A little reminder of winter in the middle of summer …

Hi All,

There is beauty in a rainy, grey day folks. When you look outside and the whole garden resonates and shimmers in heat stress and you can see the leaves curling up in an attempt to save that life giving sap a day of cloud crying is a blessing. I am sitting here listening to the rain fall on the tin roof. It’s a glorious sound and I can almost hear the garden singing Vivaldi’s 4 seasons (all of them!) as it steadily pounds the roof…”Keep it up chaps…you are all doing very well!”…funny how the rain brings out the old Blighty in me ;).  I love rainy weather. You won’t find me complaining about it (aside from how the leeches suddenly reconstitute from their benign one dimensional stasis and turn into 3 dimensional sluggy vampires…). I have my wonderful winter rituals carefully tucked away, wrapped in mental tissue paper because these precious processes sustain me through the cold winter months. I love waking up nice and early in the dark…to be honest it doesn’t get light till quite late in winter so this could be accomplished even if I slept in, but there is something magical about getting up hours before the rest of the household…special time to yourself and most precious to me now. Soon, I won’t have to spend this time alone. Brunhilda, who is currently semi naked and being painted and primped ready for her coming 10 months of solid hard work, will be my constant companion. I missed her. I missed waking up and throwing a few sticks onto the slumbering behemoth that is “fire” on Serendipity Farm. I totally “get” why cavemen were so enamoured of it…fire is the bomb people! That early morning crackle of the first few tinder dry twigs as Brunhilda has her breakfast and rev’s up for the day. We learned how to feed her slowly and regularly last year. In our first year she suffered indigestion thanks to our constant stuffing and her constant overheating…last year we honed our relationship with Brunhilda and we know how to keep her lean, mean and keen… I can’t wait till that crackling companionship returns. This morning it is dark, raining and cold and I feel the lack of crackle keenly. I get to keep the kettle on the side of the stove…I fill it up at night before I go to bed (I LOVE processes 😉 ) and just move the already warm kettle to the flame and suddenly that first and only cup of tea becomes part of the process of awakening and lends my winters days a real sense of being grateful for my lot. Our water heats through the back of Brunhilda…we don’t have to worry about gas bottles…she does it gratis. She will allow me to dry things out and keep things warm in her lower ovens…she is a most gracious friend. She never once let me down last year…she never once refused any of my requests…she may have added her personal touch of a bit of “caramelisation” but to her credit, I should have read her better…we share a mutual relationship together…Brunhilda and I are mano-a-mano, kindred spirits and our symbiosis is what makes winter on Serendipity Farm a privilege rather than something to be endured…that’s Steve’s job…”winter endurance”…well SOMEONE has to chop the wood! 😉

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A weedy Passiflora caerulea (Blue Passion Flower) that we found recently on a long walk…the fruit is juicy and sweet but quite bland

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The vine we picked the passionfruit from

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Our friend in the witness protection gave me a large bag full of snow peas from her enclosed veggie garden. Some of them had gone over to the dark side and I decided to keep them for seed to grow next year. The stapler and tape are most probably what Steve has come up with to graft my poor jam spoons 😦

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A nice bright hippy shop…our friend in the witness protection and I (and Steve for that matter) are all old hippies and this sort of shop attracted us in like moth’s to a flame…

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A lovely little street display to lure passers by into a small garden shop

Steve’s birthday (Sunday) was spent doing what he wanted to do including alternating between playing his guitar whilst watching television and wandering out to the shed to make teaspoons out of wood. He is truly addicted to making wooden things and has plans for all sorts of creations. He recently saw a gardening dibbler and wants to make them now. I, for one, am not complaining. I tend to get the prototypes as part and parcel of his efforts and have some pretty interesting things that his most creative mind has come up with including a wonderful enormous teaspoon with a carved bowl on one end and a spike on the other for negotiating my VitaMix blender. He is working on making me another long teaspoon but this one will have a small bladed scraper on the other end to allow me to get the little bits out from underneath the blade (that take so long to remove)…it is positively blissful having a talented husband who can make things :o). Steve also spent yesterday dictating what he wanted for his birthday tea…”I want fried rice…and I want curry…like in the fish and chip shops in the U.K…and I want sticky date pudding for dessert…” Expat’s tend to get teary eyed at things that they used to buy from the local “chippies”. We get fish, and chips and the odd dim sim and potato cake from our local fish and chip shops but in the U.K. they had pickled eggs, pickled onions, curry sauce to go with their chips and all sorts of odd things! Never one to shirk my duties we fired up Brunhilda and made the lot! Steve had a great day and will most probably have a hard time getting out of bed as he had as much red wine as a teetotal wine lover could imbibe without falling over sideways…birthdays are barleys apparently! 😉

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This Asian beauty was parked out the front of a small country shop that we passed on the way to Wychwood…the locals are certainly “characters” ;)…Rose Porteous anyone? It would appear to be her shoes…

