Ta-Da!

Hi All,

Yes I know that you are all eager to see what Stevie-boy and I made for our daughters Christmas presents (and some of you have already scrolled down to see…sigh…) but first, I would like to share what some enterprising camera phone person managed to capture of the concert that our daughter Bethany and I were part of on Wednesday night. Ben Folds is an amazing performer and so is the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Combined they made for a magic night that I will remember for a very long time. As an audience you tend to be spectators only but we were all part of this awesome conglomeration of sound and in this small captured part of this wonderful night you get to hear the moment when an audience becomes proactive in a performance. I was one of the choir ;)…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0hHzQ_6cu8

Now where were we? OH that’s right…you wanted to know what Stevie-boy and I made for our daughters gifts (To my dear constant readers who just couldn’t wait…hang your heads in shame!)

We removed most of the dead and dying photinias that blocked our chooks view of the river. Merry Christmas chooks!

We removed most of the dead and dying photinias that blocked our chooks view of the river. Merry Christmas chooks!

Now the little mulberry and mandarin trees (that you can see at the bottom of this image) can get full sun as well as this lovely view :)

Now the little mulberry and mandarin trees (that you can see at the bottom of this image) can get full sun as well as this lovely view :)

Not sure if this tangled mass is a real passionfruit vine but down on the junction between the outside chook coop netting and the rock wall there are 2 nests. The chooks don't know that I know that they are there ;)

Not sure if this tangled mass is a real passionfruit vine but down on the junction between the outside chook coop netting and the rock wall there are 2 nests. The chooks don’t know that I know that they are there ;)

Certainly looks like a real passionfruit flower to me and that bee is certainly making the most of it

Certainly looks like a real passionfruit flower to me and that bee is certainly making the most of it

Well firstly, neither Steve nor I won the booze voucher. It seems we got the brief wrong but as I learned so much about the process of making amigurumi dolls I am counting that my reward and Steve just painted a friends front room and got given a carton of beer so he is counting that as “his” reward so we are square :). As I just revealed, my gift to my daughter involved me learning how to single crochet, how to follow a pattern, how to freestyle on said patterns and how to make a set of Korean K-Pop band members from one of Madeline’s favourite bands, Big Bang. I shared this video with you a while ago and it’s from this video that I took my clothing challenge. No small challenge indeed. I will let you refresh yourselves with what I set myself up for…

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

My amigurumi interpretation of Big Bang

My amigurumi interpretation of Big Bang

Bethany's lovely lacquered box. The Korean letters in the top right hand corner of the lid say "Beth"

Bethany’s lovely lacquered box. The Korean letters in the top right hand corner of the lid say “Beth”

The box is perfectly straight, the lines in the wood give an optical illusion of wonkiness ;).

The box is perfectly straight, the lines in the wood give an optical illusion of wonkiness ;).

Handmade Blackwood chop sticks and an insert that separates the box into 2 sections along with a hand wood burned "Noodle box"  and "Rice box" plaque.

Handmade Blackwood chop sticks and an insert that separates the box into 2 sections along with a hand wood burned “Noodle box” and “Rice box” plaque and the pretty little padlock that we found online.

Food contents of the box before wrapping

Food contents of the box before wrapping

Now before I started this challenge, I could crochet a UK treble (U.S. double) crochet stitch and that was it. I created granny squares and lines of straight treble crochet and that was IT. This challenge saw me hovering around the crochet tutorials from various wondrous crochet sites and learning a lot of things from scratch. If you are determined, you can find what you are looking for online and my determination was rewarded with some really excellent basic patterns that allowed me to do what I wanted to do. I wanted proper hands on the dolls because the band members wear a lot of rings etc. and I wanted to be as authentic to the original band (in the above music clip) as I could so I found a wonderful pattern for a “human amigurumi” doll here…

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=426553.0

This doll was pretty much what I was after in a body but I wanted hands and this led me to this awesome pattern…

http://kimlapsley.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/amigurumi-hands.html

Once I had made the dolls I needed to dress the dolls and I needed suits. I found this overcoat pattern that I adjusted to my needs and this “dolls jeans” pattern that worked wonderfully for pants with a bit of juggling.

http://pixelatedmushroom.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/john-barrowman-big-and-cuddly-free.html

http://pixelatedmushroom.blogspot.com.au/2010/11/matt-smith-big-and-cuddly-doctor-who.html

http://byhookbyhand.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Basic%20Amigurumi%20Doll

(Scroll down to “Basic jeans” pattern and right click on the link that will open a download box)

I was just hunting for the jeans pattern (retrospectively) to share with you and found this excellent downloadable pdf that includes straight leg jeans. I wish I had found this a few months ago!

http://www.redheart.com/files/patterns/pdf/LW2704.pdf

DSCF8792 DSCF8737

Although I got the order wrong, here are the parts of the dolls crocheted separately and then put together ready to be turned into whoever or whatever you like

Time to give them all hair

Time to give them all hair

I had to work out how to represent a mohawk or three when making the dolls. I ended up sewing on the shaved part and hand hooking the rest. I think it worked out pretty well. I used the video of "Fantastic Baby" to make sure I got all of the tiny details correct

I had to work out how to represent a mohawk or three when making the dolls. I ended up sewing on the shaved part and hand hooking the rest. I think it worked out pretty well. I used the video of “Fantastic Baby” to make sure I got all of the tiny details correct. Here you can see the back of Taeyang’s head (on the laptop)

 

This is the start of Daesung's hair. He was the only band member without some form of mohawk and I hand knotted his entire head of hair so that I could attempt to make his hair style. I am NOT a hairdresser so it is lucky that he looked anything like he was supposed to ;)

This is the start of Daesung’s hair. He was the only band member without some form of mohawk and I hand knotted his entire head of hair so that I could attempt to make his hair style. I am NOT a hairdresser so it is lucky that he looked anything like he was supposed to ;)

I think he looks pretty good with a full head of hair but that wouldn't be representative of his hair in the video so I had to cut it (cut version further down in this post)

I think he looks pretty good with a full head of hair but that wouldn’t be representative of his hair in the video so I had to cut it (cut version further down in this post)

I made ties and bow ties from cobbling other patterns together and jewellery from a selection of costume jewellery, brads and jewellery fixings that I bought for 10c a packet from Spotlight about 5 months ago. One of the dolls needed an interesting selection of arm armour and I was having trouble working out how to make it until I found a large empty can that once contained German non-alcoholic beer on the side of the road on a recent walk with Earl and knew that it’s very thin sides would be perfect for moulding into this armour. I learned HEAPS from this project including how to suck up defeat and move on ;).

