The Weaselman Cometh…

Hi All,

 

So here we are again. I see you all decided to come back to visit Serendipity Farm this week so I guess my post with the photos at the end can’t have been all that bad. I am going to mix a few images through the post and put the majority at the end in a vain attempt to satisfy you all without polarising some of my dear constant (bolshie) readers in the process. It’s all about soothing you savage beasts these days and I am, as ever, your humble servant. Now that we have that obsequious and most belly scraping of introductory paragraphs out of the way, what have we been up to this week eh? (Actually, scrap that…due to the terrible weather conditions and the severe dearth of blog photos you are just going to have to live with them in the post today ;) )

 

This is a happy narf...read on to find out why and note the dirt on the side of my face after doing battle with Brunhilda...again...

This is a happy narf…read on to find out why and note the dirt on the side of my face after doing battle with Brunhilda…again…

Well it’s 4.48am and I decided that I would sacrifice my RSS Feed Reader to the great unknown this morning in order to bring you a little slice of Serendipity down South and in the close proximity to Antarctica. Most of the time we don’t think about Antarctica but come mid-winter and it tends to be right up there in our thoughts. I opened up my email this morning and whilst tossing things into the junk mail bin and sifting through the paltry pile of “good” stuff, I found an email from a permaculture maestro who lives in the U.S. that I had actually signed up to and decided to read it. Within 2 minutes I was very excited by a couple of the links that he had put in his email and had headed off and spent 10 minutes discovering new and exciting things. Have you ever heard of a “wofati” house? It’s a most interesting variation of an underground bunker without having to live underground. It takes care of the heating and cooling of your house by having a huge load of soil banked up against the rear of the house. Interesting but not as interesting as the little debris house that I saw. “Debris house narf?” yes…debris house.

Earl was very proud to have urinated this tree down last week but people have been poaching the trunk for their fires and he is displeased...

Earl was very proud to have urinated this tree down last week but people have been poaching the trunk for their fires and he is displeased…

Now before you reach for your phones to have me committed I need to tell you that I am not going to build myself a debris house to sit in and contemplate my navel for the foreseeable future any day soon. Why would I do that when I already have Serendipity Farm house for that purpose eh? The reason I got excited about them is that a debris house is something bolshie using something that no-one wants to create something that will serve a purpose in a most interesting and delightful way. Say you are out in the woods…yeah, you, couch potato that you are, “out in the woods” (for the sake of this experiment let’s just run with “you” in “the woods” no matter how laughable or impractical/impossible that idea is OK? ;) ) and say you got lost (highly likely if you live on the couch and don’t venture out into nature on a regular basis) and it was winter and you needed someplace to kip till they found you. Now I would rather be proactive about stacking up a little bush house of debris to wait out my time (complete with my own little debris couch) than just huddle under a shrub in the cold. I guess what I am saying is that things like this excite me because someone out there had a great idea to use what no-one else wanted to get something that they needed.

 

Narfs pretty new bowl and in the background a selection of mixing bowls designed to encourage me to make cake...

Narfs pretty new bowl and in the background a selection of mixing bowls designed to encourage me to make cake…

 

Testing the pretty new bowl with some delicious veggie soup

Testing the pretty new bowl with some delicious veggie soup

I guess what excites me most about these ideas is that they are entirely possible and sometimes we all need someone to dangle a carrot of possibility in front of our noses to get us galvanised for action. I have been the opposite of galvanised for some time now. I have been in active narfish hibernation inside the comfy confines of Chez Serendipity. I won’t tell a fib, I am entirely content with this situation and all talk of  “going outside”  is met with stern twitching, measured reasoning (“paper, rock, scissors I WIN…you go…”) and a degree of loin girding and dashing hither and thither that is completely unbecoming to a 50 year old woman. Yesterday our power went out and we took the 2 hour space of time before it came back on to zoom out and walk the dogs between rain squalls and wind gusts and I ladled my not inconsiderable derriere off the couch and trundled myself off to muck out my chook coop. “Pourquoi?” I hear you asking, when I have just admitted to being part wintery sloth? Well, the weasel man came you see…

 

Plastic coated wire clothesline destined to be used in "Sanctuary"  in a vain attempt to stop the rampaging possums

Plastic coated wire clothesline destined to be used in “Sanctuary” in a vain attempt to stop the rampaging possums

 

An indication of how low I sunk today hunting for blog photos...this is Brunhilda's hot toasty log stash and Steve's quince wine (red bucket) basking in her warmth

An indication of how low I sunk today hunting for blog photos…this is Brunhilda’s hot toasty log stash and Steve’s quince wine (red bucket) basking in her warmth

NOW I have your attention! “The Weaselman?!” yup…The Weaselman. Well, he isn’t really half man half weasel but I have my suspicions. Let me back up a bit and give you the back story so that you don’t have nightmares tonight OK? (Here you get those wavy lines that denote going back in time but that I can’t quite replicate all that well in words…)” In the beginning there was God”…err…maybe I went back a bit far, might fast forward a few millennia to a bit closer to my existence…how about “Saturday 26th July 2014”…sounds like a good day to visit Serendipity Farm…Well Stevie-boy and narf7 have been increasingly alarmed at the size of our chook population on Serendipity Farm. We saved about 40 baby chooks from the quoll a while back that killed their mothers and took quite a few of their brethren. They were raised (I would love to say “by wolves” here but that simply wouldn’t be true…) by a bolshie old nana hen we like to call “Goldy” who looked after them admirably and who cared for them like they were her own.

Stevie-boy loves his chips BIG and oven fried and that green stuff in that blue bowl is mushy peas...food of the old country

Stevie-boy loves his chips BIG and oven fried and that green stuff in that blue bowl is mushy peas…food of the old country

 

I call this "Still life with copper bowl, beer and fish". Steve calls this " Dinner"

I call this “Still life with copper bowl, beer and fish”. Steve calls this ” Dinner”

It started to become apparent about 3 weeks ago, that we had quite a few roosters in their midst. We already had about 5 larger roosters that Stevie-boy knew that he was going to have to “deal with” (don’t ask my vegan friends…don’t ask…) in the immediate future but in the groundswell of “The 40” (for want of a better word for the orphans) there was an alarming dichotomy between the population that signified an overrepresentation of roosters. It was both alarming and disheartening because we saved them from the quoll dammit! It would appear that the quoll may have been doing us a favour…

 

The end result of that bag of potatoes and that still life and the best darned batter I have ever made :)

The end result of that bag of potatoes and that still life and the best darned batter I have ever made :)

 

The only thing stopping Earl from sampling these wares is that fluorescent, lime green toxic concoction blocking his way to the tasty things...

The only thing stopping Earl from sampling these wares is that fluorescent, lime green toxic concoction blocking his way to the tasty things…

So what’s a narf and a Stevie-boy to do when faced with a growing population of roosters that were starting to eat them out of house and home? It turns out we were doing what we usually do which was a combination of being stoic (buying more food) and sticking our heads, ostrich like, into the sand. Stevie-boy has been doing a bit of work with a friend down the road and our friend phoned Steve up and asked him if another friend (lots of “friends” out in the country, like “aunties” and “uncles” when you are kids ;) ) could come up and have a look at our chooks as he was after a few more hens for his flock. We keep waving free chooks all over the place and haven’t had many takers yet because at the time we couldn’t be sure what was a hen and what was a rooster so our answer was “SURE…bring him up”.

 

Stevie-boy would like it to be known that he loves beer battered fish and chips night as he gets wine AND beer at the same time ;)

Stevie-boy would like it to be known that he loves beer battered fish and chips night as he gets wine AND beer at the same time ;)

It turns out our flock was too hybrid to be appealing to the “friend” but while he was wandering around insulting our flock and their lack of pedigree he said “you have a bit of a rooster problem here don’t you”…err, “YOU THINK?!” I guess that reinforced that he knew his roosters from his hens.

