A waltz with the front gate

Hi All,

I have been on a journey of discovery lately and realise that I am indeed at my happiest when I have little well-worn ruts to follow. I like to embellish my ruts but I do like to run my life over their smooth edges and know that I have been here before and that there are no monsters waiting to jump out at me as I hack my way through unfamiliar tundra with the twin machetes of adventure and change. I realise that I am bucking current societal trends here. I don’t really care. Society hasn’t ever been one of my primary concerns and you are all just lucky that I don’t have (or at least exhibit…) psychopathic tendencies. I again found myself gliding along a path well-trodden when I opened the gate yesterday…I felt my passenger seat dance starting halfway down the driveway…”hand lightly resting on the door release…1…2…3…OPEN the door…out and 1…2…3…steps to the gate…key in the padlock and TWIST…flip the gate catch and 1…2…3…release the gate…hook up the metal rod holding the other gate in place and “click” into place…now comes the dance…walking with the gate and pirouetting deftly to turn and walk back with the gate…1…2…3…”pirouette”…1…2…3…”turn” now reach for the other gate and 1…2…3…pull it back to the first gate, drop the metal rod into its hole in the ground, flip over the latch…”click” the padlock closed and 1…2…3…back to the car and away! As I ruminated about where we were going I suddenly realised that I had entirely choreographed our entry and exit from our property…I had taken my familiar task and tarted it up to make it mine. I guess my well-worn pathways might be entirely familiar BUT I have most certainly made them my own and as anyone who knows me well will tell you…there is usually a bit of a twist…my personal choice of soundtrack for my newly discovered gate waltz shall be the late great Keith Floyd’s own personal soundtrack for his series of booze sodden foodie adventures and the song that Steve travelled all the way to London when he was 14 to hear The Stranglers perform first up in the opening night of their 1979 tour at The Hammersmith Odeon in London… “


Waltzinblack by the stranglers … How cool is it that I am married to an original retro punk turned Goth! I am still waiting for the “cool” to rub off on me though! As the summer starts to heat up we are just starting to get stuck into our garden. It’s a situation that we would rather have accomplished earlier in the year when the soil wasn’t setting like porcelain and we had a lot more rain but such is the life of a perpetual student and it all adds to the fact that we sleep like babies every night after a hard days slog in the garden. I just have to add quickly here…I am NOT going to endorse Dawn French as a writer. I did my best Dawn…I admire you incredibly as an actress but I don’t think you are going to give anyone a run for their money as a writer :o(…back to what we are doing…we have spent the past few days cutting ex-fish farm netting and removing rope and yesterday (Thursday) we finally got to the point where we could start nailing it to the poles that we have already dug into the ground. We used the rocks that hamper our every move when trying to navigate the world below the ground as our allies this time and once we managed to dig a hole deep enough for the poles (no easy feat…believe me!) we backfilled the holes with various sized rocks and sledgehammered them in to wedge our poles in place. We are not expecting ninjas to be climbing this fence but you would be surprised at the heft a well fed possum can apply to a sagging chook fence so we took this into consideration when burying our poles.


Earthstar fungus that we found on a recent early morning dog walk


The ghost of teasels past and present


I am amazed that these Melaleuca’s are able to grow and flourish whilst being subject to spending several hours a day under salt water


Samphire growing amongst the pebbles on Paper Beach


part of the beach circuit that we sometimes walk with the boys


A bag full of tiny pinecones that we collected to use for Christmas crafts


Taken at night time of the moon over the river


Isn’t this yucca flower spike amazing?


