Wednesday wanderer

Hi All,

Guess who was spoiled last Friday night and who got ferried in style into the city to go and see my favourite comedian Mr Bill Bailey? “ME!” that’s who :). Stewart and Kelsey bought me tickets way back when it was my birthday for last Friday’s concert and the big day finally arrived. We had a lovely Japanese meal and wandered around the city for a while till it was time to head over to the theatre and be seated. We were very close to the front and the concert, although it was the very last one in this current tour, was hilarious and thought provoking in a most musically intelligent way. As one of Mr Baileys very closest friends on Facebook (along with about 130 000 others…) he shared some photos of his exploration of our little state of Tasmania over the weekend and it looks like he had a really excellent and enjoyable stay before jetting back home to old Blighty where the temperatures will no doubt be several degrees colder than when he headed off at the start of his tour. Thank you Mr Bailey, your thoughtful, clever and most insightful humour always broadsides me and I am in your debt and Stewart and Kelsey’s, for allowing me to sit in on a couple of hours of pure magic genius.

I really liked this meme when I saw it recently and decided to share it with you all. Douglas Adams insights 101

I really liked this meme when I saw it recently and decided to share it with you all. Douglas Adams insights 101

The guttering shamed us this week...

The guttering shamed us this week…

Stevie-boy helping Kym (hopefully) to find a way to put an image header in her blog

Stevie-boy helping Kym (hopefully) to find a way to put an image header in her blog

Stevie-boy and I have been working like Trojans in order to get as much as we can done around here before the temperatures start to soar and no-one wants to set foot outside. We planted out our new little kefir lime tree which will provide us with fragrant and most authentic delicious Asian flavours in our curries and stir fries for many years to come. I am looking into buying some lemongrass seed if I can’t source some lemongrass locally as I think it would do well here on Serendipity Farm. We also planted out two thornless youngberries and a thornless loganberry that we picked up at Bunnings (Australia’s answer to hardware heaven) and they are now safely ensconced in the ground with trellises constructed of star pickets and plastic coated wire clothes line that we had left over from our fencing job.

2 pots of thornless youngberries, a pot of thornless loganberries and a kaffir lime tree to be planted out

2 pots of thornless youngberries, a pot of thornless loganberries and a kaffir lime tree to be planted out

Everything is growing well in the ideal growing conditions that Sanctuary has thanks to all of that netting that acts as shade cloth

Everything is growing well in the ideal growing conditions that Sanctuary has thanks to all of that netting that acts as shade cloth

Earl was allowed to visit Sanctuary as he has been extra especially good lately

Earl was allowed to visit Sanctuary as he has been extra especially good lately

Earl, still being extra especially good. He was so good he got to walk down to the driveway from the house off leash!

Earl, still being extra especially good. He was so good he got to walk down to the driveway from the house off leash!

We then hammered an old blue pipeline bunk bed base in between two of the garden beds to act as a climbing frame for our adventurous scarlet runner beans that are growing for their third year in a row. This year they will be able to grow vertically and should do better than the previous two years where they had to scrabble along the ground, up the odd pole and contend with being choked out by pumpkins. Steve removed the last of the logs that were in the way of the car and trailer being driven up to the shed that backs onto Sanctuary where we shamelessly hoard all kinds of wood, star pickets and “stuff” that could possibly be used in the garden. You could be forgiven for thinking that we were hillbillies just by taking a surreptitious glance into this shed. The mess is going to be short lived though as we have plans to turn this shed into a potting shed and storage shed in association with Sanctuary where we can store tools etc. to free up Stevie-boys shed.

The big white water container has made it up to the shed next to Sanctuary! That's one step closer to being installed. Note the state of the (hoarding) shed ;)

The big white water container has made it up to the shed next to Sanctuary! That’s one step closer to being installed. Note the state of the (hoarding) shed ;)

The boysenberries trellis and some of the grass we "imported" into Sanctuary. May as well do double duty till we turn it into another compost heap

The boysenberries trellis and some of the grass we “imported” into Sanctuary. May as well do double duty till we turn it into another compost heap

One side of the young-berry trellis with one of the young-berries planted out

One side of the young-berry trellis with one of the young-berries planted out

Talking about Stevie-boys shed, we cleaned it out…not just a rudimentary clean, a real proper one that involved hauling out bags and boxes and going through everything and seeing if it still had any place on Serendipity Farm. A few hours later and Stevie-boy has a whole lot more room in his shed and a whole lot less garbage.

 

"The heap" of grass clippings futures, thanks to Glad and Wendy next door :)

“The heap” of grass clippings futures, thanks to Glad and Wendy next door :)

One happy scarlet runner with something to hang onto this year. Fingers crossed for a good bean harvest :)

One happy scarlet runner with something to hang onto this year. Fingers crossed for a good bean harvest :)

The little kaffir lime in it's new forever home

The little kaffir lime in it’s new forever home

Some ornamental grape cuttings that fell off a shed that we were passing the other day on our morning dog walk...

Some ornamental grape cuttings that fell off a shed that we were passing the other day on our morning dog walk…

On the left is a thornless blackberry cutting that has been studiously examined for thorns before it got potted up and on the right are some thorny young-berries that if they grow are going to grace the fence to teach the possums a lesson ;)

On the left is a thornless blackberry cutting that has been studiously examined for thorns before it got potted up and on the right are some thorny young-berries that if they grow are going to grace the fence to teach the possums a lesson ;)

 

We drove the large trailer load of grass clippings that Glad wanted us to take from her back block and dumped it inside Sanctuary where it is going to be wheelbarrowed up to join a whole lot of trailer loads of oak leaves and manure and anything else we can get to throw into the mix. We started to think about how difficult it was going to be to wheelbarrow heavy manure and damp oak leaves up the steep incline in Sanctuary and Stevie-boy had a moment of pure genius and decided that we were going to forge a path past the side of Sanctuary and up to the rear of the garden in order to wheelbarrow the manure and oak leaves down into Sanctuary rather than uphill. I like that idea!

I forgot to take "before" photos but this is after we whipper snipped the first part of the new driveway for the car to deliver us to the rear of Sanctuary..."SQUEE!" :)

I forgot to take “before” photos but this is after we whipper snipped the first part of the new driveway for the car to deliver us to the rear of Sanctuary…”SQUEE!” :)

Stevie-boy giving you a bit of perspective as to how wide Sanctuary is and how little room we have between Sanctuary and that tree that fell down

Stevie-boy giving you a bit of perspective as to how wide Sanctuary is and how little room we have between Sanctuary and that tree that fell down

Nasturtiums that have escaped from Sanctuary :)

Nasturtiums that have escaped from Sanctuary :)

I say “Pure genius” but now that we have done it I have renamed it “Pure madness”. We took our whipper snippers and we headed up. Stevie-boy also took one of his chainsaws with an old chain and an old bar because he was going to commit a cardinal sin…he was going to hack away at the base of some old tree stumps that had been left in the ground and that were in the way. 2 hours later and a whole lot of hacking, sawing, (swearing), and stubborn pigheadedness, we managed between us to hammer and block split the rocks and stumps that were in the way and level out a big dip that may have been our undoing. Thank goodness that we had the foresight to buy a little 4 x 4 when we had the chance. There is no WAY that we could have lived out here without her.

This was once 3 large tree stumps and a pile of large rocks that Stevie-boy and I refused to submit to! Never let the fact that you are middle aged stop you...stubborn angst will take you a whole lot of a distance when common sense would tell you to stop ;)

This was once 3 large tree stumps and a pile of large rocks that Stevie-boy and I refused to submit to! Never let the fact that you are middle aged stop you…stubborn angst will take you a whole lot of a distance when common sense would tell you to stop ;)

The little orange and black thing in the background is an old ride on lawnmower we inherited along with Serendipity Farm. Note the size of the fallen tree and the hole in the ground that we filled with rocks that we levered out from among the tree stumps

The little orange and black thing in the background is an old ride on lawnmower we inherited along with Serendipity Farm. Note the size of the fallen tree and the hole in the ground that we filled with rocks that we levered out from among the tree stumps

Stevie-boy standing at the gate between the back block and the middle block and wondering whether we could call The Examiner and say this was a crop circle... ;)

Stevie-boy standing at the gate between the back block and the middle block and wondering whether we could call The Examiner and say this was a crop circle… ;)

Looking back towards Glad's place next door. That blue tarp is covering some more oak leaves that need to be moved into Sanctuary when we make a way in

Looking back towards Glad’s place next door. That blue tarp is covering some more oak leaves that need to be moved into Sanctuary when we make a way in

This is how tenacious Jerusalem artichokes are. I planted a few in here last year and thought that I had dug them all up (and replanted them inside Sanctuary) but obviously I missed a few! The start of what is going to be many stands of Jerusalem artichokes all over Serendipity Farm :)

This is how tenacious Jerusalem artichokes are. I planted a few in here last year and thought that I had dug them all up (and replanted them inside Sanctuary) but obviously I missed a few! The start of what is going to be many stands of Jerusalem artichokes all over Serendipity Farm :)

Stevie-boy (skiving off) inspecting the back netting of Sanctuary to work out where to put a nice new entry point

Stevie-boy (skiving off) inspecting the back netting of Sanctuary to work out where to put a nice new entry point

More perspective to show how steep our block is

More perspective to show how steep our block is

So we were hacking and twitching and stubbornly refusing to give in when suddenly we realised that we had done enough to get the car over…”SQUEE!” We made a swift exit back to the house to hurl the dogs into the car and we tentatively headed up to test out our new drive through. It worked! Aside from a bit of scraping up the side of the car (to join all of the other scraping up the side of the car…) from some branches of the tree that fell down in the last lot of storms and that we just haven’t gotten around to cutting up yet, our driveway worked amazingly well and Steve not only drove up, but he turned around and then drove back down again.