I bought a string of spiked studs to make Taeyang's arm armour and the piece of metal that I am working with here came from an aluminium can

I bought a string of spiked studs to make Taeyang’s arm armour and the piece of metal that I am working with here came from an aluminium can. I made holes in the metal and carefully pushed the studs into it

The first part of the armour (see the finished results further down in this post). I used small silver brads to hold most of this armour together.

The first part of the armour (see the finished results further down in this post). I used small silver brads to hold most of this armour together.

G-Dragon needed a cane and so Steve cut me a length of metal from a bbq fork that he was taking to the tip. I used a length of old costume jewellery "chain" to wrap around it and used jewellery findings that I bought from Spotlight to make the top and bottom of the cane.

G-Dragon needed a cane and so Steve cut me a length of metal from a bbq fork that he was taking to the tip. I used a length of old costume jewellery “chain” to wrap around it and used jewellery findings that I bought from Spotlight to make the top and bottom of the cane.

Stevie-boy stuck with what he is good at and made our youngest daughter Bethany a lovely lacquered wooden box from dressed pine. He put a lot of effort in to making sure the finish was perfect and sanded and recoated the box many times in order to get this finish. I wood burned “Beth” into the inside top right hand corner in Korean and he made a pair of Blackwood chopsticks to add. He then bought several packets of Korean ramen and specialty sticky rice and Forbidden black rice to add to the box. It was topped off with a lovely gold-tone padlock and pretty key that we sourced online.

This is Seungri. His hair was quite difficult to make but he didn't need a shirt so he was one of the easier dolls to finish

This is Seungri. His hair was quite difficult to make but he didn’t need a shirt so he was one of the easier dolls to finish

My attempt to add earrings using thin Jewellery findings and Steve's clever idea to use 1 earring backs for a dual piercing.

My attempt to add earrings using thin Jewellery findings and Steve’s clever idea to use  earring backs for a dual piercing.

Not exactly the same as the rings that Seungri wears in the Fantastic Baby video but sometimes you have to wing it with what you have. Each ring was made from silver pen inserts (none of our pens work now ;) ) and costume jewellery and silver brads

Not exactly the same as the rings that Seungri wears in the Fantastic Baby video but sometimes you have to wing it with what you have. Each ring was made from silver pen inserts (none of our pens work now ;) ) and costume jewellery and silver brads

T.O.P. with his overcoat open to show his black shirt and jeans along with his knee high boots

T.O.P. with his overcoat open to show his black shirt and jeans along with his knee high boots

This hat took me quite a long time to get right. I am still not entirely happy with it but it looks pretty much like the hat in the video so there comes a time when you have to say "that'll do!"

This hat took me quite a long time to get right. I am still not entirely happy with it but it looks pretty much like the hat in the video so there comes a time when you have to say “that’ll do!”

Daesung with his hair cut (take note, don't ask me to cut your hair...EVER! ;) )

Daesung with his hair cut (take note, don’t ask me to cut your hair…EVER! ;) )

Daesung from the back to show the detail on the suit

Daesung from the back to show the detail on the suit

Steve made me a throne for G-Dragon. I think he deserved it after having to put up with me hand hooking all of that hair onto his head. His outfit took me a long time to make and involved more of that foreign "sewing" (sewed black lines onto a white suit) and adding star brads to make it more like the costume in the video. He has pointy shoes as well as a belt and a neclace

Steve made me a throne for G-Dragon. I think he deserved it after having to put up with me hand hooking all of that hair onto his head. His outfit took me a long time to make and involved more of that foreign “sewing” (sewed black lines onto a white suit) and adding star brads to make it more like the costume in the video. He has pointy shoes as well as a belt and a necklace. You can get an idea of how big the dolls ended up being by using Stevie-boys hands for scale.

I have been working on these dolls for so long now I miss them and think I might just have to make some more for a future give away for the blog. I thought about making a Christmas Elf to give away but then time got away from me and as many of you live far FAR away, it wouldn’t have panned out. At least I have something that I can make now to give Stevie-boy a bit of a rest from all of that spoon making ;)

Taeyang completed

Taeyang completed

He has the word (Album title) "Alive" shaved into the back of his hair. I can't sew so it is amazing that I was able to replicate this. A lot of determination (and swearing) went into this part  ;)

He has the word (Album title) “Alive” shaved into the back of his hair. I can’t sew so it is amazing that I was able to replicate this. A lot of determination (and swearing) went into this part ;)

I used Jewellery findings to make earrings. I didn't add mouths to my dolls because I wasn't confident that I would be able to make them look good.

I used Jewellery findings to make earrings. I didn’t add mouths to my dolls because I wasn’t confident that I would be able to make them look good.

I love Kim Lapsley's pattern for hands. It took me a while to work it out but once I had made a few I loved how they personalised the dolls. Kim is an Aussie and I am VERY grateful for her generosity in sharing this awesome pattern with us all :)

I love Kim Lapsley’s pattern for hands. It took me a while to work it out but once I had made a few I loved how they personalised the dolls. Kim is an Aussie and I am VERY grateful for her generosity in sharing this awesome pattern with us all :)

I made Taeyang's belt and finished it off with an earring that I found. I have NO idea what those characters say so if it's rude, and you can read it, please PM me! ;)

I made Taeyang’s belt and finished it off with an earring that I found. I have NO idea what those characters say so if it’s rude, and you can read it, please PM me! ;)

 

The finished arm armour. This part of Taeyang's costume took me a long time to accomplish as until I worked out how to hold it together with brads, it kept springing open.

The finished arm armour. This part of Taeyang’s costume took me a long time to accomplish as until I worked out how to hold it together with brads, it kept springing open.

I adapted a pattern for shoes that I found online and kept crocheting till they turned into boots. I then sewed laces onto the front. I think they worked pretty well

I adapted a pattern for shoes that I found online and kept crocheting till they turned into boots. I then sewed laces onto the front. I think they worked pretty well. All of the clothes on all of the dolls are removable and were made separately.

