5 Go mad in Sidmouth

Hi All,

Enid Blyton was one of my favourite authors when I was a small child. I got endless entertainment reading about whatever the “5” were up to on any given jolly set of hol’s. Enid was fond of a good mystery and we had ourselves a very Blytonesque mystery on our hands on Monday. We headed out to open the doors of the hen house to allow the hens into the enclosed area that they now live in. We lock the doors because of quolls, a native animal somewhat like a cat, that loves nothing more than a tasty fat docile hen added to its menu for the day and they hunt at night when the hens are at their most docile and compliant. We have the luxury of a cement floored hen house that was once a woodshed and even the most determined quoll is going to come up chookless when faced with 500ml of cement to have to tunnel through. We made small hen sized doors and a ramp down to the enclosed outer area and the hens go into the hen house at night and are ensconced safely till we let them out the next morning. We recently discovered one of the late great Effel Doocark’s daughters who had decided to head WAY down to the front of the property to lay a few eggs and go clucky and after waiting for the feral cats to eat her babies and then herd her into the enclosure along with her other sisters we discovered that unlike Effel, her daughters are EXCELLENT mothers. This hen managed to situate her chick’s right up close and personal in the feral cat’s domain and only lost 1 chick to them. We noticed her near the gate of the enclosure and with some careful manoeuvring; we were able to get them all into the enclosure…WIN! The only problem with enclosing feral chooks, as indeed this hen’s babies were, is that they have a taste for the outdoors and are rarely content to stay put. The chicks have grown somewhat and their mother has taken to going into the hen house at night to be with the rest of the flock but her babies are steadfastly refusing to go into the hen house and on Monday they escaped. Steve and I heard tell-tale “peeping” outside the enclosure and on further investigation we found them frolicking around in the leaves under the blackwood acacia trees and herded them back in. 6 more escapes later and we started to lose our cool! We had inspected the netting for holes…these chicks are not big and so could easily have slipped through a larger hole in the ex-fish farm netting that makes up the bulk of the enclosure.


The Moscow State Circus comes to Serendipity Farm…


2 ferals


A little crab that we found in the middle of the road as we were walking back dripping from a recent walk in the rain with the dogs


I had a little chat to Mr Crab and we decided that even though he might have thought that he wanted to make like a chicken and get to the other side, his life as a crustacean would be much more fullfilling (and long) if he would just learn to be satisfied to stay in the river


We are finding more and more of these little reminders discarded on the side of the road that prove that cyclists are full of something other than the “clean green” image that they would like us all to believe that they represent …it’s not only Lance Armstrong that is shaming the world of cycling…

We decided that the chicks were escaping by flying over the top of the enclosure. This confused us a bit because none of the other chooks (including a couple of erstwhile ferals that we had herded in after we dispatched their brothers) had managed to fly over but there is a small mandarin tree situated inside the enclosure and we did notice the chicks all roosting in this small tree…after cutting several lengths of extra ex-fish farm netting we started tacking pieces into the trees that border the chook enclosure and the whole shebang started to look like the Moscow State Circus. STILL the chicks got out! We figured that perhaps they were climbing up onto some blackberries in the enclosure (left to try to encourage the chook to feel safe about laying their eggs outside) and cut back all tendrils…STILL they got out! We put another large piece of netting all along the side of the enclosure where the blackberries and agapanthus hiding spots were and STILL they got out. It was getting beyond a joke and so this time we cut the flight feathers of each of their rotten little wings and smugly headed inside to make a warm drink…when we headed out to smile smugly at the captured prisoners 30 minutes later they were out! “WHAT?!!! HOW???” We took turns to sit incredibly still outside the hen house watching for several hours when the chicks did absolutely nothing aside from lay with their mother and dust bath but as the day started to heat up and the shade disappeared so did we…and they got out…sigh…I had a really good look and decided that their might just be a weak point in the defences and we put ANOTHER bit of ex-fish farm netting up so that we were totally covered. Sure that we had fixed the problem we headed back inside…after checking a little white later they were still in the enclosure and we were ecstatic…”WE WON!”… An hour later 3 of them were out… Again we put up some more netting  and this time we had the whole circus represented…all we needed was a ringmaster and a lion…a lion would most certainly have sorted out our chicken problem! This time there was no WAY that they could escape…we had over engineered the enclosure and Houdini himself would have been flummoxed. When Steve went to close the doors at 8.30pm they were out… Now you can only BEGIN to imagine how bad tempered I was by this stage! I was to the point of leaving them out to their fate with the quolls…