I planted these "brown Egyptian beans" and they look suspiciously like broad beans to me! ;)

I planted these “brown Egyptian beans” and they look suspiciously like broad beans to me! ;)

Look at how crazy the Jerusalem artichokes are going!

Look at how crazy the Jerusalem artichokes are going!

I was so happy to see this, another red clover as my old one that I dug up from the roadside got smothered by the pumpkins last year :)

I was so happy to see this, another red clover as my old one that I dug up from the roadside got smothered by the pumpkins last year :)

These nasturtiums are specifically for Linne who loves them. I saved these from the furious whipper snipper of Stevie-boy so that you can see them in my future blog posts Linne :)

These nasturtiums are specifically for Linne who loves them. I saved these from the furious whipper snipper of Stevie-boy so that you can see them in my future blog posts Linne :)

We had to drive to Exeter to pick up some tap fittings so that we can transfer a tap from the fence (don’t ask) over to Sanctuary where I can use it to set up an irrigation system and to be used with a hose for hand watering. While we were there we took advantage of the warm day, the fact that we had worked very hard and the desire that had just flooded Stevie-boy to pick up a couple of bottles of ice cold beer. Ice cold beer has never tasted so good as when you drink it after you work hard and you are hot and tired. We were still hot and tired when we got home courtesy of our two furry tanks who managed to give us dog eyes and wangle an extra walk out of us.

Walking down from the rear of Sanctuary and past the garden I can't help but notice how many roses have managed to grow this year thanks to the close proximity of Earl in their immediate vicinity. He is officially a hero of the roses :)

Walking down from the rear of Sanctuary and past the garden I can’t help but notice how many roses have managed to grow this year thanks to the close proximity of Earl in their immediate vicinity. He is officially a hero of the roses :)

This time last year this rose was a series of sticks with no leaves. This year it is lovely. Cheers Earl :)

This time last year this rose was a series of sticks with no leaves. This year it is lovely. Cheers Earl :)

"Peek-a-boo Foxglove!"

“Peek-a-boo Foxglove!”

The side garden is no longer predated by wallabies on their way through as they are scared of being so close to Earl the avenger and refuse to go near the fence. Earl is earning himself a medal :)

The side garden is no longer predated by wallabies on their way through as they are scared of being so close to Earl the avenger and refuse to go near the fence. Earl is earning himself a medal :)

More roses and this stand of orange crocosmia has never looked this lush. Usually it has been scoffed back down to nubs but citizen Earl is on the case "Now wullibeez weel eed mai plandz!" however there is nothing that he can do to stop the chooks from nesting in the middle of it (I found their nest ;) )

More roses and this stand of orange crocosmia has never looked this lush. Usually it has been scoffed back down to nubs but citizen Earl is on the case “Now wullibeez weel eed mai plandz!” however there is nothing that he can do to stop the chooks from nesting in the middle of it (I found their nest ;) )

And so here we are…I am still working feverishly on my Christmas gift for my eldest daughter Madeline. I have less than a month to get it finished but I am quite sure it is possible. It has been hard work and I have had to completely learn how to do something from scratch so if you are reading this Madeline, I really REALLY hope you appreciate my efforts and even if what I produce might be a little wonky, or a little “rustic” I am hoping that you are able to keep your laughter in check just long enough till we head off in the car ;). I won’t even talk about Stevie-boys effort that is AMAZING and that is sure to garner him the $50 prize booze voucher for what he has created for our youngest daughter Bethany. You can all be sure that I will share lots of photos of what we made in my December 17th blog post (we are giving the gifts on the 14th).

A pot of mint and bergamot that I pulled some out of when I found them growing in a pathway. They appear to like living in a pot in Sanctuary better than living on a pathway :)

A pot of mint and bee balm that I pulled some out of when I found them growing in a pathway. They appear to like living in a pot in Sanctuary better than living on a pathway :)

Isn't this lovely? I never even knew this rose existed but it is now inside the safety zone of Earl's kingdom and is saying thank you in the most beautiful way (hopefully Earl doesn't pee on it! ;) )

Isn’t this lovely? I never even knew this rose existed but it is now inside the safety zone of Earl’s kingdom and is saying thank you in the most beautiful way (hopefully Earl doesn’t pee on it! ;) )

Stevie-boy gets beer, I get juice a perfect way to finish a long hard day :)

Stevie-boy gets beer, I get juice a perfect way to finish a long hard day :)

I might just finish there for this week folks. My fingers are a bit sore from “flummoxing” the heck out of some serious stumps and hurling rocks into a gaping cavernous hole, the result of the tree falling over and inconsiderately taking its roots with it. I think I might just head out onto the deck with a nice mug of tea in my nice new mug courtesy of one of my lovely blogging friends who knows what makes a narf tick :). Have a fantastic week everyone. Some of you are almost up to your armpits in snow, some of you are living the life in tropical climes and some of you are wondering just how fast weeds can grow and why we can never seem to keep up with them here in the Southern hemisphere in our rapidly receding spring. Whatever you are doing and wherever you are have a magic week :)

My wonderful, splendorous, spanky new great big mug that is officially my new mug of choice :)

My wonderful, splendorous, spanky new great big mug that is officially my new mug of choice :)

 

Antisocial narf

Hi All,

You may have noticed, if you are a regular visitor to The Road to Serendipity, that my last few posts have been a lot more image intensive than wordy. My usual mantra is to wordbomb the heck out of you all but lately the words are a whole lot more sparse. In saying that, there are still more words in the image captions than most people put in an average post but whatchagonnadoeh?

In homage to remembrance...

In homage to remembrance…

Narf is on strike. Yes, not my muses, who are busting at the bit to get out there and garbling, just narf, the mouthpiece who has decided that words are not going to be predominate in her mantra for a little while. I think I caught spring fever folks. I think I suddenly felt extremely overwhelmed by everything that was going on in the world, in my life in the peripherals of “everything” and decided to hunker down and go back to basics and get off the PC and out into the garden where dirt (yes DIRT you “soil” purists! ;) ) was everpresent and rapidly turning to dry dust.

Breakfast for 2

Breakfast for 2

Well, a cuppa each and a bowl of brown rice porridge for moi

Well, a cuppa each and a bowl of brown rice porridge for moi

There is SO much to do out there. Stevie-boy was able to get a bit of gainful employment last year and that left me working double time researching for two and hurling myself into studies where we would both usually be out in the garden for a good part of the week. There was no time to tame the blackberries that now think they rule the roost at Serendipity Farm in the jungle at the front of our house and I am ever reminded of their twisty and thorny grasp whenever I sit on the deck in the morning contemplating the river and my navel with a big mug of tea. I am itching to get down and into them and teach them a narfish lesson but there is SO much more to do that is even more pressing than the blackberries…

 

In the same family but nice well behaved tame thornless youngberries and loganberries soon to be planted and welcomed into the Serendipity Farm menagerie :)

In the same family as blackberries but nice well behaved tame thornless youngberries and loganberries soon to be planted and welcomed into the Serendipity Farm menagerie :)

Transplanted raspberries from where we shoved them in the horse manure next to the blueberries back when they were bare canes. They can grow happily in this nice big compost heap full of tasty things for happy raspberries

Transplanted raspberries from where we shoved them in the horse manure next to the blueberries back when they were bare canes. They can grow happily in this nice big compost heap full of tasty things for happy raspberries

Raspberry futures with a backdrop of Sanctuary

Raspberry futures with a backdrop of Sanctuary

We are working in the veggie garden that I call Sanctuary. Jess, the wonderful and most passionate little rabid hippy from rabbidlittlehippy  fame who has been an inspiration and amazingly good friend to me for a long time now suggested that name for what has become the main focus of my last few weeks and my own passion. Working in the soil (back to the correct vernacular ;) ) with my bare hands has left them filthy but me feeling a lot more complete than I have in ages. I have not watched any news reports, surfed much online or been a slave to the PC. I have not studied, aside from completing our very last assignment in sustainability which we did as soon as we got it, and I have been throwing myself into planning AND doing things in our garden.

Not berries but still food futures. My rhubarb baby from Gordon down the road and Jerusalem artichokes happily growing in a nice big pile of spent horse manure

Not berries but still food futures. My rhubarb baby from Gordon down the road and Jerusalem artichokes happily growing in a nice big pile of spent horse manure

One of the other compost heaps where I bury my bucketloads of kitchen scraps. Looks like some of those delicious orange pumpkins Stevie-boy has been buying me lately have decided to grow...one of the wonderful benefits of cycles :)

One of the other compost heaps where I bury my bucketloads of kitchen scraps. Looks like some of those delicious orange pumpkins Stevie-boy has been buying me lately have decided to grow…one of the wonderful benefits of cycles :)

An old compost heap full of vegetables growing from the debris

An old compost heap full of vegetables growing from the debris

zucchini futures

zucchini futures

 

We recently completed a large fence to allow our dogs to roam free out in the back yard that encompasses a small much possum and wallaby mangled orchard that Earl now patrols at all hours of the day and night. He is incredibly devoted to “his” plants and shrubs and aside from peeing on each and every one of them every day (so much so that we have had to put tyres around our little fig forest to stop them from succumbing from acid wee…) he sleeps upside down on our bed with one ear cocked in order to hear the furry avengers so that he can barrel out the dog door and teach them a lesson in just how fast an Earl can run and just how serious he is about this being “MY” patch now.

