When more isn’t the answer

Hi All,

Writing is a struggle against silence.

Carlos Fuentes

Isn’t that lovely? I hasten to add that I hardly need to worry about the silence because whenever I get 2 minutes to myself the silence suddenly disappears into a frolicking dog, a husband who needs a hand with something or I fall asleep…hardly time to worry myself about silence but let’s just start tapping away to make sure that it doesn’t invade our psyche and do some sort of Freudian damage. I wasn’t sure what I was going to type today. We have been pretty full on with our studies this week and it is somewhat difficult to get back into the study habit when you have been luxuriating in all the free time in the world and being able to do whatever you want with said time. The course isn’t difficult but it is making us think a lot and is pulling us into a more creative frame of mind which suits both of us just fine. We learn something every day and Steve is picking up a copy of the student version of Adobe C.S.6 on Monday when he heads in to do the shopping so that we can launch ourselves into Photoshop 6. My wonderful kind younger brother bought himself a new camera not so long ago and gave us the perfectly good camera that he already had. This works out wonderfully because we really need a camera each for this course and now we are able to head off in different directions and take lots of photos for the course requirement. Steve is really interested in using Photoshop etc. and there are some very interesting programs in this package for writers as well. At least we are gaining a lot of information that is helping me, especially, to learn more about technology.

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The camera that my brother gave us. If you are reading “Cheers Jim! :)”

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On wednesday Serendipity Farm was dripping wet…today it’s sunny again

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The vacancy rate might not be anything to write home about but at least 1 wasp lived here over the summer season 🙂

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Serendipity Farms view of the Tamar River this afternoon

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A panorama taken with the new camera…not bad! 🙂

I pulled up the older corn and stripped the few cobs of corn from it. It wasn’t a huge success but at least we got some corn. The tomatoes, on the other hand, are going great guns. I just picked another large basin full of them and there are plenty still on the bushes. I picked lots of eggplants and I am tossing up what to do with them. I will give some of the tomatoes and eggplants to my daughters along with some zucchini and their creative minds can come up with something that they would like to do with them. No doubt it will be something Korean and delicious. Our chickens are still on strike and I am getting tired of “no eggs” as their mantra. I know that they are moulting but surely someone could lay an egg?! We are giving 6 away on Monday to minimise the flock a bit and we are also giving away some of Kid Creole’s coconuts (excess kefir grains) and I am feeding up Audrey to donate some of her to our local health food shop. David and Lee are lovely people who are very knowledgeable about health and when I asked them if they would like some excess kefir spotted an opportunity. I dare say they will be able to share it with customers who would like some. I love the way that generosity flows around. You pass something on to someone else, and they share with someone else and pretty soon everyone is sharing. I saw a really great idea on one of the blogs that I follow the other day. It was about a new system at the library where if you hold a library card you can take a packet of saved seeds to grow in your garden. Once you grow your seed and bring back seed to swap you can swap it for another packet of seed. I love the idea of using a library for more than just books. Libraries are hubs of knowledge for the common man. You don’t need the internet to take out a book and as your library card is free, the knowledge is also free…how precious is that? :o). I have been formulating my seed swap network along with designing a web page for the course we are doing. Steve is working on his spoon website to sell wooden spoons and I figured I may as well start where I meant to finish up and so will be working on designing and planning how to go about swapping seed in Tasmania. Firstly I need to get a network of people who are interested in saving and swapping seed and I might have to pick the lady who blogs at http://ediblethings.net/ mind regarding her seedy pen pal swaps and see what kind of swaps can be made. It’s an entirely exciting proposition and one that would develop a network of like-minded people and a virtual seed bank of possibilities for many others.

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Apparently my kitchen is part of the arch nemisis of Batman confraturnity  but even though I was on a considerable lean, you can see some of the harvest from this morning along with Kid Creole and his erstwhile coconuts awaiting their morning bath in fresh milk

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We seem to have a decidedly orange theme going on in the last 2 photos. I keep throwing found road things into that brass hanging pot and the blue thing on the top is my latest find. We discovered it on one of our daily walks and it’s the brass nozzle of a spray painting unit.

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I was testing out the new camera…Bernard and Manny our Java finches say “Hi” 🙂

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Still a bit orange but that’s mostly to do with the Western Red Cedar cladding. This photo was to show you how happy the yellow banksia rose is now that I have tipped a heady mass of mulch over its previously parched roots…it wants to repay me by taking over the house. Join the queue rose, Earl is first in line…

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I have just snuck this shot in as Steve found it and said “This is genius food!” He is going to buy some frankfurters and spaghetti on Monday in the shopping and is going to reproduce this amazing food. He also said “No kid would be able to resist these!”…obviously not… 😉