Steve is starting to branch out with his spoons now


Mid summer acorns


A little wallaby next to his blackberry and bracken fern home


A most innovative name for a vessel that pootles…


Summer twinkling on the river

We both ruminated about how the heck they were getting out because there was pretty much no way to escape from the top of the enclosure and we both decided that they MUST be escaping from lower down…We both headed off in different directions around the enclosure and inspected the lower part of the run with a fine toothed comb…after 20 minutes of painstaking inspection I heard Steve say “I found it!”…I headed inside the enclosure to where Steve was standing next to one of the poles used to anchor the netting to. What he had discovered was a teeny tiny space between 2 rocks that these miniature Houdini’s were tunnelling through to get out to the other side. They had to squeeze themselves between the rocks, up through a tunnel of netting and then take a hard right turn and squeeze out underneath another couple of rocks to escape! Kudos to them and I will NEVER underestimate the brain of a determined feral chook again! They haven’t escaped again and peace has returned to the Moscow State Circus and Serendipity Farm. I am thinking of writing a children’s book called “5 go wild in Sidmouth” or “The Great Escape 5” in the tradition of a good Enid Blyton sleuth. I might throw a chance meeting in with Justin Bieber and Harry Potter and a guest appearance by the wiggles and Elmo and I should get a book deal with ease 😉


This grey protrusion is a basking seal. This photo was taken about 200metres from our front gate from Steve’s boat this morning


Flippy pretending to be a shark…”you won’t fool Steve THAT easily Flippy!” 😉


A huge sea eagles nest on the river bank. This nest is very old and is constantly in use and is approximately 2 metres across

We just took delivery of 4 more large rolls of Ex-fish farm netting with the promise of as much as we can handle to come. I have visions of Serendipity Farm partitioned off into undercover bliss including an entirely enclosed orchard area that is currently battered and bruised after years of possums being allowed to run amok amongst the trees and our enormous edifice full of protected vegetables. We have smaller projects including compost heap construction and protection of various small garden beds but the luxury of being able to take what the fish farm sees as waste and turning it into our treasure makes me even happier.  Steve has just headed out to see what the river might yield in the Mumbley cumumbus. He is ostensibly “fishing” but in reality he is trawling around like Huck Finn on the river with his straw hat and his fishing line tied to his toe while he eats his cheese sarnies (1 with Brit Piccalilli…Crosse and Blackwell no less, and the other with some of his delicious home preserved ultra-thin cucumber pickles) in ex-pat heaven. It’s a really lovely day here, nice and cool but with the sun shining brightly and packed full of possibilities. Earl and Bezial are hoping for fishing futures and I am hoping for some photos that I can put in today’s post but aside from that Steve is Scott free and able to bob around on the waves in comparative solitude. That’s one of the benefits of being a penniless student and the shining beacon in our gratitude quotient. Sometimes it is difficult when we would rather have the money to instantly gratify our wants. It’s not like we want the moon…a water tank would be nice, a few solar panels to hook up to the water heater when Brunhilda is in hiatus and a mulcher to mulch all of the debris that we are generating via our sporadic concerted vegetative ethnic cleansing episodes…I could care less about fame and fortune, give me a $15.95 copy of Jackie French’s “The Wilderness Garden” and I feel like I just won lotto. I consider myself to be a very lucky woman. I am completely content with my lot and the possibilities in our lives and I am constantly excited and invigorated by simple things. In the eyes of society we are unimpressive and easily dismissed and that’s how we like it :o)


One side of Redwood Island (Steve’s prime fishing haunt)…


The other side of Redwood Island…All of our photos are taken with our 7 year old totally outdated FinePix Fujifilm camera. No lenses, no special whistles and bells…we are lucky if it zoom’s when we ask it to but it does take a lovely photo.

