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 ;)

 

Narfs triple bottom line

Hi All,

 

It’s 5.12am on a Friday. I should be up to my armpits in RSS Feed Reads, being furtively read whilst I tap out comments on a notepad blank page whilst contemplating how to answer those people who have kindly decided to maintain email communication with me even after finding out who I “really” am (I KNOW…amazing eh?) but I am not doing any of those things because yesterday we had the internet and telephone equivalent of The Weaselman visit Serendipity Farm. Mr Windy (for want of a better word) decided to wreak a bit of old school destruction on Serendipity Farm and trees fell over our phone line tearing it out of the pole which meant that we had no house phone. Curiously, for a while, we did have the internet! We had it right up to 4am this morning when it decided to fizzle out and die so after sitting blinking for a while I decided to think of something productive to do that didn’t involve the internet

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We headed into the city the other day and the whole city of Launceston was misty. Very cold, and misty. Steve took this photo of a spiders web

 

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Something else that we saw in the city, LOVE these little Croc men

Aren't the doors of our city Commonewealth bank lovely? Almost as lovely as this passing guard dog ;)

Aren’t the doors of our city Commonewealth bank lovely? Almost as lovely as this passing guard dog ;)

 

I would like to inform you that I have just worked out that I am officially seriously addicted to the internet. My whole life revolves around it. I didn’t realise how addicted I had become until we couldn’t access it yesterday and I was adrift. No email communication, not Facebook, no ability to research! Steve phoned up our lecturer and told her about the situation after a 45 minute ride over a cliff with an Indian lady who although assured by Stevie-boy that our phone line was indeed down and in hiding underneath a selection of Serendipity Farms finest greenery, insisted that he run through a series of “tests” that took the better part of 30 minutes to complete before she would even contemplate going any further. Next time we fib Stevie-boy, we pretend to do what she asks for and say “Nope, still doesn’t work” while standing still and doing bugger all…funny how we were supposed to get the opportunity to complete a survey on the phone about our “experience” with this most angst inspiring of ladies but she hung up on an obviously frustrated and twitchy Steve prior to putting him through to the “survey department”…bad luck ma’am, they sent us the survey in an email. Just before the net shuffled off, I saw it sitting there waiting for us when we finally get the net back on.

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Someone wasn’t all that impressed with the mist and the cold…

 

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We spotted this door in the mall in the city with a dog handle…maybe this is Earl’s inner city bachelor pad?

 

Talking about that…I have NO idea when that is going to happen because Ms Indian lady was more engaged in telling us how much we were going to have to pay the technician for a “false callout” than she was in giving us any kind of firm idea when said technician was going to bother to turn up. Wafting’s of “weeks” and “we will need to keep testing the line” were mumbled but nothing firm so goodness only knows how long we will be sans phone and sans net. It looks like we are going to have to reacquaint ourselves with the Beaconsfield online centre for the foreseeable future and that is how this blog post is going to get posted next week unless a miracle happens and a technician turns up in that time

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Earl is like one of those big hairy spiders…they look HUGE when they are stretched out on the wall but when they curl up they are tiny. Earl is all head and here is is doing his best to look small on Bezial’s couch

 

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Another lovely Grey day on Serendipity Farm but at least we didn’t end up with half of our house blown away in the recent wild storms like some poor people did

 

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“Someone”  decided to scratch up the covers that we have put over the sofa to protect it and when we heard him scratching away we headed into the lounge room and found “this”…it wasn’t moving but we figured out what had caused the problem…

 

So what is a narf to do while she is forcibly ejected from her chief source of contact with the outside world? Aside from going mad, I have decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into getting Sanctuary, my fully enclosed vegetable garden, up and running on all cylinders for our coming growing season. I have plans for a large bay of straw bales full of manure and compost etc. that is going to house my pumpkin community this year. I have plans for Stevie-boy to relocate a tap that is currently residing on the fence not too far away from Sanctuary down “to” Sanctuary where it will be easier to access water and I have plans to haul an enormous mountain of horse manure and oak leaves back up to Sanctuary to start forming gardens around the perimeter of the enclosure. I have mature blueberry bushes that need pruning and planting. I have grape vines that need planting. I have all kinds of trees that need planting but they will need a bit more thought as they will have to go outside Sanctuary and when anything is outside a protective zone, it is a sitting duck when it comes to possums and wallabies and anything else that feels like a snack.

