Sizzled

Jan. 4th, 2016 10:22 pm
izmeina: (Default)
Nostalgia for grey and rainy wintry Amsterdam is looking very attractive in the last few weeks. The solstice has well and truly unleashed the evil yellow beast and it has graced us with at least 8 sizzling days of over 36 celsius including 3 39s and a rather nasty 41. More of the same is predicted for the coming week so the Izzie has prepared by filling an assortment of plastic bottles to dole out to the prize weeds tomorrow morning so that they don't die of thirst when the serpent is not around to water them.

One good thing is that Christmas and New Year's Eve did not get caught up in the heat wave. But not to worry. Easter is just around the corner. I used to find it totally ridiculous that the supermarkets had the hot cross buns on the shelves for the first shopping day of the new year. Now they have truly excelled themselves and put them out for New Year's Eve. I should have gone and complained to the management about the lack of Easter eggs. (I am sure they will have arrived by the end of this week)

Also been busy planting an assortment of climbing beans with the intention that they will provide shade for their neighbours and cop the brunt of the sunshine.

The fact that every single tree planted since early May is still alive and thriving is a first for this serpent and the plan is to keep things that way. Getting to the end of February with no tree funerals will be the true test of progress.
There are still pecan seedlings popping up all over the place and only one of them has bit the dust.

Today was the first day back at the book store and that New Year's resolution not to add any more to the collection did not last very long.

But most of the other lessons of last year have been learned such as having a regular routine to lurk around the lair watering and looking after the weeds. In summer, either very early morning or between 5-8 in the evening are the best times to be doing stuff in the garden.

It is so much nicer outside in the evening since inside is so hot and stuffy. Even leaving a bunch of windows open to let the breeze through is bugger all use when the weather is all still and clammy.
I cannot really justify getting an air conditioner when there are only about 15 days or so in the year where the ceiling fans alone do not do the trick. It's the times when we have 3 or more days in a row over 36 or when the overnight temperature does not drop below 22 that are the killers. It's then like living in a double brick pizza oven.

Maybe we need to find some more magic beans that will grow and cover all the windows in summer and then die off in autumn.
I guess if I had planted those 3 pecan trees 10 years ago, they would already be doing that.

Yesss. Yesterday is always the best time to plant a tree but today is better than tomorrow.

Sizzled

Jan. 4th, 2016 10:22 pm
izmeina: (Default)
Nostalgia for grey and rainy wintry Amsterdam is looking very attractive in the last few weeks. The solstice has well and truly unleashed the evil yellow beast and it has graced us with at least 8 sizzling days of over 36 celsius including 3 39s and a rather nasty 41. More of the same is predicted for the coming week so the Izzie has prepared by filling an assortment of plastic bottles to dole out to the prize weeds tomorrow morning so that they don't die of thirst when the serpent is not around to water them.

One good thing is that Christmas and New Year's Eve did not get caught up in the heat wave. But not to worry. Easter is just around the corner. I used to find it totally ridiculous that the supermarkets had the hot cross buns on the shelves for the first shopping day of the new year. Now they have truly excelled themselves and put them out for New Year's Eve. I should have gone and complained to the management about the lack of Easter eggs. (I am sure they will have arrived by the end of this week)

Also been busy planting an assortment of climbing beans with the intention that they will provide shade for their neighbours and cop the brunt of the sunshine.

The fact that every single tree planted since early May is still alive and thriving is a first for this serpent and the plan is to keep things that way. Getting to the end of February with no tree funerals will be the true test of progress.
There are still pecan seedlings popping up all over the place and only one of them has bit the dust.

Today was the first day back at the book store and that New Year's resolution not to add any more to the collection did not last very long.

But most of the other lessons of last year have been learned such as having a regular routine to lurk around the lair watering and looking after the weeds. In summer, either very early morning or between 5-8 in the evening are the best times to be doing stuff in the garden.

It is so much nicer outside in the evening since inside is so hot and stuffy. Even leaving a bunch of windows open to let the breeze through is bugger all use when the weather is all still and clammy.
I cannot really justify getting an air conditioner when there are only about 15 days or so in the year where the ceiling fans alone do not do the trick. It's the times when we have 3 or more days in a row over 36 or when the overnight temperature does not drop below 22 that are the killers. It's then like living in a double brick pizza oven.

Maybe we need to find some more magic beans that will grow and cover all the windows in summer and then die off in autumn.
I guess if I had planted those 3 pecan trees 10 years ago, they would already be doing that.

Yesss. Yesterday is always the best time to plant a tree but today is better than tomorrow.
izmeina: (Noodles uber alles)
It’s been a busy week around the Lair. Due to the intrusion of a certain centenary, many of the usual weekend events in April did not keep to their usual schedule. Two of the serpent favourites - the annual garden festival and a school fete in the city all got crammed into the first weekend of May.
The garden festival is a bit of a rip off. It costs a lot to get in and they are not exactly giving away the pretty plants. But it is a chance to find unusual weeds and seeds and this year was no exception. However this time the location was moved to a gorgeous park right next to the city and the local council were offering two for the price of one vouchers to encourage folks to turn up at this new venue.

