Hay and Gravelly Beach

Hi All,

Today (yesterday) is my daughter Madeline’s birthday. Happy birthday Madeline! She is 24 and is off to Polytechnic this year to study towards becoming a health surveyor. We got up nice and late today. Each day seems to be echoing the last weather wise lately. We are consistently getting 27C and no rain. It’s fantastic weather for children and their families on holidays but not so good when you have 900 potted plants that all want to be hydrated on a regular basis. I have been very proactive with “doing things” since I got back from W.A. I wanted to make sure that I was pulling my not inconsiderable weight here on Serendipity Farm and as such I got up and headed out to scrub out the many and varied poultry watering stations that we have set up around the property. They are sparkling clean now and should any chook, duck or “other” chance upon one of these receptacles they should be rewarded with nice fresh clean water. We had to pick up 10 bales of hay today and had organised to pick it up in the afternoon. The hay had been cut from the Exeter football oval and was perfect for the chook roost and for making garden beds. It was advertised as $3.50 a bale but we got it for $3 a bale because it had one side slightly damp. No problem for us, we just leave it out anyway and it only has to act as a dung collector under the roost and in the garden beds a bit damp is fine with us. We were confronted by 2 dogs in various stages of sulk because they are used to walking first thing in the morning. The problem with that is that we are not at our best first thing in the morning and 2 excited dogs and 2 semi awake humans = problems. We decided that we would take the boys for their walk this afternoon in Exeter when we picked up the hay. As Steve was sitting waiting for me to post my post (after resizing photos etc…) he decided to phone up “Trev” and see if we could pick up our hay any earlier. We were able to get it at 10.30am so we hurriedly got ready and headed out the door to hook up the trailer and head to Exeter. On the way down the driveway we noticed that Yin and his cohorts have been getting more familiar with the teatree area in the garden. Up until now, they had been confining themselves in the 1st garden bed area as the rest of the garden in front of the house is somewhat jungle like still. Yin was crowing way down in the garden today and obviously called his girls down to the teatree area at the bottom of the property as there were about 9 of them all milling about in the dappled sunlight pecking away and scratching around for insect life. As we clear out more and more of the garden and free up the undergrowth and prune the shrubs back to manageable size, the chooks are going to take over. I don’t mind. It’s better than all of them condensed in one small area that bears the scars of their enthusiastic scratching.

Our hay ensconced under the deck where the hens can recline on it (and do other things on it) at their leisure

Here are my 3 free lemons looking radiant. Now I have only 2 because I used one in my lemon dhal

This is what the beach is comprised of at Gravelly Beach (a most appropriate name)

We picked up our hay at 10.30 and headed off to Gravelly beach to walk the boys. They LOVE walking alongside the river as they usually get several chances to jump into the water dragging a most unappreciative Steve along the riverbank in the process. Today they got to swim several times, talk to a few people, say hello to several dogs, splash about in some pretty places, walk along a bush track and do the same thing all the way back to the car. What dog heaven we give to these 2 boys! They are now both lying asleep on the floor (Earl) and on the sofa (Bezial) knackered out by all of the excitement and exercise that they just had. Earl got to look at a sunflower while Bezial got bitten on the foot by a bee. I think Earl got the best deal there, but both occasions were marked by the presence of bees. We are thinking of getting a goat for Serendipity Farm. It seems to be the norm on country properties here in Tasmania. We very rarely saw goats in W.A. but over here, most properties have one or more tethered to a small triangular structure that serves as their shelter. We have lots of grass on the top 3 acres of property that would keep a goat happy so we might think about making an addition to our livestock specifically for grass removal. I like goats. They are clever, resourceful and interesting (unlike sheep that are stupid, run of the mill and boring). I like how they are survivors. You get wild goats, you don’t get wild sheep. I rest my case! Steve is out cleaning out his shed. Steve and I operate in different ways. I like to tidy up as I go along with anything that I do. I like to end up with hardly anything to do/clean at the end of my task so that I can move on to my next job or interest straight away. At the end of Steve’s tasks there is a mountain of cleaning up to do. He doesn’t like cleaning up so his shed is in a perpetual state of mountainous mess.

Some lovely enormous sunflowers that we noticed on our walk around Gravelly Beach with the boys

On closer inspection you can see 2 different kinds of honey bees. We have bumble bees in Tasmania as well as “regular” honey bees

On even closer inspection you can see the bumble bee feeding from the flower

This is the garden that the sunflowers live just in front of. I love this tangled mass of veggies. This is what I hope to achieve on Serendipity Farm. An entire area of massed veggies and fruit trees with lots of flowers in between to confuse the insects, bring in the bees and act as companion plants for the veggies. My garden will be raised up, however, thanks to the 75% soil saturation of rocks. I have some great plans for some most artistic wooden creations to put into the garden so keep watching this space…