Potato flowers

Potato flowers

My Lazarus artichoke that just keeps on keeping on despite being murdered 2 weeks ago. Zombiechoke?

My Lazarus artichoke that just keeps on keeping on despite being murdered 2 weeks ago. Zombiechoke? Note it didn’t have those 2 chokes on it when it was snapped off by the possums.

I found this little misshapen flat hearty stone the other day on my early morning walk with Earl. I thought that it was a very fitting homage to real love which is often misshapen and outside the "normal" parameters, found in odd places and what you make of it. I also thought that it was fitting that this "real love" be represented inside a coffee cup ring because unlike Hollywood love, real love is just as soul satisfying as coffee and tea :)

I found this little misshapen flat hearty stone the other day on my early morning walk with Earl. I thought that it was a very fitting homage to real love which is often misshapen and outside the “normal” parameters, found in odd places and what you make of it. I also thought that it was fitting that this “real love” be represented inside a coffee cup ring because unlike Hollywood love, real love is just as soul satisfying as coffee and tea :)

In enclosing the yard we have inadvertently managed to get a bit of orchard protection going on and we have been planting out new trees and shrubs. We rescued our Lazarus almond that had been presumed dead when we moved to Serendipity Farm back in 2010 and in 2011 we wanted the pot that it was in so I told my daughter to tip out the almond onto their compost pile and save the pot for us. She phoned me up and said “do you want that almond tree?” I said “nope…it’s dead” and she said “well, for something that is dead, it has a lot of leaves!” That almond had not had a leaf in a year and a half!

Stevie-boy cut me these tree ring stepping stones... why do I need stepping stones? Well...

Stevie-boy cut me these tree ring stepping stones… why do I need stepping stones? Well…

Narf's little legs are not up to spanning 3 metres so I decided to use stepping stones in order to let me reach the bits I couldn't usually reach where the weeds flourished, nothing got planted or harvested. Now all of the garden is mine!

Narf’s little legs are not up to spanning 3 metres so I decided to use stepping stones in order to let me reach the bits I couldn’t usually reach where the weeds flourished, nothing got planted or harvested. Now all of the garden is mine!

We planted it out in the lower garden but it was only struggling along and we decided that it deserved better so we transplanted it into the new enclosed area where it has perked up and will get regularly watered. If it survives it certainly deserves to live out it’s days, nuts or not, on Serendipity Farm as a miracle tree. I was lucky enough to get 6 rooted cuttings from a poor long suffering, overgrown with weeds,  fig tree at a local primary school that we sometimes walk the dogs on the oval and all 6 fig cuttings were very long (one of them was almost 5ft tall) but all survived. We planted out the first 4 last year and we just added the second 2 that are looking happy as well. I grew loquats from seed and just planted out 3 loquats last week. Everything is looking happy but more importantly, they are all out of pots and in the ground where their real growth can start happening.

There was a spray bottle of milk and water in that wheelbarrow (I don't know if you noticed) to treat the powdery mildew on this little quince tree seen here dripping with milky droplets much to the (sodden) ants disgust

There was a spray bottle of milk and water in that wheelbarrow (I don’t know if you noticed) to treat the powdery mildew on this little quince tree seen here dripping with milky droplets much to the (sodden) ants disgust

Stevie-boy has been busy shopping up logs and splitting them into fire sized chunks thanks to our friends kind use of their log splitter. I moved that entire first pile of lots in under an hour yesterday. Now we can drive the trailer through to reach Sanctuary which means lots of grass clippings and oak leaves and manure are just about to migrate inside :)

Stevie-boy has been busy chopping up logs and splitting them into fire sized chunks thanks to our friends kind use of their log splitter. I moved that entire first pile of lots in under an hour yesterday. Now we can drive the trailer through to reach Sanctuary which means lots of grass clippings and oak leaves and manure are just about to migrate inside :)

Stevie-boy and I lugged our ducks ex boat pond in to Sanctuary as well as the old fridge that I have plans to turn into a worm farm with a cooling pond on the other side for happy worms in summer. Soon I will have to prick out my veggie seedlings and repot them to be planted into the main garden area. I planted out 5 red currant bushes that I had grown from cuttings taken from shrubs that were on campus at the TasTAFE horticulture site back in 2009. They all grew and it was about time that I planted them into the ground. We also planted out 7 muscat grapes that will one day give us eating, wine and raisin pleasure.

A bit of an idea how steep Serendipity Farm is, here you see Bezials paddling pond propped up against a tree because it's the only vaguely level bit of ground available as well as the figs we planted and some of the existing fruit trees

A bit of an idea how steep Serendipity Farm is, here you see Bezials paddling pond propped up against a tree because it’s the only vaguely level bit of ground available as well as the figs we planted and some of the existing fruit trees

Taken just outside Sanctuary's door. The oak tree grew from oak leaf mould used as mulch around this lovely rhododendron. Now they cohabit this garden bed quite beautifully :)

Taken just outside Sanctuary’s door. The oak tree grew from oak leaf mould used as mulch around this lovely rhododendron. Now they cohabit this garden bed quite beautifully :)

I spotted this lovely Iris on the walk from the house to Sanctuary (the front way) and thought you might like to see it. If you want plants that are seriously bullet proof but that have lovely flowers, irises are your baby. My friend just threw a wheelbarrow of them on the ground and forgot about them and they all grew and are flowering en mass. Lubbly jubbly :)

I spotted this lovely Iris on the walk from the house to Sanctuary (the front way) and thought you might like to see it. If you want plants that are seriously bullet proof but that have lovely flowers, irises are your baby. My friend just threw a wheelbarrow of them on the ground and forgot about them and they all grew and are flowering en mass. Lubbly jubbly :)

I am about to buy a few thornless berries to plant inside Sanctuary and there are kiwi berries, some kiwifruit and passionfruit on the cards to join them. I checked my turmeric pots and they are full of turmeric roots that I am going to plant out into a protected and sheltered garden bed inside Sanctuary with my 2 sad cardamom plants that have been languishing in pots since I bought them in 2010. I want everything to get its feet into the soil and at least have a chance to grow. We have lots of nut trees but they pose more of a problem because most nut trees have the propensity to be HUGE. I grew walnuts and chestnuts and hazelnuts from seed. A very easy thing to do and Jessie tells me it is easy to grow almonds from shelled nuts bought from the supermarket. I know you can grow peanuts from unroasted peanuts but most of us don’t think to try growing them. I planted out a few beans from dried beans that I had in my pantry and so far, I have had good success with some small brown Lebanese beans but the rest of the beans were eaten by voracious snails (that ducky can’t get to as she is now unable to enter the garden thanks to netting and Earl).

 

What is left of our potted babies that all need planting out. At least now they form a nice small easy to water clump

What is left of our potted babies that all need planting out. At least now they form a nice small easy to water clump

Steve spotted this tug pulling something huge down the river about an hour ago...

Steve spotted this tug pulling something huge down the river about an hour ago…

That's a mighty big barge! Another one came down the river about an hour later. Not sure what they are but "Barge" is a certainty ;)

That’s a mighty big barge! Another one came down the river about an hour later. Not sure what they are but “Barge” is a certainty ;)

THIS is why we hate forget-me-nots :( We had to venture down into the tea tree garden where the forget-me-nots rule and we both emerged covered in the sticky little buggers :(

THIS is why we hate forget-me-nots :( We had to venture down into the tea tree garden where the forget-me-nots rule and we both emerged covered in the sticky little buggers :(

Looky what narf found on the side of the highway when I walked Earl the other day. The old saying "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need"... is most pertinent. We needed some glass for the glasshouse roof that a fat possum dropped through a little while ago and this bit of 99.9% block out UV laser-light is going to be just the ticket to fix the problem :)

Looky what narf found on the side of the highway when I walked Earl the other day. The old saying “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need”… is most pertinent. We needed some glass for the glasshouse roof that a fat possum dropped through a little while ago and this bit of 99.9% block out UV laser-light is going to be just the ticket to fix the problem :)

A sunshiny shot of Sanctuary after Stevie-boy had whipper snipped and everything was looking hunky dory :)

A sunshiny shot of Sanctuary after Stevie-boy had whipper snipped and everything was looking hunky dory :)

Life is busy but very rewarding at the moment. I still don’t want to be “wordy” because that would mean I would have to stop being “action-y” and that’s where the real results are at the moment on Serendipity Farm. There are plans to haul materials that we have been storing in the city back to Serendipity Farm to make a long planned and anticipated wood fired pizza oven along with plans to turn a beer keg into a rocket stove. Stevie-boy is logging the remains of our last years fire logs so that we can get a trailer up to Sanctuary and deposit 3 huge trailer loads of drying grass clippings that Glad’s gardener generated next door and that will make a most welcome nitrogenous ingredient to my ever expanding need for compost. If I make the soil myself using compost, I don’t have to buy it in. Penniless student hippies have to think harder and pay less in order to get what they want. It often takes a lot more time BUT you learn so much in the process it is much more valuable than just handing over a credit card and waiting for the (expensive) delivery.