So Petunia and myself packed up a picnic and had a wonderful day. We were especially happy to find Hellfire Chillies selling some of their wicked weeds at half price since they are going into the dormant season.
Especially amusing was looking at the tree nursery stand. Now that no one has land anymore, fruit trees and vegetable gardens have become quite a status symbol and the fruit trees have prices to match. Avocado trees were a ridiculous $60 and they were no bigger than medium sized shrubs. Most ridiculous of all were the tropical guavas at a mere $150. There’s one five minutes walk down the road and I am constantly collecting the dropped fruit and burying it in the hope that some of the seeds may germinate. No luck so far. It might be time to dry out the seeds and see if that makes a difference. Being a tropical tree, it should take less than 6 years to get some fruit on it.
There were a wonderful selection of Angels’ trumpets but after one of the speakers claiming that they are really easy to grow from cuttings, will most definitely try that first before forking out $20 for a specimen. There’s also an Italian lady who sells them at the university markets who has them a bit cheaper.

Wicked Weeds and Bad Books )
izmeina: (Noodles uber alles)
It’s been a busy week around the Lair. Due to the intrusion of a certain centenary, many of the usual weekend events in April did not keep to their usual schedule. Two of the serpent favourites - the annual garden festival and a school fete in the city all got crammed into the first weekend of May.
The garden festival is a bit of a rip off. It costs a lot to get in and they are not exactly giving away the pretty plants. But it is a chance to find unusual weeds and seeds and this year was no exception. However this time the location was moved to a gorgeous park right next to the city and the local council were offering two for the price of one vouchers to encourage folks to turn up at this new venue.

So Petunia and myself packed up a picnic and had a wonderful day. We were especially happy to find Hellfire Chillies selling some of their wicked weeds at half price since they are going into the dormant season.
Especially amusing was looking at the tree nursery stand. Now that no one has land anymore, fruit trees and vegetable gardens have become quite a status symbol and the fruit trees have prices to match. Avocado trees were a ridiculous $60 and they were no bigger than medium sized shrubs. Most ridiculous of all were the tropical guavas at a mere $150. There’s one five minutes walk down the road and I am constantly collecting the dropped fruit and burying it in the hope that some of the seeds may germinate. No luck so far. It might be time to dry out the seeds and see if that makes a difference. Being a tropical tree, it should take less than 6 years to get some fruit on it.
There were a wonderful selection of Angels’ trumpets but after one of the speakers claiming that they are really easy to grow from cuttings, will most definitely try that first before forking out $20 for a specimen. There’s also an Italian lady who sells them at the university markets who has them a bit cheaper.

Wicked Weeds and Bad Books )

The Lair

Apr. 3rd, 2015 10:10 pm
izmeina: (Default)
It was exactly 17 years ago that a certain serpent came into legal possession of the location known as the Lair.
Friday 3rd April 1998 was a good Friday for Izzie but Easter was actually a week later. It turned out to be a very wise decision despite all the chaos and craziness at the time. A year or so later the mob on the hill in Canberra made some sneaky goblin friendly reforms concerning capital gains which triggered a crazy housing bubble. There’s been the odd pop here and there but even the gloom and doom of 2008 did not knock much stuffing out of the over inflated market.
The days of a burger flipper or pot scrubber buying a roof over her head without too much drama are now long gone. The Great Australian Dream of owning one’s own home has become pretty much unattainable for most folks under forty unless they are prepared to sign up for 30 years of debt slavery.

Weeds and Seeds )
izmeina: (Default)
It was a gorgeous crisp and crunchy sunny day. It’s safe to say that the dementors have finally packed up their bags and left for a few weeks and with a bit of luck a whole lot longer than that.
So it’s time to make hay while the sun shines and to make the most of their absence. The really scary thing is how they just come and go with no rhyme or reason and there is very little room for negotiation.
In the end there is not much to do other than just patiently wait until they get bored and to be constantly mindful of their evil powers for distorting perceptions of reality.

Wicked Weeds )
izmeina: (Default)
It was a gorgeous crisp and crunchy sunny day. It’s safe to say that the dementors have finally packed up their bags and left for a few weeks and with a bit of luck a whole lot longer than that.
So it’s time to make hay while the sun shines and to make the most of their absence. The really scary thing is how they just come and go with no rhyme or reason and there is very little room for negotiation.
In the end there is not much to do other than just patiently wait until they get bored and to be constantly mindful of their evil powers for distorting perceptions of reality.

Wicked Weeds )
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie's not been slinking much in Cyberia these days or rather has confined her lurking to an assortment of online courses. It won't be long before the days of educational freebies will be over and it is time to make the most of the opportunities while they last.

It's been the crispiest crunchiest most gorgeous weather this winter. It's the only time of year when the light is somewhat delicate rather than bright and glaring. It is also the perfect time for planting.

Once more, big fat patches of the garden have been devoted to garlic in the hope of a bounteous harvest of bulbs in November. One can only live in hope.

This year a new weed will be taking pride of place in the Garden of Arcane Delights. There's an old Italian lady who is a regular at the Wednesday markets at the university. She sells dried herbs, eggs, tomatoes, olives, lemons and peppers from her own garden but also has a rather extensive collection of plants for sale. There are the usual specimens such as loquats, olive, mulberry and citrus trees and more exotic plants such as dragon fruit and pomegranates. But the one that caught the Izzie eye a few weeks ago was a single solitary Angel's Trumpet tree. As of this week it now has a new home.