Today’s blog post is going to be short in words but long in images. If anyone wants to know anything about how I went about making these dolls or how Steve went about making his beautiful wooden box, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and hopefully we can point you in the right direction for how to get similar results. There was a fair bit of “winging it” involved on my behalf. The next blog post is for the day before Christmas, a special time for Scandinavian people and small children. We should have finished making our annual pork pies and this year’s new addition to the Serendipity Farm Christmas table, a great big Rum baba with homemade mascarpone cheese.  See you next week and here’s hoping that all of your Christmas preparations go smoothly, cheaply and easily (HA!) ;).

Cinnamon salt dough prior to cutting out

Cinnamon salt dough prior to cutting out

Bits and pieces of recycled (those cane balls were free) bits and bobs to be turned into Christmas decorations extraordinaire!

Bits and pieces of recycled (those cane balls were free) bits and bobs to be turned into Christmas decorations extraordinaire!

Ready to go into the dehydrator. We remembered to add holes at the last minute ;)

Ready to go into the dehydrator. We remembered to add holes at the last minute ;)

Some oca sprouting that the plant lady up the road swapped with me for some cucamelon babies. I had 19 babies so I didn't mind :)

Some oca sprouting that the plant lady up the road swapped with me for some cucamelon babies. I had 19 babies so I didn’t mind :)

Lastly, one of our resident black cockatoo's on guard in a Blackwood wattle that Steve was lucky enough to catch before he winged his way off to the back block.

Lastly, one of our resident black cockatoo’s on guard in a Blackwood wattle that Steve was lucky enough to catch before he winged his way off to the back block.

One man and his dogs

We may mow a meadow today if it don’t rain.. Ok so here is the great steve boy , and I will guide you into this blog post. What I am going to do is a little tutorial on my Christmas tree  design and then I will talk about the week here and what we have been up to . I for one have chopped and split a lot of wood and Fran have finished the great gift at last. No I cant say a word about it but its done J . Ok I need a drink of something here as its Tuesday night and we went out today to sign up for a new exciting course . Cert 4 in digital Media. This consists of playing with lots of cool things and developing phone apps and playing with other cool things and looks like it may be a good year .

Heres a sureal image i made

Heres a sureal image i made

Frans a little nervous but she is very good at all these things when she gets the idea , I am very good but I fiddle to learn which is a very infuraiti8ng way for her to see me do things as sometimes I cant even remember what I have done. I am not a great typist so that’s going to do something next year as I will have to more than likely improve at it …Ok I want a little glass of Sol. Better .. ok where was I then , oh yeah I have been playing in photoshop here a lot of late and as you may know I will be getting a new camera for my 50th so I will become a more prolific photographer, its something g I have enjoyed for years and now with the technology about I can reuse some of my old Nikon lenses with a new state of the art camera.

Same image different look

Same image different look

I have just been online checking out mobile phones with android software and have found one I think we may have to buy as then we can just take the card out of the nokia and use that for the next season of study ( we could use an android device to test apps on ) One problem with Sol beer is it comes in a 940ml bottle but its not a screw cap so I have to drink it all now , shame eh .

the bottom of the drive

the bottom of the drive

Now my Tree , ok I used a threaded steel bolt and some corresponding nuts to tighten it all up at the end , I ran some timber down to about 20mm square and then cut them to some lengths , the length isn’t that important, ok then I made some little spacers of the same wood and they are to separate the branches a bit and allow you to put ornaments on it, I sprayed it green and then voila a tree that you can shape and pose and make look how you like , again we didn’t cut any trees down (personally) in the making of this tree and its flat pack and can be stored any place and if I wasn’t so quick in making it I could have made all the edges nice , or here’s an idea folks used some dowels for the branches and build in the same way … that would look very nice , the possibilities are endless really

The finished article

The finished article

I am sorry about the punctuation I use when I type I’m not a great fan of full stops I like to use commas better , lol  I’m artistic you see and that means I can have free reign over my words and how I use them J I will however spell check this document before I send it to Fran’s blog.

Framed

Framed

The boys are both here with me and they are snoring on the sofa, I have never really owned a dog , I did have one for a short time as a kid but not for long, I love dogs and they seem to like me a fair bit , we ran into a friends dog Bonnie today and she likes everyone I think, but I bent down as she was tied up outside the shops and went close and said hey bonnie and she climbed on my leg . If I ever ( which I never ever will ) left the boys tied up Bezial would jump crazy at anyone that came near him and scare them  and Earl would do his big cute face and melt them and then steal all there treats as well as their hearts. Bezial is a lovely boy but he has issues , many including Fran would say the same of me ,  Bezial hates to walk home and always drags , he loves to splash in puddles and is all-round a good guy, Earl is a great friend and is filled with enthusiasm ( again yes Fran says like me) and would if he had half a chance go mad at the drop of a hat , when I say mad I mean frenzied racing around , barking with exuberism and generally loving what he is .. Earl Dog.  The girls rang the other day saying they wanted to take Qi our little girl to an emergency vet as she had a lump , we didn’t like the sound of it as we feared the worst and she is an adorable little thing , it turned out she had an abscess from a grass seed in her neck or something and she’s going to be ok and may not even have to have a cone of shame on , which is good as we want to take the boys over when we go for Christmas and Qi in a cone would just be way to much fun for Earl to bear lol.

The man himself

The man himself

 

Ok back tomorrow as I’m done today my eyes are sore and I have a headache from lack of coffee ( yes I hear you all say then what are you drinking beer then ) (cause I want to lol)

Ok i am dreaming as i dont have a photography business lol

Ok i am dreaming as i dont have a photography business lol

Wednesday morning, dogs waled back home and I was going to whipper snip the back compound today but as I sit here at 9am its become very dark so I may have to change my plans .

A bit of Frame fun

A bit of Frame fun

Ok I have to spray my tree now so you can have a pic of it, done ok did I mention earlier that you have to drill the dowels at 9 mm? or whatever size rod you get? Ok now I am going to make a base for it , I was going to use a log but I may go and make a base from some wood and spray it green to , I will see how it goes and let you know, but the tree is starting to look a lot like Christmas .

