For those of us left behind when friends move on

Hi All,

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

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

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

Mieka :)

Mieka :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inherited furniture prior to moving it into the house

Inherited furniture prior to moving it into the house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our bed and the two bedside tables that we inherited

Our bed and the two bedside tables that we inherited

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I have artichoke futures! :)

And I have artichoke futures! :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A most freaky sunburst on a very overcast day.

A most freaky sunburst on a very overcast day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Friends :)

Friends :)

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

Hi All,

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

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

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

- Frank Zappa

 

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

Ducky loves fresh water , look at her go :)

Ducky loves fresh water , look at her go :)

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

Now we have a issue with a Kurrajong …

He is getting to cocky and likes cheese to much.

He is getting to cocky and likes cheese to much.

 

Emm cheese

Emm cheese

 

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

Just haveing a stroll on the deck are we..

Just haveing a stroll on the deck are we..

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

What happened here?

What happened here?

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

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

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

Oii there my eggs you know

Oii there my eggs you know

 

Blood moon , it was very cool to watch it

Blood moon , it was very cool to watch it

One i took before the blood moon started

One i took before the blood moon started

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Look mud i love the dirt says Earl

Look mud i love the dirt says Earl

 

This is why we need a path , we have sludge

This is why we need a path , we have sludge

 

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

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

Jan gave Fran a really lovely bread book

Jan gave Fran a really lovely bread book

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

The old raggy line

The old raggy line

 

New line on the washing line

New line on the washing line

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

Shuttering ready for concrete

Shuttering ready for concrete

 

The concrete helper is here ...

The concrete helper is here …

Getting there ..

Getting there ..

A great path now

A great path now

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

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

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

View from the cherry tree to the house

View from the cherry tree to the house

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

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

 

A baby oak in its leaves

A baby oak in its leaves

 

And here we are with the cheese bird again :)

And here we are with the cheese bird again :)

 

Storing water for the garden

narf77:

When you are a penniless student hippy who lives somewhere that is as dry as the Sahara desert for 4 months of the year you NEED to find ways to store water and Bev has some amazingly clever ideas plus so much more! Check out this awesome post and guess who is off to the tip to look for old bath tubs…

Originally posted on Foodnstuff:

I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but some of my newer readers won’t have seen it so I’ve updated it for reposting. With summer on the way it’s worthwhile thinking about how to keep the water up to newly planted trees and seedlings.

Storing water for the home food garden is crucial for self-sufficiency and building resilience into our lives in the face of change. In a reticulated system, such as most of us have now, energy is needed to pump water to suburban homes. In the energy-scarce future that’s ahead of us, we can’t guarantee that we’ll always be able to turn on a tap and have water at our fingertips.

So….putting in water storage systems should be a priority. Much more so than the latest brand of plasma TV or the latest iPad.

It’s important to look at the cost of storing water per litre

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Can the good stuff in life ever be 30% off?

Hi All,

I am sitting here reading advertisements waiting for my latest pdf to download. I use a pdf writer to pinch recipe (and other) posts that amuse and delight me. I am easily amused and delighted so I have a lot of pdf’s but the acquirement of these pdf’s require that I sit here and spend a lot of time looking at advertisements while I wait for them to download. Today’s offering involves Barbara Streisand’s latest album, Pink Floyd pushing “The Endless River” and some unknown to me singer called “Lucinda Williams” who gave her album the illustrious title “Down where the spirit meets the bone”. It’s 30% off. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see a time or place where spirits meeting bone should be 30% off. If anything, fundamental soul should be 30% extra…just sayin…

Meet our resident Kurrajong "Curry". He/she (we are not sure which) has most cleverly seen other birds that come up to our windowsill being rewarded with cheese.  Now we have all kinds of birds arriving on the sill including Curry

Meet our resident Kurrajong “Curry”. He/she (we are not sure which) has most cleverly seen other birds that come up to our windowsill being rewarded with cheese. Now we have all kinds of birds arriving on the sill including Curry

"Excuse me humans, you appear to have run out of delicious cheese cubes. Do you think you could see your way clear to putting a few more out?"

“Excuse me humans, you appear to have run out of delicious cheese cubes. Do you think you could see your way clear to putting a few more out?”

Steve on strike on the shed roof because he doesn't think that his artistic talents are being fully appreciated...