Like its little cousin the daturas (also known as devil's trumpets) this pretty specimen has long pale fluted flowers with sinister powers. Not least of these is its habit of producing an intoxicating perfume at night.
It is still sitting pretty in its pot waiting to be transplanted to a spot worthy of its wickedness. In dappled shade but also sufficiently close to the door so that its charms can be admired from near rather than from afar. The full moon of Friday 13th will of course be the most auspicious time for performing the transplanting ritual.

June will also be the month for one last Diggers binge. That's when the last two year membership expires and there's little point in renewing since there's simply no room for more wicked weeds and seeds. Then there's the fact that the critters in their catalogue are just not quite as cute and useful as Cerbera Odollam which looks rather like a feral frangipani.
Wolfsbane is not happy in this hot climate and hemlock is also not easy to come by. As well as the weather, the Nanny State conspires against interesting plants but gives the green light to the truly evil specimens such as Monsanto canola.

Sunday will be devoted to a grand planting session. There's lots of garlic bulbs, coriander seeds, mangelwurzel and an assortment of beans and other strange beasties to be put in their beds.
Unfortunately none of them are from this particular pretty collection of curiosities
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie's not been slinking much in Cyberia these days or rather has confined her lurking to an assortment of online courses. It won't be long before the days of educational freebies will be over and it is time to make the most of the opportunities while they last.

It's been the crispiest crunchiest most gorgeous weather this winter. It's the only time of year when the light is somewhat delicate rather than bright and glaring. It is also the perfect time for planting.

Once more, big fat patches of the garden have been devoted to garlic in the hope of a bounteous harvest of bulbs in November. One can only live in hope.

This year a new weed will be taking pride of place in the Garden of Arcane Delights. There's an old Italian lady who is a regular at the Wednesday markets at the university. She sells dried herbs, eggs, tomatoes, olives, lemons and peppers from her own garden but also has a rather extensive collection of plants for sale. There are the usual specimens such as loquats, olive, mulberry and citrus trees and more exotic plants such as dragon fruit and pomegranates. But the one that caught the Izzie eye a few weeks ago was a single solitary Angel's Trumpet tree. As of this week it now has a new home.

Like its little cousin the daturas (also known as devil's trumpets) this pretty specimen has long pale fluted flowers with sinister powers. Not least of these is its habit of producing an intoxicating perfume at night.
It is still sitting pretty in its pot waiting to be transplanted to a spot worthy of its wickedness. In dappled shade but also sufficiently close to the door so that its charms can be admired from near rather than from afar. The full moon of Friday 13th will of course be the most auspicious time for performing the transplanting ritual.

June will also be the month for one last Diggers binge. That's when the last two year membership expires and there's little point in renewing since there's simply no room for more wicked weeds and seeds. Then there's the fact that the critters in their catalogue are just not quite as cute and useful as Cerbera Odollam which looks rather like a feral frangipani.
Wolfsbane is not happy in this hot climate and hemlock is also not easy to come by. As well as the weather, the Nanny State conspires against interesting plants but gives the green light to the truly evil specimens such as Monsanto canola.

Sunday will be devoted to a grand planting session. There's lots of garlic bulbs, coriander seeds, mangelwurzel and an assortment of beans and other strange beasties to be put in their beds.
Unfortunately none of them are from this particular pretty collection of curiosities

Stalk Soup

Aug. 19th, 2013 09:35 pm
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie’s got the munchies. The other week one of the local supermarkets had cauliflowers on sale for $1.70 when they usually sell for somewhere between $3 and $4. So this was just the excuse to indulge in something a bit healthier than cheese, bread or potatoes

They also had broccoli for $1 a head so added one of those to the basket too. Did get to thinking that anyone who has ever grown these critters knows how long it takes and how hard it is to get a half decent sized head. If the supermarket can sell them for $1.70 one can only imagine how little the grower is getting. But of course there is the age old problem of been torn between paying a fair price to the producer while having a limited stash of cash for food.

serpent snacks )

Stalk Soup

Aug. 19th, 2013 09:35 pm
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie’s got the munchies. The other week one of the local supermarkets had cauliflowers on sale for $1.70 when they usually sell for somewhere between $3 and $4. So this was just the excuse to indulge in something a bit healthier than cheese, bread or potatoes

They also had broccoli for $1 a head so added one of those to the basket too. Did get to thinking that anyone who has ever grown these critters knows how long it takes and how hard it is to get a half decent sized head. If the supermarket can sell them for $1.70 one can only imagine how little the grower is getting. But of course there is the age old problem of been torn between paying a fair price to the producer while having a limited stash of cash for food.

serpent snacks )
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie has been pigging out on what is possibly a last online seed buying binge.

As of Monday 1st July courtesy of the state government, there are now new fees for home gardeners who buy seeds from overseas or even interstate
Not one or two dollars per order but a ridiculous $56. It's supposedly for the quarantine mob to keep out all the evil nasties so often found in all those ghastly heirloom and organically grown seeds.