More still life except this one I call "Life at lunchtime". Those pumpkin seeds are this seasons prospective harvest, those apples are my snacks and that bowl has more delicious veggie soup in it

More still life except this one I call “Life at lunchtime”. Those pumpkin seeds are this seasons prospective harvest, those apples are my snacks and that bowl has more delicious veggie soup in it

 

A personal invitation from our local Greens member Mr Whish-Wilson (LOVE that name :) ) inviting us to a grub and gripe session at the Deviot Hall. Might even go if it means I can complain about our current Government...sigh...

A personal invitation from our local Greens member Mr Whish-Wilson (LOVE that name :) ) inviting us to a grub and gripe session at the Deviot Hall. Might even go if it means I can complain about our current Government…sigh…

After a bit more wandering around he said “tell you what, if you don’t want these roosters, leave them locked in the coop overnight, I will come back tomorrow with some crates and will take them away for you”. Turns out The Weaselman (yup, you were right! 10 points Sherlock!) was an expert chook man (as most weasels are) and had a large flock of his own, a pole with a hook on the end for rooster hooking and the ability to get a couple of large crates into our coop cram packed with bolshie and hungry chooks that were hell bent on being let out for the day.

The weather has been wet, wild and windy here in Northern Tasmania and this is what our deck looked like this morning in a brief moment of quiet respite from the storms

The weather has been wet, wild and windy here in Northern Tasmania and this is what our deck looked like this morning in a brief moment of quiet respite from the storms

Roll on Sunday and The Weaselman came promptly at 10am like he said he would. The chook coop was humming as I usually let them all out at 7am and their stomachs were starting to tell them that something was amiss. I stayed inside with the boys because The Weaselman had brought his wife AND his dog and our boys wanted to teach it all about the ways of Serendipity Farm and I don’t think the poor moth eaten sock under the bed could stand the litigation so I shovelled them baying and howling inside to wait out the rooster apocalypse (“chicken? Moi?!” …”bluck…”) It turns out The Weaselman is a true pro. I am SO in awe of his chook prowess! He is small and thin and slinky and not only managed to get himself and his large crates into a somewhat small coop with 60 angry, hungry chooks and one bolshie very LOUD duck, but he hooked 33 roosters in about 15 minutes with minimal fuss and hardly any noise at all. Stevie-boy came back inside and said “they are gone”. I couldn’t believe it! The man is both a true weasel and a pro.

Steve was most impressed with the insect activity on this bit of bark till he realised that it had blown off an old placard we had leaning on the shed saying "Stop the Pulp Mill!" It would seem that WE were the insects that decorated that ;)

Steve was most impressed with the insect activity on this bit of bark till he realised that it had blown off an old placard we had leaning on the shed saying “Stop the Pulp Mill!” It would seem that WE were the insects that decorated that ;)

Apparently, he managed to find 2 hens that met his criteria for “good enough”  in our humble mixed flock and Stevie-boy gave them to him gladly. I had already told him to take any hens that he wanted and the hens that he chose were pretty but airheaded so good luck to you Weaselman on that front. The best of my hens had refused point blank to go into the coop that day and was hunkered down and hiding out in the bush when The Weaselman came and escaped his eagle eyes. We only discovered her subterfuge when we noticed her wandering around outside the coop later on in the day looking at her 25 sisters and big yin and duckie and wondering how she could get her bolshie derriere into the coop to get herself some grain.

 

The new metal gutter guard that we decided to install to ensure a cleaner water supply in the tank

The new metal gutter guard that we decided to install to ensure a cleaner water supply in the tank

 

The big portion of roof that Steve just added to the tank equation (and just in time too!) with new gutter guard installed

The big portion of roof that Steve just added to the tank equation (and just in time too!) with new gutter guard installed

 

Gutter guard almost installed (patience was never one of my strong points ;) ) on the small extension roof

Gutter guard almost installed (patience was never one of my strong points ;) ) on the small extension roof

 

A better view of the gutter guard over the tank and the reason why we installed it in the first place look at those leaves!

A better view of the gutter guard over the tank and the reason why we installed it in the first place look at those leaves!

 

So Serendipity Farm is quiet. No chooks racing around, no roosters waiting to pounce, no rounding up, leaping on or molestation going on and a sweet peaceful calm has returned. The Weaselman had offered to give us back half of the roosters cleaned and ready for the pot (he is a man of many weasel like talents apparently) but after thinking it through between us, we decided to decline. He was doing us a HUGE favour and deserved to be rewarded accordingly and besides, it would have felt a bit like eating our neighbours…

 

LOVE this paint job :)

LOVE this paint job :)

What else have we done here on Serendipity Farm? Well we found a great recipe for batter that is naturally vegan that involves ¾ of a cup of Self raising (yes you people from the U.S. we Aussies call it “Self-raising” not “Self-rising” ;) ) flour and 150ml of fizzy beer. That’s it, that’s all. Mix the two together and dip whatever you want into the batter and fry in hot oil till crispy, crunchy, golden and heavenly delicious. I was going to have something elaborate for my rapidly approaching birthday but changed my mind. Stevie-boy is an excellent cook and makes my birthday meal every year including a most awesome cake (yes, I will take pictures…) and we had been wading through Escoffier looking for suitable delicacies when we both decided (after tasting a fried battered onion ring in this mix) to bollock off the elitist grub and go with the fried flow. We will be balancing it out with Japanese élan so you don’t have to worry about narf croaking from a heart attack on her 51st birthday and Stevie-boy is poring over Google searching out “Bento Box” recipes complete with delicious quick pickles, tempura veggies, lovely sticky rice and seaweed salad, a meal fit for a king but eaten by queen narf of Serendipity Farm with an awesome slice of vegan sticky dense cake for dessert. What a lucky narf I am!

Me up checking the level of water in the tank. You can also see the first flush diverter here and the delightful trousers that Ms Jessie made me that I wear with impunity everywhere :)

Me up checking the level of water in the tank. You can also see the first flush diverter here and the delightful trousers that Ms Jessie made me that I wear with impunity everywhere :)

So here we are again…at the end of a blog post and ready to wave goodbye to each other again over the miles. Have a great week everyone. Please make the most of what you have, where you have it. Don’t look at what other people have and feel “less than”. You likely have more than enough for you and your world and when we stop and look around us we suddenly realise that our lives are pretty wonderful just the way that they are. Who needs a yacht or a condo in the South of France or Escoffier on their birthday menu when you can have your family, your friends, your pets, your favourite fry up and an amazing sticky cake to end the day in a most fitting and satisfying way. Viva la vie folks…”VIVA LA VIE!” : )

(Although…that yacht is pretty sweet…) ;)

 

Guest Post: Something To Admire

narf77:

Wendy and Roger of http://quarteracrelifestyle.wordpress.com/ are my frugal heroes. They might not think so, but they are. Everything that they are doing makes me sit up and take notice. It “works” pure and simple and when they write their book on how they do all of this on a shoestring budget I am going to wring that moth eaten socks neck under the bed and put it out of its misery and will buy 10 copies as this precious stuff needs to be shared! Please go and read Wendy’s wonderful story. It will make you smile :)

Originally posted on Living Simply Free:

One of the best things about blogging are the things I get to learn.  Last week Wendy mentioned her friends from Vanuatu. I was curious what this island looked like, the above image is what I found.   Wendy’s mentioned her friends before but this time I felt a bit more brave and asked her if she would write a guest post and not only tell me more but allow me to share what she has received from knowing these particular friends.  Wendy was gracious enough to accept my request!  Wendy, for those of you who might not know, blogs at Quarter Acre Lifestyle and is such an inspiration to me.  Let me introduce Wendy now.
`

Thanks Lois for inviting me to do a guest post on your wonderful blog!

