Ben Folds King of the hipsters…

Hi All,

I think that this is the LONGEST post I have ever expected anyone to read in the history of this blog. Anyone not of a strong disposition can be excused from reading it in its entirety…the rest of you, suck it up and at least have a go…you never know what treasures it might yield 😉

First up I am going to share the best, most tasty recipe for chilli with you. It has the bonus of being incredibly easy and it freezes amazingly well. This is Steve’s “Secret” recipe and so I guess it is the bonus for all of you dear constant readers who have stuck with trying to read these gargantuan posts ;). Here you go…thank me later and remember that Steve is “The Magic Man” 😉

Steve’s Secret Recipe Chilli Con Carne

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 chopped onions

2 cloves crushed garlic (Steve uses about 5)

500g lean minced beef

250ml red wine (you get to drink the rest apparently)

2 x 400g cans crushed/chopped tomatoes. We use homemade pasta sauce and I will give you the recipe for the pasta sauce after this chilli recipe

3 tbsp. tomato puree (we don’t use this)

3 – 4 tsps. dried chilli flakes but you can use more or less to taste

1 tsps. ground cumin (Steve uses about 3 tbsp. fresh ground)

1 tsps. ground coriander (ditto to the cumin, about 3 tbsp. fresh ground…try it, it rocks!)

1 stick cinnamon

A good shake of Worcestershire sauce

1 beef stock cube (OXO here in Australia but use what you have wherever you are)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 x 400g can of drained red kidney beans

1 x 400g can baked beans (this is where Steve differs from the original recipe which calls for only 2 cans of kidney beans and no baked beans because the baked beans add a lot of body and taste)

Sour cream, sliced avocado and fresh coriander (if you like it) to top the chilli when you serve it

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until softened. Increase the heat and add the mince, cooking quickly until browned and breaking down any chunks of meat with a wooden spoon. Pour in the red wine and boil for 2 – 3 minutes. While waiting, pour a glass for yourself. Stir in the tinned tomatoes (or equivalent pasta sauce…see below), tomato puree (if using), chilli flakes, cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, and Worcestershire sauce and crumble in the stock cube. Pour in the drained kidney beans and undrained baked beans with their sauce into the mix and then Season well with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook over a gentle heat for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally until the mix is rich and thickened. Add the fresh coriander if using and cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, before removing from the heat, adding any extra seasoning if needed. This is ideal served with lime wedges and rice, crusty bread or chips (French fried) or jacket potatoes and cheese, guacamole, sour cream and a big green salad or turned into the best nachos ever.  It might sound humble but give it a try, it’s delicious :o)

Note: if you find your tomatoes were a bit runny and your sauce isn’t as thick and rich as it should be (it should be like gravy in consistency) you can add some beurre manie which is just equal quantities of softened butter mixed with plain flour (all purpose) till combined and lump free. If you need to thicken a sauce, just add chunks of this mix into the sauce and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon till blended into the hot sauce. Keep adding till the sauce has thickened to a consistency that you like.

My homemade pasta sauce involves the following: –

1 x 400g crushed or chopped tomatoes or the equivalent fresh tomatoes chopped up

1 tbsp. olive oil

About 3 cloves crushed garlic

1 finely chopped onion

Yellow American style mustard

Tomato sauce (ketchup)

Bbq sauce (bottled)

Veggie seasoned salt (Masell in Australia but use vegeta or what you have elsewhere)

1 tsp. dried mixed herbs or 1 tbsp. fresh chopped herbs

We use a tsp. of dried chilli flakes but we like things hot 😉

Cook the onion in the olive oil and when transparent add the garlic and once the garlic softens add a good squirt of mustard, tomato sauce (ketchup) and bbq sauce. Add the herbs and seasoned salt chilli flakes (if using) and stir together over heat till combined. Once combined nicely pour in the tinned tomatoes gently and simmer till thick and unctuous. Give this a go, it’s delicious. I add mushrooms; capsicum, eggplant etc. as they become seasonally available (add them with the onion at the beginning of cooking). This yields a top class most tasty tomato pasta sauce that is miles apart from a can of tinned tomatoes. Try it and let me know if you like it :o)

