It’s Tuesday and another blog post deadline is looming. Stewart and Kelsey made a short stop on Serendipity Farm and it was lovely seeing them. They spent a lot of time wandering around in the dark looking at the stars and watching possums, bandicoots and wallabies scooting around in the undergrowth no doubt on their way to eating one or other of our tender shooting deciduous plants. We spent yesterday recovering and realising that we are indeed the hermits that our friends prophesied that we would become living out in the sticks and only venturing into town for “supplies”. A week of tidying and a whirlwind but wonderful visit later and Steve and I are feeling shell shocked. We had to head off to our friend in the witness protections place today to get another load of wood and to head over to Steve Solomon’s house to get the results of our soil tests and his customised prescription to remedy our obviously denuded soil. When we arrived at our friends place we noted that she was striding with purpose from her boundary fence with a large metal mallet. Living in the country can sometimes do strange things to a person and we approached her with caution but we didn’t have to be alarmed, she arrived muttering about how shooters hunt on her property and don’t shut the gate. They had broken the fence to get through (must be fat hunters) and she had been banging a metal star picket into the ground to hold the gate closed and stop her donkeys from raiding her vegetable garden. The things that people living in the country have to contend with!
Stewart and Kelsey relaxing on Sernendipity Farm
A group cuddle
Kelsey and the infamous American style Pumpkin Ale that is languishing at the back of our fridge for when I next feel like baking a beer chocolate cake
And what do we have here?
That would be a white forest cherry cake!
The travellers heading off to warmer climes 🙂
She heard on the grapevine somewhere that possums and wallabies won’t eat your plants if you situate stuffed toys all around them. Her garden now looks like some sort of demented landscaper has designed it with stuffed toys hanging by their necks from all sorts of odd places. Her little granddaughter had helped her to hang them by the neck. Life in the country is about as real as you can get. We left Steve with a massive log to be cut up and we headed out of the gate to Mr Solomon’s place for our results. We arrived and found Steve minus his bottom teeth thanks to some sort of denture accident but despite the loss of his lower mandibles speech mode we cobbled together the gist of what he wanted us to do. We purchased a sack of Soft Rock Phosphate from him and a large sack of dried wakame in lieu of kelp at a significant discount ($8 a sack for the wakame and $40 a sack for the kelp) with essentially the same nutritional rundown and the wakame has the added bonus of being extremely tasty! We got a printout of our initial results from the American soil analysis company and Steve then took those results and reworked them to be pertinent to a 10 square metre garden plot. My witness protection friend’s soil is quite denuded but nowhere near as much as he had expected. Because of the clay in her subsoil her summer hydrophobic soil is able to hold onto a reasonable amount of nutrients and our soil profile was even better. We both got Steve’s prescription for what to add to our soil and in what quantities. We had a bit of a laugh with him and he said that he was glad that he had met us and that we were “his type of people”. Always glad to make a new friend especially when he wants to assist us both with our gardening ventures in the future.
Meet Tilly. She used to be Nat’s dog and now she lives with our friend in the witness protection. If you lean on Nat, you might discover our friends identity but you have to get past Tilly first 😉
Our friend in the witness protection’s long suffering possum and wallaby scoffed back yard. Note the close proximity to native bushland and the strange collection of stuffed animals in grotesque poses
This is the first time that the rose situated directly underneath Mr Ted-E-Bear (complete with bow tie thank you VERY much…) has managed to keep its tender little new leaves since our friend in the witness protection planted it.
A teddy in a waistcoat taking one for the Gipper
Our friend in the witness protection just so happens to work in a gardening centre and can use her staff discount to avail herself of the necessary nutrients required for our soils. We have decided to buy in bulk and split the cost. I am going to buy 2 more sacks of wakame from Steve, myself, so that we can top dress the soil with pulverised dried wakame and he also said that we should use spent mushroom compost to add organic matter to the soil to increase the soil carbon. No problems with that Mr Solomon and your prescription fits in nicely with our own thoughts on what we want to use to improve fertility and vitality in both of our soils. We can also harvest mushrooms from our spent mushroom compost value adding at the same time. I love it when a plan comes together! We then bid Steve and his denture free lower mandible arividerchiand adieu and drove back to our friend in the witness protection’s property where she dropped me off at the gate where Steve was sitting in the car waiting for me to return with a trailer loaded down with wood, a most satisfactory situation! We drove home just in front of a massive black cloud that was hell bent on raining on our parade (and our load of wood!). We just made it home and the cloud decided to take a left at Albuquerque (no fun in us beating it home…off to find more mischief somewhere else) and leave us alone for a bit and so we quickly toted our wheelbarrows off to the woodshed to get ourselves some nice dry wood and on the way we decided to plant out the lovely claret ash that our good friend and lecturer in horticulture at our Polytechnic had bought for us when my mum died earlier this year. My mum had a massive big claret ash at her loved home in Denmark and couldn’t take it with her when she moved to her new little flat and she always talked about how much she loved it. We were going to buy one and plant it in her honour but Nat beat us to it when she read about our ideas. We hadn’t gotten around to planting it yet (slack…I know Nat!) but in honour of mums birthday today we decided to get stuck into our stone ridden soil and put the effort in to honour mum and give her a belated birthday gift. The place that we chose was near a regular green ash tree and overlooking Glad’s property with a nice view of the river. We can see it from the deck and when the ash starts to change colour in the future we will think of mum.
