Sunday 29 November 2009


I have just this moment been blown in through the front door, after a wonderful time at the fair. I didn't exactly forget to take my camera, but one way or another I didn't have it with me! So, lets get ourselves a coffee and meet back here in a few minutes .... and I will see if I can paint a picture for you, to make you feel that you too have wound your way through the many worlds and layers of this colourful, vibrant and artistic, windy street fair.

The last few days has seen this little seaside suburb almost blown to the other side of Adelaide! Rain has lashed the windows hour after hour, day after day, and the wild south westerly winds sent a sheet of sand, as sharp as a razor, screaming along the beach. But the people of Semaphore are a hardy bunch and resisted cancelling their first Street Fair despite the rain and wind still howling at 9am this morning! By 11am, when the fair opened, all the rain had gone and the sun shone brilliantly, leaving only a gentler but nevertheless persistent wind for stall-holders to deal with.

Semaphore Road runs for a kilometre or so down what used to be a gently sloping, grassy sandhill all the way to the beach and is a perfect setting for....well.... anything! The street is lined with all kinds of interesting shops. Down the centre of the road is a lovely, wide stretch of grass, lined with small, shady, very appropriate seaside trees. Families sat on the grass with a picnic, eating anything from Aussie pies, sausages and onions, beautiful salads and cheeses, prawns on skewers to Russian piroshkis, icecreams and gelatis.

Either side of this strip, shop owners and others had set up colourful stalls displaying a variety of wares, often made by the stall holders themselves and of such diversity to be quite astonishing I thought.  But that's not all, there were things to do, like writing your comments in chalk, on the road, around a magnificent chalk sketch of an old mill, about what you think should be done with the local mill nearby that is due to be knocked down by developers. A games shop had set up learn-to-juggle groups and the roadway was littered with children and hoops and balls while juggling sticks and beanbags filled the sky above and fell down on passers-by!

How was your coffee? I see mine is all gone.... I wonder who drank it!

One lane was lined with classic Ford cars; bright reds and blues and oranges glistening in the sun, bonnets proudly raised like a line of chorus girls! In another shop I saw a book called "Mad Cars Disease".... how appropriate. Outside the old folks home was a table of things the residents had made for a fundraiser and nearby stood a young lad playing the saxophone as cyclists roared down one section which was fenced off for races. And in between the stalls, cafes filled any available space with chairs and tables of any and every shape and size, and all were bulging with customers, dogs, coffee and food. And talking of dogs.... one young couple were doing sketches of people's dogs, right there in the hustle and bustle of the fair.

Down near the sea, I came across a table of loofas, coloured and made into soaps. I spoke to the smiling lady who told me she lives in Brighton (another seaside suburb) and grows all her own loofas in a glasshouse she has especially for them! She also makes things out of wood.... kitchen knives, serving utensils and chopping boards. All this to the sounds of a group of African style drummers, at the eastern end of the road and a man playing a digeridoo and a guitar, both at once, at the western end!


The wind was proving especially tricky for Elana, whose exquisite calendars fluttered and flapped across her table. The calendars are filled with her fabulous photos of local beaches and other Adelaide places, as well as some themed calendars such as my favourite..... benches. She designs much of her work online and it can be seen and ordered at redbubble.... where anyone can upload their own photos too and have them made into calendars.

Then there was the man who, for some crazy reason, imports chunks of pink, Himalayan salt, carved into lamps by craftsmen of the foothills of the Himalayan mountains! There was a lovely stall of genuine Aboriginal artwork made into cushion covers, diary covers and so many creative things. Clothing and jewelry, local or fairtrade, fluttered and tinkled in the wind and by the end I had a hard time keeping my several bags under control. I managed to find nearly all the Christmas presents I needed and a couple of things for me too.... so much better to buy from people you meet than a faceless shop.

Charities and Community groups flourished too fact almost every facet of life was represented at Semaphore today.... except for vegetable gardeners.... maybe something to remember for next year. I would like to congratulate Stuart and his colleagues who had the foresight to put together such an inclusive and culturally vibrant fair and who did not give in to the weather!