Steve has been a bit lax with his bachelor food posts of late and after his spaghetti in frankfurter’s effort has been conspicuous by his lack of effort. He decided to share another recipe with you in the bachelor range, this time he got June, Honey Boo-boo’s mum’s recipe for “Sketti”…

Honey boo-boo must have “made it” because she just got taken off on South park…

Now we can get down to the nitty gritty of the actual post…Ben Folds …King of the Hipsters…the rise of the über cool nerdy geek and the celebration of all things retro, the legitimisation of the awkward generation, the intelligencia gets cool and suddenly we get bands like (give examples) and veganism is hip and cool and the 60’s are the ONLY place to buy your kitchen furniture. The rise of the hipster brought about the cultural desire for all things handmade, unique, the embracing of old school principals and Etsy (no spellcheck…I  don’t mean “Betsy” 😉 ) owes its beginning and sudden meteoric rise on hipsters. Ben Folds was a hipster before anyone knew what a hipster was. I am listening to his latest album and he sounds like a cross between Elvis Costello and Blur…how is that for cross Atlantic hipsterism? I have a penchant for singers who can write amazing lyrics AND give them a voice like Ben Folds. His anthems to the forgotten were just what 75% of the school population needed to hear and he came at just the right time. When Ben Folds gave a massive subculture a voice it was an awesome thing to see the results. I belong to that subculture and so do all 3 of my children. It was the right time for them to be able to embrace their inner geekiness and progress on to knowing that they are, indeed, the superior race and they got their legitimisation through people like Ben Folds. How amazing that the hipsters of today are the children of yesterdays oppressed! Everyone wants to be edgy and wear 60’s clothes and have sideburns and retro moustaches (obviously guys 😉 ) and shave their sideburns and get tats (every good hipster chick has a multitude of meaningful tats). Where are we going with fashion folks? All I know is that we can find a niche in amongst these upwardly mobile non child bearing thinkers and that some of their ethos is actually worth embracing. Cheers Ben Folds…you deserve your kudos and your fame and you probably deserve a marriage that actually works BUT if that happened would your muse desert you? 😉


We have gone from 30C heat where regular basking upside down on the deck is the norm to this…


Hiding behind the screen door within close proximity to Brunhilda’s wafting blissful heat


“Excuse me…would you MIND not opening that door please…there are dogs basking here!”

The only problem with the hipsters is that they are indulging themselves out of existence. They prefer owning a dog to having children and their need to spend both incomes on retro is still “spending” per-se. The movement is shifting sideways into the new rise of the homesteader and the hipsters desire to get their little plot of earth is starting to make rumbles in the country that can only benefit from the windfall of people immigrating from cities and repopulating the small towns…it’s obviously a natural progression and part of humanities need for equilibrium…spreading out to where you can move and think and just “be” and where you can put your mark on a tree and can feel the earth between your fingers. The selfishness is going to have to go hipsters and maybe your country born kids will rebel against being dressed up like small “Mad men” and will revert to feral hippies… wouldn’t that be something? Hey, the 70’s is back man…FLARES ARE BACK MAN! Ferals living amongst what’s left of the trees, getting their hands dirty and their feet dirty and learning how to listen to the earth and respond accordingly…perhaps it’s more than humanities survival that is being reflected in our current trends…perhaps the earth is channelling us…perhaps it’s a survival mechanism from somewhere deeper than any of us know because people are being called…drawn to the earth. Thanks hipsters, you are a good blended first generation to give homesteading legitimacy and by giving it a new voice and popularity you are showing people that it is possible for life after peak oil and that old lesson about how everything has good and bad points is being learned and shared all over the world through social media. That can only be a good thing :o)…by the way, wouldn’t Ben Folds make a perfect counterfoil for the spinster daughter in that amazingly iconic painting “American Gothic”? 😉


Cheers for this photo Wikipedia 🙂

‘All sorrows are less with bread’ – Miguel de Cervantes.

