A confraturnity of early morning bloggers

Hi All,

What have I done! It would seem that my newfound zeal for early mornings has managed to insinuate itself on Jess (a.k.a. “Rabid”) from   http://rabidlittlehippy.wordpress.com/ and now one of Jess’s blog followers the wonderful Linne http://arandomharvest.wordpress.com/  has started following the blog and suddenly here we are…a confraternity of early morning ladies gathering in spirit all over the world! Admittedly our early mornings are Linnes evenings but our ethos is woven together over the miles (kilometres in our neck of the woods but who is going to count eh? 😉 ) and this small sisterhood of communication and mutual respect has begun. Who couldn’t love someone who says that “My inner geek is a luddite!” The girl is speaking my language! Next, I got this marvellous comment when Linne had a peek at our sideline page where we admit to being middle aged hippies…

‘’Aging Hippies’??? Wonder what that makes me, then . . . nope, you are still very young; try using my New Age Ruler: 0 – 50 = Young; 51 – 100 = Middle Aged; 101 – 150 = Old; anything after that and you’re Ancient’

And this lovely lady lives in Alberta…that’s in the U.S. to all of my dear constant readers in other places in the world (all 4 of you 😉 ). Don’t forget Christi of http://farmlet.wordpress.com/ who is officially my olalla twin and so many more of you that I have come to think of as family more than dear constant readers. I have to admit that when I started this blog it most certainly wasn’t to communicate with like-minded people in far flung corners of the globe, but more a way to keep my mother who lived in my home state of Western Australia in touch with us without the need for a 7 page email every day. Mum loved the blog and it was a sort of letter from the new country to her heart and she loved Serendipity Farm with a passion. Like most things born of necessity, the blog grew like topsy and took on a life of its own. I have met amazing people through this blog, pioneers of their own minds who take hold of what life has handed them and make the most of their lot. True heroes who explore the parameters of life and tease the fabric of the extremities just to see how far their life can take them. I love you all dearly and you go a long way to making my own personal life a more meaningful and vibrant place to be. I think the blog has given me more than a means to communicate, it has given me a way to release my inner writer and despite my inner writers desire to maniacally type till the cows come home, you keep coming back to pore over my rampant words and find something that resonates with you and I thank you all for your confidence in me :o)


Kniphofia uvaria seed stripped off a stalk on our walk this morning with the dogs and scattered near the gate just inside Serendipity Farm. It’s plants like these that are going to give us the look and feel that we want here at no cost and with minimal intervention. It’s all about getting cluey enough to work out what is going to do the best on your property/in your garden and get clever about sourcing it and planting it. Over winter this year I will be poring over my gardening tomes to find all different kinds of plants that will love living here and that will be something that we actually WANT to live here…a juggling act that will be worth the effort


Badumna longinqua “Black house spider” whose habitat is listed as “tree trunks, logs, rock walls and buildings (in window frames, wall crevices, etc).” I would like it known that the “etc.” part of this equation also encompasses sports shoes…and my worst nightmares!


Here she is looking decidedly groggy after her forced eviction from my shoe. Note the laces have been undone because Steve insisted that she was gone…I am an Aussie…we Aussie Sheila’s don’t “bugger off” all that easily mate…I KNEW she was still in there…apparently the females never leave the nest (unless they are forced out with a stick and the arachnid equivalent of a force 10 earthquake when their new house is being banged against the brick wall…) and remain in situ waiting for males to come along and coax them out of their homes…this one decided that my sports shoe was a LOT better than the shoe that she had been living in (rent free mind you!) right next to where my shoes were stashed… its VERY lucky I decided to take a peek inside them before I put them on!

Back to the early morning thing… I am sitting here at 4.22am thinking “I had best get back to my rss feed read”…I think I am addicted to it, to be honest. These early mornings are more to feed my information habit than for any other reason. I am a quintessential knowledge fiend who loved to acquire useful information that is pertinent to our own personal situation. I don’t know why I feel compelled to hoard this precious information but it’s like gold to me and gives me the ability to be able to choose to bypass mainstream consumerism (which is a good thing because mainstream consumerism involves large quantities of the plastic folding stuff and here on Serendipity Farm that is a rare commodity!) and find ways to do what we want to do here at minimal cost. Have you ever felt rich beyond your wildest dreams? Sometimes a recipe, or a technique or a specific way of doing something that I wasn’t aware of before that is revealed to me in an early morning blog when my mind is wide awake and I am vibrant with possibility after a good night’s sleep makes me feel like that. Its really strange the more I focus on how lucky we are, how happy I am and how many possibilities there are out there to give us what we want and change our lives, the happier I get! Its not like anything has really changed, we haven’t suddenly taken receipt of any secret formula for how to change the world around us and it certainly isn’t as if we have come into a large sum of money, it’s something more fundamental than that. It’s the ability to think, act and do for ourselves what humanity has been doing for millennia and what has delivered us to this very point here in our existence with the ability to choose to “first do no harm” to ourselves and our surrounding environment. Once you get your head around the fact that you DO, indeed, make a difference and that even your smallest efforts are like that smile that we have all heard about that can travel the earth or that small ripple on one side of a lake that causes a bow-wave on the other side, we can start to feel like our existence is worthwhile, meaningful and that there actually is “Hope”. Happiness is something that we weave ourselves…it might have a lumpy boucle look, it might be ruched by the dog pulling the wool/fabric of your existence, it might have slipped stitches and mismatched colours and be badly knit and you might have to wear it minus the collars and cuffs because life is too short to learn how to make them BUT at the end of the day you have a life jumper and it warms you when its cold and it gives you a sense of solidity that your life is actually something that you chose to take part in…your life HAS meaning and at the end of the day, that’s something precious :o)