I decided to make savoury kasha for lunch yesterday and toasted some buckwheat groats and onion, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum and vegan chicken seasoning together in a big pan

I decided to make savoury kasha for lunch yesterday and toasted some buckwheat groats and onion, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum and vegan chicken seasoning together in a big pan

After pouring water in and bringing it to the boil I let it simmer till the water evaporated down to level with the buckwheat and put the lid on and turned off the pot. 10 minutes later I had delicious hot savoury buckwheat which was well worth the effort :)

After pouring water in and bringing it to the boil I let it simmer till the water evaporated down to level with the buckwheat and put the lid on and turned off the pot. 10 minutes later I had delicious hot savoury buckwheat which was well worth the effort :)

Aside from grass clippings there is a mountain of oak leaves below our deck with an equally huge mountain of old horse manure in which we put some raspberries that our friend Jenny gave us that we never got around to moving and they are now growing like crazy in the horse manure in front of the deck. The blueberries that Stevie-boy had to haul from our American friend Michael’s home who is relocating, were dumped in this same manure and are now covered in blueberries so they get to stay put for this growing season at least. We are going to shore up the sides of the berries and prevent the wallabies, possums and especially the blackbirds from being able to access them. This is going to be no small feat of engineering but we WILL triumph as blueberries and raspberries are worth the effort :)

What have we here? This would be narf napalm. I made it to "disuade" the white fly (or mouche blanche as Google translate would have me believe is the French for these miniscule little plant suckers)

What have we here? This would be narf napalm. I made it to “disuade” the white fly (or mouche blanche as Google translate would have me believe is the French for these miniscule little plant suckers)

To half a cup of cooking oil I added half a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. The recipe stopped there and said "mix and add in a ratio of 2 and a half teaspoons to a cup of water" I thought that perchance Serendipity Farm mouche blanche were more bolshie than usual and might need a bit more dissuasion so I added chilli powder and garlic...

To half a cup of cooking oil I added half a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. The recipe stopped there and said “mix and add in a ratio of 2 and a half teaspoons to a cup of water” I thought that perchance Serendipity Farm mouche blanche were more bolshie than usual and might need a bit more dissuasion so I added chilli powder and garlic…

mouche blanche pesto! (note to self...remember to put the lid on properly...no mouche blanche will be landing on the wall next to my vitamix any day soon :( )

mouche blanche pesto! (note to self…remember to put the lid on properly…no mouche blanche will be landing on the wall next to my vitamix any day soon :( )

And here we have it narf mouche blanche napalm. I headed up to spray it and this spray bottle promptly seized up. I then broke the second spray bottle whilst falling up the steps to test it (sigh) so ended up having to bless the mouche blanche with the dripping end of my spray bottle nozzle like the Pope at Easter. The things we do!

And here we have it narf mouche blanche napalm. I headed up to spray it and this spray bottle promptly seized up. I then broke the second spray bottle whilst falling up the steps to test it (sigh) so ended up having to bless the mouche blanche with the dripping end of my spray bottle nozzle like the Pope at Easter. The things we do!

As you can see there is a lot going on here. We also need to get up to the back acre and whipper snip it to within an inch of it’s life. We have been promised a terrible bushfire season this year thanks to a dry winter and hotter than average projected summer temperatures this year so we need to make sure we have done everything that we can to protect Serendipity Farm should a fire occur. Frank, our next door neighbour would love for us to whipper snip our whole property…actually…I get the feeling he would love us to concrete the whole lot to reduce the HORENDOUS fire risk our permaculture namby-pamby ideas have created but them’s the breaks Frank. We are, as of this moment, allowed to do what we want to do with our property and whatchagonnadoeh?

Aside from hauling a trailer load of grass clippings from Glad's place next door we decided to create a blueberry sanctuary to protect our blueberry futures from everything that would predate them en mass in the near future. Here are our blueberries going gangbusters in a large heap of spent horse manure. They are covered in berries that are just starting to turn pink and I have been catching the blackbirds taking an interest in them. Time for ACTION!

Aside from hauling a trailer load of grass clippings from Glad’s place next door we decided to create a blueberry sanctuary to protect our blueberry futures from everything that would predate them en mass in the near future. Here are our blueberries going gangbusters in a large heap of spent horse manure. They are covered in berries that are just starting to turn pink and I have been catching the blackbirds taking an interest in them. Time for ACTION!

After getting covered in forget-me-nots collecting some tea tree poles for our structure we got to work...

After getting covered in forget-me-nots collecting some tea tree poles for our structure we got to work…

"Get out of the way Stevie-boy, my dear constant readers want to see the structure!" (Sigh...you can't get hired help like you used to... ;) )

“Get out of the way Stevie-boy, my dear constant readers want to see the structure!” (Sigh…you can’t get hired help like you used to… ;) )

All finished except for narf7 has to shovel a stack of horse manure and oak leaves in to ensure these babies are growing happily well into summer and we have to cover the enclosure with bird netting that our friend gave us yesterday. "Cheers Jen!" :)

All finished except for narf7 has to shovel a stack of horse manure and oak leaves in to ensure these babies are growing happily well into summer and we have to cover the enclosure with bird netting that our friend gave us yesterday. “Cheers Jen!” :) We reused some old corrugated iron that has seen so many purposes here we have stopped counting it’s usefulness

The view from the deck. Earl has already sniffed and christened the pole closest to the deck ;)

The view from the deck. Earl has already sniffed and christened the pole closest to the deck ;)

So life is busy, words are few (but obviously still able to be extracted) and action is more prevalent than thought here at the moment. I hope you will all understand the lack of wordiness and the increase in image content for a little while. Narfs creative spirit is on holiday and needs a much needed rest. Rather than put the blog etc. on hiatus, I am putting it on “normal” for a bit and will be concentrating on the results of our actions rather than posing my usual thought based posts. See you next week where goodness only knows what we have managed to achieve but “achieve” we will! :)

 

#narfsays…

#hiall,

 

Steve and I have become completely addicted to a wonderful U.K. show written by and staring Ricky Gervais called “Derek”. There is something in the water or atmosphere in the U.K. that when fermented with the close proximity of everyone and everything, causes some kind of enzymatic reaction that produces awesome television, music and art. If you would like to see what I am on about check out the first episode of Derek here…

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xxvfzq_derek-season-1-episode-1-s01e01-hd_shortfilms

I love how Mr Gervais gives dignity to those who mainstream society would love to see swept under the carpet. The elderly, the afflicted and the just plain “Kev”. The world is full of we “afflicted” and this show has made me laugh and cry more in the last week than anything I have watched in the last decade. Je t’adore Mr Gervais. I bow to your creative genius and your acting talent.

I know absolutely NOTHING about twitter, but then again, neither does Derek so Narf meets Derek in this episode of The Road to Serendipity…

 

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#narfsays “If the dog stinks after rolling in a dead wallaby on his walk DEODERISE that sucker!”

 

 

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#Earlsays “I likes eau de deceased wallaby…whatchagonnadoeh?”

 

#Earlsays "I stinks"...

#Earlsays “I is depressed…I stinks”…

#narfsays "look what Stevie-boy did with my horse brasses and brass hooks" :)

#narfsays “look what Stevie-boy did with my horse brasses and brass hooks” :)

#narf says "Eggs are good right up to the time when they take over the fridge and form a union"...

#narf says “Eggs are good right up to the time when they take over the fridge and form a union”…

#narfsays "before you can make a jar of pickled eggs, you have to break a few eggs"...

#narfsays “before you can make a jar of pickled eggs, you have to break a few eggs”…

#narfsays "Korean chilli powder ROCKS!" :)

#narfsays “Korean chilli powder ROCKS!” :)

#narfsays "47 eggs down,  84 to go..."

#narfsays “47 eggs down, 84 to go…”

#narfsays "All food and no flowers makes narf a sad panda"

#narfsays “All food and no flowers makes narf a sad panda”

#BezialandEarlsay "How come we can't go into Sanctuary any more?"

#BezialandEarlsay “How come we can’t go into Sanctuary any more?”

#Earlsays "I likes buckets that taste of seasol"

#Earlsays “I likes buckets that taste of seasol”

#Bezialsays "...nothing... he is playing dead..."

#Bezialsays “…nothing… he is playing dead…”

#narfsays "Stevie-boy makes a great garden gnome"

#narfsays “Stevie-boy makes a great garden gnome”

#Stevie-boysays "You want me to dig ANOTHER hole?!"

#Stevie-boysays “You want me to dig ANOTHER hole?!”

#Stevie-boysays "While I wait for narf to get back from the shed with the wire snips I am going to hunt Sasquatch..."

#Stevie-boysays “While I wait for narf to get back from the shed with the wire snips I am going to hunt Sasquatch…”

#Stevie-boysays "I SEE ONE!"

#Stevie-boysays “I SEE ONE!”

#Stevie-boysays "Sigh... more holes..."

#Stevie-boysays “Sigh… more holes…”

#narfsays "Loquat futures" :)

#narfsays “Loquat futures” :)

 

#narfsays "fig futures"

#narfsays “fig futures”

#narfsays "pear futures"

#narfsays “pear futures”

 

 

#narfsays "Stevie-boy would like it known that for every hole that narf asks him to dig, there are at least this many rocks in said hole...he would also like to be told what a hero he is and for everyone to commiserate with him for having a wife who is apparently infatuated with holes..."