The bumble bees next conquest…

I got a few chunks of mint from the side of the road. It’s not the regular bright green mint that seems most popular on the mainland but this was the fuzzy light green mint most common in the U.K. I think it’s called apple mint. Regular mint is peppermint or spearmint (depending on how long the leaf is). I got some similar mint the other day from the side of the road (my favourite nursery :o) but this mint had rounder leaves but still light green and fuzzy. I have them both in a large glass of water on the kitchen window ledge growing roots so that I can pot them up. The mint family (Lamiaceae) are one of the hardiest of plants. Salvias belong to this family and they can be found in desert plants and Mexican plants. While we were collecting our mint from the side of the road we noticed an ornamental quince, a few large tree dahlia specimens and some Artemisia shrubs on the river banks. I also noticed a very hacked and sad specimen of Rhododendron that the council had razed flat in their efforts for a “neat foreshore” (in opposition to one that looks any good in tourist season…) that was flowering out of season the poor thing. While we were walking we noticed someone with a box on the road verge and an accompanying sign that said “Free lemons, feel free to take some”. I could see the lemon tree was full of ripe lemons and the owners of this house obviously decided that generosity would help them out of a mountain of ripe lemons. We need more of this sort of thing. Give away what you can’t possibly hope to use and share. I have 3 nice big lemons. 1 is for tonight’s lemon dhal and 1 is for tomorrow’s hummus. I have a spare lemon to be sliced and mounted attractively on the side of my beer and lime to remind me that the generosity of strangers can make our lives richer. I think I might give these people one of our excess Ginkgo biloba trees. People need to be rewarded in kind for their generosity and we need to keep this cycle going. You can’t take any of this when you go. My dad made me cover up the poor little mulberry tree against predation by the birds and he never harvested the mulberries once. Generosity of spirit is one thing that feeds our souls. I like to practice it and after being hurled at short notice into both of my parents possessions when they departed this earth, I have most certainly been given the strongest message about treading lightly on the earth and only amassing what I need. No hoarding for me, most of mum’s humble possessions went to the tip shop. I dare say she would have been horrified at this, but someone will get the use of these items and you can’t take them with you. Life is too short for bad wine AND hoarding physical possessions

Some yachts on the Tamar River. It’s still salty at this point but somewhere around where my daughters live and the city, it becomes fresh water and you can catch eels (should you feel that way inclined…).

I love the clean lines (and the colour if I am being honest) of this walkway on the water. Its free floating but anchored by those black poles sunk into the riverbed.

Its at about this point where Bezial realised “wait a minute…this thing is moving!” and hightailed it back to solid ground…

An avenue of old palm trees. You can see this feature echoed in most major (older) cities in Australia. The foreshore lined with ancient palm trees. It reminds us of the city foreshore in Perth and it was almost as hot…

a tiny little enclave beach where we stopped on our walk to let Bezial and Earl cool down with a bit of a splash

The same little beach looking back the other way towards Launceston. Pretty isn’t it?

A most interesting little walk that leads from that tiny little beach. This area is called Swan Point and some interested group has taken the opportunity to give little marker points to tell us what some of the endemic trees are and little notice boards to explain things about this area. When the snake season settles down a bit we will take the boys down to Swan Point for a loo-see

And last, but in the dogs eyes, no means least photo is of the Gravelly Beach off leash area. Whenever we take the boys here they spend the entire time walking around sniffing every fence post and peeing on everything. I personally think that it is boring, but the dogs love it. Oh well, no accounting for taste!

Are you all still here? I have been gone for ages! Didn’t you notice? I thought I might have a quick hunt for the recipe for flatbreads that I saw on River Cottage Summer last night and have been gone for the best part of an hour and a half. Thank goodness this blogging lark isn’t in real time or you would all have deserted me by now! I found lots of really good recipes but not the actual recipe that I was after. I tend to get side-tracked when looking for recipes and usually have difficulty finding the exact recipe that I was after but end up with a huge word document full of new and interesting recipes to try out that I found while I was looking for the original recipe. This tends to be the story of my life to be honest. I start somewhere and go sideways till I meet myself coming back with my arms full of sombrero’s, party whistles and bags full of stones when what I actually went out for was something a whole lot more mundane. Oh well, perhaps it’s my brain in a futile attempt to get me to be a more interesting person? Either way, I am making my version of those flatbread’s tonight to go with our various curries. I love hunting for things online. If they ever make it pay only, it is going to send me broke. See you all tomorrow when I will tell you all about my stay with my brother at his little rental cottage out in the bush and I might even share some of his amazing photography with you.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Jan 22, 2012 @ 09:43:14

    I ate the one and only little nectarine that grew on my dwarf trixzee nectarine tree yesterday! It was divine and sweet as could be.Mum bought me that little tree for my birthday (i think) and this was the very first fruit it grew. Her dwarf nectarine is now living a happy life in the pot next to it. It was loaded this year but by the time we got to it after Mum died, the parrots had chewed most of the fruit off and it was lying on the ground underneath the tree. Never mind. Its in a much cooler garden and my 3 kitties will chase off any parrots and wattle birds from it. I swear the little loganberry you pruned is going to take over the world! It must be growing an inch at least a day.
    Fronkii, if I’m going to get some Bourbon rose cuttings, is it best to cut old wood or younger tip wood for the sake of growing it myself? What’s best in this situation?


    • narf77
      Jan 22, 2012 @ 14:19:55

      Softwood cuttings at the moment Pinky. Just take heaps and jam them into some potting mix after removing the lower leaves. Straight perlite is also good but you have to keep them very well watered if you use this. Glad you got a nectarine :o) Mum was so happy that you took her old fruit trees and they will give you good memories for many years to come. Good luck parrots and wattle birds on those potted dwarf nectarines. I dare say Bubbles, Squeak and Molly will be waiting for them in readiness for their stealth attacks on your fruit. You will get heaps of fruit. We still have mulberries and some nectarines on our trees even though we didn’t bother to protect them this year. We figured that we would let the birds have the lot in reprisal for dad being so mingy by putting bird netting over the lot. The blackberries had a great season this year and are fruiting all over the place so the possums and little birds are eating them. You never know…we might just get a mulberry yet! :o)


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