Sustaining and the ability to smile while the felt hats spout their wisdoms

Hi All

I posted my hump day post yesterday and suddenly I have to write another post today thanks to me heading off tomorrow to my daughters place to spend the weekend with them and to attend an all-day Food Sustainability series of talks by various local speakers on Saturday. I am looking forwards to learning something from this and am taking my camera so that I can share the day with you all. Our Serendipity Farm soil should be winging its way across our wide brown land and launching into the stratosphere to head to the U.S. to be analysed and then the results sent back here for us to learn just how nutritionally deficient it really is. I wonder what they do with all of the soil from all over the world that gets sent to them. Is there a little multicultural compost heap out the back fermenting all sorts of soil nationalities into one small melting pot of ex worm castings and sifted hopes and dreams? I have been researching taking cuttings from kiwifruit vines because a new acquaintance has kiwifruit vines (both male and female) on his property and has most generously told us to knock ourselves out and take whatever plant material that we want. I was all prepared to head off secateurs in hand with my right index finger twitching in anticipation when I discovered that I am exactly 6 months early for the window of cutting viability opportunity…the story of my life! We are just about to prune the same acquaintance’s peach tree grown from a peach smuggled from the U.S. many years ago. I didn’t have the heart to lecture him as the tree is now a mature specimen and Tasmania hasn’t suddenly been overrun by U.S. peachy boll weevils. He also has a large walnut tree and several hazelnuts, all of which I will gladly take advantage off should the offer be made. He also gave us several currant shrubs that had been hacked down to the roots that I thought were dead, but noticed the other day are coming back from the base. One man’s trash is most definitely this adventitious gardeners treasure and I wonder what else is out there that I might be able to trade for something else?

This is the old Beconsfeild mine building

Steve and I walk the boys around Bonnie Beach in Kayena on a regular basis. It is quite close to home, has a plethora of barking dogs that greet the boys with varying degrees of excitement and is a mix of beach walk, bush walk and country lane stroll with various stop offs for Steve to feed his new pony friends bits of apple and carrot. It was on one of our walks that we noticed a lemon tree full to the brim of ripe lemons and many lemons rotting underneath it on the ground. We had been planning to make lemon wine and were lamenting how people didn’t use the resources available to them. We wondered if they would swap some of our free range eggs for some of their lemons. We keep forgetting to write a note to put into their mailbox when we head out for our walks but I wonder how many people have fruit trees, nut trees and other natural resources on their properties that they don’t take full advantage of? This all comes from me thinking about making the most of Serendipity Farm and the upcoming Sustainable Food series of talks. I have agreed to do a talk next year about minimising your carbon footprint by eating locally and more sustainably. As a vegan I can share lots of unfamiliar (but tasty) recipes with people who may never have thought that living without meat and dairy products and eggs was possible. Tasmanians eat more meat than their mainland counterparts and tend to shun any vegetables other than potatoes and peas and carrots, all of which grow very well here in Tasmania. It’s difficult to change the habits of generations and many Tasmanians’ don’t see why they should have to. It’s not up to me to harangue the natives and alienate them and they are much more likely to listen to me if I present them with delicious food, prepared well and with a low carbon footprint. As they say “you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” and I would tend to agree.

A arty pic from Deviot looks gloomy earl looks concerned

I have to leave Steve in charge of Herman my new baby sourdough starter. Steve has to feed him and divide him up twice while I am away. He had quite a traumatic journey through the post and has crossed several states to get to his new forever home and I would hate for him to expire before I get a chance to bake at least SOMETHING with his heady yeasty boozy oozy little body. I have great plans for Herman. He will be the father of millions all over Tasmania and will answer the prayers of several sourdough losers’ lovers who like me, have not been able to negotiate the mystery of the magic starter for whatever reason.  I have been known to sniff the sourdough loaves surreptitiously in the supermarket and linger longingly in the bakery around the large crusty loaves. I have even been known to fondle the wrappers wistfully and never once did I think that I would EVER be able to bake my own sourdough but now, thanks to Rhianna, I have the opportunity to raise my own little sourdough boy. He might develop strange nuances thanks to the local strains of invaders but he will rise above all of the challenges and will produce loaves, pitas, muffins, bagels, pretzels, pizzas, focaccia and more…that’s IF he survives this first critical weekend…I have been reading all about sourdough starters and have learned all sorts of interesting things including how sourdough starters can be represented in different states including liquid and solid and how they can also be lumps of older dough that get mixed into the new batch. What an amazingly versatile ferment! The more I look into fermenting food the more excited I get. I am a naturally excitable person and fermentation pushes my excitement buttons BIGTIME. Just about everything can be fermented with varying degrees of nutritional enhancement, increased digestibility and development of flavour and aroma. My kimchi is still emitting an “interesting” aroma. I put it down to the enormous quantity of garlic that I added to the paste. Steve has made it known that I don’t have anything to worry about him sneaking out Nigella style in the night for a midnight snack involving my kimchi in ANY form. All the more for me babe…all the more for me!

