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…
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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 :)
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…
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
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
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 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
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 ;)
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 :)
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
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)
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 :( )
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!
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… ;) )
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 ;)
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! :)