Bolshie broads and the lessons in a spoon

Hi All,

Steve is up to his eyeballs in wood shavings. He is out in the shed producing spoons out of Serendipity Farm wood. We have been hunting through our wood piles and have managed to find some Cotoneaster wood that is an amazing light fine grained wood much like oak and very hard. Steve is working on one Cotoneaster spoon now and has enough wood for another one and after that he will be working with some native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis) that we plucked from our huge wicker man pile of wood in the teatree garden. Native Cherry is beautiful pink wood and if the moth larvae have left it alone it should make some very attractive spoons. We have been thinking about the dog’s diet lately as they seem to have fine-tuned it specifically to straight beef steak and each night we offer them a slight variation they turn up their noses and choose not to eat it. The food that we are offering them would be snapped up by most dogs, our boys are just spoiled and we are doing them no favours in the health stakes allowing them to continue eating only beef steak. Dogs, unlike cats, are not designed to eat only meat. They are NOT carnivores and are omnivores like we humans. In saying that…Earl is quite certain that he is the exception to the rule! Bezial is partial to mashed potato so long as there is a LOT of butter folded in. We have decided that we are going to have to do battle with the dogs on their stubborn and steadfast refusal to back down whenever we try to introduce fibre into their diet. We headed over to Georgetown today to pick up a large sack of dog biscuits. Little do the boys know but there are worse things than potatoes… they are just about to be introduced to the dog biscuit diet. For the next 2 weeks they are going to get dog biscuits for their evening meal. I am assured that dogs will only refuse their food until they are really hungry and the only thing wrong with our two is that they are incredibly spoiled and strong willed. Much like children, you have to give them boundaries and our boys are just about to learn an important lesson, refuse your meals at your own expense. Tonight they dine on Dr Harry’s finest ;).

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We visited our daughters today and Beth showed me some photos that they took over Christmas and was kind enough to allow me to share them with you on my blog…this is Qi. She is the queen of her street and God help ANYONE walking past on the footpath that she doesn’t like. Here you can see her performing a most useful trick for the camera…this trick has been known to get her all manner of tasty treats in the past… if it aint broke…don’t fix it!

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One of Bethany’s chalk drawings on a blackboard in her room…both girls are very talented artists

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Qi waiting for her Aunty Madeline to return from the shop before she is presumably allowed to get stuck into those presents under the tree!

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A white chocolate cake Buche Noel complete with chocolate acorns and a chocolate maple leaf on top

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Christmas dinner well underway…

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A mustard glazed ham covered in fruity goodness

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This cake has NOTHING to do with Christmas but everything to do with carrot cake deliciousness…it would seem that the girls artistic abilities drizzle over into their culinary triumphs as well :). Well done girls! I would sink my teeth into this beauty any day!

Another spoon has found its way out of a chunk of aged Tasmanian oak and into spoon form. Steve has decided to share his spoon making with me and has bravely taken on the task of teaching me to find spoons inside wood. He makes it seem so easy…a line here…a shave there…a bit of a look and the application of an auger bit or a hand held rasp and suddenly there it is…beautiful in its simplicity with smooth sides and wonderful grain. I have decided to make small spoons. Until today, I had wondered why you don’t see small wooden spice and condiment spoons apart from those mass manufactured Chinese imports but I now know that the return that you would get on them is far outweighed by their fiddly nature. I like fiddly things. I like untying knots in things, unravelling wool and Christmas lights. I like the process of taking something exasperating and releasing the calm. It’s a pity I can’t find it in myself to do the same thing but that is another story ;). Making smaller spoons allows me to use the offcuts from Steve’s bigger spoons, minimising the waste and allowing the wood to yield a lot more bang/spoon for our metaphorical buck. While I was digging through Steve’s offcut bucket I noticed a very large spoon blank that had been partially formed. When I say large…this blank was 2 ½ feet (76cm) long and extremely chunky. Steve had apparently discovered a bit of a flaw where the spoon basin meets the handle and tossed it (in his own words) “into the too hard basket”. I looked at this behemoth of a spoon and immediately felt an instant camaraderie. I, too, am a bit of a handful spoon. I am a bolshie broad. I don’t fit easily into societal moulds and bits of me hang over the side protesting loudly and waving banners and the spoon inside that massive chunk of wood called out to me and the deal was sealed. Forget those little spoons for a bit, my very first spoon is going to be a massive great Blackwood ladle. I used our Dremel and a special carving bit to remove all of the spoon that didn’t want to be there…I know it didn’t want to be there because I asked it. The spoon guided me around it saying “Don’t take that bit, I need that!” and “gently…gently…GENTLY! Can’t you understand spoonese?”… As I carefully pared all of the bits that weren’t spoon away, saving the sawdust for using in my compost bucket to minimise smells and maximise the suite of organisms that infest our compost pile, I thought about how Steve goes about making his spoons and how very different our processes were. We both let the spoon talk, but Steve let the spoon “out”…I think I have a bit too much of my German heritage in me to let some mad artist take over the status quo and I like simplicity, order and symmetry. Steve’s spoon has curves, angles and wends its way into being. My spoon is solid, heavy, deep and should last centuries even if it gets used to repel boarders on more than one occasion.