Meika

Meika

Tree is done and I made a new base for it also , whipper snipping’s done to as it didn’t rain today (yet) ok well that’s this weeks blog folks , I have a few images here to attach nothing to good but it’s a small post with a few images, ok bye for now hope you enjoy this break from normality

Launceston on a lovely day

Launceston on a lovely day

 

Steve

 

And so we meet again…

Hi All,

It only seems like yesterday when I was tapping away, tongue sticking out of the side of my mouth, attempting to amuse bouche you guys and here we are again with a new blog post knocking around inside my brain and a deadline of “NOW!” So what’s a girl to do but go all freestyle on your derrières and just wing it with the muses. This week has been a whirlwind of secret crafting business tangled up with gardening and a good dose of telling Stevie-boy what a good husband he is. It’s around about this time of year when everything comes together in the small time and space continuum vortex that is Serendipity Farm and all of the things that I have been putting off all year rise up like phoenixes (or the ghosts of Christmas past more appropriately) to wave their talons/apparition fingers at me and tut in whatever language phoenixes/ghosts tut in.

#Earl loves bloons

#Earl loves bloons

#Earl loves bloons AND walking on the coffee table ;)

#Earl loves bloons AND walking on the coffee table ;)

Stevie-boy, ever the creative genius, has made our youngest daughter Bethany (or Beenz as she has been tagged for a while now) something wonderfully special for her Christmas gift this year. Those of you dear constant readers who have been trying to make head or tail of my blog posts for a while now will know that we are both working on secret Christmas gifts for our daughters as part of a “give us something we like and you might win a $50 booze voucher”. Initially it was that booze voucher that piqued our sense of intrigue but that lasted all of about 10 seconds when the competitive part of the challenge stepped in…”there be WINNING to achieve here folks!” And thus it began…

It's not all about Earl today. This lovely photo of Bezial was photoshopped by Steve

It’s not all about Earl today. This lovely photo of Bezial was photoshopped by Steve

Happy first day of Summer Southern Hemisphere! ;)

Happy first day of Summer Southern Hemisphere! ;)

Stevie-boy listened to my idea for my gift and said “might as well not bother, you have it in the bag”. Which was a great ego boost but to be honest, I didn’t even know if I could create what was inside my head. As I started working on what I have created for Madeline (we got given a daughter each) Stevie-boys competitive streak started to rise up and suddenly he was full of ideas and waving things around in front of my concentrating nose and there were many interruptions to my concentration where I had to “ooo” and “ah” with sufficiently admiring sounds in order to get back to what I was doing. As his creation started to take shape I started to feel the tables flipping and suddenly there was a real competition! Stevie-boy, being Stevie-boy went at his creation like a bull at a gate. He has tamed his desire to finish everything “yesterday” though and is now much more aware of aesthetics and has honed his desire to create quality items rather than “quick” items. I must admit to playing a big part in this transformation…me and my desire to not have the house fall down around us…

Stevie-boy on Saturday faced with this mountain of banana passionfruit that all needed removing

Stevie-boy on Saturday faced with this mountain of banana passionfruit that all needed removing

Most of the banana passionfruit removed and now we just have to remove the dead shrubs under the passionfruit and cut the remainder down to hedge height

Most of the banana passionfruit removed and now we just have to remove the dead shrubs under the passionfruit and cut the remainder down to hedge height

So Stevie-boy’s gorgeous creation is sitting in his music room all finished and ready to be gifted. It is beautiful. I will share it with you in the blog post on December 17th which is immediately after our little familial un-Christmas Christmas celebration as our children are celebrating with their dad and his family who are coming all the way from Western Australia for the occasion. We will have our own delicious Christmas sitting out under the shade of a (not) coolabah tree looking out over the river and giving constant thanks for the circumstances that landed us here on Serendipity Farm.

Narfs breakfast beans

Narfs breakfast beans

The "Dead possum" lily is back for another year. Our friend Jenny just bought one of these. We have hundreds of them that return to reak of death just on Christmas.

The “Dead possum” lily is back for another year. Our friend Jenny just bought one of these. We have hundreds of them that return to reak of death just on Christmas.

My gift creation isn’t so easy. Not only have I had to learn several new skills in order to create this gift, but I have also had to take those newly learned skills and riff on a theme. What I am creating is pretty out there and I have to adapt things from all over the (most wonderful) sharing caring colony of crafters and their wonderful “free tutorials” and then change them to suit my needs. I am quite pleased with the results and everything is starting to come together nicely but it aint finished folks and I am starting to twitch because today is December the third and I need to be finished by this weekend as I have other projects to get stuck into ASAP and this one is starting to take on epic proportions. I can’t wait to share our creations with you and our daughters gave us an amazing gift when they thought up this challenge in the first place. They gave us the gift of actually thinking about the person we are giving a gift to and really homing in on what they like and both Stevie-boy and I have learned a lot in the process so we all win in the end. Stewart and Kelsey have both been given a giftee as well and I know what Stewart has got Madeline  and she is going to be hard pressed to choose between his gift and mine (so that is why I am going to have to slip sleeping pills into his morning coffee and render him AWOL on the day! ;) ) NO idea what Kelsey is contemplating but now she is a most honorary Aussie (her visa to stay came through…”HOORAY!” :) ), she can stop worrying about heading back to frozen Texas (does it freeze in Texas?) and can spend Christmas Day sweltering away like the rest of us southerners ;).

A wasp is moving in to our bug house! :)

A wasp is moving in to our bug house! :)

Stevie-boy is finishing off cutting up last years logs ready for our next load to be delivered.

Stevie-boy is finishing off cutting up last years logs ready for our next load to be delivered.

Stevie-boy deserved a beer after this! :)

Stevie-boy deserved a beer after this! :)

So what else has narf been up to (apart from twitching about the rapidly approaching gift giving celebration day that is…), well the garden has taken up a good part of our week. I have been carrying on with my newfound idea to shove all kinds of veggies etc. in all kinds of places. The thing about pests is that they tend to flock when they get a sniff of something in a row. I don’t know what it is about pests but they appear to be regimented and like mass plantings. The problem is, most veggie gardeners love nice neat rows of things as that makes it easier to garden, to harvest and to keep tabs on what you have in your garden and what you can plant in the recently vacated soil. Not for narf, this nice easy life that is “rows”. I have planted out beetroot, okra (the few that the slugs didn’t scoff… see, slugs eat it as they need to replace all of that slime!), Roselle’s (that are developing a gorgeous rosy colour on their little round leaves), beetroot, a single tomatillo (that will be joined by a few of its brethren soon), lots of silverbeet and spinach as they are two of my most consumed foodstuffs over the summer period, 2 cucumber plants (gifted from a friend) and 3 very sad Roma tomatoes from the self-same friend who had just plonked the plants into her small pond and left them there for over a week. Tomatoes are survivor’s folks. These tomatoes were living a semi aquatic lifestyle! There is a whole lot going on in narf7’s garden but only the potato onions and the radishes (yes “radishes” Madeline! ;) ) are in rows. Everything else is scattered all over the place like a particularly fecund Salvador Dali or Picasso painting.