My sentiments exactly! I am now following a wonderful blog that has shot right up my blog reading list of wonderful ways to spend my early morning hours with my first cup of tea. This beautiful quote comes from her blog. It resonates with me because it’s something that we all need to remember. Miguel de Cervantes was talking about the solidity and comfort that a full belly can bring you and sometimes when we are lusting after something way out of our reach we really need to be looking closer to home to see what we already have and realising that life is about appreciation of what we already have and learning to live the best life that we can with our lot. We are all primed as children to toe the line when it comes to heading down the highway of life. We are pointed in the direction of active consumerism from a very young age (can anyone say “McDonald’s? 😉 ) And powerful media moguls make a huge amount of money messing with our minds and dangling delicious unreachable carrots in front of us to direct us in the way that they want us to go. I am not talking new cars and expensive whiskey here folks, I am talking fundamental life goals where we start out thinking that we are failures if we haven’t managed to buy a house, have 2.5 kids and own 2 S.U.V’s and a subscription to a country club by the time we are 30. We are herded into thinking that we are simply not good enough, not worth it, if we don’t keep following that carrot on a stick. A clever donkey knows after a little early carrot chasing that this isn’t going to work…that following that carrot on a stick isn’t going to get a tasty treat but a lifetime of frustration and a clever donkey just stops. I am starting to see that most people are not clever donkeys. We know that we are on a highway to discontent but we keep on trying to buy our way into happiness…a new car…15 pairs of shoes…a kitchen aid (will it make your cake taste better? Probably not but MAN it is pretty! 😉 ) And we keep cramming our homes with “stuff” in a vain endeavour to sooth our minds…minds that are screaming out “STOP!” We no longer realise that happiness is found in our own back yard…that we are the instigators of our own happiness. We are so far removed from our gut instincts and our intuitive minds that we allow “someone else” to guide us through our life goals, our important decisions and that “someone else” doesn’t have our best interests at heart.


Not quite “bread” but definitely the Asian alternative…this baking tray of slightly undercooked rice has been specially prepared for tomorrows fried rice


Seasoned with salt, pepper and chilli flakes it gets put uncovered into the fridge where it dries out a bit more, then into Brunhilda’s warning oven to dry out and heat a bit before Steve turns it into this…


Delicious fried rice. The homemade spring rolls next to it have been lightly brushed with olive oil and will be baked in the oven till brown and crisp to accompany some of this rice for Steve’s tea. Steve is the only one that eats the fried rice and spring rolls so the remaining 4 servings of each are put into the freezer ready for quick nutritious and tasty meals if we get in late or end up working too long on our studies. He also has 4 Cornish pasties made last night in the freezer for more meals. We love making extra so that we don’t have to cook all of the time 🙂

It’s time that we all stopped and actually thought about where we are headed. Our parents were baby boomers and were the only generation where life kept getting “easier”…from the 1940’s on the media took over directing our desires and we let it. It was just easier. They took advantage of our need to be part of the flock but slightly above the masses and we have been competing for superiority ever since through the acquisition of “stuff”. A new bike, camera, S.U.V. isn’t going to make you feel better. What will make you feel better is learning who you are, being honest about yourself and your situation and taking a good hard look at how you can make the best of what you are and where you are in life. Stop trying to use consumerism as a band aid. It doesn’t work. You are going to end up aged 70 with 16 facelifts, fake boobs (think Jane Fonda and Madonna…) and a pathetic need to be “YOUNG!” at all costs because you are absolutely terrified of what is happening to you…you can’t buy your way out of aging…so far, no scientist has managed to make us live forever (God help us if they ever do…) and no amount of fast cars, holidays to Bermuda or gold dangly chains are going to defy age. Even the hipsters aren’t immune…they are the generation of the “forever young” to the max…40 year olds with skateboards and pierced noses and tattoos who won’t commit to “relationships” because they are WAY too young to settle down… we are now getting so far removed from the real world that there is a backlash of people stopping and saying “what is going ON here!” It can only be good. When you stop and actually think about where you are, you can take that elusive carrot out of the equation and you can start to see your own life in perspective. What you have been given is a chance…a precious chance to learn, to grow, to communicate and to understand. You have been given your own personal vessel to experience this world and the most precious gift of choice. If you get nothing else in your life, you can choose what your reactions are going to be and that is what makes we humans so incredibly lucky, our ability to choose our own pathway.