Phew.... after all that writing for me and reading for you, it is time to go outside and see to the olive tree and elderberry bushes I bought at the farmers' market before I went to the Semaphore Street fair! The loveliest thing I saw today was a little plaque which read:

The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched; they can only be felt in your heart.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Walk against Warming

Someone has asked me to mention this event, so here are the details.


Walk Against Warming 2009

Australia's largest day of action on climate change

Saturday, 12 December, 11am

Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga to Rymill Park/Murwillaburka

Be a part of the biggest ever Walk Against Warming and join millions of Australians demanding action on climate change. Why is this year's walk so important? It coincides with the critical United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, where world leaders are gathering to decide what actions they will take for a safe climate. The Walk Against Warming is Australia's contribution to the International Day of Action on Climate Change, as people gather en masse across the globe to have their voices heard. This is BIG!

Your presence will help deliver the strongest possible message to the leaders in Copenhagen that you are deeply concerned about global warming.

Make every step count. Walk as a SPONSORED WALKER

Friends and family can't walk with you? Yes they CAN!

Get friends and family to sponsor your positive action for climate change. By making a donation to you for your action at the Walk Against Warming they can support the vital campaign to prevent catastrophic climate change. It's really easy. To get sponsored, START HERE.

Enough talking – let's start walking! See you on 12 December.

The Walk Against Warming is proudly supported by the Climate Institute, The Wilderness Society, Get Up! Make Poverty History, LHMU and the Australian Conservation Foundation.


If you would like to run your own regional walk or would like to volunteer on the day,
please contact Jamnes Danenberg on 08 8223 5155.
Sat 12 Dec 2009, 11 am
Victoria Square -Tarndanyangga to
Rymill Park - Mullawirraburka
Tel: 08 8223 5155

Thursday 26 November 2009


The other day Hugh and I were getting some things from the local garden shop here at Semaphore and on the way back to the car I noticed the cafe next door. The word "sustainable" caught my eye and, knowing nothing else about it, I said to Hugh "Let's go there for dinner on Thursday". Now, I rarely go out to dinner, finding it very hard to ever get food as good as that from my own garden. So this impromptu suggestion took Hugh and I both by surprise! And tonight we went there for dinner..... Sarah's Sisters' Sustainable Cafe.

The setting is quite wonderful..... the tables all look out from a curved, semi-enclosed verandah-style room onto the water garden of the garden shop next door and behind! What a clever combination of businesses.... owned by different people, but complimenting each other so well. Past the water garden's trickling nymphs were pots of the agastache that Maggie tells me is so good for attracting bees, benches of herbs and rows of vegetable seedlings etc..... I was bound to enjoy this meal !

Ordering was quite unusual.... the lovely woman had not much idea what was going to be served except that it had soup, 2 entrees plus salad and 2 desserts..... for 2 people. It was called chef's choice and one of the sustainable things is that they try not to waste food, using up ingredients and introducing new things as required. The people at the table next to us ordered first and we looked with interest at what they were getting, expecting ours to be the same..... but no! We were given something different, all of it outstanding. The coffee was good but not great and Hugh reckons that the best coffee in Semaphore is to be had at The Corner Store, where Abbie's dedication to quality puts her far above the rest.

Anyway..... I have not enjoyed a meal at a restaurant this much for a long time. And as we called around the corner of the kitchen to compliment the chef, out he came, very interested in what we thought, who we were, why we were there and so, as Pattie would say, we started to chat about this and that.

His name is Stuart and he is helping set up a Semaphore group to promote the kind of lifestyle that most people reading this blog know a lot about already.... low impact, low input, organic, healthy living where sharing is the norm and a simpler, greener, community-oriented life the goal. They have a location in mind on Semaphore Road, down near the beach front, and want to invite genuine, community-minded people to be involved in getting it off the ground before Christmas.