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A little leaf hopper that fell in love with my finger when we stopped to admire some gorgeous Rugosa roses in a small park…

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Isn’t this a glorious garden bird feeder? I fell in love with the garden art placed strategically and most tastefully around Wychwood

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Another beautiful castle bird feeder complete with copper turret

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The small kitchen garden at Wychwood which was a mix of traditional and interesting veggies along with lots of beneficial attracting plants and flowers

It’s raining in Queensland and they are drowning in the results. I read a few Queensland blogs and it seems so ironic that on Saturday they were bone dry and one blogger was about to sell her cows and suddenly it’s time to build an ark. Australia isn’t an easy country to farm in. You can try to find a property where the conditions are somewhat even but then something happens…drought, flood, fire and you lose everything. Farmers have to be the most optimistic people alive. They keep on keeping on long after the ever ready bunny batteries have run out and they deserve more than what they get because they truly are the backbone of our world. It is a bitter irony that people are so removed from their food supply and have no idea that the plethora of items available on their supermarket shelves once started life as an ingredients list of humble primary produced items (unless they are aimed at children and then they are usually 100% man-made from artificial chemicals and glow in the dark…) Today I did it. Yes…”IT”. I actually managed to get through my rss feed read blogs nice and early with time to spare to tap away at this post in advance. How did I do it? I woke up at 4am! I am already considering continuing on with waking up at what will be 4am in April when the clocks go back. I find myself scrambling to get through my rss feed reader blogs, answer the comments for the blog and write lucid and relevant comments for particularly beneficial posts on the blogs that I follow and 4am seems to be the magical number that keeps recurring…4am isn’t for chumps…it is for dedicated maniacs who are addicted to lists and doing things the right way…I have to blame the latent German in my genes. It has been watered down with good old Blighty tempering and a smattering of Scottish blood but the German is strong in this specimen young padawan and my list making, tidy, clean line desires cannot be denied. “You put that back in the cupboard wrong!…Why oh WHY did you leave that there?…no…you have to do “X” before “Y”…” sigh…I love order and I hate chaos and often my order collides with Steve’s need for chaos and the inevitable result is explosive (on my side) and a visit to the shed (on Steve’s side)…no wonder he has started making wooden things! 😉

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A most interesting grass maze located near Mole Creek at the outer edge of Wychwood

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I purchased some organic turmeric from a local health food shop and FINALLY it is starting to grow!

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My little Moringa oleifera looking decidedly happy with it’s lot in the heat of the glasshouse

Steve and I spend our lives together pretty much 24/7. We have been living like this since he moved here from the U.K. We are both reclusive hermits and obviously reasonably well suited or we would have killed each other by now. No retirement problems for us…our friend in the witness protection has been having some pretty spectacular fights with her partner but when talking about them on our recent road trip she made an interesting correlation…”I just noticed (she said)…that all of our big fights just so happen to coincide with Glen being home for an extended period of time!”… Is it any wonder that so many people end up divorced when they retire? Steve and I are learning to accept that we are complete polar opposites. I can’t even begin to fathom how his brain works, but work it does and he seems to be able to navigate some pretty choppy water with that brain whether I can understand the processes or not so I am willing to concede that there are other ways of doing things than the way that my mind takes me when I process my information and churn out the results. The problem is that we both think that our process is the best…we spend a lot of time trying to push our idea and in the process completely miss out on the opportunity to join together to form a formidable self-contained yin/yang idea that would knock the socks off the project that we are making. One day we will learn, but for now, we are still in “work together” kindergarten and making very VERY slow progress 😉

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Nothing gets wasted on Serendipity Farm and that includes avocado seeds. These 3 small trees are all the result of previous avocado consumption and go to show just how easy it is to grow them. We have quite a few home grown avocado plants that we will plant out in Autumn

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I found this picture on a blog that I follow…After I got up off the floor from rolling around there in hysterics I asked if I could use this photo in my blog…guess whose chooks are going to be wearing beanies in the latest fall colours this year…

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Ah the elastic band spine of youth! 😉