On a whirlwind visit to town after visiting Steve Solomon and our friend in the witness protection I noticed this lovely pattern painted by nature in Princes Square
Lacy tree shadows are a much better picture to share with you than what Bezial and Earl were doing ON said lovely deciduous trees…sigh…
A pretty display of Polyanthus in the park
I hate the gaudiness of Petunia’s but can’t resist Polyanthus
I can’t think of a better way to herald in Spring in earnest
Steve is wailing away to Jimi Hendrix who died on mum’s birthday (September 18th) 42 years ago. The dogs are tucked up on their respective chairs next to Brunhilda and I have our evening meal on the go. We were going to dispatch “Chicken” and “Stock” today but as it’s about to rain cats AND dogs we decided to give The Dalton Boys another day on this earth. We will be putting in a sterling effort tomorrow to work out where we are going to build our series of polytunnels behind the house. We dropped in on another friend who has been away this morning when we noticed them home on our walk with the dogs and they are going to get us some thick netting from the local salmon farm so that we can build our gravity assisted chook run. We will use terracing to ensure that our furious digging poultry can’t redistribute the hay that we put into it down to the bottom of the run in a day. Over the course of spring and summer we will be dealing with all of the debris constructively and we will be getting creative with our resources. I envy people who have water tanks and that is going to be our next big spend but we need to save up for them first. I have some ideas about market stalls and things that we have been tinkering with but that is going to have to wait a little bit as we have a pretty full few months ahead of us working out how to enclose our restless unsuspecting chooks and regain Serendipity Farms gardens and the ability to mulch and have the mulch stay put! After we planted mum’s claret ash “Chicken” was hovering around scratching the soil and pecking up slaters that had spilled out of the bottom of the bag and the remaining duck was feasting on a few foolhardy snails who thought that they were safe under the lip of the tree bag. I am under no misapprehensions that “Chicken” is going to do his level best to uproot the ash and will put some stones around the base tomorrow to ensure that they don’t tunnel mine down to its emerging spring roots.
Isn’t this a beautiful colour?
Either “Chicken” or “Stock” (not sure which) rootling around in the newly turned earth that contains the lovely claret ash that Nat bought for us when mum died earlier this year. We decided to plant it in honour of mum’s birthday. Thank you so much for your amazing kindness Nat and a huge hug to you for losing your dad last week
You know its really spring and not just a freak weather event when your grafted Japanese maples start to leaf up
This is how real men buy their spuds…by the 10kg bag and I applaud Steve’s cleverness as 10kg of King Edwards for $6.95 is a bargain in anyone’s neck of the woods
What have we here?
Is it catching?
Sigh…it would appear that “Clucky” is the new black on Serendipity Farm
Today was spent dealing in futures…it rained and thundered so any work was to be considered “future” and put on hold. We walked the dogs and swapped some plants and eggs for some netting to make our gravity fed chook run. We measured out the area that we are going to build our polytunnels in and decided to use the space in between the polytunnels as a covered area where we can harden off small plants out of the curiosity sphere of our native woodland scamp’s hell bent on scarfing their tender little shoots. It rained all afternoon and aside from trying to work out why my Facebook page seemed to not want to load when Steve’s was fine (sorted out now) we didn’t do much else.. We worked out the logistics of our polytunnels involving arcs, diameters and radii and gave ourselves headaches but at least we know that the materials available to us are going to be suitable for making polytunnels. I consider that a good day! It felt like a decidedly strange day all-round and after I post this post I am going to head off to ether land and do a bit of online distressing. I might even play a bit of Zelda as I had a nice early tea and am still awake which is always a bonus for me. I note that my posts are starting to creep up in the word count again but I am trying to keep a lid on their size. I will head off and post this one now as I know that there will be lengthy and wordy captions for my photos and it feels like cheating on my newfound desire to keep these posts lean and pertinent. See you all on the cusp of Saturday :o)
Before we go, here are a few of the projects that we took on in the week before Stewart and Kelsey arrived on our doorstep. Firstly this sad old rusted out mailbox might be only hanging on by the skin of its rust but you certainly wouldn’t know it from it’s schmick new look!
Our Hakea elk got attacked by some possum marauders and sustained an antler malfunction but he is still greeting visitors on Serendipity Farm
A close relative of the rusted out mailbox was the daggy old metre box but who could miss it now?
Last but by no means least the old dishevelled gas hot water system that hasn’t been used all winter now has a nice new paint job to match the metre box