I have fallen on my feet here.... having only been back from France for less than a month I have already managed to meet several local, green shop owners and given them dozens of my "The Wise Cook's Garden" brochures, have promised them samples of my herb and salad pots as well as my cooking and now being invited to join some of these grass-root discussions about my favourite topics! It is amazing how a passion leads you to sharing it .

Hugh is equally keen to be involved and has offered his skills as a fabulous young chef, enthusiastic food gardener and ability to inspire others. It is all very well for us old farts to harp on about what everyone should be doing but if we are to ever have the next generation follow our lead, we need people like Hugh out there demonstrating the fun and taking a leading role. I sincerely hope that Stuart and others can see the importance of accepting Hugh's offer to give to his local community in such a wonderful way.

This Sunday, November 29th, from about 11am there will be the Semaphore Street Fair..... not a strictly sustainable day but promoting co-operation between developers, traders and residents. Stuart says it will be something unique in this way and be the start of a Semaphore community spirit that will aim to maintain the culture and history of the past, meld it with its unconstrained present and ensure that the Semaphore of the future is unique, green and a comfortable and welcoming place to be.

Semaphore Community MArkets BannerThe following Sunday, Dec 6th, and every subsequent first Sunday of the month, is the Semaphore Community Market at St Bede's, 200 Military Road..... come along and have a look.... I will be there and will write about it afterwards!

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Rain, glorious rain.


Beautiful rain is falling over the Adelaide Plains.

Recently we had record breaking heat wave conditions this November.

Now I am standing at the door looking out on very welcome rain.

Most of us seedsavers started to plant out our seedlings last weekend after the over 40 degree days disappeared.

So there are some pretty happy tomato, zucchini and chilli plants in our gardens tonight.

One of the greatest gifts to man is rain.


Thursday 19 November 2009

Food Gardeners Forum

Growing your own food? Needing some inspiration??
Come along to the Summer FOOD GARDENER’S FORUM
Wednesday 2nd December 2009
10am to 12.30pm
Inspiring guest speakers to discuss the vital importance of food gardening…

Dr David (rare-fruitie) Harrison

Dr Pam White – a passionate food gardening GP

This Forum is part of the Cancer Care Centre Inc community health program
Cost: $10
The morning forum will be held under the elm tree at
Fern Ave Community Garden – please bring a chair
No bookings required
Enquiries : 8379 5086

Keep cool everyone

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Beauty and the Beast

 Here in Adelaide we are in the midst of an unbelievable heat wave. I remember November as being mostly pleasant days in the mid 20's (no, not my age, silly..... the temperature, in centigrade!) This November has been 2 weeks of temperatures from 37 - tomorrow's 43C!


I had an email from Maggie saying Bob and I are thinking date palms, saltbush and goats for next summer!!!! Being lateral thinkers with not much in the way of traditions, we Australians think nothing of mixing together all of history and geography and coming up with something to suit our situation!

My reply said....I might take up camel riding and take tours of the Semaphore sand dunes.... stopping at oases filled with date palms and pomegranates.... looking for mirages, mermaids and naked nymphs.... and finish by visiting unshaven Arabs in beach tents, drinking strong Farmers Union Iced coffee!

imageI am staying with son Hugh at Largs Bay.... obviously this is near the sea.... and most evenings I wander down to the beach before or after dinner, for a swim or a walk or both. 

Tonight on the beach it was so so beautiful; a light cool breeze coming across the sea, sailing boats dotted about, families and dogs walking and paddling and a few swimming. Everyone smiling and relaxed; lots of tails wagging. The sky was wild with clouds; some high. some lower, some dark, some white, some fluffy, some streaky and then, ever so slowly, the sun slid down and down towards a gap near the horizon and just before I left, the sun broke through. The whole world turned to liquid gold. The people with fishing lines on the jetty were a silhouette, painted onto a golden sea.

Nature truly excelled herself, as if to say.... here I am putting on a show for you tonight so don't be angry tomorrow, when I rage with fire and wind and turn into a hellish furnace of furious heat.