They got this little trick in under the radar. The permaculture people and other tree hugging greenies had started a media campaign and were getting good coverage when suddenly a certain drama in Canberra wiped the story right off the map. Ever so convenient for our little Emperor sitting in his ivory tower on the hill

The government made no effort at all to inform anyone about these new charges. In fact they went out of their way to keep them most secret indeed. And this in the very same week that they let Monsanto increase its share in Intergrain which used to be a government owned grain research organization.
Letting The AgriBeast in was just about the first thing the present state government did when it first got into office back in September 2008. Despite the warnings from organic growers, greenies and others that this would risk Western Australia losing its clean and green food producing reputation. Here we are with the natural advantage of distance from most pests and diseases and these goblins go and throw it all away for less than 30 pieces of silver. But they are still happy to use the excuse of quarantine to slug home gardeners with these outrageous charges

It’s not that difficult to show up this big fat new carbon tax as the revenue grabbing scam that it really is. Garden Guru Trevor Cochrane has blown some serious holes in the sad and pathetic concern for protection of our precious biosecurity.

The serpent’s supplier of choice is for the moment absorbing the cost. But here is guessing such good will towards their customers in the wild west will not last longer than a month or two.
And the 8 packets of free seeds that Diggers members get per year will soon be a thing of the past over here in the wild west.

Izzie doesn't want to buy the dodgy seeds in the big barns and supermarkets. Even most of those come from the United Kingdom. Not to mention one is never quite sure of the parent companies and there are less and less of those these days

If the goblins really think they will make a killing on these new fees, then they are in for a big big surprise. Never ever piss off the greenies.
The folks who don’t get all sneaky (and there’s huge fines for seed ‘smuggling’ to discourage them) will find other ways to get even

If there ever was a time to get organizing local seed saving exchanges, this is it.
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie has been pigging out on what is possibly a last online seed buying binge.

As of Monday 1st July courtesy of the state government, there are now new fees for home gardeners who buy seeds from overseas or even interstate
Not one or two dollars per order but a ridiculous $56. It's supposedly for the quarantine mob to keep out all the evil nasties so often found in all those ghastly heirloom and organically grown seeds.

They got this little trick in under the radar. The permaculture people and other tree hugging greenies had started a media campaign and were getting good coverage when suddenly a certain drama in Canberra wiped the story right off the map. Ever so convenient for our little Emperor sitting in his ivory tower on the hill

The government made no effort at all to inform anyone about these new charges. In fact they went out of their way to keep them most secret indeed. And this in the very same week that they let Monsanto increase its share in Intergrain which used to be a government owned grain research organization.
Letting The AgriBeast in was just about the first thing the present state government did when it first got into office back in September 2008. Despite the warnings from organic growers, greenies and others that this would risk Western Australia losing its clean and green food producing reputation. Here we are with the natural advantage of distance from most pests and diseases and these goblins go and throw it all away for less than 30 pieces of silver. But they are still happy to use the excuse of quarantine to slug home gardeners with these outrageous charges

It’s not that difficult to show up this big fat new carbon tax as the revenue grabbing scam that it really is. Garden Guru Trevor Cochrane has blown some serious holes in the sad and pathetic concern for protection of our precious biosecurity.

The serpent’s supplier of choice is for the moment absorbing the cost. But here is guessing such good will towards their customers in the wild west will not last longer than a month or two.
And the 8 packets of free seeds that Diggers members get per year will soon be a thing of the past over here in the wild west.

Izzie doesn't want to buy the dodgy seeds in the big barns and supermarkets. Even most of those come from the United Kingdom. Not to mention one is never quite sure of the parent companies and there are less and less of those these days

If the goblins really think they will make a killing on these new fees, then they are in for a big big surprise. Never ever piss off the greenies.
The folks who don’t get all sneaky (and there’s huge fines for seed ‘smuggling’ to discourage them) will find other ways to get even

If there ever was a time to get organizing local seed saving exchanges, this is it.
izmeina: (Default)
So another month of nano nuttiness comes to an end. This one was very different to all of the others. Every other time had at least two weeks holidays from the mad house and no other dramas or distractions. It turned out that developing a regular habit of squiggling overcame those particular obstacles. Good habits got the runs on the board but this time the muses remained sadly absent. Not once was there ever the experience of having to grab bits of paper and squiggle furiously while the muses dictated page after page. They simply refused to linger any longer than a few minutes at most.

But without the six months worth of training would not have been able to put two words together at all so this was a minor inconvenience. Took four days off completely so still managed to maintain a daily average of 2,000 words for those remaining 27 days.

Had also introduced the incentive of a bribe and today was time to collect the prize.
Having raided several nest eggs, the serpent was in a position to splurge on some decadent indulgences. Decided to allow such wickedness but with strings attached. A fascinating book about gardening and the politics of food written by some one who knows her stuff would sit there looking ever so inviting on the shelves of the New Edition book store. Small little store that it is, they had more decent books than all of Borders that must have been 30 times their size.
This book shop now includes a cafe. Not only do they have decent coffees and real loose leaf teas but they cost only $3 a cup for the coffee and the same for a small pot of tea. They also have the daily papers. But to sit at an old wooden table amongst shelves of books and little stands of assorted yuppie Moleskin journals and notebooks is just the sort of location for inspired nano squiggling.