I have a cure for all you insomniac’s out there…get up at 5am, walk all over the place and go to bed after 9pm. Simple really. If you think that 5am is NO place for a civilised hipster like yourself to be inhabiting you are where I was a few years ago. I didn’t surface till 8am when I expected a cup of tea in bed, about 30 minutes “eye time” (our expression for lazy bollocks that doesn’t want to get up yet) and the pained expression of dogs who know that a walk is just around the corner but who have to be a little bit polite as otherwise those morning dog treats might dry up and blow away… now I not only get up and have 2 hours to myself…2 precious hours where I can read whatever I like when my mind is active and raring to go…but I fill that mind with all sorts of possibilities…I have my morning processes sorted out before I deliver Steve’s morning coffee after 7am and am raring to go…I even beat the dogs to the punch line! We walk the dogs for at least 1 1/2 hours a day and where I used to be a “STEEEEEVE…can you take these to the shed? Can you get me “such and such” can you put this compost in the compost bin?” Now I walk there myself. Steve doesn’t need the exercise, he has spindle shanks that will never see an ounce of fat but my legs need double the attention being my chief fat storage areas and stubborn fat releasers at that…so I walk to the compost bin up next to the veggie garden…I walk out to the shed, several times because I am always forgetting to bring something from or take something to the chest freezer out there, I walk down the driveway with Earl who needs more than a single walk or he eats furniture (or at least threatens to…whoever said that dogs are stupid…doesn’t have a dog!)…I walk back up the driveway (2 times up our driveway in a day is enough to make anyone knackered!)…I sometimes just go out for a walk around the place just for fun! I don’t even wait to go to bed before I am asleep…”Wake up Fran!”…that’s Steve’s Hue and Cry these days before I stagger off to sleepily brush my teeth (too tired to even consider looking for wrinkles in the mirror BONUS!), head to the foot of the bed (Bezial has already stolen my pillow at the top of the bed and no point arguing with a 40kg Amstaff who is sulking for the queen…too tired!) where you have left a pillow (happens a lot…sigh…) and flop into bed…Wait for Earl to trot in 2 seconds later and you might or might not remember Steve giving you a kiss goodnight but within 3 minutes you are out like a light…Insomnia…you used to be shackled to me…you ran roughshod over my nights where you pounded me with my secret fears (December 2012…old age…death…) but I don’t have time to lay awake contemplating my aging lack of a navel (don’t ask…just believe me…I have NO belly button 😉 ), I am out like a light…and not only do I not need sedatives, but falling into bed and blissful sleep is delicious! Truly folks, if you have exhausted your body and given it more than enough food for thought at 5am it rewards you with the most amazing sense of blissful achievement coupled with the heady beauty of “rest”. Cheers old books, whoever coined the phrase “Early to bed and Early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” was giving truly sage advice…(aside from “a man” and “wealthy” I totally agree!)

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Serendipity Farm cucumbers…99% water…1% purest “Green”…

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Steve found a recipe for making lightly pickled cucumbers and this is the result…they are really tasty and well worth donating a percentage of our purest green to

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Steve has taken a left turn at Albuquerque and has headed off into teaspoons and spice spoons and has visions of plant dibblers, tatting shuttles, earings, pendants and some amazing wooden guitar picks…he gets bored easily 😉

Well it’s a nice early post from me and it’s chilly outside and Brunhilda is lit and everything is right in our world (for the time being…) so I might try to hold my eyelids open and read a Patricia Cornwell or Ruth Rendell book…I have both, taken out of the library on a wistful whim that I might have time to read them and both calling me from their lofty position in the spare room. Reading is good for your soul…about time I did more of it :o). See you on Saturday when I will share the lengths at which 2 penniless hippies will go to in order to stop a small battalion of most determined chickens from escaping from Alcatraz…

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34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rabidlittlehippy
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 20:05:07

    I think you’re crazy with your early morning wake-up call 😉 but I do know exactly what you mean. I just do the same thing when all sensible people are in bed. I love the late nights when everyone else is sleeping, reading emails, knitting, watching a film and just being peaceful and quiet before sleep. It’s a pleasant time to wind down the evening and the day although it’s so much nicer in winter. Steamy hot nights don’t make going to bed such an exciting concept (ooo yes, to lie next to another heat source awaiting my youngest heat source to wake up and want to snuggle me, tossing and turning trying to sleep and not even close to being cool enough to be comfortable).

    I envy you your comfortable and established relationship with Brunhilda. You’re old friends who know how best to back up and support each other, and whilst Ignisa and I have met, shook hands and found we have much in common, we are still learning how to pull together in harness. We too have had the cooler weather here and Ignisa kept us warm from the night before last until this morning but she was less than accommodating this morning (I sort of need to clean out all the ash 😉 ) and her cooking dinner last night wasn’t the most impressive feat – the jacket spuds worked well in her belly but the bacon didn’t fry up overly well. We have work to do this winter to tune our relationship and I eagerly anticipate it to be quite honest. Still and all, I do envy what you and Brunhilda have. 🙂

    Seeing your Passiflora caerulea photo explains PERFECTLY why my passionfruit at the old house never did what passionfruits do. It wasn’t one! 😛 Now that I have THAT straight I will go and buy one to grow in the greenhouse. Are they any good in pots? Any any horty hints?

    Happy birthday again Steve. I am surprised you didn’t request mushy peas! 😉 And I bet Fran is profoundly glad you weren’t after cod or plaice. They may have been a little hard to source. Mmmm, now I’m drooling in memory of cod and chips! Nom nom nom!