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A chunk of dry cotoneaster we culled from Serendipity Farm. Steve uses his chainsaw to cut a sliver from the side of the log and then runs it through his thicknesser to make a thick plank. He then draws a spoony outline onto the wood and cuts out the shape with his jigsaw

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After some serious rasping and shaping with an auger bit on an angle grinder he removes all of the bits of spoon that aren’t “spoon”…

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Almost finished aside from the handle and the final sandpapering

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Hows this for a massive great chunk of Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood)? This is MY spoon/ladle and over the next few weeks I will be slowly allowing it to take shape (or…I will hurl it in a fit of pique across the shed where it will remain until some rodenty creature adds it’s own mark to my shame! 😉 )

I love to think of the spoons that we are creating heading off into the kitchens of friends and family. I love to think of the continuity and the simple day to day use that these spoons will be part of. Stirring preserves and jams while the kitchen resonates with discussion and music or simply being part of it all…these spoons will see kitchens that I will never see…they will be privy to amazing celebrations and the darkest moments in someone’s life. Babies might cut their teeth on the ends of these spoons, harvests will be put up, and stews will be stirred, strange regional specialties that I can only marvel at will be spun into existence and all from a chunk of Serendipity Farm wood that was destined for the fire. I thought about attempting to embellish them but something stopped me… most probably the inner German who likes things simple, unadorned and classic and that wants these hand crafted spoons to find their own voices and speak for themselves. I can see this becoming something that Steve and I can share. We are so very different and our interests are incredibly variable but this is one thing that we can do together, side by side in the shed and sharing a common bond of creation. It is going to take a LONG time for my ladle to emerge. It has promised to fight me every step of the way but in so doing, it promises to give me some precious life lessons in that process. I sometimes think that we bypass so many opportunities to learn and grow in life because they are tossed into the “Too Hard Basket”. It might be time for us to go back there and pick something out and give it a go…see if you can’t find whatever it is that exists inside your chosen chunk of life and pare away everything that isn’t it. In so doing, you might just find something precious

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This is the spoon that Steve made for Christi to give to her daughter who is getting married. It’s made of Tasmanian oak and has a very classic shape. It’s hard to get too artistic when you don’t know the person that you are making the spoon for and although this spoon started out with some “interesting” collar bones that Steve swears the spoon told him it needed, my Germanic need for Art Deco simplicity came to the fore and said collarbones are now only a memory (you can thank me later Molly! 😉 )

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The chunk of aged Tasmanian oak board that Steve used to create this spoon…another reason why we should take to heart the lesson “you should never judge a book by it’s cover…”

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We ran out of Eco oil (a blend of edible orange and tung oil) to finish the 2 spoons that Steve made but you can see them here with Christ’s winning spoon almost ready to be finished and sent and being guarded by Mr Steve Vai himself 😉

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And here they are after a nice rub over with Eco oil. It really brings out the natural beauty in these spoons. The first spoon is the cotoneaster spoon, the second is the Tasmanian oak spoon and the third is Christi’s winning spoon in Blackwood. We will send them next week and I hope that you enjoy them girls 🙂

I got the book that I won from Emily over at “Sincerely, Emily” in the mail today. If you would like to see a cracking way to use up some of your zucchini’s this season, check out her latest post that pairs potato and zucchini in a most scrumptious, innovative and healthy way…

http://emilysincerely.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/zucchini-and-potato-au-gratin-sort-of/