So a copy of “Outside the Magic Square” could be ours on condition of reaching the 50,000 word count at Camp Nano. And today it was time to pick up the prize. This book is so good that the ma will be getting a copy too for her birthday which is just over two weeks away.
Just been ordering a bunch of heirloom tomato and chili seeds so that will make a nice present too just slipped in between the pages.

One side effect of the recent toxic toad drama is the realization that this serpent and caffeine just do not mix. Should have worked this out ages ago. The signs were obvious but was just too naive and stupid to read them. With a bit of joining the dots, nearly all the times where the Izzie has had serious almost psychotic episodes or panic attacks were almost always accompanied by several large cups of the evil brew. Not an espresso drinker but a lover of big fat bowls of smooth creamy milky coffee, so just did not realize that the lack of black bitterness was no indication at all of the lack of caffeine.

It was after drinking two enormous bowls of cafe au lait back in April last year and then coming down with stomach aches and the head ache from hell that the serpent started putting two and two together. Slinked off to the serpent sack at 8pm that night and did not even have a glass or two of red for another two days. Discovered later that a cup that size would have contained three ‘shots’ of coffee.

So if coffee can produce such nasty effects without underlying stress, figured that it was time to stop tempting fate by drinking the stuff when there is good reason to feel psycho, paranoid or just basically neurotic. It certainly worked wonders. Even got a bit adventurous today and tempted fate with a mug of the stuff at the New Edition Cafe of course while perusing the freshly snatched copy of “Outside the Magic Square”

It was delicious like ever. But at least this time when the old green cells started buzzing, knew that it was not everyone out to get this poor innocent serpent just a bunch of overloaded brain cells in overdrive. So kept away from crowds and drank lots of water and the craziness went away.
New Edition does have decent loose leaf tea and marvelous chai masala but not every cafe has such interesting options. Too often the low or no caffeine options include tea bags in water at coffee prices or proper loose leaf tea which tastes foul due to an awful water supply.
So only one hour left of August’s Camp Nano adventure. September will take a bit of a break from squiggling and start catching up on that online cryptography course. It might even provide some inspiration for November. Some one has already mentioned a novel with the most intriguing title “Cryptonomicon”

Also finished reading “The Omen” today so evil inspiration is everywhere. We thinks it is time for Damien to get himself a twin sister and her name is Dolores
izmeina: curly green leaf spiral (koru)
So another month of nano nuttiness comes to an end. This one was very different to all of the others. Every other time had at least two weeks holidays from the mad house and no other dramas or distractions. It turned out that developing a regular habit of squiggling overcame those particular obstacles. Good habits got the runs on the board but this time the muses remained sadly absent. Not once was there ever the experience of having to grab bits of paper and squiggle furiously while the muses dictated page after page. They simply refused to linger any longer than a few minutes at most.

But without the six months worth of training would not have been able to put two words together at all so this was a minor inconvenience. Took four days off completely so still managed to maintain a daily average of 2,000 words for those remaining 27 days.

Had also introduced the incentive of a bribe and today was time to collect the prize.
Having raided several nest eggs, the serpent was in a position to splurge on some decadent indulgences. Decided to allow such wickedness but with strings attached. A fascinating book about gardening and the politics of food written by some one who knows her stuff would sit there looking ever so inviting on the shelves of the New Edition book store. Small little store that it is, they had more decent books than all of Borders that must have been 30 times their size.
This book shop now includes a cafe. Not only do they have decent coffees and real loose leaf teas but they cost only $3 a cup for the coffee and the same for a small pot of tea. They also have the daily papers. But to sit at an old wooden table amongst shelves of books and little stands of assorted yuppie Moleskin journals and notebooks is just the sort of location for inspired nano squiggling.

So a copy of “Outside the Magic Square” could be ours on condition of reaching the 50,000 word count at Camp Nano. And today it was time to pick up the prize. This book is so good that the ma will be getting a copy too for her birthday which is just over two weeks away.
Just been ordering a bunch of heirloom tomato and chili seeds so that will make a nice present too just slipped in between the pages.

One side effect of the recent toxic toad drama is the realization that this serpent and caffeine just do not mix. Should have worked this out ages ago. The signs were obvious but was just too naive and stupid to read them. With a bit of joining the dots, nearly all the times where the Izzie has had serious almost psychotic episodes or panic attacks were almost always accompanied by several large cups of the evil brew. Not an espresso drinker but a lover of big fat bowls of smooth creamy milky coffee, so just did not realize that the lack of black bitterness was no indication at all of the lack of caffeine.

It was after drinking two enormous bowls of cafe au lait back in April last year and then coming down with stomach aches and the head ache from hell that the serpent started putting two and two together. Slinked off to the serpent sack at 8pm that night and did not even have a glass or two of red for another two days. Discovered later that a cup that size would have contained three ‘shots’ of coffee.

