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Turkey stew

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(I swear everything in this story is the truth)

All of Australias native birds are protected species, possibly even budgerigars, but as they are too puny and cute to be of much culinary or gastronomic use I will exclude them from this discussion.

This bird is definitely protected.  A common scavenger for food on the rainforest floor, it is extremely ungainly and noisy in flight and has difficulty gaining altitude.

Many years ago, before World Heritage listing of the Wooroonooran National Park, our family of three, me and Mrs GOF with little Globet strapped to her front in a Mei Tai sling, would take our aged Ferguson tractor of French manufacture down some old and disused logging tracks to cut firewood to burn in our Carmichael slow combustion stove.

The tractor had a vertical exhaust pipe sticking up in front of the driver.

One day, a scrub turkey in astonished flapping confusion propelled itself out of the undergrowth, flew into the exhaust pipe, and dropped to the ground dead. Stone motherless. Expired. Deceased. Bereft of life.

( For the benefit of any grammatical pedants or linguistic purists, I wish to point out that in the previous paragraph my use of the words "flew into" refer to the collision which occurred when the exhaust pipe exterior provided an impenetrable object in the flight path of the bird.
I was not intending to suggest that the turkey "flew into" the aperture or orifice of the pipe, a highly improbable scenario indeed given that the diameter of the turkey was significantly larger than the internal diameter of the exhaust pipe.  Also, remembering that the pipe was vertical, any possibility of this novel act occurring would have required "plummeting" rather than "flying". 
Clearly an action not indicated or insinuated in the original text.
Good, I am glad we have cleared that up.
Now, as you may well have lost the plot by now, please continue, with GOF contemplating what to do with a dead turkey on the ground next to his tractor.)

Not being greatly endowed with cash at the time, we interpreted this event as being a sympathetic and charitable food drop from God, which clearly out-trumped any currently enforceable fauna conservation statutes put in place by Man.

The turkey was accordingly prepared as the primary ingredient for a delicious stew.
Very much later that evening we just knew we should have followed the original old timers scrub turkey recipe;

"Place the turkey in a large saucepan,
  together with an old leather boot.
  Boil for 10 hours.

  Discard the turkey.

  Eat the boot."

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Backing up

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It is time for me to fess up.

GOF has an obsession. 
An obsession to provide backups and backup plans for lots of things in life.

I will claim that it is driven by necessity, given that 45 years of my life have been lived in places not served by city amenities like water and electricity supply.

If a psychiatrist ever got hold of me I suspect a different opinion would be proffered, along with a lot of muttering about my "need to control".

The diesel powered water pump way down the hill beside the dam which provides our house water has a backup pump, for use in the event of failure of pump No. 1.

The house water tank has a backup tank up on the hill, along with a couple of hundred metres of poly pipe to connect it if required.

The solar power supply has a 60 year old diesel generator for emergency use if the sun does not shine enough.
( and no, Mrs GOF, some new man getting into Brooke's knickers on Bold and Beautiful does not constitute an emergency of sufficient magnitude to start the generator on a cloudy day simply to watch television.)

This backup generator has another petrol generator on standby.

Every piece of machinery has a spare fanbelt, injector, sparkplug, filter and dooverlackey in the shed.  Many of these dooverlackeys have been sitting there for 25 years and never been called into service.

Mrs GOF's little lawn mower has a backup thoughtfully provided by me, so she will always be able to enjoy the health benefits of pushing one or the other around our one acre of lawn, whilst wearing her little denim shorts.

There are enough pairs of work shoes in various stages of dilapidation cluttering the verandah so that if it rains for 40 days and 40 nights, I will at least have a dry pair of shoes ready for when Uncle Noah Onassis comes to pick me up in his luxury yacht.

Our cupboard is filled with enough tinned food to feed an army of invaders for a week. (or if Elle ever turns up, enough to keep her adequately victualised for a month while we discuss world affairs.)

I also have a more personal backup story to reveal.
A very long time ago I found myself on a marriage train which was rapidly running out of track and heading for a very deep ravine.
It became obvious that I was going to need to search for, then jump onto, another train.  (this may well prove to be a poor choice of metaphor)
The first suitable one travelling in my direction turned out to be equivalent to the Orient Express with luxurious suspension, accommodation, dining and sleeping facilities. 
It also has, after 29 years of travel, no terminus in sight.

Yes, backups have served me well in this life.

Now, if someone can just provide me with a backup youthful body to replace this old worn out heap of junk, then I will be forever grateful.

P.S.  For the mechanically inclined, the green diesel engine depicted above is a 6 HP Ronaldson-Tippet  800 rpm, manufactured around 1950 in Ballarat, Australia.

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Electrons; Good, bad, and not enough.

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I would like to launch on this forum my revolutionary, ground-breaking discovery in the field of molecular physics.

Except I don't know anything about the subject, so….something more earthy.

Mr and Mrs GOF chose to live in a location not serviced by the electricity grid of Australia.
Powering household energy requirements became one of our most challenging priorities.  Compromise became the inevitable reality.  We could have no ambition to own every electrically powered product ever known to K mart.  Alternative power is very expensive on a per kilowatt hour comparison with mains electricity, and every situation requires an individual solution.  No "one size fits all".

Hydro power was an option, except there was inadequate water during the 4 month dry season.
We built a wind generator which was not favorably viewed by God, who supplied temperamental winds.  Unimpressed by my persistence in carving a more efficient propeller and almost beating Him at His own game, He totalled the whole enterprise with a single bolt of lightning.
It was almost enough for me to demote Him from capital letter status.
God, it would seem, is not a very environmentally friendly dude.

We settled on a small solar power system for lighting, and powering small appliances, in tandem with propane gas for refrigeration and water heating.  Solar remains an expensive solution for these two high energy consuming applications.