It’s the second day of autumn but you wouldn’t know it here in Tasmania. We have the promise of 27C today, 27C tomorrow and 30C on Monday. I am starting to wonder if summer is going to be the new black! I still have a big heap of mulch that I might start wheelbarrowing around to the side garden to try to give it a bit of relief from the long dry season that we have just had. I heard on the weather report that we have broken all of the records for temperature and for dryness in Australia this year and that’s not something to be proud of. They were saying that if you are 27 years or younger, you have no idea of what Australia’s “average” temperature for summer is because for the last 27 years we have exceeded it. I am not a fear monger and I am not in the business of trying to scare people but this long extended dry season is starting to make me twitch. I know that we aren’t the only people sick of summer. I read blogs about the flip side and how people can’t wait for summer. If I could bag it up and send it off to you I would folks! Most Australians would love to deliver a big bag of summer right to your doorstep for a bit of rain and a few days indoors near the fire. I am trying to work out what we are going to plant for winter crops this year. I haven’t ever grown a winter crop before and it’s a complete unknown quantity to me. I have been shamelessly pilfering information from wonderful gardeners like Sarah from the wonderful blog http://gardeningkiwi.wordpress.com/ because New Zealand is just a hop-step and jump from us here in Tassie and so what she is doing, I can surreptitiously pinch and do here. Sorry Sarah, remember that they DO say that copying is the sincerest form of flattery ;). There are some amazing gardening blogs out there and one of my favourites is http://www.sgaonline.org.au/ and I certainly get heaps of ideas from this blog but I like the personal touch of checking out what other people are doing just like me. I can learn so much from these more experienced gardeners and even though they might be on the other side of the world I also follow Margaret at http://awaytogarden.com/ that has a fantastic blog with amazing information. Her back posts are the stuff that this penniless hippies dreams are made of and she shares her knowledge so readily. Her friend Gayla is also amazing and has a fantastic blog called http://www.yougrowgirl.com/about/ all of these gardeners are our kind of gardeners…real people with real problems and solutions for what happens from day to day in their gardens. We might not have some of the pests and diseases that they have and they might not have some of the imported weeds that we suffer with but the online gardening community is an incredibly vibrant place to be and in sharing what we learn, we are giving someone else the chance to get down and dirty and fall totally and utterly in love with this big wide beautiful world. Getting your hands dirty is tantamount to a serious sensual awakening folks…you can’t help but gain something from the experience :o)

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Flower number 1. I found this nice little geranium, that has the added benefit of being scented, on one of our walks and took a piece to grow. Geraniums are incredibly hardy, waterwise and very easy to grow for those of you who aren’t gardeners and I plan on sourcing lots of lovely specimens for Serendipity Farm

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This pretty Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan) is thriving in Steve’s shed. It is too hot to plant it out yet and once it cools down a bit and we get some rain I will be planting it somewhere in the side garden

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The Mondarda that I bought when I went to Wychwood has finally flowered. It too lives in the shed for now, but will be planted out in the side garden as well.

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I had just watered our potted plants and noticed this most interesting effect on a small Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears) in a pot. I liked how the hairy leaves had held onto the water droplets

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My small potted fig tree has produced tiny figlets for the last 2 years but they dropped and nothing eventuated. This year it has 2 large figs… maybe I will get to try one? It all depends on whether the possums learn to fly… 😉

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One of the Nerine bowdenii that are flowering like crazy in the front garden and are making a lovely splash of autumn promise

It is getting hard to find nice pictures to share with you all. The garden has had enough of summer and we don’t have to worry about pulling weeds or mowing lawns in 2013 because they are all officially deceased. Brown is the new green in our neck of the woods and Tasmania is wet compared to most of the rest of Australia. Where I come from in Western Australia the vegetation is brown for most of the year as millennia of low rainfall has taught it not to trust dark clouds. You would be surprised just what grows in arid areas though and Western Australia has some of the most beautiful plants and wildflowers in all of Australia. I have one little bit of hope that at least nature thinks that it is autumn. The nerines are all flowering. It’s hard to believe that anything would have the will to flower when the soil it is growing in is little more than transient dust but flower they are and most beautifully as well. I have a cunning plan. I am going to formulate a list of very hardy arid waterwise plants (preferably perennials and shrubs) that I am going to source next spring to plant on Serendipity Farm. I am tired of planting things that need extra care when what we need are hardy plants that are just happy to be in the ground. No more mollycoddling plants and anything that doesn’t like living here won’t be getting any preferential treatment any more. We have been amazed at being able to grow plants like cardamom and turmeric and even if we have to resort to doing something like this…

http://permaculturenews.org/2010/01/11/free-hot-water-from-compost-wheelie-bin/

to keep our glasshouse warmer in winter and grow happy tropical rhizomes we will. Isn’t that a good idea by the way? The West Tamar council are trialling giving ratepayers a compost bin each to see if it doesn’t cut down green waste. At the moment the scheme is only available to the residents of Gravelly Beach but hopefully it will expand and we will all get one. Ratepayers can choose to use it as a compost bin or to put all of their green waste into it and wheel it out once a month to the curb to be collected by a council truck that will haul it off to be composted en masse.  I think it’s a great idea and if we do get one, I will make a hot water glasshouse heater with ours :o)

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We went to Deviot to walk the boys today and Steve liked the look of this shot…I like the look of it as well 🙂

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An Echinacea angustifolia growing inside the heritage apple and pear covered garden at Deviot. I am waiting for the seed to dry and will shake a few into a paper bag for Serendipity Farm

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The toilet block at the back of the Deviot Hall. I like these donated white tiles that were painted by the local children and their parents and that now grace the loo.