Its 5.44am Wednesday and Steve just headed off with his boat in the dark. He has just finished scrying his crystal ball (http://tides.willyweather.com.au/tas/northern/sidmouth.html ) and found the timing is right for a morning’s fishing/pootling in the river. It might be dark but I can’t hear the wind chime’s gentle melody so there isn’t any wind to chill the early morning air further…I love the hint of chill that is starting to creep in before dawn. I love that we have had Brunhilda on 3 times this week. I also love the free hot water and the ability to cook our meals on her as well as cook pots of legumes, have the kettle gently simmering ready for a drink and keep things warm in her lower ovens…my autumnal (sorry my American friends, “autumnal” is a MUCH more lyrical word than “fall” 😉 ) processes are waking up and it’s still summer. I know that New Zealand is enjoying our customary weather (hot without rain…peculiar for them at this time of year thanks to the recent cyclone that has tumbled our weather around) and we have theirs. Cheers for the swapsy guys…any time! I don’t mind the last gasps of summer in February because we have had this little rain fuelled interlude that has soothed the savage beast and eased the crustiness of Serendipity Farm…the garden is happy, I might even get some germination of the free roadside seed that I have been collecting over the summer and broadcasting in the side garden.


Mandolin + home grown cucumber = very finely sliced cucumbers…


What we choose to call Steve’s “Never ending refrigerator pickles” 😉

I just found a fellow Tasmanian’s blog…she is about my age and shares my ethos and has a lovely enthusiastic gardening blog like mine. If you want to check out Kate’s blog, head on down south to Cygnet and have a look at her world…


Aside from her delightful blog, she has some really good Tasmanian links that I will be spending some time this morning checking out. Most of Tasmania’s “Hippies” live down south and there are so many seed swapping groups, transition towns and all kinds of sharing going on and I am envious. I wish we had something as vital as that up here but our local groups are not as active and tend to be a bit “closed shop”. There are some very active members but I am going to have to dig a bit deeper to find relevance to our ethos here on Serendipity Farm…oh well…I can admire from a distance :o)


This last series of photos are an homage to an old video game hero of mine…I thought that this little beetroot (one of our recent harvest) looked remarkably like one “Earthworm Jim”…knowing that I can’t claim to have replicated him (on pain of being sued blue and black) I shall call my little creation “Beetroot Nemotode James” 😉


Here he is nestled amongst his brethren waiting for his fate…


“Well what do we have here?”…


Surely this is the end of our erstwhile hero James! How could anything survive a scalding stream of fragrant pickling liquor! Stay tuned to find out what happens next in the continuing story of our hero…


I don’t know what you think but he certainly looks like he is happy enough with his lot (ignore the colour, that’s what happens when you let Steve take the photo and he doesn’t want to use macro 😉 ) “Off to the fridge with you young nematode!”…

Have you noticed that I have been cutting my posts down a bit lately? I am trying to ensure that I don’t write marathon posts and make it difficult for you all to get through them in one bite. My muses are both enthusiastic and prolific and there isn’t much I can do about that BUT I can harness them and make them work in the direction that “I” want to pull… February is here and summer is almost over and autumn is just about to crest and that means W.O.R.K. on Serendipity Farm. Aside from turning piles of woody debris into Hugelkultur gardens and biochar (and tidying Serendipity Farm up considerably in the process), we will be planting out as many of our chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts as we can along with 4 loquats, 3 figs, 5 avocado plants (well sheltered) and will be situating a length of perforated drainage coil at the base of each root ball so that we can give them supplemental watering next summer…this summer hasn’t gone yet and we are already plotting for next summer! Does that make us “real” farmers? 😉 I don’t think so! Steve wants to get as many of his Brachychitons into the ground along with as many pines as he can fit. We love them with a passion and all of their in-ground brethren are going gangbusters so we figure “what the heck!” I know that my son rarely reads these posts so the words “Not in our lifetime” are not going to make him twitch ;). Most of these pines yield edible seeds so perhaps by the time Stewart and Kelsey inherit this property they may be able to harvest pine nuts along with everything else that we are setting up here for them…any grandchildren (now he is REALLY twitching if he has stumbled onto this post! 😉 ) will be able to graze freely (along with the native wildlife) from the food forest that we are in the process of setting up. I have no idea what I am meant to be doing with my life…so far I have just surfed along the crest of it hoping that I didn’t wipe out too badly but since we moved to Serendipity Farm, everything that has happened in my past seems to be knitting together to form a purpose. I think I was born to do this and the happiness that this simple life is bringing me gives me a sense of real purpose that mainstream worldly success couldn’t. I think I am going to have to put the plug in on my muses…they want to wax lyrical for a few more pages but I need to put some photo’s into this post guys…”SHHHH!” See you all on Wednesday and I hope that the rest of this week flows smoothly…if it doesn’t, remember “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”…best I can do with all these muses yelling in my head 😉

36 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rabidlittlehippy
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:33:20

    Enid Blytons Willow Farm books were my first inspiration to our way of life too and I often hear phrases repeating in my head having absorbed them so many times. My favourite was always and ever, the Secret Island though. Kids living off the land, using their smarts and spending 9 months hiding from the evil aunt and uncle. OK so I never had the baddies to hide from but indeed I find myself building up my little island and hiding away from the evil world in which we live. I am frightened of what will happen when modern society does indeed collapse but secure and comfortable in the fact that I am preparing for that and learning and loving it that I can feed and protect my family when it does happen.