Looking back across the river towards our place

We took our first 20metre x 2.5 metre length of netting and managed to get halfway around our designated area before the skies opened and it rained for the rest of the afternoon…a most curious eventuality because the only other rain that we have had for a while now occurred when we were digging the poles into the ground…I am starting to see a pattern here and whenever we need rain from now on I am going to stand on the deck and pronounce loudly to the ears in the sky that “I am just heading off to the chook yard to dig/nail/windmill my arms around”. Never let it be said that I can’t adapt to the status quo! It’s Friday and we are going to attempt to finish off our new chook pen today. Once we have finished the boundary fence we can start piling up rocks around the outside to prevent the quolls from tunnel mining and reducing our already reduced population of girls. We have already thought of this and will keep shutting them into the fully enclosed roost at night…so many country lessons to learn and so little time to learn them in! After we finish the chook pen we have a plethora of tasks to wade through…piles of woody debris will be relocated, feral cats will be dealt with, irrigation will be constructed and placed and mountains of green waste will be consumed in a matter of minutes by a massive hungry (and most prohibitively expensive) hired mulcher. We plan on removing old overgrown “hedging” (now half dead and as ugly as sin) from the boundary between Serendipity Farm and the church below and in the process removing an entire thriving population of banana passionfruit clinging tenaciously to the half dead Robinia below. We will do the same thing with the sad Robinia “hedge” at the front of the property and will plant out a series of cherry plum trees interspersed with conifers as our own personal statement about what this property is becoming. The church might have to put up with our exposed chook coop but our remaining girls (we like to refer to them as “The Chosen One’s”…) will get a million dollar view of the river and let’s be honest here…the churchies come once a week…our girls will be in situ 24/7 so we figure the ball is in their court


We are getting some lovely weather here in Tasmania at the moment


Daredevil Steve relying on his old ability to skateboard to keep his balance while the most unpredictable of creatures frolic at the end of their newfound freedom giving long ropes


I love the smooth pebbles and rocks on Paper Beach


A barnacle heart!


More barnacle love 🙂


This little crane really didn’t want to move despite me walking Earl at the time…


The Batman Bridge that connects the West Tamar to the East Tamar


It’s hardly fun when the best thing to steal is a manky old wizened lemon…


Earl typing his resume

I am gearing up for my new year and my new year’s ethos. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions…I just decide to effect a bit of change and as my “Year of Living Honestly” slowly slides into oblivion I can feel a “Year of Living Productively and Proactively” making that smooth baton change into place and I can’t wait to take the simple truths that I have learned this year and start working with them. I want to hone my skills (such as they are) and polish what I have been learning to turn it from raw earth into a perfect, rock hard Hikaru Dorodango of simple but incredible beauty. I want to move forward and sideways at the same time and I want to learn…oh MAN I want to learn!  That was just very curious…”Word” wanted me to change the first “learn” to “teach”…I want to teach? Not yet I don’t! I am too busy indulging myself in the wonder of learning as much as I can…it is no wonder that I sometimes have trouble finding what I want to say…my poor head is crammed so fun of “stuff” it makes my rss feed reader appear positively Spartan. I am also going to learn to hone my words…to take the mass of tangled bits and pieces that all clamour to be heard and listen carefully to each one to see if it really has a tale to tell. It’s year 2 of “The Road to Serendipity” and as with all serendipitous things, the true beauty of it lies in what you make of it…your choices. Next year you can look forward to shorter but more poignant posts and for all of my dear constant readers who have steadfastly refused to give up on my massive reflections…thank you and you SHALL go to the ball! ;)…before I go, here is a delightful English translation of how to make your own hikaru dorodango closely followed by another excellent tutorial. You know me, I can’t just go with the very first thing that I see 😉 …I will be making a Serendipity Farm dorodango to grace my curio cabinet and should you feel like making one yourself consider it my little gift to you…a study in patience 😉




A few Christmassy pictures to get you in the mood…Earl making snow…


The first Christmas Beetle of the season…


Steve performing magic with the Christmas Tree Lights…

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Dec 15, 2012 @ 19:13:27

    Do you ever pick and eat the samphire Fronki? It is, apparently, a pretty decent crunchy veg for a stirfry or just an accompiniment to a main meal.


