Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Well, hopefully Paddy is on the plane to England now. I have heard nothing to the contrary, so I assume all is well. Tomorrow I go for my gun license class. My word, is the instruction manual designed to send people mad and off to shoot the instructor thereby getting all firearms banned, and saving all this trouble? I'm not exactly a firearms expert, but of the 20 or questions asked - at 5 cannot be correctly answered with their multiple choice guesses.

Anyway, we got given some spinach, cheese and chicken sausages from Tassies today... shudder. Sorry, they reminded me just why I like to get our own meat and fish and fowl.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A bit jumbled...

The posting has been a bit erratic, as I have a lot on my plate and a lot in my head at the moment. The boys have just finished University, James is... somewhere. I know he's heading for Harare with Alana at sometime. Paddy will be off to England in the next day or so. I actually haven't heard from either (not surprising, their plates must be very full, packing up after 3 and 4 years living in residence, moving away from friends, moving to new lives. Anyway, I hope they're OKay, but at their age I was not exactly telling the Old Man where I was and how I was doing. I've finally got all the details to go and sit my skipper's ticket. I've also got my gun license course on Thursday and a fair bit of swotting to do for that. We're also in early phases of various possible upheavals in where we live. And to add to this we've had thunderstorms... my computer does not like those. Anyway, been working on some new stories, and trying to keep my head. I keep mislaying it. I found myself looking for my glasses in freezer this morning, and worse, finding them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Solitary Man

Well, underslept and overfed - life on Flinders Island at this time of year. Friday we went wit the professional hunter and learned about hunting and gutting wallaby. I like his attitude - and am terrified by his accuracy and speed - so that was after midnight. Then Saturday I blanched 4 cauliflowers from the garden and froze them and we processed 4 wallaby. One for each cauliflower as it were. Then (after some work) that evening we went to dinner out Greg's place where we had entirely too much crayfish. I also made sticky date pudding (using spelt, not wheat flour) with butterscotch sauce, which was just too good not to be greedy with. And today we went to yet another friend's birthday bash, which included a great deal of music, singing, poetry and even dance. And of course odd food (they don't do -- I think it is -- flour and milk). Interesting for a change, but I am glad to return to our eclectic odd food that gets made from stuff out of the sea, or fresh from the garden or game... I like flour products, and enjoy milk products too.

It was all good fun, all people I liked, enjoyed seeing, but I found it was almost a sensory overload. I've had quite enough of 'crowd' (there must have been 40 people or so) for now. I long for our solitude again.

Fortunately, I'll get it :-).

Friday, November 25, 2011


I have something that many a young man wishes he he had. A young lady got into the car with me and then immediately leaped out and rapidly removed her clothing.

It's not something that happened to me before, actually.

Maybe because I had not had Barbs say "there is huge spider on your shoulder," to them. The point at which arachnophobia gives way to the realization that one has just stripped down to one's bra in front of a strange man suddenly dawns is very amusing. I was a nice bloke and stopped trying to rescue and looked away (laughing helplessly, I admit).

And then we caught some squid. Arthur, the Jammy beggar, went on fishing while we cleaning the squid... and suddenly I get a rather plaintive bellow for the net. We'd caught little ones. He got the kraken. We also had the sting-ray scavenging - about a metre from where we were cleaning the squid. His spine was waving outthe water like a sort of 8 inch long black stick. I shone a torch on him, and on the way back to the squid, shone it in a little puddle-crack that we use for washing our hands... and there was an eel in that.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We have a lift off....

The first short I have ever put up on Amazon myself. :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reptiles and soot

I finally got SOOT & CASSANDRA ready for Calibre (as a first step to making an e-book) and then ran it through the programme. Imagine my horror after days of work when it didn't work... well, back to the drawing board... and now I have a working mobi file. Not too sure about the epub.

I conclude chickens really are the lineal descendants of dinosaurs and just as stupid. I took them some cooked fish this morning, and greedy-guts boss chook stole the biggest piece out of my hands and ran off with it. So I gave the other scraps (less in total than bit she swiped)to the other two, so she drops the big bit and comes to see what she can get -- not much. And forgets the huge bit she's dropped. So I reach into the 'bago and take it... and she does the same thing again.