#narfsays “Stevie-boy would like it known that for every hole that narf asks him to dig, there are at least this many rocks in said hole…he would also like to be told what a hero he is and for everyone to commiserate with him for having a wife who is apparently infatuated with holes…”

#narfsays "plum trees growing from stones in the compost"

#narfsays “plum trees growing from plum stones in the compost…plum futures”

#narfsays "Grape cuttings taken from my old Muscatel grape vine in the city"

#narfsays “Grape cuttings taken from my old Muscatel grape vine in the city”

#narfsays "7 grape vines in the ground...grape futures" :)

#narfsays “7 grape vines in the ground…grape futures” :)

#narfsays "Mr Curly the bonsai sheok overseeing the work in Sanctuary"

#narfsays “Mr Curly the bonsai sheok overseeing the work in Sanctuary”

#narfsays "the barrel on the left is full and the barrel on the right is half full...water futures" :)

#narfsays “the barrel on the left is full and the barrel on the right is half full…water futures” :)

#narfsays "forget grumpy cat, grumpy narf is here!"

#narfsays “Move over grumpy cat, when Stevie-boy photographs her when she is watering, grumpy narf steps up to the plate!”

#narfsays "The good ship water wicked strawberry AHOY!"

#narfsays “The good ship water wicked strawberry AHOY!”

#narfsays "dwarf valencia orange futures"

#narfsays “dwarf valencia orange futures”

#narfsays "Check out these bottlebrush"

#narfsays “Check out these bottlebrush”

#narfsays "Check out THIS bottlebrush"

#narfsays “Check out THIS bottlebrush”

#narfsays "Welcome to the jungle"...

#narfsays “Welcome to the jungle”…

#narfsays "Clucky Chooks bite HARD...hurry up and take that shot Stevie-boy!"

#narfsays “Clucky Chooks bite HARD…hurry up and take that shot Stevie-boy!”

#Stevie-boysays "A man can never have enough whipper snippers"

#Stevie-boysays “A man can never have enough whipper snippers”

#narfsays "checking out Stevie-boys clean shed and recovering from my pecking ordeal"

#narfsays “checking out Stevie-boys clean shed and recovering from my pecking ordeal. The things we have to do for eggs”

#narfsays "How green was my Serendipity Farm"...

#narfsays “How green was my Serendipity Farm”…

#narfsays "Forget-me-not forest"...sigh...

#narfsays “Forget-me-not forest”…sigh…

#narfsays "I loves me a good curbside "FREE" sign and this lovely little old Aussie hardwood chair" :)

#narfsays “I loves me a good curbside “FREE” sign and this lovely little old Aussie hardwood chair” :)

#narfsays  "I also love Stevie-boys eagle eyes for spotting this delicious Mr Curly lamp in the "FREE" pile when all I could see was that lovely chair" :)

#narfsays “I also love Stevie-boys eagle eyes for spotting this delicious Mr Curly lamp in the “FREE” pile when all I could see was that lovely chair” :)

#Stevie-boysays "I likes my Polaroid lens a lot"

#Stevie-boysays “I likes my Polaroid lens a lot”

#Stevie-boysays "My take on Sanctuary"

#Stevie-boysays “My take on Sanctuary”

#narfsays "I loves me a pretty wild rose" :)

#narfsays “I loves me a pretty wild rose” :)

#narfsays "half for a pond and half for a worm farm. One half cools the other and everyone is happy, especially narf" :)

#narfsays “half for a pond and half for a worm farm. One half cools the other and everyone is happy, especially narf” :)

#narfsays "Veggie futures"

#narfsays “Veggie futures”

#narfsays "Rastafarian cactus with barrettes" ;)

#narfsays “Rastafarian cactus with barrettes” ;)

#narfsays "Ballerina apple futures"

#narfsays “Ballerina apple futures”

#narfsays "Jerusalem artichoke futures"

#narfsays “Jerusalem artichoke futures”

#narfsays "Nasturtiums present"

#narfsays “Nasturtiums present”

#Earlsays "I loves me some sunshine" :)

#Earlsays “I loves me some sunshine” :)

 

I am all twittered out now and am staggering off to cook dinner. I hope you all enjoy your lives over the coming week ahead and #narfsays “be kind to animals ” :)

 

PDC Scholarship Available for this January!

narf77:

Hey all my Aussie mates (and anyone who fancies travelling down to Australia in the near future…it’s worth it!) check this out! Milkwood are offering a delicious and most tasty free placement to one of their PDC’s and they would like it known that anyone can apply. I just did, so if you are interested in changing your life, head on over to complete the form and lets just see how far we can take this :)

Originally posted on Milkwood: homesteading skills for city & country:

scholarship-2

Want to skill up in Permaculture Design this Summer? We have a scholarship place going in our January Permaculture Design Course!

As part of our Fair Share charter, we are always trying to find ways to train more folks in the goodness by whatever means available. Scholarships are one of the many ways we do this, and it’s time for the January PDC edition.

View original 252 more words

(Somewhat) Wordless Wednesday…

Hi All,

 

Today’s blog post is a little bit different than my usual word filled ramble. Today I am going to talk in photos while I give my brain a bit of a rest from the muses endless clatter. Please click on the link at the end of this post to visit an African farmer who has given me pause for thought and great hope with what we are trying to do here in our little patch of paradise…now on, to the not words…

 

Our old lecturer from last year gave Steve this excellent Adobe book when Steve was dropping off our last assessment in the city. Thank you Chris :)

Our old lecturer from last year gave Steve this excellent Adobe book when Steve was dropping off our last assessment in the city. Thank you Chris :)

 

Spread rounds of bread dough of your choice with garlic butter...

Spread rounds of bread dough of your choice with garlic butter…

Bake them till golden brown...

Bake them till golden brown…

And serve them with some delicious home made veggie and lentil soup :)

And serve them with some delicious home made veggie and lentil soup :)

How to train a dog to use a treadmill...hint...make sure to have a LOT of treats...

How to train a dog to use a treadmill…hint…make sure to have a LOT of treats…

"Seriously? You want me to walk on this?!"

“Seriously? You want me to walk on this?!”

"OH I get a treat? Sign me up!" ;)

“OH I get a treat? Sign me up!” ;)

My little indicator apple tree next to the protected pile of manure to prevent Earl from using it as a ramp to evacuate from the compound

My little indicator apple tree next to the protected pile of manure to prevent Earl from using it as a ramp to evacuate from the compound

I have been keeping myself very busy working hard in the garden. This is an almost extinct pile of earthworm packed horse manure

I have been keeping myself very busy working hard in the garden. This is the almost extinct pile of earthworm packed horse manure prior to me wheeling it up to Sanctuary

And this is a pile of very damp oak leaves just about to be moved into Sanctuary

And this is a pile of very damp oak leaves just about to be moved into Sanctuary

Happy chooks scratching through the remains of the pile and that log selection contains a small oak tree that grew from the debris

Happy chooks scratching through the remains of the pile and that log selection contains a small oak tree that grew from the debris

Acess to Sanctuary via the shed

Acess to Sanctuary via the shed

A big compost pile in the corner now covered in manure and leaves

A big compost pile in the corner now covered in manure and leaves

More manure and leaf piles that are feeding the surrounding citrus trees as well as becoming the beginning of future garden beds in the process. I keep adding buckets of veggie scraps and plant material and dry leaves and the worms and fungus do the rest

More manure and leaf piles that are feeding the surrounding citrus trees as well as becoming the beginning of future garden beds in the process. I keep adding buckets of veggie scraps and plant material and dry leaves and the worms and fungus do the rest

The last of the currant compost piles inside Sanctuary. Earl has claimed this one to roll in...

The last of the current compost piles inside Sanctuary. Earl has claimed this one to roll in…

Happy rhubarb in its forever home surrounded by oak leaf mulch

Happy rhubarb in its forever home surrounded by oak leaf mulch

My transferred Jerusalem artichokes in their new bed where they can grow and expand to their hearts content

My transferred Jerusalem artichokes in their new bed where they can grow and expand to their hearts content

Weeds pulled out of garden beds and sunlight accelerating the growth of seeds that were already in the beds. Lots of free tomatoes, pumpkins and "other" things are growing

Weeds pulled out of garden beds and sunlight accelerating the growth of seeds that were already in the beds. Lots of free tomatoes, pumpkins and “other” things are growing

Curry the male Currawong in mid splash

Curry the male Currawong in mid splash

I managed to save a little honesty plant inside Sanctuary and it has rewarded me by flowering. Now I just need to remove that blackberry that is giving it a hug

I managed to save a little honesty plant inside Sanctuary and it has rewarded me by flowering. Now I just need to remove that blackberry that is giving it a hug

 

We had to redo our new compound gate as the old one was built out of obviously very green treated pine that warped magnificently. This new "Donna Hay" green gate is made out of dry timber and should last the distance

We had to redo our new compound gate as the old one was built out of obviously very green treated pine that warped magnificently. This new “Donna Hay” green gate is made out of dry timber and should last the distance

Steve got tired of my dehydrator being in his music room and made it a new shelf in the laundry

Steve got tired of my dehydrator being in his music room and made it a new shelf in the laundry

Veggie seedlings on Monday

Veggie seedlings on Monday

Veggie seedlings on Wednesday

Veggie seedlings on Wednesday. Growing like weeds :)

Looking back outside the glasshouse door you can see a dog sniffing around for the chook that I just saved that was stupid enough to fly into the dog compound

Looking back outside the glasshouse door you can see a dog sniffing around for the chook that I just saved that was stupid enough to fly into the dog compound

My purple artichoke babies :)

My purple artichoke babies :)

The other inhabitants of the glasshouse enjoying the sunny weather

The other inhabitants of the glasshouse enjoying the sunny weather

I grow my nut trees from seed I collect on my travels and I obviously have 2 different kinds of walnut here :)

I grow my nut trees from seed I collect on my travels and I obviously have 2 different kinds of walnut here as you can see by the leaf structure :)

Look Bev, how your babies have grown! :)

Look Bev, how your babies have grown! :) These are pepino cuttings a good friend sent me and aren’t they healthy little babies. Bev certainly knows how to grow a mean pepino ;)

Even under the potting table is green!

