If you hadn’t gauged by the title of this post it’s a tad warm on Serendipity Farm and has been for a while now. It’s 3pm and 36.1C so if this post is slightly manic, you need to take the heat into consideration (It’s “my” excuse and I am sticking with it! 😉 ). Since our insane attack on all things “weed”, “overgrown” and “out of place”, we have been laying low like Brer rabbit to avoid the heat. 2018 has been a lot warmer than our average summers and back in August 2017 I had a premonition that it might be and set about losing weight. I had put on a lot of weight over the last couple of years. I am going to put it down to the stress of studying subjects that are SO far out of my comfort zone as to be positively asteroidal and I was using food to salve my fear. I managed to get to quite a hefty weight by my birthday but having watched my sister melt away after gastric surgery back in December 2016 I decided that it might be time to pull a shrinking rabbit out of my hat and do my own decreasing trick.
Up till now I have never had much luck losing weight. I lost it, it came back. Simple and depressing. It turns out my biggest problem was refusing to reduce the size of my enormous portions. Even when I was living on 600 calories a day (back in the foolish years) I would eat an enormous bowl of steamed vegetables (no starches) to fill me up. My sister was basking in praise for her weight loss and I was a bit miffed because I figured that she hadn’t really “earned” the right to bask (aside from paying a tonne of cash to have the operation in the first place) and when she told me that I should “Just eat smaller portions” I thought that was a bit rich coming from someone with only 1/3 of a stomach left! It’s much easier to eat smaller portions when you don’t have a full stomach to contend with and I decided that I was going to show my sister that smaller portions wouldn’t help me to lose weight. I was completely wrong. They DID.
I have since told my sister that my 27kg weight drop is entirely down to her amazingly good, and most perfectly placed, advice. I am not sure if she realises that she really is behind my newfound ability to survive this heatwave we are calling “summer” but she is. I started on my birthday back in August and ate smaller portions. It wasn’t even very hard to do which had me banging my head on the wall for a bit as I could have lost weight and kept it off SO many times over in the past if I had just followed this little bit of advice. I eat smaller portions of “normal” vegan food. I don’t count calories or limit what I am eating. If I want something fried for dinner I have it, just in a much smaller portion than I used to have and it has completely liberated my life.
I now walk 5km+ a day with Earl and love it which has helped with the weight loss (and with maintaining chew free furniture). If I hadn’t lost 27kg I would be the saddest panda this side of the Pecos by now. Steve just had his birthday yesterday and for his dinner we cooked the most delicious battered popcorn “chicken” based on homemade seitan that I pulled small portions off the dough and then cooked it as normal the day before (lucky really as we had a 5C spike on Steve’s birthday!) ready to be dipped into excellent vegan beer batter and fried in Steve’s little deep fryer. We added a few sliced mushrooms to the batter and we also cooked some salt, pepper and chilli tofu and served it all with a delicious salad. He was most happy with the results and we have as much seitan “balls” left over to do this over again frozen for a later date.
I might be melting but the garden is going mental in this heat. Because I get up early and head out to turn on the drip irrigation to Sanctuary at 3.30am and it hasn’t got any overhead water like I used to have to do, there isn’t any mildew (touch wood) like we usually get. I have had to dispose of one and throw out a half drowned other baby rat that were foolish enough to try to get a drink from Duckies water bowl and fell in, but that just means we need to lay some rat baits for them to take back to their nest. I need to do this BEFORE they eat my growing crop of pepino’s. They most likely lived on raspberries and youngberries for quite some time without my knowledge as there were SO many of them I couldn’t keep up but I am onto them now so their reign of fruity scoffing shall be a short one.
We have been picking lovely big ripe and delicious tomatoes for a few weeks now. I bought the seedlings from a local man who sells them at the beginning of the season. I can’t grow tomatoes as well as he can so I don’t mind supporting him each year. The earliest tomato was the Rouge Marmande. It’s ugly as sin but absolutely delicious. I have been saving seed from them and may even give them a go next year and see if I can’t match the quality of the sellers tomato plants. It’s always a better option (in my book) to learn to grow things yourself rather than rely on other people if you can at all help it as one day they may not be there but if you have the skills and the wherewithal, (I can’t believe I just spelled that correctly the first time!) to do it yourself, you are a very lucky person indeed.
I have decided that if we are going to be forced to endure these hot summers (thanks global warming 😦 ) then I am going to make the most of it. My latest (crazy) idea is to grow a coconut palm or two here. I did some research at YouTube university and found a guy in New Zealand who had grown some. I figured that New Zealand is pretty similar to us in growing conditions (aside from they have more rain) so if he could grow one, I could. I followed his instructions to pick a coconut that was heavy with water in it and then soaked it for 3 days. I just removed it from the water and put it into a large zip-lock bag where it will enjoy the heck out of the humidity in its new environment for a few months till it sprouts a shoot and a selection of roots and can be planted out. I would love to be given the moniker of “The first person in Tasmania to grow a coconut palm”. It could be my epitaph 😉
When I was hunting for the coconut I was also searching for a “Pinata” Honey Gold type of mango. I had eaten one the week before and it was the very best mango I had ever eaten in my life. I vowed that I was going to plant the seed and again, headed off to the internet to find out how to best grow one. The tutorial told me that I had to cut open the seed and inside would be more smaller seeds but after cutting open the large seed there was nothing…except a broken large seed. I was a sad panda. I finally found a few overripe Honey Gold mangoes in Launceston (they had been on special and there weren’t many left) and bought one home, ate it (it was just as good as the last one!) and have planted the seed out along with another kind (hedging my bets 😉 ) in this heatwave so fingers crossed they think that they have dropped into a tropical paradise and by the time they have worked out that they aren’t actually in Aruba, it will be too late!
I also headed into a local Asian grocery store and noticed that they had fresh longans and bought a handful. After learning my lesson about following normal website tutorials I went back to YouTube university to find out how to grow them. The universal method is to put the cleaned seeds into damp paper towel and seal them in a zip-lock bag till they sprout (it seems to be a “thang” with tropical seeds) so they, too, are waiting to sprout on my counter top basking in 36C heat and no doubt enjoying the ride whilst poor narf7 melts daily like the wicked witch of the west. Again, at least something good has to come out of this heatwave! I wouldn’t mind too much as you expect it to be a bit hot in summer if you live in Australia but it’s only the middle and we still have the hottest month (February) to come!
Steve and I are back at TAFE in a week or so. I don’t really mind this year as we have an excellent lecturer who delivers quality tutorials accompanied by a new female lecturer (not usual in this field) who is both knowledgeable and approachable and they both teach the way that I learn best so it might be my year to conquer my fears about coding. Either way, I am going to ask questions and not expect to know everything that the lecturers are talking about the first go round. The dogs have just gotten used to us being home for the last 6 weeks and we will be back to “abandoning” them again which is going to go down like a lead balloon but which can’t be helped. We expect a couple of weeks of stink eye and several uneaten (sulking) meals from at least one of them.
I am going to head off now. It’s time to feed the (stink eye) dogs who may or may not eat their dinner now as it’s very hot. We also have to brave the outdoors and head out to feed the feral cats that have become quite tame over the last few months. I hope wherever you are in the world that 2018 has been treating you well and that halfway through January, you are living, learning and enjoying your life. Catch you soon 🙂