Steve has been messing around in Photoshop with this lovely original image taken at Hollybank, a lovely reserve 15 minutes east of Launceston.

Steve has been messing around in Photoshop with this lovely original image taken at Hollybank, a lovely reserve 15 minutes east of Launceston.

This version is a reflected version with a soft glow

This version is a reflected version with a soft glow

This version is a reflection in "water"

This version is a reflection in “water”

This one reminds me of the Blair Witch forest!

This one reminds me of the Blair Witch forest!

This is my favourite version. Its haunting but lovely. Isn't Photoshop amazing if you learn how to use it well?

This is my favourite version. Its haunting but lovely. Isn’t Photoshop amazing if you learn how to use it well?

In my first year of gardening I tried to create garden beds but the possums and wallabies caused them to be covered to the back gills with bird netting, wire, chook netting and sticks and although the harvest was pretty good, most of it went to seed as the cruel irony of all of my protective devices was that “I” couldn’t get into there either! Year 2 saw us with Sanctuary but my “get-up-and-go” had gotten up and went. I wasn’t in the mood to vegetable garden and it was only through my friend Jenny and our compost heap contents that anything grew in Sanctuary at all. We shall call it “The year of the pumpkin” for that very reason and the pumpkins took over and ruled the bit of Sanctuary that the possums couldn’t reach. The possums ate everything green as well as quite a few pumpkins and until we managed to completely stop them from gaining entry, they had free reign. Not THIS YEAR possums! This year Sanctuary has been fortified with plastic coated wire clothes line. It looks like a green oasis of possum envy and I have had the incredibly satisfying experience of planting out citrus trees, seedlings and all sorts of berry bushes underneath a sea of seething and most envious possum activity. I know they are up there because their little deposits are fertilising Sanctuary ;)

 

Steve's prototype most awesome new Christmas tree. We haven't sprayed it green yet but it has spacers between the "limbs" and we can move the limbs around to wherever we like

Steve’s prototype most awesome new Christmas tree. We haven’t sprayed it green yet but it has spacers between the “limbs” and we can move the limbs around to wherever we like

And one of the best bits (the bit that makes Steve call this his "Ikea" Christmas tree) is that it folds flat for under bed storage for the rest of the year! :)

And one of the best bits (the bit that makes Steve call this his “Ikea” Christmas tree) is that it folds flat for under bed storage for the rest of the year! :)

I have been experimenting by planting things like silverbeet, spinach and the odd Roselle directly into small heaps that I have put compost on one side of and spent horse manure and lots of oak leaves on the other. I learned that a big pile of well-aged horse manure is like gloriously fertile soil to most plants. I also learned it dries out pretty quickly though so adding extra’s to it is part and parcel of working with this wonderful medium. Enter the oak leaf mould and the compost. My experiments have me seeing if adding compost to the higher side of the pile (everything is on a degree of slope on Serendipity Farm aka “Slippery Slope” Farm ;) ) will cause nutrient run off down to the rest of the pile. I have 3 smallish piles in between all of the citrus trees as I know that they are heavy feeders and I am attempting to kill a whole mess of birds with a single stone. I have a very large compost heap full of compost, horse manure, oak leaves and a lot of dried grass from Glad’s back paddock next door, on the other side of Sanctuary in which a small but most determined crew of red and yellow raspberries is going it’s best to take over the world. I know that they won’t be able to achieve world domination because they have an even bigger and more determined patch of Jerusalem artichokes surrounding them to get through before they can conquer Sanctuary. “Good luck with that raspberries!”

Jenny's raspberries that grew from a single raspberry plant that she planted last year (note to self WATCH those raspberries inside Sanctuary! ;) )

Jenny’s raspberries that grew from a single raspberry plant that she planted last year (note to self WATCH those raspberries inside Sanctuary! ;) )

Everything eats Jenny's plants but what they don't eat I pay close attention to. If they don't eat it at Jenny's place, there is a very good chance that they won't eat it here! Guess who is about to buy some dianthus...

Everything eats Jenny’s plants but what they don’t eat I pay close attention to. If they don’t eat it at Jenny’s place, there is a very good chance that they won’t eat it here! Guess who is about to buy some dianthus…

And some penstemons...

And some penstemons…

And How about elderberries. Jenny has a particularly nice selection of these beauties. Nothing eats them because aside from the fruit they are completely poisonous :)

And How about elderberries. Jenny has a particularly nice selection of these beauties. Nothing eats them because aside from the fruit they are completely poisonous :)

The excitement of propagation has returned and poor Steve had to dig a “root growth zone” (aka “hole”) for me to plant out a new Emperor mandarin that our friend Jenny gave us to add to our growing collection. She has also gifted us a couple of cherry trees as the native wild life at her home just hoover anything fruity down. We are working on creating a Mediterranean garden for her as they won’t touch figs, quinces etc. and so I am thinking that the best bet for her is to plant what the possums can’t stand. You have to work within the parameters that your situation hands you sometimes and then when you have the basics set up, you can start fandangling with the principle of the thing. That’s how we gardeners roll. We are never happy to call it quits because there is always something new around the corner that piques our interest.