It’s a lovely book full of weird and off the wall creations that really makes my heart sing because I can’t be abiding with boring things and I love to create customised recipes because life is too short to eat lima beans if you don’t like them. I, personally, LOVE lima beans but I do understand that there are some of you out there (mad, foolish people that you are) who don’t and so I won’t go hunting for a lima bean recipe to share with you from the book but on opening the Index I get instantly excited by the possibilities. I might be the Sidmouth equivalent of Letitia Cropley (if you don’t know who I am talking about, head off and watch “The Vicar of Dibley” for goodness sakes… you are missing out severely if you don’t!) but there are amazing combinations in this book that I haven’t even heard of and I had heard of Gremolata before the chef that taught me commercial cookery so that is no mean feat in a book! I am going to treasure this book because it doesn’t only instruct, it educates. It doesn’t only share; it gives you the impetus to try new things…to experiment and in so doing, to create new recipes of your own. That’s what makes the cooking world go round folks and “Put ‘em Up!” A comprehensive home preserving guide for the creative cook from drying and freezing to canning and pickling by Ms Cherri Brooks Vinton is one of those rare tombs that you simply don’t want to put down let alone lend anyone. Please don’t ask me for a lend of my copy because I won’t be letting it out of my sight for a good few years yet. I have too many things to learn from it like… “What the heck are ristras?”…and “Heirloom watermelon jelly?” …and “Agua Fresca?”… and any book that talks about probiotics and kimchi in the same breath as “red hot vodka” and something as lascivious as a “Strawberry Blonde” (whatever that may be…) is one that is going to be kept in the kitchen, just out of reach of Earls questing mandible’s and right there where I can find it, amongst my wooden spoons ready for duty at a moment’s notice. Thank you SO much Emily. You have given me something wonderful and this coming harvest surplus is going to be such fun to preserve :o)

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My wonderful new cookbook and Emily’s lovely personal note to me included 🙂

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We picked up a few bags of soft toys for the boys to deconstruct on Christmas Day and included in one of the bags was this sock monkey… every man needs a sock monkey in his music room so Earl didn’t get to sample this one…”better luck next time Earl! You are going to have to be content with raiding the clothes hamper and stealing Steve’s dirty socks”

I am officially terrified of our vegetable patch. Steve, who just watered the veggies, is in agreement. The tomatoes have gone mad and have not only invaded the “Poland” of their neighbouring tomato bed but they have both joined forces and are threatening to go all Genghis Khan on the poor lettuce bed. Beetroot that are supposed to be “medium” are now exploding from their bed and the spinach that we were expecting to be lucky to get a few bunches from because it was so slow in taking off, has taken off with a vengeance and is rivalling the silverbeet (Swiss chard) for height and stature. I am not really complaining because aside from going exponential on our derrières the veggie garden is producing edible vegetables. I can only put it down to using compost as the base of our garden beds, lots of small chunks of decomposing wood for air and room for roots to grow and the wonderful black organic compost that we picked up in Exeter as the soil substitute that having to build upwards forced us to utilise. It has certainly excited us regarding vegetable growing and eating and its true folks…home grown veggies taste MUCH better. Steve is eating things that he would have turned up his nose at in the not so distant past and is eating them raw in salads. He didn’t even realise that he ate spinach and perpetual spinach in a salad the other day, he just raved about how tasty it was. You want your kids to eat their veggies? Try growing them :o). Our newfound excitement at being able to eat what we are growing notwithstanding, our terror is still rising. How much bigger can zucchini plants get! I have already cut off their Samson like locks army style in an attempt to allow my poor eggplants to get a bit of light and within a week they were towering over the poor huddled eggplants cowering beneath their enormous elephantine leaves. Not only are they growing faster than is physically possible, they are armour plated and cutting their leaves to put them into the compost heap without wearing gloves is a painful lesson that I will only have to learn once. Our cucumber crop is promising to be amazing as each of the 6 vines is covered in flowers with tiny little Lebanese cucumbers at the bases. I can hear my daughter Madeline applauding as I type that sentence and she will put our excesses to good use sliced thinly with some rice wine vinegar, mirin and sesame seeds. Our corn is magnificent, our silverbeet tastes delicious, our beans are going gangbusters and all in all we are having a great vegetable season.

