The day that Earl just missed out on world domination because of my need to (hoard) Collect…

Hi All,

Today was going to be Earl’s day to communicate with you all. Ms Pauline and I have been hosting an intercontinental (sounds grand but technically true…) dog telepathy experiment where Earl has been teaching dear little Sir Siddy the 1st how to be a “propr dorg”. Earl may be lacking in the vernacular but what he lacks in a literary sense, he more than makes up for in animal cunning and admirable doggy brilliance. He has managed to invade Sir Siddy’s tiny headspace and teach him to climb up on Ms Pauline’s table by cross Tasman telepathy. I shudder to think how much further Earl’s mind powers could reach (and the litigation that we could possibly be facing should he try a bit harder…) Thank GOODNESS something else more pressing came up that stopped me from channelling Earl’s nefarious desires but he has a little message for you all that I will translate for you (unpaid slave, drag toy and translator that I am…)

Earl (great master of all that he surveys…)

Earl (great master of all that he surveys…)

“Gdai huminz. Aye em url. Aye em a dorg. Aye done eweshally torg to peepl bud aye godda ged maye messij herd.

Aye av disayedid thad fore yur owne gud, aye em goin tu ave tu tek ova. Yor guvmints ar nod doin aye gud jorb. Aye, url,  wull tichm howe tu rool th worl. Aye rekn aye cood du bedda.

Vowd fore url  ine yor negs alecshunz an aye wull cee yu ride. Wee dorgs juz won ay far gow. Yooz yumanz ave stuvved thingz ub an wee dorgs ar gonna figz id.

Iv u vode fore mi ina alecshunz, aye wull led yu slip ina maye bigga bede wiv mee ana eed frome maye boll (arvda aye finich wiv id ov corz). Mee un suddi gonna bee thee bozz frum nowe orn sow yu hadz bedda joy nub wiv uz ore elze”.

Sygned URL

"were iz maye dinna wumin…"

“were iz maye dinna wumin…”

Wod ewe meen yor gorn awn strige?

“Wod ewe meen yor gorn awn strige?”

Translation: “Good-day fine human specimens. I am Earl (the great). I am a truly magnificent dog. I don’t usually lower myself to communicate with you lowly specimens however I have finished licking my left testicle and have a few minutes to spare before I start licking my right and so I will deign to point my vocabulary in your general direction.

I have decided that for your own good, I am going to relieve you of your worldly control. Your world leaders are not doing a good job. I, Earl (the great…did I mention that I was GREAT) will teach them how to truly rule the world. I think that I could do much better.

Vote for me in your next elections and I will make sure that you don’t suffer to much in the ensuing aftermath. We dogs are tired of being second class citizens, of being forced to live outside in the cold, eat stale dog biscuits and drink from algae lined bowls. We are tired of being the forgotten ones that guard your house, listen to all of your woes, comfort you when you are depressed and NEVER get enough

  1. Walks
  2. Food
  3. Attention
  4. Couch space
  5. Room in the bed

And so it is with great intentions that I, Earl (THE GREAT AND MIGHTY) am going to take over. If you choose to vote for me I will consider you a friend. I will allow you to sleep in my big bed and eat from my personal bowl (after I have finished with it, of COURSE). Sir Sidney Dog the First and I are going to take over. He is going to be my henchman and I have been training him up specifically for the purpose. He might be small and hairy but he is eager to please and that’s all you need for a willing henchman…a nice young brain ready for planting my world domination seed in. The first of many…

If you are not for us, you are against us. Be warned

Signed Earl (THE GREAT AND MIGHTY RULER OF THE WORLD, LORD OF ALL THAT HE SURVEYS)

 

One of the (freeloading cheese hog) grey shrike thrushes that come for small cheese cubes on the windowsill

One of the (freeloading cheese hog) grey shrike thrushes that come for small cheese cubes on the windowsill

Another (slightly bigger) cheese hog pinching cheese sandwiches. One of the resident Currawongs helping himself…

Another (slightly bigger) cheese hog pinching cheese sandwiches. One of the resident Currawongs helping himself…

Yet another freeloader. This one was after something in the back yard. "NOT wise little parrot, you are walking into the lair of the beast!"

Yet another freeloader. This one was after something in the back yard. “NOT wise little parrot, you are walking into the lair of the beast!”

We stopped the possums! :)

We stopped the possums in Sanctuary! :) This silverbeet is one of my indicators. The possums scoffed all of the silverbeet down to nubs and if there are leaves, there are NO possums :)

Grape vines sprouting inside Sanctuary

Grape vines sprouting inside Sanctuary

Loquats that will be planted out inside the new enclosure to protect them from wallabies

Loquats that will be planted out inside the new enclosure to protect them from wallabies

A very happy looking little dwarf Valencia orange

A very happy looking little dwarf Valencia orange

An equally as happy lemonade lemon tree :)

An equally as happy lemonade lemon tree :) Looks like a resident rock has come to have a chin wag ;)

Peach futures. Might actually get some this year as we purposefully included this small badly possum mangled orchard INSIDE the dogs new compound parameters so that Earl can protect his patch and we can maybe get some fruit this year :)

Peach futures. Might actually get some this year as we purposefully included this small badly possum mangled orchard INSIDE the dogs new compound parameters so that Earl can protect his patch and we can maybe get some fruit this year :)

 

What is the difference between “collecting” and “hoarding”? I ask this of you, my dear constant readers, as moderators to my closeted hermitage. You, who are out there in the “real world”, are obviously in the know. I am beseeching you to “please asplain” because there is a very fine line between the two as far as I can ascertain. I mention this (and thus nip Earl’s push for world domination one continent at a time, most swiftly, in the bud…) because I was trawling my RSS Feed Reader this morning. Nothing new there. I can be found there most mornings between the hours where I am not actively answering emails and commenting on my own blog and the hour when I have to wake Stevie-boy up from his somnolence. I have a comfortable 116 quality blogs nested tastily on top of each other like a most delicious sandwich full of highly flavoured condiments firmly scrunched in the middle of the best damned sourdough you ever tasted. This is where narf gets to play. It’s where my desire to explore my kind of food in all its heady and often lusty delights. Everything else tends to be crafty, wordy or positively barmy (if you are a dear constant reader and I follow your blog you KNOW which genre you fit into ;) ).

 

ACTUAL work being done on Serendipity farm that doesn't involve a computer. The start of the dogs compound extension

ACTUAL work being done on Serendipity farm that doesn’t involve a computer. The start of the dogs compound extension

When people wonder why we are loath to dig holes to plant things on Serendipity Farm, here's why…this is our "soil profile"

When people wonder why we are loath to dig holes to plant things on Serendipity Farm, here’s why…this is our “soil profile” The yellow things in that soil are rocks… LOTS of rocks…sigh…

This is the "soil" that Steve just dug out of that hole. Note the predominate soil componant "rocks". And THAT is why talking about digging holes brings us out into a cold sweat! Despite sweating a LOT Steve managed to dig 4 holes today before he was rained out. He has never been happier to see rain ;)

This is the “soil” that Steve just dug out of that hole. Note the predominate soil componant “rocks”. And THAT is why talking about digging holes brings us out into a cold sweat! Despite sweating a LOT Steve managed to dig 4 holes today before he was rained out. He has never been happier to see rain ;)

The olive tree that dad planted is growing nicely now that it has established itself

The olive tree that dad planted is growing nicely now that it has established itself

Earl and Bezial will gain a LOT of new ground in this extension. That little cream coloured shed is going to be on the boundary of the extension and WAY back near the house (in the distance in this shot) is where the boys are confined to at the moment. Earl will spend the first week, when it's completed,  patrolling 24/7 ;)

Earl and Bezial will gain a LOT of new ground in this extension. That little cream coloured shed is going to be on the boundary of the extension and WAY back near the house (in the distance in this shot) is where the boys are confined to at the moment. Earl will spend the first week, when it’s completed, patrolling 24/7 ;)

Our echiums flowered for the first time this year :)

Our echiums flowered for the first time this year :)

Amazingly good plants to grow as they adore rough conditions and will grow in wastelands and bees love them

Amazingly good plants to grow as they adore rough conditions and will grow in wastelands and bees love them

So what has pushed Earl out of world domination mode and narf back squarely into numero uno spot on the blog this week? Well, I don’t only follow blogs and read them AND comment on them, I also collect the best recipes that make me squeal with delight and I Pin them on my Pinterest boards as well. I want the whole world to be able to find these gorgeous posts. I want everyone to squeal with delight like I do and thus, I share. A small aside…because I have quite a large selection of pins on my Pinterest boards (…ahem*…) my early morning emails tend to be littered with “Mr/Mrs “X” has followed one (or more) of your boards…” I usually just send the notifications to the trash as I can see who has followed me via Pinterest however this morning I had a few spare blissful moments (no studies…’WOOT!” :) ) and so I took a little look at the strange and convoluted list of names that had tumbled into my inbox. You can tell the cut of my Pinterest jib by the strange and wonderful people that rock up in my inbox, all kinds of delicious crazy folk all wanting a slice of narf’s Pinterest action. All I can say is “knock yourselves out guys!” I love this social media sharing thing. I love sharing in general and this is on a worldwide scale of great (addiction) happiness :). So it was with great interest that I noticed that none other than “Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School” had followed one of my Pinterest boards! I went and checked (people get aspirations in social media and think that they are Napoléon ;) ) but this looks legit and I think I just had a brush with gustatory royalty! “SQUEE!”

 

Brigadoon!

Brigadoon!