I just went hunting for some pictures to put into this post and found this one taken from a warm spot just in front of Brunhilda…this is our idea of the perfect kitchen…no clutter (the fridge is in the cupboard in the hallway) and plenty of room to “live” in this space. That’s the great thing about doing renovations yourself, you can do whatever you like 🙂


Another photo taken last year but not used in the blog yet. Taken last autumn of the Acer palmatum maple tree on the deck stairs


This sort of scene is just around the corner on Serendipity Farm and I can’t wait! I LOVE fungi and have plans to study mycology at university in the future if only to be able to eat whatever fungi I damned well please without Steve telling me that “You are going to kill yourself and leave orphan dogs…” sigh… 😉

I would normally be sitting here reading my RSS Feed Reader at 4.44am BUT my modem has decided to pitch a fit and as a technical luddite, the only thing I know to do with modems taking tantrums is turn them off and then back on…so far my wonderful trick isn’t working…curious that I slag off Google and overnight my modem goes into the foetal position! Coincidence? We shall see! 😉 It does give me time to type out another blog post. That’s what I mean about seeing the opportunities in situations. Sometimes the situation is pretty dire and it’s difficult to see anything other than the immediacy of what is happening but that’s where we can really get the most out of this lateral thinking and we can start to try to formulate “other” ways to look at the situation. We don’t have to be a reactive creature, that’s the beautiful thing. We can be proactive about taking what life hands to us and we can use it to make our lives better…the net goes down? Forgedaboudit…type some blog posts, think about what you are going to do today, get that crochet out while Earl is still in the land of nod and maybe you won’t have those “tension problems” that you usually do when trying to crochet a row. I found some gorgeous jar holders yesterday. I know that mason jars are now de rigour in the U.S. and people carry them everywhere and hipsters are toting them to their hipster coffee shops to get refills of their hemp milk soy lattes. Me, I think they are jars! I think that jars are for preserving and saving things for the future. I have even seen hillbilly wedding mugs made of Mason jars and I think that you northerners can keep that trend and I will just keep my jars for when I need them. These lovely jar totes were amazing…the creator (Etsy, OBVIOUSLY folks, would any self-respecting hipster go anywhere else? 😉 ) had somehow felted the finished product and the bright colours got me excited more than the functionality of the item (see…this little black duck is as prone to wanton consumerist desires as the next person…) the difference is that I didn’t want to race out and spend money on them, I wanted to make some myself. Apparently I REALLY pissed Google off because not only can’t I get the modem to work, but now Microsoft can’t diagnose what is actually wrong with my connection! Can anyone say “BANNED” 😉 Bring it on Google; this little black duck has nothing to lose! 😉


My daughters gave me this unctuous and most gorgeous chestnut cream a while ago. It had an amazing flavour and I have since found recipes for how to make it online. Come chestnut season I will be making my own but for now, I have lingering memories about just how good this was 🙂 Cheers girls 🙂


I wouldn’t be smiling if I was you sunshine…

We just got a few spots of rain…we were told that we would have 100% chance of rain today and I guess, technically, that was right. Steve lugged the large heap of wood and put it under the deck yesterday so most of it should be nice and dry. He left a few barrow loads for the lizards who had just had the equivalent of Armageddon visited on them to hide in while they acclimatised to their new situation and then escaped. Feral cats love lizards and we love them too so we wanted to give them the best chance to survive their situation. I think that we also need to connect and learn the precious lessons from our grandparents and other elders. Far from being the reminders that we are all going to die and being shoved as fast as possible into homes to moulder away, we should be prizing their knowledge and cataloguing it for future generations who are going to have to remember the past to give them the best chance in the future. I just turned my modem off and am going to give it 30 minutes rest. I guess it has been busy of late and might need a nap (but only a SHORT one modem!) I have a couple of blogs that I want to reference here for you all to visit and I can’t access their U.R.L’s till the net works again. I get to put my money where my mouth is this morning. I know that I have almost 300 blog posts to read because before the network slowed down to an abject crawl, my RSS Feed reader shared that bit of information with me. I know that those blog posts are not going to stop and hopefully we get use of the net back today because 300 can swell to 500 in a very short time. While I was last away at my daughters it swelled to over 1000 posts and that takes some wading through believe me! I juggle precariously on the precipice of 500+ blogs and I guess sometimes I am going to have to burn the candle at both ends to ensure I get the best out of them.