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Just to show you how dry our soil is here at the moment. This large crack was spotted on our walk this morning

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A ricketty jetty leading out into the river.

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Looks like Italy doesn’t it?

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Its been a really good blackberry season this year so far. I am doing my best to collect as many as I can to use my alchemy and turn into blackberry wine

It certainly took me a long time to get around to talking about the title of the post today didn’t it? Anyone who has been reading my blog for more than a few posts knows that I have been attempting to get healthier since my mum died last year in January. I took a long hard look at my relationship with food and decided that my 40 year love/hate relationship with food was officially OVER. I stopped dieting because you would think that if something was going to work it would have done so in the previous 40 years so I figured that dieting wasn’t working for me (or anyone for that matter) and started to eat healthy food, to exercise daily and to start coming to grips with severing the link between my emotions and my mouth. I weighed in at 90kg when I headed over for mum’s funeral. Not lightweight by anyone’s ideals and I had a lot of problems with my knees and was starting to think that I might actually need surgery on them in the near future. Since mum died I have lost 23kg. I now weigh 67kg, which might not be light by some people’s reckoning but that, is the lightest that I have been since I was 12 years old. I no longer have pain in my knees and although my left knee is stiff, it isn’t sore. When I gave up dieting I gave up so much more than an unhealthy relationship with food. I gave up the need to legitimise myself through food and my excuses for why I wasn’t a capable person. After just over a year, food is just that…”Food”. I no longer think about it every waking hour and that is possibly one of the most liberating things that has ever happened to me. I love to walk now and actually volunteer to walk Earl when Bezial has a sore leg. I have heaps of energy and have discovered that getting up early gives me some precious “Me” time every single day. I think there comes a time when we all have to question our bad habits and see if they are worth our support. My emotional need to overeat was holding me back from living. I can do what I need to do now. The only problem that I have is when Steve wants me to hold both dogs’ leads when he wants to take a photograph because now, their combined weight exceeds mine :o). The best thing of all is that I haven’t felt like I have been deprived of anything whilst I have been steadily losing weight. I plateaued at 76kg for about 4 months but then started having green smoothies for breakfast and suddenly I started to lose weight all over again. I don’t eat any less, I just eat what my body needs me to eat and I make sure to include healthy fats because despite what modern society might preach, we NEED fat folks. Fat is incredibly important for metabolism and for our ability to absorb certain vitamins. If you want nice skin, you need to eat the right kind of fats. I no longer have to starve myself, I no longer have to count calories, I no longer have to weigh myself morning and night and I certainly don’t have to strip down to my undies to try to eke out the best result. I am left lighter in body but more importantly, in mind, spirit and soul. I have been given a second chance while I still have time to enjoy it and I will make sure not to abuse this privilege

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This poor Stewartia pseudocamellia was on its last legs in the ground but we dug it up, repotted it and left it to soak in this container of water and look at it now! Plants are very resiliant things 🙂

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Some of the grape vine cuttings that struck…all of them will be planted out around the circumference of our large fully enclosed veggie patch

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These potted plants don’t get hit so hard by the direct sun because they are on the South side of Steve’s shed but they are still showing signs of being completely OVER summer

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The sole artichoke plant that survived. I think its simply because it is right near the deck in a semi enclosed area and the wallabies are too scared to get too close to the deck because the silent marauder lives on the deck (One of Earl’s pseudonyms…)

I am going to head off now and spend the rest of today hunting for recipes for ways to use up kefir. Kid Creole and all of his coconutty babies have been going nuts and producing a steady stream of yoghurt like kefir that I don’t consume and that Steve is wary of. I include it in Steve’s favourite sourdough chocolate cake now but 1 cup once a week isn’t going to empty my fridge of kefir and as self-appointed “house researcher” it is my duty to find useful and tasty ways to use it up. Wish me luck folks or we might drown in the stuff! See you all on Wednesday and make sure to take a moment out of your day to be grateful for everything in your life, It is a most rewarding practice and apparently, according to scientific research, it makes you a happier person and who wouldn’t love to be a little bit happier for free? :o)

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28 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rabidlittlehippy
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 21:48:15

    I ADORE your deck. It’s the sort of deck that one can easily imagine feeding kookaburras perched along the rails (here’s assuming the dogs are snoozing elsewhere 😉 ) with hot cocoa in hand and smelling the clean fresh air.
    I thought at first glance your wasp accommodation was mushroom growing logs. Another option if the wasps aren’t keen. 
    Our chooks too have been on strike now for about a month. We have 27 ruddy birds and nary an egg to be seen. It’s doing my head in! Lay damn you LAY!
    I love Steve’s Octopus meal too. I saw the picture on Pinterest a while back and chucked it into a folder of stuff to try but I never have. Even though the kids will no doubt skitz out with the preservatives, maybe an ocean themed party for the boys 5th and 2nd birthdays would be good. Maybe I can make nettle jelly to health it up… I digress.
    The weather is just as screwy here. The last day of Summer and I had the fire burning all day but the first day of Autumn and I’ve got the kids back in T-shirts. I thought only Melbourne had 4 seasons in a day but it looks like that particular virus has spread.
    I think the weather extremes seem to be everywhere though. Even those in the USA who are under snow will end up with a hot dry Summer (if the last decade or however long is anything to go by) which I’m sure we will be grateful for in 6 months when our butts are frozen off. The grass is always greener, assuming that it gets enough water. 😉
    Your winter crops are the brassicas. Kale, broccoli, cauliflowers, brussel sprouts (I’ve got red ones  ), cabbage, turnips, beetroot etc. Runer beans should also work and of course, NEVER to forget the ultimate winter crop is GARLIC!!! You’ve already said the stuff lurves Serendipity Farm and survived under the neglect. Imagine how it will go with some TLC? 😀