    • narf77
      Dec 16, 2012 @ 11:31:29

      We saw what Earl did to that samphire before we took that shot…there is NO WAY that it is going anywhere near my mouth after that! 😉


  2. thinkingcowgirl
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 09:13:20

    I love that line ‘as I hack my way through unfamiliar tundra with the twin machetes of adventure and change.’ Very nice. The beach photos are lovely, though my middleaged eyes would like magnification – ooh maybe if I click on them hah! And the beetle is stunning. Can I put myself in for the spoon thing?!


    • narf77
      Dec 16, 2012 @ 11:29:11

      I had to take a compromise on the photo side as I didn’t want the blog to only run for a year because I used HUGE photos ;). You can most certainly put yourself in for the spoon…in fact…get some of your friends to go in for the spoon…how about you tell the whole neighbourhood! Steve’s pride was a bit hurt that only 11 of the 106 followers on the blog were interested ;). I guess 12 is pretty good odds that you have a chance so it might be best to keep shtum about it ;). The draw is next Saturday and on Wednesdays post I will show everyone their walnut numbers in order…after that it’s all down to the luck of the draw (and the most succulent looking walnut in Earl’s vicinity 😉 ).


      • thinkingcowgirl
        Dec 18, 2012 @ 05:35:54

        Oh dear, will my blog get full up? I’m a bit photo obsessed, as you may have guessed. 🙂

        Mums the word round here on the spoon draw, 1 in 12 is too good to miss…!

      • narf77
        Dec 18, 2012 @ 05:44:55

        You will get to see what number you have been allocated on wednesday for Earl’s walnut draw on Saturday (which will be videoed and posted for transparency 😉 ). Steve and I have been reignited about making spoons and are going to make a lot of them over the coming holidays. He makes larger wooden spoon and spatulas and I make tiny ones for condiments and spices/herbs. We always give them away so if you don’t win this spoon…odds are there will be more 🙂 We like the idea of making things from trees that we have had to remove from the property… sort of a nobel end for their years of steadfast sentry duty and the elderly lady that created the garden under the chaos that my father and his partner released planted some wonderful tree species here. I have some deceased rowen wood to mess about with for some tiny spoons. Pagan wickerman spoon anyone? 😉

  3. Sincerely, Emily
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 15:18:03

    Loved Dawn French in Vicar of Dibley. Also Lark Rise to Candleford. Don’t know here writing at all. Beautiful beaches, beautiful pine cones, Brave Steve on the floating log, Love the smooth rocks and barnacles. LOVE Early typing his resume! Wonder what his interests are? Earl’s snow! not so good! Neat to read about your well worn path coming into you property. It is all yours. I can hear the music as you describe it.


  4. brymnsons
    Dec 16, 2012 @ 17:47:30

    Firstly Fran, please don’t shorten your posts! I relish them like mini books, as my time is so full that it is the one thing I try to make time to read in the week, that and That’s Life, which I have to say is still sitting unread near my chair. It has been a hectic week and the weekend even heckticka. If you squint your eyes at the yukka flower spike I think it looks like those thai girls who dress up and dance. I have only just now had time to read both your posts. What a wonderful time you had with your daughters, I will not get that with my boys. Maybe I will be lucky enough to have some granddaughters?? Take care and please be as verbose as you like, I love it x


  5. wendi
    Dec 17, 2012 @ 02:32:57

    Fran- I love your image of “ruts”. So perfect. Me, too. And the “year of living honestly” speaks to me. I love living through your descriptions and photos. Thank you for sharing your life!


  6. Chica Andaluza
    Dec 17, 2012 @ 02:33:26

    Another great post – always love what you say, especially when it´s accompanied by such a great track! Love that shot of the moon over the river. Do hope Earl isn´t going to leave you to get a job in far flung parts 😉


    • narf77
      Dec 17, 2012 @ 05:13:52

      He is running out of things to make “snow” with…I would imagine he is advertising his talents online to see if he can’t make a little bone money on the side… 😉


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