A lovely rose at Jenny's house

A lovely rose at Jenny’s house

And the reason why it is still alive ;)

And the reason why it is still alive ;)

We visited Jenny yesterday and gave her a sack of small agapanthus that we crowbarred up from near our front gate. When we were studying our Diploma in Landscape Design we had to come up with a plan each for a Design and we ended up using Jenny’s place as our Design. We came up with a lovely rosemary, lavender and agapanthus series of low hedges surrounding a potager style garden full of things that possums and wallabies and rabbits (and now native crayfish!) wouldn’t like to eat. It was a challenge but the real challenge is that Jenny wants to actually create this garden for reals! So thus finds us crowbarring up agapanthus babies for the near future and sharing the things that we can and can’t grow between us. It is awesome having a good friend who just “gets” us and our crazy desire to be plant slaves and to be like Dr Frankenstein when it comes to grafting all kinds of strange things onto other strange things (cue the thunder, lightning and crazy laughter…)

Lambs ear and (the dreaded) osteospermum daisies and wallflowers. There are a lot of plants that our native animals find unpalatable, I just have to find out which ones they are and plant them :)

Lambs ear and (the dreaded), Arbutilons,  osteospermum daisies and wallflowers. There are a lot of plants that our native animals find unpalatable, I just have to find out which ones they are and plant them :)

This is what happens when Jenny tries to plant out fruit trees...

This is what happens when Jenny tries to plant out fruit trees…

The old "stuffed toy to scare the natives away" obviously doesn't work ;)

The old “stuffed toy to scare the natives away” obviously doesn’t work ;)

Visiting friends has benefits, especially when they don't like broad beans :)

Visiting friends has benefits, especially when they don’t like broad beans :)

Oh dear. I have manically arrived at a long blog post again. I can’t say that I am sorry as I am not. I love sharing what excites me with you all. Pretty soon you will get to see what has been keeping Stevie-boy and I busy for the last few months (well Stevie-boy for a weekend or two and me for about 3 months now!) in the gifting arena. I would like to thank both of our daughters for giving us all this challenge as we have both learned SO much from having to adapt what they like to what we are capable of creating. ALL kinds of lessons learned, challenges raised to meet and exciting possibilities arising thanks to this desire to stop Christmas from turning into a series of gift voucher or cash handouts. Let’s all take Christmas back this year folks. It doesn’t have to be a commercial crazy rush of cash flowing out of your account/cards, it can be carefully thought out and meticulously planned but if you don’t end up feeling like you have taken part, what’s the point? Lets take Christmas (whatever it means to you) back from the middle men and place it firmly in the creative bent of our own little hot hands. I know that Stevie-boy has had a lot of fun creating our latest “Christmas tree” and that we are creating all of our own decorations this year. That’s how you feel “Christmassy”…Christmas is in the processes, the lead up, the wonder of creation and the enjoyment of sharing a good meal with good friends and family. Being thankful for the year that has past, the year that is about to hit us (EEK!) and being grateful, thankful and most joyful for our continued existence on this small blue planet navigating it’s way around a small bright star somewhere out there in this wide expanse of a universe. See you all next week :)

I will leave you with a parting shot of Serendipity Farm on the first official day of summer just to make you Northerners feel a bit happier about your own bad weather ;)

I will leave you with a parting shot of Serendipity Farm on the first official day of summer just to make you Northerners feel a bit happier about your own bad weather ;)

Just a quick note, next week I will be in Hobart with my 2 daughters getting ready to attend a Ben Folds concert (“SQUEE!”) my Christmas gift from my daughters so Stevie-boy will be left to hold the fort and will be responsible for next weeks blog post. He has just informed me that he wants to write next weeks blog post. You can be assured it will be smaller than my usual blog posts ;).

 

Earl turns 4, Three wise herons and learning to appreciate snotty oysters

Hi All,

Late last week I could have cheerfully had my little brother neutered and sent off to obedience class. Alas, this is WAY beyond the scope of my rights as a big sister (watch out Earl!) Instead I ended up having an (shall we say, for the want of a better word…) “interesting” conversation on Facebook with him which culminated in him badgering me to unfriend him. I just noticed that spellchecker has no problem with the word “unfriend”. I, on the other hand, do. You can’t just “unfriend” someone who has, for the last 46 years of your life been part and parcel of the rough and tumble of your existence. That old saying “you can choose your friends but you (are stuck with) can’t choose your family has never been more poignant. If you are reading this Jamie, “keep reading!”…so where was I, AH that’s right, halfway between “neutering” and “sending off to obedience school”…so this delightful situation that we found ourselves in wasn’t just a spat between brother and sister, this time it was between all three siblings and it had been brewing on the back burner for quite some time.

Story of my life, ever cautious ;)

Story of my life, ever cautious ;)

 

Steve's little mate "Wall-e-bee" helping us deal with the sow thistle problem on Serendipity Farm "EAT FASTER!" ;)

Steve’s little mate “Wall-e-bee” helping us deal with the sow thistle problem on Serendipity Farm “EAT FASTER!” ;)

Our friend Jenny grew globe artichokes just because she could. She doesn't actually like them so guess who got the chokes!

Our friend Jenny grew globe artichokes just because she could. She doesn’t actually like them so guess who got the chokes!

Christmas marinated artichoke heart futures :)

Christmas marinated artichoke heart futures :)

Things like that you don’t take to Facebook so why did we? Because we are first and foremost “Stahl’s” and we tend to think with our outrageous indignation and it is only when we retreat to lick our wounds that a little light bulb comes on in our heads that says “er…maybe I could have moderated that a bit better.” I only mention this because some of my dear constant readers (you know who you are) are also Facebook friends so you may have been privy to said “spat”. My sister, who has a more genteel constitution than myself unfriended him but I have the hide of a hippo (and the bum but we won’t expand on that here and now) and as we all know, the predominately vegan hippo kills more people in Africa than the macho carnivorous lion. Wise words to ponder over folks… wise words INDEED.

Jenny and I and her grandson Dylan went to Red Dragon nursery last Thursday. I would love to share some photos that I took of this beautiful place. The plants are amazing, unusual and the owner is my favourite horticultural nutcase. You rock Andrew ;)

Jenny and I and her grandson Dylan went to Red Dragon nursery last Thursday. I would love to share some photos that I took of this beautiful place. The plants are amazing, unusual and the owner is my favourite horticultural nutcase. You rock Andrew ;)

This magnificent cloud pruned conifer was cloud pruned by Steve and I back in 1010 when we did some work experience for Andrew at Red Dragon  Nursery.

This magnificent cloud pruned conifer was cloud pruned by Steve and I back in 1010 when we did some work experience for Andrew at Red Dragon Nursery.