    We have green bins here which go out on the alternate fortnight to the recycling bin. We had them in Melbourne and also here too and it’s a great idea. The councils win though – free compostables in many cases that they can use for their benefit or even sell on.

    The cracked ground looks like areas of our garden. The rain over the last week has done a lot to help but even so, some of the cracks remain.
    Mmmmm BLACKBERRIES! They look divine. As much as they’re a noxious weed (so they say) I will probably plant a few around our block. The fruit are divine and the goats LOVE the brambles. 😀

    Well done with your healthy eating and subsequent weight loss. You weigh less than me! 😀 I too have seen the weight fall off since we started working on this place – exercise – and since I’ve cut the junky foods (should they even be called food?) from my diet the weight has come down to 70kgs. I’m aiming for about 65kg which for my height is healthy (I’m a skerrick under 5ft10 I think). Cutting sugar from our diet has helped too. I had a chocky binge today and 15 minutes later, whilst driving I had to move my hat onto my lap as there was nowhere to stop and I thought I was going to be sick. My body knew, even if my mind was a bit slow on the uptake. Less attention to diet is more happiness. Less reliance on food as a crutch or medication equals more reliance on and understanding of the self. Less adherence to how society says we must look and eat and more focus on what constitutes truly healthy eating and healthy self body image (whether that is short or tall, lean or generous, big or small busted/butted etc) all create a healthier person. I still check the scales every now and then but I no longer stress if I’ve got wet hair (cos water weighs lots right?) and more just to see what the numbers are out of curiosity. I’m much happier now even though I’m no model. And you’re getting up early has inspired me. I now get up at 6am (although I struggled this morning) and am usually in bed before or around 10. I feel better for it. I may go to 5:30 but you can forget having me for company at 4am I tell ya! 😉
    As for being grateful, I am grateful Allegra is feeling better I am grateful Orik is sleeping through and I am profoundly grateful that despite 2 sickies I STILL achieved all I wanted to. 😀