    Queenslanders have had a rough run these last few years and more extreme weather events are predicted to continue to increase as climate change becomes more pronounced. It’s a country of bitter irony I find. We have bushfires that the premier is saying cannot be put out without substantial rain here in Victoria, both Tasmania and New South Wales have sweltered through record heat waves and rotten fires and yet Queenslanders are swimming. We NEED what they have yet mother nature is being a fickle lady (I’m being very polite) these days. It’s a rotten country to try and farm sometimes but the tenacity of our farmers… We have family and friends in central NSW and farming friends. They get a year or 2 of great crops and returns followed by a decade of drought, a year or 2 of good times again then years of floods!

    Steve’s spoons really are works of art. They’re things of exquisite beauty, functionality and art. If he is at the commissioning stage I would very much LOVE to commission a salt spoon (about the size of a ¼- ½ teaspoon size) for my little vintage salt cellar I have. It will only meet with the finest of salts – Himalayan.

    I was thinking of you today. I’ve bought some more seeds (it’s becoming a bit of a compulsion to be honest) and some of them are pretty quirky – hence why you sprang to mind 😉 I bought spaghetti squash which I’ve been interested in trying for quite a while and also some mangel wurzel seeds. I also bought kale, purple/black carrots, lettuce, rainbow chard (purdy) and some other bits and bobs to grow. But the mangel wurzels excite the hell out of me. I’m working hard to convince my husband that we should get a milking cow (Dexter cows are a naturally occurring miniature that won’t drown us in milk) and mangel wurzels, Swedes (rutabagas in the USA), turnips and the like are great winter fodder for cattle. If picked young they’re also good to eat for us peoples. 😀 In the process of my research I ended up adding about 4 more blogs to MY list of cool blogs and I too managed to clear mine (before your blog post notification arrived) late afternoon today. It’s always a relief but it never lasts long. *sigh*

    I found some funkalicious BBC docos/films too that simply MUST see – Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime farm and Victorian Pharmacy which I have seen and loved). All about how they farmed back in the day. And I also found this pearl. I’ve not yet watched it but about a farm from 1620! Whomp!!! I am looking forward to watching it tonight if the bandwidth holds up.

    I hope your garden is enjoying the precipitation and that you are all warm and dry with 2 dogs who have been inspired to play truancy against their walks (allowing you to stay nice and dry). Looking forward to reading about your feathered Houdinis. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 31, 2013 @ 05:15:46

      Worzel gummiges head was made out of a mangel wurzel ;). The rainbow chard can be grown in your flower garden (Italian style) along with some of the prettier kales so you might want to grow a few extras to plant in amongst your “pretties”. I am envious of your seeds! I have been collecting seed from plants along the road verges and nodding invitingly over peoples fences ;). I have been sprinkling queen annes lace seed (from the road verge), a perennial flower that I have NO idea what it is called but that comes in a variety of colours and is obviously hardy because it is surviving on road verges with no additional water and marigolds. I LOVE finding free seed! I just got a bucketload of parsnip seed from Bev at Foodnstuff along with some fenugreek to try. She grows it and our conditions are less extreme than hers. I am starting to think that we have it pretty good here! It doesn’t go much below 0C and doesn’t get much above 30C (we have only had 1 day above 30 so far but February is just around the corner…). You will learn with Ignisa this year…you will work together, initially politely and after about 6 months you will find yourself working seemlessly…its one of my delightful processes that make my new life out here worth so much.
      The early morning is when my brain can really get revved up. I used to be a late night person but then so is Steve so I didn’t get that time to myself. I had to bite the bullet and get up early to find that magical time before the rest of the world is awake to luxuriate in my oneness.
      I LOVE the idea of a cow but take heed from Mathew Evens when he lost his milking cow from mastitis. They are very prone to it. What about milking goats? They are VERY hardy, not fussy at all about what they eat and great companions.
      Just TALKING about those little bollock chickens makes my left eye twitch…I had to allow a period of downtime before I put finger to key as otherwise the post would have been littered with expletives ;). Have a great day…we don’t start school for another 2 weeks (lazy bollocks lecturers just got back to polytechnic and haven’t even worked out the curriculum yet…sigh) and so we have 2 more weeks of unmitigated lazy bollocks bliss to bumble around the garden. We have a stash of Brachychiton discolor to plant out. We grew them from seed that we imported and they had a fantastic germination rate and they are as hardy as heck. We figure on planting them all down the fenceline and painting a very interesting view from the river when they are all in flower :).