View original 1,040 more words

Yesterday I went outside

Hi All,

 

O.K. so narf7 went outside did she…”good girl narf7!” one could be forgiven for being somewhat sarcastic about me going outside but when you consider that there is snow on the mountains and that it rarely gets into double digits outside you can start to get an idea of why I haven’t been venturing much further than the wheelbarrow on the deck to grab an armful of wood and scuttle back inside to the basking, blissful warmth of Brunhilda. Inside I can hibernate. Inside I can pretend that I am a productive member of society. Inside I don’t have to look at what is happening to the garden out there. Inside I can put my earphones in and listen to Pandora online radio LOUDLY so that I can’t hear the plethora of rooster crows that pepper every…single…waking…hour…inside = good. Outside = the downside of a Stephen King novel.

 

I do take Earl out every day for a walk but I tend to go just on sunrise when the world is pretty and frosty and I can do the narf7 equivalent of running a marathon (which is technically acting as a large millstone around a most excited and determined tractors neck) and I arrive back to my cosy sanctuary rosy cheeked, exercised and usually completely worn out. We are told to exercise every day. We are told “30 minutes a day is good for you” but I am starting to think that “they” (those hallowed scientists who are beyond our reproach) are talking about some other form of exercise than that which narf7 exposes herself to every morning.

 

My favourite part of the walk is getting back home, shedding the multiple layers of clothing that make me look like the Michelin man, taking off Stevie-boys furry hat with ear-flaps that makes me look like someone from the Ozarks and warming my abraded hands by the fire. Putting the kettle on for my second life-giving cuppa of the day is tantamount to excellent sex. I fear winter is starting to take its toll on resilient old narf who would rather cling tenaciously to its shirttails all year than suffer the progression towards summer that our insane plants seem to be undertaking. We have maples in full leaf. We have fruit trees coming out into leaf…”it’s the middle of winter you numpties!” The sun might be shining, the jonquils might be blooming but narf7 is in FULL denial and will be for the foreseeable future in her manufactured snow cabin on the river.

 

I posted a blog post on Monday so I am going to keep this post short. Not sure about the sweet as I am off the sweet stuff. I recently ate my way into a couple of extra pants sizes and seeing how determined nature is to shove me back into summer I need to shed those pants sizes in order to survive those hot dry days in some degree of style. I have dumped my newly reacquainted love of potatoes and bread and have relegated them into the “trigger foods” cupboard along with anything fried, buttery, chocolaty or otherwise likely to result in me thinking “stuff it I can eat healthily tomorrow!” I buy apples from a roadside stall from an orchard just up the road and they are forced, by law, to put a sticker on their apples to pronounce them Australian (err…yeah…you are just up the road from me and as far as I am aware, Tasmania is still an Aussie state…) and the variety of said apple. I buy huge bags of “juicing apples” that are too big/small/bumpy/unpopular breeds for supermarket sales and at the moment I have sacks of Pink Lady apples that I am working through. I have a new and most wondrous breakfast habit. It developed as a result of me removing all grains from my diet in order to get myself back on track. I will be reintroducing buckwheat but I just wanted to clean myself out. Go back to some kind of monastic simplicity where fruit and veggies were king and let’s face it, after you live for a few weeks on fruit and veggies prepared simply, EVERYTHING else, no matter how healthy, looks like a treat.

 

My breakfast consists of pumpkin or sweet potato cubes, steamed, with peeled quartered apple and a small handful of chopped dates. I steam them all together and eat it hot. It’s reminiscent of cereal and very filling. Oh MY narf7 is such a healthy little vegemite isn’t she? Not really. Narf7 just knows that at 50+ she has to make a choice between health and hog and even though I would love to just eat my way around the world, I can’t. Responsibility is a biotch. I just added “biotch” to spellchecker for posterity.

 

I have been up to Sanctuary (my fully enclosed “HA!” veggie garden) where there is a large narf7 sized rock placed strategically by nature for me to sit and lament the state of affairs in Sancturyville. I release the hounds while I am sitting and contemplating and the scene involves narf7 sitting like Rodin’s thinker on her rock, Bezial sighing and eating grass whilst watching Earl careening around the ex-fish farm netting enclosure like a cork out of a champagne bottle. Any chook foolish enough to come close to the edge gets the equivalent of being exploded on and learns the hard way to stay AWAY from Sanctuary whilst Earl is in the house.

 

I just had an example of how big internet brother is watching you BIGTIME. I decided that I wanted to remember who sculpted “The Thinker” so that I could cleverly drop it into my last paragraph like I was a knowledgeable narf7 who just casually drops intelligent information de rigueur and started to type in “who sculpted…” and up popped “The Thinker”. Google is reading my word documents! I am tapping away at this post in Word and Google is reading over my shoulder! Mr Weird Al Yankovic is onto something in his newly released song “Foil”. He has released a new album of most clever parodies but this one is obviously true! Time for narf7 to fashion herself a most fetching tin-foil hat methinks…here’s a linkie to Mr Al’s most revealing song…enjoy, and let me know if you need me to make you a nice customised tin-foil hat. I am thinking of starting an Etsy stall to sell them, I sense a gap in the market where I could fill a niche…and here I was thinking that I wasn’t crafty!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-0TEJMJOhk (linkie linkie linkie)

 

And on that note I am going to leave you to contemplate your need for a tin-foil hat and a deep fear of both the lizard people AND Spencer from the U.S. sitcom “King of Queens”. Have a great week and let me know what size you want your tin-foil hat or I could always just type your name into Google and I am sure that it would tell me…

 

I am going to try something new today. I am going to put the blog post first and THEN the images. If anyone wants to bypass the words (PLEBEIANS I slaved my fingers to the bone over that prose!) and go straight to the pretty pictures be my guest. Let me know if its a better way for me to post. I put images in between my paragraphs but I think it might actually confuse people as the flow of the post is broken. If anyone has any suggestions about how I should add images to my post let me know. I may, or may not take them on board. I reserve my right to completely ignore you if I see fit ;) Here goes with the images for today (such as they are…)

 

 

DSCF1105

 

R.I.P. Big teddy. Earl got bored…

DSCF1110

I call this one “A study in prospective breakfast”

DSCF1090

I call this one “breakfast”. It might not be everyone’s cuppa but it certainly sustains me to my next meal and no-one could say that it wasn’t reasonably healthy

DSCF1115

 

“And WHERE do you think you are going eh?”

DSCF1116

 

I am going out to get some sunshine therapy

DSCF1130

 

Coupled with some stress relief thanks to this motorised block splitter and a pile of wood that needs chopping. We just got our next assignment in our email in box…you won’t believe the levels of procrastination that I am going to go to in order to avoid THIS one… stay tuned, it could get interesting…

DSCF1134

 

2 barrow loads chopped and narf7 knock off time for the day

DSCF1125

 

This is what a team of seriously dedicated chooks can do to a couple of cape gooseberry plants in a day

DSCF1136

 

 

I thought I had best give you a few “pretties” for those of you that turned up here after searching for something horticultural. This is a mouse plant aka “Arisarum proboscideum” and as you can see it is still growing in our garden, the chooks haven’t eaten it or dug it up in spite and it appears to be flourishing. I would put that in the “MUST ADD” list for a problematic garden

DSCF1137

This is a camellia. It is pretty…the end

DSCF1138

 

In among the curse that is known as jasmine, I found this. This is for you Bev. There are worse things than no eggs…there are eggs that have been hiding for about 4 months and that you aren’t game to pick up because you aren’t stupid…

DSCF1140

 

Earl investigating whatever it is that the possums left on the deck rail last night

DSCF1083

 

This is a currawong. It’s a sort of a cross between a magpie and a crow. Serendipity Farm is home to a good population of these guys and they spend their days pulling bark off the eucalypts and eating insects. I reckon that makes them “beneficials” :)

DSCF1142

 