Then I'm sitting wrestling with this html - yes it is simple, and yes I should find it easy... but there was a cat walking over my foot... only it wasn't a cat

It was this blue-tongue. The box is about 40 cm long.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Admittedly the next short story took hours, not days. Now to sort out the art.

The summer-squash race is on. The little yellow patty-pan squashes are currently in the lead, with one fruit at the size of my pinkie-fingernail. There is one zucchini too, also developing but it's about the size of a needle-cover. I suspect, longer range, that the zucchini will triumph. At this stage I'm still looking forward to them. I suspect this will last until picking gets to be a chore! We have small fruits developing on the cherry/cocktail tomato... do you think we may actually attain that wild dream - lettuce and tomatoes at the same time? Also have a fruit growing on the mini-capsicum. Most of the tomatoes are just getting bigger (and bigger) with few flowers so far, but there are some exceptions.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

more breads

It's been a day of tempestuous showers followed by sun followed by hail followed by... yes, well we thought we'd get all the seasons done in one day. I have I hope the Bolg.HTML ready for Calibre - as soon as I get the art for the cover. Guido Henkel reckons he can do a book in 15 minutes... it's taken me 3 days to do a short story and I'm still not sure I like the result. Still, I do understand more of it now, and I'm grateful for the articles.

I've been playing with bread again - a plaited part-rye

and a rhubarb brioche

Saturday, November 19, 2011


yet another beautiful sunset!

I have spent entirely too much of today wrestling with HTML to convert my short stories into Kindle type books (yes, you CAN do it from word, but it looks like a word document. I want it to look professional). I'm now stuck on things called entities, which not what I have been calling them.

Anyway, So I thought I'd write about things I know slightly more about. I thought about plants...

My seedlings are a testimony to effort and not to success...

Although we have just harvested our first ever cauliflower. It had a magnificent collection of slugs...

Well, maybe fish. Now I''m not expert or fast, but it struck me the other day filleting is quite basic, and yet buying fillets adds hugely to the cost of fish. And really all you need is a sharp knife. A pair of kitchen scissors also helps.

Methods differ, this works for me and wastes little and does not require much strength or skill. The key I find is cut on the side of the anal fin, to the spine keeping your knife flat against the bone. Then turn the fish over and do the same the other side. Now go to the dorsal fin, and putting your knife parallel to it (along the fish body, not using the point) cut in, using the bones as a guide, cut until you hit the spine. Now I cut with the tip touching the spine all the way to where the meat ends in the head. Turn it over and do the same. The fish is still intact at point. Some people with big fish like to continue over the belly, leaving the bones. I don't. Small fish or if I am feeling strong I simply push the point through the ribs near the head, and slice down through the ribs toward the tail. Lazy -or big fish I cut through the ribs from the belly with scissors. Once you reach the end of the gut cavity slide the knife point out of the cut you made around the anal and pressing against the spine cut down to the tail. Snip through the arch just behind the gill and you have a free fillet. Do the same on the other side. It is then easy to lift the rib bones on bigger fish or just slice off the belly on really tiny ones. The belly is the fattiest and often fishiest tasting area. The dark muscle next strongest flavoured. The trick is to keep the fish together until the last cut so that it supports itself. You should be able to see through the frame that is left - in the picture you can see the cutting board through it.

Skinning is easy - all you need to so is establish if the species you're dealing with skin best from head or tail (Flathead are easiest from head-end). Cut a little tag so you can hold the skin, put the kife at 90 degrees to the fish... and pull.
And you should have little meat left on the skin...

Friday, November 18, 2011

long way to a fish...

We didn't mean to go to sea... or at least I didn't think I was off into the wild blue yonder, and not for so long. I got a call from Greg inviting me to come fishing for Stripy trumpeter, and as the cardinal rule around here is if get an offer, accept, and it may come up again,if they like you. If you refuse, it won't. So as we'd only had a few scraps - and previously frozen- of what is supposed to be Tasmania's premium fish, I said yes thank you very much. Until you've done this sort of thing, you just don't know what is involved. I should have done more homework. I assumed it was the two - or maybe three - in Greg's dingy. Well, the boat we went in was 25 foot long, and had two 150 hp motors, and cruised at 53km/h. And it had all the bells, and whistles, and then some whistles on the bells and bells on the whistles, and a bigger screen for it's GPS and depth finder than my computer screen and there were four of us... and we went 30km off-shore to the 70 metre mark... well to a reef we never really found at 70 metres. Anyway, there we were at 70 metres fishing with penn-type reels and braided lines... and catching gurnard (which I've caught in 3 metres with a handline. Those rods and reels are hard work with fish at 70 metres and a brick on the end of your line... and sometimes even a fish too. We caught - for all that trip... two. I got the bigger one in the picture. It was 60 cm and weighed over 3kg, but that's not that vast! Anyway, the dolphin were magnifcent -until one managed to get snagged in someone's line, frantic uplines and following it to free it (it wasn't hooked, just tangled a loop around it's tail). I hope it was OK, poor beastie.