Even under the potting table is green. This is a lemon balm growing out of one of the cracks in the glasshouse concrete floor

The first of the rhododendron blossoms on Serendipity Farm. The surrounding neighbourhood is full of them and we are enjoying basking in their beauty on our early morning dog walks :)

The first of the rhododendron blossoms on Serendipity Farm. The surrounding neighbourhood is full of them and we are enjoying basking in their beauty on our early morning dog walks :)

The first of our raspberry futures :)

The first of our raspberry futures :)

Wait a minute...isn't this for the dogs? ;)

Wait a minute…isn’t this for the dogs? ;)

Bezial relaxing after a particularly difficult trot around the garden...

Bezial relaxing after a particularly difficult trot around the garden…

My 2 fig cuttings that were bare sticks over winter that are now taller than the fig cuttings that I planted out last year. Ready to be planted out

My 2 fig cuttings that were bare sticks over winter that are now taller than the fig cuttings that I planted out last year. Ready to be planted out

Potato, yacon and "other"patch

Potato, yacon and “other”patch

Zucchini and some form of cabbage or cauliflower seedlings. My friend that gave them to me has no idea which they are ;)

Zucchini and some form of cabbage or cauliflower seedlings. My friend that gave them to me has no idea which they are ;)

That very overgrown area at the back of Sanctuary is just about to become my grape arbour. Who says that compost isn't worth making? This area was where I threw a few buckets of compost last year and look at how much vegetation is growing in this small patch. Compost folks, compost now! :)

That very overgrown area at the back of Sanctuary is just about to become my grape arbour. Who says that compost isn’t worth making? This area was where I threw a few buckets of compost last year and look at how much vegetation is growing in this small patch. Compost folks, compost now! :)

This photo was taken standing inside the fence looking back towards the rear compound fence. These trees would have been devastated by the combined efforts of the possums and the wallabies by now but the new compound seems to have given them a much better degree of protection than I would have initially thought. Earl is obviously VERY good at patrolling and marking "his" patch ;)

This photo was taken standing inside the fence looking back towards the rear compound fence. These trees would have been devastated by the combined efforts of the possums and the wallabies by now but the new compound seems to have given them a much better degree of protection than I would have initially thought. Earl is obviously VERY good at patrolling and marking “his” patch ;)

Look at how my little indicator apple has grown! It might just be a rootstock apple but I can graft onto it. Apple futures on Serendipity Farm, I never would have thought it possible :)

Look at how my little indicator apple has grown! It might just be a rootstock apple but I can graft onto it. Apple futures on Serendipity Farm, I never would have thought it possible :)

 

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/10/28/glimpse-climate-smart-agriculture-kenya/

Anyone who is struggling with the costs of growing vegetables and gardens in general take heart from Maurice’s story and go and get yourself a bucket full of hope, possibility and enthusiasm from this mans dreams that he turned into realities with his steadfast and most determined actions. He is a credit to penniless people everywhere and a great example of how anyone can do this, you just need to find ways to access cheap/free soil builders. We are just about to pick up 3 trailer loads of grass clippings from Glad’s place next door. Another garden bed inside Sanctuary once they rot down. Its all in the possibilities and in recognising them when they raise their heads :)

Last but by no means least…here’s a little pre Halloween image where I become a zombie thanks to Papa Doc Earl…

"BRAINZ!" ;)

“BRAINZ!” ;)

For those of us left behind when friends move on

Hi All,

2 years ago we noticed a moving van backing up to one of the houses on one of our walks. When we were walking back we noticed a large Rottweiler standing on the deck and we christened the new neighbourhood dog “Thundercles”. Thundercles barked at us whenever we would walk past the house and our boys would eagerly jump up and down and greet Thundercles excitedly from the wings and even though we didn’t know Thundercle’s humans, we made a pact to always make sure that if we ever ran into them walking Thundercles that we would walk the other way or head up a driveway. Our boys plus Thundercles would probably be a disaster akin only to a major cyclone hitting the coast. We vowed to do our level best to maintain our distance from Thundercles…

"Thundercles" on "his" deck. I would bark as well if I was protecting a view like that ;)

“Thundercles” on “his” deck. I would bark as well if I was protecting a view like that ;)

Mieka :)

Mieka :)

And thus it went on. Occasionally we would see Thundercle’s and owners walking in the distance and we would hurriedly make plans for our escape. We weren’t the only ones. Obviously Thundercle’s owners were just as eager to maintain the distance/Status Quo, and we would catch glimpses of them high-tailing it up driveways, into the church and up side roads in order to let us pass. We did this for six months until one day it was just Earl and I walking and we ran into Thundercle’s and his female owner on a stretch of road where no-one could escape. What were we going to do? I called out that Earl was good with other dogs and Thundercle’s owner called back that maybe they should meet? I was a bit worried. Earl loves all dogs but Thundercle’s was doing cartwheels and I really didn’t know how this would go. I shouldn’t have worried. Earl sat down and ignored Thundercle’s efforts to engage him which calmed Thundercle’s down immensely and we decided to walk together back home…

The great and magestic Earl surveying his wood box. We have NO idea why, but sometimes Earl likes to get into the wood box and dig... we don't ask...

The great and magestic Earl surveying his wood box. We have NO idea why, but sometimes Earl likes to get into the wood box and dig… we don’t ask…

Jan gave us a small outdoor table and chairs that we now sit on our deck with and have our tea and coffee. Earl gave up on the woodbox and moved to higher ground.

Jan gave us a small outdoor table and chairs that we now sit on our deck with and have our tea and coffee. Earl gave up on the woodbox and moved to higher ground.

Thus began a most interesting relationship. We learned that Thundercle’s was a girl! Earl and Mieka became firm friends. She and Bezial were not as easy with each other but they did have their moments of happy frolicking and after a while we settled into walking three times a week (and more if we ran into each other) with Mieka and Jan. We eventually met Peter, Jan’s brother, and we all hit it off. We would drop back to Jan’s house for a cup of tea/coffee before heading back home and as we walked and sipped we learned about each other and a friendship blossomed.

Inherited furniture prior to moving it into the house

Inherited furniture prior to moving it into the house

A 2 seater lounge as well as a 2 seater sofa bed and a treadmill for Earl's winter exercise (HA!) in the shed as they wouldn't fit in the house

A 2 seater lounge as well as a 2 seater sofa bed and a treadmill for Earl’s winter exercise (HA!) in the shed as they wouldn’t fit in the house

This week has seen us doing our best to help Jan and Peter pack up their lives and move from Tasmania back to N.S.W. The move to N.S.W. is only for 5 days however and is in order to deposit a shipping container load of “life” to a couple of storage units and then they are off to start a new life in Germany. Stevie-boy has played a big part in the moving bit and I have been keeping the home fires burning and cooking up a storm so that Jan didn’t have to worry about food in the mania that was packing. I hate packing up and moving on. Moving is in the top 5 stressful list, right after death of someone you love and divorce. I am inclined to agree and am quite sure that all of the moving that I did in my first marriage may just have contributed to that first divorce.

New 8 seater kitchen table that looks like it has always been in our house

New 8 seater kitchen table that looks like it has always been in our house

How many of us would be brave enough to pack up their lives into a few storage containers and head off into the great unknown in order to take a chance at a new life? I love my little patch of the world and am enjoying festooning it with narfish festoonings at the moment. Come Christmas this year and it will be positively festooned out the wazoo, but to grab my hat and coat, lock the front door and leave it all behind for a dream? Not sure I would be brave enough to do that. If it meant that I had to drop Bezial and Earl off to strangers I know that my initial bravery would crumble and die. Jan took a trip last week to meet the people that she is going to drop her gorgeous girl Mieka off to today when the ferry lands in Victoria. How brave do you have to be to leave someone behind?

I wonder when the monks are going to want their temple door back?

I wonder when the monks are going to want their temple door back?

Life is a series of choices and it’s our choices that make us who we are. Jan and Peter have had to make some serious choices in order to pursue their dream of starting a business in Germany. In the process they have had to pare away their past lives and give away a lot of their possessions in order to save money and make the process easier. We are not complaining because this process involved us absorbing the possessions that they had to shed. We now have a huge 8 seater table and chairs, a massive and most heavy Balinese coffee table that looks like monks sold off the monastery door after imbibing in too much of the happy juice once too often. We have delicious new bedside tables, lots of lamps, a treadmill for Earl to walk on in winter (HA!) and so much more. Steve’s shed is bursting at the seams with new/old tools and gardening equipment and my cleaning cupboard is about to explode. The fridge and freezer were bombarded and we won’t need to shop for a month. We could have started a second hand furniture shop with what we inherited and we are incredibly humbled and most grateful that Jan and Peter gave us what wouldn’t fit on their shipping container.