It is no wonder Adelaide has been one place, on this busy and crowded earth, where people have revelled in a relaxed and care free lifestyle, not caring much for showiness or greed. What more could you need than an evening walk on the beach and a BBQ out the back in the garden? Stretched out along more than 50kms of coastline, none of the million or so people are very far from the sea or a sea view. For most of the year life is very much an outside affair.


But you cannot walk on the beach when the sand burns your feet, the sun blisters your skin, the glare blinds your eyes and the air is too hot and dry even to talk.

What is going to happen to good old Adelaide if the shocking temperatures we keep having even so early in summer keep killing our food gardens, drying up our water supplies, destroying businesses and agriculture, making tempers fray and turning our city of green spaces into a city of dust and destruction?

Planning for next summer in Adelaide.

I reckon we might grow saltbush, parsley, cactus, date palms, purslane and maybe keep a goat next summer.

Would all that work for an edible summer garden?

What changes will you make re summer gardening in this hot dry state?


39 degrees Celsius today, too hot for gardening, so join me for a wander around Waite Arboretum and look at the wonderful trees with this virtual tour.

Thank you to the Friends of Waite House and Arboretum for all the hard work you do to maintain these gardens for all Adelaide residents to enjoy. Check out the Waite website here,  they are always looking for volunteers and new members. They have monthly guided tours for $5 but you can wander through the grounds at any time.

Keep cool!

Monday 16 November 2009

Ethical Feast i am what i eat ... i am the change i want to see.


Welcome! Feast starts 17 Nov!




Check out  Ethical Feast which everyone is invited to participate in.


Online Offerings

Here's a sampling of the Symposium offerings. When you Create a Plate (above), the information will show up in this list:

Type of Contribution           

Second Lives and the Fractal Determinism of "You are what you eat"

Subtitle: The Terrible Elegance of Square Chickens for Square Bellies

Who would have thought that the best diet for tomorrow's urban dwellers is completely manufactured foods? In this presentation I will explore the implications of fulltime living in Second Life (the online world)  and the inevitability of a fundamental fork in the species.


Dante's Feast

Dante's Feast is an Allegory by Craig San Roque.

Craig has studied many forms of knowing and being, including the formalisms of Jungian psychology where he is a repected practitioner.

Currently residing in Alice Springs with his equally amazing life partner Jude.

Craig Sanroque

Traditional Feasts for Community strength

Traditional feasts have always been used in Melanesia in time of trouble such as tsunami, cyclones and hard times such as drought.
This is a an ancient melanesian way to share food to feed the less lucky this time around but also a way to spead plant material to many farmers around the islands.
We would love to have you at our Powerpoint presentation. It will be happen either around our laptop, via a projector or more simply as a story.

Jude Fanton

sharing with people in Austin/ Texas

I will be working at the time of the feast, but would like to share on face book with friends opening a wellness center. Do you have a facebook link? Can we watch the entirety of it after the event?
I also have friends in india on face book that are interested.
Thanks Willow
( didn't quite know where to post this)


Wisdom of Water


What is Water? Water is a conscious entity that thinks and feels. A stream is a baby, a river an adult, the ocean is the Great All-powerful One. The Earth is water's creation. The water within and around us came from somewhere out there in the Universe for some reason known only to itself. This same water has been circulating through the earth ever since – through every bird, animal, tree and rock. It has been everywhere, seen everything. The same stream of life that runs through our veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures, connecting us to all living things past and present.

Willem Brugman

Starter Plates

Here are some ideas that guests have already suggested...

  • pottery for peace
  • intensive cooking classes
  • dancing tutorials
  • voice lessons
  • carriage and tent making
  • incense-making
  • historical tours
  • activist volunteering
  • gypsy arts
  • open schooling
  • water treatment technologies
  • indigenous permaculture
  • healthy food systems for cities Gandhian philosophy
  • Pushkar Camel Fair

Wednesday 11 November 2009

FRESH the Movie Thursday 12th November.

Hi everyone, Kate from the Western A Price Foundation Group from Adelaide has asked me to forward this information to you.
Transition Adelaide West


A movie celebrating farmers, thinkers and business people who are re-inventing our food system.