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In the breeding season the local Cuckoo shrikes are hard pressed to find enough to eat while they are cramming their noisy brood full of insects and we give them a bit of cheese to help them out. Here you can see the rare large spotted nosey bird hunting for cheese…

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While we were in Launceston today I took a heap of photos to share our beautiful city with you all. I don’t get to go there often now and I really do appreciate it’s beauty. While I was taking a few shots of the Japanese garden near the library I noticed someone taking photos and realised it was me! Can you see how tired Earl is of me stopping and taking off the lens cap? 😉

Steve is going to head off and go “floating” again on New Year’s Day. I knew that he would love pootling around in his aluminium dinghy if he took it out a few times. There is something soothing about skimming a large body of water with only a thin skin of aluminium between you and a cold splash and it’s great fun to steer your little coracle between the drifting jellyfish that the tide wash up and down the river twice a day from the sea and back in a never ending cycle of jellyfish waltzing. You can be master of your own possibilities and should you manage to catch a fish you can get your wife to fillet it for you and cook it fresh from the boat…like veggies from a veggie garden to your plate, fish from the boat tastes amazingly good…unless you caught blowfish in your ignorance… Steve used to enjoy catching fish when we lived in Albany Western Australia. I worked strange hours as befits a cook and he would drop me off at work and head off fishing till it was time to pick me up and head home. He spent many a hot summer moonlit night with only the city lights and the sounds of the humpback whales singing their sea shanties in the harbour to keep him company. He would drop me off early in the morning on my day shifts, before the sun came up, and would make a beeline for the aptly named “Salmon holes” where accompanied only by a little Chinese fisherman who couldn’t speak a word of English but who using sign language to ask Steve for his unwanted fish heads and for a time they shared silent communion with the waves and the dolphins in the breakers and the sea, he would catch his bag limit of 7kg Australian salmon and then face the daunting task of carrying them back up the almost vertical steps half a kilometre (straight up) back to where the car was waiting. Salmon fishing is an Aussie male rite of passage. Something that “the blokes” do and that needs to be accompanied by an esky bedecked with beer and bait and tales of “the mongrel that got away” and “I bloody nearly had it!” echo semi-convincingly around the pub with your mates after a day of sunstroke and sunburn. What more could an Aussie bloke want? Aside from a bbq to slap the catch on when they got back and a doting wife with a fridge full of amber ale to keep the stories growing exponentially long after the sun has gone down and half your mates are asleep. Steve is new to blokish behaviour but it certainly hasn’t taken him long to embrace the amber fluid in its chilled form and I haven’t heard him “whinge” in a long time…”we will make a bloke out of you yet young ex-pat Stevie boy!” 😉

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Christof in Oz’s photo of the steps leading down to where Steve caught those salmon “You’re legs are like coiled springs young padawan!” 😉

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Generic touristy shot pinched from the interweb of the walkway running along the top of the cliffs above where Steve used to fish for salmon…beautiful, amazing scenery, good fishing and subject to random king waves that have swept many unsuspecting fishermen to their deaths in the past few years.

Well it’s time to wrap up this post and head off to embrace the weekend. It will be 2013 the next time we meet. We managed to all mill together over 2012 and we survived the Mayan apocalypse en mass…we learned, we grew and we shared and 2013 can only give us more opportunities for the same. I can’t wait to share it all with you and I just want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for coming along for the ride on Serendipity Farm…I know I tend to take you in the old 60’s land rover with the bung suspension and I tend to go through the back paddocks and hit every damned pothole on the way but you have to admit…sometimes I find something special to share with you and you are the very first people that I want to share it with every single time :o). See you on the Boxing Day equivalent of New Year’s Day…you would think that some entrepreneur out there would have cashed in on the possibilities but for now, your poor long suffering wallet is safe from New Year’s Boxing Day 😉

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29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MinHo
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 17:51:28

    “something as lascivious as a “Strawberry Blonde” (whatever that may be…)”

    James Cagney?