So if coffee can produce such nasty effects without underlying stress, figured that it was time to stop tempting fate by drinking the stuff when there is good reason to feel psycho, paranoid or just basically neurotic. It certainly worked wonders. Even got a bit adventurous today and tempted fate with a mug of the stuff at the New Edition Cafe of course while perusing the freshly snatched copy of “Outside the Magic Square”

It was delicious like ever. But at least this time when the old green cells started buzzing, knew that it was not everyone out to get this poor innocent serpent just a bunch of overloaded brain cells in overdrive. So kept away from crowds and drank lots of water and the craziness went away.
New Edition does have decent loose leaf tea and marvelous chai masala but not every cafe has such interesting options. Too often the low or no caffeine options include tea bags in water at coffee prices or proper loose leaf tea which tastes foul due to an awful water supply.
So only one hour left of August’s Camp Nano adventure. September will take a bit of a break from squiggling and start catching up on that online cryptography course. It might even provide some inspiration for November. Some one has already mentioned a novel with the most intriguing title “Cryptonomicon”

Also finished reading “The Omen” today so evil inspiration is everywhere. We thinks it is time for Damien to get himself a twin sister and her name is Dolores
izmeina: (Default)
The serpent’s week of sanity is over. Back two days at the mad house. Have not mentioned the infernal place for a whole month. Not because it’s become all pink, fluffy and utterly cuddly but rather because so much has been going on that it is hard to know where to start. And now will not be the time or place. No point in ruining a good day by thinking about filthy stinking goblins
They are using next week’s public holiday over east as an excuse to pay us late. Surprise surprise. Had only been thinking how lucky we were that yesterday’s public holiday was in the middle of the pay cycle. Thought too soon. If there is a public holiday in outer Mongolia or some crater on Venus this lot will use it as an excuse to hold onto our silver sickles for yet another day.

Used the public holiday as an excuse to spend some time doing some proper gardening. Finished work at 1pm, hopped on the broomstick and was pottering around with the wheelbarrow by 1.30pm. Figured that it would be best to resist the temptation for a serpent snooze since it now gets dark just after 5pm.

Five barrow loads of piggy poo was sufficient to cover the macadamia grave and to make a decent sized mound. Cannot quite decide whether or not to make it a square metre patch (more like 1.5 on each side) or to go for a serpent circle. Guess it will depend on what sort of stuff can be found to make a proper border

Until that matter is settled decided to plant the edges with alfalfa seeds, kosher soya beans and lupins. It’s not like a huge pile of pig shit needs a fix of nitrogen but those critters grow quickly, produce lots of leaf mass or long deep roots and will basically prevent erosion now that the rainy season is around the corner.

The stuff is surprisingly water repellent which is a bit of a worry. All the more reason to have some green border to catch any run off of soil or water.
Will wait until the winter solstice before doing any proper planting. That will give the worms time to move in and the serpent to find some inspired ideas for suitable plants. So far Tuscan kale and other curly brassicas seem the most likely. It is probably a bit too late for caulis and broccoli by now.

weeds and seeds )
izmeina: (Default)
The serpent’s week of sanity is over. Back two days at the mad house. Have not mentioned the infernal place for a whole month. Not because it’s become all pink, fluffy and utterly cuddly but rather because so much has been going on that it is hard to know where to start. And now will not be the time or place. No point in ruining a good day by thinking about filthy stinking goblins
They are using next week’s public holiday over east as an excuse to pay us late. Surprise surprise. Had only been thinking how lucky we were that yesterday’s public holiday was in the middle of the pay cycle. Thought too soon. If there is a public holiday in outer Mongolia or some crater on Venus this lot will use it as an excuse to hold onto our silver sickles for yet another day.

Used the public holiday as an excuse to spend some time doing some proper gardening. Finished work at 1pm, hopped on the broomstick and was pottering around with the wheelbarrow by 1.30pm. Figured that it would be best to resist the temptation for a serpent snooze since it now gets dark just after 5pm.

Five barrow loads of piggy poo was sufficient to cover the macadamia grave and to make a decent sized mound. Cannot quite decide whether or not to make it a square metre patch (more like 1.5 on each side) or to go for a serpent circle. Guess it will depend on what sort of stuff can be found to make a proper border

Until that matter is settled decided to plant the edges with alfalfa seeds, kosher soya beans and lupins. It’s not like a huge pile of pig shit needs a fix of nitrogen but those critters grow quickly, produce lots of leaf mass or long deep roots and will basically prevent erosion now that the rainy season is around the corner.

The stuff is surprisingly water repellent which is a bit of a worry. All the more reason to have some green border to catch any run off of soil or water.
Will wait until the winter solstice before doing any proper planting. That will give the worms time to move in and the serpent to find some inspired ideas for suitable plants. So far Tuscan kale and other curly brassicas seem the most likely. It is probably a bit too late for caulis and broccoli by now.

weeds and seeds )
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie is becoming a somewhat domesticated serpent. Decided that it might be a good idea to do something with the remnants of the cauliflower cooked on Monday evening. It had been sitting around nearly a whole week by then. Petunia is presently in possession of the kitchen blitz so soup was off the menu. While Monday’s effort was a bit of a cheat, a bottle of pasta sauce with the cooked cauliflower tossed in, tonight was a bit more adventurous.

Izzie has a bad bad habit of buying munchies with the intention of cooking up a storm and then putting it off on the long finger. So so often we end up with shrivelled up ginger, garlic that has turned to dust or cauliflowers with big black spots and fit for nothing but the compost heap.
Made so many new year’s resolutions to do things differently this time and it looks like we got lucky this time with all those good intentions.

