…

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“Well what do we have here?”…

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Surely this is the end of our erstwhile hero James! How could anything survive a scalding stream of fragrant pickling liquor! Stay tuned to find out what happens next in the continuing story of our hero…

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I don’t know what you think but he certainly looks like he is happy enough with his lot (ignore the colour, that’s what happens when you let Steve take the photo and he doesn’t want to use macro 😉 ) “Off to the fridge with you young nematode!”…

Have you noticed that I have been cutting my posts down a bit lately? I am trying to ensure that I don’t write marathon posts and make it difficult for you all to get through them in one bite. My muses are both enthusiastic and prolific and there isn’t much I can do about that BUT I can harness them and make them work in the direction that “I” want to pull… February is here and summer is almost over and autumn is just about to crest and that means W.O.R.K. on Serendipity Farm. Aside from turning piles of woody debris into Hugelkultur gardens and biochar (and tidying Serendipity Farm up considerably in the process), we will be planting out as many of our chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts as we can along with 4 loquats, 3 figs, 5 avocado plants (well sheltered) and will be situating a length of perforated drainage coil at the base of each root ball so that we can give them supplemental watering next summer…this summer hasn’t gone yet and we are already plotting for next summer! Does that make us “real” farmers? 😉 I don’t think so! Steve wants to get as many of his Brachychitons into the ground along with as many pines as he can fit. We love them with a passion and all of their in-ground brethren are going gangbusters so we figure “what the heck!” I know that my son rarely reads these posts so the words “Not in our lifetime” are not going to make him twitch ;). Most of these pines yield edible seeds so perhaps by the time Stewart and Kelsey inherit this property they may be able to harvest pine nuts along with everything else that we are setting up here for them…any grandchildren (now he is REALLY twitching if he has stumbled onto this post! 😉 ) will be able to graze freely (along with the native wildlife) from the food forest that we are in the process of setting up. I have no idea what I am meant to be doing with my life…so far I have just surfed along the crest of it hoping that I didn’t wipe out too badly but since we moved to Serendipity Farm, everything that has happened in my past seems to be knitting together to form a purpose. I think I was born to do this and the happiness that this simple life is bringing me gives me a sense of real purpose that mainstream worldly success couldn’t. I think I am going to have to put the plug in on my muses…they want to wax lyrical for a few more pages but I need to put some photo’s into this post guys…”SHHHH!” See you all on Wednesday and I hope that the rest of this week flows smoothly…if it doesn’t, remember “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…best I can do with all these muses yelling in my head 😉

Failure and how to learn from it

Hi All

I have taken to eating breakfast lately. The benefits of which were proved to me the other day when after a mornings repast of porridge and dates, my energy far outweighed Steve’s when we were working in the garden. In saying that…sometimes I get it wrong. I prefer savoury flavours to sweet things. It’s just part of my genetic makeup and I guess it’s nature’s way of telling me that there is more to life than sweetness and light. Today I decided to make a different breakfast. I am a HUGE fan of the Korean breakfast habit of congee. Congee is rice…boiled until it ceases to resemble rice and starts to resemble clag glue with little bits of “interesting” things added. Forget al dente all you aspiring gourmands out there…mush is something that the Korean’s and I both take delight in. I tend to have a problem with waiting for anything and food is no exception. Making congee takes time. I wanted instant gratification so turned to my standby grain of choice, rolled oats…I added a handful of some sort of fruit and nut mix in a jar that I have most probably had possession of for more years than I would care to be reminded of at this moment in time, a good shake of nutritional yeast and after pouring on some boiling water and allowing it all to steep till the oats had soaked up the water… I realised that I wanted a bit of a sweet taste in there after all…that’s when things went a bit wrong. I hunted in the fridge and cupboards for something to approximate the dates that I had run out of yesterday…”hmmmm what to choose…” and ended up putting my hand on a jar of French Chestnut cream. “Yummo…that’ll do ME” I said in my best Billy Connolly approximation of a Scottish accent…well…to say that it wasn’t successful may be something of an understatement. I ate it…because I hate to waste food. This brings me back to the title of today’s post and failure or “The big ‘F’”.