    Too funny with the hendinis. 😉 I could feel the steam coming out your ears from here but I couldn’t resist rolling on the ground in fits of laughter either. It almost sounds like an Abbott and Costello scene (the tv ones, not the idiot politicians).
    Steves river pootling sounds lovely and it sounds like we have both married men cut from the same cloth – Wombles! They love their space and peace and always try to bring home some wonder or another, even if it’s just an MX magazine after work to feed Ignisa. And his spoons are exquisite. What do they say about finding something you love and turning it into an income?

    Your ex fish farm netting is making me incredibly jealous. I don’t think we will have many fish farms here in Ballan though although I do plan for 1 in our greenhouse with an aquaponics set up (just cos I can) where I can grow my herbs and fresh fish. Yummo! It’s such a great score, so much of it. Maybe we could work out a swap of something for a roll should we ever come to visit? (my turn to sound needy). But it’s about finding the local resource glut and making the best use of it you can. I reckon stockpile the stuff, wrap the entire of Serendipity farm in it and then, after making sure there are no gaps and nothing trapped inside, plant out your fences with the most tempting to possums and wallabies fruits and plants as you possibly can, then sit there with a neener neener. If you’re not up for your whole acreage enclosed in mesh the orchard sounds amazing and just make sure to leave some deck chairs in there for the neener neener moments. 😉

    Love Beetroot Nemetode James too. Maybe he’s the grandson of Earthworm Jim? Named for his esteemed grandparent?

    As for your loquat tree I am so very very jealous. I plan to plant one of those amazing trees for several reasons. 1, winter fruiting. Got to be a win having fresh fruit when every other plant with half a brain is dormant. 2, the leaves make a great cough syrup. 3, they taste amazing and 4, best of all they have a mild sedative effect when you eat too many (read, kids it’s bedtime, have a loquat 😉 )

    And it is wonderful to find someone else who doesn’t wish to while away the hours in a corporate box but instead building a legacy for the future, getting back to simpler times and growing their own. The simple life is nothing like that nightmare tv show with Paris and Nicole but the good life really is as Tom and Barbara portrayed it, simple lives complicated with the joys of gardens, the challenges of hendinis and the wonder of all things nature. 🙂 Great post, yet again. 😀


    • narf77
      Feb 02, 2013 @ 20:52:14

      You are starting to write comments almost as long as mine…soon we will be writing posts in reply to each others posts LOL! My favourite book was called “My Side of the Mountain” about a kid who ran away from home and lived in a hollowed out hemlock tree on the old deserted family property in the mountains…that book changed my life and how I thought about things. If that kid could do it…so could I! I never managed to run away and live in the mountains…W.A. doesn’t have many mountains and I was too lazy to walk the distance BUT I had the will…and that is a start! I don’t think that we need to be scared of peak oil change, I think we need to be embracing community, friends, learning all of the skills that we possibly can and teaching our children to be resiliant and capable. The best thing that I ever taught my children was to be self sufficient and to problem solve (I think that is 2 things but who is counting! 😉 ).
      That ex-fish farm netting is getting stockpiled alright! I might have to use it for barter one day ;). Steve says “would Rabid like something made out of oak in exchange for prospective kefir futures?”… I know that your grains will grow exponentially (tiny little brains) and have just overexcited myself thinking that I could make coconut kefir and subsequently yoghurt. I am easily excited ;). I would send you some netting but it weighs so much it takes 2 men to put 1 roll on the back of the trailer…Steve got 4 rolls the other day and we now have 8 rolls with the prospect of heaps more. I will be neener neenering alright! I will be staying up at night and training spotlights on the rotten little toads as they try their hardest to chew through the netting…the only downside is that we will be regularly raided by the police because it will look like we are trying to camoflage a special crop (if you get my drift 😉 ). I found the loquat seedlings on the side of the road. They are SO easy to grow Jessie, just get a few loquats (from somewhere) and stick the seeds into a pot of soil and you will have loquats. They grow like weeds here and they don’t mind drought or frost (they are Japanese after all 😉 ). I didn’t know about the leaves but I do know that nothing has tried to eat them yet so they are alright by me! I have 3 carob trees that we grew from seed that we will plant out this autumn as well and duckies pond is going to be the centre of our enormous enclosed veggie patch and I will be planting her pond/boat out with strawberries as my tip strawberries have FINALLY started paying for their water with a few enormous berries that after we stopped the possums and hens eating them all (the feral roosters are clever!) Steve has had some with cream and pronounced them “Delish!”.
      I use a picture that we found of Barbara and Tom as my facebook icon ;). I loved The Good Life and was severely disappointed the other day when I watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s program “3 go mad” featuring Felicity Kendall to see that she was a pulled and tucked rake thin socialite who had NO idea what the “good life” was about whatsoever! Talk about bursting my bubble! I almost dumped my icon there and then :(… I used to watch the good life as a kid (THAT is how old I am 😉 ). If Hugh has Richard Briar’s on his show I am NOT WATCHING! 😉