Steve and I love this place

Steve and I love this place

Jenny's (first) cart full of plants, mine are on the wall behind the cart

Jenny’s (first) cart full of plants, mine are on the wall behind the cart

This place gives "garden rooms" a whole new meaning as each turn, path, side track delivers you to another little section of gorgeousness to peruse, ponder and purchase if you see fit :)

This place gives “garden rooms” a whole new meaning as each turn, path, side track delivers you to another little section of gorgeousness to peruse, ponder and purchase if you see fit :)

I adore Zenobia's but my specimen died. This one is well and truly alive and flowering to boot

I adore Zenobia’s but my specimen died. This one is well and truly alive and flowering to boot

Andrew is most proud of his selection of very large leafed rhododendrons. He even gave me the name of this one to share with you all. This is very hard to get and is Rhododendron sinogrande with leaves that reach 780cm. What a magnificent beast!

Andrew is most proud of his selection of very large leafed rhododendrons. He even gave me the name of this one to share with you all. This is very hard to get and is Rhododendron sinogrande with leaves that reach 78cm. What a magnificent beast!

More of those beautiful rocks (with a protective hand...he knows my magpie tendencies ;) )

More of those beautiful rocks (with a protective hand…he knows my magpie tendencies ;) )

The exit to the nursery

The exit to the nursery

Part of the outside grounds where examples of the trees and shrubs for sale have been planted so that people can see what they will look like in a garden situation

Part of the outside grounds where examples of the trees and shrubs for sale have been planted so that people can see what they will look like in a garden situation

More of the outside garden. Aren't these conifers gorgeous?

More of the outside garden. Aren’t these conifers gorgeous?

I adore this golden bamboo. Jenny bought herself a large pot of black bamboo. We have seen these bamboos in other nursery's for $120 but at Andrew's this very healthy specimen was a mere $32 (and that was expensive!) Jenny has promised me some when it starts to shoot :)

I adore this golden bamboo. Jenny bought herself a large pot of black bamboo. We have seen these bamboos in other nursery’s for $120 but at Andrew’s this very healthy specimen was a mere $32 (and that was expensive!) Jenny has promised me some when it starts to shoot :)

After all of the bru-ha-ha had settled down a most magical thing happened. My testosterone fuelled, angst ridden, outrageously indignant brother who thinks with his sharp pointed finger and who holds onto his anger with a furious dignity that could be admired if it wasn’t so very infuriating, apologised to me. He may have deleted most of the more incriminating parts of said post but he apologised. I am thinking that much like Mr Rudyard Kipling’s most glorious ode of father to son masculinity “If” , my little brother has become a “man”. There comes a time in your life where being right is less important than being part of a small but most stalwart collective of bunched up and twitching outrageous nervous energy or as mainstream humanity would call it, part of a “family”. You are part of my family Jamie. You always will be. Whether you choose to flail about and sustain collateral damage (hippos think with their mouths…) is up to you, but I love you and you will always be in my heart.

The little building here is the nursery office. Andrew, Steve and I share a passion for cold climate shrubs and trees that bonded us all from the start

The little building here is the nursery office. Andrew, Steve and I share a passion for cold climate shrubs and trees that bonded us all from the start

Andrew also shares a passion for the beautiful rocks that can be found on beaches all around the shorelines of Tasmania.

Andrew also shares a passion for the beautiful rocks that can be found on beaches all around the shorelines of Tasmania.

2 lovely maples side by side

2 lovely maples side by side

Loveliness

Loveliness

More loveliness

More loveliness

Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to delight your eye. My photos don't do this wonderful place justice.

Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to delight your eye. My photos don’t do this wonderful place justice.

:)

:)

The entrance/exit

The entrance/exit

Even the trolley bay is pretty

Even the trolley bay is pretty

Red Dragon Nursery specialises in rare and hard to get rhododendrons and azaleas. This is a rhododendron but I certainly wouldn't have picked it as such

Red Dragon Nursery specialises in rare and hard to get rhododendrons and azaleas. This is a rhododendron but I certainly wouldn’t have picked it as such

This azalea appears to have a split personality ;)

This azalea appears to have a split personality ;)

Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way lets talk about what the heck narf7 is on about with that title! Well today is Earl’s birthday. It was 4 years ago today, somewhere in rural South Australia that little Earl first tumbled out into the world, no doubt making his presence felt as soon as he could. From that day on, he has spent his life infuriating, exasperating, eating, dissecting, scraping, chewing, frolicking, barking, did I mention eating? And loving us all. Earl is one of a kind. He is a doggie shaped enigma and we love Earl to bits. It took me a fair while to warm to Earl because he was so very feral but now we are mono-a-mono and there is no separating us. I love him so much I carried home 3 segments of pool noodle that someone had thrown out in a roadside collect today, 2 km to the bemused stares of early morning commuters just so that he would have the joy of tearing them into tiny “squeaky” shreds on his birthday. Today will bring white chocolate (yes, dogs can have it), pizza, eggs, balloons, pool noodles and lots and lots of love, just how it should be when a dog turns 4 :)

Earl not long after we got him

Earl not long after we got him back in April 2011 wasn’t he a cutey? :)

Earl in his usual habitat, a trail of chewed mass destruction in his wake ;)

Earl in his usual habitat, a trail of chewed mass destruction in his wake ;)

Here is that small collective of pool noodle/s that I carried home this morning. Most of them have been shredded but one remains in the lounge room for grazing on later in the day ;)

Here is that small collective of pool noodle/s that I carried home this morning. Most of them have been shredded but one remains in the lounge room for grazing on later in the day ;)

The heron bit…well yesterday on our early morning walk, Earl and I noticed a flock of 14 herons winging their way in from the river to a large dead gum tree. They all landed in the tree and it took them all of 4 seconds to note us walking under the tree. 9 of the herons flew away protesting loudly but 3 remained, stoic in the knowledge that there was no WAY this side of the Pecos that a somewhat overweight 50+ year old woman and a dog who was tethered to said woman (thus completely immobilised by his fat anchor…) were going to be able to climb up 50 feet into the sky to catch them without them at least getting a bit of a whiff of the clear and present danger LONG before it arrived. 3 of those herons were clever. Their babies will be taught by clever parents. And thus the clever bring more cleverness into the world…

Steve took this photo of a dandelion covered in seeds not so long back. Pretty isn't it?

Steve took this photo of a dandelion covered in seeds not so long back. Pretty isn’t it?

