Guest Post: Something To Admire

narf77:

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

Originally posted on Living Simply Free:

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

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Yesterday I went outside

Hi All,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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R.I.P. Big teddy. Earl got bored…

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I call this one “A study in prospective breakfast”

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

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

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I am going out to get some sunshine therapy

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

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

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

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

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This is a camellia. It is pretty…the end

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

A creative blog hop down on the farm

Hi All,

 

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

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

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

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We made these insect hotels…

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

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

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

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

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

 

Always look on the bright side of life…

 

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

Our babies

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

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

How does my creative process work?

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

more babies still

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

Craft bread

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

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

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

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

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

What am I presently working on?

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

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Bezial modelling some of my creative hooky genius

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

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Everyone is a critic…

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

 

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

 

And therein…I rest my…hic…case!

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

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

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

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

NAH! Live dangerously is my motto ;)

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

Check out this Mozzarella…

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

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And she is incredibly good at knitting…

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

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Read this, it will make you think

Hi Folks,

 

OK, so old narf has been reblogging a few posts this year. I talked about happiness and simple pleasures etc. this week and I know that my tiddley-poe post wasn’t all that inspiring to most of you but I just read a wonderfully written, inspiring and most beautiful blog post that I really need to share with you all. Some of you are going through your own “Long dark tea-time of the soul” at the moment, it is inevitable as we are hitting the aging stick in our droves and life tends to start rebounding on us and the sins of our past are suddenly the problems of our future.

So here we are wondering how the heck we got here, what the heck we are supposed to be doing here and thinking that the whole world has it together apart from us, but you know what? No-one knows, no-one has that magic key to the magic land of complete understanding and no-one (if they are being honest) has a handle on the meaning of life (except for me remember…it’s “42”  I KNOW…I am that generous with life’s secrets! That’s why you keep coming back for more…)

So without any fanfare but a whole lot of admiration for this wonderful Aussie blogger who I have never met, probably will never meet but who shares our common condition of “life”, here is another one of those magic moments…hope you enjoy, get something out of it or at least love the image of that amazing farm in the middle of no-where…

http://dyeingtrade.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/transition-farm.html#comment-form

 

:)

 

Happiness is found in simple pleasures

Hi All,

 

It’s 4.30am on Sunday morning. Its 3C outside apparently but inside Chez Serendipity it’s lovely and warm thanks to our amazing woodstove Brunhilda. We have our winter routine down pat now. We dry logs out in her ovens overnight to make hot toasty logs for her gustatory delight the next day. Even if the wood is a little green in places, an overnight toasting renders them perfect for burning. I was just putting a few extra logs on the fire and enjoying the ambiance that a wood fire brings to your home. The small delighted tongues of golden flame that caress the logs as you place them into the firebox, that pure rush of warmth that carries encoded memory for we humans…we have fire, at least one of our happy boxes is ticked.

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If any day was designed to challenge potential happiness it was today. take a look at those grey clouds! We are probably going to get a lot more rain and even thunder storms tonight. WOOT says me because Steve hooked up the pipe system he designed to harness the water from the main roof so now our tank is going to fill to the max :)

I was about to close the firebox door and head back to my RSS Feed Reader when I decided to take another few moments to enjoy that blissful warmth and the sense of contentment that was radiating through me and infusing me with happiness. What a simple thing? A fire + a narf = happiness. Put me in the middle of January and give me the same equation and the results would be significantly different however right here…right now…I am happy. What is it that makes us happy? We are led to believe that happiness is something to be aspired to…fleeting…unattainable and if you are selling a product its in your best interest to maintain that line to ensure that your prospective customers keep coming back after the elusive bluebird of happiness but is it really that hard to be happy?

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Do you get the feeling, by their expressions,  that a certain two rear seated creatures just worked out that they weren’t going to get much of a walk in the city today?

I don’t think so. I lead a pretty simple life. I don’t have a lot of “stuff” and I don’t WANT a lot of stuff. What I desire tends to be based more on prospective opportunities to learn things rather than the acquisition of anything in particular. I won’t tell a fib, I DO want a Nautilus wind turbine for our home but that’s not for it’s own sake, that’s to shore up our lifestyle. I guess what I am trying to say is that the older I get, the happier I get. Weird really because society would have me believe that I should be miserable…after all I am getting wrinkles (quell horror!) I am not as youthful as I used to be, the slow decline into oblivion is starting to set in so surely I should be racing out and buying any, and everything that will halt this decline or at least whack an “in stasis” sign on my countenance?

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The white pipe that you see running along the side of the bricks is Stevie-boys ingenious way to harness water from the main, much larger, main part of our roof. We will now have enough area to collect enough water to fill our tank :)

I was only saying to Steve yesterday that I have never been more genuinely content and happy in my life as I am right now. I think the older I get the more all of those concepts, those ideas and ideals that I have been formulating and fulminating all of my life are coming home to roost and are finally starting to make sense. About time you guys…I was starting to wonder why I had crammed you into my head for so long…you were taking up precious space that math could have been taking or knowing how to weld or how long is a piece of string…but I digress (my specialty)… I was sitting on a small 2 seater couch that we had purchased from a charity shop specifically for Bezial to lay on next to Brunhilda. My portion of the couch seat was significantly smaller than the other cushion because Earl ate half of it in spite. Note HIS chair hasn’t been eaten in the slightest…there is a lesson here ;). I had a glass of late harvest Riesling (the best of the Rieslings in my opinion…) and was bathing in Brunhilda’s wafting warmth and all of these factors combined made me deeply and incredibly happy.

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Earl dancing with me to “Fantastic Baby” a most wonderful Korean song by my daughters favourite Korean band “Big Bang” that Steve and I are both addicted to. Heres a linkie to it on Youtube if you would like to hear it…Earl says “Fantastic Baby” ;) (I just realised that I look like half of Santa in this photo…did you know that there are only 161 days 07 hours 14 minutes and 45 seconds left to Christmas in Australia…)

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

I started to think about “happiness” as something that isn’t elusive, but is perhaps overlooked because our gaze is elsewhere. Maybe happiness is right here all the time? Maybe we just don’t see or experience it because we are too busy waiting for our lottery win, our superannuation payout, our ship to come in and we miss it in our planning for how happy we are going to be when we lose 40kg, when we meet “that man/woman” we get the perfect job…it might have been the late harvest Riesling but I had one of those little moments in life where you just KNOW something profound has gone through your head. Life is full of small moments. We live in those moments. If we are focussing on our lives and living them to the fullest one moment at a time then we have that secret to happiness right there within our grasp. Happiness is being content with who you are and where you are. Happiness is accepting that your life might not be picture perfect and it might be SO far short of the “idea’’ but it’s YOUR life and you are making the best of it…THAT, my dear constant readers is true happiness. You can’t buy it in a jar, it doesn’t come in a golden ring or a Faberge egg or a lottery winning, it comes from inside YOU and we all have that most elusive of abilities built into us, we can be entirely responsible for our own contentment and happiness

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Earl studying design. He has managed to acquire a ruler and has been predominately influenced by dada and that series of light lines on the table in front of him. He contemplated chewing off Bezial’s ear so that he could be like Van Gough but then decided that it was all too much like hard work and went off to clean his private parts…

I can hear people saying “well how can I be happy eh? I have a mortgage…I have to go to work! It’s alright for old narf, she landed on her feet when her dad left her a mortgage free home and she can choose to live how she likes…” true, I was left an incredible gift by my dad. We don’t need a lot of money to live on as we are pretty easily pleased. We don’t aspire to anything aside from the odd Nautilus or new guitar and we know how to save up for years if needs be for these kinds of things. We are money poor, time rich and I do have the time to indulge myself in thought, in taking life at a slower pace than most people and in being able to stop and smell the roses to the max if I feel like it (unless I have been procrastinating all week about my studies and end up having to spend a solid day knocking them out…no time for rose sniffing THEN! ;) ).

fruitshop Fran

One of my earlier designs created in Illustrator. This is a logo for a fruit shop that we had to create. I initially had a white interior but there were problems with it so I went with the other colour for dragon fruit (Pitaya) which is pink. Hopefully you have been up for a while prior to having to look at this…I appologise deeply if you are now blind.