    Reply

  2. Roz Takes
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 18:15:22

    Hi Fran and Steve have a wonderful and fruitful New Year. We also will be snoring away I think. We both get up early these days and off to bed by 9.30 PM.
    The girls did an amazing job of Christmas cooking. I am so envious of their stove i could never get the ham and chicken on the one shelf. Most impressive carrot cake.
    I enjoyed watching the making of the spoons. Has Steve tried Peach tree? A beautiful golden colour. My Steve made me a small bowl from some when he was at Ag School.
    Salmon Holes. I remember climbing down there before there were steps. And do you remember us going there when Stewart was a baby and how terrified I was that the kids would get washed away. We also went much later when Stephen caught his first Salmon. They had steel rings imbedded in the rocks that you could tie yourself to in case of King Waves.
    See you in the New Year.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Dec 29, 2012 @ 18:50:05

      Did you know that your Steve and my Steve are the same age and I think they share a birthday as well :). We haven’t tried peach tree wood but if the possums keep defoliating the poor long suffering peach here it might just end up as spoons ;). I DO remember you worrying about the kids…I also remember those rings and Madeline went to school with a boy who was swept off the rocks and never recovered. If Steve and Steve ever got together they could form a band :). I don’t think that I have it in me to climb down to the Salmon holes or Sand patch now and if I DID get down there there is no WAY that I would go back up. I would have to live down there just like Blanche Dubois relying on the kindness of strangers! ;). This year is going to be a good one for us all…I can feel it. That might sound a bit woo-woo but it’s true. Last year was a bit of a toughy and the last of a series of 3 years of life lessons and they say that cycles run in 3’s…I am hoping that “they” are right! I will think of you as I head off rubbing my eyes to bed at 8pm on New Years Day…the girls can stay up for me and toast the New Year in with Champagne, “Do me proud girls!”…I will be fast asleep 🙂

      Reply

      • Roz Takes
        Dec 29, 2012 @ 19:14:11

        So the two Steves are twins..my Stephen born 23rd January 1965. Is that the same date?Stephen also loved to play guitar and remember he was in a band for awhile but they had to disband because there was an American band with the same name threatening to sue. He is now the Director of Narrogin TAFE lol.

      • narf77
        Dec 30, 2012 @ 04:55:24

        My Steve is January 27 1965 so that is pretty close 😉 We “go” to TAFE (called Polytechnic here) lol! Next time you see Steve and Glenys (however you spell it!) please say Hi from us both, Steve actually met Steve and Glennis when we were in Perth once years ago. Glad to hear that he has done well for himself 🙂

  3. brymnsons
    Dec 29, 2012 @ 20:04:38

    I love the spoons! If I lived near you guys I would sneak into the wood shed and steal them 🙂 Your veges sound very happy, take a picture before they take over! Have a lovely sleep on new years, I will be sipping champers on a friends balcony, then we will all probably rush to our beds lol, yawning our heads off, but determined to stay awake…………

    Reply

    • narf77
      Dec 30, 2012 @ 04:57:12

      I have been determined to stay awake for years now Kymmy and haven’t managed to so this year, I am going to go to bed when I am tired because I figure there is enough of you all waiting bleary eyed to do the job for me 😉 I will take a photo of the veggie jungle and put it in my next post for you…they are crazy! Hopefully I don’t get accosted by sock monkeys…

      Reply

  4. Sincerely, Emily
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 02:50:30

    Hi Fran, Oh what fun it is gong to be to hear about how your dogs are doing with their new food plan… I mean how you are doing with the dogs on their new food! The feast your girls put on for Christmas is amazing. Beautiful stuff. It is so fun to see Steve’s spoon making process (and now yours too!) I am so glad that the book arrived and that you are happy with it. It will be fun to read about what you get out of it and how it helps you preserve some of your garden bounty. (lover of lima beans here too) One bit of advise I have about preserving is… start early, don’t wait until you have a counter full and it is the end of the growing season and you are overwhelmed. Start early and preserve a bit at a time to make it manageable. Even if it is just 2 pints or 2 quarts of chutney or tomato sauce. I hope that makes sense. I haven ‘t had much to be overwhelmed with in the garden the past two summers, but when I have, I wish I would have taken my own advise! I hope to, one year, be overwhelmed with tomatoes! Happy New Year to you both.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Dec 30, 2012 @ 05:11:36