Some of my seed haul for today. The dry seed pods at the front have an incredible strong “fruity” smell and come from some sort of herb. The red berries come from some Crataegus phaenopyrum (Washington Hawthorn’s) that we discovered on our walk and have been collecting as they ripened. Hopefully we can get some to grow this year for planting on Serendipity Farm and that walnut was the only uneaten nut in a stash noticed under a shrub where there was a severe dearth of walnut trees…no idea how it got there but it is a very unusual long thin nut so we are going to try to stratify it and grow it over winter for our walnut futures.


The seed pod of the strongly scented aniseed herb that I collected today


This is the uber spiky pod of  Echinacea angustifolia (cone flower/Echinacea) with seeds in situ. I want lots of Echinacea on Serendipity Farm because it is hardy, incredibly useful and it loves dry conditions. Perfect for us 🙂

I recently discovered a blog  that is amazingly well written. I love the way that the blogger is able to communicate ideas and the fact that she looks a bit like my niece Tahlia is an added bonus :o). The post that the link will take you to is a wonderful post about taking her children to the river in the heat and a wonderful story about how to tell the truth whilst avoiding a disaster if the truth got out, an old Quaker story. I love the way that this girl tells stories and weaves her words together to play with your mind and recreate beautiful scenes in your head. I guess my mix of blogs revolve around the interesting in all facets of life. I am not interested in mainstream unless it has something special and most of the blogs that I follow are beautiful examples of “special” in the nicest possible way :o). Here’s another one that I just started following…

This is community ethos and vision and a wonderful post about how small communities can really make a difference to future generations and with a bit of effort and vision can really give us a chance to do the right thing for the earth. It’s not us that are going to bear the brunt of the last century of wanton disregard for the earth, it’s our children and their children who are going to have to attempt to live with the legacy of the baby boomers and we can at least attempt to do something to halt the road to ruin that was initiated in the name of “progress”.


If you click on this screen shot you can see it clearer. That white area is the lumber yard where Steve worked for a year. It was his second ever job after lasting a week at a local butchers. The green triangle off to the right of the lumber yard is a spruce plantation and Steve used to garner himself Christmas trees from this farm gratis…he often worried about the seat of his pants coming into contact with the cold hard steel of the farmers shotgun but when you are 21 and a hard cool punk, what’s a guy to do eh? 😉

I know that today’s post is really a couple of weeks ago post but it would be an unsustainable thing to dump a perfectly good post that was just hanging about waiting to see the light of day inside your collective heads. I have been up since 3am having a ball whittling away at my 500 blog posts that just seem to be growing exponentially but that are much more manageable now. I found 3 more scrumptious blogs to stuff in there in the wake of the old spent blogs that I discarded recently. We walked the dogs in Deviot and I invaded the small heritage apple and pear enclosure to raid the seed pods of the Echinacea that have just given up the ghost for the winter, something that smells like amazing aniseed but that appears to be somewhat salvia like in a pod and something else that has pods that smell like fruit! No idea what the second 2 pods are but my seed saving just increased our prospective springtime bonus of free greenery and gave Serendipity Farm another nudge up the “get it for free” ladder. Steve and I studied the covered top of the enclosure today (the original source of our planning for our new fully enclosed veggie patch) and have decided to go with purchasing some extra heavy duty bird netting and running rope or wire along the poles that we are going to install in the ground to form a nice tight possum proof roof that won’t sag and that will be easy to install. We got home and I collected some brushwood kindling sticks whilst holding my nose to avoid the stench of the large kangaroo that most THOUGHTFULLY chose to croak it not 20ft away from our back door :o(. Maybe it’s the culprit that has been harvesting my potato leaves and rhubarb leaves and it finally realised that “they are poisonous!” and nature took its toll. Whatever the reason, the cruel irony is that now that the days are colder, the blowflies that I HATE with a passion have disappeared and the one time that I need them to do their disgusting thing, they let me down! Sigh… no idea how long we are going to have to hold our noses as we walk to the car but the dogs LOVE it. To them, the back yard smells like Chanel No. 5 (ech!).  We then spent the morning hunting through Steve’s old stomping grounds in the U.K. and I can show you where he once worked for about 10 seconds in a lumber yard and the woods adjacent to the yard were where he got his Christmas trees from. I am going to spend the rest of the day minimising the RSS Feed Reader, stoking Brunhilda and baking up a storm and staying warm and happy inside for the rest of the weekend.