That was followed by coming inshore and diving - which was more successful. Got our quota.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ok so a proper post tomorrow. I left at 7.30 AM, (having been up since 5 AM doing chores and preparing stuff) and got back 8.00 pm - and did 120km at sea in the interim. Result 1 stripy trumpeter, and a silver morwong and 3 crays. Then an hour and a half of Scottish dancing. Now bed

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I cain't get no... salisify

But I seem to be getting a slew of Salsify seed - the roots are pretty feeble (one eats the roots of the 'oyster plant') but they're out in large purple flower and seeding copiously. A lot of my veg seems to be heading rapidly to seed - silver beet, lettuces, broccoli, carrots and parsnips and leeks and spring onions bulb fennel and flatleaf parsley. I am doing my best with new ones, but it's a bit irritating having got this far with them to have breeding not feeding us. Still we have a lot of lettuce growing fast, some silverbeet, a few strawberries, and still have some peas and carrots. The Zucchini had its first flower out today, and it looks like I'll have cauliflower ready in a week or so. Tomatoes are out in flower, there are onions that could be harvested, and the garlic is looking promising. But we seem to bounce from glut to scrape along to glut... it's quite a balancing act.

Amazon Affiliates try out

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blue-tongues and mincers

I am a slightly happier camper (although still worried, in case it runs) about my dogs and the venomous reptiles. Puggles called me from my desk with a furious barkathon this morning -- we had blue-tongue on the back verandah. He was barking from what was quite a safe snake distance. Dear old Roland would have stuck his nose in it. Anyway, I gather the big lizzies and the snakes don't usually co-occur so that works for me too.

We celebrated the arrival of the mincer with some wallaby meatballs (which were delicious, in a coconut-cream and chili sauce).

Did it ever take the pain out of hand-mincing! Vrooooooom... done. About as long as it took to say vroooooooooooooooom. Peter picked it up at a garage sale, and what a find it is. The cat's fish - normally a hell of a process... happened about as fast as I could feed fish. Next task, sausages...

I joined Amazon associates this evening so hopefully I'll be able to get a commission on books people buy from the links on the site. Always room for hope, I suppose.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

that's a lot of meat.

Oooh. Ate too much, too rich... We had a very simple tea of crayfish (spiny lobster) salad, fresh lettuce (now growing slightly faster than lighting speed) and half-rye bread.

Even by my picky standards it was bloody good. Australia - or Flinders island in particular, is forcing me into changing my ideas about crayfish. Picking the meat from the bodies and leg bases was one of those 'ought to do that, but it takes a lot of time for very little meat'. We didn't even bother with the legs much, and if anything turned the whole thing into a crayfish bisque.

I went diving this morning with my regular partner, and we went to a nearby little limestone reef. We had the most appalling beach launch with a good third of the ocean ending up in the boat. Wet clothes, Barbs got soaked as I tried to turn the boat around into the waves, with water breaking over the stern and side, before I got it bow in. I only saw 3 crays - 2 on the small side, and one thumper that I caught. Pleased to have at least got something, I went back to the boat and found my mate had also only got one - its twin brother. They both weighed over two and a half kg apiece, so even one cray is a fair amount of eating. It was nice diving, shallow enough for me to feel comfortable - 6-7 metres, and with interesting formations and lots of pretty sponges and some small fish I didn't know (yes, I still love looking at fish) and some very large sting-rays. Pleasant, pretty diving, not washy-scary might get stuck in this weed/crack etc, which is maybe why I saw so few crays. When we got out - the perfect painless extraction to make up for the launch, we went to his place, to cook the crays. I wanted to try my new pot, but he wanted a hand with his brakes, and keeping my dive partner alive won. So we made a fire and cooked the crays, and then he decided he'd ask me just to vacuum pack the tail and keep the legs and feeding claws for his tea, seeing as he'd kinda modified his vacuum packer with a pick-axe. Yes, really. I offered to toss the cray debris out with all of ours at the tip as he didn't want the body.