 

 

Fred is naked

Fred flintstone lost his cloths in a earl accident

 

I hate to fail. I hate the act of having to admit that I made a mistake or did something wrong. I would rather not try at all than make a mistake and this is where I have lost out. Failure isn’t something to be ashamed of; it’s the ONLY way that we learn. No-one ever learned anything from constantly succeeding. Think of Thomas Edison and how many times he tried to invent the light bulb and you will start to see that persistent faith in the face of abject failure is something to be applauded AND delighted in. So my breakfast tasted decidedly left wing today? So I probably gave my intestinal tract something to think about (and complain loudly about) for the rest of today. I learned that chestnut cream is predominately lemon flavoured and that it doesn’t go with nutritional yeast…point taken… lesson learned and let’s move on knowing a little bit more than we did before I failed. No-one likes to admit to having failed but again, aside from us (hopefully) learning something from our failed attempt at whatever we were doing, if we are honest enough and generous enough to share those results, we can help other people from making that same mistake that we just did. Old wives tales are full of lessons that were obviously learned by taking a chance and making a mistake. If we stay in our comfort zones we are less likely to make mistakes and fail, but we are also denying ourselves a chance to shine and do something worthwhile for ourselves and everyone else. Here’s to the persistence of inventors, scientists, doctors, physicist’s and humanitarians who didn’t listen to people saying that something couldn’t be done but who simply asked “why not?” and went about seeing for themselves. I am not one of those people who can be content with something because “that’s the way it is!” I like to understand the principals and the processes that are involved. I figure that I learn more that way and it becomes more pertinent to my understanding if I am aware of it all. I dare say that makes me a terrible student. I am constantly questioning everything and never take anything at face value if I can help it which makes me take a whole lot longer to learn something than if I just accepted it and moved on. Imagine having to teach me the principals of physics and trigonometry when theorem are just “accepted” and you can see how difficult that task would be!

 

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A very nice pic of a Hakea. yeah i know we are not talking about hakeas but the shot is nice lol

 

We have decided that we don’t care if we are not the best gardeners in the world at the moment (note I refuse to ever rule that possibility out! 😉 ) but if we get stuck in and keep moving in the garden a gradual change for the better is somewhat inevitable. Today we lugged a pile of garden debris to the Exeter tip. Much like the trip to the Beaconsfield tip the other day, this one was coupled with picking up a bottle of stout at the local bottle shop to make some chicken, mushroom and stout pies, a well-deserved walk for the dogs and an adventitious dropping in event at the library. I didn’t actually have to pick anything up and I am currently reading a book by an American authoress (Willa Cather) called “My Antonia”. It’s a novel along the lines of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book “Little House on the Prairie” and is incredibly well written. It’s another book on my Mary Anne Schaffer book list and another Author to add to my secondary list to read more of their work. I also have “Tuesday’s with Morrie” to re-read and no doubt spend some time desecrating a box of tissues in the process. What is it that makes me want to read books that I KNOW are going to make me end up baring my soul? I guess I have masochistic tendencies. This tip trip was most fortuitous because we headed straight to the tip and dumped our green waste with the rain clouds getting closer and the threat of an imminent downpour more of a prospect than we initially thought. As I was helping Steve pull the tarp out of the trailer in one fell swoop (we are getting good at this green waste dumping…) I noticed the unmistakable leafage of a strawberry plant on the ground next to my foot… I followed it back along its merry little green runner and discovered a large pile of strawberries that had been dumped in a tangle. There must have been at least 100 strawberry plants and never one to look a gift strawberry in the mouth I proceeded to load them back into the trailer. After asking permission from the tip man of course! Steve then noticed a big pile of phormium’s…the old fashioned larger flaxy type with some striking maroon foliage and striped foliage…dumped as well. The tip man waved his (rain free) arm magnanimously from his little tin hut and yelled out “go for it mate!” so I have again been forced to tackle my prior plant snobbiness regarding flax and anything “architectural” as these babies are going to look GREAT next to the front gate. After hunting around a bit more I found a few carex grasses  and a low lavender plant that were all subsequently tossed into the trailer and aside from my “city duds” being somewhat less clean than they were when I started loading dumped vegetation into the back of the trailer my horticultural (and frugal) happiness knew no bounds.