      Reply

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jan 31, 2013 @ 09:37:36

        Poor Mr Evans. And far more importantly, poor poor cow! I’ve had mastitis and I wouldn’t wish that agony on ANYONE! I think with everything there is always a chance of things going wrong but the Dexters seem relatively immune to many of the other issues cows can face. They calve extremely easily, cycle back ready for round 2 easily and quickly, provide abundant milk and can feed up to 3 calves! And I saw a youtube clip last night where a lady stated that they can run 50 Dexters where once they used to run 5 normal cows!!! We still have insufficient grass to pasture feed on our block exclusively but 2 doors up is a 1/4 acre of grass (just needs some fencing) and there’s a grassy verge across the creek between us and the cemetery. I’m not sure of the legalities there but… Our area across the creek will need some hardcore clearing first – all poplars so we need to chop, poison, rest, plow and plant. We also have friends who have a LOT of space but no livestock and recently they had their grass mown and I have no idea if they have a use for the large round bales of hay or not. I’m planning to ask. 🙂 If you don’t ask… 😀
        Bloody quarantine laws hey. I totally understand why they exist but it does make it hard for Tasmanians and Western Australians (or is that just aimed at you who are/were both?) Yes, I’ve heard of Wurzel Gummidge – my husband likes to throw those sort of things at me, usually in a terrible Cornish accent as my family came from Cornwall (oooh aye and all that scrooompy 😉 )
        I remember reading about Queen Anne’s lace. They’re related to carrots but their taproot is kinda small and useless. it came up as I was growing carrot tops for seed and if you have QAL in the area it can cross pollinate and reduce the size of your carrot roots.
        Rainbow chard are pretty which is partly why I bought them. I actually have no pretty gardens at this stage aside from 3 majorly neglected rose bushes. And I’m not one for pretty gardens so I plan on prettying up my veggie beds with a few bits and bobs of edible pretties – rainbow chard, kale for chook food and dark green bushiness, nasturtium for pretties and pretty and bitey salad additions, marigolds for tomato boosting and pretties, sunflowers for chook food and pretties, beans with pretty flowers – scarlett runner beans for food and pretties (thanks very much stinking hot day that fried all my beans 😦 ), and so on. Now that my kids are actually starting to eat vegetables and salads (finally) it’s worth growing these things. And Martin and I are eating them too In fact we’ve never eaten quite so well in our lives and the 5kg I’ve lost and the general well being of us both stands testament to good food and healthy living.
        Enjoy your lazy bolloxing before getting stuck back into your studies. I am sure the break will do you good and you will be refreshed and ready to tackle the coming year of study.

      • narf77
        Jan 31, 2013 @ 10:24:10

        I have visions of you walking your cow along the pavement to its new “pasture” like Barbara in The Good Life ;). Queen Anne’s lace is actually wild carrots…the originals of what we eat today and they are amazing at attracting beneficial insects that control pests. I would grow it anyway as we can’t grow carrots here (too rocky and clay like soil) so I concede to our circumstances and raise fate some Queen Anne’s lace which is perfectly suited to Serendipity Farm :). By the way, Steve just said “Is Rabid going to send you some sourdough starter?” and after I said “yes” he said “tell her I am in the shed making her a salt spoon”…so there you go :). Let us know what your address is (send an email) and we will get it into the mail for you 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jan 31, 2013 @ 10:51:56

        Tell Steve THANK YOU!!! I AM going to send the starter but both Bertha and Agnetha are being a bit of a non-bubbly pain at the moment. Also, I HAVE drafted an email complete with instructions for caring for Audrey and bread baking plus extra goodies BUT it won’t send until I visit the old house. I can receive but cannot send emails unless I’m there. We are planning to move the last of the stuff up on Saturday so I will take down the laptop then. The starter will be sent as soon as she does her thang again properly. Off to help her out now. 🙂

      • narf77
        Jan 31, 2013 @ 11:16:00

        Steve just made you a tiny little celery top pine spoon and it is gorgeous…I want it! I hope you like it 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jan 31, 2013 @ 17:19:29

        Due to lack of email sending capabilities I shall reply to your email here. The spoon is GORGEOUS! Simply divine and I LOVE the little native violets (that’s what they are right?) to show size. It. Is. Beautiful! Thank you so very very much. I shall endeavour to post off Audrey your starter on Saturday IF I can get to the post office before closing. I have another batch of starter to send to The Blue Mountains and *blush* VERY late Christmas gifts that got lost in the move but are now relocated to send to the UK. Omi’s are forgiving though.
        Just lit Ignisa here. It’s not overly cold yet although it’s forecast to drop a goodly bit but the day is just rotten. Gusting winds and showers which of course are coming in sideways. A good night for rainbow trout and sourdough pasta. And yes, the pasta recipe is in the email I shall send on the weekend. 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 01, 2013 @ 04:29:16

        Sourdough pasta? Wonderful! :). I have found some amazing things to do with leftover sourdough before but never pasta :). I LOVE finding ways to use things up without wasting them. Poor Herman lost a few of his babies to the compost heap but even then, its great for the suite of organisms in the compost and activates it (it does the same thing for septic tanks 😉 ). Glad you like the spoon…it is teeny and very cute 🙂

  2. brymnsons
    Jan 30, 2013 @ 20:38:18

    How about that bird feeder with the copper top! I love it. Such interesting things to look at. I also liked the roosters outside the garden shop. Bruce starts to twitch if I start to admire things lol. We are bursting to extreme with all my little, and not so little, knick knacks. Moving has helped me weed out some things but it is truly a hard thing to say goodbye when you are a hoarder. I have always been an early riser, and Bruce is a late to bedder! We have managed to influence each other after all these years, so that he will get up before 8am without too much grumbling, and I can last a bit longer at night before retiring. It will be fun to see if your little bunch of excapee chooks will like their little beenies, oh what a photo that will be 😀

