Friday, January 31, 2014

On how to bribe yourself to finish a book

Starting to get the first ripe tomatoes, and picked the first 'crash helmet' (gem squash - a peculiar South African squash many people would be glad to have left behind...) Eaten small they're tasty enough, eaten as juvenile pumpkins I really do not like them. What will of course shock and surprise all of you there is just a tiny bit of chaos in my veg - like I planted zucchini/summer squash where the pumpkins were supposed to go, and vice versa.

We had our Island writer's meeting today, which is always very entertaining. Well, for me. I don't get out a lot with other lit'ry types (I feel a bit of a fraud, I write to entertain sf readers, and really know very little). Anyway I got some lettuce out of it, which is good as all of mine is going to seed. So we had croquettes, venison sausages and salad for our tea. A hard life we lead.

I have to measure stuff and dig holes for poles tomorrow to prepare for the boat shed, which will perch between two old containers, as well as write words. I don't like digging holes so hope that'll force the words so I can finish this book...

Seriously, it is close, but complicated, getting all the threads to knot off, and not spoiling by rushing.

And some picture links for you guys, courtesy of my cousin

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I have just made the very first batch of oatmeal from the seeds I gleaned.

As this was a test batch much more needs to be done to make the process remotely viable - I have half a cup of oatmeal, with a lot of bran still in it, but it does smell fantastic. I gleaned the seed, took the outer husk off by hand - normally you'd do this by beating or walking livestock over it -- winnowed it by standing outside in the delicate Flinders breeze and dribbling it between my fingrs into a bowl - most of the lighter husk blew away. Then as per quilly instructions I roasted it -- well shoved it in a cast iron pot on the gas. It popped, like popcorn. As I haven't yet researched the cutting mill, I just rolled it a bit at time with a heavy rolling pin, and sieved the crushed seed. I'll do a finer sieve, and make some oatcakes. As I said the smell is wonderful, nutty. It tastes faintly sweet, as well as having the same roasted nut flavor.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Of plastic Alligators and black Cockatoos

The plastic alligator is like itself and I suspect the tears of it are wet, but it is like no other beast, possibly being closest related to the mandoline, or maybe, in the vagaries of biology, the rock hyrax. If that can be related to hippotomice then anything is possible. The bite of the plastic alligator which is a square grid of not very sharp blades, is supposed to reduce a potato to skinny chips. It does not do this with any notable success, but was sort of able to reduce a cooked potato to lumpy mash, which made lousy chips. It did come into its own with biting through a hunk of outsized zucchini, doing more or less what the mandoline would, perhaps slightly quicker. I salted and drained those zucchini chips and sprinkled them with chili, herbs and flour, and seeing as I had the deep fryer ready for the chips, fried them. They were OK, but as a reason for the kitchen utensil called the alligator, not cutting the mustard, let alone the potatoes. So last night we had fish and croquettes (use for lumpy mash) some skinny chips, some ordinary chips and deep fried zucchini chips. A very fried meal, quite unusual for us.

This morning I had three yellow-tailed black cockatoos in the dead branches of the gum outside my study. Their cries are raucous and I will swear one was yelling 'get yer plastic alligator here' which is an unusual thing to say while looking for wood-boring grubs. But then, nature can be strange.

We had a possum in the house again last night. It ate the catfood and partially two potatoes. Rather like snakes, I think their protection is over-rated in this environment. Perhaps I will give this one to the plastic alligator. And on this whimsical note I will leave you to go and write more of the book.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Back for now...

Our visitors have all gone back to frozen pipes and and subzero temperatures, or in the case of Marc and Manny, to Brisbane to pack for the next stage of their expedition. You see something of their adventures here

Which leaves you, poor souls, with me again. I'll be trying to finish the book I was striving for before they arrived, and, while I know it is nearly done, that's a hard thing to go back to. Anyway, what must be done, must be done. It's turned really hot which I hope will help the veggies catch up. As summers have gone this was not much of a one.

The blue slug sadly does not agree with me - and needs her radiator replaced. Oh joy. I love working on cars. Give me meat, or food or earth any day. Unfortunately they are all lousy means of transport, and my doing it is cheaper than the alternatives. So the blue slug may suffer my ministrations. If I was it I'd shape up PDQ and patch my radiator quickly, before that happens.

Also unfortunately all the visitors have left us with very little internet cap, and it only refreshes on the 11th, so I may run out. Well, will run out - so I may vanish again. However after 11 Feb normal service and sarcasm should resume.

Barbs has her interview date set for her citizenship thingy - had it for weeks. I have yet to hear from them, which is a bit worrying (yes I know, understandable. But I am not really that rotten a fellow). She did query hers and this may have boosted it. It's still well under the response time promised, but we would have liked to go over together - it is cheaper and easier.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Some pictures of our guests and the mad monkey...

Ok I have been feeding lots of people, out of internet Cap, and taking people diving and fishing, so there has been a dearth of posts...

Alas we seem to have developed a radiator hassle in the blue slug, which does pose some problems for the weekend's final rush. But here are few pictures...

The savage monkey prepares to attack the sea...

And my friend Quilly shot his first fish.

He says it's a little harder than on land...

Tonight we had wallaby Chili and biscuits, most delicious.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Peak in Darien

We have got there. We are now eligible to apply for Australian Citizenship and I am pleases to say we've immediately done so. Tonight we will crack open a bottle of the famous Rusty Dunny Sauv Blanc and celebrate.

I'm still struggling to finish the book two trial excuses - the one being a badly cut and stitched and swollen index finger, and the other being that I've passed the word-count at which I hoped to finish. Typing is Voice to text or sore so I will ask you to raise your glasses as it's too late to raise your objections!