Steve on strike on the shed roof because he doesn’t think that his artistic talents are being fully appreciated…

Ms Ducky, caught in the act of stuffing her craw

Ms Ducky, caught in the act of stuffing her craw

I just reblogged Mr 23Thorns latest attempt to sell books in his book establishment and if I lived in Africa, which I sometimes think I may as well be the amount of animals that track through Serendipity Farm on their way to “somewhere else” is reminiscent of the Serengeti, I would haunt like a grey wraith and Mr 23Thorns would have to have me evicted and subpoenaed for stalking. I hope you read his post. I hope you loved it. I hope milk came out of your nose when you read the bit about making your kids live in the garage and only come down at Christmas time and having to breathe through straws, even if you weren’t drinking milk. Mr 23Thorns is all over this writing thing. I am still learning how to tame my ellipsis. Might be easier if I wasn’t slothful about it all and took the time to actually learn a bit about the English vernacular but whatchagonnadoeh?

I LOVE Garage sales...

I LOVE Garage sales…

Especially when you get really good bargains

Especially when you get really good bargains

I liked the look of the Guinness cooler bags and when I lifted them I discovered that they each had 3 bottles of vintage Aussie Marsala wine in them. I got the coolers and the wine for $10..."bargain" :)

I liked the look of the Guinness cooler bags and when I lifted them I discovered that they each had 3 bottles of vintage Aussie Marsala wine in them. I got the coolers and the wine for $10…”bargain” :)

Old hairdressing scissors, a good vegetable peeler (finally!), an excellent staple gun, a set of pan pipes (I release my album next week...), antique blue delft Dutch tiles and a musical wine pourer

Old hairdressing scissors, a good vegetable peeler (finally!), an excellent staple gun, a set of pan pipes (I release my album next week…), antique blue delft Dutch tiles and a musical wine pourer

3 antique tape measures, a vintage auto compass, a Chinese vase, an old outdoor thermometer and a green glass float

3 antique tape measures, a vintage auto compass, a Chinese vase, an old outdoor thermometer and a green glass float

Horse brasses and some small handmade ceramic pots

Horse brasses and some small handmade ceramic pots

A crystal ball...or another clear float

A crystal ball…or another clear float

And lastly, for my daughter Beenz who collects old playing cards, a deck of soft porn vintage playing cards circa 1940. I bet she doesn't have a deck of these! ;)

And lastly, for my daughter Beenz who collects old playing cards, a deck of soft porn vintage playing cards circa 1940. I bet she doesn’t have a deck of these! ;)

So I bled out onto the page last week so what am I going to talk about this week? Well it’s Friday at the moment and I am inclined to pot seeds up today. Yesterday I hauled big rocks. I fought the dreaded Jack Jumper ants and won. In other words, they didn’t bite me. I did use a large mattock handle to roll the rocks down to their new home, being very careful not to go so slowly that the dreaded Jack Jumpers got their bearings and homed in on my tender narfy bits. I did it so that Stevie-boy can drive through our new gate without taking the new fence out in the process. It was hard enough to get motivated to construct the fence in the first place. Re-constructing it would be madness. Best we make sure it stays up in the first place and that involved moving large rocks from a garden bed that was in the way. A garden bed full of Jack Jumper ants.

Feral and fecund inside Sanctuary

Feral and fecund inside Sanctuary

Plenty of room for nefarious creatures to roam under cover...

Plenty of room for nefarious creatures to roam under cover…

I pulled out all of the weeds from the garden beds and added 8 bags of well rotted mushroom compost full of worms...

I pulled out all of the weeds from the garden beds and added 8 bags of well rotted mushroom compost full of worms…

And we cleared out the glasshouse ready for turning it into a plant propagation and germination centre.

And we cleared out the glasshouse ready for turning it into a plant propagation and germination centre.

It also contained a lot of enormous terracotta pots that I had filled, in a past life, where plants were the object of my intense adoration, with succulents and cacti. I was the succulent and cactus queen who tended her terracotta pots with joy and aplomb. We moved to Serendipity Farm and suddenly I had no time to pull out the weeds and when we got ducks they started to mysteriously disappear. I would walk past them and do a double take as there was a strange empty space where I was sure a succulent had been the last time I walked past…it turns out ducks love succulents. I mean why wouldn’t they? Succulents are the plant equivalent of slugs. They are just green skin surrounding a slimy centre and ducks adore them. By the time I worked out who was hoovering down my succulents it was too late…they were almost all gone. The duck wasn’t quite so keen on the succulents with added protection and so I still have a fair few of my cactus and now that we have liberated the rock gardens near the clothes line (I can put washing on the line without voortrekking around the outside like a buffalo girl!) I am going to plant the last of my semi wasted cacti that are still showing signs of life despite being semi-dehiscent out to their equivalent of “green pastures” to live out the rest of their lives (until Earl urinates them into oblivion).