Steve caught this lovely shot of the Tamar Cruiser on it's languid journey up the river and back into Launceston. It turns around right at the front of our gate

Steve caught this lovely shot of the Tamar Cruiser on it’s languid journey up the river and back into Launceston. It turns around right at the front of our gate

Steve took this shot as he was walking back to the gate after taking the last shot. I am posting it for the sake of honesty rather than love for this image. That expanded derriere is on the wane as I have returned to the wagon and am riding it like sea-biscuit ;)

Steve took this shot as he was walking back to the gate after taking the last shot. I am posting it for the sake of honesty rather than love for this image. That expanded derriere is on the wane as I have returned to the wagon and am riding it like sea-biscuit ;)

I am getting to the point slowly folks, patience is a virtue you know (one that you really need to cultivate if you are going to stick around here and get the actual gist of what I am on about ;) )! So after squealing on the inside (it was 3am, a “no squealing zone exists between 3am and 7am on Serendipity Farm…) I headed off to my RSS Feed Reader to check out my nice tidy SMALL list of blog posts. I love being able to languidly read a blog post and comment with time to spare thought to the efforts of the person who has posted. I hate…I HATE “generic” blog comments. They smack of “have a nice day…”and a complete lack of original thought or intent. People slave for hours over blog posts, days even! We can at least do them the service of taking their hard work and giving it the attention and admiration that it deserves. If you don’t like it, don’t comment. If it makes you hot under the collar, best not to comment either. Save comments for genuine admiration methinks, it makes for an all-round better blogging world.

 

Isn't this pretty? Forget-me-not-farm! ;)

Isn’t this pretty? Forget-me-not-farm! ;)

Stevie-boy being manly with a chainsaw

Stevie-boy being manly with a chainsaw and gumboots

This is a multitasked image. It involves showing you that we have a small oak tree growing in my immediate vicinity and that Stevie-boy is up chopping wood with the car. I consider my multitasking a success ;)

This is a multitasked image. It involves showing you that we have a small oak tree growing in my immediate vicinity and that Stevie-boy is up chopping wood with the car. I consider my multitasking a success ;)

 

As I have already mentioned, (probably twice, I am getting on you know ;) ) I tend to save recipes in word documents and pdf’s. I love pdf’s so much that I have a pdf creator that I turn blog posts into pdf’s with in short shift. Any that I can’t access this way (you clever minxes…) and I try the good old fashioned “copy” and “paste” way. I have several other ways to access tricky blog posts whose posters are MOST insistent that we can’t save but they are my secrets. I wouldn’t want them catching on and making it even harder ;). Seriously folks, why on EARTH would you put a recipe on the internet if you didn’t want other people falling in love with it and wanting to make it? I realise that there are many nefarious people out there pinching images, and indeed entire blog posts, and waving them around as if they were their own. I just want to be able to save and make the recipe should I want to and so I feel no compunctions about pilfering with impunity. “The buck (recipe) stops HERE” and goes no further.

 

This camellia bush will stay covered in flowers for quite some time now

This camellia bush will stay covered in flowers for quite some time now

Some of dad's orchids flowering

Some of dad’s orchids flowering

Up close and beautiful. We give these orchids absolutely nothing and they give us these lovely flowers every single year

Up close and beautiful. We give these orchids absolutely nothing and they give us these lovely flowers every single year

More orchids that I bought for $3 a pot from a plant stand on election day earlier in the year.

More orchids that I bought for $3 a pot from a plant stand on election day earlier in the year.

Check out the size of these cyclamen leaves down in the jungle area of Serendipity Farm. They must love it down there as they are back every year and getting spreading

Check out the size of these cyclamen leaves down in the jungle area of Serendipity Farm. They must love it down there as they are back every year and  spreading

Dad's old bbq down at the bottom of the property

Dad’s old bbq down at the bottom of the property

Steve, Earl and Bezial walking back up to the house

Steve, Earl and Bezial walking back up to the house

Our "soil". Frogs would love to live on "soil" like this!

Our “soil”. Frogs would love to live on “soil” like this!

So (still getting to the point…) I was saving a particularly “SQUEElicious” blog post this morning and I realised that my recipe folder was in a bit of a mess. A bit of a SERIOUS mess. I had been dumping pdf’s in the wrong place and my list of word docs was starting to alarm even me who is immune to enormous quantities of just about anything and so I started tidying up a bit… and that was when I realised that maybe most people don’t have 372 recipe pdf’s stored on their PC. Maybe, just maybe “normal” people don’t have 3006 word document recipes stored their either? So I finally get to my point… “When does collecting become hoarding and what is the difference?” My enormous hoard of stored recipes is just the tip of the ice burg. I have several hard-drives and CD’s full of stored recipes. I am NEVER going to make all of those recipes but I am compelled (COMPELLED I tell you!) to (hoard) collect them.

 

You can't get a good idea of how big this pot actually is but these are red raspberry canes in a VERY big pot that took Steve and I to haul it into his shed

You can’t get a good idea of how big this pot actually is but these are red raspberry canes in a VERY big pot that took Steve and I to haul it into his shed

Me pathetically trying to show you how big this pot is AND take a photo at the same time

Me pathetically trying to show you how big this pot is AND take a photo at the same time (more red raspberry canes)

Seedlings that need to be planted out before Jenny gets here for her visit tomorrow ;)

Seedlings that need to be planted out before Jenny gets here for her visit tomorrow ;)

I finally found a way to stop the wallabies from nibbling off my artichokes. I put three tyres around the base and look at it now, it's almost 2 metres tall! :)

I finally found a way to stop the wallabies from nibbling off my artichokes. I put three tyres around the base and look at it now, it’s almost 2 metres tall! :)

"Pinkbells" nothing blue about these babies ;)

“Pinkbells” nothing blue about these babies ;)

My craft folders and my “Interesting things” folders are much more sedate however my recipe folders are full to overflowing with the most awesome and phantasmagorical things. I am not going to stop saving (hoarding) recipes. Is there hope for me? We have just finished off our studies. Truly finished them off for the next 2 weeks at least and there is the possibility that if the rain ever stops, we can get out into Sanctuary and we can facilitate change! We just planted out 4 citrus trees that my wonderful horticultural mate Jenny gave us because the possums simply wouldn’t give up on the poor things and they had to be segregated. We learned from her lesson and planted them inside Sanctuary. I have carob trees, nut trees, loquat trees, avocado trees, all KINDS of trees that need planting out ASAP and we have a dog compound to run up before the ground sets to purest porcelain all over again. We have “outside” possibilities and now, we have “outside” abilities to go with them!

This little quince tree is going to be planted out tomorrow as Steve will be digging holes in the immediate vicinity (praying for rain all the time ;) ) so he may as well dig me another one to plant my little quince tree in :)

This little quince tree is going to be planted out tomorrow as Steve will be digging holes in the immediate vicinity (praying for rain all the time ;) ) so he may as well dig me another one to plant my little quince tree in :) That blue tarp is covering up a mountain of oak leaf mould

The last of our dry wood stash. Just about time to let Brunhilda go out for the next 6 months for a most well deserved rest after being on duty 24/7 since mid April "Well done good and faithful friend" :)

The last of our dry wood stash under the deck. Just about time to let Brunhilda go out for the next 6 months for a most well deserved rest after being on duty 24/7 since mid April “Well done good and faithful friend” :)

Yellow climbing roses. The only kind that possums don't like.

Yellow climbing roses. The only kind that possums don’t like.

Steve took this lovely shot of one of the blueberries budding up.

Steve took this lovely shot of one of the blueberries budding up.

I have a list of gorgeousness that I want to accomplish before the next blog post (and document with my trusty Fujipix for your mental alacrity and clarity) including

  • Go and pick up at least 2 trailer loads of seaweed for top dressing the garden
  • Fork and ameliorate the existing garden beds (and try to remember what was planted where last year underneath the seething mass of pumpkins in a vain attempt to “rotate my crops”) and add in a healthy dose of aged horse manure and oak leaf mould
  • Plant out all kinds of seeds and get a system in place for succession planting
  • Plant out seedlings that I was given (better do that today as Jenny is visiting tomorrow! Come to think of it, better process all of those beetroot that she gave me as well. She WILL check ;) ) by Jenny including parsley, leeks, brassicas (no idea which as she just sprinkled them on the soil to teach me a horticultural lesson ;) ) and some flowery thing that she gave me to add to the mix. We swapped a lot of rare pines that we just can’t plant here that made her feel almost as happy as we did when we bought them. We introduced Jenny to pine addiction and she is gleefully happy to be the recipient of our pine lust. She has 50 acres to populate and a few stray pines would be most welcome
  • Shore up our blueberries (that are budding up alarmingly) in the pile of horse manure in front of the deck for this year. Too late to find a spot for them in Sanctuary but next year they will get a forever home inside. This year we will need to protect them!
  • Plant out all of the raspberry canes that Jenny gave us that are currently up to their tender little armpits in that big pile of horse manure and leaves. It appears that’s our cutting bed ;). So far nothing has chosen to eat them but why would it? We feed everything that hangs around out the front of the house cheese sandwiches and they haven’t got time to eat lowly green things any more ;)

 

"Sigh...if you MUST take photos of me at least take them from my best side..."

“Sigh…if you MUST take photos of me at least take them from my best side…”

This world domination is NOTHING to do with me! I am a peace loving hippy dog who walks amongst the cows and chickens and (disgusting) cats without blinking an eyelid. I refuse to be blamed for any of this!"

“This world domination push is NOTHING to do with me! I am a peace loving hippy dog who walks amongst the cows and chickens and (disgusting) cats without blinking an eyelid. I refuse to be blamed for any of this!”

And so you have it, dear constant readers. Narf is BACK! I get to move, to stretch and to dig. I get to choose and to think and to pot and to exercise (everything that doesn’t get strained in my early morning walks…) and my poor addled study stuffed mind can have a decent rest and most well deserved holiday. I am in the zone AND happy to be here :). See you all next week and let’s just see just how much of that list we actually accomplish eh? ;)

 

Spring has sprung down the Morlock mines

It’s that time again…the time when I need to produce a blog post out of my magicians hat without letting on that I am not a very good magician and there is more lint in my hat (and dog hair and fire ash…) than I would like to let on thanks to weeks on end of studying and twitching and feeling the heady pull of spring but not being able to do all that much about it. Stevie-boy aka Slavemaster General is doing an amazing job of keeping me sitting here focussed on the “task at hand” but I would rather be fishing…or wandering in the garden, or potting things up…or…anything really… just not welded here to the PC…

 

Wouldn't it be lovely to just head out in the Mumbley Cumumbus today Stevie-boy? No? Sigh...