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 21:53:04

        Lol, I though that as I typed. We comment on each others blogs and blog on each others comments. Can you imagine meeting in real life? No-one else would get a word in! 😀 Here’s a question then… Do you skype? If so, look up my email address. 🙂
        What a shame about Felicity Kendall. I get asked on occasion if I’m channeling her with our lifestyle choice and I’ve been proud til now to say yes but I think I’ll reply, “no, I’m channeling Barbara, not Felicity” in future. Martin also watched it as a kid but I believe it’s older than I am by a few years. 😉
        We talked about a holiday to Tassie as friends have a house in Georgetown we could rent out but we’ve decided if we take some time off it will be for a holiday at home with outings to discover our new stomping ground rather than abroad. 😉
        Tell Steve that would be lovely. I feel very spoiled and blessed. 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:05:22

        You are welcome and Steve is more than happy to send one of his lovely rustic spoons to someone who appreciates them (and tick off another state/country on his world spoon domination list 😉 ). I agree with you about the stomping ground…best check out where you are before launching afar AND you need to start saving for that cow 😉 (I can feel Martin quaking…) tell Martin that I said you should get bees too (ROTFL) He won’t ever let us meet then! 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:12:14

        He won’t like you if you’re not careful, but I’ll bribe him with the idea of pootling with Steve (if Steve doesn’t mind the company) if we ever come to visit. 🙂 And anyway, we don’t NEED to meet to get in to trouble. Clearly! 😛

      • narf77
        Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:52:35

        ;)…parsnips on their way with the spoons on Monday. Martin will love Steve…EVERYONE loves him, he was born in the year of the dragon ;). I push him out in front of me whenever we meet people to give the best impression ;).

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 03, 2013 @ 08:31:31

        My husband is a goat/ram (sounds funny saying it that way hey) so only a few years younger than Steve from what I can figure but he’s younger than my brother in law. 🙂

  2. Pinky
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:00:29

    I read an online article today about Richard Briers who is now 80 something and he has emphysema after a lifetime of smoking. He’s been ciggie free for 10 years now but its too late for him. He said he hadn’t seen Felicity Kendall for a long long time and the two of them were never close on set anyways. Sad. She is only 66 so must have been really young when they did the Good Life.
    Loved your adventures with the chickens guys. Smart little dinosaur chickens.


    • narf77
      Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:08:24

      That is sad about Richard Briars…80! That REALLY makes me feel old now! ;). Those chicks are now tame and well behaved and haven’t evacuated the coop since we managed to block off their exit route…we realised that our Moscow State Circus tent was completely unnecessary but decided to leave it there anyway (too lazy to take it down 😉 ). The possums have been running amok here and trying to eat everything that moves but at least we don’t have the rabbits, rats and mice like everyone else has (there ARE benefits to cats 😉 ). I hope you guys are having a lovely weekend. Nothing like a nice relaxing weekend to put some spring in your step 🙂 Say Hi to Jason for me and enjoy your sunday to the max 🙂


  3. thinkingcowgirl
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:10:44

    The river is sooo beautiful, how amazing that it’s a mere 200 metres away, I’m not surprised you are a happy larry!