There’s a stash of garlic sitting on a kitchen bench top waiting to be planted. Some was acquired recently at the annual garden fair and the rest was from the Hulbert Street festival - some seriously hot pink and purple stuff. The lady selling it lived on Hulbert Street and grew the stuff in her own garden. At only four silver sickles for a bunch it was a steal. There was a good seven bulbs per bunch and you could smell the stuff a mile away. Lucky to grab two bunches early because it sold out very quickly and had gone up to five silver sickles the following day. Still pretty cheap for such seriously spicy kosher critters

So grabbed a few cloves, grated them and tossed them on the pan along with some freshly grated ginger and then added the cauliflower from the fridge. Had the inspired idea to toss in some of the coriander seeds got today also for planting. Soon the whole Lair smelled of ginger and garlic. The final ingredient was a couple of free range eggs and freshly ground pepper. It was much tastier than expected especially washed down with a glass or two of chardonnay

But all those attempts at turning over a new leaf and not succeeding have taught the serpent that ‘should be’ and ‘wanna be’ are not good honey bees. Just acknowledge the reality and live on bread, cheese and peanut butter at the Lair and save the vegies and real food for elsewhere.
For a single solitary serpent it does not work out cheaper but is less wasteful. But did use the week or so annual leave as an opportunity to do a bit of home cooking.

The usual lurking grounds include Annalakshmi on the Swan which does home cooked Indian vegetarian food. It is a bit of a lucky dip. You never know what will be on the menu but there’s always a soup, one flavoured and one plain basmati rice, something with potatoes, cabbage salad and two curries. Dhal, mushroom or cauliflower curries are the Izzie favorites.

Govinda’s run by the Hari Krishnas is also cheap and cheerful but a bit more bland due to the lack of garlic and onions. Izzie always visits after 4pm when it is only $4 a meal. Otherwise would rather pay more and get something real and tasty at Analakshmi

Then there is Juicy Beetroot which does have Indian style stuff but could be best described as plain old fashioned whole foods. It is the only place where the serpent prefers salads. There are about 8 to choose from and all seriously delicious.

Then there are the vegetarian equivalents of McDonalds which are usually Malaysian or Taiwanese in origin. They often have soya bean or gluten based products dressed up to look like and taste like meat. Some of the sneakier ones only admit this in the small print and many a carnivore has been fooled. But charging meat prices for soya beans and wheat is a bit of a rip off.

On the subject of soya beans, can’t stand the critters especially as most of them are not kosher. Soya milk is the most disgusting muck. But the beans do wonders for the garden as green manure so paid a visit to a certain Greek grocery store to get some. It was actually alfalfa seeds and buckwheat that was on the agenda but seeing they had Australian rather than Chinese soya beans and supposedly kosher could not resist the opportunity. They made a point of proclaiming the non GM status so that is a good sign. Usually it is necessary to buy organic beans to be absolutely sure
Kukalis is way the cheapest place for sourcing seeds. Today’s stash along with the soya beans includes lupins, buckwheat and coriander. Could not find any alfalfa.

So along with the lupins they are presently soaking in a bowl waiting to be planted tomorrow. Petunia also brought over a banana ‘tree’ so that will be getting planted too. She has at least twenty and some of them still have bananas on them but at this time of year they will not be getting ripe in any great hurry.

Got to make the most of May and the next month or two for planting and drought proofing the garden. Been buying avocados for their seed and burying pecan and macadamia nuts in the ground hoping that some of them will sprout

Even been out with the tape measure plotting and planning. Sort of started several years ago but got sidetracked. Also dusted off the wonderful book “One Magic Square- grow your own food on one square metre”. Figured that this time it is best to start with small steps. Will still fart around out the back with bananas, green manures and assorted tree seeds but will concentrate energy and attention on proper food production to one square metre at a time.
Fourteen years of mucking around and producing little of lasting value has taught the serpent a lesson or two.

Izzie has set a deadline of three years to become self sufficient in fruit, herbs and vegetables and this time it is serious.
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie is becoming a somewhat domesticated serpent. Decided that it might be a good idea to do something with the remnants of the cauliflower cooked on Monday evening. It had been sitting around nearly a whole week by then. Petunia is presently in possession of the kitchen blitz so soup was off the menu. While Monday’s effort was a bit of a cheat, a bottle of pasta sauce with the cooked cauliflower tossed in, tonight was a bit more adventurous.

Izzie has a bad bad habit of buying munchies with the intention of cooking up a storm and then putting it off on the long finger. So so often we end up with shrivelled up ginger, garlic that has turned to dust or cauliflowers with big black spots and fit for nothing but the compost heap.
Made so many new year’s resolutions to do things differently this time and it looks like we got lucky this time with all those good intentions.

