Rain and study make Fran a dull girl

Hi All

I would just like to finish off what I was doing with showing you where we are working on at the moment in our garden. It’s a bit of a daunting task. These photos make it look a whole lot better than it looks to us. Strange really, but apparently the camera is kinder to our garden than we are. Here is a picture of Steve after he took some vertical slices out of a dead sheok stump. We knew that we were going to use it for something but were not quite sure what, so we just left it high for when we sorted it out later. We have decided to use this slab as our “Serendipity Farm” sign at the bottom of the driveway. Steve will put plane it and I will wood burn it once it’s smooth and after that, we will estapol it to keep it looking good. I have downloaded a few nice handwriting fonts from the internet so I can mess around with them on a bit of spare wood to see how they look and then can isolate the font that we like the best.

Here he is looking most intently at the bit of sheok…

I took a few photographs in a sort of panorama so that you could see the view from the left hand side of our deck around to the right hand side of the deck.

This first photo is of the view outside our window…

Yes…that’s boneseed to all of you that are in the know…right outside our bedroom window! Its a jungle in this bit of the garden but it is part of the next garden that you see here…

That previous photo showed a bit of debris where we had to remove some massive great diosma’s that were taking over the garden. We are going to re-plant this area with some of our potted babies. This next photo is of the area next to this garden, to the right…

This next photo shows the area directly to the right of the above area. Its directly in front of our deck and is the view that we see when we come out onto the deck…

The next photo is just over to the right from this area and is the view over the Auld Kirk Church right next door to us. We live on 4 acres of what used to be church (hallowed) grounds. The graveyard borders our property and my father and his late partner and both buried close to the fenceline. Who knows who has been buried on the property in the past? The church is very old and as this place is  part of its previous gardens, you just never know…

This final chapter of the panorama is taken almost back to the driveway. These shots are all of the area immediately to the left of the house and around to the front right hand corner. As you can see, its quite a job to get this back into shape and we are going to have some fun doing it!..

We removed a huge amount of honeysuckle, jasmine and banana passionfruit from this area and had to chop up a dead tree that fell down just as we were leaving this area a while ago. This area is going to be one of the first areas that we get stuck into once we finish our Diploma as we have to finish off clearing it out. The honesuckle is starting to grow back into this poor tree so we need to clear it out again…

Once we finish off our Diploma and it’s passed by sensei Nick’s incredibly hard scrutiny, we can remove all of the bampf from our various certificates that we have completed over the last 5 years and put them onto an external hard drive and free up our computer. Before we started on our journey into horticulture, we started off in business. We didn’t particularly want to be taking courses in business, but when we got here, we were unable to sign up for horticulture immediately (as we had planned). The system is different here, to Western Australia. Over in WA, you can just rock up when you want to take the course and sign up for it. Here, you have to put in an ‘expression of interest’ the year before you want to take the course. Needless to say, we assumed that we could do what we did in WA and missed out. We needed to take a bridging course to see us through till we could sign up for horticulture and we ended up doing our certificate 4 in small business, and the hard units of certificate 4 in Business Administration. We had no idea that these units (along with Steve’s accounting unit that he had done previously along with his I.T. units) would be of any benefit at all to us in horticulture. I am so very glad that we had this break to learn about business, because we were able to leapfrog straight over certificate 4 in horticulture (mostly business based) into our Diploma and a fair bit of our diploma including writing reports, needed a good handle on using computers, computer software and because we learn from home, researching a whole lot.

We love learning from home. It’s given us the ability to study at our own pace. There are negatives, however, including not being able to instantly sort out any problems that you have and trying to communicate to your lecturer in emails is often quite difficult. For us, it’s been fantastic and we would recommend it to anyone. We take a great deal of pride in what we do and because our sensei is very difficult to please, it raised the bar in our work, allowing us to know that if we can please Nick, we must have done well. Despite my many and varied tantrums, it’s good to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. The sense of achievement that you get from doing this is amazing.  It’s also been fantastic to apply what we are learning to working on our house and property. We must admit something here. People who take their diploma in horticulture are not necessarily that good at gardening. It’s like anything involved with studies, the further up you get, the less capable (physically) you tend to be. Formal studies are not aimed at people who are capable. They are aimed at intellectuals. That’s why you can’t get any common sense out of anyone with a lot of qualifications. We know that and we are the first to admit to not being amazing, or knowing much at all about the practicalities of gardening. We know ‘how’ to garden…we know just what the soil should be and technically how to ameliorate it to get the best out of it. We know what conditions the soil needs to be under to get optimum growth from plants we know a whole lot of ‘stuff’ but when it comes to practicing what we know; we are not all that cluey. We are going to be flying by the seat of our pants when we hurl ourselves into renovating this garden. We are very lucky to have several people around us who can point us in the right direction including my mother who is a first class ‘natural’ gardener. I come from a long line of natural gardeners. My mother, her mother before her and even my brother are very instinctive when it comes to gardening. I wish that I was like that. I think that my sister and I inherited my father’s ability to garden which leaves a lot to be desired! I guess it’s like anything else, get a firm knowledge base into what you are about to attempt, and then take it in increments. That’s the way that I do things, the way that Steve works is to throw himself straight into the task at hand and work it out as he goes. That is why we sometimes have apoplexy with each other…Most people would take weekends off. We have a totally different lifestyle. “Weekends” have somewhat lost their structure. We can take days off whenever we like and so sometimes we lose track of what day it is. We took Thursday off this week, and we will take Sunday off as well. We can get up and get going whenever we like. It gives us the flexibility to structure our lives around our studies and whatever we want to do including walk the dogs and do work around the home.