A persons circumstances can certainly affect how they look at life but I need to point out that some of the poorest people in the world are also the happiest. The less stuff you have, the less going on in your life, the more you live close to nature and adhering to its cycles the happier you are. How many of us have a job these days where we can say “I created something today”. We humans have a deep seated need to create, to learn, to go hunting for new ideas. Our brain cells can only grow if we apply ourselves to learn something entirely new. We have lost track of our true needs in the quest for societal needs and in the process we forgot where to find happiness. It’s in the metaphorical equivalent of a shoebox under the bed folks. It’s a little seed planted inside all of us. The problem is that seed isn’t going to grow unless we nurture it. We need to pay attention to it, water it, let it out and sniff around a bit (happiness is a puppy?!) interact with happiness…take part. Enjoy those simple things and immerse yourself in those simple pleasures. Give yourself permission to live life right now. Don’t put it off till your boat comes in because what if it doesn’t and you have spent ALL of this time waiting for something that never comes? You could be enjoying those simple little moments in life that are just waiting for you to notice them right here…right now.

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Sorry it’s not a great image but you get my drift and if you click on the image you can see it bigger. We had to create a flyer in InDesign for an International Melbourne Design yearly event. I drew the light-bulb in illustrator and am proud of how it turned out as I used gradients and shading and an outer glow. This is the first page and here is the second page…

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This is my second page of the flyer project (to be seen as the rear portion of the flyer). I created a word cloud in a program called “Image Chef” where you can create all sorts of word clouds, use your own photos in all kinds of situations and you can make Meme’s that you can use on Facebook, Pinterest etc. I found a mobile phone template, used “design” type words and put a photo that we were required to use in our project as the screen inside the word cloud mobile. I chose to use a most interesting sculpture that stands (somewhere) in Melbourne to finish off my flyer

I haven’t been philosophical for a while but the combination of a good late harvest Riesling and that blissful warmth coupled with a loving dog cuddled up to me, the promise of more Riesling, a meal that I didn’t have to cook and the deep sense of contentment that flowed through me gave me the idea that maybe we all need to be reminded that simple happiness’s are the bomb. Let yourself take the time to pat your dog and really enjoy that moment…give yourself a little treat, whatever takes your fancy and don’t feel guilty about it (unless it involves something nefarious then FEEL GUILTY!), hug your partner, your pet, a tree…hugging is good for your soul. All of those simple moments, that first beverage of the day, knowing that you paid a bill before it was due, seeing your kids getting along, knowing that you have enough money to pay for your groceries next week, simple little moments of pleasure but truly where happiness is to be found :)

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The second part of our Mid Year assessment was to create a post card of “Australian colours”. We were given a lot of freedom in this part to create our own ideas using whatever we wanted. I wanted to recreate a sort of Aussie landscape idea using the colours of Australia. I started with the blue of the sea ranging through white beach sand, darker soil, the red soil of middle Australia and the predominate greens of our wide brown land. I then added a couple of blues for the sky and a dark night sky as well as a sun to make it more obvious that this was a landscape. I decided to leave the black lines in between the coloured layers. If it is good enough for Pro Hart, it’s good enough for Narf! ;)

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We had to produce a front and back of the post card and this is the back of my card. The text is just blurb that we had to include as part of the assessment. I wanted to add interest to the back of the card and so I washed out the colours on the front and removed the stroke/lines around the colours. The whole idea of a post card is to get someone who is visiting Australia to buy it and send it home. I wanted mine to be VERY bright as that’s part of the battle of the post cards won…”Pick me…PICK ME!” ;)

Well guess who forgot it was Wednesday all over again. Stevie-boy and I headed into town with the hounds this morning to take our car in to be mended (water hose leak) and for Steve to check out a swapsie with another guitar collector of one of his guitars. You may recall the lesson learned last week about scammers, well this man was most definitely not a scammer and invited Steve to his house to test drive the prospective swap and Steve is now very happy with his trade. When we got back we threw ourselves into working on our mid year assessment as it is due on Monday and as Steve is home this week we have been able to spend the hours needed to do this task. Not easy when you both need the same PC to work on but we are learning to share and should graduate to “sharing without having temper tantrums” some time mid next year. These things can’t be hurried you know…

tasmap Fran

I am quite proud of this map. I had to trace around a map of Tasmania and then add a few roads and town names. That was what I had to do for my assignment but narf being narf didn’t want to stop there…I decided to take an existing map of soil types and run with it. Sorry its a small image but because there is so much detail in it, it is HUGE. Steve and I are really starting to enjoy ourselves with Illustrator. It is a wonderful program full of possibilities. The only limit is your imagination

We had some news for Earl while we were in the city. Earl’s favourite tree that he loves to urinate on every single day fell down. He is both sad to lose a good old friend and incredibly happy because he, single handedly, slayed a mighty tree using only the power of his urine. Time to get this post onto the printing presses. I may have to cheat a bit and use some photos that I “prepared earlier” as all of the amazing photos that I was going to take today for you didn’t eventuate because it has rained solid all day BUT in saying that, the rain is now a reason to tap-dance because Steve’s new system is up and collecting a large amount of water from our roof now. Happy days!  Have a lovely and prosperous week folks. Remember to look for your own happiness in those small moments…those simple pleasures, and take happiness where you find it. Don’t wait for magic carpets and lottery winnings and you will soon be happier than you have ever been :)

“There’s a hole in my wallet dear Liza…”

 

Well there WOULD have been a hole in our wallet if we hadn’t been such cynical Mainlanders who could smell a scam a mile away. Stevie-boy has a lot of guitars. Most of them he plays regularly, some, not so much because he wants to keep them in good nick. One guitar that he bought many years ago he hasn’t played hardly at all. The fact that it is a left handed guitar and Stevie-boy is right handed might have something to do with it but it, too, is one of those “keep for good” guitars. The other day Stevie-boy decided that what point was it to have “keep for good” guitars if you want to play them and are lusting after a 57 reproduction Strat and after seeing a friend sell their old clunker of a tractor within days of listing it on Gumtree, he decided to give it a go…I mean “what have you got to lose, it’s free to list”…

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When Stevie-boy trundled up the driveway yesterday late afternoon he had something in his bag addressed to me…now what could this be?

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OOOOH! Its my organiser from Ms Pauline, queen of teal and most talented lady of Dunedin who pens the delightful exploits of a crafty ma’am and her trusty sidekick Orlando and young Siddy-me-lad who has just joined the fray at The Contented Crafter. I won this organiser a little while ago and now it is just about to be revealed in all of its glory…

Seems you have a LOT to lose if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of the scammers market. The acceptance of the internet as a particularly good way to communicate, educate and engage in commerce has allowed the scammers to move indoors, stop hawking stolen goods out of the back of (stolen?) trucks and having to frequent bars to shiftily waft the allure of hidden treasure at strangers from the hairy confines of their armpits. They can now sit in a computer chair in their underpants eating a doughnut and quaffing a coke while they go about their nefarious ways and ply their trade in other people’s misery. Just a small aside…I wouldn’t want you to think that I was a criminal. I have been known to sit in a computer chair in my underpants eating doughnuts and quaffing the tea equivalent of coke but that’s where the similarities end…just clarifying that…

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“TA-DAAAA” :) Isn’t it beautiful? When I won this beautiful organiser it was just a twinkle in Ms Pauline’s eye, a gem of an idea that was about to be born. This journal was created with me in mind. It is SO pretty…so very pretty that I have postulated on other blogs that I may just have to put it in a glass case and mount it in the lounge room only to be fondled by special guests. Ms Pauline will be rolling her eyes about now but whatchagonnadoeh? Serendipity Farm is very plain compared to this most beautiful creation. I am not sure that my thoughts are something that should grace these gorgeous pages ;)

Stevie-boy listed his guitar and sat back to wait and see what happened, after all, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and “you can’t be any worse off (aka “minus one 57 reproduction Strat”) than you already are?” can you…can you? Seems its not only EBay that is prone to the old scamarooni trick whereby someone texts you (our texter was strangely unable to be texted back and we had to send them an email to contact them…first alarm bell sounding…) about what you are selling. It’s usually about something high end (like Stevie-boys Strat) and easy to fence. Next he said something along the lines of “What’s your firm price?” (said to make you think that this is a genuine buyer and garner a degree of conversational acceptance, getting you “on side”). Next came “I can’t get there to see it and will be sending it out of the country” (“DINGALING-ALING-ALING!!!”) and then added “let me know your bank account details so that I can put the money into your account and will get my courier to pick up the guitar” and BAM we knew instantly that this person was attempting to scam Steve.