Most of you are aware that I am vegan and that I make my own non-dairy sesame milk. This is what happens when you keep putting all of the spare pulp from the milk that you make into the freezer till you can think of what to do with it. I now know what to do with it. Give it to the chooks ;)

DSCF1095

 

Earlier this week I posted a blog hop post about crafts. I forgot to add this picture. It’s a mobile phone case that I ran up for Steve one morning not long after he got his phone so that it wouldn’t get scratched. Most of my “crafts” are the result of a need not being met ;)

DSCF1086

 

This is Stevie-boys new mate. He swapped another one of his guitars for her. He is most happy with his trade :)

DSCF1099

 

I am still getting eggs from my chooks and that’s not a hairy egg in front, that’s what one of the yacon bulbs looks like. I decided to harvest one (I left the rest of them in the ground) so that I could taste it. I tasted it. It tastes like a sweet potato, go figure ;)

DSCF1098

 

The last few photos are of the dogs. Steve decided to get his harmonica out and let the boys have a sing-a-long. Bezial is in full bass mode here where Earl is just getting his tenor vocal chords warmed up…

DSCF1096

 

Both dogs getting down and dirty with some tasty blues (well, Stevie-boy said they were tasty blues…they sounded more like Bob Dylan on a bad day to me but whatchagonnadoeh? ;) )

Lastly, we have a photo taken through our kitchen window of the defender of the cheese. He has taken his job incredibly seriously and defends this small pile of cheese from all freeloading, wayfaring, cheese-guzzling creatures en masse.

DSCF1091

 

So what do you reckon my dear constant readers…shall I keep adding the photos in between the paragraphs or should I dump them underneath?

 

 

 

A creative blog hop down on the farm

Hi All,

 

I have been asked to do the narf7 equivalent of free-form expressionist dance by Ms Pauline over at The Contented Crafter. Ms Pauline is a star. She shines like a star. Her words are wise; her comments enveloping and comfortable like a warm hug with an edge of humour like the sun coming out on a grey day. How could I resist when she asked (implored) me to take up the baton of this Blog Hop and do my bit? Well you see I was never very good at baton races at school. I was never very good at hopping or any kind of sport really. Ms Pauline is a natural born crafter. She is one of those amazing artistic types who can pull beauty out of a squeezy tube of tinted goo and something that was once on the nether regions of a horse, now glued to a twig…magic happens when she puts horse stick to paper and that has me a bit worried…

1111 (2)

As you can see, I have problems keeping hold of anything that I create here on Serendipity Farm

2222 (2)

I went hunting so that I could show you that I do have a teeny bit of creativity in my bones (and to make it so your journey over here was not entirely wasted)…I made these danglers and Steve made the bed that both he and Bezial are laying on

333 (1)

We made these insect hotels…

4444 (2)

And this is Stevie-boys little Christmas rum-ball man…

You see Ms Pauline took the baton from Ms Boomdee who lives in Canada and who is ALSO a dab hand with the horse stick but takes it a step further and likes to take another preparation that used to be made of old horses (g.l.u.e. SHHH!) and sticks little things onto just about everything. I bet Ms Boomdee’s house is eclectic. I bet there are curlicues on the fridge and danglers from the ceiling and little rolled up pretty things on the dog door all in gorgeous shades of teal blue. This baton race has a stellar pedigree. It goes back into the eons of crafting and echoes through the echelons and great halls of crafting fame. You can almost feel the wondrous wafting’s of the act of creation every time you open up a crafty blog taking part. They are coaxed and buffeted along as if by coefficient drag and therein lays my problem…I am just not that crafty!

4444 (1)

As penniless student type middle aged hippies (emphasis on the word “penniless”…) we tend to have to come up with ideas for how to create our own pretty much everything from scratch. Making things yourself usually costs you less. We made these gates using small saplings from Serendipity Farm when my dad was still alive. They served the purpose extremely well

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I re-covered this book in leather from an old leather jacket that my daughter had given me after Earl ate the spine of it. Bad enough that he ate a book spine but it was a library book…a new library book…a most expensive library book…so I had to cover up the damage and his shame.

“So” (I hear you say) “Why would Ms Narf7 of Serendipity Farm join in on a crafty blog hop?” because Ms Pauline asked me of COURSE sillies! Now I just have to dredge the annuls of my abilities (such as they are) to find something worthy of your (brief) attention span…(I know…I will check Ms Pauline’s post and see what I am meant to do…Ok, so I missed the quote…I was supposed to make a quote!) “Err righteo folks, here is a wise piece of narf7 wisdom that echoes my ethos and runs parallel with who and what I am. It comes from a very wise sage Mr Monty Python, and goes something like this…

 

Always look on the bright side of life…

 

And that folks is my secret. That plus “42”. Don’t tell anyone! Now, back to brass tacks, what am I supposed to be doing? OH Answering questions. Right…I can do that…so here we go…

Our babies

This is where Steve and I excelled “creatively” for a few years. Here are some of the plant babies that we brought with us from our last house in the city. We counted and worked out that we had just on 300 potted plants and at least half of them we grew from seed and cuttings.

More babies

Almost all of these plants were grown from cutting or seed. Its a great way to be both creative and save a lot of money at the same time

How does my creative process work?

Well…when I need to be creative I call on my inner muses. I need to point out here that my inner muses are all very much antisocial recluses, lushes to a tee and very bolshie. There is NO reasoning with them. If they want to create, they create. If they don’t want to create, good luck pulling a rabbit out of the creative top hat. Most of the time they play ball because I have learned to (plead pathetically) harness them to the wheel. I guess my creative strength is in the written word. Does anyone really write anymore? Maybe my strength is in the typed word? Whatever the medium, I am drawn to share my thoughts with others and learn from them as well. I studied horticulture so I can rattle a few sticks in a can of water and end up with the odd struck cutting to plant out. Stevie-boy and I are attempting to grow and plant out a food forest on Serendipity Farm but not sure that is all that creative…I might stick with the writing methinks…

more babies still

These were my cactus and succulent babies. I say “were” because our ducks ate most of them. I used to be very creative about pots and little bits of washed beach glass and stones etc. but after the ducks plundered my spoils my creative muse flew the coop. I still have a few cacti and succulents but most of them are well and truly duck digested

Craft bread

I spread my “creativity” around…I might not stick with one thing and get really good at it but I like to dabble. Here’s a few loaves of bread that I “created” from scratch

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Good question. Other writers take their craft very seriously. They hone their work. They spell check, they use the correct vernacular, they conjugate their verbs (they know what a verb actually IS)…you get the picture? They are the true craftsmen who harness those muses and make them work for them like a well-trained team of horses. I guess what I am trying to say here is that I am like a wild salmon. My writing doesn’t live inside a specific genre, it doesn’t have me chained to a desk or flicking through dictionaries (obviously ;) ). Where people actually get paid to write, I prefer to splash around in the shallows where I can jump out if the sharks start to circle. One day I will write a book but that would make me the same as others in my genre so perhaps, for now, I will just splash.

1111 (1)

This is Stevie-boy in his surfer phase. He is holding a large piece of wood that we sourced from the property and turned into a “Serendipity Farm” sign at the bottom of our property to announce to the world that we had arrived. We are still waiting for our key to the town…

44 (2)

Stevie-boy is a very handy lad. Especially with wood. Here are some of his gorgeous wooden creations that he made. He occasionally gets the desire to make more and you just never know when he will want to create some and I will have another blog giveaway, but I wouldn’t hold your breath at the moment ;)

What am I presently working on?

