Old photos

Hi All

We are spending the day today baking. We are novice pretty much everything, and as such, won’t offer any great advice to anyone about anything here, except give whatever you are interested in a go. Don’t let not being perfect at something hold you back. You don’t need to know everything about everything before you do something and this has been my hardest lesson to learn in life and one that I am still battling today. We have made sponge cakes and bread. The cakes are for sharing with friends at our local Polytechnic. I am sure that all of the lecturers and staff where we study are more than ready for this set of school holidays. I know that we are. I have been requesting books from my local library online using Linc Tasmania. I love being able to check out what I want online, and then being able to request it from the library from the comfort of my office chair. It’s just a matter of waiting for it to get to the Exeter library where I go to pick it up. It’s like having a very large library at my disposal as if I was to only rely on my local library I wouldn’t get anywhere near the amount of choice because its tiny and very limited in what you can take out. Libraries are most probably the greatest way to access information for most people. I didn’t use the library much when I was younger. I didn’t even think about how much information I could access, but now I use it all of the time and have many books waiting in line to become available. If you want to learn about something the library is the best place.


I am going to put some random pictures in this blog post because now I am a good girl and am not pinching pictures online, I need to give you guys something to look at to break up my text masses :o)


Here is a bit of a segue from ‘learning’ to being creative. Steve and I love creating things out of what would otherwise be thrown out. We had some old bits of wood that had come from an ornamental cherry tree that died not long after we moved into the house in town and decided that rather than just burn them, we would make something out of them. We did a bit of research and then spent hours whittling away and carving these spoons. The end result far exceeded our expectations and we gave them to Nat to remember us by, little knowing that she would be stuck with us for the long haul! :o)

Next we have an amazing stick insect that I saw on the large liquidambar tree out the front of the house in town. It was the biggest insect that I had ever seen and was as large as my outstretched hand…

The books that I have been taking out are all about growing Forest Gardens. I have one called “Creating a Rainforest Garden”, but not living in the tropics means that this book has limited use to me. We do have wet sclerophyll forests in Tasmania full of ferns and trees, but we simply don’t get the heat required for tropical species which is where most tropical fruits come from so I most probably won’t get too much out of this book. The other book that I am totally engrossed in, and that I am going to have to save up and buy myself, is “Creating a Forest Garden” by Martin Crawford. It’s an in depth manual on how to plan, create, utilise and maintain your own forest garden starting with why you would want to do this in the first place. It has long been a passion of mine to grow food plants whilst developing a self-sustainable forest environment that would feed both my family, and the local wildlife. A cyclical system where the plants feed themselves along with input from the masses of poultry and wildlife flitting around everywhere. Choosing wisely, you would grow leguminous plants to fix nitrogen in the soil. After that it’s really up to you what you want to grow. I was reading in the Foreword about a man called Robert Hart whose work in the field was the origins of most of the forest gardeners in the U.K. I just did a bit of research and have bookmarked lots of sites about him, his garden and all sorts of information about forest gardening. I can then head back there when I have a bit more time to do some further research. I love being organised. It makes me feel happy. Sad, but true! I think that some of us are born to be adventurers and some of us are born to be happy in our own little space and I am NO adventurer. The more I read about forest gardening, the more excited I get. Who wouldn’t want to plant and grow a ‘space’ that became self-perpetuating? This garden is part of a property that has been going for hundreds of years. I would love to be able to allow it to grow and become more productive, rather than decline into weed infestation which is what is slowly happening. Once we have removed the weed species, we can start populating this entire property with edible and medicinal plants.


Talking about medicinal plants, here is another segue… here is what a field of opium poppies looks like. This is for all of you that don’t know that Tasmania grows about 40% of the world’s legal opium. You can drive down the road and see fields and fields of poppies. Much prettier than some other crops. I had to laugh at Tasmanian ingenuity when we were driving down a dirt track once through hectares of Eucalyptus nitens (Tas oak) trees and we noticed a large field of opium poppies in the middle of these plantations. It had no fences whatsoever but had a gate; propped up on 2 tree stumps with a sign saying that entry was forbidden! It’s illegal to grow these pretty poppies in your garden but we noticed about a garden’s worth of them growing wild alongside the Beauty Point wharf…

I noticed this picture when I was hunting through my random pictures to fill up blog posts when you might otherwise start yawning. It’s a photo of my mothers house that she moved out of about 4 years ago. When she moved in, the only garden present was lawn. She turned it into what you see here (and this is only a very small part of it) with sweat, cuttings and determination. My mother could get a garden going out of absolutely nothing and her new, smaller and more manageable garden is a testament to this creative spirit. Well done mum, I eventually started to follow in your footsteps! I doubt that I will ever have the creative ability and natural affinity with garden’s that either you, Gran or even Jamie has, but I am at least appreciative of my garden and am trying to do my best. Hopefully one day I will get something as lovely as your gardens are and have been

Do you want a bit of a laugh? This is mainly for Nat as she has only known us for about 3 years now. This photo was taken before Steve and I got married and we have been married for 11 years now. Steve bears a resemblance to Bill Oddie, and I am trying my level best to ape Lady Di by the look of it! We have come a long way haven’t we! Have a good laugh Nat and don’t say that I don’t give you something to smile about at the beginning of your day :o)