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 31, 2013 @ 05:19:54

      I take hoarding to extremes…I hoard rumbled glass from beaches, bits of broken pottery (I put them in my plant pots) stones, bits of stick (could be useful for something…), I found a filter bag from someones roll-your-own discarded on the side of the road yesterday and picked it up as it was ziploc and Steve could put screws in it ;). I am a true hoarder and recognise the hoarder in you Kymmy. I am SURE that we can fill up your suitcase with suitable teapots, garden ornaments, native seed etc. to take back to W.A. and make Bruce swoon ;). Steve and I were both late to bedders and that was the problem, I never got that time to myself…now I do :). I am a converted early morning riser :). The escapee chooks will have special beenies…bright red with lime green bobbles so that they can be seen at all times and they will be superglued onto their rotten little heads! Bring it on PETA! 😉

      Reply

  3. christiok
    Jan 31, 2013 @ 11:02:02

    Oh, what a fun post! I’ve been reading it off and on all day. I know what you mean about lusting after rain when it’s dry and vice-versa. We’ve got the rain now, and I do appreciate it. Our woodstove is decidedly male. I think of it as Tom Coolidge, the lovely man who built this house in 1991. Tom is a small stove, nowhere near as efficient or multi-tasking as Brunhilda, but he does heat the place and you are right on about fire in the cold months. Lack of crackle, indeed. I LOVE that hippie shop and actually want that purple number (is it pants or skirt or both?!:) on the end of the rack there. I’m in! The bird feeders are wonderful — the B.O.’s father makes birdhouses, too, but most of them are little churches. I think birds are Pagan, but I don’t tell him that. Finally, you, Fran, are certainly not a listless person, in so many ways. 🙂 lol Love from Olalla!!!xxoo

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 31, 2013 @ 11:22:32

      It’s pants Christi and our friend in the witness protection and I both wanted it/them ;). I loved those bird houses and imagine them festooned all over Serendipity Farm (and festooned with sparrow poop as well probably but we can be romantic in our minds can’t we?! 😉 )… I see where the B.O. gets his desire to make wooden things bigger and better if his dad makes things out of wood…Steve was the same with his dad (also a lead guitarist who was friends with Ringo Starr from the Beetles!) so he is excused his competitiveness…birds are indeed pagan. They live a primal life and if you have ever gotten up close and personal with a colony of them they certainly smell pagan! ;). I want to make birdhouses as beautiful a those that we saw at Wychwood but with my rounded edges on them…I am enarmoured of rounded edges and have a boticelli fixation on bowls and spoons and everything needs to be rounded and ample…that certainly says something about “me” doesn’t it! ;). Glad to see that the B.O. is feeling better and I would like to think that his recovery was spurred on by my need to compete with the size of his spoons…tell him I am now off to cut a dead limb from a eucalyptus that dropped a limb down the driveway and I have visions of a spoon…that I can drive! 😉

      Reply

  4. littlesundog
    Jan 31, 2013 @ 13:45:49

    What an entertaining narrative! I always make sure to have plenty of time to indulge in reading your posts. Tonight I had two cups of tea and some fresh cracked pecans while I read. I loved the photo of the sidewalk display with those gorgeous roosters! Well and of course I adore Earl…

    I’m an early bird too! I get so much done early in the day. I love the quiet of mornings as well. Mostly, it’s just lovely to sit on a log in the woods and watch the world wake up. The little squirrels, birds, and lately the little gray foxes are all about the woodland floor, scurrying and scolding. Of course this time of year you won’t find me down there… too cold. Spring will be here soon, and I HOPE some good, drenching rains!

    You must educate me how to get avocado plants started. We eat a lot of avocados, but I heard the seeds were difficult to grow. I’m not sure they’d do well here in Oklahoma, but I might see what I’d need to do to winter them over.

    And I feel terrible – I did not realize it was Steve’s birthday!! Happy belated birthday my dear friend! You both ROCK… do you know that?