Well I am fulminating over my next blog post but I am also working on a secret project…I can’t tell you what it is because then, I would have to kill you and I don’t even know most of you so that would be a shame and if I am not mistaken, a crime. My adult daughters, sick of receiving the equivalent of a gift card at Christmas time have issued a challenge this year. It’s sort of like when the prince in the Cinderella story wanted to find a bride but in this case, it’s a Christmas present with thought. They are even offering a $50 voucher from a local purveyor of alcoholic beverages (that got Stevie-boys attention I can tell you!) as a delicious dangly carrot. I don’t need that to hook me, I am competitive by nature and this is a 4 way Christmas-gift-off and narferella wants to go to the ball! We have each been given one daughter to purchase/make something for and the winner will be drawn at Christmas time (natch). I was stumped…Moi, of little talent…what could “I” do that would land me that $50 glass slipper eh? Well suddenly it hit me! I knew what I could do! I felt like Mr Blackadder when he said “I have a plan SO cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel”…I can’t wait to share with you what I am working on but that is going to have to wait till after Christmas and if I play my cards right, I will be dead drunk for the entire month of January!

22 (1)

Bezial modelling some of my creative hooky genius

If I am not mistaken that should take me SO far into the realms of “real writer” that I should meet myself coming out the other side. Mr Hemmingway, Mr Tennessee Williams, Mr Dylan Thomas, Mr Edgar Allen Poe, Mr Oscar Wilde, Mr Noel Coward, Mr James Joyce and Mr Stephen King, all esteemed writers were also hopeless alcoholics.

44 (1)

Everyone is a critic…

So now that I have answered all of the questions asked of me, “are there any questions?” I didn’t think so! I am left to nominate a couple of other bloggers who have been unable to get me off their tail and who (finally gave in) have agreed most magnanimously to continue this Blog Hop of great esteem. That leaves me to contemplate my navel and bang my head on the table because I couldn’t come up with a delicious, wonderful, thought provoking quote like Ms Pauline or Ms Boomdee…but wait a minute…should my devious cunning succeed, I could adopt an entirely new quote to stick at the top of next year’s Blog Hop (because seriously, who is going to ask me to take part in another blog hop this year after this eh? ;) )…

 

An alcoholic is someone you don’t like, who drinks as much as you do.

 

And therein…I rest my…hic…case!

22 (2)

Earl making snow at Christmas time out of someone’s creativity…

333 (2)

Evidence that it isn’t only Earl who is out to foil our creative urges…and now I think that you all know why I tend to reserve my creative energies for things that don’t interest our boys in the slightest

I managed to coerce Ms Jessie of “rabidlittlehippy” fame to do a blog hop post for me. I had approached a few other people but it just wasn’t the right time for them so I am hoping that you will all find something most interesting in Ms Jessies blog post all about how to create a rocket stove. I am SO excited about this post and can’t wait to see what she has come up with next Monday. I am assured that Ms Jessie is trying for a few more than “uno” follow on’s for the blog hop and that my serious lack of normalcy is just a hiccup in the fabric of the time space continuum…

Here are some images that I pinched from Ms Jessies blog. Hopefully she doesn’t mind…perhaps I should have asked her?

NAH! Live dangerously is my motto ;)

Ms Jessie is one of those amazing people who make soap AND cheese!

Check out this Mozzarella…

Jess ricotta

And this amazing hard cheese that Ms Jessie made from a kit…

Jessies cheese

And she is incredibly good at knitting…

jumper

AND she can even do cable! I bow to your creativity Ms Jessie, you are indeed a true crafter  and a most worthy person to carry the baton next :)

img_6074

 

Read this, it will make you think

Hi Folks,

 

OK, so old narf has been reblogging a few posts this year. I talked about happiness and simple pleasures etc. this week and I know that my tiddley-poe post wasn’t all that inspiring to most of you but I just read a wonderfully written, inspiring and most beautiful blog post that I really need to share with you all. Some of you are going through your own “Long dark tea-time of the soul” at the moment, it is inevitable as we are hitting the aging stick in our droves and life tends to start rebounding on us and the sins of our past are suddenly the problems of our future.

So here we are wondering how the heck we got here, what the heck we are supposed to be doing here and thinking that the whole world has it together apart from us, but you know what? No-one knows, no-one has that magic key to the magic land of complete understanding and no-one (if they are being honest) has a handle on the meaning of life (except for me remember…it’s “42”  I KNOW…I am that generous with life’s secrets! That’s why you keep coming back for more…)

So without any fanfare but a whole lot of admiration for this wonderful Aussie blogger who I have never met, probably will never meet but who shares our common condition of “life”, here is another one of those magic moments…hope you enjoy, get something out of it or at least love the image of that amazing farm in the middle of no-where…

http://dyeingtrade.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/transition-farm.html#comment-form

 

:)

 

Happiness is found in simple pleasures

Hi All,

 

It’s 4.30am on Sunday morning. Its 3C outside apparently but inside Chez Serendipity it’s lovely and warm thanks to our amazing woodstove Brunhilda. We have our winter routine down pat now. We dry logs out in her ovens overnight to make hot toasty logs for her gustatory delight the next day. Even if the wood is a little green in places, an overnight toasting renders them perfect for burning. I was just putting a few extra logs on the fire and enjoying the ambiance that a wood fire brings to your home. The small delighted tongues of golden flame that caress the logs as you place them into the firebox, that pure rush of warmth that carries encoded memory for we humans…we have fire, at least one of our happy boxes is ticked.

DSCF1082

If any day was designed to challenge potential happiness it was today. take a look at those grey clouds! We are probably going to get a lot more rain and even thunder storms tonight. WOOT says me because Steve hooked up the pipe system he designed to harness the water from the main roof so now our tank is going to fill to the max :)

I was about to close the firebox door and head back to my RSS Feed Reader when I decided to take another few moments to enjoy that blissful warmth and the sense of contentment that was radiating through me and infusing me with happiness. What a simple thing? A fire + a narf = happiness. Put me in the middle of January and give me the same equation and the results would be significantly different however right here…right now…I am happy. What is it that makes us happy? We are led to believe that happiness is something to be aspired to…fleeting…unattainable and if you are selling a product its in your best interest to maintain that line to ensure that your prospective customers keep coming back after the elusive bluebird of happiness but is it really that hard to be happy?

DSCF1077

Do you get the feeling, by their expressions,  that a certain two rear seated creatures just worked out that they weren’t going to get much of a walk in the city today?

I don’t think so. I lead a pretty simple life. I don’t have a lot of “stuff” and I don’t WANT a lot of stuff. What I desire tends to be based more on prospective opportunities to learn things rather than the acquisition of anything in particular. I won’t tell a fib, I DO want a Nautilus wind turbine for our home but that’s not for it’s own sake, that’s to shore up our lifestyle. I guess what I am trying to say is that the older I get, the happier I get. Weird really because society would have me believe that I should be miserable…after all I am getting wrinkles (quell horror!) I am not as youthful as I used to be, the slow decline into oblivion is starting to set in so surely I should be racing out and buying any, and everything that will halt this decline or at least whack an “in stasis” sign on my countenance?

DSCF1068

The white pipe that you see running along the side of the bricks is Stevie-boys ingenious way to harness water from the main, much larger, main part of our roof. We will now have enough area to collect enough water to fill our tank :)

I was only saying to Steve yesterday that I have never been more genuinely content and happy in my life as I am right now. I think the older I get the more all of those concepts, those ideas and ideals that I have been formulating and fulminating all of my life are coming home to roost and are finally starting to make sense. About time you guys…I was starting to wonder why I had crammed you into my head for so long…you were taking up precious space that math could have been taking or knowing how to weld or how long is a piece of string…but I digress (my specialty)… I was sitting on a small 2 seater couch that we had purchased from a charity shop specifically for Bezial to lay on next to Brunhilda. My portion of the couch seat was significantly smaller than the other cushion because Earl ate half of it in spite. Note HIS chair hasn’t been eaten in the slightest…there is a lesson here ;). I had a glass of late harvest Riesling (the best of the Rieslings in my opinion…) and was bathing in Brunhilda’s wafting warmth and all of these factors combined made me deeply and incredibly happy.