Well the cakes are now made and we just locked up the chooks after counting the babies at least 10 times. The problem is that the feral cats are out and about now and the chooks won’t go into their coop until dusk, which is now at about 8pm so there is a window of opportunity for the cats and the chooks to meet face to face for about 3 hours a day. It’s not the ideal situation because despite having a fair bit of chook fear for the larger chooks, Felix would not have any chook fear of the chickens, especially the 4 that have been abandoned by their mum and that have to fend for themselves. They are perfectly able to fend for themselves, but as anyone who has watched a documentary about the lion’s on the Serengeti will know, they will target the weak and the orphaned and these little chicks are pretty much both. We are trying to feed Felix earlier in the evening at about 4pm so that she won’t get too interested in the chickens. We saw Jacko laying on his carpet licking his paws and couldn’t find one of the babies…until we looked a bit harder and it was Gremlin, not only safe, but up on the high perch with the adults! I told you he/she was feisty! It’s not easy being a little farmer I can tell you. Trying to manage the natural desires of wild animals when confronted by tasty domestic animals can be difficult. We do our best. We know that the odds are that we are going to lose a few chickens, but we are prepared for that and it won’t be for our lack of trying to keep them all alive. We have to be off early to town tomorrow. It’s a very busy day for us including our fortnightly shopping, packing up the shed and giving it over to the girls to do with as they please and visiting our lecturer to share some coffee and home-made sponge cake to herald the end of what has been a most harrowing and stressful year in more ways than one. I am sure that he will be glad to see the back of Alanvale Polytechnic for the rest of the year and will come back refreshed and ready for next year’s trials and tribulations. We are very happy to be able to spend some time relaxing and enjoying ourselves. See you all tomorrow err that would be today! :o) Have a great day and enjoy your weekends, there aren’t that many till Christmas you know, in a month today its Christmas eve…


Now that I have said that and stressed you all out to the max, here are some lovely photos taken around here to calm you down again…

This first photo was taken just after Christmas a few years ago when my son came over to visit. It was one of the hottest days that we had that year and we decided to take him to check out some of the lovely scenery that we had yet to see ourselves. We decided to go to Meander Falls but after driving for what seemed like hours we ended up in the wilderness with a sign saying that we had to walk for another hour over rough terrain. As mentioned this was HOT so we decided against this and headed back to Liffey falls and this photo was taken on the pathway down to the falls…

This next photo was taken at part of the falls. It’s a pretty place to visit and a lovely place to dip your toes in when it’s over 30C in Tasmania

This last photo is of the view back towards Trevallyn Bridge from down next to the gorge restaurant. It’s a really pretty place to visit, lovely and cool on a hot day and so many advanced specimens of old conifers and other lovely trees that it’s well worth a visit. There are also masses of large rhododendrons and if you are lucky enough to visit when they are all out in bloom it’s a most magnificent sight. On this day we were not so lucky, but this photo shows you just how very lucky we are to be living in such a beautiful place when Launceston is less than 500m away from where this photo was taken


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 11:06:51

    Funny you looking at old photo’s Pen, I found a heap of old negatives gran had stored away, & I think a lot will be of us as children! The ducks don’t have teeth as you know, so will dunk things like bread etc in their water to soften enough to eat. It sounds like they have settled in well. The chickens will do okay too, but feed Felix early. I think if she meant to have them, she would have by now. I hope you all enjoyed a pre Christmas party,& they enjoyed the cakes. It’s a tiny bit cooler this morning, ther fires are somewhat contasined, but will be kept an eye on for the next few days. Nio wind today as yet, but that could happen. It got to 35 deg yesterday, so it’s getting like Perth here.


  2. Kym
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 00:46:49

    Not an adventurer eh… Well I beg to differ. How many people move away from their home and travel miles away to another state, an island even to live? How many people would take on such a big job as your little piece of serendipity? How many people would go back to full time study at your time in life?? Not many Fran my friend. You are a true inspiration and may I add a wonderful example of what can happen when you move out of your comfort zone and be adventurous. 🙂


    • narf77
      Nov 26, 2011 @ 09:07:10

      That’s what I most love about you Kymmy, you are the most loyal friend :o). I am what might be known as an “adventurous rabbit”. Having been born in the Chinese year of the rabbit (as were you and my first daughter) we share a desire to nest, to procreate and to be safe. I have developed an amazing ability to plan and think laterally. Not because I have any sort of ability in this area, but because I am someone that doesn’t want to put myself in any danger, risk or in the sites of any passing wolves. My plans have been most elaborate and usually incorporate many hidden ‘holes’ just like my rabbit counterpart and whilst coming across as me being adventurous, are really the complicated and intricate results of my brain wishing to remain firmly on Terra Firma. I love being creative and when I decided to leave my first marriage it was so that I could be ‘myself’. Not too sure what that was to be honest, but I think that I am closer to finding her than I was before. I must admit to only coming to Tasmania because dad was going to let us live rent free and we could then afford to do these studies without too much financial stress. We both live day to day now and whether you believe in fate, or karma or whatever, it seems that if we step out and take a bit of a leap of faith (Steve is ALWAYS more willing to leap then I am!) sometimes the results can be really worthwhile.


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 19, 2013 @ 06:19:08

    I love poppies. You and Steve actually look alike. I’ve always thought about digging out young pictures of Chris and I. There are some where I also think we look alike.


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