    I just bought some piccalilli, it is the best! So yummy with cheese…and a pork pie 😉

    Like you, I was incredibly alarmed to see what had happened to Felicity Kendall. Along with Dads Army, the Good Life is an old favourite. Infact, these days, spotting someone who HASN’T had work is the game. That was what was so lovely about Quartet – most of the cast were properly old and not a nip or a tuck in sight, just amazing faces showing all their life.


    • narf77
      Feb 02, 2013 @ 22:50:15

      It’s insidious how we women have to cut ourselves to the quick to keep up with societal desires…I will be glad to recede into the background graciously with my wrinkly face and enjoy the slower pace of my old age. I won’t be needing to compete with anyone who feels compelled to do a King Canute regarding the reality and inevitability of lifes processes. I was quite alarmed when I saw Felicity…stick legs and completely white wrinkle free skin and looking like some sort of alien! Surely no-one thinks that is attractive?! I think accepting our wrinkles is vitally important as part of accepting our lives and doing everything that we can with them to live life to the fullest. Bollocks to paying someone to make me look like a horse! 😉


  4. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 09:22:03

    A lovely post Fran. I’m a big Enid Blyton fan too. Sorry for laughing out loud at your chicken/circus antics. I should have been more sympathetic!


    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2013 @ 17:12:46

      Laugh away Jean 🙂 …we have just stopped nervously twitching whenever we head out to let them out in the mornings and see the furious 5 (or is that furtive 5? or maybe frustrating 5!) skirting around the peripherals of the enclosure on the right side!


  5. foodnstuff
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 12:18:09

    “Have you noticed that I have been cutting my posts down a bit lately?”

    No, really?? Coulda fooled me!!

    (I loved Enid Blyton too.)


    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2013 @ 17:14:14

      LOL! Well prior to this one I had! ;). In my defence that story needed to be told in it’s entirity…there is something very cathartic about spilling the beans and I feel totally cleansed ;). Enid was the bomb…we ladies of a “certain age” all loved her books and we even got to read them legit in school! BONUS! :).


  6. Kym
    Feb 03, 2013 @ 14:25:10

    I had all the Enid Blyton books. Secret Seven, Fantastic Five etc. When I left home and went to Perth, I had to give them away :(. I gave them to my primary school library, wonder if they are still there??? I have always been an avid reader and she was one of my favourites. I have a lovely little scoop that I use for my tea leaves, I will take a photo and post on fb to see if he would like to make you one for you. I do wish you would join skype. I was talking to one of my friends from Perth the other day, such fun. We have set up a skype night lol. Thank goodness you have managed to get the little chickies escape route sorted out. How frustrated you must have been!! I like the description of Steve as a womble :).


    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2013 @ 17:18:45

      No skype! I am a technophobic ludite remember! Stewart talks about skype, Rabid talks about skype, I talk about reading a good book ;). We will talk so much when you get here in August that we will lose our voices. No need for skype ;). Steve is going to teach you how to make wooden spoons and you can make some to take back home with you :). He is going to mess about with that scoop idea and came up with a prototype which was a bit “spooky” (Dame Edna spooky…) because your scoop (that we hadn’t seen yet) looked exactly the same! I have been on at him to make those really big wide round tea caddy spoons as I think that people would love them as well. He is making all sorts of things now and really loves it. By the time you get here we might have managed to buy him a band saw which will give him a lot more scope :). Have a great rest of your weekend and Steve says that he is Tobermory…the womble inventor :).


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Feb 03, 2013 @ 17:39:41

        Lol, nice one with Tobermory. Not sure who my husband is but I am definitely Madame Cholet cooking up a storm for my little Wombles.
        I was thinking today, whilst I made butter that I wondered if Steve would be up for making butter paddles. I believe Beech is the timber commonly used but I would need to read up a lot more. I have no idea yet what I would or could swap for paddles but I am sure there is something you want/need that I can get/have already although it’s a big un cos there are 2 paddles. Now tell me I’m not being too cheeky in asking…
        And definitely look into Skype. It’s just chat crossed with a phonecall (you type or video call with people you already know rather than in the room with various people) and it’s as easy as pie. My MIL can do it and she is well techno-challenged. 😉 Still I agree with you, nothing replaces a good book. 😀