A little spot we stopped with the boys on our morning walk what a beauitiful place we live in

I headed into the bedroom to pack my suitcase tonight and was shadowed by the two boys who instantly put two and two together and decided to stop me from going. Bezial distracted me by giving me seal eyes and Earl promptly unpacked my case and ran off with my shoe. After a brief tussle/scuffle with him for repossession of my shoe I returned to packing my bag and two seal eyed dogs balefully watching me from the bed. They don’t like it when the pack is divided. I don’t know why…If I was them I would be happy to take advantage of being able to steal my spot in the bed, not having to listen to me telling them off and no “fat anchor” dragging behind them on our walks but love is thicker than sulking and I think they have forgiven me after some chin scratches and ear stroking. I will spend the weekend patting Qi, learning about food sustainability and having my daughters cook for me. It will be nice to have someone else cook something for me and the girls are both very good cooks so I am looking forwards to some good meals. Steve was sad when the Olympics finished but he has his Hillbilly television back now so has settled down into gator wrangling, crazy survivalists, hog wrestlers, pawn stars and storage locker raiders. He can watch his horror movies with impunity this weekend, he can fall asleep on the couch without me teasing him and he can bring his shed projects inside and work on them on the kitchen table and I will NEVER know. He can eat whatever he likes and so long as he feeds Herman and the dogs and chickens I will be a happy camper.

I love this mail box

Steve and I spend all of our days together. Unlike most couples, we have learned to coexist together 24/7 even though we are like chalk and cheese. Steve bagses cheese so I guess that leaves me with chalk. It’s curious that the two of us are so very different but when we are able to work together, we tend to be able to do a really good job thanks to the very things that make it hard for us to understand what the heck the other one is going on about. It’s like putting Yin and Yang together and making that nice little black and white swirly symbol. When you separate them you get black and white tadpoles but put them together and you get harmony. We are learning to work together better and not a moment too soon as next year we are hoping to be accepted into an online graphic arts course to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator so that we can use it to create amazing concept plans for our garden designs. I met a lady (also named Fran/ces) at the Transition Town day that I went to back at the beginning of August who is a certified Permaculture teacher and who is interested in taking Saturday classes in Permaculture rather than large blocks of residential lecturing which tend to be very expensive and totally out of our reach. To be able to learn all about Permaculture and to apply it to what we are currently learning and hybridise everything we have learned with a sustainable lien has my excitement valve steaming. Everything seems to be falling into place and pointing us towards a truly sustainable lifestyle on Serendipity Farm and now that we don’t spend our waking study hours like Homer and Bart Simpson alternating with exhibiting protagonist and antagonistic behaviour we are starting to see the possibilities that our studies may present to us. I would love to teach people how to live sustainably and how to design their available spaces to fit their food requirements. I love solving problems (apart from cryptic crosswords…what the HECK are they all about?) and being able to help people AND solve problems would be my idea of a wonderful job. Who knows where we might end up? All I know is that we are certainly enjoying the ride to get there

A cool plant that made our old teacher James very excited and happy

This post is going to be a bit shorter than my usual posts. I will choose to ignore all of you who just cheered and will simply smile wistfully at you in a very enigmatic way to shame you. Consider yourself shamed! I hope to have all sorts of interesting food stories to share with you including the meals that I ate at my daughters, photos of a townie sort of bent and despite all of the fun, frivolity and camaraderie I will no doubt be blissfully happy to return back to the folds of Serendipity Farm and back to Steve, Herman, the boys, the chooks, Brunhilda and our simple but incredibly satisfying life here on Serendipity Farm. A change is as good as a holiday folks and the best part of a holiday is realising that there is no place like home. See you all on Wednesday :o).

same plant pretty isnt it , its from new zealand

I was going to do a little post of my own but have decided to hi jack frans post here while she’s away… I was paying for my petrol today and I was waiting and hoping that I hadn’t forgotten how much was in the bank as it was taking a while to process and the girl said “sorry the machines are running slow today” this struck me as something from an old time film or some old future doom and gloom book or similar. We are so reliant on “the machines” can we function if the actually stop? God forbid we have no power, no machines. We will spiral into chaos I think, teens will be holding their mobile phones in bemusement saying “no Facebook” This is the scenario for the ultimate terrorist strike , kill all the machines and you have the ability to become almost invisible to all you are trying to strike against. I know I sound like a doom merchant here but I just had a George Orewllien moment today lol. Big Brother is watching and if he loses his power grid he becomes blind, we are  at the mercy of machines each day , cash , petrol, you name it we can’t shop without a machine. The local store that used to take (uk here remember) 10 bob now accepts MasterCard and visa and pay pass on a daily basis. I was a kid my machine was a bike and some pegs with playing cards on the  forks to make a cool sound, I had a battery operated tape player and a few other things that ran on power but the main thing I had was cash , coins and folding filthy luka (go check luka out). I had to make sure I had 10p for a phone call if I needed it.  In 30 something years I have gone from a boy on a bike to a man that checks mails and Facebook. The machine are slow some days and I love that we can use them to get stuff and to meet folks , if it wasn’t for a machine I would not have met my wonderful wife (I can say what I like she can’t stop me tonight lol) thankyou machines thankyou technology but I know that if tomorrow came and all went I would not scream to bad , can’t say I would be happy but I could adjust and hey we could all do the same if we had to. I guess what I am saying is we have all this stuff at our fingertips and we don’t seem to realise what we have.

Cloudy paper beach

Ok that’s my bit here and I have to say that I think I have come across sounding like John Connor from terminator lol if the machines rise then they shall fall as they need man at this point in time to start them up , we should worry when they have no needs for man and then we have to ask if the machines are slow today can we take advantage and make the most of the slow day or do we just say oh that’s ok we can wait …… deep ? confused? that’s Steve after a few wines and control of this machine

Yeah not many of these pics relate to Frans post but they are nice pics and im in charge of posting them lol

Sorry that I spouted here babe but I had the feeling that I could add a little to your post lol I will sweep the rugs in penance lol bye folks and remember if the machines are running slow smile and says that’s ok as they are still running and that for now is all we need till they stop and then we will all get creative ….. Bye ( hope this made some sense)