Wouldn’t it be lovely to just head out in the Mumbley Cumumbus today Stevie-boy? No? Sigh…

It looks like we might just have sorted Sanctuary (for the near future anyway) as there is an upturned (and most tempting and alluring) bucket of compost that has been doing its level best to attract possums en masse but that is still in a mounded shape and still full of unnibbled pumpkin seeds as I type this. That shows great promise for veggie gardening futures for Serendipity Farm this year.  I am starting to amass planty goodness from all over the place. I was potting up some pepino cuttings that somehow found their way to Serendipity Farm from a wonderful donor elsewhere in Australia (as much as I am going to say about that aside from THANK YOU my wonderful donor who shall remain anonymous as I want to keep these channels alive and well and under the radar ;) ). If you don’t know what a pepino is, heres a bit of blurb about them…

http://www.growyourown.info/page145a.html

Chocolate eclairs, part of Stevie-boys Father's Day Indian feast with eclairs

Chocolate eclairs, part of Stevie-boys Father’s Day Indian feast with eclairs

I have a desire to grow all kinds of things on Serendipity Farm. I want to hurl any and everything that will grow in our conditions into the mix. I have a small quince tree in a pot that our local permie guru Gordon gave me a while back that is budding up and demanding to be planted out and I have just the place to plant it picked out. Quinces and figs and olives and various other Mediterranean plants do well here as we have a very similar climate and our native animals are not partial to the way that plants that have gone through natural selection in order to survive tough conditions taste so they tend to get left well alone. I call that a WIN situation and will be planting them out as soon as I can get my hot little hands on them. Mulberries are another tree that do extremely well in our local conditions (long dry summers) and I am going to get a couple of extra trees to plant. If it grows, if they don’t touch it, it is welcome here on Serendipity Farm

This image isn't mine. I just saw it and thought that this would be a wonderful use of an old lamp and a cheese grater to keep them out of landfill

This image isn’t mine. I just saw it and thought that this would be a wonderful use of an old lamp and a cheese grater to keep them out of landfill

More cheese graters used as light fixtures... lubbly jubbly :)

More cheese graters used as light fixtures… lubbly jubbly :)

I have learned that growing what you want is not necessarily the best option if you want to stay sane and happy. Learning to grow with your local conditions includes having to deal with your local native animals at the same time. I don’t mind sharing but I do mind wanton destruction and it’s just about time for the possums to set up shop in our poor fruit trees for another year. Possums are fat, quick to anger and very furry…I think I am becoming a possum by default to be honest as I age but that, my dears, is another story! For now I am content to find a way to live with these overtly cute looking but inwardly heinous little critters whereby we both get what we want. I am hoping that possum dung is good for the soil because there is so very much of it around the place here! It looks like we might have an army of them coming out at night and just wandering over everything. I saw some possum deposits on our bedroom window sill the other day…they are spying on me while I sleep!

I LOVE this idea! I have been hoarding large coffee cans for just this sort of reason. Guess which narf is going to give this a go...

I LOVE this idea! I have been hoarding large coffee cans for just this sort of reason. Guess which narf is going to give this a go…

 

Or this! Why on earth would you throw cans out if you could use them to make something like this?

Or this! Why on earth would you throw cans out if you could use them to make something like this?

You all know that I put small cubes of tasty cheese out for the local grey shrike thrushes but it has been disappearing rapidly of late and much faster than usual. I was wondering if the sparrows had built up in numbers because they are quite partial to a bit of tasty cheese but aside from a little male sparrow that accompanies the grey shrike thrush up to the deck on a regular basis who is most tenacious as the shrike thrush is three times his size and prone to pecking him on the head if he dives into the cheese futures first, there aren’t any more sparrows than usual on our kitchen window ledge so a mystery was afoot!

 

Isn't this mailbox a hoot? :)

Isn’t this mailbox a hoot? :)

I kept watching the window sill as I walked past. As I have been chained to the PC I tend to be in the kitchen a lot making cups of tea (anything but sitting staring at that screen!) and I just so happened to look out the other day when one of the grey shrike thrushes was collecting some cheese cubes and noticed that the shrike thrush had big eyes…”Oh shrike thrush what big eyes you have? All the better to see you my dear…” now even I, with my limited ornithological abilities, know that grey shrike thrushes are not overly endowed with large eyes. I have seen enough of them collecting up bundles of cubed cheese to take back to their nests to know a bit about them by default. We share a common space albeit on other sides of the window and this “shrike” was a wolf in sheep’s clothing! I had a closer look at the obviously antsy shrike and noticed that it was a little bit more brown than grey…she was watching me closely while she crammed a very large bundle of cheese cubes into every angle of her beak and then she flew off…hmmm…another kind of shrike perchance? But then the mystery was solved by her partner who flew up and started collecting cheese cubes as well. He was as black as the ace of spades with beady little eyes that I would recognise anywhere and he looked at me through the glass as if to say “Don’t make any sudden moves missus or the dog gets it!” Blackbirds!

Stevie-boy on his day off playing his guitar

Stevie-boy on his day off playing his guitar

One of the photos that Steve took for me today to use in my final assessment in Prepress

One of the photos that Steve took for me today to use in my final assessment in Prepress

They had obviously been watching the grey shrike thrushes most carefully. We have a few pairs of blackbirds on the property and I quite like them. There aren’t any cleverer birds in this neck of the woods if you ask me. They watch…they learn…they take advantage of what they just learned and that tells me that there is more than rudimentary brain activity going on inside those small skulls and I admire that. The first time I noticed Ms Blackbird she had a crust of dirt on her beak which is what made me look closer at her in the first place. Grey shrike thrushes are arboreal and rarely go to ground. They are insectivores and tend to peel bark from trees and eat tree dwelling grubs. The do a great job of clearing out the house spiders from between the bricks as well but never poke their beaks in the soil so this made me pay attention…Ms blackbird appears to have found a much easier option to rootling around in the vain hope of finding a worm with one eye constantly watching for cat attack at any moment…Ms blackbird is now living the high life with Mr blackbird and all because she wondered “what if I headed up there and took a bit of a look…”

We have to use all of our own artwork in our final assessment in Prepress and that means recreating whatever we need. I created this today...

We have to use all of our own artwork in our final assessment in Prepress and that means recreating whatever we need. I created this today…

See animals get it…they get that you have to put an effort in to get anything that is worthwhile. I get it as well but in the back of my cerebral cortex…the bit that gives me dreams and that warns me when I am about to do something stupid (my cerebral cortex works overtime…) and that holds past memories and those ancient life lessons that humanity appears to be forgetting en masse these days but that we kept getting reminded of by hair rising up on the back of our necks by our dear unforgetting cerebral cortex…I “get” that all of this study is good for me…I “get” that it is good for my brain, keeping it active learning new things…I “get” that this is much better for me than working for the dole at a local thrift shop sorting through clothes BUT that doesn’t make the front bit of my brain, the impulsive bit that wants to head to Pinterest and eat cake in my undies and socks at ALL appeased. Another reason why I have admiration for those blackbirds is that they are taking a short cut…they learned and they took advantage and they made their lives easier in the process. Kudos big eyes…you shall go to the cheese ball :)

Earl was most happy with the tasty mud and the deliciously fecund odour coming from duckies old boat. This is going to be used to make a water wicked strawberry bed inside Sanctuary in the near future

Earl was most happy with the tasty mud and the deliciously fecund odour coming from duckies old boat. This is going to be used to make a water wicked strawberry bed inside Sanctuary in the near future

So I have 2 x 8 page booklets to produce today…all of the artwork for said booklets, a few lessons in how to tart up a drop cap to narf7 standards (that means downloading ornate Art Nouveau and Art Deco fonts, twizzling around with metal gradients in Illustrator and trying my hardest to create gold out of purest Adobe), I then need to create a logo (but I have a good idea for that one) and try to cobble it all nonchalantly together to make it look like I could care less (apparently how designers do things) about the end results and that everything flowed easily and languidly from my truly talented fingertips…”Au Contraire my dear, it just flows from me like purest champagne…” that’s not the only thing that just flows from me ;) Seriously folks, there is a lot of hard slog that goes on behind the scenes. Much like anything else that is worth it, you need to put in the hard yards to get to look that casual and on the fly…sometimes the simplest logo has taken some poor sap a month down the Morlock tunnel gulags turning from a healthy shade of human pink into a sort of insipid luminous pasty white with eyes that are no longer able to look at the light in order to casually drop onto someone’s letterhead only to be screwed up by the recipient as “MORE JUNK MAIL!”…sigh… plebeians!

Steve's entry into the "abstract architecture" section of his photography group this week

Steve’s entry into the “abstract architecture” section of his photography group this week

Yeah I “get it”…but…BUT…spring is calling! That cerebral cortex that keeps me from wetting my bed at night (several times over if you must know…) also has some kind of primordial sap rising in my veins that must be appeased. I was up to my armpits in compost and horse manure and oak leaves and straw yesterday making a sexy mix for my four new baby pepino’s. I don’t like getting my hands too dirty but I was actually enjoying squidging everything together…the sap was rising! Soon I will be twitching about planting out trees…albeit small ones…I will be thinking, no DREAMING about haybales and hugelkulture and permaculture will start invading my every thought. I won’t be able to concentrate on my drop caps because I will see that lovely leafy font and my mind will start to drift. It’s like the call of the wild in reverse. I don’t want to head off and go feral (well…any more feral than I already am…), I don’t want to wear coon skin hats and float down the river on one of my precious 2 palettes that I am keeping for a compost heap…no not THIS little black duck…I just…want…to …get… out…in…the …sodding…garden…for…a…BIT! That’s all I need…just a bit of garden therapy to go with all of this drop capping and sentence indenting and border creating and text wrapping.

