Nats unseen post

Hi All
As a most famous Muppet once said…”before you can have a cookie, you need to lift the lid…after you lift the lid…you can have a cookie”…

Here’s Bert explaining that most profound theory of before and after. Many of today’s statisticians and mathematical genius’s owe Bert more than they care to say because he made being “square” cool.
Here is the one time that I can remember that Bert actually beat Ernie by remembering the most complex series of drum beats that Ernie could play. Ernie was a sore loser and went to bed leaving Bert revelling in his rare moment of glory. Good on you Bert :o)

And I thought it fitting that I at least allow you to see the one time that Bert actually bested Ernie…

Teaching Ernie about life was tough for Bert and he usually came off second best, but Bert sure knew the way to plan and that’s the first step in getting what you want, in the most effective way with minimum waste of time, energy and resources. Just call that “The cookie jar” theory on steroids.
Steve and I have to plan what we are going to do over the course of the next 12 or so weeks. We have a bit of leeway because we study from home, so if we are stuck into the middle of a big project, we can negotiate some time here and there. That’s the great thing about living out here, working on what we want to do and studying at the same time. The downside is that we are penniless students and we have to be doubly inventive with what we want to do to minimise, if not eliminate, the cost of these activities. We love a good challenge and that’s just what most of what we do is around here, a massive great challenge. Today we are going to sit down, plot out what both of us want to achieve (sometimes we have different ideas about what we want to do and when we want to do it. I usually have a lot more that I want to do and Steve usually wants his done first, so we need to ‘negotiate’. That means Steve gets to do what he wants and then he has to help me do my stuff :o)

We are going to map out our tasks, our desired outcomes and an approximate date when we are going to undertake and accomplish these outcomes. We don’t want to be sitting on the deck sipping a beer in 6 weeks’ time after doing sweet bugger all and just ‘thinking’ about what we want to do. We both have the propensity to sloth and procrastination but when we have a plan we can achieve an amazing outcome and we both work hard at it, we just have to have a place to start and that is what we will be doing today. Isolating those starter marks and when we are going to do them. It sounds like hard work, but we just have to negotiate. Steve and I get on pretty well for a couple that basically spends 24/7 together. When we ‘retire’ we are not going to have all of the problems that most married couples have in that they are both at home together with someone that they usually only see for a couple of hours in the morning and a few hours at night. We have learned to get along. It hasn’t always been easy because Steve and I are like chalk and cheese and he has dibs on cheese (his favourite food) so I guess that makes me chalk. Somewhat stiff, brittle, white as snow and very inflexible. That’s me! We have to work together closely in our studies and this has led to some major disputes (usually on my bad tempered peri-menopausal behalf) but we are both stubborn as mules and refuse to give up or give in and I think that this has held us together and provided the cement for our lives together.

We just finished planning out what we have to do for the next 12 odd weeks. I am more than sure that we have too much to accomplish in that time listed in our list, but we are pragmatic about what we can and can’t achieve and will systematically work our way through the list (from the most important to the least) so that we can at least achieve those things on the list that are the most pressing. The veggie garden is Numero Uno on the list and we will spend this week digging out agapanthus, whipper snipping, forming garden beds and planning it all out. After that we will fill the garden beds, make irrigation systems (portable ones so that we can rotate the garden beds) and protection from the many and varied critters furry, scaly, exoskeletony and feathery that want to scoff anything tender and green. That is actually the hardest thing to accomplish on Serendipity Farm. The reason being that Serendipity Farm is situated on what can only be called a massive great rocky outcrop and to find somewhere to dig a hole unimpeded by rocks of any kind is somewhat akin to a miracle. We need to sink some treated pine poles into the ground around the perimeter of the veggie garden so that we can rig up some bird netting around the outside and over the top. We got the poles free by taking down a structure that was in this area earlier this year. We just have to figure out some way to sink these poles into the ground without encountering the tip of a small mountain under the surface of the topsoil.