“Look! Lassie came home!”…wouldn’t Earl just LOVE that! This is Della a beautiful bearded collie. She is one of the boys friends from one of their regular walks and she comes up to the fence to get treats. She is well behaved, beautiful, elegant and dignified… her son “Tiny” shares NONE of those traits and spends he days racing up and down the fence barking at the top of his lungs and attempting to incite riots with Earl who studiously ignores him (making Tiny even crazier)


Meet Tenodera australasiae or “Purple-winged Mantis” (thanks to http://www.ozanimals.com/Insect/Purple-winged-Mantis/Tenodera/australasiae.html for pictures so that I could identify him 🙂 ). This one was sitting on the edge of the ashphalt and so we picked him up and put him into the shrubs on the side of the road


This is an Egretta novaehollandiae or “White faced Heron”, one of the local birds that cohabit our little space between the river and our property. They nest on Glad’s property next door and spend their time alternating between invading our garden for worms and insects and fishing in the river


This is Cassytha melantha or “Coarse Dodder laurel” and I am assured by a most reputable website that the fruits are edible and harvested from the wild but we know dodder more for its ability to completely cover a tree and kill it. Any parasitic plant that kills its host is a bit mental but as you can see, dodder fruits prolifically and if the seed is actually tasty, its no wonder birds carry it for miles

That’s what early mornings deliver to me…I am a philosophy major at 4.32am ;). Let’s see how my mind, my energy levels and my desire to wax lyrical change over the course of a day shall we? It’s Friday…todays’ blog post (posted Saturday night) is going to go…today we have to upload all of the activities that Steve and I have been slaving over for the last week. This course isn’t difficult but it is work intensive and we are learning heaps about all different kinds of things and I, for one, am loving it. Steve has very kindly let me do most of the work…I know that sounds like I fell for some sort of sales pitch and Steve is sitting with his feet up and a straw in his mouth dreaming of television and a nap on the sofa BUT “I” am the luddite and “he” is the computer literate and to let me bumble around in programs where he can just zoom, is an act of love on his part. Steve is like Speedy Gonzales that little Hannah Barbera mouse who goes 110% all of the time. To slow down to my Luddite speed is tantamount to being given a huge dose of valium and told to “sit”. Not an easy task for him to say the least but to give him his credit, he has been an angel about me clicking the wrong dropdown boxes for the 27th time in a row and I am only able to detect him twitching after about 6 hours solid of sitting here next to me. I didn’t think that I would like this course but I actually love the freedom that learning about how to really use the Adobe suite is giving me. We are even talking about heading out and designing our own web pages and bollocks to WordPress but that’s in the future and like we all know…in the future there are robots!


These are Crassostrea gigas or “Pacific or Japanese oysters”. In some places in the world they would be sought after seafood and indeed, many tourists scarf down copious quantities of them on their camping holidays but eating these babies from the Tamar River might give you more than a stomach ache. As filter feeders they collect lots of heavy metals and it simply isn’t worth eating them. This shot was to show you why we don’t let our dogs loose just over the road from Serendipity Farm…we love them too much 🙂


One of the panorama’s that Steve took from directly in front of Serendipity Farms front gate. The lighthouse to the left is in front of Glad’s house and is an historical monument and the rest is just…”rest”…whatever the camera picks up while Steve is slowly tracking. If you want to see this photo larger just click on it and when you finish looking hit your back button to return to this post…I will wait for you here…no really… knock yourselves out! 😉


Another misty morning and part of the payback for walking the dogs every day is that we get to see things like this, nice and early before most people are up 🙂

That’s about all I am going to do now as it’s 4.39am and Bezial just came in from his early morning back yard dog bone munching efforts and on his way past he sighed at me…he has ensconced himself on the sofa where he will “mind” me for the next few hours till Earl gets up at approximately 6.45am and prods both Bezial and I in readiness for his happiest part of the day…”THE WALK”…the reason for Earls very existence is “THE WALK” and his questing beak is stuck into any portion of both human and kennel mate in a furious effort to arrive at “THE WALK” as soon as is possible after that 6.45am wake-up call. See you later in the day to see how these synapses adapt after a few hours study… It’s now 1pm and Serendipity Farm is shimmering with heat. Steve is outside taking a few panorama shots for me with the new/old camera that my brother gave us and Bezial and Earl are panting under the table. That’s what autumn brings to us here in Australia, 32C today and no change in the immediate future…global warming has knobs on! We finished our learning activities for our course yesterday (all except having to draw 50 pumpkins and we won’t talk about that for a little bit because it makes me hyperventilate and need a paper bag…) and posted all of the links to our pseudo blogs up. Do you remember me making snide comments about the class factotum? Well Steve and I just officially moved into that spot as of this morning when we uploaded EVERYTHING that we possibly could to the study site and we can actually “feel” the rest of our class seething through the ether…too bad…we have 50 pumpkins to draw over the next few days and we don’t need any distractions getting in the way. Now all of our current workload is uploaded we are free to concentrate on those dreaded pumpkins. We are studiously avoiding them at the moment. “It’s too hot…I need some photo’s for tomorrows blog…I have to think about what we are going to cook for tea tonight…I need to lay on the ground and look at my navel…” you know the kind of procrastinations that we humans can come up with to avoid having to do what we know we are going to have to do sooner rather than later…