DSCF1067

Earl dancing with me to “Fantastic Baby” a most wonderful Korean song by my daughters favourite Korean band “Big Bang” that Steve and I are both addicted to. Heres a linkie to it on Youtube if you would like to hear it…Earl says “Fantastic Baby” ;) (I just realised that I look like half of Santa in this photo…did you know that there are only 161 days 07 hours 14 minutes and 45 seconds left to Christmas in Australia…)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAbokV76tkU

I started to think about “happiness” as something that isn’t elusive, but is perhaps overlooked because our gaze is elsewhere. Maybe happiness is right here all the time? Maybe we just don’t see or experience it because we are too busy waiting for our lottery win, our superannuation payout, our ship to come in and we miss it in our planning for how happy we are going to be when we lose 40kg, when we meet “that man/woman” we get the perfect job…it might have been the late harvest Riesling but I had one of those little moments in life where you just KNOW something profound has gone through your head. Life is full of small moments. We live in those moments. If we are focussing on our lives and living them to the fullest one moment at a time then we have that secret to happiness right there within our grasp. Happiness is being content with who you are and where you are. Happiness is accepting that your life might not be picture perfect and it might be SO far short of the “idea’’ but it’s YOUR life and you are making the best of it…THAT, my dear constant readers is true happiness. You can’t buy it in a jar, it doesn’t come in a golden ring or a Faberge egg or a lottery winning, it comes from inside YOU and we all have that most elusive of abilities built into us, we can be entirely responsible for our own contentment and happiness

DSCF1073

Earl studying design. He has managed to acquire a ruler and has been predominately influenced by dada and that series of light lines on the table in front of him. He contemplated chewing off Bezial’s ear so that he could be like Van Gough but then decided that it was all too much like hard work and went off to clean his private parts…

I can hear people saying “well how can I be happy eh? I have a mortgage…I have to go to work! It’s alright for old narf, she landed on her feet when her dad left her a mortgage free home and she can choose to live how she likes…” true, I was left an incredible gift by my dad. We don’t need a lot of money to live on as we are pretty easily pleased. We don’t aspire to anything aside from the odd Nautilus or new guitar and we know how to save up for years if needs be for these kinds of things. We are money poor, time rich and I do have the time to indulge myself in thought, in taking life at a slower pace than most people and in being able to stop and smell the roses to the max if I feel like it (unless I have been procrastinating all week about my studies and end up having to spend a solid day knocking them out…no time for rose sniffing THEN! ;) ).

fruitshop Fran

One of my earlier designs created in Illustrator. This is a logo for a fruit shop that we had to create. I initially had a white interior but there were problems with it so I went with the other colour for dragon fruit (Pitaya) which is pink. Hopefully you have been up for a while prior to having to look at this…I appologise deeply if you are now blind.

A persons circumstances can certainly affect how they look at life but I need to point out that some of the poorest people in the world are also the happiest. The less stuff you have, the less going on in your life, the more you live close to nature and adhering to its cycles the happier you are. How many of us have a job these days where we can say “I created something today”. We humans have a deep seated need to create, to learn, to go hunting for new ideas. Our brain cells can only grow if we apply ourselves to learn something entirely new. We have lost track of our true needs in the quest for societal needs and in the process we forgot where to find happiness. It’s in the metaphorical equivalent of a shoebox under the bed folks. It’s a little seed planted inside all of us. The problem is that seed isn’t going to grow unless we nurture it. We need to pay attention to it, water it, let it out and sniff around a bit (happiness is a puppy?!) interact with happiness…take part. Enjoy those simple things and immerse yourself in those simple pleasures. Give yourself permission to live life right now. Don’t put it off till your boat comes in because what if it doesn’t and you have spent ALL of this time waiting for something that never comes? You could be enjoying those simple little moments in life that are just waiting for you to notice them right here…right now.

assignment F2_Page_1

Sorry it’s not a great image but you get my drift and if you click on the image you can see it bigger. We had to create a flyer in InDesign for an International Melbourne Design yearly event. I drew the light-bulb in illustrator and am proud of how it turned out as I used gradients and shading and an outer glow. This is the first page and here is the second page…

assignment F2_Page_2

This is my second page of the flyer project (to be seen as the rear portion of the flyer). I created a word cloud in a program called “Image Chef” where you can create all sorts of word clouds, use your own photos in all kinds of situations and you can make Meme’s that you can use on Facebook, Pinterest etc. I found a mobile phone template, used “design” type words and put a photo that we were required to use in our project as the screen inside the word cloud mobile. I chose to use a most interesting sculpture that stands (somewhere) in Melbourne to finish off my flyer

I haven’t been philosophical for a while but the combination of a good late harvest Riesling and that blissful warmth coupled with a loving dog cuddled up to me, the promise of more Riesling, a meal that I didn’t have to cook and the deep sense of contentment that flowed through me gave me the idea that maybe we all need to be reminded that simple happiness’s are the bomb. Let yourself take the time to pat your dog and really enjoy that moment…give yourself a little treat, whatever takes your fancy and don’t feel guilty about it (unless it involves something nefarious then FEEL GUILTY!), hug your partner, your pet, a tree…hugging is good for your soul. All of those simple moments, that first beverage of the day, knowing that you paid a bill before it was due, seeing your kids getting along, knowing that you have enough money to pay for your groceries next week, simple little moments of pleasure but truly where happiness is to be found :)

Postcard F_Page_1

The second part of our Mid Year assessment was to create a post card of “Australian colours”. We were given a lot of freedom in this part to create our own ideas using whatever we wanted. I wanted to recreate a sort of Aussie landscape idea using the colours of Australia. I started with the blue of the sea ranging through white beach sand, darker soil, the red soil of middle Australia and the predominate greens of our wide brown land. I then added a couple of blues for the sky and a dark night sky as well as a sun to make it more obvious that this was a landscape. I decided to leave the black lines in between the coloured layers. If it is good enough for Pro Hart, it’s good enough for Narf! ;)

Postcard F_Page_2

We had to produce a front and back of the post card and this is the back of my card. The text is just blurb that we had to include as part of the assessment. I wanted to add interest to the back of the card and so I washed out the colours on the front and removed the stroke/lines around the colours. The whole idea of a post card is to get someone who is visiting Australia to buy it and send it home. I wanted mine to be VERY bright as that’s part of the battle of the post cards won…”Pick me…PICK ME!” ;)

Well guess who forgot it was Wednesday all over again. Stevie-boy and I headed into town with the hounds this morning to take our car in to be mended (water hose leak) and for Steve to check out a swapsie with another guitar collector of one of his guitars. You may recall the lesson learned last week about scammers, well this man was most definitely not a scammer and invited Steve to his house to test drive the prospective swap and Steve is now very happy with his trade. When we got back we threw ourselves into working on our mid year assessment as it is due on Monday and as Steve is home this week we have been able to spend the hours needed to do this task. Not easy when you both need the same PC to work on but we are learning to share and should graduate to “sharing without having temper tantrums” some time mid next year. These things can’t be hurried you know…

tasmap Fran

I am quite proud of this map. I had to trace around a map of Tasmania and then add a few roads and town names. That was what I had to do for my assignment but narf being narf didn’t want to stop there…I decided to take an existing map of soil types and run with it. Sorry its a small image but because there is so much detail in it, it is HUGE. Steve and I are really starting to enjoy ourselves with Illustrator. It is a wonderful program full of possibilities. The only limit is your imagination