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 03, 2013 @ 04:28:39

      We live not too far from the sea here and get that distinct salty tang in the air. I love being a hybrid river/sea person. I get to collect driftwood down near the gate and just a bit further up the river you can catch trout and eels! Here it’s salt water and flathead and cocky salmon but who is complaining? I found a skate case the other day, a small reminder that this part of the river is a shark nursery :). I find myself drawn out to the deck a lot these days. I am waiting for summer to dim a bit. Bezial spends his days flopping down on the deck and sunbathing and when his black hide gets too hot, he heads indoors to cool down a bit and then once he reaches a reasonable temperature it’s back out to the deck and upside down again to worship the sun 😉
      The wasp nest was really a “beneficial’s” nest. I am surprised that anything lived in it at all (apart from the myriad spiders that live all over the place) because that bug house is stuck on the side of the house nowhere near the garden but I have discovered something very interesting…wasps aren’t just coke can dwellers and throat swellers and dog bone predators, they spend a lot of time zooming in and out of the bird netting surrounding our veggie garden and hunting caterpillers and grasshoppers and bugs in the garden and do a sterling job of cleaning up the pests (apart from aphids that are apparently beneath them! 😉 ). I want to make a MASSIVE great bug house down in the garden with logs of various sizes stacked neatly around it as an ediface to bug life and encouragement of integrated pest management organic style on Serendipity Farm. I might make one for the new veggie garden when we make it as well 🙂
      The thought of mushroom growing makes me drool! I adore them both physically and edibly especially the oyster and shiitake mushrooms. I was all set to get stuck into growing mushies (apart from the ones that grow themselves on the mushroom compost) when I watched some online videos and got spooked. You have to be SO careful about spores, and sterilising and fussing about and as particular as I am (read “fussy” 😉 ) I can’t hold a candle to the efforts that these people go to just to eat a few shrooms! I might do it one day, but for now I have more important food to fry!
      Thank GOODNESS! I thought that our chooks were an anomally! We have about the same amount of chooks and have had a handful of eggs over the last month or so. I realise that some of them are moulting BUT surely not all of them?!!! I loved your swap by the way. Nothing like being able to share the love around and customise your flock to what you want. I am glad that you rehoused the girls and got roosters for the kill. I don’t think I could give a girl the chop to be honest. It would feel “wrong”… Roosters are different. I wish we lived on the mainland sometimes just so that we had the swap options that you guys have. There is always someone to swap with and you have no barriers at all with what you can and can’t swap plant wise. I get all twitchy when I can’t get something here! It has been a life lesson in itself to learn to live within these Tasmanian parameters sometimes and I have to shove my Bolshie beast self down and just get on with it when I would like to hold my banner high and protest loudly 😉
      That’s a great idea for a party Jess…could you shove the spaghetti into veggie sausages? You can buy them from Woolies and they aren’t all that bad ;). Or you could get some good sausages from a decent butcher with preservative free organic beef or even better, get some casings from the butcher and make your own! What an adventure!!! Mum made Stewart (31 this year but 10 at the time) a wonderful treasure chest cake. She iced it and put sweets all around it (I know…but that was when sugar was good! 😉 ) and after sterilising 50c coins, she filled the top of the cake with those gold chocolate coins that you get in bags and real 50c coins. It was his best birthday cake EVER and he loved that he got to spend his cake money 🙂
      Red brussels sprouts? I learn something every day :). I saved all of the garlic that I harvested this year as it is big elephant garlic and I will be planting it where the wallabies cant graze off the tops of it. Cheers for the list. I haven’t ever tried to grow veggies in the winter before but that is just about to be remedied :). Next spring we will be putting our 4 years of horticulture to good use and will be growing all of our seedlings from seed. I was severely disappointed with some of our harvest this year. The corn was pathetic and not worth the water effort that we had to bestow on it and the same for the snowpeas (although I now realise that I planted the snowpeas with chives and apparently chives give off bad vibes to legumes so that might be my fault!). Steve doesn’t even really like corn so next year I will fill that garden bed up with some thing leguminous and be done with it! I am going to use buckwheat as a cover crop as what’s good for Milkwood is good for me! Plus I love buckwheat and can use the results :). Everything is an experiment isn’t it? 🙂 I have been collecting seed up like a squirrel getting ready for winter (which, in a way, I am! 😉 ). And have been hoarding seed that I find on our walks with the dogs. Who would have thought that a herby seed pod would send me into raptures eh? Certainly not me! I am waiting for some echinacea seeds at the Deviot community garden to ripen and I will harvest some of them for Serendipity Farm. I collected an enormous amount of marigold seed as they are as hardy as anything and have my eye on some californian poppy seed as they have the same honour. I am going to grow all kinds of things on Serendipity Farm whether the weather is wet, dry, hot, cold WHATEVER! My own personal “stick it to the man!” moment there ;).
      If you do plant blackberries, do yourself a favour (and your kids) and get the thornless ones! The reward for blackberries is free fruit in late summer and free habitat for birds (our chooks used to love making nests right in the middle of blackberry thickets 😉 ). Everything has something good about it ;).
      Cheers on the weightloss kudos, I totally freaked out the Wii Fit! I hadn’t been on it for ages and it thought I was messing with it ;). I am only 5ft 6 so I still have a few kilos to go but I feel so much better now and if this is as low as my body wants to go I have no problems with that :). I am not doing this for cosmetic reasons…I took my mums bad health lessons and her early death as a real warning about my lifestyle and even though I wasn’t eating “junk” per-se, I was eating a lot of starch and hardly any greens. I now eat a lot of greens and hardly any starch…all I did was reverse the polarity, I still eat a HUGE amount but now I eat more protein (lentils etc.) and a bit more fat (nuts, nut butters, tahini) etc. and although I actually eat more than I did before, it’s easier to lose weight because I am giving my body what it really wants rather than what is easy to eat (lazy Fran coming out again 😉 ). I, too, cut sugar. I do eat dates in my green smoothies for a bit of sweetness but as they are high in iron and I am somewhat low as a vegan I justify adding them :). I will send Bezial over for a visit. He will have you up and attem’ by 3am! Today it was 2.30am. For some reason he decided that he wasn’t going to eat his tea last night and has been up most of the nigh scarfing dog biscuits and when he turfed me out of bed at 2.30, he came back out 10 minutes later to get a BIG drink of water and then waited for me to shepherd him back to bed! It’s like having kids all over again (except they NEVER GROW UP!~!! 😉
      You are the true winner on the sick count! kudos on surviving a sick family. I am TERRIBLE when it comes to “sick” (just typing that makes me feel ill!) poor Steve was the one that had to cope with vomit when the girls were ill…I just can’t handle it and would be adding to the mess. I owe him BIGTIME and am hoping that all of the 7am wakeup cups of coffee are going part of the way to making up for those times when he was up to his elbows in some other mans childrens barf! I guess he stuck around so he must be getting SOMETHING out of all of this ;). Have a great sunday and hopefully it isn’t 27C like we are getting or 30C like tomorrow is supposed to be or goodness only KNOWS what Tuesday’s temperature is going to be with that progression! I don’t want to know! :). Have a great day Jess and KUDOS on getting your comment published on Down to Earth blog/forums, you deserve every bit of praise for how you are changing your life for the better and how you are making a real home for your family 🙂