Heres the idea of what we are going to do for our raised vegetable garden beds. I got the idea from the Hobart Botanical Gardens in Pete’s garden area. Its a series of portable irrigation units made from black poly pipe and connectors that runs in a grid accross the veggie garden and uses drippers to delive the water to the specific plant. Almost on the 1 square principal. Much more efficient than regular watering (although not as efficient as a water wicking system but easier to implement here) and at the end of the season, or when you want to rotate your crops, you just unclip it and move it on or put it into storage. Don’t say that this magpie doesn’t pay attention and adapt what she sees to her own advantage! I am just so lucky that I have an ‘implementation man’ to take my ideas and to put bring them into reality…

I just spent the best part of 2 hours researching vegetable gardening online, looking up watering systems, ways to isolate your veggie gardens and other food producing trees and shrubs from wildlife and hunting for various library books to put on hold to get the information that I need. None of this cost me a cent and there are many other online resources that you can get valuable information from including youtube, where you can watch all sorts of videos on how to do just about anything. Apart from the odd person wanting to make money out of their ‘amazing new discovery’, you can get a massive amount of information for free and make up your own mind on a custom design for your own garden. My mother has been doing this for years. My brother has inherited this natural design. I seem to be missing a gene but am perfectly willing to seek out what I need and learn how to implement it. My favourite way to spend a day off is to go hunting for information. I feel like I have won lotto when I get a good source of information especially when it’s about something that I don’t know very much about. I have a massive resource of information about all sorts of things that interest me stored away for future reference. One day I might have some time to just sit here reading it all but for now; I am simply content that it’s waiting for me when I want it.

On my hunts I found this picture. I just loved this blog. It was called “the micro gardener”. I love people that are inovative with their gardens and that do things a bit differently. This person really lets loose, especially with using old footware as containers. You might not like what they do, but you have to admire their ingenuity and drive and how they are recycling rather than buying new pots. Here’s their website to take a look-see…

and here is the picture that I really liked…

It’s been quite wintery here today. Lots of good rain so we don’t have to water the pot plants and dogs laying around sulking because it’s kind of obvious that they are only going to get one walk today. Bezial is lying on his chair next to the wood stove waiting for Steve to light it. It’s his most favourite thing in the world and in winter, you know exactly where he is at all hours of the day. At the moment he and Earl are ripping up a Cordyline australis frond apart in the lounge room. As much as Bezial resents Earl, he would miss him chronically if he was gone.  Its alternating between warmer than usual weather and cold wintery weather here. Today looks like it is going to be a lovely day and that is great because it’s the first day of our foray into fixing up Serendipity Farm. I don’t know how much use I am going to be because of my knee, but I can at least give administrative support (I am sure that will make Steve happy…). I love colder weather and I love the rain that accompanies it. I don’t get people whinging about the rain, it’s fantastic! No pot plant watering for a couple of days and the garden just laps it up. We are working on a plan to put swales throughout the steeply sloped acre of landscaped garden to take advantage of the slope and to retain moisture in the soil better. This coupled with mulching is going to be the ‘secret’ to success in our forest garden. If there is a downside to wet weather it’s got to be the leeches. I am a leech magnet. Our friend Nat has a leech phobia. I am not quite to her level of leech hatred, but for some reason that I haven’t been able to ascertain online (I am leaning towards it being something to do with me being vegetarian and my blood type) leeches adore me. If it’s been raining outside, I can’t expect NOT to pick at least one of the little buggers up in my daily activities outside. I am learning to pick up their cold sliminess before they get their first bite, and it’s not like I particularly care that I have been chomped by leeches, it’s just the sneakiness of the act. Hitchhiking on someone, pinching their vital fluids, dropping off and then hitchhiking on someone else. It smacks of bludging to me and surreptitiously so!  Have a great day everyone. Think of poor Steve digging up agapanthus while I try to find something non-strenuous to do that can in some way make up for my hobbling ways. Perhaps I can roll rocks down the embankment for him to lug and place? At least we are making a start and we will keep you updated with our efforts. It’s ALWAYS great to be a voyeur on someone else’s hard physical labour. I can see you all in my mind’s eye, sitting back with your cuppa’s reading on and feeling happy that you don’t actually have to do any of this…you lucky sods! :o)

Just before I go, take a look at just how productive a garden can be. This is a suburban 1/4 acre block and these people have used every inch of available space to live sustainably including aquaponics to increase their diversification, guinea pigs and rabbits to keep the lawn low and to eat apparently and they are almost self sufficient in the middle of the city. I am constantly in awe of just how adaptable and clever some people are. This lot are super organised and for that, I salute you!


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 09:01:04

    Your knee will not suddenly get better Fronkii. GO see a doctor or book a chair in the casualty area at the Launceston Hospital where at least you’ll get it x-rayed. You could also check out what the statute of limitations is on sueing old fat sewing or French teachers for making you do hurdles when you shouldn’t have been at school. I wonder what old Ilona McPherson and Miss Berliat? are doing now?