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The son-and-heirs partner Kelsey turned 23 the day before my birthday and I wanted to make her a cake. Not easy because Kelsey is from Texas and as anyone who is anyone knows, everything is bigger and better in Texas. Here are two of the three cakes that I made

 

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A chocolate cake, a vanilla cake and a red velvet cake sandwiched together with jam and cream…

 

 

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The finished cake

 

 

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Kelsey’s quails

 

 

I seem to have allowed my addiction to the internet to have taken me away from the real world for quite some time now and this forced hiatus might just be the impetus I need to get me back into the real world and establishing some new habits involving the garden, exercise, planning, and the execution of those plans which tends to be my weak point. I am taking a lot of heart from the relentless efforts of Jessie of rabidlittlehippy fame. Although she had NO idea of what she was doing initially she has started to turn her half acre of urban normalcy into a permaculture paradise that might just go a long way to feeding her family over the coming year. I had aspirations of doing the same but somehow my addiction to the internet got in the way…no more. I don’t plan on sitting here twiddling my thumbs in angsty frustration until Dodo (yes…Dodo…I am not holding out any high hopes…) get around to sending out a technician to sort out our line. It’s time for narf7 to get proactive on her own derriere!

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Earl inspecting the workmanship in Steve’s gumboots…

 

 

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Some of my new bowl haul that I got for my birthday. I LOVE bowls :)

 

Steve headed off into the wilderness the other night to pick this up from a lady who had advertised it on Gumtree. A great bargain and it is currently filtering our tank water for us :)

Steve headed off into the wilderness the other night to pick this up from a lady who had advertised it on Gumtree. A great bargain and it is currently filtering our tank water for us :)

So what’s first old girl…well there are all of those poor long suffering potted babies languishing (most of them upside down after the gales yesterday) in the side garden that need dealing with. I NEED to give them away. I can’t feel guilty if I give them away. Time for some serious culling and if I want to keep it, I HAVE TO PLANT IT OUT. That’s a really good incentive to give most of them away because planting anything out on Serendipity Farm is hard work so if you are a local, you know me, you are likely to open your door some day in the future to a box full of potted plants courtesy of narf7. Be warned!

We wanted to thank Jan's brother Peter for walking with Bezial when Steve can't at the moment and so we bought him some chocolate and chips and made him this card

We wanted to thank Jan’s brother Peter for walking with Bezial when Steve can’t at the moment and so we bought him some chocolate and chips and made him this card

Earl multi-tasking, basking in a sunbeam whilst keeping those freeloading grey thrush shrikes away from the cheese

Earl multi-tasking, basking in a sunbeam whilst keeping those freeloading grey thrush shrikes away from the cheese

An early morning shot of Earl at the bottom of the driveway and ready to go on his walk as soon as the flash wears off and he can see again ;)

An early morning shot of Earl at the bottom of the driveway and ready to go on his walk as soon as the flash wears off and he can see again ;)

The Earl, in it's natural habitat...

The Earl, in it’s natural habitat…

Stevie-boy has been home all week and most happily home too. We have knocked a couple of units out of the ballpark over the past week and even though the material that we are working with could bore an accountant to tears (and we all know that accountants LOVE boring statistics ;) ) we are soldiering on through acres of stats and (were) researching our brains out and wading through government departments in order to try to find out what we are required to find for our assignments but sometimes it is like finding a needle in a haystack to be honest and as Stevie-boy and I study in completely different ways, this kind of frustrating slow pace isn’t conducive to peace on Serendipity Farm. I will give you an example of how we differ in our approaches…

Narf7: – “Ok, so what do we need for this task? Read the Word doc, read the supporting blurb, go to the websites that we have to go to in order to complete the task, read them, list down the bits that we need in a blank notepad and make sure that we have answered the question appropriately, and in triplicate…”

Stevie-boy: – “Have a brief glance at the question. Deem it not important to read the whole question and race off to the website where you also have a brief glance at the website and start answering the question with a few brief words so that you can get back out to your shed where the REAL action is taking place”…

Are you starting to get the picture that we are like chalk and cheese when it comes to studies? Now that we no longer have the “research” abilities that we had yesterday we are picking out the bits of assignments that we can do without research and they are few and far between. It would seem that we might be going to have to head to the online centre to study and in the process; we might have to learn to study together in a more “friendly” way lest we get ejected from the online centre forcibly and told “NEVER COME BACK!” Now this is going to be a challenge!

Birthday food time!

Birthday food time!

 

First, I got these slipper socks from a wonderful friend who also sent me some gorgeous handmade soaps and here I am attempting to desensitise Earl to their presence...

First, I got these slipper socks from a wonderful friend who also sent me some gorgeous handmade soaps and here I am attempting to desensitise Earl to their presence…

"Lets make vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake!"

“Lets make vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake!”