      Reply

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 03, 2013 @ 07:06:31

        Mmmm trout, flathead and salmon. YUM!
        Beneficial insects are the best hey. I also like predator Jaspers whom I can bribe with dates to take out all the green caterpillars and geed them to the chooks! Highly efficient. I might have to hire him out! 😉
        I too love the idea of growing mushrooms and Milkwood make it seem so easy… But screw up once with the wrong mushroom or toadstool and you can be in serious trouble. I am planning to buy some mushroom compost too (or swap for it if at all possible) as that I can trust, divide into some polystyrene boxes I have (hate the wretched things) and harvest the 2nd round of shrooms before composting the lot. 🙂
        Funny you should mention sausage making but Aldi have sausage makers on sale this week. Martin was roped in to buy 2, 1 for a friend. 😀 I will be making sausages when I get the change and the casings. I reckon in order to boil cook them though I’d be better off making mini balls of sausage for octopii. Still gonna be cute. 🙂
        Goats will eat the thorned variety of blackberries so I’m not too fussed. The kids will learn, as I did as a child, not to play near the blackberries. I’m a tough mamma like that. 😉 And I am not sure I like that glorous reward without a little effort of dodging thorns. It balances out. 🙂
        I can tell you now if Bezial tried to wake me at 2:30 he would rue the day. I am a bear with a sore head if I’m woken before time. Ask my kids about grumpy mummy in the mornings. 😉
        I don’t do vomit either and have come close to adding to the mess before. Yesterday though there was no choice and she had only puked water in any case so no blown chunks thank gods. 😛 Kudos to Steve though. Kudos to any parent who cleans up someone elses kids vomit. Same to nurses and carers. It’s a job I’m not cut out for. I struggle to change other peoples kids nappies! Bleuch.
        Well, it’s 7:00 and the bloody roosters have been crowing every 15-30 seconds since at least 6:15, if not before and my poor sick husband is heading out to kill the first one. I need to go and help pluck and I feel that I need to be there to witness too. Not a wonderful start to a Sunday but the neighbours will kill us if we don’t.

      • narf77
        Mar 03, 2013 @ 11:23:14

        I used to pay my kids 10c for a blowfly (I HATE them!) and now Earl eats them for free ;). My kids had to learn the hard way as well and sound like nana’s now with their “the kids of today” routines ;). I am reading this comment after I read your email with the details of the culling event…retrospective! I feel like a time traveller stuck in a loop ;). Poor Martin…I hope he felt a bit better by the time the last head hit the deck ;). Have a great rest of your sunday. We just went to check something out on our Polytechnic site and it looks like the site is either down for maintenance or someone has hacked it good…at least we are up to date with our work and have the rest stored here…how hilarious if the I.T. department has been hacked eh? ;).

  2. Sophie33
    Mar 02, 2013 @ 22:37:29

    Waw! Lots of beautiful pictures! It is so hot over there! here it is still minus 10°C!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 03, 2013 @ 03:52:45

      We don’t even know what minus 10C is in Australia! I can’t wait for a bit of cooler weather and Brunhilda (our 4 oven wood burning stove) has been alseep for too long. I want to start stoking her again and using her free heat to bake all sorts of good things :). This year I have a reliable sourdough starter (thanks to Jess from rabbidlittlehippy blogging fame’s generosity) and I can hone my bread baking skills over the winter. I can also plan out how we are going to make our garden survive if next summer is like this one. Food me once weather! ;). Have a fantastic sunday Sophie and thanks for the lovely comments 🙂

      Reply

  3. Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 06:10:53

    Wow. Amazing. I hear your summer has been brutal this year. How fun to start learning Photoshop. I bought a copy with my educational discount (I work for a university) but I’m a bit overwhelmed. I need a class.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 03, 2013 @ 11:17:47

      There are heaps of really good online tutorials through youtube that are free and easy to follow. You should head over there one day when you have a bit of time on your hands. It’s amazing what you can do with photoshop 🙂

      Reply

  4. christiok
    Mar 03, 2013 @ 16:29:10

    I love your seed swapping project and couldn’t help but think of Steve Solomon, the king of seeds. He’ll be thrilled to hear what you’re up to!
    I showed the hot dog spaghetti photo to the B.O. and he, too, pronounced it “genius.” And he, too, must give it a try.
    I feel for you in your dog days of summer. Even though I yearn for any sun right now, I grew up in Texas where the summers also last forever. The weather is changing, no doubt about it. Australia is the harbinger for us, seems like.
    And finally, I love the relationship you’ve created with food. All of what you are about now is literally feeding you. You glow, girl!:)

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 03, 2013 @ 18:50:45

      That was a lovely comment Christi and it made me smile :). Tell the B.O. that Steve is quite taken with the idea of those hairy frankfurts and is going to get the ingredients tomorrow :). It hasn’t been as hot as they said it was going to be so far but it is probably taking its time to get down here from the cyclone off the coast of Western Australia which pushes the hot air our way. Hopefully it peters out and we just get some rain (bliss!). I will have to go and have a cup of tea with Steve solomon (his tea is lovely, organic Earl Grey 🙂 ) and have a chat to him about the seed swap idea. He is an old bolshie like I am and should have some really good ideas about it. I have to wait till dark to head out into the hen house and try to source a few chickens to give to someone tomorrow…wish me luck! Have a great week this week and hopefully the sun starts to shine for you over there. We are apparently going to get a colder than average autumn this year so Brunhilda might get her 15 minutes of fame a bit earlier than initially expected 🙂