It might not be as delicate and sensitive as a zenobia but this deutzia is just as pretty and much hardier. You have to be clever with what you plant, you can usually find something almost the same that will be most happy to live in your garden :)

It might not be as delicate and sensitive as a zenobia but this deutzia is just as pretty and much hardier. You have to be clever with what you plant. You can usually find something almost the same that will be most happy to live in your garden :)

Sunshine in Sanctuary and another opportunity to get stuck in to food production

Sunshine in Sanctuary and another opportunity to get stuck in to food production

The last part of the title (and the least pleasant to think about) is the snotty oysters. I can hear you all thinking “I thought narf was a vegan? What the heck is she doing eating and learning to appreciate snotty oysters?!” Well I was being metaphorical rather than actual in this part of the title. Walking with Earl at 5am gives me time to contemplate the world without having to worry too much about ducking over to the very edge of the verge (and coincidentally the very edge of the river bank) in order to avoid being run over by cars. You tend to think more about your own mortality at 7am than you do at 5am. I had just stood and witnessed the sun coming up over a glorious still river and watched the shadows give way to that amazing light that only comes at sun up and Earl and I stood silent and in awe (well I was, Earl was sniffing a dandelion) of this amazing world, how beautiful and privileged we were (again, Earl was otherwise occupied so I really shouldn’t be speaking for him) to bear witness to the start of another amazing day on this slow revolving blue planet that occupies this point in space and time.

These are the plants that I bought at Red Dragon. We have stopped buying ornamentals and everything here has at least 2 purposes. The manna ash has sweet sap that can be harvested in Mediterranean climates like maple syrup, the katsura has toffee apple scented leaves and amazing autumn foliage, the small pot is a Tasmanian pepperberry and the pot on the far right is a New Zealand wineberry BUT I did a bit of research when I got home and they are dioeceous which means that they need both a male AND a female to produce fruit. Looks like Stevie-boy and I will be heading back out to Red Dragon in the near future. Oh what a difficult thing to do! ;)

These are the plants that I bought at Red Dragon. We have stopped buying ornamentals and everything here has at least 2 purposes. The manna ash has sweet sap that can be harvested in Mediterranean climates like maple syrup, the katsura has toffee apple scented leaves and amazing autumn foliage, the small pot is a Tasmanian pepperberry and the pot on the far right is a New Zealand wineberry BUT I did a bit of research when I got home and they are dioeceous which means that they need both a male AND a female to produce fruit. Looks like Stevie-boy and I will be heading back out to Red Dragon in the near future. Oh what a difficult thing to do! ;)

Friends who live down the road had a garage sale on Saturday.

Friends who live down the road had a garage sale on Saturday.

I bought this loveliness... well I didn't buy those wicker balls at the front, I got them for free from another roadside stand that was giving things away. They are going to be used on our homemade Christmas tree this year along with all of our other homemade decorations :)

I bought this loveliness… well I didn’t buy those wicker balls at the front, I got them for free from another roadside stand that was giving things away. They are going to be used on our homemade Christmas tree this year along with all of our other homemade decorations :)

I also got some small ounce scales (no, I am NOT going into "business" I just liked them ;) ) and this lovely copper pot and small sugar bowl...

I also got some small ounce scales (no, I am NOT going into “business” I just liked them ;) ) and this lovely copper pot and small sugar bowl…

...with feet! Who can resist something inanimate with feet :)

…with feet! Who can resist something inanimate with feet :)

Stevie-boy bought me a passionfruit and a kiwiberry on Monday when he was doing our fortnightly grocery shop.

Stevie-boy bought me a passionfruit and a kiwiberry on Monday when he was doing our fortnightly grocery shop.

A different variety of Jerusalem artichoke to my regular variety that I have planted to add to the mix, a punnet each of rainbow chard, spinach and jalapenos and my compost bucket ready to be emptied in Sanctuary

A different variety of Jerusalem artichoke to my regular variety that I have planted to add to the mix, a punnet each of rainbow chard, spinach and jalapenos and my compost bucket ready to be emptied in Sanctuary

That Jerusalem artichoke and some that needed to be removed from the garden bed. Once you have Jerusalem artichokes you won't ever be without them but as I love them I really don't mind, it's all bonus food and sunflowers for me! :)

That Jerusalem artichoke and some that needed to be removed from the garden bed. Once you have Jerusalem artichokes you won’t ever be without them but as I love them I really don’t mind, it’s all bonus food and sunflowers for me! :)

A whole lot less pumpkins but a whole lot more order and choice. I am planting things out randomly in the hope that nature will be happy with my chaos. (That's my story and I am sticking to it ;) )

A whole lot less pumpkins but a whole lot more order and choice. I am planting things out randomly in the hope that nature will be happy with my chaos. (That’s my story and I am sticking to it ;) )

They might not be the most professional looking tomato cages but they serve the purpose and were made with love by Stevie-boy for my 2 San Marzano paste tomatoes :)

They might not be the most professional looking tomato cages but they serve the purpose and were made with love by Stevie-boy for my 2 San Marzano paste tomatoes :)

Earl was peeing on a tree by this stage but I was still full of the heady bliss of it all and my thoughts turned to life, the universe and everything. I started to think about how each new day was like an oyster being opened. Inside you could find a pearl or you could find a snotty oyster. Pearly days are absolutely wonderful, snotty oyster days are to be endured, unless you find a way to appreciate snotty oysters and then you are ahead. I guess what I was trying to say (other than “I don’t like raw oysters”) is that if we learn to appreciate our days, come what may, we end up with a better quality of life, no matter what our circumstances. Life is what we make of it, not what it hands us. Some lives are harder to live than others and some circumstances are more difficult to endure but there is always a way, always a silver lining and always a way to put the check book back in balance (metaphorically speaking) we just have to find it. I would like it known that I will NEVER appreciate snotty oysters (or cooked okra) I will just pass them on to someone who does and thus ends the lesson for today. Time to head off into our respective lives, to live, to love, to moderate our Facebook rants and to make of our lives what we will. Here’s to Earl and his unmitigated merriment no matter what and a birthday full of things that make him happy :)

This is what makes Earl happy, loud music and love and adoration from his humans :)

This is what makes Earl happy, loud music and love and adoration from his humans :)

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 ” :)

 

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