 

Flax Futures

We parked the car at the library and I headed in while Steve waited outside with the dogs. I couldn’t believe how many good books they had on the teeny tiny little shelves in what must be the smallest library in the Southern Hemisphere…I ended up taking out 12 of them! Steve has dutifully toed the line by getting a library card in his name when he would rather dance naked through a pub full of belligerent bikers than read a book. He did this because he loves me…he loves me and he realises that when I am eyeball deep in library books I have no time or inclination to wrestle the television remote control out of his hands and demand he stop watching his alligator catching pawn-shop shows so that I can watch something “educational”. With a trailer loaded up with free plants and 12 new fantastic library books I feel somewhat akin to someone who has had a win in the lottery. I feel positively rich! We walked the dogs, keeping just ahead of the roiling black rainclouds that were threatening to become incontinent in our near vicinity and on the way back to the car Steve started to feel his pockets in a curiously agitated way…”where are the keys?”(Steve) …”eh?” (me)…”when I gave you the keys to lock up the car when you were putting your library books into the car… what did you do with them?”…”hmmmm…resplendent with library books…rich in plant futures…thinking about taking photos…I guess I just left the keys on my seat and left  the car unlocked?” I most certainly did! We hurried back to the spot where we had left our unprotected car and found that living in a small country area has its benefits as the keys were right there, the car was still unlocked and nothing had been taken. I have already told Steve that I SUCK at multitasking and asking me to lock the car after I had processed several things in a row was most probably not going to result in me actually doing what I was asked…oh well…just like me expecting Steve to be patient and wait for me to “get ready” to go to town…me remembering to do things is most probably not going to happen on a regular basis so we should both just get used to it!

 

Emmmmm Thai curry pie And Chips

We picked up the stout for the chicken, mushroom and stout pies and a bottle of beer to accompany said pies and drove home in the pouring rain. I have to say that there is NOTHING like coming back to a nice warm house with an inviting warm fire to warm your hands and behind on when it is cold and wet. I am just about to get stuck into checking out those 12 most promising of library books before I make some shortcrust pastry for those pies. I went against EVERY single bone in my body and took out a couple of cookbooks by Matthew Evens, that (wanky) food critic who stole Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ethos and transferred it to Tasmania to make a quick buck. I have a grudge against him to be honest as Hugh is my hero, but after flicking through his winter cookbook I have to admit to actually drooling over some of the hearty soul food included amongst the full page frosty photos of Tasmania’s freezing south. I took out Delia’s “Frugal Food”…several books about chooks… an “Earth Garden” book about using water in your gardens, a cookbook of recipes that famous chef’s apparently make when they are at home with their feet up and the equivalent of chef comfort food I would imagine…a no dig garden book… an American Test Kitchen book for “simple food” that I will probably only get a couple of recipes out of but “simple” appeals to me…A delightfully mumsy book called “From Mother to Daughter” exploring recipes, hints and tips that caring mothers should pass on to their daughters…my daughters actually read my blog posts now so here you are girls… mums hints and tips for you…

 

Left overs are good

  1. Don’t take any wooden nickel’s
  2. If it seems too good to be true…it probably is
  3. Make hay while the sun shines
  4. Never look a gift horse in the mouth
  5. Your mother is most probably not someone that you should attempt to gain familial traditional information from unless you want old sayings which she is stuffed full of!

Don’t say I don’t give you quality information girls! I couldn’t resist a book of food porn and sugar laden prospective thigh inflators in the Delicious magazine series called “More Please!”… I would tend to agree with that title because every single recipe looked like something that would generate a double helping request. Last but by no means least I picked up a book called “Salvage Style” that promises me that my garden and house will become a marvellous stylish delight thanks to some tenacious skip diving, tip hunting and a few nails and a bit of wood glue. Some of the projects (45 in all) actually do look like something that I would covet in someone else’s garden so perhaps we can put our winter rained in days to good use after all… I will keep you posted on that.