Another one of Steve’s panoramas, this time showing you the state of our “lawn” in the side garden and see how some of the shrubs are actually starting to curl up? Not a good sign!


Looking back towards the house and if you notice that the “lawn” hasn’t been mowed, keep it to yourself. “Tut-tut” me and “Pfft” me all you like but do it behind my back…I am a broken woman with all of this heat and mowing what’s left of the “grass” is a sobering reminder that rain isn’t going to be coming any day soon 😦


This walkway leads from the driveway up to the house. You can walk this way or you can head on up the steep driveway if you are insane enough… I choose the steep driveway every time. It’s nothing to do with my sanity and everything to do with me heading straight out to water the veggie garden as soon as we get back in from walking the dogs. I water, I think, I ruminate, I pick a bunch of spinach and I head indoors to blend a green smoothie and start my day

I can’t wait for the weather to cool down. It’s not only the heat, the dryness, the cracks in the ground and the soul sapping, ongoing, stretched-outedness of summer, it’s the minimalist role that cooking takes in summer that gets to me. I want to dance the dance of the Swedish Chef from the Muppet show as I hop from one pan to the next on top of Brunhilda and all ovens have something exotic wafting from them. I want to “feel” the warmth of the fire as part of something wholesome and not something that has to be endured. You can tell the plants on Serendipity Farm that have suffered through all of the extended summers past and they are eking out what remains of the soil water at the expense of the green stuff that some would call lawn that is now brown, crispy and blowing away on a regular basis. If the soil wasn’t so hard, rock filled, sloped and comprised of clay I would simply get rid of most of the “lawn” and would make more garden beds. I saw a really great idea on Facebook…Facebook is where I get a lot of ideas. I am a bit over it for “communication purposes” but ideas flow left right and centre from the carefully selected pages that I like and today I noticed some spiral herb gardens giving lift and shape to garden beds. One was simply made of rocks (we HAVE those!) and the other was made of gabion and looked fantastic. We don’t have a lot of wire at the moment (it’s draped over EVERYTHING that we don’t want the possums and wallabies to inhale…) so gabions are out of the question but like cooking, gardening in our “autumn” is starting to make me twitch. You can almost feel the earth yearning for water. I noticed someone digging out their dam today on our morning walk with the dogs. Large scoops of duck infested slime being removed so that this year’s winter rain (if, indeed, we get winter…) will fill it anew. Steve still hasn’t returned from his photographic sojourn down to the river… (Speak of the proverbial…he’s back! 😉 ). Off for a bit to check his photos :o)


This is a “red lily” don’t ask me to find its botanical name because I already tried that. I can tell you what it ISN’T…just not what it is. I have NO idea what it is but it cost me $2 from Big Pot Nursery and it seems to like it here so it can stay 🙂


Orange seems to be the colour of late summer…maybe nature is trying to reflect the enduring heat of it all…
I have been pulling this plant out all over the place becase I thought it was a weed…this one escaped my attentions after hiding out in a spiraea (English May) bush and isn’t it pretty? I hereby cease my efforts to remove this “weed” from Serendipity Farm! 😉


Some beurre bosc pears that my eldest daughter Madeline shimmied up the tree and picked for Steve when he was visiting on Monday. I may, or may not have eaten a few of these pears and I may or may not have inadvertently consumed a coddling moth larvae. I expect to have an angry lynch mob complete with pitchforks and lit torches from the vegan society banging on the door any day soon to take my membership card away…

It’s Saturday and it’s still hot :o(. I am NOT happy about the “hot” bit because hot and I make bad bedfellows. Luckily we don’t have to study today because we were such swats yesterday and handed in most of our work AND we uploaded our websites so our fellow students can REALLY think we suck. Sometimes you just have to do what you gotta do and finishing up work early is how we roll. It’s a good lesson to learn when you work from home and we learned it very early in the piece. We still have to draw those pesky pumpkins but I can feel a smattering of artistic interest being piqued by my artistically challenged brain so it might be more interesting and enjoyable than first thought. For today though, I have fed Audrey, the fridge dwelling sourdough, I syphoned off 250g of her unfed bulk to make a large sourdough carrot cake tomorrow and I have decided to have another go at making home-made soy milk. I own a soymilk machine that has been gathering dust for years now after I tried to make soymilk that would work in my daily cup of tea and failed abysmally. I know that store bought soymilk has little tricky inclusions like sunflower oil, gums, starches and sugars to give it body and flavour and mine just tasted watery and beany and not very nice in my tea. I am going to spend the day hunting to see if I can’t find a recipe to approximate store bought soymilk at home. I dare say the spiders will be upset about being evicted at short notice from the soymilk maker but fair do’s, they have had a VERY long lease! ;).  I am getting more and more interested in fermentation and feel the need to ferment myself some miso and other interesting Japanese ferments. I have found a source of koji (the ferment used) but need to source it from the U.S. It might be a very exciting experiment as miso tends to be a slow cultured ferment and I like the idea of tucking it away and waiting till it is ready, sort of like a Japanese Christmas present. There are so many ferments that indigenous cultures use every single day. We think of them as exotic, but to their daily users, they are just a means to an end in food form. I really like the idea of knowing how to make these incredibly useful and nutritious ingredients myself and in being able to source the cultures. Once you start making your own miso, you can keep using it to culture future batches. I had an amazing book about tofu that I can’t find. Steve and I just turned the house upside down and I fear I may have included it in a stack of books donated to the local thrift shop! “Zut alors!” Or more like “Dummkopf” on my behalf :o(. Oh well…I DID find a great ex libris copy of a fantastic book on how to make your own soba noodles so that salves my tofu and miso parched soul…