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 31, 2013 @ 14:05:31

      Lol! Steve is a bit lop sided today as he did something to his shoulder when he was messing about on his boat and suddenly he has to watch tv with his head on the side ;). Avocado’s are very easy to grow. I get the feeling that like a lot of things, gardeners like to maintain a mystique/elitist factor and try to put other people off doing things to make themselves feel superior sometimes…All we do is first eat your avocado…never tried growing a seed with the flesh still on it and it tastes so good why would you want to try? ;). Next put the seed directly into potting mix in a large enough pot to accomodate the growing tree and then keep it watered and somewhere not covered in snow (the avocado’s natural enemy). You could put them in large pots that you could overwinter if you have a glasshouse or even put them in your house if you want to keep growing them. Our problem isn’t snow, it’s possums! They love to eat just about everything (like deer 😉 ) and our possums can climb (unlike deer!) so they get stuck in to just about everything that we plant out so we have to make little protective devices around everything. Steve had a great birthday and enjoyed doing what he wanted. It doesn’t happen very often that he gets to do whatever he wants (and doesn’t have to do the dishes in the evening) so he really enjoyed his sabatical :). Glad you liked the post…we found where the houdini chicks were escaping from and it wasn’t ANYWHERE that we would have expected…you will have to read Saturday’s post to see where they were escaping and be amazed (like we were 😉 ). I love the idea that my post sustains someone over 2 cups of tea (my soul beverage) and some cracked pecans. I WISH we could grow pecans here. I would plant lots of them. I adore pecans but here in Australia they are all imported and come with a cost. I might have to get some raw pecans and give them a go…like the avocado’s 🙂

      Reply

  5. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 03:33:15

    You finally arrived! Wonderful piece. Love how you described the rain. Your writing is so lovely. I found the advise about insomnia to help me interestingly enough and now I get up earlier and plot when my body tells me it’s tired, instead of pushing on beyond it (which tends to also wake up my thinking). That is really good advise because lack of sleep can rupture quality of life. I’m so happy you arrived and the mystery is solved on why I haven’t gotten your posts. Have a lovely day, friend. Paulette

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 01, 2013 @ 04:35:47

      That is WONDERFUL Paulette! Finally you got the post. No idea why you didn’t before but so glad you do now :). Glad you liked the post and that it helped. I used to have trouble sleeping and would lay awake at the end of the day finding things to stress about but now I just make it to bed before I am fast asleep…totally and utterly spent and I usually sleep through the entire night. “Out like a light” is a perfect saying for me now ;). Hopefully you get tomorrows (we are a day ahead of you in the US) post…fingers crossed! 🙂

      Reply

      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 11:00:14

        Hope I get one tomorrow also. I’ll tell you, friend, getting a good night’s sleep ranks high up on my giving thanks/gratitude. After spending many years with Lyme disease and unable to sleep without aid it was nothing short of a miracle when I went cold turkey with all medications and did my best. The first night I slept all the way through was huge for me. That was almost five years ago. So, I really appreciate it when others comment about sleep especially in the context of yours.

        Also, that little knit cap on the chicken was hilarious. Too funny. Glad you borrowed it. You gonna knit some for yours?

        Signing off for now with a big hug,
        Paulette

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 11:31:59

        My chickens wouldn’t appreciate my efforts Paulette, they are ingrates! ;). Lymes disease is no longer a Northern problem. We are getting people exhibiting Lymes here in Australia but no-one wants to admit that it causes problems…a bit like in the U.S. but people are having to live with the debilitating results of infected tick bites especially up North in Queensland. I am really glad that you are working your way back to health, taking a proactive stance rather than just reacting is the first and most important stage of growth and healing :). Hopefully you get tonights post or you won’t learn about our houdini chickens! 🙂 See you later on today/tomorrow (whenever it is that you get to read the post) a big hug right back at you, Fran 🙂

      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 13:10:22

        Make ’em a hat of worms. They’ll love you! lol
        Yes, Lyme disease is the big we don’t speak L word. Doctors hate it. Along with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and another slew of time consuming autoimmune diseases. Aside from sleep being so important eating organic was also a huge factor. Never been more real, we are what we eat. I know you understand this from all you do and all your beautiful produce photos. BTW, those cucumbers are so healthy looking-rich in color, you can almost see the nutrients. What a great food-rich in water, minerals, and low in calories and the pickled ones are such a great tasty addition to so many food.s

        Gotta wind down now. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  6. dwayland
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 10:37:59

    Oh, I’m very interested in how your avocado plants from seed do. I’ve read that you can’t get good fruit from home grown trees. Please keep us posted.
    And, you pickles remind me of something I often make for Thanksgiving… Cukes and Onions (recipe on the blog). The husband doesn’t care for the smell at all so I don’t get to make it as often as I’d like. But, it’s oh so good!!
    And, the photo of the chicken in the cap reminds me of some of the pics I’ve been seeing lately of animals in sweaters (did you see the Shetland Ponies!). So cute! Dan’ll love the chicken in the beanie.
    thanks as always!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 02, 2013 @ 11:28:14

      The ponies were so sweet :). Makes me want to get one for Serendipity Farm BUT I want goats, and a cow, and possibly a pygmy hippo so I guess I shouldn’t actually get what I want! ;). I pinched the chook in the cap from another blog (after asking permission of course!) I just loved it! I figure the girls can have beanies and Big Yin (our rooster) can have a little serape, a cowboy hat and a cheroot…He looks like a Clint Eastwood type (has those squinty eyes 😉 ). Have a great weekend 🙂

      Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 02, 2013 @ 11:28:15

      The ponies were so sweet :). Makes me want to get one for Serendipity Farm BUT I want goats, and a cow, and possibly a pygmy hippo so I guess I shouldn’t actually get what I want! ;). I pinched the chook in the cap from another blog (after asking permission of course!) I just loved it! I figure the girls can have beanies and Big Yin (our rooster) can have a little serape, a cowboy hat and a cheroot…He looks like a Clint Eastwood type (has those squinty eyes 😉 ). Have a great weekend 🙂

      Reply

  7. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 14:55:42

    Picking… Passionfruit? That’s just beyond my comprehension. It’s darned near impossible to find around here, no matter what time of year it is, and I’ve never seen it growing in real life. I keep thinking about how much fun it would be to experiment with making it into desserts, but my plans are always thwarted by its absence! Do tell, what do you like to make with them most, or do you just eat them unadorned? That’s a good answer too, since I know I would probably just scarf down such a treat if I ever got any.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 02, 2013 @ 15:26:05

      They are so easy to grow Hannah…its a childhood memory of mine that has followed me to adulthood… summer holidays, the middle of a heatwave and picking wrinkled warm fragrant passionfruit straight from the vine and biting the ends off and enjoying them perfectly ripe and in their prime. That’s really the only way to truly enjoy them, they are so wonderful :). I have yet to grow some on Serendipity Farm (aside from the banana passionfruit that is everywhere and that constitutes a weed) and really should get my act together because I could certainly go a passionfruit right now! 🙂

      Reply

      • Hannah (BitterSweet)
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 15:33:54

        Oh sure, easy to grow… If you have an abundance of warmth, sunlight, and fertile soil! I think our backyard garden is better suited for growing rocks at this point. You memories sound like something out a fairytale, they’re just so dreamy… I wish I could live inside those sentences!

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 15:36:29

        When I was little we lived on 100acres and ran free like ferals. I swear that is why I am the way that I am today! ;). Passionfruit are not hard to grow, they WILL grow in a pot with a trellis and they are very forgiving of the soil that they are given…this is Australia here… land of the ancient (read thin topsoil free…) soil 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 16:00:09

        We had a passionfruit vine too and when I got the sweet ones. Mmmmmm. Sometimes they’d be a little too tart for my fancy as a sugar addicted kid but now… My mouth is watering at the thought of them. Ours grew up the side of the neighbours shed/our fence and was utterly neglected. They need little except a frost free area. We get a heap of frost here but I reckon if I grew it up the north and east faces of the chickens water tank and coop then they get shade and the full watertank will help prevent the frost with its warmth I heard that sticking a milk carton of water beside frost sensitive plants can help them make it through a frosty night. I reckon the water tank is the same thin, just 500 times bigger. 😀

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 18:14:54

        Great idea to grow one so that your own kids can have that quintessential Aussie childhood memory :). We also had a choko vine over our loo but that was more to do with the fact that it was a true “dunny” and mum was partial to the horrible things and thought that growing them next to the loo was a good idea (ech). I am going to grow some passionfruit vines over the chook yard as well as some kiwi vines and lots of muscat grape vines (we had a good strike rate of our cuttings this year 🙂 )…lots of prospective fruit (for the possums…sigh…). Good idea about the water tank as it has good thermal mass and shouldn’t vary too much in temperature from the air outside 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 19:52:03

        Oh my. our friendship has just reached it’s first crisis. How COULD you! How could you call chokos horrible?! 😉 I adore them! They’re perfect to pad out meals as well as steamed and sprinkled with just a little salt for flavour. I will agree they’re pretty flavourless but horrible? NEVAH! I’m trying to work out where I could grow one and since we’re short of a true dunny (thank goodness for that hey) I’m thinking the same theory might hold true with a chicken shed. As long as the chokos and passionfruit vines don’t cross into a passionoko we’re all good.

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:17:39

        Lol I don’t think that there is a chance of a passionoko or a chokonfruit so its a great idea to plant them over the chook yard because they give good shade in summer. I don’t like them (and they are one of the ONLY things that I don’t like…) because mum used to cook them by boiling them and serving them up to us YUK! I dare say they are like zucchini and can be used for heaps of things…I know that the Mexicans revere them and have heaps of recipes and if I found a choko I might even buy it and grow it but I haven’t seen one in years and Tasmanian’s are suspicious of any vegetable that isn’t a potato, a carrot or a pea ;). I think I am safe from the dreaded choko ;). Feel free to grow yours with impunity, I will stiffle my dry heaves from a distance 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:22:59

        And I promise not to serve them up should you ever come to visit. 😉
        Boiled and lightly salted was my favourite but to be honest my brother despised them too. They do give great shade though and if they fruit well are prolific so will always keep us from starving. 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:25:05

        Very little nutrition…no calories…practically water with a bit of unpleasant flavour…(your brother is a smart cookie girl! 😉 )

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:33:42

        If you EVER tell him that… 😉 😛

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:53:37

        LOL! 😉

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