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This is what a wet dog looks like when it gets up and moves on…

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Earl surveying his kingdom from the deck and that red thing is one of the blueberries YES they are tall aren’t they?

How did we know? It’s the oldest trick in the internet book. You contact someone about their guitar/high ticket item. You may or may not have access to someone elses credit card that you pinched and they are probably not even aware that you have their details because they have been sleeping on it and waiting for someone like Steve to list something that they want. Next they contact the seller and appear genuine. They then ask for bank account details or Paypal details and the next part is truly clever if it wasn’t so immoral and outrageously horrendous to bear the brunt of . They transfer stolen money from the bank account that they have been monitoring to the sellers account. They always put MORE than the amount that they paid and pretend that it was an oversight and ask the seller to refund the difference. Most sellers are just happy to have made a sale and have money in their account so they are happy to transfer that money back to the buyers account, after all, they paid didn’t they?

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In the spirit of honesty, this is “Sanctuary” the name of my fully enclosed veggie garden…although fully enclosed would mean that “things” couldn’t get in and this isn’t quite the case here… lets just call this photo “Winter decline”

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This was once a mountain of pumpkin fecundity and now the nasturtiums are making a play for supremacy. A good play by the look of it!

Happy in making a sale, the seller sends off the guitar to the buyer and happy days, everyone is happy…but not for long. Pretty soon the seller finds out that they are being investigated by the crime squad about money taken from someone’s account, they have to refund said money…all of it…even the “excess” money that the scammer creamed off the top before they hightailed it away over the hills and dales with both your item AND a few thousand spare dollars for spending cash leaving you without your item AND in the hole for more money than you would have gotten for it. A HUGE double whammy and so many people must fall for this because the scammers just keep…on…doing it. It seems legit, how the heck would you know if someone was scamming you? Well the best way, especially on Gumtree where you have NO protection at all, is to only accept cash for your item and to only deal in person, face to face with the buyer. That’s IT that’s all. That’s the best possible way to make sure your sale isn’t shonky.

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I think that my yacon might be telling me that it is time to harvest the tubers…what do you think? ;)

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This is Anakin. He is a British (racing) blue rex. Stevie-boy fed him corned beef and he kept Stevie-boy company while he was painting. This picture doesn’t do him justice as he is HUGE and gorgeous and boofy and wonderful and talked to Stevie-boy for ages on his tea breaks…almost like I was there and he couldn’t get a word in edgewise either ;) (just like me but I don’t eat corned beef ;) )

We sent back an email saying “we only deal face to face and with cash as there are SO many scammers out there”. Funnily enough we never heard back from the “buyer” after that ;). It really is both buyer AND seller beware these days folks and just because somethings “seems” legit, doesn’t mean that it is.

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Earl gets freedom inside Sanctuary when there isn’t anything in the gardens and here you can see both Earl and Bezial eating their weights worth of oat leaves. Neither of them is ill, they just both love their “salad”

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There is an amazing array of water tank accouterments that you can buy these days that assure you that each and every single one of them is MOST important to use with your water tank. Back when I was a kid you just had a galvanised water tank that may or may not have contained frogs (in our case …did) and that was usually leaking in several places and if you were foolish enough to climb up on the tank stand and peer myopically into the hole in the top you were rewarded by purest algal green…we drank that. Might be part of why I am the way that I am today ;)

I have been cooking up a storm lately but have conveniently forgotten to take any pictures. I found a wonderful chocolate cake recipe that I baked for a friend recently and then again for another friend as it appears it was “friends birthday month” for the last 2 weeks. This cake is quick, easy, vegan (but you wouldn’t know it) and scrumptious. Its the result of one celebrity chef, Mr Georgio Locatelli’s daughter being profoundly allergic to just about everything. What an irony! Having one of the most famous chef dads and not being able to eat almost anything that he cooked for you. The cake is yummy. It’s still moist and tasty after a week but good luck keeping it for a week. Have it with icing (frosting for you Americans), cream (whipped coconut cream for we vegans), a dusting of icing sugar (confectioners sugar for you Americans) I am tired! All of this translation is blowing out my word count and goodness only knows I don’t need ANY help to do that! I will give you the recipe. Even if you are a card carrying, dyed in the wool carnivore it never hurts to have a cake that doesn’t rely on eggs, milk and butter to make as you just never know when you might be out of them and need to make a cake. Here’s your answer, tuck it away someplace you can find it again (and again…and again…)

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/jan/27/foodanddrink.recipes

This one is in tsp and ml for people who don’t like to weigh

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-383002/Fighting-food-allergy.html

Just scroll down this article to find the recipe using weights (which I prefer) for all of you OCD bakers who love their kitchen scales

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As you can see, “something” has been scoffing the silverbeet and anything else that takes it’s fancy in Sanctuary. Where on earth could it be getting in?

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I think I might just have found the entry point…sigh…if this IS the entry point the little sods won’t be getting in tonight because I just sewed it shut! “You will have to try a bit harder tonight possums or go hungry!

Stevie-boy and I headed into the city yesterday and were a bit late coming back so Steve decided that he would like pizza for dinner. I haven’t had much luck with him and pizza bases as he is very fussy and doesn’t like them too crunchy or thin so I went hunting for a deep pan pizza base and found a doozie. This base worked amazingly well. It’s quite soft and sticky so I will warn you that once it has proved it will be a bugger to remove from the bowl and then stretch into place in your oiled tins but the results are awesome if you like a nice thick pizza base. The recipe said that it made 2 pizzas but I reckon you could make them a bit thinner and get 3 out of this recipe because even for Stevie-boy they were a tad too thick and resembled focaccia more than pizza bases. He ate half of the pizza and has a spare half in the fridge and a whole unbaked pizza in the freezer. Pizza heaven! If you would like to have the recipe, here it is…

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/270606/deep-pan-pizza-base

 

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This little garden was completely covered with a thick carpet of climbing geraniums (those sticks are ancient ruinous remnants of them) and nothing much grew here but all it takes is a bit of effort and suddenly nature can recover. It would appear that “nature” in this case is bulbs :)

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Gardening doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you don’t end up with something to harvest after all of your hard work and effort. This folks, is a tiny hill of beans. At least I have SOMETHING to remember the harvest by ;)

To top the pizzas I first made a lovely thick tomato sauce with a chopped onion fried in a little oil, when translucent add 2 cloves of chopped garlic, a teaspoon of Italian dried mixed herbs, a tsp of veggie stock powder and then a regular can of chopped tinned tomatoes. I then cooked this mass down till it resembled tomato paste and let it cool while the dough proved on the proofing rack over Brunhilda, a most excellent place to do this over the cold winter months. We had bought some bocconcini in brine on our fortnightly shopping trip and they were duly sliced and scattered over the top of this base with sauce slathered over it. Next came crumbled feta, fine sliced hot salami, a half a large cabanossi cut into rings, a few handfuls of bacon, half a red capsicum and an onion thinly sliced, some pickled jalapeno’s, some Parmesan and a good grating of cheddar later and a good hot bake in Brunhilda’s hot oven resulted in exactly what the doctor ordered for Stevie-boy with the promise of leftovers and another pizza event whenever he feels like it.

DSCF1031Most of the plants on this table were grown from cuttings or tubers collected on our walks. Most of them have survived admirably, indeed, the wormwood was just shoved into a pot and it grew. That’s exactly the sort of plant we want living here, it will grow happily with minimal care. You just have to think a bit prior to planting a garden…what will grow well in your area? What doesn’t need too much water? What will handle your temperature variations? What grows easily from cuttings and seed and quickly? After a few questions you have yourself a hardy beautiful garden…oh I forgot one question…”What do the possums and wallabies HATE to eat!”

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There might not be any foliage on this little potted Japanese maple but the it still looks quite pretty thanks to all of the peripherals that grace the pot

Remember how we installed our rainwater tank a few weeks ago? Well we have a little problem Huston. The only place that we could install the tank was near our bedroom under a down-pipe that was responsible for the teeniest bit of roof drainage known to man. A caravan would have more roof drainage than this bit of roof and we have had some decent rain lately and there isn’t a lot of water in the bottom of narfs happy tank. My happy dance had  tailed off into a sort of shuffling semi-sad dance right up until Stevie-boy the wonderful had a brilliant idea…he has worked out an ingenious way to get water from the large part of the roof through a series of pipes into my tank. It will require the installation of another first flush device but that’s a small price to pay for me being able to slip my feet into my happy shoes and tap-dance the old happy dance shoe shuffle all over again!