spoonsA quick pic of Steve’s draft poster for his Media assessment


And this one’s mine…as you can see we have VERY different taste 😉 The logo on the extreme right in my poster is just representative of where my logo will go when I finalise my choice of logo’s. Anyone out there with any street cred in poster design feel free to let us know what you think and be gentle folks, we are babes in the woods with Photoshop at the moment 😉

See you all on Wednesday and this is for all of you Northerners…Nick Drake and Northern Sky…just perfect to welcome spring :o)

40 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 18:04:23

    I have the mince defrosted, ready to whip up Steve’s Chilli Con Carne. The addition of baked beans is a surprise, so I’m looking forward to tasting the end results. I also like the look of the fried rice and spring rolls, hint hint. The posters look great. Yours is very psychodelic baby :), both are eye catching. I’m having trouble with this little comment box so I hope this gets posted. Have a great weekend. I will be sewing 🙂


  2. Roz Takes
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 18:19:56

    Hi Fran
    I hate computers! I read the Blog all through and then spent over 25 minutes writing a witty reply which suddenly disappeared into the ether. Will try again tomorrow.


  3. LyndaD
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 20:15:24

    Hi Fran (i had to ask Jessie today what your name was, i couldnt mentally keep calling you Narf), thanks for recipe and your post today. As soon as you said it was long i went and made a coffee because even on a normal day they are lengthy but definitely newsworthy. Spent the day with Jessie and family today – dont be jealous – she so want to visit you. I was hoping you were going to give your recipe for spring rolls. I had a freshly made one at a food fair in Lara last weekend and my goodness was it good. Definitely going to make those. I hate computers too, because i use them all day at work and then there are 6 in my house of tech heads. Lucky there’s also an IT guru when things go wrong. As is said in one of my earlier posts its the one area i pull the “dumb girl” routine and hand my frustrations over. Love your blog. Lynda.


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:49:07

      The spring rolls are delicious and we bake them because Steve doesn’t like deep fried things much and baking after a brush with olive oil works amazingly well :). Glad you had a great day with Jess, you guys have a lot in common and its great that she can share up close and personal with you :). I love your blog to, even though I only just found it and am going to have fun reading and sharing with you. I love good Aussie blogs but they are definitely harder to find than elsewhere in the “rest of the world” ether. I tend to find them through other blogs that I follow and I am letting Jess rootle out a few for me ;). I am more a stubborn luddite than anything else when it comes to computers. I completely “get” that they are logical and that I (according to my tech geek kids) am NOT but then I also get frustrated quite easily so it might be best not to let me handle computer problems ;). I will put the recipe for the spring rolls in the next post :). Glad to see someone managed to read the post…at almost 5000 words it was a novella more than a post! 😉 Have a great weekend and hopefully the weather is as gorgeous in your neck of the woods as it is here in Sidmouth 🙂


  4. brymnsons
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 22:39:17

    I had all the ingredients lined up on the bench. Bruce looked at the baked beans and said “baked beans??” and then he noticed how much of the red wine I had poured into the jug and he said “that’s a lot of wine, hope it tastes good.”
    I had to substitute a couple of things. I used chopped chillies instead of chilli flakes, I didn’t have a cinnamon stick, so threw in some ground cinnamon and only had a tin of four bean mix. We had it with rice, Bruce didn’t feel like the wedges as well. The verdict from both “YUM!”
    We also had plenty left over. So now we have two lunches for Monday and some more of the meat in the freezer for a meal when we can’t be bothered to cook.
    Thanks Steve and Fran x


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:52:43

      It’s all “Steve” (the chilli) Kymmy :). Glad you both liked it. I think its the red wine that makes it so good and if you both drink a bottle of red wine while it is cooking you won’t care what it tastes like! ;). Steve is from the U.K. and they sneak chips in with everything (custard anyone? 😉 ) so that’s the reason for the side of chips/wedges but it goes really well over rice, over corn chips (sort of nacho’s if you top it with grated cheese and a bit of avocado and chopped tomato) and it’s even better the next day. Try it over baked spuds Kymmy, topped with grated cheese, it’s delicious :). Have a great weekend and hopefully the weather is kind to you 🙂


  5. Kaye Wheeler
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 23:39:03

    Having a giggle. Had to google to find out who Ben Folds is. I’m definitely a baby boomer.