Hoeing the soil

Hoeing the soil

More soil hoeing

More soil hoeing

How much hoeing can one family do?

How much hoeing can one family do?

I am sitting here thinking about how we do and accomplish so very much in our days in modern society but on the whole there is a general sense of dissatisfaction with our lot. I have kitchen windows that need a wash. I have a floor that needs a wash to be recognisable as a floor, I need to remove the cobwebs from the corners, evict the spiders, sweep up the dog hair and do all sorts of other things but how many of these processes are going to give me a sense of inner satisfaction. I wonder…I wonder what would happen if we didn’t bother to wash the windows. If we stopped scrubbing the bathroom till we could see our faces in the porcelain. Would we all die of terrible unsanitary diseases or would we simply stop buying as many bathroom cleaning products and buy a bit more time to do something that makes our heart sing? I love it when my heart sings. I know that I need to do the things that need “doing” before I can release that inner blackbird but I also know that some of what my mind keeps telling me I absolutely, positively, MUST do is absolutely, positively NOT necessary. So if any of you ever make it over to this little portion of the world, don’t be surprised to find dog hairs in the corners, tomato paste splashes on the splash back and a floor that is reminiscent of a Picasso painting. I am AWOL…my heart is singing…

Organic soil ammeliorants

Organic soil ameliorates

Soil ameliorates plus a nosy dog who quite likes the smell of that kelp...

Soil ameliorates plus a nosy dog who quite likes the smell of that kelp…

Blue barrels set up ready for rain action over the next few days (pity we forgot to check that the taps were closed...sigh...)

Blue barrels set up ready for rain action over the next few days (pity we forgot to check that the taps were closed…sigh…)

Donated big 1000 litre water container SQUEE! :)

Donated big 1000 litre water container SQUEE! :)

 

It’s Wednesday and we have done SO much! It would seem that spring springing has given us wings. We are the narf and Stevie-boy equivalent of bats…fairies are too cutesy for us and birds are already over-represented on Serendipity Farm so bats it is. We are flitting here and there but with steely determination. We are actually making things work and in the last few days I have planted out seeds, bought 2 lovely San Marzano tomato plants (I will buy 2 more next week) that are going to spend a little bit of time in the glass house as it is still too unpredictable out there in the real world to not expect a heavy frost. We headed into the city and picked up the plumbing fixtures for turning our 2 blue barrels into water collection devices and set them up. We just checked them to see if last nights rain had been collected and realised that the tap was open…sigh…tap is now SHUT. We headed to our friends and she gave us beetroot seeds, a Polygala myrtifolia which is a lovely little groundcover native plant with purple and yellow pea flowers on it. She also gave us a pot of rooted flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) as nothing seems to eat them here where the native animals hoover down the regular currants and as we were talking about what we were doing with the 2 blue water barrels she mentioned that they had a large water container that they weren’t using any more and she would talk to her partner and see if he still wanted it and if he didn’t, we could have it.

Fittings for the water container and screws for the gate construction inside the shed

Fittings for the water container and screws for the gate construction inside the shed

Steve crowbaring the hardwood panels from the shed to start making 2 doors

Steve crowbaring the hardwood panels from the shed to start making 2 doors

Crowbarring completed, hole cut with chainsaw and hardwood shed boards removed and dealing with the heavy tin flashing

Crowbarring completed, hole cut with chainsaw and hardwood shed boards removed and dealing with the heavy tin flashing

Door 1 ready to hang...

Door 1 ready to hang…

Door 1 hung :)

Door 1 hung :)

Free things are delicious! We got a phone call last night and it was delivered by her partner this morning on his way to work past where we live. We now have the capacity to store 1400 litres of water in Sanctuary and we are going to try to pick up at least another one of the large water containers to join the mix. I am hunting for a water tank to use outside the area to provide us with all of the water that we will need inside Sanctuary but for now I am just happy that we are able to save a bit of water towards the veggie watering endeavour. We went to a garage sale and got some lovely bargains and we are cutting double doors into the side of the shed near Sanctuary in order to get loads of manure, straw and oak leaves directly into Sanctuary without having to barrow them in. Steve just picked up the cement and dust to make me a concrete ramp into Sanctuary so that I can barrow things in whenever I want (including grass clippings etc.) Spring has been amazingly productive so far and we are showing no signs of slowing down just yet but mind you, the weather has been lovely and cool. As soon as it starts heating up more we will take it easier.