DSCF1033Its heading for mid-winter here in Tasmania and the critters are starting to look for tasty things to supplement their diet. Not content with ALL of that green grass out there they have started sampling my potted plants. This is an ornamental bamboo grass. It has effectively been pruned. I take that as a warning and will only plant it somewhere “safe”

I have been attempting to bulk up for winter with excellent results and have put on 10kg. Can anyone tell me why my thighs are the very first place that I put on weight, but the very last place that I lose it? I would be most interested in the science behind that! While I am pondering science I am also removing food items that seemed to have snuck into my repertoire without me noticing and that are most probably the reason for the increase. I added coconut cream to my diet, and lots and LOTS of dates. I was also eating potatoes again, and bread…the more I think about it the more I know why 10kg have snuggled up to me and are hugging me for all they are worth. I know how to lose the extra weight, I just don’t want to ;). Seriously folks, who wants to lose weight in the winter? I am living on delicious soups now and steamed veggies and my morning buckwheat porridge sans coconut cream and dates and with grated carrot for sweetness and bulk narf filling power. Narf SHALL fit back into her size 10’s ;)

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What’s this in the chook coop…all the way over in the far right hand corner…

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“CLUCKY CHOOKS!” Hardly fair that they have only just started laying and they are now clucky. We worked out that at the rate we are paying for food and by the amount of eggs we were getting that each egg was costing us $20. That’s a bit steep for a humble egg, even a free range egg methinks!

So this humble Wednesday in the middle of the year finds me caught up with my RSS Feed Reader (an anomaly that probably won’t last out the week I can assure you ;) ), up to date with studies and just about to embark on a BIG secret plan for my Christmas gift for my eldest daughter. I can’t tell you about it because then I would have to kill you all plus she reads my blog (to keep tabs on how many times I mention her and if I can be sued for slander ;) ) so this plan has to remain under wraps, and lock and key for now. I am just about to start researching for our next study unit that involves creating a flier for a design event in Melbourne and a coloured postcard both created in InDesign. I have some great ideas that I am going to create in Illustrator but we have to do a fair bit of the dry research stuff before we can get to the fun stuff. That’s where narf comes in as Stevie-boy is conveniently AWOL earning a bit of a crust at the moment leaving narf to do the research. He has all week off next week and we are going to do all sorts of things including create the dogs large new dog compound and knock our studies out of the ball park. I just need to wade through the research stuff first…”anyone have any washing that they want folded and put away?” ;) See you all next week and remember not to take any wooden nickels…

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Some of my wool stash. When wool is cheap and your husband is asking you if you want more…you say “YES PLEASE” :)

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This big granny square is just using up all of the spare wool I had laying around and giving me something to crochet while I contemplated what the heck I was going to crochet next. I’ts on our spare bedroom queen sized bed here so methinks it might be almost finished. I am just about to start on a most delicious Bavarian crochet pattern that Ms Teddy/Tottie shared on her blog called (coincedentally…) “Teddy And Tottie” if you want to have a go yourself she has painstakingly created a pdf of the pattern and you can get it by clicking here…

http://teddyandtottie.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/bavarian-crochet-tutorial-pdf.pdf

 

When opposites collide

Hi all,

 

This blog post is late. It is late because we have been studying hard all day and only just realised that I had to post my blog post today! EEK! The images of Sir Stevie-boy and Ms narf taken in homage to Ms Pauline, Mr Orlando and Sir Siddy are the result of very tired students who are three sheets to the wind as they haven’t had their dinner yet but have certainly not missed out on some wine…here’s hoping Ms Pauline is amused rather than mortified ;). On to the actual post…

We all have this “thing” where we look at other people’s lives or what they do and we add a little touch of fairy dust and “POOF!” that other person’s life is suddenly SO much better than our own. That old saying “you can’t truly know a man till you walk a mile in his shoes” is SO true. Try walking a mile, 100 metres…heck 10 metres in Stevie-boys shoes and you will instantly know what I mean ;). Seriously though, what is it about lusting after other people’s lives? I guess part of it is that we are not privy to the bad bits. I mean who posts about terrible, horrible, no good very bad days? I think that blog authors and blog readers are all guilty of omitting the bits of their lives that they think might not be as amuse bouche as others. If you saw what my laundry floor looked light right at this minute you would have to run to your bathrooms and wash your hands repeatedly (OCD?) but I am NOT going to share that image with you so you can’t really “see” how narf twitches whenever she walks out the back door and looks down at the door mats covered in all KINDS of nefarious things that sometimes get wiped off…but most of the time make their way into the laundry to create a delightful tapestry of nature that narf7 gets the joyful task of removing…

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Although this MIGHT look like I am attempting to crochet a dalek from Dr. Who, it’s actually the base of a crocheted gauntlet. Although I did learn a couple of new crochet stitches making this I ended up pulling it apart and starting again

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What happens when you leave your crochet alone for 10 seconds to go to the loo…sigh…

So what brought this topic to Serendipity Farm today? Aside from beavering away on studies all week and being holed up like a field mouse hibernating and doing pretty much BUGGER all except for extracting hair from root follicles when Illustrator refuses to do what I want it to do, I mean is it SO hard to just do what I want? I negotiate with it…I put my cup (bucket) of tea right next to the screen so that it can inhale that life giving aroma. It jump-starts me, so why can’t Illustrator just “get” what I am trying to do eh? Seems the brain of a narf and the programming of an Illustrator may just be a step too far apart and something needs to be inserted in-between in order for that miraculous synapse to become complete and start firing. That miraculous in between quotient is Stevie-boy but he is somewhat gainfully employed at the moment leaving narf to try to overcome her natural luddism when it comes to computers. Once you have given the monitor, and then the desktop box, a bit of a gentle whacky reminder of who is boss and it STILL doesn’t work, what’s a narf to do?

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A lovely image that Steve took recently

Nothing…that’s what…nothing that suddenly turns into spending hours on Pinterest but that’s another thing that you don’t see when you drop in to Serendipity Farm. You see the water tank installations and the veggie garden (well, when I am not ashamed to take photos you see it…) and pretty close-ups of flowers (that the possums/wallabies/chooks/Earl hasn’t eaten yet) and you get the good bits. No-one wants to air their dirty laundry and everyone wants to hold up their triumphs, their successes in order to garner a small degree of praise that is usually lacking from their significant others (“I am just…one…man!” I rest my case! ;) ) I will segue back to my point now for those of you wondering what the heck this post is about. I read a most delightful and equally as sporadic post from Ms Pauline over at The Contented Crafter . Pauline is a most amazing woman. She lives with King Orlando and Young Sidney pup and not only manages to survive that maelstrom of animal activity but she shares her ideas, her ideals, her amazing ability to turn wool and paint and bits of string into most magnificent, lust-worthy creations. Craft genius aside, the most wonderful thing about Ms Pauline is that she IS Ms Pauline. A kind, caring, clever, intelligent, and most delightful person who gives damned good comment when the need arises.

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Earl having a bit of a rest after a long walk. I don’t get that luxury ;)

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Can you see the hole in the ashes in the firebox? I think we have fire moles!

She hasn’t been posting as often as she used to (not that I would know, I haven’t seen my RSS Feed Reader feet past the belly of posts that have built up over the last unread week or so) thanks to Mr Sidney pup who has turned her quiet life of order and routine upside down. There is NOTHING like getting a new puppy to make you suddenly realise how bloody amazing your life was before. Again, you are lusting after the good bits and completely ignoring how there was a dog shaped hole in your life that was missing in action and that desperately needed filling but that gets shunted aside when you look at the chaos that is your life now…the chewed and still wet socks, the skirting boards that are either chewed or peed on, the crafts that you used to be able to leave in a tasteful basket on the floor now up high because not only are the crafts not safe, the basket has a greatly increased half-life as well. Siddy, I salute you young lad. You have most definitely shaken up and stirred Ms Pauline and Mr Orlando who is only just starting to see the benefits of being able to tease a young over-excitable pup

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Steve teaching Earl how to use Facebook…