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:55:00

      I can’t whinge too much Kaye, I sneak in at the tail end as well! Steve is lucky, he just missed out on the tar and feathering ;). Ben Folds is one of my music heroes. I love people who can write great lyrics and wonderful music to go with them and he is one of them a sort of cross between Elton John and Billy Joel with a bit of geeky edginess thrown in to make it fun :). Glad you liked the post and sorry about the fact it was almost a novella! 😉


  6. Littlesundog
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 01:49:31

    Fran, this has been my favorite post of yours EVER!! It was well worth two cups of tea to read it all! I love both of the draft posters… love the color on your design. I have been following truebeautyalways for some time as well! Love it! And, I was born in 1961 and loved growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. I know everyone thinks their “era” is the best, but truly, I’m so glad for the experiences in my younger years. I’ve stayed true to my free-spirited ways. I love all of these photos too… but you know I’m especially happy to see Earl. What IS it about his magnetism that I’m so drawn to? LOL

    Again, awesome post, my friend! Enjoy the weekend!!


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 03:14:53

      Maybe you connect with Earl being a bit feral? He is as close to a wild dog as I am ever going to get and seems to be mainlining a wild past in a past life somehow. He is a pure example of a creature that really enjoys his life in every moment :). He adores rolling in stinky things (his fur is stiff with “something” at the moment but thank goodness it appears to be non scented “something”! 😉 ), he basks in sunbeams, he is a primed ball of solid muscle ready to spring into “WALK” at the mere whisper of the word but he is the most handsome dog ever (I know…I am biased 😉 ), he is incredibly loyal and comes to bed with me every single night even when I KNOW he wants to stay up with Steve and Bezial and watch horror movies and eat crisps and biscuits (our word for cookies) and anything else that Steve happens to absently drop while he is watching. He lays curled up at my feet all night and he has an aura about him that seethes purpose. The thing that I really love about Earl is that he is an incredibly interesting study in physics and you haven’t seen ANYTHING till you have seen Earl going faster than Sebastian Vettel around the house in one of his crazy play fests with Bezial and leaping over chairs, furniture, underneath kitchen chairs, at 100km/hour around vases and not hitting a single thing! He is amazing! I think I am going to have to start a fan club for Earl ;). I love that you have stayed true to your hippy free loving ways and we are the same :). There was a real need for change back then and it echoes down through the environmental and green movements but we were there when it started and that makes us pioneers :). I lived in a little town at the bottom of Western Australia called Denmark (once sent a parcel to my mum that took 6 weeks to get to her because they sent it to “Denmark” the country, NOT Denmark the Australian town 😉 ) that was a mix of townsfolk (mostly timber millers and farmers) and invading hippies back in the 60’s so I grew up with an awareness of hippy culture from when I was a small girl. The town is amazing now and even has “Denlets”, a parallel monetary bartering system that are accepted in most of the shops and supermarkets…how cool eh? Tassie is pretty similar in some areas but I am stuck out in redneckville surrounded by YEE HAW native Tasmanians that shun education, that have 1 food group “MEAT” and that love sport and fast cars and making money no matter what they chop down, kill or exploit to get there :(… I am working from the inside out and am going to do my bit to ejamacate this lot! ;). I am thinking about running some vegan cooking classes at the local community centre in Beaconsfield in the guise of “gluten free, dairy free, egg free” “trendy” classes just to show the natives that you don’t have to eat meat with every single meal…baby steps is my ethos ;). Have a fantastic weekend and glad you liked the mishmash of a post combining a spare post I typed up when the net wouldn’t work a couple of weeks ago and everything tumbling around in my brain recently 🙂 Back to “normal” posts on Wednesday, see you then 🙂


  7. Chica Andaluza
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:41:07

    Thanks for the recipe (took the mince out of the freezer this morning!) so guess what we’re having tonight?! It was a long post, but oh so good. Loved the photos and we got several seasons all at once.And Echinacea – I take the tincture int he winter months to ward off colds but never thought of growing it. How do you use it from the plant? How exciting!