We had some news for Earl while we were in the city. Earl’s favourite tree that he loves to urinate on every single day fell down. He is both sad to lose a good old friend and incredibly happy because he, single handedly, slayed a mighty tree using only the power of his urine. Time to get this post onto the printing presses. I may have to cheat a bit and use some photos that I “prepared earlier” as all of the amazing photos that I was going to take today for you didn’t eventuate because it has rained solid all day BUT in saying that, the rain is now a reason to tap-dance because Steve’s new system is up and collecting a large amount of water from our roof now. Happy days!  Have a lovely and prosperous week folks. Remember to look for your own happiness in those small moments…those simple pleasures, and take happiness where you find it. Don’t wait for magic carpets and lottery winnings and you will soon be happier than you have ever been :)

“There’s a hole in my wallet dear Liza…”

 

Well there WOULD have been a hole in our wallet if we hadn’t been such cynical Mainlanders who could smell a scam a mile away. Stevie-boy has a lot of guitars. Most of them he plays regularly, some, not so much because he wants to keep them in good nick. One guitar that he bought many years ago he hasn’t played hardly at all. The fact that it is a left handed guitar and Stevie-boy is right handed might have something to do with it but it, too, is one of those “keep for good” guitars. The other day Stevie-boy decided that what point was it to have “keep for good” guitars if you want to play them and are lusting after a 57 reproduction Strat and after seeing a friend sell their old clunker of a tractor within days of listing it on Gumtree, he decided to give it a go…I mean “what have you got to lose, it’s free to list”…

DSCF0987

When Stevie-boy trundled up the driveway yesterday late afternoon he had something in his bag addressed to me…now what could this be?

DSCF0989

OOOOH! Its my organiser from Ms Pauline, queen of teal and most talented lady of Dunedin who pens the delightful exploits of a crafty ma’am and her trusty sidekick Orlando and young Siddy-me-lad who has just joined the fray at The Contented Crafter. I won this organiser a little while ago and now it is just about to be revealed in all of its glory…

Seems you have a LOT to lose if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of the scammers market. The acceptance of the internet as a particularly good way to communicate, educate and engage in commerce has allowed the scammers to move indoors, stop hawking stolen goods out of the back of (stolen?) trucks and having to frequent bars to shiftily waft the allure of hidden treasure at strangers from the hairy confines of their armpits. They can now sit in a computer chair in their underpants eating a doughnut and quaffing a coke while they go about their nefarious ways and ply their trade in other people’s misery. Just a small aside…I wouldn’t want you to think that I was a criminal. I have been known to sit in a computer chair in my underpants eating doughnuts and quaffing the tea equivalent of coke but that’s where the similarities end…just clarifying that…

DSCF0991

“TA-DAAAA” :) Isn’t it beautiful? When I won this beautiful organiser it was just a twinkle in Ms Pauline’s eye, a gem of an idea that was about to be born. This journal was created with me in mind. It is SO pretty…so very pretty that I have postulated on other blogs that I may just have to put it in a glass case and mount it in the lounge room only to be fondled by special guests. Ms Pauline will be rolling her eyes about now but whatchagonnadoeh? Serendipity Farm is very plain compared to this most beautiful creation. I am not sure that my thoughts are something that should grace these gorgeous pages ;)

Stevie-boy listed his guitar and sat back to wait and see what happened, after all, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and “you can’t be any worse off (aka “minus one 57 reproduction Strat”) than you already are?” can you…can you? Seems its not only EBay that is prone to the old scamarooni trick whereby someone texts you (our texter was strangely unable to be texted back and we had to send them an email to contact them…first alarm bell sounding…) about what you are selling. It’s usually about something high end (like Stevie-boys Strat) and easy to fence. Next he said something along the lines of “What’s your firm price?” (said to make you think that this is a genuine buyer and garner a degree of conversational acceptance, getting you “on side”). Next came “I can’t get there to see it and will be sending it out of the country” (“DINGALING-ALING-ALING!!!”) and then added “let me know your bank account details so that I can put the money into your account and will get my courier to pick up the guitar” and BAM we knew instantly that this person was attempting to scam Steve.

DSCF1007

This is what a wet dog looks like when it gets up and moves on…

DSCF1028

Earl surveying his kingdom from the deck and that red thing is one of the blueberries YES they are tall aren’t they?

How did we know? It’s the oldest trick in the internet book. You contact someone about their guitar/high ticket item. You may or may not have access to someone elses credit card that you pinched and they are probably not even aware that you have their details because they have been sleeping on it and waiting for someone like Steve to list something that they want. Next they contact the seller and appear genuine. They then ask for bank account details or Paypal details and the next part is truly clever if it wasn’t so immoral and outrageously horrendous to bear the brunt of . They transfer stolen money from the bank account that they have been monitoring to the sellers account. They always put MORE than the amount that they paid and pretend that it was an oversight and ask the seller to refund the difference. Most sellers are just happy to have made a sale and have money in their account so they are happy to transfer that money back to the buyers account, after all, they paid didn’t they?

DSCF1015

In the spirit of honesty, this is “Sanctuary” the name of my fully enclosed veggie garden…although fully enclosed would mean that “things” couldn’t get in and this isn’t quite the case here… lets just call this photo “Winter decline”

DSCF1016

This was once a mountain of pumpkin fecundity and now the nasturtiums are making a play for supremacy. A good play by the look of it!

Happy in making a sale, the seller sends off the guitar to the buyer and happy days, everyone is happy…but not for long. Pretty soon the seller finds out that they are being investigated by the crime squad about money taken from someone’s account, they have to refund said money…all of it…even the “excess” money that the scammer creamed off the top before they hightailed it away over the hills and dales with both your item AND a few thousand spare dollars for spending cash leaving you without your item AND in the hole for more money than you would have gotten for it. A HUGE double whammy and so many people must fall for this because the scammers just keep…on…doing it. It seems legit, how the heck would you know if someone was scamming you? Well the best way, especially on Gumtree where you have NO protection at all, is to only accept cash for your item and to only deal in person, face to face with the buyer. That’s IT that’s all. That’s the best possible way to make sure your sale isn’t shonky.

DSCF1018

I think that my yacon might be telling me that it is time to harvest the tubers…what do you think? ;)

anakin

 

This is Anakin. He is a British (racing) blue rex. Stevie-boy fed him corned beef and he kept Stevie-boy company while he was painting. This picture doesn’t do him justice as he is HUGE and gorgeous and boofy and wonderful and talked to Stevie-boy for ages on his tea breaks…almost like I was there and he couldn’t get a word in edgewise either ;) (just like me but I don’t eat corned beef ;) )

We sent back an email saying “we only deal face to face and with cash as there are SO many scammers out there”. Funnily enough we never heard back from the “buyer” after that ;). It really is both buyer AND seller beware these days folks and just because somethings “seems” legit, doesn’t mean that it is.

DSCF1017

Earl gets freedom inside Sanctuary when there isn’t anything in the gardens and here you can see both Earl and Bezial eating their weights worth of oat leaves. Neither of them is ill, they just both love their “salad”

DSCF1047

There is an amazing array of water tank accouterments that you can buy these days that assure you that each and every single one of them is MOST important to use with your water tank. Back when I was a kid you just had a galvanised water tank that may or may not have contained frogs (in our case …did) and that was usually leaking in several places and if you were foolish enough to climb up on the tank stand and peer myopically into the hole in the top you were rewarded by purest algal green…we drank that. Might be part of why I am the way that I am today ;)

I have been cooking up a storm lately but have conveniently forgotten to take any pictures. I found a wonderful chocolate cake recipe that I baked for a friend recently and then again for another friend as it appears it was “friends birthday month” for the last 2 weeks. This cake is quick, easy, vegan (but you wouldn’t know it) and scrumptious. Its the result of one celebrity chef, Mr Georgio Locatelli’s daughter being profoundly allergic to just about everything. What an irony! Having one of the most famous chef dads and not being able to eat almost anything that he cooked for you. The cake is yummy. It’s still moist and tasty after a week but good luck keeping it for a week. Have it with icing (frosting for you Americans), cream (whipped coconut cream for we vegans), a dusting of icing sugar (confectioners sugar for you Americans) I am tired! All of this translation is blowing out my word count and goodness only knows I don’t need ANY help to do that! I will give you the recipe. Even if you are a card carrying, dyed in the wool carnivore it never hurts to have a cake that doesn’t rely on eggs, milk and butter to make as you just never know when you might be out of them and need to make a cake. Here’s your answer, tuck it away someplace you can find it again (and again…and again…)

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/jan/27/foodanddrink.recipes

This one is in tsp and ml for people who don’t like to weigh

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-383002/Fighting-food-allergy.html

Just scroll down this article to find the recipe using weights (which I prefer) for all of you OCD bakers who love their kitchen scales

DSCF1019

As you can see, “something” has been scoffing the silverbeet and anything else that takes it’s fancy in Sanctuary. Where on earth could it be getting in?