I have Birdy style “Skinny love” for these eggplants. I most cleverly (I can’t be waiting for you lot to praise me up so I am just going to have to do it myself…) chose to plant these smaller Japanese style eggplants so that they wouldn’t require a longer period to ripen than our short season can give them. I did the same for our tomatoes choosing cherry tomatoes and “medium” tomatoes (that are large but shhhh! Don’t tell! 😉 ). You have to work with what you have, what will grow well in your endemic situation and you have to learn from your mistakes…consider it done! Next year I will be an older (sigh…) and wiser Narf7 🙂


Here we have Kid Creole and his coconut. I can’t help but think of the Clash song “Rock the Casbah” when I look at my kefir pot. Kid just sent his coconuts off to convert the milk that I made from this very cute coconut. Just a quick aside…does anyone else think that the advertisment for Wrigley’s Extra Gum delivers the wrong message? I don’t see that cute food as anything bad, in fact I want to embrace that doughnut! I want to bring him home and snuggle him up into a paper bag so that I can open it and look at him whenever I need a smile. To all of you outside Australia, here’s one of the adverts if you would like to check it out…


“The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, sending the odour around from place to place, setting off complex repertories through the brain, polling one centre after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connection.” – Lewis Thomas

Am I the only one that uses their sense of smell more than just a way to get those stomach juices roiling? Scents can take me all over the place…I get a slight whiff and I have strong and vivid memories related to these scents. I have a theory (might even do a thesis on it one day should I ever stray into the realms of social nutrition or psychology 101…) that we more “generously” proportioned human beings have much better senses of smell than you skinny malinkies out there. We are able to use our olfactory senses to seek out food, much like little piggies hunting out truffles. Rather than be sneered at as a lack of personal willpower, it should be seen as a survival trait, much like our bodies stubborn refusal to give up its fat stores at all costs…modern humanity scorns it, we exhibit it and it could help us live longer in a famine situation…see how I turned that negative into a positive? I would like a positive point now please…preferably a nice shiny factotum gold star ;). Well the heat is starting to melt my brain. Its autumn and its hotter than summer was. I am more than over summer and 90+F (that’s for all of you Americans who scoff at our 32C days because you didn’t see the “C” and thought we were whinging about the cold…) Indian summer that we are being forced to endure. I am going to resize some photos, soak some soybeans, decant my weird fizzy sour tasting homemade coconut milk that Kid Creole’s coconuts just made me and put Kid into some new fresh milk…I am then going to try to work out what to do with 2 litres of kefir  and do my level best to find a free online PDF of “The book of tofu”…”The book of Miso” and “The book of Tempeh”… consider it a challenge and this little black duck loves nothing more than a challenge! “To the fray Robin!” (That’s you Steve…NO I get to wear the cape! 😉 )…


This is OFFICIALLY “Me” 🙂

31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chica Andaluza
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 23:05:56

    Eek to the spider and creepy crawlies but …sigh…those orange “weeds”, the beautiful heron, the amazing view and I lurrrrrve your New Age Calculator as I still (just) slip into the “young” category! Sorry this is so brief, but really enjoyed my read…hectic Saturday in progress here 🙂


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 03:15:56

      Always good to see a fellow blog sister working so hard on a saturday ;). Hope the reno is finished soon and you can sit back and spend some quality summertime in your wonderful little getaway bold hole 🙂


  2. thinkingcowgirl
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 23:18:29

    Your post is in such contrast to another post I read this morning – a friend who is teaching seriously damaged and unhappy young people, who is despairing of them ever being able to be happy or take responsibility for their emotions. They have grown up in what sounds like terrible environments. I wonder how the positive message can reach people like this and what’s the best way to do it. I know that somehow it has to come from within, but for young people like this they need a helping hand. I really admire my friend for doing her job, I know I certainly could not.