Naughty narf and Stevie-boy went sniffing around the abandoned Beaconsfield mines on the weekend

Naughty narf and Stevie-boy went sniffing around the abandoned Beaconsfield mines on the weekend

This used to be used to grind up gold bearing ore

This used to be used to grind up gold bearing ore

The landscape is littered with massive great holes dating back to the 1800's so it is best to stick to the roads

The landscape is littered with massive great holes dating back to the 1800’s so it is best to stick to the roads

Unless you want to fall down a bottomless pit that is!

Unless you want to fall down a bottomless pit that is!

I just want to feel part of “outside” not firmly and strategically reinstated on this chair for the day. The sun might shine today. It didn’t yesterday and I wasn’t so keen to get out in the rain. A perfect day for studying but it was Stevie-boys day on the PC yesterday…I bet the sun will shine today. The sun loves schadenfreude. I often catch it peeking in at me, laughing and sucking on its trousers at me when I am filling the kettle near the kitchen window, watching the birds carry away cheese for their future. Another day down the Morlock mines BUT…”I get it!” another day closer to that garden! I am going to head off now in order to get a bit closer to my day in the sun that I will no doubt be complaining about soon enough but for now it is a blissful cerebral cortex memory that needs to be appeased. Wish me luck folks…I am going in!

One of Stevie-boys lovely abstract photos of some of the old machinery we found

One of Stevie-boys lovely abstract photos of some of the old machinery we found

If you look closely you can see the big boots of the narf 7...I am playing at being Amish (or was that just that all of my jeans were in the wash? ;) )

If you look closely you can see the big boots of the narf 7…I am playing at being Amish (or was that just that all of my jeans were in the wash? ;) )

Isn't this wattle lovely? You don't often get to see wattles that are able to grow to their full height. This one is in full flower.

Isn’t this wattle lovely? You don’t often get to see wattles that are able to grow to their full height. This one is in full flower.

 

Enter the lizard hunter

Hi All,

 

Well hot diggety dog my dear constant readers, we are right back here again and little has changed on Serendipity Farm except the slave albino Morlock’s have been freed from their shackles of oppression and are now footloose and fancy free of studies for at least a couple of days. We collated our final two assignment tasks and all of the peripheral bampf that makes them take a much longer time to complete that we are required to submit along with our work and handed them in on Monday. That left us shell-shocked and twitching and with NO idea of how to live in the real world aside from sitting on a PC and working to rule. It was sad to see us wandering around like little lost lambs without a clue and even sadder when we were joined by the dogs because it started to rain and thus became a washout for working in the garden and walking dogs…four pathetic souls walking around the kitchen table following each other like shrews in a perpetual circle…

An example of what we have been doing lately

An example of what we have been doing lately

 

A caravan of shrews

A caravan of shrews

We had planned to forge ahead…to drive to Exeter and pick up a half trailer load of compost from the local landscape supply centre then head off to buy some seeds from a small local nursery that specialise in breeding their own heritage seeds to our local conditions. Less variety but more likely to survive…I like those odds! We had SO many plans! We were going to fix Sanctuary and Stevie-boy would be my hero and would drill holes in the poles and we would string up the possum repelling top netting with plastic coated clothes line wire that the little swine’s wouldn’t have a hope in heck of chewing through and would be relegated to bouncing furiously on with no dent in the netting allowing them to trampoline their way down to the tender greens below. I had visions of all sorts of things but then the reality of the rain…slow…constant…and unlikely to stop rain set in and so we walked a few more circuits around the kitchen table in a slow progression of sadness and broke off eventually to pursue other indoor activities.

One of the gorgeous sunsets we have been having lately to welcome spring into the Southern Hemisphere

One of the gorgeous sunsets we have been having lately to welcome spring into the Southern Hemisphere

 

We can’t handle another day of Earl sulking so we are going to have to get out and walk the dogs today. I can hear the wind chime heralding more rain but we have the curious situation here in my local borough, whereby it tends to stay dry till about 10am here and then rains. Excellent for early morning dog walkers, not so good for people who want to garden after they walk. We did go to Exeter yesterday to post off Ms Pauline’s dangler things for her dangler of International Happiness. I hope she isn’t expecting too much as there is a bag of harvested bits-and-bobs that we thought might just make interesting inclusions to her dangler.  I can’t wait to see how it looks when Ms Pauline has put her touches to it. Anyone who would like to add something to Ms Pauline’s dangler of great international happiness please drop me a line and we can talk. Ms Pauline could do with some aqua beads if anyone has any lying around. I did find something sort of green but that’s about as aqua as it gets in my mixed bag so anyone who dabbles in the beady arts who has some strange leftover beads please get in touch. The cause is worthy, admirable and will result in your cast offs being turned into frugal sustainable art by Ms Pauline who is a most clever minx when it comes to the creative arts.

We are getting a LOT of eggs lately. At the moment they are happy to lay in a haybale in Steve's shed but any day soon that will change and we will be back to hunting high and low for them

We are getting a LOT of eggs lately. At the moment the chooks are happy to lay in a haybale in Steve’s shed but any day soon that will change and we will be back to hunting high and low for them

I also sent off a delicious wooden spoon handcrafted by Stevie-boy to a wonderful lady who wanted to trade on her blog. I have been following Belinda’s blog for a little while now and  I had shared a post by Belinda with you all before and in this post  Belinda posed a most interesting case for trading something rather than selling. I think she was testing the waters to see just what she might end up with if she wanted to trade. I need to point out something here about why I was SO excited about wanting to trade with Ms Belinda. My daughters are both Koreanaphiles. They love all things Korean but especially K-Pop, a subculture of Korean pop music that has bled over into the West. The very first band that they liked was a band called Shinee and although I could remember most of the guys in the band I could NEVER remember one called “Minho”. Minho was my nemesis and my daughters would tease me mercilessly saying “which one is Minho”?  And I would invariably pick the wrong band member. It turns out “Minho” isn’t just a member of a Korean K-Pop band but it is also a region in Portugal famous for inventing Caldo Verde and for it’s gorgeous hand spun wool. Ms Belinda had made some wonderful hats out of some of this unctuous wool and was offering them up for trade! I could have my own Minho hat! I would never forget Minho again! Long after my daughters had forgotten who he was…”I”…the forgetful narf…would remember :)

 

Minho hat! :)

Minho hat! :)

So you see I “had” to at least attempt to trade with Ms Belinda (who appears to be hugging herself in the first image in this post…hey, if you can’t hug the one you love, hug the one your with eh? ;) ). She accepted the offer of a trade for one of Stevie-boys wooden spoons and I promptly forgot about it till Steve came up the driveway with a parcel that I wasn’t expecting…it turns out the wonderful Ms Belinda had sent my Minho hat and a second Minho hat for one of the girls! Looks like we are ALL going to remember who Minho is ;). Steve found some lovely blackheart sassafras, a rare and special Tasmanian endemic wood, in his woody collection to turn into a lovely spoon for Ms Belinda and for some curious reason I forgot to take a photo of it before I sent it off yesterday…”Doh!” Oh well…I can show you the Minho hats and my daughters can fight over their hat when I get around to delivering it to the city ;). I love the idea of trading things. No money need change hands (which is a good thing when there isn’t a lot of it lying around to trade) and you end up forging community, making new friends, getting something awesome and handmade and sharing the creative love around. I think Stevie-boy needs to make more wooden spoons…his creative muse is delicious. Stevie-boy thinks that I need to shut up ;)

Steve both made these pork pies and took this lovely photo. This is for all of you carnivorous ex-pat's from the old country who can't live without their pork pies at Christmas...make them yourself! :)

Steve both made these pork pies and took this lovely photo. This is for all of you carnivorous ex-pat’s from the old country who can’t live without their pork pies at Christmas…make them yourself! :)

this photo is 40+ years old. It was taken by my mother on an 100 acre farm that we once lived on and is of her gaggle of geese that she kept. It might look like the Kalahari desert in this photo but it's mid summer and the geese have eaten all of the grass.

this photo is 40+ years old. It was taken by my mother on an 100 acre farm that we once lived on and is of her gaggle of geese that she kept. It might look like the Kalahari desert in this photo but it’s mid summer and the geese have eaten all of the grass.

It might be windy outside but it hasn’t rained since I got up and its 5.10am now. Bezial heard the alarm go off this morning and headed in with determination to take up my warm spot in the bed prior to me evacuating it so I did what any good dog owner would do and got out of bed. I need to tidy up my RSS Feed Reader that is wilder than Serendipity Farms front jungle at the moment but that’s easily tamed and apologies to my dear constant readers who I haven’t been commenting on your posts of late but our study load was formidable and now that we are out the other side (and the slave master general had his whip eaten by Earl) we have a bit of breathing space. The last thing that I want to do when freed from my seat on the PC is sit here all day knocking out my RSS Feed Reader so it might take me some time but I will get there :)

Spring has definitely sprung and here's the proof...the nectarine tree is flowering

Spring has definitely sprung and here’s the proof…the nectarine tree is flowering

The shadow of a narf and the actuality of a power cord that made all of the work we did today possible in Sanctuary (remind me to hide that power cord next time... ;) )

The shadow of a narf and the actuality of a power cord that made all of the work we did today possible in Sanctuary (remind me to hide that power cord next time… ;) )

I might share our school blog with you all so that you can head over there and see what Stevie-boy and I have been doing for the last 2 years. That’s a lot easier than clogging up this blog with our erstwhile efforts and you can head over there and take a peek or not…your choice. Last year we weren’t expected to put much up on our blogs but this year our lecturer has us putting up our final assessments…I am not sure that I agree with her logic. Feel free to head over and have a nose around on our blogs but remember they are our school blogs so please vet your comments accordingly (looking at YOU Ms Twinn! ;) )

https://heartwoodspoons.wordpress.com/

This is Stevie-boys school blog

https://veganscousewife.wordpress.com/

And this one is Narf’s school blog

Note if you want to look at the links, WordPress seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to how it opens them. Sometimes it expects you to download them to your desktop, sometimes it opens up a pdf on the page you are viewing (so you have to click back to where you were) and sometimes it opens up a pdf on another page…NO idea what it is going to do at any given time but that’s part of the experience right? ;) By the way Bethany…if you do happen to go and have a look at our work and you see an image of a girl dressed up in fancy dress with a flower in her hand that looks strangely like you when you were about 8…it’s just a figment of your imagination! ;)

This artichoke is only alive because of those tyres around it. Note the tangle mass of deceased plant matter to the left of the artichoke. This is possum damage and the reason why we need to fix Sanctuary before we try to plant a veggie garden this year...