      Reply

  5. brymnsons
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 00:06:43

    We have missed the excitement of having rain drenching the garden. It has been poring in Norseman while we have been in Perth. We are heading back to Norseman tomorrow and the forecast is for fine weather, while Perth will be getting some rain! I really am looking forward to some rain. Never mind, soon enough I will be saying I wish I had some sunshine lol

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 04, 2013 @ 04:38:37

      Winter in W.A. is a cakewalk Kymmy 😉 You get snow here and from the girls place you can see it on the mountains :). It’s always the case that when you want to see some lovely drenching rain it’s directly in the opposite place to where YOU are ;). Oh well…at least it hasn’t reached the 27C here for the last couple of days that they were predicting. Hopefully the 30C that they were predicting for today doesn’t eventuate. Steve is off to the city for our fortnightly shopping and he has a MASSIVE list. He has to pick up our new Adobe suite, get some student I.D. to prove we are students (or they won’t let you buy the student version), print out some A3 sheets for our exercise entitled “50 Pumpkins” where we have to draw (funnily enough) 50 pumpkins freehand! (EEK!)…then he has to print of some info for our local health food guy who we are giving some kefir grains to along with some sourdough starter and then take some chooks to our dog meat lady (they keep them not for murdering purposes 😉 ) and then do all of the shopping! What a busy day for Steve while I sit here reading my rss feed reader and hunting for a nice free front that talks to my personality for another exercise ;). Thems the breaks eh? If I did the shopping it would take the best part of a day (Steve is back by 11) and I would have 15 episodes of road rage, 1 nervous breakdown and would come home with all SORTS of things that weren’t on the list and would forget some important things…some of us were NOT born to shop! 😉

      Reply

  6. lyndellmaree
    Mar 04, 2013 @ 09:12:25

    Those views are stunning!
    Congrats on the new outlook to food and your body. I’m finding the same is happening with me. Slowly changing our diet, by adding and getting rid of one food at a time. Motherhood has changed it for me. You want all these god things for bub and realise that you should be setting the example – do as I do, not just do as I say 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 04, 2013 @ 12:06:44

      So true 🙂 I think when you get pregnant you suddenly realise that your body is more than just “a body” and that someone else is just about to inhabit it for 9 months and you need to insure that they aren’t going to be banging on the walls in protest at what you are doing in it ;). I was a bit stuck in a rut with my eating but have thrown myself back into eating nutrient dense food (rather than quick starchy foods that fill you up on the go) and I have SO much more energy! Rosie will thank you for her vibrant health one day :). Hope Queensland is treating you well. It’s warming up here and it looks like we might hit 30C tomorrow…bring on autumn I say! 🙂

      Reply

  7. thinkingcowgirl
    Mar 05, 2013 @ 20:37:17

    What an amazing turnaround you have achieved with your relationship with food, fantastic! It takes courage to face the demonettes…you should write a book. Get pitching to a publisher with a sample chapter written in your style, it’s got to be a winner… 🙂 Just think of the pennies…

    I like the sound of the seed swapping library, what a great idea. It could be something that might be really useful for the poverty stricken all over the world – for example in places like Africa where there could be issues with non seed bearing GM crops.

    I’m really taken with those hairfurters! If only I knew some children…who weren’t being brought up by parents who might faint at the sight of a frankfurter 😉

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 05, 2013 @ 20:49:02

      You could always sub those glow in the dark vegetarian sausages (EWW! 😉 ) or resort to sticking the pasta into various raw vegetables and steaming them ;)…on second thoughts, best to leave them to the adult males to fight over 🙂 Cheers for the support about the seed library/swap idea. I will be working on it throughout the year and will be dedicating the website that I have to churn out for this course of study that Steve and I are undertaking this year to the cause. Could be a most interesting venture and who knows where it might take us? Not too sure about the book idea. The plan that I followed wasn’t mine, I just kept following it and here I am :). It was more a matter of getting a good slap around after mum died and waking up to a few home truths to be honest and I don’t think people like to hear about that in books ;). Great idea though…I might write a book when I hit my dottage. If you think I would write an interesting book now, imagine when the muses are given full reign because I am a bit doolally!!!! 😉

      Reply

      • thinkingcowgirl
        Mar 07, 2013 @ 10:14:34

        People most definitely DO want to hear that stuff! I know, because on my writing course there was a nonfiction editor and she told us there is always a market for books on…food and dieting (or not),children,aging,parenthood, death and sex…the things that we all experience on a day to day basis. Write on!