Our electricity usage requires daily compromise and strict rationing of electrons.  We have a one- hour- only computer use allocation.  If Mrs GOF wants to photoshop,  then the world is spared GOF inflicting his blogging upon it for another day. The world would probably be a better place if Mrs GOF did a lot more photoshopping.
If the sun does not shine,( which is a frequent occurrence in an area of 150 inch annual rainfall,) then neither of us can use the computer.
And we never, ever, leave a light on if we are not using it.
Visitors incur the wrath of GOF if they forget to turn a light off. 
GOF Wrath is not a good thing.

We have neighbours who adopted an energy policy of "you can never have enough" and, along with solar have 2 micro hydro turbines, and a diesel backup generator.  They do have an adequate flow of electricity to power the complete K Mart whitegoods repertoire……..When the system is working!!!!   Which it frequently is not.  Their installation, maintenance and repair costs are high.

There is no intention in this discussion to make judgement of right or wrong with these two systems and start a bun fight between good neighbours.  Each system has both advantages and deficiencies.
Each is a compromise and an individual choice.

These same choices may well face all countries in the world on a larger scale as they grapple with the issue of increasing energy demands.   Coal-burning power stations are polluting our planet.  Nuclear technology can have frightening and catastrophic consequences. (Chernobyl).  Natural gas and petroleum products are a finite resource. New and alternative technologies are urgently required.

Just as our planet will not forever tolerate every member of its increasing human population driving its own individual petroleum powered motor vehicle, so also will there not always be a completely unlimited and cheap supply of electricity available at the flick of a switch.

It is time for the innovative, environmentally aware energy planners of our future world to step up onto centre stage, grab the baton, and start conducting the orchestra of world electricity consumption with a little less fortissimo and a lot more moderato.

And please turn the light off when you don't need it.  Thank you.

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GOF’s on the lifestyle gravy train

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Obesity and lifestyle related disease is not only a threat to the individual, but the related health care costs threaten to cripple the economies of developed nations as the baby boomer generation grows older and sicker.
Fortunately, during the last 20 years there has occurred a timely awareness of the major contributing factors to good health and wellbeing.    
To a large extent it was begun with the published works of respected scholars and qualified therapists, who had spent their lives in study,  observation, and scientific analysis in their respective fields of health research.
Health and lifestyle has now become a fertile money harvesting field for the unqualified and unscrupulous.  Ex movie stars, having been preened and pampered for much of their lives, feel they have the credibility to advise the worlds hard working Moms how to look 10 years younger and be healthier.
An old battered boxing champion is now able to sell us cooking equipment guaranteeing a healthier lifestyle.  
A walk through the book store reveals shelves full of books written by sports people, media personalities, and lots of people we have never heard of, all purporting to know better than us how to conduct our lives. It is  tempting to suggest that improving our welfare was of a lesser concern to these people than milking money from us. But some of us are, by nature, just not that cynical. Are we?

Numerical imperitives seem to be a common factor in a lot of best selling lifestyle books.
Apparently certain numbers are more catching to the human eye.
There only ever seem to be 5,10,12, 20, 21, 50, 100 or 101 steps to perfect whatever.  Peace of mind, healthy liver, cellulite removal, perfect skin, becoming a millionaire, or ways of sacrificing your own intelligence for the numbered opinions of someone elses. The selected number on the book cover has absolutely nothing to do with the real truth or complexity of the subject matter involved.  It is an economic consideration. Marketing.  And its origins go back a very long way.  We had 12 disciples, and 10 commandments, and biblical parables involving 100 sheep, 10 pieces of silver, and 12 gates to the city, etc, etc.  Some other numbers are just not popular. They are numerical pariahs.

I wish to make a stand for the equality of all numbers.  The following is old GOF's 13 point guide to health and wellbeing.  I sought a favorable review for my work from esteemed philosopher Dr. O. F. Larpoone, who replied using a lot of very big words including the suggestion that it was "pontificatingly and nauseatingly self righteous preaching".  It is however a summary of hundreds of books out there by equally unknown authors which could cost you $999.95 (plus tax).    Mine is free.  No charge.  Gratis.  As with any other information you receive in life, if it does not fit harmoniously with your intellectual understandings and common sense……throw it away.


1.   Select your parents carefully for genetic soundness and   emotional stability.

2.   Don't smoke ever, or indulge in other pleasures to excess.

3.   Love yourself.  You are your greatest asset.

4.   Reduce your daily fat, animal protein (except fish) and salt intake.      Avoid food with "numbers" on the packaging.  Drink water.

5.   Stretch, exercise, work, play, keep everything moving. Lift weights.

6.   Eat all the fruit and vegetables you can every day. Raw if  possible.
7.   Avoid caffein except for that really nice cappucino with friends.

8.   Find some quiet time to be alone. Meditate.

9.   Count your blessings. Every day. Without fail.

10. Keep your mind active with hobbies, intellectual challenges and stimulating conversation.

11. Give random acts of kindness to friends and strangers.

12. Treasure true friends. They are rare as hens teeth.

13. Have dreams, even unachievable ones.  Smile….at least inwardly, for those of us grumpy old farts who have a moral and spiritual objection to the external variety.

Life is way too complex to be addressed by any numbered guide or collective volumes of written word. There is only one way to understand it.
Live it.
Occasionally listen to those who have already travelled a similar road. It may help prevent you from wasting time unnecessarily repeating errors from the past,  tripping over your own feet,  catching a communicable disease, or dying prematurely…… little things like that.
But mostly you are travelling your own unique track.  Walk, don't run unless your life depends upon it.
Climb the mountains. Enjoy the scenery.  Take care of yourself.


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