There’s a stash of garlic sitting on a kitchen bench top waiting to be planted. Some was acquired recently at the annual garden fair and the rest was from the Hulbert Street festival - some seriously hot pink and purple stuff. The lady selling it lived on Hulbert Street and grew the stuff in her own garden. At only four silver sickles for a bunch it was a steal. There was a good seven bulbs per bunch and you could smell the stuff a mile away. Lucky to grab two bunches early because it sold out very quickly and had gone up to five silver sickles the following day. Still pretty cheap for such seriously spicy kosher critters

So grabbed a few cloves, grated them and tossed them on the pan along with some freshly grated ginger and then added the cauliflower from the fridge. Had the inspired idea to toss in some of the coriander seeds got today also for planting. Soon the whole Lair smelled of ginger and garlic. The final ingredient was a couple of free range eggs and freshly ground pepper. It was much tastier than expected especially washed down with a glass or two of chardonnay

But all those attempts at turning over a new leaf and not succeeding have taught the serpent that ‘should be’ and ‘wanna be’ are not good honey bees. Just acknowledge the reality and live on bread, cheese and peanut butter at the Lair and save the vegies and real food for elsewhere.
For a single solitary serpent it does not work out cheaper but is less wasteful. But did use the week or so annual leave as an opportunity to do a bit of home cooking.

The usual lurking grounds include Annalakshmi on the Swan which does home cooked Indian vegetarian food. It is a bit of a lucky dip. You never know what will be on the menu but there’s always a soup, one flavoured and one plain basmati rice, something with potatoes, cabbage salad and two curries. Dhal, mushroom or cauliflower curries are the Izzie favorites.

Govinda’s run by the Hari Krishnas is also cheap and cheerful but a bit more bland due to the lack of garlic and onions. Izzie always visits after 4pm when it is only $4 a meal. Otherwise would rather pay more and get something real and tasty at Analakshmi

Then there is Juicy Beetroot which does have Indian style stuff but could be best described as plain old fashioned whole foods. It is the only place where the serpent prefers salads. There are about 8 to choose from and all seriously delicious.

Then there are the vegetarian equivalents of McDonalds which are usually Malaysian or Taiwanese in origin. They often have soya bean or gluten based products dressed up to look like and taste like meat. Some of the sneakier ones only admit this in the small print and many a carnivore has been fooled. But charging meat prices for soya beans and wheat is a bit of a rip off.

On the subject of soya beans, can’t stand the critters especially as most of them are not kosher. Soya milk is the most disgusting muck. But the beans do wonders for the garden as green manure so paid a visit to a certain Greek grocery store to get some. It was actually alfalfa seeds and buckwheat that was on the agenda but seeing they had Australian rather than Chinese soya beans and supposedly kosher could not resist the opportunity. They made a point of proclaiming the non GM status so that is a good sign. Usually it is necessary to buy organic beans to be absolutely sure
Kukalis is way the cheapest place for sourcing seeds. Today’s stash along with the soya beans includes lupins, buckwheat and coriander. Could not find any alfalfa.

So along with the lupins they are presently soaking in a bowl waiting to be planted tomorrow. Petunia also brought over a banana ‘tree’ so that will be getting planted too. She has at least twenty and some of them still have bananas on them but at this time of year they will not be getting ripe in any great hurry.

Got to make the most of May and the next month or two for planting and drought proofing the garden. Been buying avocados for their seed and burying pecan and macadamia nuts in the ground hoping that some of them will sprout

Even been out with the tape measure plotting and planning. Sort of started several years ago but got sidetracked. Also dusted off the wonderful book “One Magic Square- grow your own food on one square metre”. Figured that this time it is best to start with small steps. Will still fart around out the back with bananas, green manures and assorted tree seeds but will concentrate energy and attention on proper food production to one square metre at a time.
Fourteen years of mucking around and producing little of lasting value has taught the serpent a lesson or two.

Izzie has set a deadline of three years to become self sufficient in fruit, herbs and vegetables and this time it is serious.
izmeina: (Default)
The Izzie has been busy lurking around the lair tossing things and doing bits of decluttering. But today’s grand plans concerned green and growing things

Due to a certain public holiday and needing to use the broomstick as transport to the daily six hours of house elf servitude, decided to save all the coffee crawls for tomorrow and Friday and return to the Lair without the usual detours.

After scrubbing the scales and an early afternoon snooze in the garden, the remaining hours of daylight would be devoted to mixing up soil for the big fat green vegie bags, planting out some newly acquired specimens of chili and most importantly the handful of cloves of garlic. It is so so hard to find local stuff these days. There are claims a plenty but at this time of year sprouting is the best sign that the stuff is really kosher. And sprouting is especially important when the purpose is for planting

Always managed to get big fat lush green leaves and would occasionally chop bits off and nibble them or fry them with olive oil but had never been able to actually get the cloves to set. They always managed to fizzle out and the soil would go all dry and water repellant

In this bit of Oz, the dark side of the equinox is when the gardening season really begins. This includes the assorted open gardens and the annual Garden Week expo. That ran from last Thursday to Monday just gone and largely explained the serpent absence from Cyberia. Spent last Wednesday evening and Thursday evening too over at Petunia’s place and we both went to the garden show on Thursday

It is simply not the same ever since the ABC and their utterly adorable Peter Cundall and friends gave up their association with it several years ago. It got all too commercial and there was too much hard sell and not enough useful unbiased gardening advice. But this year was a big improvement. Growing your own edibles is becoming a seriously big thing now that no one has any space anymore. The sorts of people in that scene are greenie, hippie, organic and permaculture sorts who are not into the Big Sell.

Garden Week, seeds and weeds )

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