    I love your description of the jumper! So true. I too have a finely tuned sense of smell, I’m always snorting into things, it’s the first thing I do when I pick something up. In another life I might have fancied myself as a perfumier – despite the fact that I can’t stand perfume… far too much of an olfactory overload…but I reckon I could have done some awesome blends 😉

    The skinny aubergines are wonderful – we used to see them in Brixton market occasionally, back when we lived in London. Also, I remember some really tiny ones, Thai maybe, with pale skins, which they use in soups and curries…yum yum, that’s the thing I most miss (apart from all my dearest friends of course 😉 ) about the city, all that incredible Asian food easily available and cheap. The local Indian here just doesn’t cut it. I make loads of curry which is delicious, but just not quite the same!

    Oh, here are some lovely paintings of squashes, hope it gives you inspiration for your pumpkins!

    Have a lovely weekend.


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 03:30:14

      How could I go wrong with a blog called “Franwork” eh? I am destined to paint squashes like a master! :). You are right about the Thai eggplants, they are delicious in a good curry. Australia is big on Asian food and authentic Asian food at that. It’s not like we can’t take advantage of an amazing culinary heritage that we have right on our doorstep and our immigrant Asian heritage is redolant with some amazing stories and culinary lessons. As a vegan, Asian food has been my failsafe and has taught me that food doesn’t have to be conventional to be delicious. Did you ever watch “Father Ted?” I remember an episode where they had to mind some Irish singer who was particularly enarmoured of his own shadow and Mrs. Doyle (God LOVE Mrs. Doyle! 😉 ) wanted to give him a jumper but Father Ted wouldn’t let her so she baked it in a cake for him…a “cake jumper” ;). The only way to reach desperately unhappy people is to show that there there are people living with less than they could imagine who are actually happy with their lot. The lesson at the end of the day is “Shit Happens”. It happens to us all and although sometimes it might feel like a particularly terrible dose of hell has been delivered to you, it WILL pass and there will be lessons and meaning to take from it. Kids are absorbed in themselves anyway. I remember being desperately depressed in myself when I was a teenager. I think that the biggest problem is that when people get depressed they turn inside and that’s a dangerous thing. The best way to get perspective on your problems is to get out there and see people surviving and living with worse than you have. Its a wakeup call. If you feel like life has handed you a lemon go see someone with no legs who has grabbed life with both hands and who is embracing and living it. If you think there isn’t any hope, go see someone who has lost EVERYTHING who is slowly picking up the pieces and making life meaningful again. Its our natural human condition to dwell in the here and now but if we can take ourselves a little bit out of our own worlds, the possibilities start to open up and suddenly your own little space doesn’t look so bad. The secret is also to take one at a time because then there is no bravado in numbers and they can allow themselves to think. Find people in the community who have survived and who are willing and able to tell their story and share. We are all survivors in our own way, these kids just need to be able to get some perspective on their lives and see that there IS a way out of the succubus of fear, despair and depression that currently sits on their chests. The truth is that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink and if these kids can’t see past their own situation, it is going to be near on impossible to get them to appreciate their lives and learn to be happy. The important thing is that you show them there IS a flip side and that recovering IS possible. A tiny seed might be all it takes to ignite something inside.


  3. Angela @ Canned Time
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 01:55:36

    Wow, I like your age scale…I’m a 0 now 😉
    And I love those lillies. I’m up at 4:22 in the EST but it’s feed the cats, dress and drive for me…enjoy you quite mornings and thanks for sharing your thoughts and these gorgeous pics! It fills me with hope since we’re just getting out of the 40’s weather wise here today.


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 03:33:49

      Stop showing off! We have been told “no rain for the next month” and we have a week of solid 90+F temperatures to endure here…cracked earth, desperate plants and a sense of brittle endurance that is starting to crack along with the earth…we need rain, simple as that :(. As students we have the luxury of “walk the dogs, come home, water the plants, have breakfast and start studying”. We keep a pretty strict schedule on ourselves but we know the parameters of home study and are exceedingly grateful that we are allowed to study this way. A whole lot of freedom to move. We might be lucky and only get 29C today! I slept with a sheet on me last night and I could hear Earl panting next to me. Indian summer has knobs on it 😦 (BUT…at least my tomatoes and chilli’s might ripen! 😉 )


  4. foodnstuff
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 12:44:48

    I’m still waiting to hear WHY you have to draw 50 pumpkins (or maybe you told us and I missed it).


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 14:18:50

      Yeh…pay attention Bev! 😉 We have to draw them as part of our media course. I think its to take us out of our comfort zone and get us thinking about variety and how to reproduce and represent it. I am not known for my artistic exhibitions so it is going to be an “interesting” exercise to say the least ;).


  5. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 13:32:54

    Oh my, that is one serious spider! My sister flips out at the sight of the tiniest thing with eight legs, so it’s a good thing she didn’t see this… She’d be having nightmares for weeks! You are a braver woman than I to pull out the camera and get so close to that ferocious beast. 😉

    I highly do recommend the Book of Miso (and Tofu)- I own both and wouldn’t sell them for the world. I do wish I could lend them to you though… Another time when we really should be neighbors. Any chance you could just pick up and move the whole farm a little bit closer? 😉


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 14:28:36

      Good idea Hannah…you can cook and take the photos and I can grow the food…sounds like heaven :). I am going to head off and find those books come heck or high water. I can find them on Amazon and would you believe that the book of tofu ranges in price (used mind you) from $5.60 at a goodwill shop to $126 at a complete and utter shyster seller! Can you believe that there are people out there that think that people are complete morons and will pay that sort of money?!! I guess there must be for them to still be in business… sigh…


      • Hannah (BitterSweet)
        Mar 13, 2013 @ 12:41:37

        Yikes, that is insane! And to think, I actually got my copies for free because I swapped some of my older cookbooks for them. Hey, maybe you might have the same luck? I haven’t used it in a few years now, but that was all possible because of Swap.com. Maybe it’s worth a try? Anything has got to be better than $100+!