DSCF1020

I think I might just have found the entry point…sigh…if this IS the entry point the little sods won’t be getting in tonight because I just sewed it shut! “You will have to try a bit harder tonight possums or go hungry!

Stevie-boy and I headed into the city yesterday and were a bit late coming back so Steve decided that he would like pizza for dinner. I haven’t had much luck with him and pizza bases as he is very fussy and doesn’t like them too crunchy or thin so I went hunting for a deep pan pizza base and found a doozie. This base worked amazingly well. It’s quite soft and sticky so I will warn you that once it has proved it will be a bugger to remove from the bowl and then stretch into place in your oiled tins but the results are awesome if you like a nice thick pizza base. The recipe said that it made 2 pizzas but I reckon you could make them a bit thinner and get 3 out of this recipe because even for Stevie-boy they were a tad too thick and resembled focaccia more than pizza bases. He ate half of the pizza and has a spare half in the fridge and a whole unbaked pizza in the freezer. Pizza heaven! If you would like to have the recipe, here it is…

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/270606/deep-pan-pizza-base

 

DSCF1021

This little garden was completely covered with a thick carpet of climbing geraniums (those sticks are ancient ruinous remnants of them) and nothing much grew here but all it takes is a bit of effort and suddenly nature can recover. It would appear that “nature” in this case is bulbs :)

DSCF1038

Gardening doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t end up with something to harvest after all of your hard work and effort. This folks, is a tiny hill of beans. At least I have SOMETHING to remember the harvest by ;)

To top the pizzas I first made a lovely thick tomato sauce with a chopped onion fried in a little oil, when translucent add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, a teaspoon of Italian dried mixed herbs, a tsp of veggie stock powder and then a regular can of chopped tinned tomatoes. I then cooked this mass down till it resembled tomato paste and let it cool while the dough proved on the proofing rack over Brunhilda, a most excellent place to do this over the cold winter months. We had bought some bocconcini in brine on our fortnightly shopping trip and they were duly sliced and scattered over the top of this base with sauce slathered over it. Next came crumbled feta, fine sliced hot salami, a half a large cabanossi cut into rings, a few handfuls of bacon, half a red capsicum and an onion thinly sliced, some pickled jalapeno’s, some Parmesan and a good grating of cheddar later and a good hot bake in Brunhilda’s hot oven resulted in exactly what the doctor ordered for Stevie-boy with the promise of leftovers and another pizza event whenever he feels like it.

DSCF1031Most of the plants on this table were grown from cuttings or tubers collected on our walks. Most of them have survived admirably, indeed, the wormwood was just shoved into a pot and it grew. That’s exactly the sort of plant we want living here, it will grow happily with minimal care. You just have to think a bit prior to planting a garden…what will grow well in your area? What doesn’t need too much water? What will handle your temperature variations? What grows easily from cuttings and seed and quickly? After a few questions you have yourself a hardy beautiful garden…oh I forgot one question…”What do the possums and wallabies HATE to eat!”

DSCF1029

There might not be any foliage on this little potted Japanese maple but the it still looks quite pretty thanks to all of the peripherals that grace the pot

Remember how we installed our rainwater tank a few weeks ago? Well we have a little problem Huston. The only place that we could install the tank was near our bedroom under a down-pipe that was responsible for the teeniest bit of roof drainage known to man. A caravan would have more roof drainage than this bit of roof and we have had some decent rain lately and there isn’t a lot of water in the bottom of narfs happy tank. My happy dance had  tailed off into a sort of shuffling semi-sad dance right up until Stevie-boy the wonderful had a brilliant idea…he has worked out an ingenious way to get water from the large part of the roof through a series of pipes into my tank. It will require the installation of another first flush device but that’s a small price to pay for me being able to slip my feet into my happy shoes and tap-dance the old happy dance shoe shuffle all over again!

DSCF1033Its heading for mid-winter here in Tasmania and the critters are starting to look for tasty things to supplement their diet. Not content with ALL of that green grass out there they have started sampling my potted plants. This is an ornamental bamboo grass. It has effectively been pruned. I take that as a warning and will only plant it somewhere “safe”

I have been attempting to bulk up for winter with excellent results and have put on 10kg. Can anyone tell me why my thighs are the very first place that I put on weight, but the very last place that I lose it? I would be most interested in the science behind that! While I am pondering science I am also removing food items that seemed to have snuck into my repertoire without me noticing and that are most probably the reason for the increase. I added coconut cream to my diet, and lots and LOTS of dates. I was also eating potatoes again, and bread…the more I think about it the more I know why 10kg have snuggled up to me and are hugging me for all they are worth. I know how to lose the extra weight, I just don’t want to ;). Seriously folks, who wants to lose weight in the winter? I am living on delicious soups now and steamed veggies and my morning buckwheat porridge sans coconut cream and dates and with grated carrot for sweetness and bulk narf filling power. Narf SHALL fit back into her size 10’s ;)

DSCF1034

What’s this in the chook coop…all the way over in the far right hand corner…

DSCF1035

“CLUCKY CHOOKS!” Hardly fair that they have only just started laying and they are now clucky. We worked out that at the rate we are paying for food and by the amount of eggs we were getting that each egg was costing us $20. That’s a bit steep for a humble egg, even a free range egg methinks!

So this humble Wednesday in the middle of the year finds me caught up with my RSS Feed Reader (an anomaly that probably won’t last out the week I can assure you ;) ), up to date with studies and just about to embark on a BIG secret plan for my Christmas gift for my eldest daughter. I can’t tell you about it because then I would have to kill you all plus she reads my blog (to keep tabs on how many times I mention her and if I can be sued for slander ;) ) so this plan has to remain under wraps, and lock and key for now. I am just about to start researching for our next study unit that involves creating a flier for a design event in Melbourne and a coloured postcard both created in InDesign. I have some great ideas that I am going to create in Illustrator but we have to do a fair bit of the dry research stuff before we can get to the fun stuff. That’s where narf comes in as Stevie-boy is conveniently AWOL earning a bit of a crust at the moment leaving narf to do the research. He has all week off next week and we are going to do all sorts of things including create the dogs large new dog compound and knock our studies out of the ball park. I just need to wade through the research stuff first…”anyone have any washing that they want folded and put away?” ;) See you all next week and remember not to take any wooden nickels…

DSCF1044

 

Some of my wool stash. When wool is cheap and your husband is asking you if you want more…you say “YES PLEASE” :)

DSCF1041

 

This big granny square is just using up all of the spare wool I had laying around and giving me something to crochet while I contemplated what the heck I was going to crochet next. I’ts on our spare bedroom queen sized bed here so methinks it might be almost finished. I am just about to start on a most delicious Bavarian crochet pattern that Ms Teddy/Tottie shared on her blog called (coincedentally…) “Teddy And Tottie” if you want to have a go yourself she has painstakingly created a pdf of the pattern and you can get it by clicking here…

http://teddyandtottie.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/bavarian-crochet-tutorial-pdf.pdf

 

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 384 other followers