This artichoke is only alive because of those tyres around it. Note the tangle mass of deceased plant matter to the left of the artichoke. This is possum damage and the reason why we need to fix Sanctuary before we try to plant a veggie garden this year…

On Tuesday morning we had to walk around like hunchbacks in order to traverse sanctuary as the possums had trampolined the top almost down to the ground

On Tuesday morning we had to walk around like hunchbacks in order to traverse sanctuary as the possums had trampolined the top almost down to the ground

It’s only Tuesday at the moment so you just never know. I might get up to Sanctuary today and there may or may not be photo’s. I can at least get a photo of Earl’s craziness when we let him off lead in Sanctuary and he realises that he is FREE! which is part of the reason why you are NEVER going to be “free” in the real world Early boy…pity you don’t learn a bit of self-restraint as it would be lovely to let you off the lead and let you forage around but you were built to hunt and your primary objective is to sniff, to find and to eat :( Oh well…your choice sunshine! Bezial is happy to curb his desire to scarf a chook in order to wander free (like Kung-fu) among them (with the occasional beak pressing episode that we won’t talk about ;) ) That’s given me a good head start on tomorrows email now. I can add a bit, take a few photos and I don’t have to produce a rabbit out of a hat at the starting gate… I tend not to perform well when put on the spot or on command. Probably best that I wasn’t born male ;)

Kale gone to seed YAY! :)

Kale gone to seed YAY! :)

Might be time for our resident sheoak inside Sanctuary to have a hair cut again...

Might be time for our resident sheoak inside Sanctuary to have a hair cut again…

I can plant these loquats out this year as they are big enough to survive a summer in the ground without a lot of extra watering

I can plant these loquats out this year as they are big enough to survive a summer in the ground without a lot of extra watering

I am SO tired! I went from twiddling my thumbs on Monday to slaving in the Sanctuary gulags for the last two days and I couldn’t be happier :). We started sorting out the top of Sanctuary, my fully enclosed (supposedly) native animal proof veggie garden yesterday. It was hard going because Stevie-boy had to drill holes in all of the steel poles that we concreted into the ground in order to make Sanctuary in the first place so that we could thread through and tie off sections of plastic coated metal clothes line that we are using to ensure that the possums etc. can’t pass. He broke 3 drill bits in a row they are so tough and we had to take a trip to Exeter to pick up some new bits so we also bought some compost and seeds at the same time. We like to multitask. We had a bit of a twitching moment yesterday where Stevie-boy decided that he would release the ring of clothes line that I had entrusted him to hold in order to do “something else” and it twisted all over the place and became hopelessly entangled. Needless to say I think I need to sign up for anger management classes and possibly hypnotherapy to teach me not to swear like a duchess whilst threatening Stevie-boy with every threat I could possibly think of if he EVER touched the plastic coated wire ring ever again… we got over it…not sure the neighbours have yet though…

The great lizard hunter

The great lizard hunter

The great lizard hunter again

The great lizard hunter again

Bezial has sworn off lizards and is enjoying a sunbeam

Bezial has sworn off lizards and is enjoying a sunbeam

Today, after walking the dogs with Jan and Mieka who appears to be developing a Mieka fan club and who has gone from Jan wondering what she was going to do with her to 5 people wanting to adopt her (the best possible outcome), we headed up to Sanctuary with steely determination and set to with the final push to get our garden back from the (filthy) possums. Earl and Bezial were most happy to be returning to sunbeams and lizards and the first thing that Earl did was frolic…a lot. We managed to shore up all of the top of Sanctuary and I sorted out one of the areas where the possums can get in. Tomorrow we have about an hour to sort out the other join and then Sanctuary is MINE! It would be OURS if Steve really cared about it but it’s my baby and my dream and Steve would rather be doing something else but is entirely happy to indulge me in my (crazy) pursuits.

 

Earl gave up on lizards and found a much slower golden beetroot to chew instead

Earl gave up on lizards and found a much slower golden beetroot to chew instead

The view from Stevie-boys gumboot

The view from Stevie-boys gumboot

Sanctuary liberated! :)

Sanctuary liberated! :)

So here I am…tired but incredibly happy on what has turned out to be a gorgeous spring day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it’s still crisp and cool and the soil is nice and damp (gluggy and muddy in some places) and I feel vegetable futures in MY future :). I will be soaking seed today to plant out tomorrow as we bought some compost and will be adding other things to it to make a happy place for seeds to grow. This year narf 7 actually IS going to grow all of her own seedlings and I have the seeds to prove it! Wish me luck folks because there is a whole lot of work to be done before I can plant out those little prospective seedlings but at least they are changing hands from being mental seedlings to physical seedlings. Thank you SO much to all of my gardening dear constant readers who have given me encouragement and help and thanks to spring for filling me with spring possibilities. No doubt I will be less than happy with spring tomorrow when I can’t get out of bed because I am too sore but whatchagonnadoeh? ;)

Vegetable futures!

Vegetable futures!

 

 

 

512, an extinct bird and an epiphany of sorts and the world of plants in fish terms as described by narf

Hi All,

Firstly, guess who has been blogging for 3 years today! WordPress just congratulated and thanked me…what for?! Cheers to everyone who comes along for the ride every week. I luv’s ya ALL :)

512, folks, is apparently to the internet what 42 is to the meaning of life. 512, is the magic number when it comes to P.C.’s at the moment but not in a good way. Apparently we are all hogging bandwidth to the nth degree. We are having a veritable smorgasbord of internet and each and every one of us all adds up to this magic number being breeched. One could ask why the boffins at the beginning of the internet didn’t think to use the number 512 billion, but I am sure they are currently kicking themselves for their lack of an intelligent narf7 back in the day. Not a lot can be done about the 512 problem aside from reset all of the large super servers and hope that we internet addicts don’t kick up too much of a stink in the meantime because the unthinkable is starting to happen… the internet is getting clogged up. Clogged up and shock HORROR…we can’t log on!

 

Extreme apologies to the person who owns this image, I am just using it to show what our small chook looks like. I think she must be a bantam throwback

Extreme apologies to the person who owns this image, I am just using it to show what our small chook looks like. I think she must be a bantam throwback

 

Now I was able to log on this morning at 3am and was able to do everything internetty and emaily etc. right up till 5.30 this morning when it all went kaput. I couldn’t comment on Ms Pauline’s latest blog post or Ms Snail of Happiness’s. I couldn’t reload pages and I was forced into the realisation that perhaps the internet might be having a little nap. That little nap has lasted 5 hours now and after phoning the girls, who are with the same service provider that we are, was told…

  1. We night owls aren’t all that happy about being woken up by you blackbirds!
  2. Err…nope…we haven’t got internet either

So it IS true what they say…misery DOES love company, if only to know that it is Dodo’s fault not ours. Stevie boy isn’t happy about the prospect of having to phone them up again as we get shunted to an offshore call centre where aside from having a terrible time understanding what is being asked of him, he tends to lose his temper with the ridiculous series of directions that he has to jump through in order to talk to someone in the know. Today he is just going to pretend to unplug the phone from the wall, run the internet cable into the phone hub etc. Why bother actually doing it when the only reason it is being asked for is that the person on the other end has a cheat sheet in front of them that says “ask this…then this…then that…” sigh… after pretending to satisfy what the operator has asked of him he may or may not get put through to someone in the know and after finding out that the girls internet is also out, methinks it might be a little more than just Sidmouth based.

Although this is still a pilfered image, it is much closer to what our girl looks like. She is much smaller than the rest of her brothers and sisters.

Although this is still a pilfered image, it is much closer to what our girl looks like. She is much smaller than the rest of her brothers and sisters.

Look what I found! A tiny little bit of already completed blog post! Oh joy of joys I don’t have to come up with the first couple of paragraphs, usually the hardest when my brain is spent and my energy is low. Today is blog post day but it is also 5.12am and nice and quiet, very dark (hello dark side of the moon) and I am merrily pilfering permaculture information while I type…I love multi-tasking ;).  I feel like I have been studying forever by the way. There is a little light at the end of the tunnel as our erstwhile lecturer has just informed we slaving minions that she is off overseas for three weeks to sun herself in the Pyrenees or wherever she is going in Europe (maybe she is off to ski in the Pyrenees…whatever she is doing she is AWOL!) and that we need to get a wriggle on with everything that is due in as goodness ONLY knows…she wouldn’t want to be thinking about a backlog of marking when she got back. Sigh…

This is what we have been up to in our studies. This image was taken to illustrate using the lasso tool in a tutorial we had to create

This is what we have been up to in our studies. This image was taken to illustrate using the lasso tool in a tutorial we had to create

The plus side (for there must always be a plus side to every difficult task) is that we are rapidly developing a new set of skills that are both challenging and rewarding. The more we slave, the more we know, the easier it gets and so while we aren’t donning snow boots and ski’s and sliding down endless slopes we are gaining valuable skills. Not entirely sure what we can use them for but if anyone wants a nice poster created let us know ;)

And this one was used to create a clipped image... we are learning a lot lately

And this one was used to create a clipped image… we are learning a lot lately

Here's the original for that clipped image, not a bad job really ;)

Here’s the original for that clipped image, not a bad job really ;)

Being nailed to your computer chair and only allowed out in order to walk the dog makes for a very dull week. I even got Steve to take the compost bin up to Sanctuary yesterday so that I didn’t have to look at the accusatory wafting’s of the nasturtiums gone feral, the comb over on the cut of sheoak that is now a fully-fledged set of waist length dreddies and the kale that no doubt the possums have been forced to eat due to having scoffed everything else in sight. We bought some lengths of metal clothes line encased in plastic in order to fix the top of Sanctuary to stop the little furry menaces from entering at will but thanks to our terrifying study schedule, we just haven’t had the time to do it and the one day that we did have time, it rained the whole day but whatchagonnado folks eh?