  8. ChgoJohn
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 01:34:13

    Your seed swap is such a great idea! I hope you can get enough participants to make it worthwhile for everyone. Your hot weather has been relentless, as it has been for all of Australia. 27 years above average. That’s incredible, frightfully so. Would that I could send you some of our wintry weather. Right now, a snowstorm is starting that is supposed to dump as much as 10 inches of snow by dawn tomorrow. Nothing to be done about it but sit and watch the flakes fall.
    I hope you and your garden get some relief soon.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 06, 2013 @ 04:03:41

      You will soon get spring and we will soon get autumn and no doubt I will be protesting the cold in the near future…it’s our common human condition :). I think this year has been a partlicularly long season (both sides of the globe) and most of us are ready for a change :). I, too, hope that the seed idea takes off. I have chatted to a lady in the Netherlands who does a similar thing that she calls “Seedy Penpals” where people send seeds to each other and swap. I think it’s a great idea and because Australia is so geographically isolated and our quarantine laws are quite strict (Tasmania’s are ever stricter) it would make sense to stop feeling twitchy about the rest of the world being able to send seed with impunity and start doing something about it. This is my year of “Doing” and it would seem fitting to get stuck in :). I hope your snowstorm isn’t too bad. To we southerners, it is a very romantic thing to be snowed in but no doubt the practicalities are somewhat less stary eyed and more annoying when you are up close and personal with the powdery white stuff ;). Whatever it is like I hope you have a great day today 🙂

      Reply

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:00:10

        Hey, I’ve been thinking about your seed swap idea and I think it’s BRILLIANT! However, I’d think about keeping it Tasmanian maybe. Then you don’t have people flouting or pushing quarantine and you will eventually end up with a huge network of seeds and seed sources that are all accessible to all members if that makes sense. If us “mainlanders” 😉 want to participate, sell the seeds and any profits can either go to covering your costs or to the seed supplier. 🙂 Just my 2 cents for what it’s worth.
        And yes, I’ve been up since 5:30. Look what you’ve DONE to me! The blame is fair and square in your court for this one. 😉

      • narf77
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:16:54

        It’s contagious 😉 Make sure to post a comment on 23 Thorns recent post saying that you will buy his “book” I am pushing him to write one ;). Cheers for the support on the idea and I figured that there are a lot of seeds that we can actually get here just on solanaceae (tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants etc.) or ginger etc. If you can import fertilised eggs into Tassie with no problems through the mail why not a few seeds? Anyway, it would just bolster the home grown seed and would give a degree of security to the equation by situating some of the seed outside our immediate sphere of influence (always wise…see what happened to the Irish potato farmers and “fool me once!” is my creed! 😉 ). Totally addicted and you haven’t even woken up early for a week yet! Just wait till your brain doesn’t even need an alarm clock any more and keeps telling you to wake up at stupid times like 3am because “just IMAGINE how much stuff you can get done before the rest of the world/family wake up?”… sigh… 😉 Have a great day girl and enjoy your early mornings. They taste delicious first up and that first cuppa (tea/coffee/dandelion root etc…) is always the sweetest when you can sit and drink it in perfect peace 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:21:58

        I’m a step ahead of you. I’ve already replied to your cheek at 23 Thorns! 😉
        I’ve a friend who appreciates quality writing to whom I would have to gift a 23 Thorns book too. Can you imagine the quality book it would be? Hell, it really would end up as a best seller. His writing is amazingly good and damn funny too.
        Your border customs are screwy. Fertilised eggs?! And yes, having seeds in a seed bank is always a good idea. You can start our very own highly secure, customs protected and cool climate seed bank to protect us all. 🙂

      • narf77
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:27:40

        “Fort Serendipity Farm”… I have just the 2 dogs to defend it! 😉 and “faint heart didn’t win fair maiden” if I (most selfishly) want a 23 Thorns book, I am going to have to go in to manipulate in advance! 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:42:45

        Serendipity Seed Fort. I like. A picture of your dogs for guarding it? Or given their love of having their photos taken, maybe a drawing of them. 😉

      • narf77
        Mar 06, 2013 @ 06:49:58

        Yeh…a stick drawing (about all I run to these days…) of Bezial (a large tube reminiscent of a toilet tube with legs…) and Earl (a set of teeth on a 45 degree angle 😉 )…might just be enough to see off the seething crew of stupid relatives that are all Monsanto supporters…sigh…

  9. littlesundog
    Mar 06, 2013 @ 09:42:55

    Photoshop is overwhelming to me. I only have the Elements program, and even that is too much for me! You’ll have to keep us posted about your lessons and how you both are progressing with them. YAY on the newly acquired camera!!

    I love the pictures you post. Such a lovely place… and so many plants! I don’t know how you keep up with it all? Obviously, it’s the love of it is what keeps it from being a chore. So much beauty all around you!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 06, 2013 @ 14:40:39

      Photoshop is Steve’s forte and I am just tagging along for the ride ;). It’s hard NOT to take a good photo when you have good material to be honest. We live in a lovely part of the world and I certainly don’t take it for granted in the least :). At least photoshop will give me some ideas on how to make my photos a bit better for the blog…now I just need someone to coach me in writing 😉

      Reply

  10. Chica Andaluza
    Mar 07, 2013 @ 08:53:21

    My mind is indeed jam packed! Love that pebble beach and as for that walking on water shot … brilliant! Am rather jealous of your dogs’ steak order, in fact I may come to stay and just eat their food for a fortnight 😉

    Reply

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