    • narf77
      Nov 15, 2011 @ 10:05:41

      Firstly Pinko, are you not aware of the health crisis in Tasmania at the moment? No-one has any money for anything and if I was to go to the hospital I would be sitting up there for weeks until anyone asked me my name. I don’t fancy doing that and so I will just have to learn to live with my problem. We can’t even get a family doctor! Every doctor in Tasmania is booked up to the hilt. I would imagine that Ilona has long passed over to the other side with the weight that she was at school and Ms. Berliot got what she deserved when she went out with dad :o)


  2. Mum.
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 09:13:09

    Any good hiring a posthole digger Pen, or too many rocks ? That micro-gardening is also handy to know, in finding if something you have planted doesn’t do well, move to another part of the garden. Over there, you have a better chance with you’re weather, not being as drying out as here in the west. Mind you, with all those granite rocks, they will always retain a lot of moisture in the garden love. Mini mountains, with pockets of dirt in, would look great with bonsaid trees here & there. The raised beds may also stop the leeches, as the ground will be more wet that controlled in the raised beds. I really like them, saves bending a lot, & the no dig style is great. Once you can get the basic structures built, you can gloat & feel a job well accomplished ! Chuck all sorts of vegetatilon in the bottom too, it will gradually rot down.Have fun, it’ll make you appreciate having a sit with a beer on the deck at the end of the day !


    • narf77
      Nov 15, 2011 @ 10:09:40

      I think that the chook that was sitting on eggs is actually starting to hatch something out! Who knows WHERE the other chook is most probably sitting on eggs. Anyone want a chook?


  3. microgardener
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 09:17:39

    Hi guys
    Thanks for sharing the photo of the boot planters and my Micro Gardener blog. I too am a passionate organic gardener and love what you are both doing on your property … and of course your sense of humour. Totally impossible to stay sane without it!
    I’m very much into frugal gardening – re-using and repurposing resources wisely and presenting a workshop on this soon. In my research on safe gardening (without chemicals etc), I became very much aware that not all materials we (re)use in the garden are safe. I am writing a series of articles on this but it might help you in the meantime to read and to be aware your treated pine posts may fall into this category. There’s a good link at although there is much more information out there on this subject. Since you like researching, thought it might be a good project for you!
    I also publish a sustainable living resource called Green Journey with loads of free resources, videos, permaculture info, etc at and whilst we focus on our local region in SE QLD, there are plenty of free tips and ways you can be inspired on your own journey. Reading your blog reminded me of our latest Inspiring Story about another couple Dee and Ian who moved from WA and their acreage adventures on their 10 acre farm. It makes good reading and I’m sure you’d relate to their sense of humour and story.
    All the best,
    Anne, The Micro Gardener


    • narf77
      Nov 16, 2011 @ 09:57:03

      Hi Anne,

      I love your small container gardening and your general philosophy about gardening. My mum (who found you through reading the blog) also loves your small container gardening. I hope that you didn’t mind me using one of your photos to show my readers. I never lay claim to things that I find online, I just love sharing anything lovely, unique, clever or amazing so that my people can find it. I truelly admire your great website and as my very first subscriber who ISNT a family member or friend, I feel most honoured that you are interested in my humble little blog. I can now susbscribe to your blog with impunity :o) Thanks for the amazing information. Although Steve and I are both just on finished our Diploma of Horticulture and are just about to start our Diploma in Landscape Design, we bow down to people with natural ability like yours (and mum mums). Where do you guys get this amazing ability to just ‘see’ things through ‘green eyes’. My eyes are green also but with envy at how easy this all comes to you. We will be following everything you do avidly to learn as much as we can. Again, thankyou for subscribing to the blog and thanks for the pointer about the treated pine. When you are penniless students it is certainly tempting to reuse something that is sitting there free but we are well aware of the problems with treated pine and its a bit of a paper rocks scissors moment. We most probably wont use them as apart from the problems with them…we are most slothful and that building part of our renovation is most likely to take a back seat to everything else :o)


  4. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 08:25:16

    We have a friend who has a garden like the last picture, all organic. He is also an aging hippie, even older than me, who is passionate about gardening. He uses every square inch of space. I once had a boss named Ernie. He had a customer named Burt. One day I overheard him call on the phone, and he said, “Hello, Burt, this is Ernie.” I always thought that was so funny.


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