Our bed and the two bedside tables that we inherited

Our bed and the two bedside tables that we inherited

It got me to thinking about “moving” as more than just physical. 2 years ago, almost to the day of their move, Peter got divorced. The furniture that he gave us was tangled up with memories and now he is releasing those memories to the 4 winds in order to start out anew. We received little parcels of someone else’s life. Yesterday when we were unloading the trailer of “stuff” that they just couldn’t fit in the car, we inherited a tiny, ancient, German travel iron. I am guessing that it belonged to Jan’s mum. Our possessions reflect who we are. What we choose to keep reflects us more keenly and moving gives us a chance to re-evaluate and update ourselves accordingly. I can see why moving is numero “Tres” in the list of top stressors because it not only involves all of that hard work in packing up EVERYTHING and moving on, but it’s all those little things that accompany a move, changing addresses on all of your personal information, sorting everything out at both ends of the move from cutting ties at the first to sending out tendrils at the new.

Breakfast and coffee out on the deck on a gorgeous spring morning

Breakfast and coffee out on the deck on a gorgeous spring morning

Jan and Peter are being incredibly brave. We waved them off yesterday and they headed up to catch the ferry to head to the mainland. Peter had to sit in the back of the car covered in boxes and clothing that had to be crammed into the car. I dare say that small sedan weighs almost as much as a Mack truck there is so very much crammed into it. As I type this, they will probably be gearing up to land and start driving to take Mieka to her new home. I know that this will be the most stressful part of this whole move. Leaving someone behind, especially a most loved dog who adores you, is tantamount to losing a family member. Jan is doing the right thing by finding Mieka somewhere to live but in the process she has to lose her best friend. I, personally, couldn’t do it. I am NOT brave enough and my dreams are all simple and small and involve me and Stevie-boy and our 2 mutts tumbling around in various states of emotional tussles on this little patch of God’s own earth. To leave our dogs? Nope. Aint happening.

Look at my magnificent artichoke! It must be almost 10 feet tall and growing!

Look at my magnificent artichoke! It must be almost 10 feet tall and growing!

After Jan leaves Mieka at her new home it’s a 14 hour drive to a storage unit in order to meet the shipping container. They then have one and a half hours to unpack the storage container (which took Stevie-boy the whirlwind 2 days to pack) before it has to be removed. Any extra time taken means a most significant rise in the cost of the removal. Then they have 4 days to get the unit packed, sort out everything else that needs to be sorted and next week they are winging their way to Germany and their second winter of the year. We would have walked with Jan and Mieka today and our dogs will pull furiously towards their old home whenever we walk in that direction. We are heading to the beach today in order to avoid that tugging and those reminders that our friends are no longer there.

And I have artichoke futures! :)

And I have artichoke futures! :)

Social media means that we can keep in touch. We have “things” that we are attempting to sell on Gumtree for Jan and Peter. Things that would have had to be thrown out as they don’t know anyone else here in Tasmania (they lived here for 2 years). We hope we made the load of moving lighter with our efforts to help and we wish them a most wonderful new life with all the good fortune in the world. Did I mention that Jan is 63 and Peter is 53? Again I marvel at their tenacity to take a chance like this and uproot their lives to chase a dream when most of us “Middle agers” are digging in our heels and settling our roots for the long haul.

This is the main reason why we had to fully enclose our vegetable garden. This is my ex magnificent artichoke, snapped off at the base by possum invasion :( Sadness, thy name is narf :(

This is the main reason why we had to fully enclose our vegetable garden. This is my ex magnificent artichoke, snapped off at the base by possum invasion :( Sadness, thy name is narf :(

These are wallabies. Big Wal and Little Wal according to Steve. They live on our property and the tyres protected my artichoke from their nibbling but couldn't protect it from the possums aerial activity.

These are wallabies. Big Wal and Little Wal according to Steve. They live on our property and the tyres protected my artichoke from their nibbling but couldn’t protect it from the possums aerial activity.

I have bruises on my hips from banging into the new dining table in the dark. I am not used to navigating its girth in my early morning narf hikes to the kitchen. I have a bruise on my shin from the new coffee table and my first up visit to pat a snoozing Bezial on the couch. He sleeps in the lounge room, doing his duty as night time watchman. Earl takes up in the day, Bezial takes the night. We are protected 24/7. Most of the time Bezial toddles off to take up my warm spot offering in our bed when I get up. Not today. Too much happened yesterday and he is playing his cards close to his chest and beady eyes are watching me surreptitiously from the couch as I type in the dark on a Wednesday morning. Moving affects so many things including friends you leave behind. Bezial and Earl are going to miss their friend Mieka. She is the only dog that they regularly play with and walk with three times a week. Now it is just us, and them. I am hoping we are enough.

Steve's pizza he arrived back home to eat at 8pm after spending a full day last week packing the shipping container. He had already delivered Jan and Peter's bigger pizza. I also cooked a huge quiche but forgot to take any photos. They were most appreciated

Steve’s pizza he arrived back home to eat at 8pm after spending a full day last week packing the shipping container. He had already delivered Jan and Peter’s bigger pizza. I also cooked a huge quiche but forgot to take any photos. They were most appreciated

When friends move away it leaves an empty spot. Where habit and lifestyles collide a new routine needs to be created. We can walk further afield now. Jan didn’t like walking Mieka on busy roads. Our boys are used to trucks and cars and city walking and so we can now change our modus operandi to incorporate new walks. Our boys are always up for new walks. Not so sure that “I” am up for their enthusiastic enjoyment of new walks, but like most things in life I try to look for the silver lining and I am calling this “my new gym workout”. Forget personal trainers, Earl is the toughest personal trainer around. I mean, who else would push a 51 year old woman to run down a 45 degree slope backwards, jump over a metre high fence, somersault upside down in mid run and hop and jump up and down maniacally in order to avoid colliding with rocks and low shrubs? If I wasn’t so exhausted at the end of every walk I would probably feel the need to pay him for increasing my fitness.

A most freaky sunburst on a very overcast day.

A most freaky sunburst on a very overcast day.

The freaky sunburst (no sun visible) and a rainbow. VERY strange light.

The freaky sunburst (no sun visible) and a rainbow. VERY strange light.

We meet people in our lives in order to change our point of view, to learn from them, to grow and to teach us how to share our lives and our hopes and dreams. When they leave it makes us think about our own priorities and hopes and dreams and we can clarify who and what we are in comparison. We are both very glad that Earl and Thundercles met way back last year and that we forged our friendship with Peter and Jan through our dogs. You just never know where life will take you if you take a chance…

Whenever someone goes away, we head to the sea.  The sea is a very soothing place to be apart from for Earl, who slipped off the jetty and ended up swimming for his life ;)

Whenever someone goes away, we head to the sea. The sea is a very soothing place to be apart from for Earl, who slipped off the jetty and ended up swimming for his life ;)

This is the jetty that Earl slid in the algae and dove gracefully into the briny sea. I had to haul him out as he dogpaddled furiously. Earl doesn't like getting wet. Earl got VERY wet ;)

This is the jetty that Earl slid in the algae and dove gracefully into the briny sea. I had to haul him out as he dogpaddled furiously. Earl doesn’t like getting wet. Earl got VERY wet ;)

Update: We got a text at 11am from Jan saying that Mieka is now living in Victoria and went to work with her new owner this morning. We are very glad that her meeting with her new family and 2 blue heeler brothers went well.

 

Friends :)

Friends :)

Going to Montana to raise me a crop of dental floss…

Hi All,

As whacked out and strange as he was, I love me a bit of Frank Zappa. Here’s a most poignant discourse about mainstream education that rings most true…

“Schools train people to be ignorant, with style. They give you the equipment that you need to be a functional ignoramus. American schools do not equip you to deal with things like logic; they don’t give you the criteria by which to judge between good and bad in any medium or format; and they prepare you to be a usable victim for military-industrial complex that needs manpower.”

“As long as you’re just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you’re gonna be alright. But if you go beyond that then you’re gonna have these grave doubts that give you stomach problems, headaches…make you want to go out and do something else. So, I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming out.”

- Frank Zappa

 

Thinking about how next year we might just have to attend TAFE a few days a week and having to get my head around getting back into learning by rote and sitting down and behaving all over again. Not all that used to forced learning and we are quite used to studying when we like these days so this is going to be a difficult situation for this little black duck to bear.

Ducky loves fresh water , look at her go :)

Ducky loves fresh water , look at her go :)

Ms Pauline http://paulinekingblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/sometimes-i-sits-and-thinks/ has been talking about magic and bringing it back into our lives. This year I am dabbling in my own kind of magic alchemy of seed raising. The process from tiny dormant seed to big beautiful plant of purest green is the stuff that narfs wizardly dreams are made of. I have, prior to now, only bought post magic seeds and beanstalks for my annual garden but this year…THIS YEAR I am working my magic horticultural wand and I am attempting to magically coax life from tiny seeds so I planted out some seedlings. Yes, I did plant okra. I planted it because it is pretty much guaranteed to grow, has pretty flowers that the bees love and predominately because I tried it once and found it lacking. I am the sort that likes to give everything a second try just in case the first try was aberrant so yes…I am growing okra. I am also going to give Roselle’s a go and have planted out some purple artichoke seeds. I know that others are planting out peanuts and I am going to give them a go as well. I am not entirely sure as to how they will go here in farthest flung antipodean Tasmania but even if they fail, they are nitrogen fixing legumes so at least the soil will be better off after planting them even if I don’t get much of a yield. A cover crop with benefits…

Now we have a issue with a Kurrajong …

He is getting to cocky and likes cheese to much.