Reading other people’s blogs is both increasing my knowledge base and enriching my life. I recently discovered a really good blog called “Poor Richard’s Almanac” at the following site   http://ourfriendben.wordpress.com/

And have just learned a whole lot more about Benjamin Franklin and some serious frugal homesteading and perspicacious gardening hints and tips in the process. Cheers to Silence Dogwood, Our friend Ben, Richard Saunders, OFB and not forgetting Silence’s black German shepherd Shiloh for enlightening, entertaining and delighting me in the process. I love waking up and checking out my rss feed reader to see who has posted and what they are up to. It’s great to meet and read about people who are challenging mainstream ideals and who are doing their own thing to their (and my) great satisfaction. Frugal hints and tips…little moments where we share what we know and someone on the other side of the world can learn from your failures or your successes. We can cheer each other on where otherwise we might be too scared or jaded to make a serious attempt. I noticed that Google has dragged us a step closer to taking away our ability to save information in our own homes by opening up their Google Cloud (pay) storage and printing “services”. You hunt down the information and Google (for Google read “middle men”…) will charge you to print out that information or store it in their vaults…hmmmm…how much longer will it be until Microsoft and Apple decide to stop making computers with hard drives…”store it all online folks…EVERYTHING…if you want to print anything out you are going to have to pay”… suddenly our free internet will become Google, Apple and Microsoft’s multi-million dollar profit maker and there won’t be any more “free internet” so that is why I am scouring the net for relevant precious little gems of knowledge and information to save us from future payments. No doubt there will always be an underground currency of information running parallel to mainstream pay/profit making corporations but this smacks of a massive great collusion and there is absolutely NOTHING that we can do about it. It’s as inevitable as night and day and we are all going to be railroaded into filling their coffers. We can’t afford to stash our lives online because we are leaving ourselves open to losing control of our freedom of choice and that is something that we should all be fighting for.

 

A peacefull morning on the river

I find myself typing out recipes from books…my latest marathon typing stint is in the form of a quirky book celebrating cornbread called “The Cornbread Gospels” by a most curiously named author “Crescent Dragonwagon”…methinks that this dear lady may have changed her name because if I reached the age of consent with a moniker like that I would be both suing my parents AND changing it by deed poll the second that I turned 16! It might interest those American’s reading this post that the rest of the world are almost exclusively unaware of your adoration and desire to turn cornmeal into a cross between a vegetable dish and a form of bread. I took this book out of the library because I am vegetarian and the book contains a very clever egg substitute using various types of vegetable starch that another vegetarian made me aware of. As someone who likes to make her own basic ingredients as far as practicably possible, being able to make my own home-made egg substitute that worked well is somewhat akin to me finding the Holy Grail. I tracked the book down at the library and after flicking through the book I realised that there was a whole world of “spoonbread” out there waiting for me to test. I am working my way through the pages and typing out those recipes that call to me. Another thing that most of the rest of the world don’t share with our fellow Americans is a distinct sweet tooth. I will be cutting down (indeed probably omitting) most of the sugar in most of these cornbread recipes. I tasted Hershey’s chocolate once and couldn’t believe how sweet it was! No wonder dentists drive around in Mercedes and live in Beverly Hills in the U.S.A! This brings me back to failures…I have spent a fortune on cookbooks in the past that promise me a close approximation of “normal” cakes etc. using vegan ingredients. I spent quite a few years as a vegan and am only not vegan now because I can’t stand milk free tea (and life without tea is no life at all…) and since I gave up soymilk because soy is not the answer to eternal life that they would have us believe, I was stuck with

  1. Give up tea…NOT AN OPTION!
  2. Give up soymilk and drink my tea black NOT AN OPTION!
  3. Go back to drinking tea with milk :o)

So being the stickler that I am, I can no longer consider myself a vegan despite my tea tipple being the only non-vegan inclusion in my diet. I guess that’s another fail Fran…oh well…life is full of failures… at 48 it is probably time that I got used to failure isn’t it? See you all soon and don’t take any wooden nickels guys… join the sceptics society like I did 😉

ok Frans away and i have control of the pictures to use here 😉