So today is the day after my 51st birthday. I don’t feel any older or wiser but I certainly am regretting eating so much of the gorgeous beer battered tempura veggies that we made for dinner last night or maybe it’s the combination of beer batter and vegan orange poppy seed drizzle cake accompanied by homemade vegan Brazil nut ice cream with peanut butter cookie dough chunks and when you are not used to eating anything that isn’t steamed or raw you end up with a bit of a food hangover. I will wear it because my birthday meal was delicious. The vegan orange poppy seed cake was something that we are going to make again and again. It was really delicious, didn’t use eggs or butter and was very light and moist thanks to an orange drizzle that was spooned over the top of the cake while it was still warm. Here’s the recipe if anyone would like to have a go of it…

http://holycowvegan.net/2011/12/lemon-poppy-seed-bundt-cake-with-lemon.html

Please note, I substituted orange for lemon as I am not a great lemon fan and the orange swap involved just substituting orange juice and zest for the lemon juice and zest

An action shot of Stevie-boy who is too masculine to bother with using a stand mixer to cream ingredients

An action shot of Stevie-boy who is too masculine to bother with using a stand mixer to cream ingredients

Here is what happens when you are too masculine to use a stand mixer to mix in flour (sigh...)

Here is what happens when you are too masculine to use a stand mixer to mix in flour (sigh…)

 

One hot and most glorious smelling vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake fresh out of the oven

One hot and most glorious smelling vegan orange poppyseed bundt cake fresh out of the oven

 

And here it is after it has had orange drizzle ladled over the top... " Bellisimo!" :)

And here it is after it has had orange drizzle ladled over the top… ” Bellisimo!” :)

I am going to head off now folks. Most of this email was prepared earlier due to the threat of us losing the net for the rest of the day as we are getting a visit from a Telstra lines man who needs to hook us up a new junction box after last week’s storms pulled our wires down. Turns out, in the process, that he discovered that “someone” (DAD!) had done their own rudimentary wire fix by twisting two wires together and duct taping them together…sounds like something that dad would have done to me! They need to be properly housed in a junction box so I am going to finish up here now and get this scheduled to post as otherwise I might lose the net and not be able to post today. Have a great week everyone. I haven’t had time to read my RSS Feed Reader properly for the last week or so because we have been working hard on relentless studies but hopefully, everything will be back to normal (or something approximating normal) on Serendipity Farm in a week or so.

 

 

Vegan peanut butter cookie dough mix chilled in the freezer and ready to cut up to add to vegan Brazil nut ice cream

Vegan peanut butter cookie dough mix chilled in the freezer and ready to cut up to add to vegan Brazil nut ice cream

The ingredients for making Japanese wakame (seaweed) salad

The ingredients for making Japanese wakame (seaweed) salad

It might look like something from the black lagoon, but wakame seaweed is delicious and makes a really wonderful addition to any Japanese meal

It might look like something from the black lagoon, but wakame seaweed is delicious and makes a really wonderful addition to any Japanese meal

Wakame salad (sans toasted sesame seeds) and pickled carrot salad. Both of these were needed to cut the HUGE amount of battered gorgeousness that we consumed with gusto :)

Wakame salad (sans toasted sesame seeds) and pickled carrot salad. Both of these were needed to cut the HUGE amount of battered gorgeousness that we consumed with gusto :)

Stage 1 of the production line to make tempura, bear battered veggies for a most happy narf's Japanese birthday feast :)

Stage 1 of the production line to make tempura, bear battered veggies for a most happy narf’s Japanese birthday feast :)

 

 

Steve's Japanese beef in the frypan and one of the trays of delicious beer battered happiness

Steve’s Japanese beef in the frypan and one of the trays of delicious beer battered happiness

A mix of battered sweet potato, whole spring onions (NOT chook feet ;) ) broccoli florets and mushrooms

A mix of battered sweet potato, whole spring onions (NOT chook feet ;) ) broccoli florets and mushrooms

The salads and more mushrooms...you can NEVER have enough battered mushrooms according to Stevie-boy ;)

The salads and more mushrooms…you can NEVER have enough battered mushrooms according to Stevie-boy ;)

The Weaselman Cometh…

Hi All,

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Testing the pretty new bowl with some delicious veggie soup

Testing the pretty new bowl with some delicious veggie soup

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

LOVE this paint job :)

LOVE this paint job :)

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

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

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

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

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

 

Guest Post: Something To Admire

narf77:

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

Originally posted on Living Simply Free:

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

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

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Yesterday I went outside

Hi All,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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R.I.P. Big teddy. Earl got bored…

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I call this one “A study in prospective breakfast”

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

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

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I am going out to get some sunshine therapy

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

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

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

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

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This is a camellia. It is pretty…the end

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

A creative blog hop down on the farm

Hi All,

 

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

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

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

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We made these insect hotels…

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

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

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

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

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

 

Always look on the bright side of life…

 

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

Our babies

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

More babies

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

How does my creative process work?

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

more babies still

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

Craft bread

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

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

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

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

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

What am I presently working on?

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

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Bezial modelling some of my creative hooky genius

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

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Everyone is a critic…

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

 

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

 

And therein…I rest my…hic…case!

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

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

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

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

NAH! Live dangerously is my motto ;)

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

Check out this Mozzarella…

Jess ricotta

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

Jessies cheese

And she is incredibly good at knitting…

jumper

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

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