Signs and signing off for the year

Hi All

It’s fitting that the day that we get started on our “Serendipity Farm” sign, is also the day that we got confirmation that we have actually managed to complete our Diplomas of Horticulture and thus sign off for the year. We have had a most interesting day thanks to Steve having to take the car to a home garage recommended to us by our anonymous friend who is considerably cheaper than taking it to a garage in town. Our friend picked Steve up and brought him home and had a good look at all of the various chicken stages of growth that we have going on. In a couple of weeks we will most probably have more fluff balls running around as Effel Doocark and the other chicken that went missing will most probably bring some more babies into the world. I took pity on the silver laced Wyandotte that is mum to mini yinny and most probably Minnie Yinny as well. I let her loose with her tiny fluffy babies and it was incredibly gratifying to see her bring them out to the front of her side of the chicken coop and scratch around in the dirt for insects for them. Picking up the insects and delicately squeezing them so that the babies would each get a bit whilst softly clucking to her tiny babies. She then had a lovely dust bath and has been in and out of the coop ever since. The last that we saw of them they were all in the compost heap so I dare say they are enjoying themselves.

You can quite clearly see the 2 little fluff balls that are most obviously (when you research that is :o) wyandotte babies. Just over to the right is my open compost bay that I left open for the chooks to raid

This mum is a silver laced wyandotte. Isn’t she pretty? As you can see she is also a very good mum what with pecking at the compost that she managed to scratch out of the bay. I used a clever idea that I read about online on how to stop getting cut on the bits of tin that we had to cut that were quite sharp to make the compost bin. We cut some old hose pipe and stuck that on the sharp edges. What this picture DOESN’T show you is that the silver wyandotte decided to tunnel her way, most industriously, into the middle of all this mound of compost. I had been initially worried about crows and butcher birds and hawks in letting the little babies out, but it now seems like they are more likely to be buried beneath a compost mountain before they are able to be scoffed by birds of prey. I noticed 2 crows chasing off a larger hawk yesterday and the crows themselves are not immune to being chased off by the currawongs. Whenever the butcher birds make an appearance, EVERYTHING chases them off so its an interesting little ecosytem here that through our provision of a safe space and lots of fresh water has actually paid off with our own domestic chicks being protected by the wild birds. Thankyou nature!


Before Steve headed off this morning he had to fix the clock radio. Thanks to Earl, it was minus its power plug. I was able to listen to the radio till just after 9am when the power work started and we lost power until just on 2pm. We walked the dogs as my knee is somewhat better and both boys were angels to walk. Bezial hates change and when Steve was having to walk them both, he didn’t like it at all and was balking all the way so poor Steve was almost torn in two by Earl racing ahead and Bezial dragging behind. Now that I am walking with them again, Bezial was a perfect gentleman who walked next to Steve all the way. Earl got a bit excited a few times but no-where near what he used to be and with considerably less pulling so it was all in all a most enjoyable walk. We decided to make our power free day a productive one as well and so Steve got up and removed years of gunge from the guttering. I spent the better part of the afternoon sizing letters for the sign that we are making for the sign post at the bottom of the driveway. It’s currently got a very rusty old sign saying “Highfield Gardens” which is what the property is called on the title deeds. We think that it sounds musty and old and way too “proper” for us, so Serendipity Farm it shall now be known as. Steve had cut a lovely big chunk of Sheok from a tree that had died up in the 1st paddock behind the house. We hate wasting things that can be used for something else, especially when we can be creative with them. We cut up some of the tree for the fire but the trunk bit was too nice to burn and the idea for the sign developed


We used Autocad to work out the spacing’s and the sizing for the sign but then we had to go back to basics as we had no idea how to apply what we had done, to our sign because Autocad and word are not symbiotic. I spent the afternoon ensuring that the letters were the same width and height and that they wouldn’t look out of place on the sign. I have just traced the outline of every letter that was cut out as stencils, onto the sign and now Steve is out in the shed making mechanical routing noises that tell me that I won’t see him for quite some time. It’s very satisfying to create something from what is effectively a waste product. Hopefully our sign will look good hanging down at the gate, but regardless of whether or not we win any awards for the streets best house sign (highly doubtful :o) we can have the satisfaction that all it cost us to create an interesting, individual and customised sign was our time and our ideas and a tiny bit of electricity to route the letters out. We will show you what it looks like when we finish. You will all have to be patient.


I have to add something here. Steve took the sign out to his shed and routed it out immediately. It didn’t take very long and I am sure that you will all agree that it doesn’t look half bad…

Here he is in the act of routing out the letters that I so very carefully drew and cut out

Here’s the routed out sign. We have to paint the whole sign with estapol, then highlight the letters with a nice enamel green paint and then we have to find a way to mount it on our spindly little pole at the front of the house…we might be having to install a new pole as this sign is NOT light. The perfectionists within my reading circle (of which I know there are quite a few…) might notice that the lettering on the top is different to the lettering below. We couldn’t use the same lettering as the angle of the limb wouldn’t let us. I was all for just having “Serendipity” on the sign until Steve pointed out that Serendipity and Farm had the initials “S” and “F” and that they were our initials and how romantic was that? The “Farm” part stayed :o). So here it is, in its partially created glory for you all to behold and say “Ahhhh” at (not in alarm mind you…in awe!). You all need to note the large cask of home made peach wine to the right in this picture. It is still almost full so that will tell you that it has an ‘unusual’ flavour. It does, however, make a very nice punch with other ingredients so we will find a way to use it and not waste it. As mentioned previously, after about 6 glasses who CARES how it tastes, its booze and it packs a decent punch :o)