So after I'd vac-packed ours and his I was left with bodies. Leg bases and gills and the extra little feeding palps etc. I thought well, I ought to be constructive and pick it, like one does to crab...

Well I ought. And will in future. The tail meat weighed 900 grams - 2 pounds, for each cray. The legs and feeding claws, another 300 maybe. And the meat from inside the leg bases - 2 crays admittedly, came to 765 grams. We had roughly half of that for our evening meal, and Barbs and I were both stuffed to the back teeth - it's very rich.

That's a lot meat to chuck away.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

the tea-boy

Well it was the local fair today, and I got straight-armed into being a tea-boy on one of the stalls. It was very quiet, even for the island. Still it's a bit of a family event, with your various friends and acquaintances all showing up for a range from polite social chatter (those you don't know too well) to the normal smiling barrage of insults from you do. I was rather taken aback by one newcomer who introduced himself and his wife and kids as having bought on the island because they'd read the blog. Nice folk. In repayment I gave his toddler a useful wooden coffee stirrer to - as his father suggested, stick up his nose. All part of keep the island - or at least our doctors - working! I think the local tourism industry and property merchants should pay me a commission, or at least take me fishing in repayment. I'm cheap at ten crayfish and fifty flathead a year... seriously, those I catch myself. The King George Whiting, stripy trumpeter, yellowtail kingfish are the learning curve targets for the next year or two. Now if Peter finds me a Seagull for the zoodiac I can pop out to continental shelf and catch blue-eye trevalla and tuna and a few marlin... Put that 'phone down. You don't need to pre-emptively call out the the SES! The Zoodiac's future is very much an inshore vessel, even if theory has Craggy island quite close. If we ever do those sort of expeditions we'll do them as a little gallant company of vessels.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's the 11/11/11.

My parents and Barbs parents served in the World Wars. May we never come to that again, and let us remember what they opposed for us.

I was feeling a bit off-colour yesterday and today. To whine, it's always hard finishing up a book. Hard pushing... demands on my mind and body and family life, and then very little in the way of reward for some time. No feedback from readers for a long time. Even merely getting paid usually involves a lot of nagging. I thought I'd set up an Australian US dollar account yesterday so I could start going direct to Kindle and finally do something that I could have direct input and view of, and get 70% instead of 8% of the sale price. It's not of many copies, but it's cash coming in, hopefully for some years... only to have Westpac tell me that would be $50... a month. It's just not worth it. So right now I am muttering in unadulterated irritation. It will have to be done by cheque. Which will cost me extra, and mean payment only happens if we're over $100 threshold every 3 months. And then Westpac will take up to 6 weeks to clear it - something which dates from the mailship era, before the invention of those odd little silver birds and the steam driven internet. What a bunch of useless bastards the banking industry is. Now judging by the US sales on shorts, that will happen. Those add up 100-150 dollars a month, split between Eric and I. The sale of the rest through Naked Reader... well, I don't know. But I'm guessing it comes to something (I've been promised figures, but really this is why I want to do this for myself, directly. No more having to ask, and ask and ask. I appreciate they're doing their best, and struggling with being too small for too much work, but I do need this.). The UK Amazon sales however... are pretty feeble. I would yet to have got anything from them for all the shorts that are up there (the electronic payment threshold is $10 -which means I'd have a few pounds trickling in, if I was paid that way, but it might take two years to get a cheque. Yes, more stories and it will get faster. The idea behind all this is to add a cash trickle into the account to help to slow the steady monthly bleed while I wait for the if I'm lucky twice a year inflows from publishing. It won't be a flood, but publishing is being slower than usual and not keen on buying... so we have to keep trying. Not helped by Westpac who suggest I get Amazon to change their way of doing business. They also suggested I get my publisher to do things in ways that make their lives easier... I give up with these people. Do they get that actually I need Publishing and Amazon? They do not need me. I suppose that's what it is with banking. They do not need you, there is always some other sucker.