He is getting to cocky and likes cheese to much.

 

Emm cheese

Emm cheese

 

Jan, our friend who is just about to head off to Germany in the next 3 weeks, just gave me a large bag of vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Some of them date back to last century but I am going to give them a go. One of the bags looks like it predates me and is for something called Borecole, an old world name for kale. The manufacturer is one “Chas. Creswell & Co.” from Hobart Tasmania. I am going to give these seeds the old college try. I would love to think that something so old could still be vital and how amazing if they grow! The seed growing bug has me by the throat at the moment. I need to make some more seed raising mix but my last batch saw me institute a huge wooden splinter under my left middle finger nail while I was mixing in the ingredients by hand. It almost reached the quick of my nail and after liberal applications of peroxide to make sure it didn’t get infected after I pulled out the splinter, it has just about healed. I am loath to mix anything by hand till it is completely healed so am working on converting an old blender that we have (and don’t use) to the purpose. We have some amazing “black gold” compost that will be perfect for the job and I need to pick up some coconut coir peat to lighten it up enough to keep the seeds moist and the mix friable.

Just haveing a stroll on the deck are we..

Just haveing a stroll on the deck are we..

I picked up some chives in a pot for $2 from the lady who has a little plant stall at the top of a steep hill. I consider it my reward to buy a plant from the stall for having to walk the dogs up there when they are bored of our usual walks. I have picked up chocolate mint, various day lilies, dahlias etc. from this little stall and you just never know what might appear there on any given day so it’s wise to keep a regular eye on it and for only $2, walking up the hill is almost worthwhile. The weather has been a bit hit and miss of late but now that the glasshouse has been sorted out I can mess about propagating and planting to my heart’s content even if it is pouring down outside.

What happened here?

What happened here?

We have mystic eggs that roll on  there own i think ...

We have mystic eggs that roll on there own i think …

Steve and I finished the doors into Sanctuary through the side of the shed and now we can back the trailer up with loads of horse manure, seaweed, oak leaves and grass clippings and anything else that we can think of that will compost down well to deliver directly into Sanctuary. Prior to this, we would have to wheelbarrow loads of ingredients in through the door which up until yesterday, was a serious obstacle course to walk, let alone push a wheelbarrow into. Our entire property is on a steep incline and whenever it rains, the resulting water flows down with impunity. Part of Sanctuary is a quagmire and the problem is that it was the part where you have to walk in to get inside. We have a heap of spent horse manure inside the new compound area that needs to be transferred into Sanctuary but we simply had no way of delivering it inside aside from in buckets. I love the idea of having horse manure in my garden but shovelling it into buckets and carrying them back and forth up a steep slope? Not so much…

Oii there my eggs you know

Oii there my eggs you know

 

Blood moon , it was very cool to watch it

Blood moon , it was very cool to watch it

One i took before the blood moon started

One i took before the blood moon started

So we decided to take the bull by the horns and make a concrete path and ramp to bypass the mud. We discovered that the mud is the kind that squelches and sucks wellington boots off and the kind that Earl has to tip-toe over so we are also going to tip a trailer load of larger blue metal stones into the area where we are storing water in Blue barrels so that the mud stays under the rocks and doesn’t take over. Yesterday we decided it was perfect conditions to make the ramp and we spent most of the day shovelling concrete mix, concrete dust and water into a wheelbarrow and wheeling it up a steep incline into Sanctuary where Earl decided that he was both going to escape through the gate as we were shovelling and barrowing and make sure that he left his mark in the concrete. We gave up on trying to stop Earl leaving his paw prints in the concrete but were most steadfast in preventing him from escaping. 1 out of 2 aint bad Earl!

Cool whats this grey mud pa ? is it good for my little paws?

Cool whats this grey mud pa ? is it good for my little paws?

 

Oh i like the feel of this can we do some more grey mud?

Oh i like the feel of this can we do some more grey mud?

Much like everything on Serendipity Farm, the ramp and path were not easy to accomplish but again, like everything else that we have had to work hard to achieve here, it comes with a great sense of accomplishment and our efforts at having to think outside the box, heck, create new boxes to think outside of, are their own reward. I can’t use the path for a few days and by the time I can use it, I will be in the city staying with my daughters for a few days. Steve will be left in charge of the watering, the chook feeding, the chook fetching, one clucky chook needs to be brought inside at the end of the day from her chosen nest out on the property as the quoll is back on the scene and recently killed one of our young point of lay girls who was most unlucky to choose that day to go clucky on a single egg. He also has to walk the dogs, feed himself (but he has lasagne, fish pie and many MANY homemade pasties in the freezer so that’s not too difficult) and anything else that Steve deems important for a few days. By the time you read this I will actually be home from my daughter’s house and I am writing this blog post last Friday in preparation for my fleeing the coop for a few days.

Look mud i love the dirt says Earl

Look mud i love the dirt says Earl

 

This is why we need a path , we have sludge

This is why we need a path , we have sludge

 

Steve is outside whipper snipping parts of the garden that have gone completely feral. Some of the periwinkle and forget me nots have almost reached thigh height and taunt us daily as we walk down the driveway to take the dogs for their morning walks. Everything seems to be enjoying the lovely spring weather and taking the opportunity of the regular rain that we have been getting to grow like topsy. We planted out most of our Brachychiton discolor that we grew from seed that we sourced online back in 2009 when we first started to study horticulture and were studying in class. Being an Eastern rainforest species, we had no idea if they would grow this far down in Tasmania but we had a really good germination rate and most of them survived the last 5 years of neglect to be planted out down the driveway last year and all of them are thriving. If you would like to see what a Brachychiton discolor flower is like here is a link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachychiton_discolor

Jan gave Fran a really lovely bread book

Jan gave Fran a really lovely bread book

We just restrung the hills hoist washing line that appeared to have the original string that it came with about 30 years ago dangling precariously by threads. We discovered plastic coated metal clothes line at Bunnings (Big hardware store) and restrung the top of Sanctuary with it to stop the possum invader hoards and we had some left over that we decided we would fix the poor sagging washing line. There is something incredibly satisfying in accomplishing something with your day. Today we strung up the clothes line, I cut the marauding honeysuckle vine out of a rosemary bush, Steve cut down 2 saplings inside the compound that had the ability to grow into major problems in about 10 years time and I chopped them up and we put them on the compost heap inside Sanctuary. Those gates/doors in the shed that lead into Sanctuary are amazing. Steve whipper snipped part of the garden that was threatening to collapse under the combined weight of the forget-me-nots and the periwinkle and we have been pottering around “doing things” all day. I am just about to see how amazingly explosive my old blender can be when filled with compost and subject to high revvage in order to turn said compost into light friable seed raising mix potentials. I am not too fussed if it blows up as I rarely use the food processor that it is attached to anyway but I need this seed raising mix!

The old raggy line

The old raggy line

 

New line on the washing line

New line on the washing line

I will get back to those packets of seeds that Jan gave to me. There are lots of herb seeds including chives, dill, parsley and peppermint along with caraway which will be most interesting if it germinates. Lots of flower seeds that I will grow in punnets and plant out among the veggies to confuse the pests and a good selection of veggie seedlings including San Marzano tomato seed! Keep your fingers crossed that they germinate even if the use by date might be slightly overdue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I love a good experiment and adventure and living the way that we do is a constant chance for a bit of adventurous experimentation. We have learned to solve all kinds of problems and encounters with pieces of string, flour and salt glue and a dab of spit and polish and we are thinking of calling ourselves “MacGyver 1 and MacGyver 2” If Dr Seuss had been around to write another Cat in the Hat opus, I am sure he could have done worse than doing a deal with MacGyver 1 and MacGyver 2.

Shuttering ready for concrete

Shuttering ready for concrete

 

The concrete helper is here ...

The concrete helper is here …

Getting there ..

Getting there ..

A great path now

A great path now

Looking good i think ( i didn't do a trowel finish as we want to be able to grip when its wet)

Looking good i think ( i didn’t do a trowel finish as we want to be able to grip when its wet)

Time to head off and get back into the garden. The dogs would have me believe that it is time for them to be fed but I am thinking there might be a bit of time to prune something, pot something up or at least stand on the deck and plot some kind of garden resurrection. Hopefully you are all up to your ears in something that delights you and makes you smile or like us, up to your armpits in mud and horse manure and smiling politely with your mouth shut because no-one wants horse manure in their teeth ;)

View from the cherry tree to the house

View from the cherry tree to the house

A view from the new compound that the boys love :) Also frans indicator tree

A view from the new compound that the boys love :) Also frans indicator tree an apple that shows us we dont have possums in the new compound

 

A baby oak in its leaves

A baby oak in its leaves

 

And here we are with the cheese bird again :)

And here we are with the cheese bird again :)

 

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