I sent a website to a few friends and think that it needs to be put here for anyone that wants to take advantage of a great site and some great products. I got this site from Annie’s site “The Micro Gardener” and bow down to her great blogging skills. I am a tadpole in the cycle of Blogging and will remain as such for quite some time but Annie’s blog is incredibly professional and most informative and I have learned so much since I linked one of her pictures to my blog. Thank you so much for being so kind and allowing me to use your photo without your permission by the way Annie. I wasn’t aware of how rude I was being at the time but I am now informed and would like to apologise for my crass indifference to your hard work in compiling all of that information and content. You have all kudos and my deference for your amazing blog :o). Here is the site that I found on Annie’s blog that will send you out a catalogue of their products for free.  I just got my hard copy catalogue today. I have only had a chance to glimpse through it but I have already gotten highly excited about all sorts of interesting seed blends and mixes predominately for vegetable crops and other food crops or for feeding your animals. I am most interested in getting some “Clucker Tucker” which is a blend of all sorts of highly nutritious and desirable leaf and seed producing plants that chooks adore. You just have to look at the name of that seed blend to know that this site is just what the doctor ordered. Thanks again Annie for sharing this site with us.


As Molly Meldrum would say “Do yourselves a favour and get one RIGHT NOW” :o).


Nat’s group of certificate 2 students have been working very hard to resurrect the heritage vegetable garden at the National Rose Garden’s at Longford. The gardens were originally part of the house and were neglected and unused when 2 Diploma students of Horticulture decided to research the original design and raise money via grants to reinstall this garden. Since that date, the garden again fell into disrepair. This seems to be a common problem with gardens that tend to rely on volunteer work to keep them running. Nat’s group of very keen students have made an amazing difference to this part of the Rose Garden’s and it is a credit to both Nat and the endurance and passion of her students working under difficult conditions that have allowed this amazing resurrection of this particularly neglected side of the National Rose Gardens to occur. None of us should ever underestimate the value of a few people pitching in to get something started. This small group of students has not only managed to make these gardens a lovely place to visit, but have also used their horticultural knowledge and grown heritage varieties of the vegetables that would have once been prevalent in these gardens and providing them to the National Rose Gardens free of charge. It’s amazing how streamlined this process has been and the Board of the Rose Garden’s should be particularly thankful of all of this gratis work and the provision of some amazingly healthy plants to make this whole project viable. Mr Peter Cundall himself has said that this garden is the healthiest and best garden of its type that he has ever seen at this time of the year. For that alone, every single participant in this project should feel incredibly satisfied and proud of their achievements. Thankyou from all of us in the Tasmanian community to all of you who worked so very hard in this garden. You all deserve our gratitude because when we all work together, especially valuable when this work is volunteer, these sort of projects are able to get up and running. Well done Nat and well done to all of her students who are fantastic examples of our future horticultural role models and industry personal. Check out this link to see Nat and some of her students and read about their accomplishments in full.


And as Mr Peter Cundall would say “That’s your bloomin’ lot” for today folks. Have a great day and hopefully it’s not raining in your neck of the woods like it is here and you are able to get out in your gardens, do what you have to do and enjoy your spring sunny day. We are renegotiating what’s on our list for today and will be finding something to do that doesn’t involve being outside or getting wet.








8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 09:45:00

    Love the sign Fronkii. Why not get some stong chain links and suspend it from a couple of steel or wooden (strong) poles? It can then swing without a care in the world. The lettering is very appropriate for something called “Serendipity” as well. The word doesn’t lend itself to the formality of straight up and down formal lettering. It should be free to flow however it wants to just like the Tamar out the front.


    • narf77
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 10:14:10

      Thats very whimsical and poetic of you Pinky… I guess you have Spring Fever. We have just been cleaning out rooms and are just about to start washing windows. Not spring fever, just something to do off our list while it’s raining. Glad you like the sign. I dare say the “Dun-ya-dough” crow will leave a deposit on it to show his displeasure. He was sitting in the gum tree telling me how to do things the other day until the currawongs decided to see him off. Have a great day whatever you are doing today.


  2. Mum
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 11:10:55

    Hearty Congratulations Pen & Steve, on passing your diploma course–I knew you would! What a lovely feeling eh? I do like that sign too, & Cathy’s idea sounds good. Either that, or put two poles up & attach the sign if it is a bit heavy. It will look good there. The hen family is growing every day! Maybe if they all had two eggs each when broody, you won’t be too overrun? It’s warming up here, so in a few days, so will you! Hey, washing windows makes it rain! I might just go do that.


  3. Mum
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 11:12:58

    Can you find another dead she-oak,& make a stand from that for the sign> I just had the idea with maybe another piece similar, only taller,& attaching the sign to it. Even another dead tree fork to be natural?


  4. Kym
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 19:02:26

    Lovely sign guys, the grain will show up beautifully when you estapol it. Well it is most definitely not raining here. It’s 33 today and expected to be 36 tomorrow! Oh summer is going to be hot hot hot ……


  5. nat
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 08:25:59

    Congratulations on passing your diploma, i’m not sure who needed a drink the most, you guys or Nick. The sign looks fabulous and i can’t wait to see it up.
    Thank you from the students and me for your wonderful words. I read it out to them and had a tear in my eye at the end. Tomorrow is their last day and we are going out for dinner. Also got 3 lovely maples at the rose festival from Manx plants.


    • narf77
      Nov 23, 2011 @ 09:16:10

      We think that both you and James have great classes this year. I wish we had you as a lecturer as we never got to go anywhere at the end of our course and it felt like a bit of an anticlimax. Wish you class well from us and no doubt we will see them next year. My words were completely true. You are so passionate about your plants that it moves by osmosis to your students. They can’t help but see how fantastic horticulture is and you give them every chance to explore it. You are a great lecturer Nat :o). See you on Friday.


  6. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:09:13

    Steve is quite good with wood!


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