Anyway. Nil Carborundum Illigitimi
There will be e-books forthcoming from Dave Freer directly.
The hell with all of them. I will beat them yet.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We have rumbles

It sounds as if there is thunderstorm about. Which is quite odd, here. Worth commenting on, which it wasn't back in South Africa.

I must get up onto the roof and put a mesh sleeve over the chimney, as it has warmed up to the point we're not really likely to do fires again for a few months.

We had a really alien and exotic dinner tonight. One of those things that people eat in furrin parts... ergo, roast chicken. I discovered one I didn't know we had in the freezer and so I cooked it. We really have to get the raise chooks for meat stakes soon. In the next year or so.

I used some of our frozen apple stock and extra eggs to make apple Brioche

which I was quite pleased with. Pretty.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The pen is more mobile than the sword

I think I may have to kill the sparrows. I've been planting behind the chicken tractor, with varying success. The one thing that really has done well are cereals - wheat and barley and the peas - which a by-product from messy feeding chooks on new ground. The wheat and barley even out-competed the couch grass which is saying something. I thought chookfood and maybe even sprout some barley and malt it, just to prove I can. Grind a few handfuls of wheat, just to taste... But the dratted sparrows (and it's them - there are around 30 of them) pick off the grains just as soon as they start to ripen.

I went into the Post Office today to send some books and post other stuff. If you're a fantasy reader now is the time for letters from Australia - beaut stamps with fantasy creatures. I had to fill in the usual form declaring that the books weren't explosive. The postmistress's daughter (the PO is the bank too, in the other half) was busy so gave me my stamps took herself off to the cube where she was sorting stuff. I walked out with the letters and the pen... it looked like mine. But then had I brought a pen with me... so I took it back and asked. You know you're getting accepted when you get a "ha, have to watch you with the pens!"
The bank half wanted ten minutes to opening so I went to visit Bill -who was off at work, but I saw the new sparky and had a coffee with him and Bill's better half, before heading back to the bank to try and find out about US$ denominated account so I can sell my books directly from Amazon myself as e-books (Amazon will now, it seems deal with us dirty furrin types) In the bank the pen is secured with fishing line. "I just came to see if you had any more pens," I said. "But I see you've tied them down.
"huh. We were warned about you!" :-)

Monday, November 7, 2011

We don't spend much on food...

Well the poor people had leftover crayfish and some other seafood in a fragrant coconut cream sauce (with chili and ginger and...) Cost,68 cents for the half can of our bulk supply of coconut cream. Maybe 15 cents of rice, and a splash of other ingredients. Call it a dollar and a bit of electricity. With fresh sugar snap peas, red onions and spinach out of the garden and crayfish, squid tentacles and fresh flathead - all immersed for just long enough to cook.

Fit for kings. I wonder what they had for their tea. Bet it wasn't as fresh or tasty

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunset rain.

I took some sunset pictures - with the sunlight through the cloud catching the rain, that, as MataPam pointed out would make a great start to book covers. I'll use them one day, I hope. The final CUTTLEFISH was sent off to agent and editor at 5.15 pm. Haven't heard from either yet. Don't they get up at 5 AM on Sundays to work? I know I do...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wish you were here

(the season opened today, and that is a tiddler - 1.7Kg. But I caught it. And we had it for our tea.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I just wrote the most wonderful words to CUTTLEFISH

Well from a tired author's point of view


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

End of book side-effects...

"I'm concerned about Dave Freer. The author. He's... behaving strangely."
"Oh writer's do ma'am. And I hear he's nearly at the end of the second edit he had to do."
"But he's playing... music. And singing."
"Ah. he must be happy then. Is he too loud? I could have a word."
"Well, no. But you don't understand. It's Gaelic!"
"Oh MY! Have you called the police?"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Hmm. The more I try to focus on work the more Finagle's gnomes try to make sure I don't. This morning it was a burst pipe. I COULD have made it my landlord's problem but he was in Hobart, and I am an ex-fish farmer. Of course they have 'improved' plumbing since then (which means it doesn't work as well) Anyway, in my expeditions to turn off the mains (at the far side of the cow-filled paddock) I found where the large (as thick as my wrist) copperhead is living. He's under a concrete slab, which makes getting to him... interesting. Any ideas on how to get him out of there, alive or dead (I want him far from my dogs and cats) much appreciated.