Here we have "converging lines" and this is going to be used for another task we have to do... lots of photos we have to take, lots of tutorials, lots of work...

Here we have “converging lines” and this is going to be used for another task we have to do… lots of photos we have to take, lots of tutorials, lots of work…

It is almost father’s day here in Australia. Yes…we do it differently to you guys in the U.S. as apparently our dads like to get gifts that make mowing the lawn easier or washing the car less of a chore in the early spring. Stevie-boy has been lusting after some man tools of late but our finances don’t quite run to these objects of desire…however narf to the rescue! I just got some online survey rewards, in the form of Bunnings gift vouchers, that cover the cost of the tasty tools and so the dogs are going to give Stevie-boy the tools for Father’s day. I can almost hear the manly “Squee’s!” from the future ;)

Sad dogs making the most of their terrible life by huddling in a sunbeam pitifully...

Sad dogs making the most of their terrible life by huddling in a sunbeam pitifully…

Well it is spring. It might still be August 27th in our neck of the woods but spring sprung back at the beginning of August and we have had very little rain, lots of sun and our temperatures are starting to warm up from single digits to angsty teens. Unlike other grumpy old people, I don’t mind the middle teens…I am not all that happy with the forty something’s to be honest. Those forty something’s have knobs on! Come to think of it. The thirty something’s are pretty terrible as well. Maybe I have a youth fixation when it comes to summer temperatures and like to stick to the teenagers and the twenty something’s…I hang with the hip and happening folks…the narf is most at home when blending into the lower denominators. In saying that, our growing season is now officially upon us. My wonderful friend Bev from the eminently learned blog FoodnStuff where you can learn all about producing food in our stressed Aussie conditions caught me lusting after her cuke-a-melons in a recent post and sent me a packet all of my very own! Not only have you made narf7 happy Ms Bev, but you have NO idea how happy you have made my eldest daughter Madeline who is besotted with all things cucumber and who is probably going to walk the 50km to my garden to eat my entire crop, she is that dedicated to the cause.

Cukamelons! And they are here on Serendipity Farm :). They might just be too cute to eat Bev ;)

Cukamelons! And they are here on Serendipity Farm :). They might just be too cute to eat Bev ;)

The blurb tells me that they are drought tolerant, that they taste like a cucumber crossed with some citrus and that they grow as big as grapes and are prolific fruiters...my kind of veggie! Thank you SO much Bev for your generosity :)

The blurb tells me that they are drought tolerant, that they taste like a cucumber crossed with some citrus and that they grow as big as grapes and are prolific fruiters…my kind of veggie! Thank you SO much Bev for your generosity :)

Now I need to get down to brass tacks. I have some delightful and most wonderful blogging mates who are steering me on the road to oversupply. My problem is that the garden pretty much does most of the work itself. You plant the things, they grow, they do what nature intended but it’s all of the peripherals that I need to get my head around. What seed to plant when? How long do they take to grow/fruit? When do I need to be planting the seed in order to get the maximum benefits of our short growing season? I am alarmed at reading posts about people chitting and planting and seedlings up and out of pots and time ticking…ticking…TICKING and Sanctuary stagnant in a pool of nasturtiums and acidic soil and me with NO idea how to remedy most of what I perceive as “threats” to our growing season (forgive me…I am in S.W.O.T. mode…you can’t drive all of those studies out of your mind en-masse…some of them hang about to interject at inopportune moments…). I have had most wonderfully kind people tell me to email them with my plan…my “Plan”…so that they can help me with it. For me to email my “Plan” I need to HAVE a “Plan”…eek! See I have a confession to make. Trees and shrubs do things themselves. I am a tree and shrub person and after digging a “root growth zone” (James, my long suffering cert 3 horticulture lecturer would be beaming now if he heard me call a “hole” a “root growth zone” like it rolled naturally off my tongue ;) ) and amending the soil interface (beaming…positively GLOWING! ;) ) so that the tree/shrub has the best chance of integrating itself with its new surroundings, it’s a matter of a bit of water at the right time, a bit of fertiliser (if it is needed) at the right time and away she goes…job done…hands dusted and off to cook the dinner.

Steve spent most of the other day standing on the deck with his binoculars and a camera trying to get a shot of "the remote control warship" that someone was sailing around Redwood island...on closer inspection it was just someone in a canoe... time for glasses Stevie-boy ;)

Steve spent most of the other day standing on the deck with his binoculars and a camera trying to get a shot of “the remote control warship” that someone was sailing around Redwood island…on closer inspection it was just someone in a canoe… time for glasses Stevie-boy ;)

Maybe it was too dark to see the canoe properly? ;) We called this image a rain-beam as it was right smack bang in the middle of a day full of rain.

Maybe it was too dark to see the canoe properly? ;) We called this image a rain-beam as it was right smack bang in the middle of a day full of rain.

Veggie gardening (on the whole), annual and perennial gardening appears to be a different kettle of fish. You know how some fish are big and laconic and just lie like slugs at the bottom of the creek and occasionally swish so that you know that they are still alive? Well they are the “Tree” fish… they don’t need much. They wait for their food to come to them via the water and their huge gaping mouths. There are other smaller fish that move around a bit…hover in the shadows of tree branches and overhanging edges and wait for smaller fish to dart by so that they can inhale them…they are the “Shrub” fish. Sometimes they need other “fish” to grow with them so that they are happy but on the whole, they are pretty self-sufficient and just do their own thing. Then you hit the fish that need a few mates in order to feel comfortable. They may or may not have complex patterns of relationships whereby they feel a strong need to travel a gazillion miles upstream in order to produce seed or tubers that are vital to their ongoing survival and quite a few things can go wrong in those processes that could result in these fish not getting the results they need. They are still pretty self-sufficient but they have various stages of development that might need a bit of close attention and actual intervention in order to keep them going. These are the “Perennial” fish folks…they keep on keeping on but they sometimes need a bit of work, the odd clump broken up, a bit of a cut back when they die back down (hibernate kiddies, don’t panic, “STOP CRYING!”  They aren’t dying just having a big long sleep for the winter…) and while it isn’t a lot of attention, it’s a whole lot more than the “Tree” fishes and the “Shrub” fishes need

Stevie-boy made this feast while I was AWOL at my daughters. He used Guinness to make his beer batter and it turned out really well. Looks like that beer batter translates internationally ;)

Stevie-boy made this feast while I was AWOL at my daughters. He used Guinness to make his beer batter and it turned out really well. Looks like that beer batter translates internationally ;)

I would like to point out here that while I am not aware of any young person’s reading this blog at the moment you just never know what the future may bring so I feel it necessary to occasionally address them personally in order to keep my audience fully satisfied. You are just going to have to deal with it my dear constant readers with the narf switching between the vernacular for my regular audience and the odd hip and happening smattering of kidenese that may just slip out…yeah baby, I am dead hip and happening…positively GROOVY baby! ;)

Isn't this a clever idea for a chair? It would be really easy to make and it is even solid enough to resist the avid attentions of one Mr E. Dog...love the room as well :)

Isn’t this a clever idea for a chair? It would be really easy to make and it is even solid enough to resist the avid attentions of one Mr E. Dog…love the room as well :)

Now we get to the fishies that make me twitch. I am already twitching. I have a facial tic going as I type this stressful line…we get to the “Annual” fishies. The little buggers that flock in huge swarms in order to survive…the ones that get picked off by all of the bigger fishies (or in our case, all of the swarming waiting native animals that would call them sustenance) and that panic and bolt and that are entirely unpredictable, needy, over-reactive and just plain pains in the derriere. You need to hold their hands to nurse them through and to make sure that all of their needs are met or BAM…dead. Yup…dead kiddies. Deceased. Sorry about the abrupt lesson in vegetable gardening doom but I am with you on being bewildered and befuddled. I am a kid when it comes to understanding the rites and passages of annual vegetable life and I can only stand on the bank of confusion watching the little buggers dart about in other people’s gardens. Some people (who shall remain anonymous because I am DEAD JEALOUS of them and I would have to type their names in green) have these little fishes all corralled. They have made little fishy farms and have herded them in with great aplomb. Their fishy farms have special gates and they feed their fishies all kinds of weird and wonderful things. They talk about “growing conditions” and “putting things in the soil/water” and making up strange unguents to feed the fishies and how they apply strange and wondrous spells that involve moon cycles and moon plantings and seaweed (see…it all ties in to fishies!) and permaculture massaging and all KINDS of strange and wonderful things that are entirely foreign to me. I watch from the bank getting more and more bewildered and spring is rising inside me and making me wild eyed and crazy…”I have to do something NOW!” but what the bloody hell am I supposed to be doing?!

Oh the SHAME! We were overtaken going up a hill by "this" today... :(

Oh the SHAME! We were overtaken going up a hill by “this” today… :(

Back under the bed…under the bed is safe (aside from Earl who is prone to licking you when you can’t move your arms…) to those people whose names shall remain anonymous and most decidedly green by both association and application I love you dearly. I admire you SO much I might start fan pages for you all but I just…don’t…get…it :( Could some of you write a book? A lovely thing that I could hold in my hand and carry up to Sanctuary and pretend that I am Dr Livingstone (and Stevie-boy is my willing helper chimp) and that I CAN conquer the strange and wonderfully terrifying new continent that is “Vegetable Gardening”…please?…Pretty please?