Stevie-boys Canon with his old 100 x 300mm Sigma SLR lens attached via an adaptor that he bought recently. Why waste these excellent quality lenses when they cost a lot of money late last century...

Stevie-boys Canon with his old 100 x 300mm Sigma SLR lens attached via an adapter that he bought recently. Why waste these excellent quality lenses when they cost a lot of money late last century…

The adaptor that allows Steve to use his other SLR lenses with his DSLR camera. A very clever invention :)

The adapter that allows Steve to use his other SLR lenses with his DSLR camera. A very clever invention :) Perfect for taking photo’s of tonight’s solar eclipse/red moon if the cloud cover ever goes away that is…

Steve's old SLR cameras and lenses.

Steve’s old SLR cameras and lenses.

I have lots of photos to share with you of our past week and hope that you are enjoying your change of seasons as much as we are. We are both tired but very happy with how things are working out here. Have a great week and don’t forget to keep your eye out for the lunar eclipse tonight if you are in the viewing range. We should get a great view from here so long as the cloud cover disappears and Steve has his zoom lens on to see if he can’t take some really awesome shots. I will share them if he does. I am off to help Steve to hang the doors in the shed now so catch you all next week :)

I will leave you with 2 photos that we took in the city yesterday that prove that dogs can not only get along with cats, but can actually enjoy interacting with them…

Bezial and a great big British Blue Rex cat in the city. We saw the cat chasing moths in the window of this shop and Bezial wanted to say hello. At one stage they both had their noses pressed up against the window looking at each other...

Bezial and a great big British Blue Rex cat in the city. We saw the cat chasing moths in the window of this shop and Bezial wanted to say hello. At one stage they both had their noses pressed up against the window looking at each other…

"Don't go big doggy, I will share my moth..."

“Don’t go big doggy, I will share my moth…”

 

Learning To Speak Squirrel

narf77:

2 reblogs in a week? Yup…this is a most gorgeous post of care and possibilities and Lori’s amazing photo’s capture the essence of these wonderful little baby squirrels. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I have :)

Originally posted on Day by Day the Farm Girl Way...:

The week after we acquired Punkin, a five-week-old female squirrel, I received a call about taking in another orphaned squirrel. “Why not?”, I thought to myself. If I was raising one already, how much extra work could two be? Besides, this would provide Punkin a friend to play with.

Two young women brought the little fella to our home. He had just recently opened his eyes. They admitted they had acquired “Gambit” the week before but, after trying to feed and care for him on a regular schedule, it had become more work than they had anticipated. These young ladies told me Gambit had been discovered crying out on the front porch of their Aunt’s house. In the street lay a dead mother squirrel, who had apparently been hit by a vehicle. Whether the baby had made its way down from the nest in search of its mama, or perhaps that the mother was…

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September update

narf77:

Bev is my permaculture guru. What she can do with her property makes me buzz with excitement. Take a look at what a middle aged woman can do all by herself with a whole heap of determination :)

Originally posted on Foodnstuff:

Good things finally started happening.

For one, the spring equinox occurred on the 21st. That means the sun will speed up on its return to the southern sky and that means more generation from the solar panels (it doesn’t really speed up, what changes is the rate of change. Or something. Don’t worry about it).

And those aforementioned little darlings (the solar panels) turned 1 on the 18th. I forgot to wish them happy birthday or otherwise mark the occasion, because the smart meter wasn’t reconfigured to show solar exports until the 1st of November and all my spreadsheet calculations in regard to solar credits start from there. But I was recording what the panels produced every day up to then, so I know that over the year they produced nearly 4000 kWh and that’s a daily average of 11 kWh. Much more than I would ever use from the…

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How to Decorate with Books.

narf77:

From someone who sells and loves book to someone who reads and invests themselves in books to you, dear constant readers, who are literate to a fault. I gift you…Mr 23Thorns :)

Originally posted on Why Books?:

I did something a little silly the other day. I bought some books. Fifty of them.

It was never my intention to buy fifty books. I just wanted to get the kids out of the house so that my wife could finish a project she was working on. Exclusive Books was having a pop-up warehouse sale. R10 a book. In other words, Exclusive Books was giving away books. So I gave the kids R50 each and hauled them off to Kramerville.

Then things became a bit of a blur. There were too many people there. And too many books. The sale rapidly degenerated into a feeding frenzy, and a red mist descended over my eyes. I am not admitting to anything, but there is a good chance I might have pulled out a significant proportion of a hipster’s beard in order to win an engaging little hardback about pirate economics…

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