We are going to be spending our weekend working through the remainder of our Job specification and other things to do with our final unit of our Diploma. We are also going to be making a duck retreat to house our 2 new additions to Serendipity farm. Steve on his Monday off (while I am in Launceston driving my daughters to “Halloween”) is going to have to sort out how to sink a concrete water trough into the ground or find somewhere that it can be free standing where the ducks can get into it. If they eat slugs and snails they are going to be very happy here. We have plenty of grass and 4 acres for them to wander around with plenty of grass to eat as apparently they like that. Our chooks are not great grass aficionados so the ducks can have what’s left of it. It’s starting to feel like a real farm around here with all the wildlife that we have wandering around. We are also going to bake tomorrow. We are going to make curried lentil and coconut milk soup and perhaps some baguettes to go with it. We are also going to make a fortnights bread. Most of the bread gets hurled to the chickens and sparrows but some of it goes into Steve accompanied by slathering’s of butter and marmalade.

I have been on a ‘diet’ for a while now. I can feel that I am slowly losing weight which is most noticeable when I am walking. Most of my weight is in my lower half which is supposedly healthier than upper body fat, but that doesn’t make it more attractive! I have spent most of my life on one diet or another and have decided that diets don’t work. I am now eating healthy food, exercising twice a day and am losing weight slowly but steadily. I am just going to have to get used to doing this as fast weight loss never lasts. It would be great if society didn’t judge people on their physical appearance, but it does. I am not concerned about society’s view of me but I am concerned about my health. I want to be able to do what I want to do, when I want to and so I am doing what a friend from certificate 2 at Polytechnic did…I am renegotiating my lifestyle to get what I want out of life. He stopped smoking, gave up Tran’s fats, stopped eating too much meat and did more exercise. At 61, he was very healthy and an inspiration to me. Thankyou Martin for your life lesson and I took it to heart. It’s funny how your wants and desires change as you get older. I don’t consider myself as ‘old’ (despite what my daughters think…), and think that “old” tends to be a state of mind. “Reckless” slows down as you start to realise that you are, in fact, NOT bomb proof and that you should probably take stock of what you are doing and sort yourself out. Most people probably do that in their 30’s. I have taken a bit longer to get to that stage, but just so you all know…I DON’T plan on being mentally old ever.

Pingu is doing well apart from a few less tail feathers, removed when Steve had to clean him up a bit. He has been eating non-stop since he discovered how to do it, and as a result of this constant eating, he has been excreting for want of a better word. We have had to Vaseline the poor little thing as after wiping him red raw, he needed some relief! It’s like having a baby with nappy rash. Pingu spends his days and nights in a surreal world of ‘red’. When he eventually gets bigger and moves out to the ‘real world’ he is going to be hunting everywhere for his familiar red light. Hopefully he won’t chase the car when the brake lights come on! It would be a bit like Wiley Coyote. Ok everyone, it’s getting late. Most of you are from Western Australia and are 3 hours behind us so it’s time for dinner now. See you all tomorrow when I will share some more of our lovely pines with you and will continue the Pingu saga. Until then, enjoy your Friday nights.

Here’s a couple of shots that I took of a lovely iris that has just come out and the first of our crop of raspberries. Jenny…we need some more!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum.
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 20:38:18

    Now I know what Steve is looking for! It’s so good to see what you have been up to Pen,. after being over there.It looks good too, those secret paths through the uindergrowth. You never know what will be coming up there, now you have been freeing it all up. that iris is beautiful! I can imagine what that 1/4 acre plot of them looks like now. On your holidays, you’ll have a ball pottering in the garden & sorting things out. The raspberries look nice & healthy, as do my red currants at the moment.The best looking crop so far, owing to the net stopping bloody greeneyes getting to them ! You’re going asbout things the best way, slowly but surely. That way, you have the time to see just what you want & where. Enjoy a lovely weekend love.


  2. zooinmyhouse
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 18:25:35

    Steve is giving Chris a run for his money with the Jesus look!


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 05:43:53

    I liked that last comment. Once Chris got a credit card that instead of saying Chris, said Christ. Your place is beautiful, and you have such a magnificent view.


    • narf77
      Apr 08, 2013 @ 05:46:57

      HA! 😉 My dad got a letter adressed to “Professor Stahl” once and he loved it so much that he gave himself that moniker on all his mail 😉 Can’t beat the credit card though 😉


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