Steve found this to lure me off the computer... apparently there is a big wide world outside?! Whodathunkeh? ;)

Steve found this to lure me off the computer… apparently there is a big wide world outside?! Whodathunkeh? ;)

Well…looks like I am on my own for now folks. A terrifying proposition as those little fishies are swarming and seething and started earlier than usual this year and if I don’t coral a few of them they are going to disappear and my chance to harvest fishies this year will be all done and dusted. Might be time to take a few photos of Sanctuary, swallow my sad middle aged horticultural pride and send my “plans” (pathetic, sad and such as they are) off to one of my Greenest of the green online mates to give me a bit of a run-down of what I should be doing and when…oh how the mighty have fallen! Wish me luck folks…between the studies, the guilt and the lack of food (I am back on the healthy food wagon) I am a pathetic husk of a woman, but a most determined one. See you all next week when all being good, Stevie-boy, my helper chimp and narf the intrepid will have at least conquered the inner sanctum of Sanctuary and stopped the possum invading hordes from being able to invade and moral will have been restored considerably ;)

 

 

Vegan matcha, black sesame and rose drizzle cake

Hi All,

 

We survived our studies and they are all done and dusted now and we actually have the weekend off to do whatever we like (so long as it is watching television and laying around contemplating our navels ;) ). I promised you a cake and here it is. I made this one earlier and took it to my daughters where I promptly ate most of it all by myself it was that delicious. I altered the recipe to suit what I wanted from a most wonderful recipe on Holy Cow Vegan, a fantastic blog by Vaishali Honawar where I got the recipe that Stevie-boy used to make my most delicious orange and poppyseed drizzle cake. Vaishali’s recipe is for a lemon poppyseed bundt cake with lemon glaze but I fancied orange as I am not much of a lemon girl and so we adapted the recipe. I then made it minus the poppyseeds for a dinner party with friends and it was equally as delicious.

It was about then that I had the idea to use this incredibly versatile recipe to make a matcha, black sesame and rose drizzle cake. I liked the sound of the combined ingredients and was keen to give it a go. It’s a really easy recipe to make, it hasn’t failed me yet in the three times that I have baked it and it results in a gorgeous, light, moist sponge-like consistency that is a delight to eat. You could adapt this recipe in so many ways. You could use sweet red bean paste or chestnut puree to make a delicious filling, you could ice (frost) the cake however you liked and leave off the drizzle. You could flavour the cake with pretty much anything so long as you balance out the wet and dry ingredients in the suggested proportions and I, for one, am MOST glad that Ms Vaishali created this amazing recipe. We vegans can have our cake AND eat it :)

Vegan matcha and black sesame bundt cake with rose scented drizzle

For the cake:

2 2/3 cups of self-raising flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups of sugar (I used raw sugar)

1 3/4 cups almond or soy milk mixed with 2 tsp vinegar and set aside for five minutes to curdle

1/4 cup of black sesame seeds (I used 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons of matcha (green tea powder)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of vegan margarine at room temperature

For the rose drizzle:

A few drops of rose water

1/4 cup water or almond or soy milk

3/4 cup icing (confectioner’s – powdered) sugar

Make the cake -

  1. Cream the sugar and margarine in a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with a whisk, until light and fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl a couple of times during the mixing
No pictures of the creaming but here are the ingredients assembled and ready to get going

No pictures of the creaming but here are the ingredients assembled and ready to get going

  1. Mix the vanilla extract with the curdled milk mix
Again, no picture of the curdled milk mix but I was listening to Mark Bolan on Pandora radio so I was probably dancing around too much to take a photo ;)

Again, no picture of the curdled milk mix but I was listening to Mark Bolan on Pandora radio so I was probably dancing around too much to take a photo ;)

  1. Sift the self-raising flour, salt and matcha (green tea powder) into a dry bowl
Finally! I have an image to match the recipe step ;)

Finally! I have an image to match the recipe step ;)

  1. Add the flour to the margarine and sugar mixture in three batches, alternating with the almond or soy milk and vanilla mix. Mix for 20 seconds after each addition, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that everything is well mixed
  1. Add the black sesame seeds and mix with a spatula to disperse them evenly through the batter
A bit ahead of myself but here's the black sesame seeds going in...

A bit ahead of myself but here’s the black sesame seeds going in…

  1. Grease a bundt cake pan with margarine or oil and dust liberally with flour (knocking out the excess). Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 180C (350F) oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let the cake stand in the bundt pan on a rack for 10 minutes while you make the drizzle, then unmould. This cake unmoulds easily but if you are having trouble, run a knife lightly and carefully around the edges.

Make the rose drizzle -

1 With a whisk, mix the water (or almond or soy milk) and sugar with a few drops of rose water till it forms a syrupy drizzle.

The ingredients to make the drizzle. I made the icing (powdered) sugar out of raw sugar in my vitamix

The ingredients to make the drizzle. I made the icing (powdered) sugar out of raw sugar in my vitamix

Apply the drizzle to the cake -

Once you have turned the cake out of the bundt pan onto a cake cooling rack, place the rack over a baking tray or oven sheet and using a teaspoon, slowly pour the cold drizzle over the warm cake.

 

Moist, green tinged, packed with delicious black sesame seeds and fragrant with rose water this was a most delicious cake indeed!

Moist, green tinged, packed with delicious black sesame seeds and fragrant with rose water this was a most delicious cake indeed!

Eat…eat a lot…make more…eat that one as well…

 

The sky is the limit folks!

I would like to thank Vaishali Honawar for creating and sharing her original recipe for a lemon poppy seed bundt cake with a lemon glaze with us all. This cake is now my go-to vegan cake and I will be experimenting with flavours and ingredients for the foreseeable future. This cake is delightful, easy and most wonderful to eat.

 

 

See you all on Wednesday when normal service will be resumed (I hope!)

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible…

Hi all,

 

Well, the inevitable happened and Stevie-boy and I are snowed under with studies that are due in on Monday so what’s a pair of middle aged student hippies to do when there’s a blog post due and no post to post? Er…I guess they don’t post a post. I hope you will all forgive me for a lack of a post today. I have a delicious vegan matcha cake recipe post due that I will post on the weekend to make up for it. See you all next week when our studies should be well finished and we might be able to have 5 seconds to spare. Love you all, Ciao for now bambino’s

Girl from Impanema over and over and over again ;)

Girl from Impanema over and over and over again ;)

Life on the cusp of the seasons

Hi All,

 

So what’s all this “Serendipity Farm” stuff all about eh? Well you can be assured that we aren’t a real farm folks. Sorry to break the apple cart for a few of you but I just read a blog post about romance novels by the illustrious Mr 23Thorns of the erstwhile blog “23thorns” (I am NOT very imaginative when addressing my literary idols) and realised that narf7 is to Serendipity Farm what romance novel readers are to real, up-front romance…sort of a safe aside while you are thinking about other things. I thought that I should clarify this as I have been getting a few new followers lately and I would HATE for them to think that there was any degree of “E.I.E.I.O.” going on at any given time here. Most of the time you are going to get the daily trials and tribulations of a scared little weird wide eyed middle aged student hippy woman who spends most of her life online when she isn’t under the bed with her sometimes protector Earl protecting the sock under the bed from dying a slow starving death and simultaneously shoveling in ice cream because EVERYTHING is better with ice cream

Before I can even BEGIN to explain the next 2 photos, I need to give you some background on them…It was last Friday night. We may, or may not, have had a bottle of wine (or 2) and we were definitely watching this absolutely AMAZING YouTube vid of a fantastic Croatian pair of cellists who are extremely talented and most delicious at the same time. What Aussie could resist 2 hot guys playing cello’s dressed in period costume and covering Acadaca eh?! Here’s the video (watch it as otherwise you will have NO idea where this is going…)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3SBzmDxGk

We watched it several times (as you do when you are sipping of the grape scented fluid of great happiness) and then Stevie-boy decided to share a few other classical musicians who made the cross-over to rock including Mr Nigel Kennedy and another man (who’s name escapes me now but Ms Pauline knows) who got Stevie-boy onto gypsy music. GYPSIES! Those quintessential scallywags who are prone to moving in, cashing up and then moving on to greener pastures…they are also, we are assured by Mr Borat, ever on the watch for your tears so Stevie-boy was most insistent that he should do some kind of dance to ward off the gypsy’s that we had OBVIOUSLY called forth by listening to gypsy music and that, my dear constant readers, is what brings me to these 2 images…remember, this is Stevie-boy preventing us from the gypsy’s stealing our tears and NOTHING to do with all of that red wine. Nothing at ALL ;)

If you are interested in protecting yourselves and your family from passing gypsy’s stealing your tears you may want to dance along. Here is the most tasty Mr David Garret ( I remembered his name! Ms Pauline will be MOST proud of me :) ) playing the Hungarian Dance No. 5 which just so happens to be Stevie-boys gypsy dance of choice in the photos below…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07WLB584I5Q

Not entirely sure why the trousers had to be rolled up but they DID...I am assured this is an authentic anti tear stealing dance

Not entirely sure why the trousers had to be rolled up but they DID…I am assured this is an authentic anti tear stealing dance

 

As you can see there are some serious moves going on here...you would be surprised how active you have to get to stop those gypsy's stealing your tears!

As you can see there are some serious moves going on here…you would be surprised how active you have to get to stop those gypsy’s stealing your tears!

Nature is telling me that we are going to have an early spring. I am telling nature that she is a bollocks and that she should surely be enjoying a nice, long, extended and most glorious sleep in for a bit longer. I am willing to deliver a cup of tea to her sleeping countenance just so that she doesn’t keep the fruit trees flowering, the jonquils and daffodils following suit and everything budding up. I am not completely averse to “spring” per-se, don’t get me wrong. I love little lambies frolicking as much as anyone else BUT I am not ready for spring. I haven’t even allowed my (poor addled) mind to think about it yet because spring heralds getting outside, getting physical, getting seeds started, getting Sanctuary up and running and ready to take the baton of vegetable growing that narf7 has lost someplace (probably under the bed hidden in that poor long suffering moth eaten sock!). I am just NOT READY YET alright?!

SPRING?!

SPRING?!