After reading Ms Pauline’s most honest appraisal of Life spent in between Mr Orlando and young Sidney pup I started to realise how much Stevie-boy and I resemble Mr Orlando and young  Sir Sidney. I tend to be a whole LOT like Mr Orlando. I lay about, reclining at various impossible angles (MUST get a new sofa…) for most of the day contemplating my navel…allowing my head to fill with thoughts and then empty without having done a single thing in between. I take delight in my simple processes that blend seamlessly into other simple processes that make up my day. I like my routines, they keep me sane, I am a creature of habit and happily so. I like to crochet, to take my time when cooking, cleaning, doing things. It’s just me. Then we have Stevie-boy. I have never met a man who is more puppy like than Stevie-boy. He jumps from one task to another with a sporadic joy that is both delightful and terrifying to watch. You just never know where that man is going to end up next. He races from one task to the next, often leaving the first task to head off and do something else. When he abandons one task it is my signal to start cleaning up the worst of the mess that was generated from the first task. I am Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote…I am sure he thinks that some miraculous mess fairy flies in and tidies up his mess when he vacates the premises as its most certainly not there when he comes back…

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Poor Earl. Not only is he missing opposable thumbs but he also can’t read. If he COULD read he would know that this box once contained “winged sitting pigs” his most favourite kind of pigs of all

Stevie-boy is a notorious half-doer. He leaves a wake of “stuff” in his path that just stays there for days, weeks, months till he needs it again when it has obviously been displaced by “someone else” as he knew exactly where he left it/put it…sigh… our life is a life of chaos on one side and a life of order on the other. The place where these duel lives meet is strangely terrifying and yet completely invigorating. We still have to learn how to negotiate with each other. After 15 years of living together (this year is our 14th wedding anniversary) I still have NO idea about how Stevie-boys mind works and by the look of bewilderment on his face whenever I am angrily voicing my complaint, he is just as equally in the dark as to where my mind is at. It is a conundrum to me. I fear that should I ever wake up and find myself in Stevie-boy’s body (and visa-versa) that we might both have to be raced to the nearest mental health facility STAT.

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AHA! NOW we see why Mr E was so very interested in that box (and being on the table in the first place!) I ended up making a pair of knitted long gauntlets for a friends birthday but Mr E decided that he might like to add “knitting” to his long line of accomplishments. I, being the spoil-sport that I am, said “NOOOOOOOOO!” ;)

After finishing reading Ms Pauline’s delightful blog post and her simple desire to have a single photo of her with both Mr Orlando and young Sidney pup the first NOT holding them both by the scruffs of their necks, not a conglomerate image superimposed using Photoshop (yes Ms Pauline, you CAN do that ;) ) but simply her with Orlando and Siddy (How come “Siddy” isn’t a word but “Soddy” is Spell-check eh?!!!) just sitting together. No Andy Cap and Flo type cloud of feet and whiskers and sibling angst, just Orlando in all his regal serene splendour and Siddy just sitting there, doing his small doggy best to smile. That’s all Ms Pauline wants. Her simple life has been hijacked and the order, the serenity that once was is long gone…BUT the energy, the sheer unmitigated puppy joy, the intense desire to interact with Mr Orlando, the bliss of holding a furry bundle of snuffles in your arms (for 10 seconds till he NEEDS to be put back down…there are mysteries afoot!) is a most intoxicating salve for the wounds of the savaged past that really and truly need to be licked, cleaned, scab formed and gotten over. That’s what shared lives are. A mass conglomeration of negotiations, stand-offs, opportunities to learn, to understand, to grow that we would otherwise never have the chance to understand and appreciate unless we were dragged backwards, kicking and screaming into that melee.

Andy Cap and Flo

Here you see Andy Cap and his long suffering wife Flo. Back last century this comic strip ran on a daily basis in the newspapers. I read a few of them while I was hunting for a strip with the ubiquitous fight scenes (this one has two!) in it and noticed that Andy spent a lot of time punching Flo! This comic strip is SO politically incorrect but back when I was a kid it was apparently funny! But back when I was a kid Rolf Harris was an Aussie Icon. I rest my case!

don-quixote

 

Stevie-boy and I. I want to know why I am riding a cow!

I decided that Ms Pauline might need to see how much like Mr Orlando and young Sidney pup the first, Stevie-boy and I are like so we took a few photos in homage to the chaos that is Ms Pauline’s life now just to show her that we are standing in solidarity (and similarity) with her on her journey into self-discovery and awareness. I hate to break it to you Ms Pauline but your hope for a quick and painless/seamless easing back to the life that you once knew is probably doomed. Stevie-boy and I have been living together for 15 years now and neither of us has the FOGGIEST idea of how the other ones mind works, what the heck they are on about most of the time or how on earth we are going to solve problems together without bickering. On the plus side, we HAVE learned to live and let live (neither of us likes those Andy Cap and Flo fights) and give each other distance and our own space so maybe that’s the best that you can hope for in this situation. Stevie-boy and I are cemented together now for better or worse and the glue that keeps we complete opposites attracting is pure magic. No idea why I still want to please him, to cook him food that makes him smile, to plump up his pillow when I make the bed…no…bloody…idea! Maybe that’s why opposites stay together? Because they just DON’T get each other and that magic just never gets a chance to be fathomed out and become also-ran? Who would know…maybe there is a book in that, some scientific research, whatever…feel free to poach my hypothesis, my theorem and run with it if you are so inclined.

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Everything is right with the world when there are hot sausage rolls to be eaten :)

Me, I am TOO busy to do anything about anything folks, Illustrator and I are learning to negotiate the boundaries…to work together when WE are complete opposites. Perhaps a delightful partnership of mutual satisfaction may arise but more likely we will be butting heads where those lines meet on a regular basis and I will learn to tolerate Illustrator from afar with a degree of admiration and awe at what it can do. I hope you enjoy our pictorial homage to Ms Pauline’s Orlando and Siddy conundrum that she finds herself embroiled in. If you would like to read the post that generated this homage, please head over to Ms Pauline’s blog The Contented Crafter  and read, laugh, learn, feel yourself salved by Ms Pauline’s delightful honest word-smithing and know that somewhere out there opposing creatures are stirring…

We will go in order of images posted in Ms Pauline’s post…

1. Ms Pauline was walking Sir Siddy pup the first and in this image, Mr Earl is walking Sir Stevie-pup the first…

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2. Sir Siddy had hightailed it with one of Ms Pauline’s shoes…

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3. Sir Siddy has Mr Fox but Stevie-boy has big Mr bear…

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4. Mr Orlando was staring myopically into the camera with his fur askew…not hard to replicate this one ;)

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5. Mr Orlando was curled up on a lovely BIG dresser to remain out of Sir Siddy’s reach. Mr Stevie-boy wouldn’t let poor narf curl up on anything other than this tiny little cupboard…

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6. Mr Orlando, still on the dresser (however he looks a WHOLE lot more comfortable and content than Ms Narf!) and Mr Siddy looking up forlornly at the object of his desire (where Stevie-boy is languishing for his tea…)

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Just to finish off this homage to the chaos that is now Ms Pauline’s life I would like the opportunity to salve a little of the problem. Sir Siddy the first just wants a kitty of his own. Check out this awesome link where you can knit your very own Sir Siddy Kitty that he can do whatever he wants with about halfway down. A free pattern…knock yourself out Ms Pauline, we all need hope…

 

http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sara-elizabeth-kellner

 

To tank or not to tank…that is the question

Hi All,

 

Holy CRAP it’s Wednesday! How did it get to Wednesday so quickly? Maybe because we have been doing ALL kinds of things here on Serendipity Farm and I haven’t had time to scratch myself and find the time to trundle out a leisurely blog post earlier in the week so you are going to have to put up with a slightly manic wide-eyed narf style of writing for this post as I am typing it out at 3.26am on WEDNESDAY!

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This is what it looks like at 3.30am on a Wednesday morning. You can see the first cup of tea full of promise and happiness (that means that the narf is NOT full of promise and happiness quite yet…), that’s my knee afghan over my Tas oak handmade throne that I bought for $2 from a garage sale (SCORE!) and the rest of this set-up is narf central

Well we certainly have been busy, mostly because Stevie-boy who is gainfully employed at the moment was rained out from his gainful employment on Thursday and Friday. When Stevie-boy is rained out and at home he makes hay while the sun is shining and last week the sun was, indeed, shining. On Thursday Stevie-boy pronounced that we were “going to lay the pad and make a stand for that water tank” which meant only one thing…narf…in the tank. I have been dreading “narf in the tank” for a few weeks now. We kept threatening to put narf in the tank as Stevie-boy was blessed with HUGE shoulders that allow him to put on a bit of weight on his snake hips occasionally and no-one would even notice because he has a naturally athletic shape (SWINE!) but the problem with those wide shoulders is that they won’t fit places (or suits) so Stevie-boy going into the tank wasn’t going to happen…that just left Bezial (nope) Earl (NO) or moi…(sigh…)

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Isn’t this little bowl gorgeous? I love the soft green and the butter yellow colour and it was given to me by a wonderful friend who “gets” my bowl addiction. Cheers Kaye, I love it! :)

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Here we have the reason why we Aussies don’t celebrate Christmas with fresh holly ;) and yes, I did brave a holly tree to get this specimen just for you :)

I haven’t got a problem with going inside the tank mentally. No issues with claustrophobia or fear of rolling away (Stevie-boy knows how short his life would be if that happened…) but an exponentially growing fear that where the shoulders will fit (I tried) the rear end of the narf might not. Nuff said about that conundrum the better BUT (literally) I was going to have to face up to whether or not my derrière would glide into the tank hole after my shoulders. I hadn’t tried that bit when I was testing the shoulders.