      • narf77
        Feb 04, 2013 @ 04:58:54

        I reacon Steve could make butter pats easy peasy :). Just paddles really and he has already made some pretty interesting spatuloons that would have been more challenging than a paddle…leave it with him and he will see what he can do :). EVERYONE has skype! Maybe I am a rebel? 😉 I think poor Martin can be Orinoko 😉

  7. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 03:30:28

    It arrived! What a story and I think you should put it in a children’s story (hope you were serious). Bless your sweet hearts for the length you went to to save these little escape artists from extinction and boy I understand the frustration. We don’t have a farm but we have a problem with rats getting into the house. We find the holes and net them up only to hear them partying in our walls and they are so damn loud they wake us at night (not to mention chewing attic wires that we had to replace before our home burned down from a short). Terry thinks he found the problem and netted it, etc. but oh noooooooo!!! All that to let you know for real that I know how it felt. We’re crazy animal savers this end, even let flies out of the house to which we are endlessly made fun of. But hey, if they don’t need to die to suit our needs then… Ticks, mosquitoes and fleas different story. When we lived in the desert Terry used to rescue black widows and bring them back out to the outside.
    Beautiful photo of the bird by the lake and nice capture of the eagles nest. And, of course last but not least all those incredible veggies. 🙂


    • narf77
      Feb 04, 2013 @ 05:12:04

      I, too, throw the flies out and our house is festooned with Daddy Longlegs spiders that catch the flies that we don’t. I hurriedly remove their webs whenever someone is coming to visit ;). I figure that we are all here together and we should make the most of it to be honest. As a race we tend to think of species other than our own as being supefluous but everything… EVERYTHING has a purpose here. We are all one big biosphere and just because we can’t see a reason for something (say “aphids”…sigh…) doesn’t mean that something else isn’t dependent on them for their life. I have been learning to reclassify things that I had thought “weeds” and now “pests” are starting to look like they have their place as indicators of problems and food for beneficial insects. Permaculture has taught me that we all need to have a healthy respect for our surroundings and the creatures that we share them with. I might not like blowflies BUT without them, we would have roadkill carcasses mounting up to the sky…EVERYTHING has a purpose…we just need to learn what that is and respect its position in the heirachy of life 🙂


  8. littlesundog
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 14:41:07

    Every time I read your blog I learn a new word! Pootling, in today’s post! I shall be ready to blend in with the native Australians in no time! As always, loved the narration, and I especially liked the sea eagle’s nest, and Steve’s spoons. Oh, and I hope we get a closer photo of one of those wallaby’s sometime. As you know, I am infatuated with wildlife… I know very little about wallaby’s.

    Have a terrific week, you two. I wonder if my spoon will arrive by the end of the week? I’m SO excited!!


    • narf77
      Feb 04, 2013 @ 15:08:00

      Christi, in Olalla Washington’s spoon took 2 weeks to get there, who knows how long yours will take but I read a blog post about how good the US postal service is as a group of people got together to post all sorts of weird, wonderful, odd shaped and completely awful things and they all got to their destination, even the ones without stamps! I am hoping that they will be just as diligent with your spoon 🙂


  9. christiok
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 17:10:24

    The story of the little chick Houdinis is familiar indeed. The miracle is that you were able to round them up! How did you do that? As they race by on their little chick motorcycles (legs), catching them is no easy task. 🙂

    I love the light in your summer photos. And, like Little Sundog, I’d love to see a closer picture of your wallabies. Interesting creatures.

    Here’s hoping you both continue to enjoy your time off from school. Sounds like you’re working hard, though. Love to you both!


    • narf77
      Feb 05, 2013 @ 05:09:29

      I would love to round up and send our wallabies to both you and Little Sundog to be honest! They are eating everything that isn’t nailed down because the recent bushfires removed their natural vegetation and burned them out of house and home and they are starving. Where once they would be very cautious about coming onto people’s properties, starvation has made them throw caution to the wind and they are advancing en masse. Once the rain starts again they will be ok because all of the undergrowth will start growing back and they can go back to the bushland but for now they are marauders!
      We just chased the chicks around the outside of the enclosure. Their mum was still inside the enclosure clucking to them so they kept trying to get back to her at first. It got a bit harder after about the 15th time of rounding them up because they knew the pack drill, and after we clipped their wings, they were VERY wary of us! In the end, Bezial helped us to round them into the door of the enclosure by standing his ground where Steve and I couldn’t be while we were herding them and they were more scared of him than they were of us! It has been amazing not to have to chase them in repeatedly :). Now we just need to work out how to get chooks to lay again! We are actually going to have to buy eggs next week!!! We are working hard Christi and are trying to do all of the little end tying up bits before we have to study again. We have been given another reprieve and so we have a few more weeks till we study so we have some debris burning and netting moving days ahead of us along with lawn mowing etc. It doesn’t stop does it?! 🙂 Love back to you my twin in Olalla :). How is B.O. going with that ENORMOUS spoon? 😉