      • narf77
        Mar 13, 2013 @ 13:14:35

        Not sure if we have a swap.com here but I am certainly going to check it out! Yeh, stupid and obviously some people pay $100+ or that shyster seller would have gone out of business long ago! I can always take the tempeh handbook out of our local library but for some reason they don’t have the book of tofu or the book of miso…might have to request that they do! 😉

  6. rabidlittlehippy
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 15:49:24

    This early morning thing is doing my head in. I’ve always enjoyed the early mornings… IF absolutely forced to be up (read early morning starts at high school that took me an hour of public transport and shanks pony to reach, still drunk so think fishing trip at 4am sounds like a good idea (back in the day 😉 ) or still drinking and not yet been to bed (even further back in the day 😉 )) but now, when that alarm gently chimes at me at 5:30 and I roll over to switch it off I am alert. I don’t have that moment of “wh, wha, what, what the, noise, huh, wha, oh yeah, alarm” that I am so used to but the “oh, there’s the alarm, yay :D, better quieten it so as not to wake Martin” and if I decide not to leap straight out of bed, I seem to have an internal snooze button now. I went to bed with a headache last night and hence contemplated going back to sleep this morning but then I stirred and thought, yep, time to get up and it was only 5:38. In the past, rolling back over would’ve meant 7 or even 8am. And the past only refers to a month ago too!

    I too find that the simpler our life gets, the more we do at home and the less we bring in from external sources, the more we spend simply enjoying the company of ourselves or the company of like minded people and the more we lighten our footprint upon this planet the happier I am. I know that debt is a big one and we are paying for the life we lead but now that there is rent coming in and covering our old houses costs (no profits though) and we are nearly finished with building and renovations for now, that debt can be focused upon and we can work to diminishing it. I know that will bring my hard working husband a lot of happiness. 

    Your jumper analogy is spot on too. Happiness DOES warm you when it’s cold, it’s a personal choice and people will sometimes look and question your judgement at your fashion choice just as they do with what makes you happy. Other people can, to a degree, shape your jumper but in the end it is our very own choice as to whether we wear it with their shapings or whether we unravel the bits they’ve created that we dislike and how we choose to re-knit them. Maybe you have to stick with the colour they chose but you CAN change the patterns of your life.

    Looks like we both had an encounter this week with Tenodera australasiae. Whilst we were at playgroup on Tuesday we came across one on the ground and at risk of little feet. I picked him up and deposited him on the nearest bush. 

    I love Kid Creole’s tile he’s sitting on. He looks very at home on that as it’s kind of a Moroccan patterning sorta kinda isn’t it? 😉

    Yes, I use my nose a lot. As an ex-smoker I can greatly appreciate a renewed sense of smell. All those years thinking it was working fine (just like my tastebuds) and then quitting to discover that my nose had been dying all those years. Sadly my renewed sense of smell is most often used to detect the presence of a small child with a presence in their nappy that I’d rather not have to deal with. 😉 I’m not sure that sense of smell is necessarily related to the proportions of the body but more like its connected with ones adoration and worship of food (the two may often go together though 😉 )
    I too am well over the heat although with our decking blinds permanently drawn the heat is bearable inside. I’m just over being inside a dark house! I want NATURAL LIGHT!

    Love your cape and I reckon you should wear it! Swirl it around you as you go in to battle, although I would suggest either using it as a carry bag or taking it off before diving in to pick those ripening tomatoes.


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 18:31:02

      I use my cape to put the tomatoes in when I pick them ;). I am over the dryness and heat full stop! I want rain…I am to a point that I am just about to start having a bit of a tanty on the floor (it’s cooler down there 😉 ). “We live in Tasmania for goodness sake! Its SUPPOSED to be colder here…it’s supposed to rain… A LOT!”…why else are we paying 15c a litre more for our fuel if we don’t get to skite about how lovely and cool it is and how wet it is when the mainland is sweltering. I think that Victoria is the new N.S.W. and Poor Tassie is the outback now…It’s only debt if you aren’t enjoying what you got for it as far as I am concerened. If it’s payment in kind for your newfound lifestyle and you love it to bits and it’s giving you happiness beyond measure that you never thought possible, that aint debt, that’s preparedness :). Oops! Bernard (our male Javanese finch) is singing for me to get him from the deck. I think he is scared of the dark and it’s starting to get that way. “You are best off out there old man, it’s hot in here!”…she says as she sweats at 6.30pm…mutter…mutter…


  7. christiok
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 16:29:59

    Love your Life Jumper analogy, and happiness is indeed something we weave ourselves. Kudos to Steve for slowing down for you, as you weave your beautiful life together. My beloved B.O. is a complete computer illiterate and has no desire to learn, so I’m on my own. I call Tod the Computer Guy if I have a major problem, but I just don’t venture far from Word and WordPress. I am so impressed that you are learning Adode and Photoshop! The photos and panoramas are quite beautiful… your beautiful spirit encourages us blogging sistas around planet. I love how everyone’s blog is so different! May it cool down soon in Tasmania, or at least rain!