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This is one of our predominate flowers in winter. Our national flower, the wattle.

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More wattle and those little circles are pollen floating around. Wattles release a lot of pollen that isn’t good for asthma and hay fever sufferers

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I noticed a little spec on the inside of that glass vase and on closer inspection that wattle had a hitchhiker! He is now living on the clematis vine on the deck

Steve has been lamenting the lack of anchor points on our trailer for quite some time now. When we bought it we chose to buy a trailer with a removable cage around it. The cage is excellent as we can transport bales of hay, heaps of “things”, Mexicans, without fear of them falling out (especially important with the Mexicans…they get tetchy if they fall out…) but once the cage is removed there is nothing to tie ropes onto and as anyone who is ANYONE knows, a man just isn’t a man unless he can rope things onto his trailer. Stevie-boy was completely OVER not being able to put the knot that he so patiently and faithfully learned from YouTube whereby you can double hitch (or whatever) your load and just pull it and it releases without snagging (a magic knot apparently…) into practice. He actually forgot how to do his precious knot and had to spend a couple of hours practicing it because his good friend Guy who is able to weld (is there ANYTHING that man can’t do? ;) ) said that he would weld Steve some side bars on the trailer to tie his ropes to. You would think that Stevie-boy won lotto he was that happy.

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Stage 1 of tank central sees Stevie-boy doing most of the hard yards starting with construction of this treated pine sleeper tank stand pad. Note the level, Stevie-boy has come a LONG way since he first started out building structures when he could have been called the bodger king due to his dodgy constructions

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As you can see we have had little “helpers” working on the tank stand pad

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“I helped, I should get some of that beer!”

Thursday morning at 9am saw Stevie-boy dashing around to Guy’s place after we had walked the dogs with Jan, Peter and Mieka at 7am and he had been champing at the bit from 8.30 onwards to get going. Guy ended up welding the side bars separately to the trailer so that Stevie-boy could come back home with the trailer as he had an idea…the idea was that he would head into the city, he would pick up treated pine sleepers from our New Bunnings store that is Stevie-boy HEAVEN (and any other man within cooee of Launceston) and anything else that he needed to start the tank stand ball rolling. That meant that narf WAS going to learn whether her nether regions would fit or not (eek!).

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Earl “helping” Stevie-boy to put his socks on…

He also decided that while he was in the city with the trailer he may as well do the fortnightly shopping. When he got back from all of that it was just on 2pm and he then headed around and got the side bars welded on the side of the trailer and at 3pm he was back putting the base of the tank stand together. When Stevie-boy gets started…good luck stopping him! He had the base all finished and had teed up to meet up with Guy the next morning to head off and pick up some crusher dust the next day. I had a date with destiny…

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Stevie-boy and I attempting to shift the tap ensemble without luck. It ended up needing to be cut with a hacksaw and removed leaving a big hole that needed filling

Friday saw us up at 6.30 again. Off to walk the dogs (this time on our own) and again Stevie-boy was pacing prior to 9am when he would dash off and meet Guy to get his load of crusher dust. He ended up needing 3 loads of crusher dust in total and after wheelbarrowing it into the rear enclosure (SO glad we were clever enough to build gates locking off the front of the deck from the rear of the house so that we could shut the dogs in the front portion of the house) and all of us tamping it down (extra help from Earl who “damped” it down as well…sigh…) and it was ready for our tank to be hauled into place. Steve was very glad that he had been rained out of work because the tank stand pad took a LOT longer than he thought that it would and if he only had a weekend to do it he would have been racing just to get the pad laid let alone move the tank. He ended up having to race off to the city again at 3pm with the dogs and I in tow (protesting all the way) in order to get himself a pressure sprayer from Bunnings to clean our roof off. We had been checking them out since last Christmas and as he has been earning a bit of extra money who was I to say “no”?  And by the end of the day we had “Ernie the Gerni”, I had some (bribery) new wool, the dogs got a walk around the New Bunnings HUGE car park and the tank stand was completed and Earl had claimed it as his own (several times…sigh…)

https://www.gerni.com.au/en/Pages/Gerni-High-pressure-cleaners.aspx

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“I could have SWORN that there was grass here yesterday…

 

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If you click this image to enlarge it you will see EXACTLY what Earl is doing in this image…apparently that means this tank stand pad belongs (officially) to Earl

Saturday was the big day. The day that narf7 had to squeeze into the tank. Steve attempted to remove the tap using a couple of large adjustable wrenches that he had and realised that it just wasn’t going to budge…sigh…so he cut it off with a hacksaw and we headed inside to price up a new one…after having a mild heart attack regarding the price from Tank World (for the tap and it’s surrounds it cost MORE than our new pressure sprayer!) Stevie-boy was getting a bit disconsolate. He had checked out Bunnings online and they didn’t appear to have the parts that he wanted but I pressed him into phoning them up and voila…they had them and not only did they have them, they were a full third of the price that Tank World was charging! We could also buy PVC taps and housings which made it even cheaper where Tank World doesn’t bother to sell them (not enough profit in them OBVIOUSLY! Mutter…mutter!)

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It’s such a HARD life to be a dog living on Serendipity Farm when you are confined to quarters (in a sunbeam)

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Even harder if your name is Earl and that little beak wants to be stuck into everything that is going on out the back door…

We had also been looking at a “first flush diverter” idea in order to keep the water going into the tank as clean as possible. We are going to buy a pair of filters for the tank to set inline and filter the water for our tank …

http://www.advancedwaterfiltration.com.au/catalog/i109.html

And after researching it we found a first flush diverter kit with everything that we would need in it from our old mate Bunnings again! The self-same kit cost (you guessed it folks) 3 times as much from Tank World…and people wonder why small businesses aren’t supported? Guess who headed into the city for the third day in a row! While Stevie-boy was out he casually dropped a hint that he wouldn’t have time to shovel the load of horse manure that had been dumped in the side driveway so would I be so kind as to do it…”why CERTAINLY Stevie-boy, the least I could do…” only thing is that the horse manure was a BIG load…it was very wet in both dampness and newness and it had inconveniently been dumped on top of a load of blue-metal…Stevie-boy forgot to mention the blue-metal…sigh…there was a tarp in between the dung and the blue-metal but Saturday morning saw narf7 move both piles and develop some new shoulders of her own. Maybe they wouldn’t fit in the tank and I wouldn’t have to suffer the shame of my derrière getting stuck?!

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The first flush diverter kit, a wise investment if you are going to drink the rainwater you harvest.

Stevie-boy got back laden with PVC parts, waving long lengths of pipe around like a science fiction robot octopus and happy and excited about the rapidly approaching tank rolling event. But first we had to take down part of the fence surrounding the house…we had to put the fence up so that our dogs couldn’t free range around the neighbourhood. I can’t even think about that possibility without setting off a little twitch in my temples…it’s going now at 4.04am even though Earl is upside down snoring next to Stevie-boy as I type so needless to say we NEED to make sure that we maintain a perimeter fence for the sake of the neighbours and our sanity. The dogs were confined to the front deck and Bezial voiced his disapproval of being shackled to his oppressor by whining the whole time. Earl was MOST interested in the proceedings, especially when the fence came down. He was a bit like the Germans when East was able to meld with West when the wall came down and the last thing that we needed was Earl, melding with the “Rest”!

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“Cheers for rolling the tank stand up against a bank right next to a gutter full of blackberries Stevie-boy…” it certainly took my mind off my rear end and put it firmly back on my poor fingers!