      I will show you what is happening in our veggie garden in the next post…I think it is the amazing black aged organic compost that we bought by the trailer load at Exeter. My friend in the witness protection bought trailer loads as well to build up her raised beds and her veggies are going gangbusters as well. We will certainly be using it again! I agree with you about preserving as you harvest. We made some lovely sundried tomatoes and sauce out of our tomato harvest when we lived in town. I wasn’t all that happy with the results, we had watered them too much and they were not full of flavour and were watery BUT they were still a lot better than shop bought. Our tomatoes this year are predominately of the cherry tomato type with some pear type cherry tomatoes. I also bought smaller finger type eggplants and the smaller smooth skinned lebanese cucumbers because we have a shorter growing season here in Tas and the last thing that you want is for all of your vegetable promise that you have been watering for 3 months to remain unripened and to be a big fat waste of time and money :(. I used my brains and went with the smaller varieties that ripen quicker so hopefully we will reap everything that we sowed ;). I get the feeling that by the end of the season we might have had enough of tomatoes! They are promising quite a lot 😉 Happy New Year to you and yours Emily and it is going to be a fantastic 2013 for us all. An opportunity to share and learn together and give each other kudos from afar 🙂 I LOVE social media and the opportunities it gives us to share all over the world 🙂

      Reply

  5. christiok
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 04:14:06

    You inspire me, Fran, to go check into my own “Too Hard Basket.” I love this post, with so many words that I get to look up…coracle (a little basket boat!), esky (a cooler), and “pootling around.” Who knows what that is!:) Ha! One day I hope to actually hear your lovely Aussie voice. The Bearded One does the fiddly things here; they don’t like me. And I love the spoon tutorial. And the spoons that are coming our way. They are quite simply exquisite. You know, if Beth and Madeline move to Canada, maybe we’ll move there, too! Vancouver, B.C. is gorgeous. But not this year. I agree, 2013 is going to be fantastic. Oh, and I actually dehydrate zucchini for use in soups all year. 🙂 The Bearded One just walked by and saw the pictures of the spoon construction and asked me to print the whole post so he can send it to his dad in Crockett, Texas. His dad is an amazing woodworker also, and might just take on a spoon! Love you both! 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Dec 30, 2012 @ 05:16:04

      WOW! Steve is humbled and chuffed by The Bearded One having you print out the post to send to his dad :). Wooden spoons are such a tactile way to get into woodwork. Steve loved woodworking at school and was very good at it and has just enjoyed using rudimentary tools that he found in the shed to make his spoons. We would love to see what The Bearded One’s dad makes in Crockett Texas (what a fantastic sounding place that instantly has me thinking that they all wear coon skin hats 😉 …) Spoons are not hard. If they were, I certainly wouldn’t be attempting one! I started some small ones but after I got my hands on “she who must be obeyed” bolshie ladle/preserve stirring spoon, I was hooked. I am going to spend today seeing what she wants to look like while Steve spends the day playing guitar and catching up on a few movies. Wish me luck with bolshie spoon… I think I am going to need it! 😉

      Reply

  6. countrywoodsmoke
    Dec 30, 2012 @ 17:27:42

    What a great blog you have here, love the spoons, my own father has done lots of wood turning to make similar beautiful objects.
    Cheers
    Marcus

    Reply

    • narf77
      Dec 30, 2012 @ 20:59:01

      Thank you for your comment and you have a pretty great blog yourself :). Do you feature any of your father’s woodwork on your blog? Steve just likes to make spoons because we don’t like to waste the wood that has come from our property if it is a nice colour or has lovely grain like the endemic sheoak trees. Thank you again for your comment, we are trying to do everything that we can with what our 4 acre property can give us and manage it sustainably with a view to making it a better place than when we moved here. It’s certainly a challenge but we are enjoying the process 🙂

      Reply

      • countrywoodsmoke
        Dec 31, 2012 @ 06:12:23

        I haven’t shown anything, but I may well do, might encourage him to do some more.
        Sounds like you are doing a great thing with your land.
        Cheers
        Marcus

  7. Kaye Wheeler
    Dec 31, 2012 @ 00:37:31

    Fran, you’ve inspired me to start my own vegie garden after the wet in Doon Doon. The women in the community will be establishing a common one with the school kids as part of a TAFE course they’ll be undertaking – so I think I’ll learn right along with them, as well as learning from all your helpful hints. Have a great New Year’s Day, and I’m declaring that 2013 is going to be a fabulous year – especially for ‘pootling in coracles’ (ha, ha, ha…).