    • narf77
      Mar 10, 2013 @ 18:39:08

      I need all of my blogging sisters to do a rain dance for me because I appear to be rain dance challenged ;). I think I am going to have to hand my “Luddites for life” badge over to the B.O. soon…who knows, I might even master that remote control all on my own! I might get to watch A.B.C. and S.B.S. and might get a bit of culture or education rather than enduring the swamp men hunting alligators, pigs, rats or anything else that the swampmen do ;). Our photos are all flukes. We don’t own a bit camera we just have a point and click and we just take pictures of what we see and love. I guess that love might bleed out of the camera? Not sure, but I don’t post every photo that I take you can count on that! Only today I wrestled a terrifying photo of me out of Steve on threat of instant castration as soon as he went to sleep if he didn’t remove it…sometimes you have to do things like that for the good of mankind (and his “mankind” said “GOOD” when he agreed! 😉 )


  8. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 01:23:52

    We have had so much rain here. Snowed earlier this week. Yesterday it got up to 60. Today it is supposed to be 70. I’m one of those aging hippies. In fact we saw Hair Thursday night. Will be turning 60 this year. I’m a sort of a middle of the day blogger after I’m too tired to do anything else. Being in the states I’m on a different time zone.


    • narf77
      Mar 11, 2013 @ 03:27:42

      I turn 50 this year so we both have a milestone year :). I am an early morning blogger and researcher because I get so much more done and accomplished when I am wide eyed and bushy tailed and I have the house to myself. Come winter it will be the start of my mornings tending the wood fire. I love that routine and hearing the fire crackle back to life after being asleep overnight and putting that first kettle on top and letting the small stone inside start tapping slowly to herald the onset of boiling. I didn’t used to be a morning person and regularly went to bed not to far away from where I am sitting here typing this now. I prefer this early start now because by the time it’s time to wake Steve up with a coffee at 7am I am raring to go and far from the grouchy person I used to be, I am a much happier camper :).


  9. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 09:46:46

    Enjoyed reading this post so much Fran. And the photographs are so beautiful. You live in such a beautiful part of the world but I a m sorry to read about your lack of rain – and I am paddling in it here in Brisbane. It’s brought the mozzies out in force down at the allotment.


    • narf77
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 03:52:47

      We don’t need rain to bring out the mozzies I am afraid Jean, we live right next to the river so mozzies are a summer curse. They LOVE Steve! I wonder if it is a U.K. thing because they really don’t like me much (unless they are desperate 😉 ). It is very pretty here and we are SO lucky to have been given the chance to live here. I know I am complaining a lot about the “long dry” but you just don’t expect it for Tassie, like 30C in Antarctica, it’s just something that just shouldn’t be. Hobart has 33C today and it’s autumn! I can’t wait to be paddling in the rain. It has been the longest dry stretch that I have ever know to be honest and I come from W.A.! Oh well, at least it was a timely reminder to think about what we are planting out on Serendipity Farm and to ensure that we put measures into place to ensure that precious things have a failsafe watering system! 🙂


  10. ChgoJohn
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 19:31:27

    As I started to read your post, my eye caught the word “Spiders” in your tags and Immediately went searching for the pic. I’m terribly arachnophobic and thought if I saw it upfront, I wouldn’t be surprised at seeing it later. And true, I wasn’t. ANd then I read about it setting up a nest in your shoe. Really? I could not survive. My shoes would have to be bagged nightly.YIKES!!!
    You do live in a beautiful part of the world, with some amazing views. 30 years ago I visited an orchid farm on Puerto Rico. The man had hybridized a red orchid, one of the first to do so, at the time. I doubt if yours here is in any way connected but for the color. They are striking, though, aren’t they?


    • narf77
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 03:59:46

      Orchids are gorgeous things and apparently very resiliant. I inherited various pots of them in and around the garden, mostly cymbidiums but a few little rock orchids as well and they had been surviving out in the overgrown garden for years with no care and no water. It’s amazing what will and won’t survive in a garden. It really depends on the local conditions and what the plants natural conditions are. This winter I will be doing a lot of research about waterwise food plants for the garden. There are heaps of them and some really interesting exotics. Think “Mexico” and “India” and you come up with some very interesting food plants. It’s up to me to work out whether or not they will thrive on Serendipity Farm and will like our conditions. I guess there had to be some reason for us to study horticulture and landscape design (hopefully something sunk in! 😉 ). I am not arachnophobic which is probably a good thing because we have daddy longlegs spiders all through the house. I gave them a bit of a seeing to yesterday (their webs were making me suspect that Bela Lugosi was living in the spare room cupboard!) because despite their enormous prolification the mosquitoes were NOT being eaten. There has to be some give and take and these spoiled arachnids were waiting for those big fat 2 day meals of blowflies rather than waste their time on a few measly sucks of a mosquito! That house spider had been living in another pair of shoes that I hadn’t touched in ages. I knew that she was in them I just didn’t think she would migrate over to my other shoes that I wear daily! Lesson learned and I moved them to the other side of the house in a hanging basket where neither the spiders NOR Earl can get them 😉


  11. Kym
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:56:33

    Tell Steve to take vitamin B. The mozzies have been terrible here so I am going to try it myself x


  12. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 21:48:42

    Ahhh, I love your corner of the world. Such a stunning place to live, (that boat picture in particular is gorgeous.)
    Love early mornings. Best time of the day. Night time= pumpkin time round here.