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“IT FIT”!!! :)

I couldn’t put it off any more…after rolling the tank down the side driveway and into place it was time for narf to get into the tank…sigh…Stevie-boy was there to assist (in between what sounded suspiciously like snickering…) in case of a stuck butt but my front end slithered in and my rear end slithered in right after it! I was IN! Once inside, aside from it being uncomfortable, I was able to hold the new tap assembly whilst Stevie-boy screwed it into place. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy! Once that was done I had to get out of the tank which was equally as easy. Steve considered leaving me in the tank…the words “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again…”had been postulated but were very short lived once I informed Stevie-boy about the consequences of his actions. You have to remind husbands of the consequences of their actions when they get a bit sassy…

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The view from inside my little tanky submarine complete with a porthole

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This is the whole reason why I had to go into the tank in the first place and this is the new PVC tap fixture in place held by narf (inside) and tightened up by Stevie-boy (outside) hows THAT for cooperation? ;)

 

 

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Hanibal Stevie-boy “Yeah I DO want to come out actually sunshine!” ;)

Narf was out, and now we had to tip the 10 000 litre tank upright…just the 2 of us…without it hitting the ground hard and possibly splitting…O…K… so we used our ability to problem solve (thank GOODNESS we both have it!) and laid out some planks leading up to the tank stand and slowly lowered the tank down onto the planks. It took us about 15 minutes of Stevie-boy and his huge shoulders pulling a rope that we had placed around the sides of the tank and narfy-girl and her determined pushing to shove the tank up the planks and into place. Then we had to rotate the tank in place to get the tap to the front which involved more problem solving, counting on our fingers (and in my case, toes…), doing simple and complex maths (I will let you work out who did that ;) ) and a degree of physics and most importantly good luck and voila…the tank was in place!

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Yes, the tank is pretty filthy but it HAS been languishing out in the weather since we bought it months ago. “I spy with my little eye…”

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On the way out relying on the logic that physics is science and thus COMPLETELY logical and what slipped in, MUST slip out a MUCH happier narf7 ;)

By this stage it was 4pm and Stevie-boy was keen to test out his new pressure sprayer (Ernie) on the roof. Earl came out to see what all the noise was about, got profoundly wet and hightailed it out of there quick smart! The roof was cleaned off and the PVC piping and first flush diverter were installed and now we just needed some rain…”some rain please!” We did get some on Monday when we had to tweak the first flush diverter as it was pouring water out of the bottom which isn’t what it is supposed to do (sigh) and the PVC pipe that we had installed with the kit was MUCH too long and diverted too much water. We sorted it all out and now it is working well and we have water going into our tank! Next to order the filters and narf and Stevie-boy SHALL go to the rainwater ball!

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And here you can see the tank in place. That rope on the floor was used to twist the tank (along with Stevie-boy shoulder power and narf7 shoving power) and that bit of PVC sticking down is the first flush diverter (prior to us customising it).

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Steve on the water tank on his way up to clean the roof with Ernie the Gerni

Now all I need is some decent solar panels to heat our hot water in summer and one of these…

 http://www.treehugger.com/wind-technology/silent-wind-turbines-could-generate-half-household-energy.html

And narf7 will be a completely happy little vegemite :) So that’s what we have been up to this week. I had promised Ms Pauline of The Contented Crafter that this post would have something to do with her this week but we couldn’t pull it off. Next week, our post will be an homage to Ms Pauline. Make sure to put the date into your blog reading calendar because it involves both Stevie-boy and myself having a bit of fun and should be worth a chortle or two. See you then (are you curious? GOOD!) ;)

Not a reblog but a real post for a very good cause

Hi All,

 

You just got used to me re-blogging twice and have probably just caught your breath over that and here I am posting on a Friday? Yup. I just learned that Lori from Day by Day the Farm Girl Way blogging fame, one of my dear constant readers of old’s niece Emily is heading off to Carnegie Hall!  Emily is quite an amazing young girl who has not only been chosen to play her clarinet in the Jr. Performance Honors group at Carnegie Hall, but flies planes and helicopters as well. You might think that her family is wealthy thanks to the adventures in the sky but that’s more to Emily’s determination to learn to fly than any ability her parents have to be able to pay for lessons. This girl is most determined to make her way in this life and a lack of money isn’t going to stop her. Her mum Juli has set up a Rally.org fundraising page for her and although I am not able to donate personally I would like to share Emily’s story with the wider community in the hope that it might help her realise her dreams. You can visit her page here if you are interested…

https://rally.org/covers/8r672HUJTcB

When I was Emily’s age I had NO idea what I wanted to do or how to go about it. Emily seems to be going places whatever her circumstances and people like Emily need all the encouragement that they can get. Here’s to Emily making her total and having an amazing time with her peers in New York city. We are ALL behind you Emily, even if we don’t know you personally :)

Short and pictorial mid winter on Serendipity Farm

Hi All,

 

Is anyone else a teensy tiny little bit “SICK TO BLOODY DEATH” of the soccer yet? Yes “SOCCER!” that’s what it’s called here in Australia. NOT football…just soccer. I will accept “U.K. Football” but every time I head to my old mate Google these days I have to wade through a plethora of letters all doing a Mexican salute or waving some countries flag and if you have 10 pages open like I do at any given time, that’s a whole LOT of Mexican waves to wade through every time you want to make a simple search. Angst abated and shared now. An angst shared is an angst halved. No bright comments Ms Jessy Twinn by the way. You have been infested with the soccer bug and are NOT to be listened to OR encouraged in your crazy soccer watching ventures (and neither is Steve…just sayin’ ;) )

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I love my shiny-shiny aluminium crochet hook. I am probably going to get Alzheimers from it but at least I will go out hooking. Happy days! ;)

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Here’s a close up of the wool and my AMAZING hooky ability to do a stitch that I don’t even know the name for. I completely and utterly love how fast this is working up as I am using 2 strands of wool to crochet it and it is incredibly thick and heavy which means that it will probably end up on the floor as a rug more than on my knees as an afghan

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It’s probably 3/4 done now…afghan…rug…tablecloth, whatever this ends up as, crochet is therapy for narfs and soothes my inner savage beasts of which I have many…all of them masquerading as muses

I have reached the three quarter mark of my very thick, doubled wool crocheted afghan for draping casually over my knees when I am sitting in frigid early morning conditions before Brunhilda gets around to warming up the kitchen with her first hot toasty logs of the day. After I move all of the potted babies that we have left in our stash to either side of the driveway (I may or may NOT get back to why at some point in this post…) I plan on spending the rest of the day finishing off my afghan. Yesterday was 1C until 2pm and today it is a heatwave…4C and so that afghan would be most appreciated around about now and there is nothing more likely to get narf7 to do something than an immediate pressing need

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These are some of the 40 orphaned babies that the quoll left motherless working methodically through my pile of horse poo and oak leaves prior to Stevie-boys mass haul of dung on Saturday that resulted in a whole lot more dung on top of this pile and a tired narf from having to shovel it all up and back in between his deliveries in order to keep it in a pile and not a long swathe that took over the driveway. We can’t deposit it around the back of the house near Sanctuary (my veggie garden) as there is a large log pile in the way so for now, this is where the dung pile lives and coincidentally, where my chickens can be found at most times of the day

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The pile is significantly higher here as Stevie-boy has finished depositing masses of dung and you can see most of the blueberries that we scored up to their little rootlets in spent dung. There IS a rooster in this image but it’s not Mr “X”, its Mr Big Yin the head honcho of the gang with some of his posse out to scrape the pile flat. If you look closely you can see Ms ducky, Mr Big Yin’s bestie, up on top of the pile tunnel mining for worms

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I took this photo today. All of the blueberries are here now, I have a stack of horse poo and oak leaves to rake up from the driveway and we still have a large pile of wood blocking our pathway up to the back of the house but at least we have this luscious pile of garden happiness and as we all know, possession is 9/10th’s of the law! By the way. Mr “X” must have decided that it has knobs on hanging out under the deck on a 1C morning and wisely moved his feathery derriere back into the coop with the rest of the flock last night. I could hear him crowing from the distance but thats AOK by me…right under the deck was wearing a bit thin especially when Steve told me that he had been crowing since 12am!