  10. christiok
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 06:39:35

    Ah, Bezial, of course! The stolid one, the good dog. Guess he earned his treats last week.:) AMAZING that you are buying eggs! I finally put Stevie in the broody box this morning…I might have to blog about that. We’ll see. The B.O. is almost over the lurgy, but hasn’t mentioned the spoon since last Monday, and I think I’ll wait quietly for awhile before mentioning it. lol I’ll keep you posted.


    • narf77
      Feb 05, 2013 @ 06:52:53

      Steve might have a “spoon gig” with a local wholefood shop. The owner was MOST interested in Steve’s handmade spoons and asked him to bring a selection of them in next time we go to town…Steve is excited :). Poor B.O. his lurgy must have tamped his competitive spirit…best we let it rest till he is up and ready to boost his type A personality and get stuck into competition 😉


      • christiok
        Feb 05, 2013 @ 07:22:19

        Poor SWEET B.O. 🙂

        And congrats to Steve!! How cool. A spoon gig. lol They are such gorgeous specimens, I’m sure he’ll go far with them.

  11. Suburban Jubilee
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 20:58:19

    Oh my goodness! How newsy and conversant you all are….I’ll never get any work done! Lovely to meet you and I would love to see you at one of our meet ups. They are very casual and always the last Thursday of the month from 7-9 at the Cock and Bull (upstairs). We chose there in an attempt to be central and free. We talk about anything seasonal and our main ideals are a spin off from the Living Better With Less course that I did for some people in Exeter and Perth. We aim to live better with less spending, less stuff, and less chemicals. There is a lot of food growing talk and chicken keeping as well as soap making and preserving. My hope is that everyone has something to contribute and a talent or experience to share. We have people ranging from 23-70 (?) and from all sorts of backgrounds, some rural, some suburban.
    I was quite shattered when I saw the Enid Blyton movie recently and she was portrayed as an utter troll.
    Thanks so much for the recipe link, always keen to find more ways with….
    Much love T


    • narf77
      Feb 05, 2013 @ 21:04:43

      Hideho “T” (how mysterious 😉 ). We live in Sidmouth, 50km from Launceston and I might be able to attend one or two meetings every now and then but I would LOVE to attend :). We (Steve and I) are penniless middle aged student hippies who have just finished studying our Diploma in Landscape design and our Dip Hort and are off to learn how to design websites to see if Steve’s wonderful wooden spoons might have a market out there :). Our ethos is simple… “live simply so that others may live” and we embrace Permaculture ethics, sustainable living and we are attempting to change our 4 acre property on the Tamar River (Serendipity Farm) into as sustainable a venture as possible. I was over the moon to see another sustainable blog in the North. Most that I have found are down South and I so long to swap seeds, bake sourdough bread, make kefir and swap tall stories with some like minded people! I sometimes feel like I am a fish out of water in my neck of the woods and hide that I am a vegan just in case I get lynched! ;). I really love your blog by the way :). My daughters live in Launceston and I might be able to stay with them overnight if I can make it to one of your future meetings 🙂


  12. Debi at Life Currents
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:48:58

    Since you like the learning (hopefully I’m not telling you something you already know)… I thought I’d tell you that Flippy is thermoregulating. It’s how sea lions gather heat from the outside air. And, your pics of the water remind me of our patch of paradise. Ahhhh! So nice.
    As always thanks! 🙂


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:45:15

      Cheers for the flippy tippy…I didn’t know why they did that but this seal lives in the river around here and waits for the local salmon farm to release their overstock and the feast is on! He torpedo’s his way around the river and we didn’t know about this and were standing on the shore watching the strangest water currents zigging and zagging with fish jumping out until he suddenly surfaced right next to us and came flying out of the water and splashed back down amongst the beached fish in front of us and caught some…if you think that we had a shock, you can only IMAGINE the shock that our 2 dogs got! ;).


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