    • narf77
      Mar 13, 2013 @ 03:51:10

      Pumpkin is my favourite vegetable and is part of every Aussie childs food regime. I remember my mother coming back from a visit to the U.K. and telling us that she wanted to make her family a real roast dinner and she asked them where she could get pumpkin and they told her that no-one eats pumpkin, its cow food! Our poor corner of the world is desperate for rain. It’s just lucky that we live next to the river or I wouldn’t have any cool shots left in me! 😉


  13. twotreesherbals
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 01:17:21

    what a lovely, warming, brilliant, stream-of-consciousness post…i was an unknowing participant in your early-morning blogging sorority today as i lit candles and wrote after a 4-am request for water from my youngest. i can feel the heat you write of even through this cold, drenching rain, and it reminds me that there is always so much more going on than my own narrow scope experiences. thank you.


    • narf77
      Mar 13, 2013 @ 03:48:17

      This extended heat in our own little Tasmanian hideaway under the rest of the world is starting to wear quite thin. Tasmania isn’t known for being hot and this past season has challenged a lot of people. I come from Western Australia, a place that is more like Texas in heat and so my heat memories are still inside me but it drains more than your physical being to be subject to day after day of dry heat. We read about blizzards and snow in the northern hemisphere and even the wet season in tropical Queensland in our own country and we feel completely alienated from the rest of the world (apart from New Zealand who is our close sister in arms who is experiencing her own drought year). There is something incredibly magical about early morning. I find myself constantly waking up at 3.30am now. I know that 3am is indeed a magical hour and suddenly I open my eyes and am awake and ready to go. I do all of my research, blog reading and blog post writing early in the morning before the sun comes up. I am energised, aware and not overheated! ;). I can’t wait till we get our cooler weather back and I can add Brunhilda back into the equation. Brunhilda is our 4 oven wood burning stove and she and I are constant companions over winter. I wake early and stoke her gently to awaken her and together we start our days, she gives me my first cup of tea and I give her wood and we spend our days together working in harness. I recently got a good sourdough starter and can’t wait to really work with it over winter. It’s been too hot to experiment much and we use a covered gas bbq over summer for our oven that also acts as somewhere to thaw our dogs meat away from the wasps so we usually don’t cook in the day. I want to add Brunhilda to my early morning simultaneous confraturnity of sisters and am getting impatiant for the coming rain. I am even contemplating a rain dancing even on the deck ;). Glad you stopped by for a visit and you are so right about expanding our own narrow scope of experience. That’s why I blog and why I read other blogs, I am all about the learning and the understanding of processes 🙂


  14. littlesundog
    Mar 14, 2013 @ 13:35:45

    So many stunning photographs Fran! I especially liked the White-faced Heron, and the photo of the sailboat. Those eggplant were also very interesting. Ours are more fat and drop-shaped.


    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2013 @ 13:47:34

      The eggplants are Japanese and ripen a lot more quickly than the regular globe style eggplants and we usually (I say usually because at the moment we are having a long…long…LONG…Indian summer…) don’t get a long enough season to ripen them. I grew lots of cherry tomatoes for the very same reason 🙂 The subject matter gives the lovely photos, that and pure blind luck (and taking a zillion shots till you get one worth posting…there’s always that one! 😉 ). Glad you like them 🙂


  15. Linne
    May 11, 2015 @ 14:36:00

    Don’t know if you’ll see this, Fran. I was searching for something and your site came up with a link to this post. Can’t believe I missed it the first time around . . . I remember telling you about the New Age Scale (not New Age scale, but NEW age scale lol). that collie, although bearded, reminds me so much of my own Scottish Collie, who I dearly loved and still miss even though he’s been gone a long time now. And the boat picture is magnificent!
    It was interesting to read about where you were two years ago and compare it to now. Hope you are not maniacally busy forever , , , but that’s the selfish me speaking; and I shouldn’t say anything, considering that I’ve hardly posted these past few months , , ,
    I loved all of this, Narfie, and late is better than never. It came to brighten my day and I’m grateful for that. Today has been good, actually, as it’s Mother’s Day here (2015 though), but I’m missing my Aunty a bit. Still, Mum and I had a good day and a couple of close conversations, which I love.
    What you wrote about making the best of hard times must have been written for me, only two years early; hence my not seeing it until today (if that makes sense to you; sounds kinda weird when I write it out . . .)
    Thanks a huge bunch, my friend. ~ Linne


  16. narf77
    May 11, 2015 @ 16:56:34

    You are welcome Linne, and it would be tough for you not having your aunty. So glad someone got something out of this post even if it was 2 years late 😉


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