Mr “X” the rooster is crowing under the deck. I cleaned out the hen coop on the weekend and won’t tell you how long it has been since I last did it aside to say that some of the straw had trilobites in it. A short aside…if you are putting off something that you really don’t want to do, you might be surprised to find that inside your head it is a whole lot worse of a task than what it actually is outside your head in the clear present danger of the day…just sayin’ ;) After mucking out the hen house I pulled a large ex oil container thingo out that we had been stashing in the coop. We had visions of storing grain in it as it is huge, metal and has a lid but who could afford that much grain?! A hen has died down behind it and another one almost did the same thing. We pulled it out from the wall at that stage but when I decided to give myself a hernia and pull it out of the coop entirely when cleaning the coop out (Steve was off getting his own particular version of a hernia digging out a HUGE blueberry bush) I discovered that a rooster was lodged down the back of it. This thing has a BIG hunger for chickens! The rooster was fine aside from being hungry and somewhat square shaped after his ordeal and the chook coop is nice and clean now. What has this got to do with Mr “X”? Well he used to sleep on top of this drum and now he is homeless…well, that isn’t strictly true, he is under the deck crowing! I called him Mr “X” not because of his stealth in avoiding us when we locked his relatives into the coop last night but more because it is a most accurate description of him for he is soon to be an ex-rooster…nuff said!

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The potted babies deposited to the side of the driveway at the side of the house and the (offending) tank in the background that we have to roll to the house (behind where I am taking the photo)…this could be VERY interesting folks ;)

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I just read a post about my sister Pinky saving a pod of Dutch iris bulbs from oblivion and realised that among my Jerusalem artichokes I had inadvertently uprooted a couple of little bulbs as well. I am going to plant them out so that they get a new lease on life on Serendipity Farm. Isn’t nature the bomb? :)

Ok so I was hauling those potted plants to one side of the driveway back in paragraph 2…it took me a while that’s why I didn’t mention it till now. We are going to roll our large water tank into place this weekend which involves first moving the potted plants (tick, just spent the afternoon doing…) and then deconstructing the perimeter fence that acts as an Earl protective shield against Earl and the rest of the world. As you can imagine, we need to make sure that Mr E can’t just sidle off while we are rolling 10 000 litre water tanks with impunity so we have to ensure that we shut the 2 gates that we situated halfway up each of the side decks…we might not be pretty but we ARE clever and we envisaged a day when we might want to confine the dogs to either the back or the front of the house and these gates have been invaluable. Earl and Bezial will have to stay on the deck while we remove this segment of fence but prior to all of this is narf7 entering the cavernous gaping mouth of the water tank. Yup. I have to crawl inside and remove the pump housing so that we can roll the tank rather than just drag it. Stevie-boy’s shoulders are too big for him to fit inside even though he has slim hips so poor fat hipped narf7 has to fit her thin shoulders into the water tank hole at the top of the tank and attempt to squeeze that rotund derrière after them

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This is my niece Sabrina, she of the rake riding persuasion in my last blog post saying goodbye to her Tasmanian fan club

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Sad number 2 fan

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Even sadder number 1 fan

This could range from “interesting” to “hilarious” depending on several factors the chief one being my derrière actually fitting into said hole and NOT getting stuck which would indeed be hilarious for you guys but not so much for narf7 who would have to be greased up and shoved like a champagne cork. Once inside (shudder…) I will remove the pump housing and then exit with ease (I am ever the optimist…) and Stevie-boy and I will roll said 10 000 litre water tank up the driveway, through the hole in the fence and tip it upright into place with quintessential ease. No, I don’t believe it will be that easy either but lets just see what happens. At the very least it will make for some interesting blog images…

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My last (1kg) jar of pumpkin and date butter that has been gracing my breakfast buckwheat porridge since I made it

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This mornings large (vat) stockpot of buckwheat porridge being materialised to a hungry narf after a long haul behind a short dog in the mist. This makes 6 breakfasts for a hungry narf that can be grabbed as soon as I get in from my morning walk and heated to my little hearts content with pumpkin and date butter and served with homemade sesame milk. The perfect way to start my day :)

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Lucky I am a bowl freak and have so many of them isn’t it Stevie-boy and you said I should get rid of some of them! “Pfft!”

I am just about to make some more pumpkin, date and apple butter to use up the apples that turned from crispy to soft and that need to be used. Making fruit butter is a good way to use up soft or slightly old fruit as it tends to be quite sweet which means you don’t need sugar, especially if you use dates like I do. I still haven’t made the tahini and the coconut butter but I did find a recipe for how to make smooth lump free coconut butter on Pinterest today so perhaps that was a bonus. Once I make the tahini and coconut butter I can make pumpkin, date and apple fudge with a bit of cinnamon and a lot of anticipation.

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These are jeans…this is Beartato in the jeans…it was our photoshopped rendition of the son-and-heirs rear jeans pockets stuffed with baby potatoes freshly dug from sanctuary (my veggie garden) on Sunday when they dropped by on an impromptu visit. The only thing better than a rear pocket or two full of fresh baby potatoes is Beartato in your pocket…

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No Beartato here but a whole lot of apples that I didn’t get around to eating before they turned a bit mealy and a lot fragrant. They are going to be made into pumpkin, date and apple butter

Sorry about the reblogs this week but sometimes you just have to make a stand for what you believe in and seeing that book for free was too good to not reblog and share the love around. I love the concept of being generous for generosities sake, not expecting anything in return, just giving out to the universe and expecting that when you are in need, the universe will give back. I think that takes the expectation and the frustration and resentment out of expecting the recipient of your generosity to return the favour/gift which at the end of the day isn’t really generosity, it’s more a negotiation. It’s a brave step to let go of things and just let the universe dish it out to whoever needs it the most. The more we learn to be generous the better off we will be.

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I am trying to do what Mr Bean did with his Steak Tartar (don’t ask, just go look it up on Youtube if you don’t know what I am talking about ;) ) and thousands of kids try to do with their broccoli every day…spreading the pumpkins around so that they don’t look like so many…

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Only 3 small ones! See? (and the 2 large ones in the laundry sink but we won’t think about them right now…)

I have been spending my early mornings wandering in the mist with Earl and contemplating my navel whilst building myself a pair of built-up platform shoes that Mr Herman Munster would be extremely proud of. The council, in all of their wisdom, has decided that now is the perfect time to grade all of the road verges back to soil and when you grade road verges in winter you are actually grading them back to purest mud. As a narf who is prone to walking on road verges this ranges from mildly annoying to dangerous, especially when wandering in the mist. Add cars that forgot to put on their headlights this morning and the deafening quality of fog and simply stepping out onto our driveway is a risk factor. Luckily Earl has a habit of dragging me into ditches so I tend not to be in harm’s way but until the fog clears it’s a strange and eerie world that the early morning narf inhabits

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I am outing myself here…I admit it…I am a wool hoarder…a wool AND a bowl hoarder. We can’t all be perfect (or entirely sane)…

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While I am at it (and nicely segueing and deflecting the attention away from my own vice in the process…) I am outing Stevie-boy as well. People might wonder why he is such a happy-go-lucky scamp well HERE is part of the reason why. This box of  “goodies” is stashed in his music room because it won’t all fit in his treat box. Stevie-boy is on a permanent sugar and preservative high that knows NO boundaries and when coupled with his fetish for wine we make quite a hoarding, guzzling couple. Just be thankful that we live out in the sticks and away from society or you might have to read about us in the papers ;)

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Another one of Stevie-boys fetishes…he LOVES those solar groovers that have a teeny little solar panel on the front of them that gives them the energy to wave happily at anyone that wanders past. This is Stevie-boys music room window and yes…that garden gnome IS giving you 2 fingers…we breed them bolshie around here ;)

I spend about an hour and a half thinking about the state of the world, the meaning of life (those built up platform shoes and how the HECK I am going to get all of that mud off prior to entering the house) and by the time Earl hauls me back up our steep driveway my brain is satiated and saturated with thought and I am ready for breakfast and a rest. I have decided that I am going to spend this afternoon crocheting my afghan and seeing if I can get close to completing it as I really want to start on my Bavarian crochet lessons before everyone else who has been dabbling in the Bavarian arts forgets how to do the stitch and isn’t available to help a stranded narf in her hour of need so as I have been taxing your reading ability and your stamina of late I might just throw you a curve ball today and finish this post right here…right now. I hope that you all have a wonderful week ahead of you full of purpose, potential and actualities and that by the time we next break metaphorical bread together you will be satiated by all of that wonderful experience that has passed under your bridges in the last week. Me…I will just be happy if I get this afghan finished and my derrière doesn’t get stuck in that rainwater tank but if you have greater aspirations, knock yourselves out :)

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