    Reply

  8. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Dec 31, 2012 @ 18:17:08

    Dear Fran. I am so thrilled to hear about your vegetable garden which is threatening to invade the Tasmanian countryside. Have you ever read “The Day of the Triffids” ??
    I want to give you a special thank you for all your wonderful comments on my blog this year and to wish you a very Happy New Year to you and Steve. May 2013 be a very special year for you both.
    I am looking forward to following your blog again next year.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Dec 31, 2012 @ 20:52:48

      Ditto Jean…I would like to thank you for your wonderful blog :). It actually gave me the impetus to get veggie gardening again. Mum tried and tried but it was your lovely allotment garden that got me thinking “I can do that!”…I love commenting on your blog because you have a wonderful blog. I wouldn’t miss a post :). Steve and I would both like to wish you a wonderful and productive year in 2013 and here’s hoping you get better zucchini’s! 😉 See you in the comments 🙂

      Reply

  9. Chica Andaluza
    Jan 02, 2013 @ 09:18:33

    What a brilliant post – so much going on…food, cakes, artwork and those amazing spoons! I bet they add something magical to whatever they are being used for 🙂 Hope it was a wonderful Christmas, am just catching up so off to look at your other posts….

    Reply

  10. brymnsons
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 08:18:29

    Or Norseman…. lol

    Reply

  11. thinkingcowgirl
    Jan 03, 2013 @ 08:57:59

    Officially terrified of your vegetable patch – that’s great 🙂 I know what you mean…though mine is for different reasons!

    The spoons are terrific, it’s making me want to carve. And I like the way you describe yours and Steves characters through your methodology.

    Happy New Year!

    Reply

  12. ediblethings
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 03:46:40

    I can echo what Emily says about little and often. Getting overwhelmed by too much stuff is a mistake I used to make a lot while foraging, then it would rot as I looked on in despair and shame. Now I go out with a deadline, and stop when II reach it. The rule is that have to use the stuff I’ve picked within a couple of days. I find it easier that way.
    The one exception is a roasted tomato sauce from HFW that I use up my gluts with – I just fill my oven with tomatoes, and off I go. The most effort is to sterilise themin a water bath, so I keep them longer. Recipe here http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/aug/18/recipes.foodanddrink

    The ketchup he makes with it is also pretty special, and you can make fabulous baked beans with them and some haricots/ cannellini beans as well.

    Good luck with your abundance

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 06, 2013 @ 05:08:51

      YUM! I will be making that sauce when our tomatoes ripen for sure! Cheers for sharing that recipe. I love HFW, his ethos, his enthusiasm and the way that he has changed how we look at food production and living close to the earth. My children bought me a huge box set of his dvd’s as they know how much I love him 🙂

      Reply

  13. ediblethings
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 04:22:06

    Oh I almost forgot; a shameless plug if you are looking for something to do with your courgette abundance 😉
    http://ediblethings.net/2012/08/25/of-gluts-and-gluttony/

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 06, 2013 @ 05:13:39

      I have often seen recips for zucchini spaghetti and never thought to try it. After harvesting a lot of zucchini yesterday I am going to give it a try. I love zucchini but Steve isn’t a huge fan. He likes it in recipes but not as the star. I am going to stuff a large Lebanese zucchini tonight for my tea but I have been grating it and adding it to quiches and even into the dogs dinner (like kids…they have trouble identifying it when it is grated and cooked before adding 😉 ). I will be having some fun with all the zucchinis I manage to harvest this year and will still have some to share the love around with zucchini-less friends 🙂 Cheers for the shameless plug. I dare say most of my dear constant readers have already scribbled that down for posterity as most of us are squirrels for good recipes 🙂

      Reply

  14. ediblethings
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 11:07:11

    Bless you. 😉

    If you get marrows (ie those forgotten courgettes that get too big), then try Marrow cream from my friend Nic http://nipitinthebud.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/cedrics-jam-and-cream/

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 06, 2013 @ 11:12:08

      I most certainly will! I have found 3 other blogs through that one post 🙂 I will be messing about with other types of citrus to flavour the cream including blood oranges and pink grapefruits…I am getting excited just thinking about it! (and I am deliberately looking the other way from my zucchini’s…3 days and they are HUGE 😉 )

      Reply

  15. ediblethings
    Jan 06, 2013 @ 11:26:14

    Wow, I think blood oranges will be a FANTASTIC idea. They are not in season at the same time here, but I’d love to try preserving with your stuff, the combination possibilities are amazing

    Reply

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