 

Bezial is happy about the new sunbeams gracing his deck

Bezial is happy about the new sunbeams gracing his deck

 

This is Honesty a perennial plant with the botanical name Lunaria annua.

This is Honesty a perennial plant with the botanical name Lunaria annua.

 

And THIS is honesty. Not a lot botanically going on but plenty of nasturtiums and lots of hard work needed...EEK

And THIS is honesty. Not a lot botanically going on but plenty of nasturtiums and lots of hard work needed…EEK

 

This is why I haven't done a lot over winter...I couldn't stop the possums from invading Poland :(. I have found a solution. Stay tuned for narf doing a happy dance twice as energetic as Stevie-boys (and documented) if it works :)

This is why I haven’t done a lot over winter…I couldn’t stop the possums from invading Poland :(. I have found a solution. Stay tuned for narf doing a happy dance twice as energetic as Stevie-boys (and documented) if it works :)

Besides my lack of readiness nature needs to know that the beginning of August simply isn’t spring. If we allow her to keep nibbling away at our months here and insinuating seasons willy-nilly we are going to end up with some mighty strange things going on. I know that people living in the tropics live with these mighty weird seasonal things…winter being summer and summer being HELLO torrential rain etc. is all well and good if you live in the tropics because you CHOOSE that kind of situation but I chose cold…and frost…and LONG winters and short summers (short as possible if the truth be known) and now nature is nibbling her way into my precious winter? There is NO justice! And there is no stopping mother nature when she has made up her mind. She is exactly like MY mother was…stubborn as a mule and not to be stopped…good luck…she is going to do what she wants to do and be DAMNED if “you” are going to stop her…sigh…hello spring. I am not all that happy about you strewing your bouquets and budding up my blueberries because said blueberries are knee deep in horse manure and are just about to go gangbusters in what can only be considered a most temporary housing arrangement that heralds a HUGE amount of hard slog for one narf7 of Serendipity “Farm”…

The red growth on these blueberries means that they love their new home up to their crowns in dung

The red growth on these blueberries means that they love their new home up to their crowns in dung

 

Another sign that spring is here...the grape vines are budding up. I will plant these cuttings out this year inside Sanctuary

Another sign that spring is here…the grape vines are budding up. I will plant these cuttings out this year inside Sanctuary

I have been walking Earl at 6am lately and it’s been very cold and frosty and dark. This morning we had a lovely almost full moon accompanying us most of the way. I wrote a little poem in my head about our new early morning friend…

The moon followed us today

A big golden puppy with old man eyes

It stayed behind the eucalyptus tree fence

We walked in silent contemplation

Until the sun threw a stick and it ran away

 

I am not often drawn into the unfathomable world of poetry but it was the only way that I could remember this amazing moon and how beautiful it was. Earl and I crunched our way down the road in the frost enjoying the beautiful sight.

This was taken when the sun came up. 2 new goats in Sidmouth that Earl was MOST interested in having a little chat to...

This was taken when the sun came up. 2 new goats in Sidmouth that Earl was MOST interested in having a little chat to…

 

Fungus and blackberries. Throw in forget-me-nots and periwinkle and you have the story of Serendipity Farm's life...

Fungus and blackberries. Throw in forget-me-nots and periwinkle and you have the story of Serendipity Farm’s life…

 

Big Yin (the last rooster... I am sure there is a movie title in that...) and his constant companion Duckie basking in the sun

Big Yin (the last rooster… I am sure there is a movie title in that…) and his constant companion Duckie basking in the sun

I just finished the unit on Sustainability! I haven’t been so glad to see the back of something since I last had to go to the doctors for one of those “women’s visits”. SO glad to say bid adieu to what was effectively a great big pile of green wash and bampf cemented together with torture and narf headaches.  Now we can focus on getting our next unit up and running. It’s good to be on track and the year is galloping away at a fast rate of knots so it’s really important to keep on top of things. I phoned up this morning to put an expression of interest in on our next prospective study course next year. Hopefully we get into the course, if not, I am sure that Mr Abbot has something tucked up his sleeve for penniless student hippies without the “student” shield to protect them :(

This was taken of the deck after the big blow that took out our phone line. Phone is back, sun is out, leaves are still there ;)

This was taken of the deck after the big blow that took out our phone line. Phone is back, sun is out, leaves are still there ;)

 

We get to see all of the boats pootling up and down the Tamar River. This is one of the tugs based at Beauty Point after towing a bigger boat in to the city

We get to see all of the boats pootling up and down the Tamar River. This is one of the tugs based at Beauty Point after towing a bigger boat in to the city

 

This isn't a fizhog of a photo, it's a palm leaf looking like the letter "b". Our next assignment involves us finding letters in nature. This was a lucky break and nice and close to the house ;)

This isn’t a fizhog of a photo, it’s a palm leaf looking like the letter “b”. Our next assignment involves us finding letters in nature. This was a lucky break and nice and close to the house ;)

Its Wednesday and you can strike the unhappiness at the rapid approach of spring…I have learned that if you can’t beat them, join them and so I have decided to embrace spring and all things daffodilly and jonquilly and growing like crazy (except the forget-me-nots…can’t embrace them…) so here I am after heading up to Sanctuary with the boys and releasing the hounds on its unsuspecting population of plants that have not only weathered but survived most admirably, the storm, frost and anything else that our unseasonably mild winter threw at them. Most of the area is covered in nasturtiums but I figure at least the soil has cover so let them grow. I noticed that dad’s yellow orchid is going great guns and has decided to flower most profusely in the next week or so (not now so I can’t get a photo but whatchagonnadoeh? Maybe next week…if I remember ;) ).

Happy chooks basking under the deck with no worries about being molested or herded by errant roosters

Happy chooks basking under the deck with no worries about being molested or herded by errant roosters

 

Check out the lean on this old dead tree. That pile of spent chook hay is to soften the blow when it falls. That's my story and I am sticking to it ;)

Check out the lean on this old dead tree. That pile of spent chook hay is to soften the blow when it falls. That’s my story and I am sticking to it ;)

 

I have all of four photos for today’s post and it’s already twelve o’clock and not only am I devoid of images but I have already roamed the property today with the dogs. I found out that a large Blackwood tree has fallen over but due to its extremely bowed trunk, it is still in the ground albeit in a newly formed hump with a few roots sticking out. I would leave it there aside from the fact that it fell down straight in the middle of my arbutus tree :( bollocks! I was wandering (who am I kidding…I was being dragged mercilessly behind a small determined brown and white tank!) through the jungle part of the garden and started to get the old familiar excitement that rises up whenever possibilities are afoot. I got it inside Sanctuary as well. I started to make plans for passion-fruit vine purchases, for hauling duckies boat into Sanctuary and using it as a raised bed for herbs and strawberries, for keyhole gardens and pathways around the outside to prevent determined wallabies and chooks from barreling into the sides of Sanctuary and reaching their “prey” easily…my motto is if they are going to steal it, I am going to make them work very hard to do so!

Some of the cuttings I took last year that have thrived despite being completely neglected. PERFECT for planting out on Serendipity Farm where the neglect runs like a river ;)

Some of the cuttings I took last year that have thrived despite being completely neglected. PERFECT for planting out on Serendipity Farm where the neglect runs like Usain Bolt on steroids ;)

 

More neglected plants. This time they are rewarding us for their neglect by flowering. I love orchids. They want so little and give so much :)

More neglected plants. This time they are rewarding us for their neglect by flowering. I love orchids. They want so little and give so much :)

Luckily I prepared a bit of this blog post earlier. I am at a bit of a loss for what to do today as I NEED to do some work on the gift that I am preparing for my eldest daughter Madeline in the near future or it simply isn’t going to happen. It is going to take lots of time and planning and I have done most of the planning but now I need to put in the time. My studies have had me glued to the computer but I have made a most determined push to the front and now I find myself with time on my hands and that means that I can get stuck into “the gift” as it shall be called right up to the time that I can reveal what it is/was after December 25th. I am guessing it will be the predominate part of my post come boxing day as I just checked and Christmas is on a Tuesday. I like to find out little snippets of information about Christmas…little bits that I cobble together in a sequence so that I don’t have to be terrified in one fell swoop.  Are you terrified of Christmas? Join the club! A bit closer to Christmas and I will be under the bed with a tub of good vegan ice cream (yes…there is such a thing ;) ) but at the moment I am deluding myself that it isn’t approaching at a rampaging gallop and that it is STILL winter and narf7 is just about to toast her hands by Brunhilda who hasn’t been out since late April. What a stellar performance you wonderful (SO much more than a) wood-stove :)

Nature reclaiming the lawn. This is a small blackwood tree growing in the side lawn. Right next to it there is another one. If we leave them there, they will grow quickly and the lawn will cease to be

Nature reclaiming the lawn. This is a small blackwood tree growing in the side lawn. Right next to it there is another one. If we leave them there, they will grow quickly and the lawn will cease to be

 

My danglers. I made all of these Ms Pauline :)

My danglers. I made all of these Ms Pauline :)

 

Our summer oven, our gas bbq. As you can see it also acts as a winter repository for boots

Our summer oven, our gas bbq. As you can see it also acts as a winter repository for boots. If you squint you can see a narf in the window

So here I am at the end again…I don’t even remember the beginning as I started it last week. I remember the poem and was of two minds to not put it in but I figure it is good for you all to see that I am multi-faceted, pretty amazing really…you are very lucky to be reading this blog you know ;). I hope that wherever you are your world is treating you well and that you can find something, even a teeny tiny something, each and every day to be thankful for because like Mr Simon Townsend used to say “The world really IS wonderful” :)

 

You didn't think we could go a week without Earl being in the post did you? Here he is for all of his loyal fans and he would like to say that he would send you all an email but for his lack of opposable thumbs. You will have to content yourself with adoring him from afar ;)

You didn’t think we could go a week without Earl being in the post did you? Here he is for all of his loyal fans and he would like to say that he would send you all an email but for his lack of opposable thumbs. You will have to content yourself with adoring him from afar ;)

 

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