12Th November 2009

6pm for 6.30 screening

Odeon Theatre,

Semaphore Road

Join us at this significant community event, embracing sustainable lifestyle through the screening of ‘Fresh’ and the launch of a local initiative relocalising our community and supporting it in reducing energy usage;

Guest speakers include:

Graham Brookman – The Food Forest

Jason Fulston – Cloverland Organics

Stuart Gifford – Sarah’s Sisters CafĂ©

As well as post movie Exhibitors & Tastings

Tickets are $10 per person

Book through

or contact Kate Netschitowsky – 0404 515 685 or 8341 5470

Thursday 5 November 2009

The Hills Garden & Environmental Expo


HILLS GARDEN AND ENVIRONMENTAL EXPO                               image   

Adult entry: $5 
Concession $3
Free Entry for children accompanied by an adult

For 2009 we have secured the following speakers and demonstrators:

Peter Goers: From ABC Radio 891 will open the event

Sophie Thompson: ‘Sustainable, climate compatible gardening’

Lolo Houbein: ‘One Magic Square: Grow your own food on one square metre’

Liddy Dolman: ‘A Basic Guide to Sustainable Living’

Gary Rule: A cooking demonstration from the Head Chef at the Stirling Hotel

The 2009 event will also include various activities & entertainment:

  • Live bands “West Coast Trio”
  • Wine & Gourmet Platters
  • Gourmet BBQ & refreshments
  • Devonshire Tea
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Craft Activities
  • Face Painting & Crazy Hair Stalls
  • Free Parking
PLEASE NOTE: The Expo is a “dog-free” event.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Hills Sustainable Living Day Sunday 8th November 12:45pm

Where?     Bridgewater Hall      (just opposite Coles on the Bridgewater/Carey Gully Road)

Speakers, plants, stalls, organic wine and olive oil, afternoon tea and talks and home and garden tours.

Information Talks

1pm   N Mullard                   Building with mud brick and stone

1:40 Peter Harwood             Building with reclaimed timber

2:15  Lola Houbein              Author of “ One Magic Square” Easy organic veggie gardening

2:50  Tim Marshall               Author of “Compost the Ultimate organic guide to recycling your garden”

Visit 3 sustainable & environmentally friendly homes and gardens and talk to the owners.

I picked up the leaflet for this at the Stirling organic market, there is no contact number but it says “arranged by the Mayo Branch of the Australian Greens”.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Loquats, lemons, parsley, coriander, garlic and chilli.


image  image


All these ingredients are in season at the moment so I thought I would post this very easy salad  recipe for you.

We shall call it  “Doc’s Lemon and Loquat Salad Delight” ( ask Andrew what that means!)

Mix together equal quantities of cooked chickpeas and cooked brown rice.

Add sliced, deseeded loquats and some fresh diced tomatoes if you have some.

Make a salad dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, a little grated lemon zest, a little peeled chopped lemon, some crushed garlic, a spoonful of paprika, some chopped red chilli, a handful  each of chopped coriander and parsley and a pinch of salt.

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

The picture of the loquats comes from  Plant  

If you click on this link you will find more delicious recipes and info about loquats. There is  even a recipe for loquat wine.

Monday 2 November 2009

Lemon rain…

The chooks that live under our lemon tree have it all figured out – as soon as they hear the rustling in the leaves overhead that signals another lemon bomb about to land in their midst, they scatter to the winds…

I wish I could scatter to the winds! Every day I go outside, another bucket load of lemons has fallen to the ground, awaiting our attention.

We use about one lemon per day in salads, but we get two crops per year with around 50 kg of lemons just off this one tree.

So, lemon recipes anyone? Ones without sugar? And yes, we do freeze the juice for the lean months, but it never tastes quite the same…

IMG_0025 We met a nice Chinese couple recently who’d never seen a lemon tree before. Lucky them!





So here’s a typical scene in the kitchen; lemon tyranny!









On the plus side, Spring sunsets over the lemon tree are rather picturesque…