Thursday, December 24, 2009

This is so Seuss!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I hadn't intended to use this blog for climate change commentary but the political bastardry that was Copenhagen does deserve some mention. It demonstrated perfectly that our political leaders respond only to pressure put on them by their corporate paymasters. It clearly shows when it comes down to it that "we" will continue to be shafted. We the ordinary people lack the power and can therefore be safely ignored. Every politician at Copenhagen knew and had been told plainly by their scientific advisers that there was a bare minimum that needed to be done now if we are going to prevent the worst impacts of climate change; they all refused to do it.
So where does this leave us? At least we know now that scientific evidence and rationality are not going to be enough to persuade them. If they are not going to sort this out we need to make them.

Outside of the echo chambers of the denialist blogs, amongst the reasonably informed, there is a genuine anger for the shameful failure of these leaders to broker any meaningful agreement. Over the next few years as climate change bites harder, that anger will grow, until ordinary people refuse to tolerate it any more. If they haven't got some inkling yet of how pissed off most of the public are these clowns in power are about to find out. I think they are about to get the wake up call.
The cost of trashing the planet needs to be raised and they need to feel that cost.

This post about nails it.

And for your further reading pleasure: Circus time in Kopenhagen


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Looking at the future

What a mongrel day, one of those days when you can smell the heat. That heat building up at two and three degrees an hour until, smack! it drops ten degrees in one. The wind, howling through from the North, hot as hell and over 65 km/h with peak wind gusts exceeding 90 km/h, and after the front passes, from the south just as strong. Trees and plants getting flogged to death and anything not nailed down sailing off to the neighbors. That spooky pink glow in the sky as half of South Australia blows past our door. It's not looking good Clive, seems like this sort of weather is becoming all to common around here.

 This area is an arid place for sure and it can get darn hot at times, but it seems as if there is a lot more anger in the heat these last few years. Anything not protected from the direct sun is getting fried. Even plants that can usually take a bit of heat are getting knocked about. Any of those plonkers that think climate change is not a problem should spend a bit of time out here. I'd like to see how they're travelling at the end of a summer like this one is stacking up to be.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More shady business and some Apricots

Last year along with almost everything else in the garden my blackberries and rhubarb copped a flogging from the heat. They are in a bad spot though. Being on the western side of the block, up against an iron fence they get the full force of the sun for the best part of the day, so it's to be expected they would suffer. Since I had a bit of poly pipe and some shade cloth left over from the veggie shade house, I have built another one to make sure my rhubarb and blackberry pies are up to scratch. The same construction method as before but as this is only a half hoop I made up some tube holders that have been welded to the top rail of the fence. The poly is simply screwed into them and forms the peak of the hoop. The difference this bit of extra shade has made is noticeable so I'm looking forward to a good batch of berries this year.

In other garden news, we have put down a supply of apricots for the off season. Although I don't have a tree myself, my mate Bill does. He inherited it when he brought his house, and for a supply of apricot jam has kept us in fruit for the last few years.

As well as jam there was enough for 15 blocks of stewed fruit to go with my ice cream.

For this job we use recycled fast food containers (every once in a while we lash out and dig into a bit of Chinese food from the local takeaway). These things are just the job for freezer packs as they stack nicely and don't take up too much room in the freezer. Easy to label and just enough for a meal or two. If we run out of containers we simply turn them out into bags and keep them as ice blocks


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Great breakfast bread

Being a connoisseur of the ham sandwich I do like good bread. And since we don't have a small, independent artisan baker close at hand we are stuck with the soggy, flavourless, junk from the supermarket. Not my cup of tea I'm afraid so I make my own. I’ve been making bread for a few years now and enjoy the work of kneading and the smell of the hot bread fresh from the oven. I love making the stuff from scratch and bake a couple of standard loaves about twice a week. But every once in a while I get a taste for pizza and since I have two mixing bowls and only need one for the pizza dough, I like to try out a bread that's a little different. Today's bread is my version of Argentine chimichurri bread, a great breakfast bread, toasted under a poached egg.

The Recipe.
2-1/2 cups plain flour & 1 cup whole grain flour
1-1/4 cups warm water
2 tsp dried fresh yeast
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Good pinch cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine the fresh yeast with the water and honey in a bowl.
Leave the mixture to rest in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until frothy on the surface.
With the flour in a large bowl mix in salt, onion, garlic, parsley and cayenne.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast liquid, mix a little then stir in the olive oil and vineager.
Using either floured hands or a wooden spoon, mix together to form dough.
Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
Return to bowl and cover with glad wrap and tea towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Turn out on to work surface and 'knock back' by punching the dough. This releases any air bubbles which would make the dough uneven.
Return to bowl and let rise again, turn out and knock back then form the loaf, let it rise further before placing into a hot oven, about 200C for about 25 min.

The oven is a gas fired pizza oven and is the bees knees for bread baking. I brought this little beauty because cooking inside in the summer is impossible, it's just too hot.


Monday, December 7, 2009

The trading post

Its where all the extra produce goes and is traded for stuff we don't have on our side of the fence. Our neighbour is also a keen gardener and despite growing mostly the same type of produce our gardens never seem to be quite in synch, so having the trading post means for the most part we both end up with the veg we need when we need it. There are also a few things we each have that the other doesn't, he has chocks, I don't, so eggs are in demand on our side. I like to try my luck with odd fruits and berries so any extra makes it's way to his place. And I've got lots of rhubarb, there's none on his side of the tin fence. Its not only garden produce that's traded, John (that's his name) is a dab hand at chutney and jams while I'm the master baker, although, I've had to put him on rations in the cinnamon scroll department after he beat me into second place in the chocolate cake event at the show this year. Anything that we can't handle eventually makes it's way to the wider community.

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