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 03:18:47

      No idea how you use it from the plant Tanya, probably dried leaf or petals I would imagine? I am going to have to look it up now (nosy to a tee 😉 ) but I saw the seed and thought “time to take advantage!”…never let a chance offered go by is my motto and it works well when you are a penniless student hippy who could spend their precious peso’s on saving up for water tanks and solar panels rather than nibbling away at the edges for seed that you could have gotten for free ;). I think you might have just read the longest post you will ever have to read on Serendipity Farm (don’t quote me on that though…I reserve the right to serialise my posts 😉 ) so fingers crossed, Wednesday goes back to being somewhat normal ;). I will be posting the recipe for the spring rolls but everything else will probably revolve around our weekend and early week “doings” :). How’s that chandelier going? Better you than me. I would be twitching by now 😉 Bet it looks amazing up 🙂


      • Chica Andaluza
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 06:18:27

        I love your posts – however long! Am making your chili right now but I think we’ll eat it tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing more about your Echinacea research. The chandelier is in need of a clean before it goes up…will keep you posted! Have a lovely rest of the weekend 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 06:22:26

        And so the sad cycle of endless cleaning of chandeliers goes on ;). The chilli is amazing on day 1 but superlative on day 2 and keeps developing flavour. I hope you like it :).

      • Chica Andaluza
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 06:28:36

        Most dishes like this improve with age – rather like fabulous women like us! Will let you know how much we scoff 😉

      • narf77
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 06:33:12

        Excellent! 🙂 Make sure to quaff lots of red wine whilst eating, and have it with lots of crusty fresh bread and good butter to mop up the juices (its not good to be drooling at 6.30 in the morning for beef chilli when you are vegan right?!) 😉

      • Chica Andaluza
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 06:45:23

        Well, maybe veggie chilli. but I love food like this (and curry!) for breakfast!

      • narf77
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 06:54:57

        Curry for breakfast? NOW you are talking! I am not a sweet person and love savoury things as a rule. My idea of heaven is a big bowl of steaming hot congee with all the accoutraments or curry which I adore… more slobbering at 6.54 and I am going to have to cook something pretty good for my breakfast after walking the dogs today. They are restless as its day 1 of the clock going back at the end of Daylight Savings and Earl thinks that he is an hour overdue on his walking time 😉

      • Chica Andaluza
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 07:17:49

        Love congee too but haven’t really eaten it since I was on my “world tour” down under! Must make some…it’s not tricky. Happy walking. I’m off to bed now and a ong walk by the beach tomorrow 🙂 Sigh!

      • narf77
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 10:33:50

        Sounds like bliss 🙂 We are having gorgeous days here with blue skies and nice low 20C temperatures that are perfect for baking, slow simmering, fire lighting and generally just recovering from the heat and dry of summer. I can feel the soil taking a big sigh of relief :). Have a great day and enjoy that blissful beach walk 🙂

  8. thinkingcowgirl
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:43:28

    LOOK at those faces! The dogs I mean.

    Haha I think Steve and I share more than our punk past – putting baked beans in chilli and stealing christmas trees 😉

    Great post Fran, you made me laugh – the butternut with the sword of damacles hanging over its head.

    I read a really interesting thing a while back about ‘liberals’ which really made me think….with a sinking heart I sort of recognized myself (for most of my life anyway, it’s all change now 😉 ) in how he describes them. I think you might find it interesting too, and touches upon some of these themes that you raise here. He’s a christian but we’ll forgive him!

    The photo of the berries is gorgeous too – as are the posters, each in their way. The most important thing is that they reach out to the audience they’re designed for and you nailed it!


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 03:26:58

      Cheers for being kind about the posters ;). We got my daughters to critique them and although I expected my own sword of Damocles to descend and behead me for all of my past motherly wrongdoings, they were amazingly accurate in their critique of our logo’s… isn’t it amazing how when children become adults they are so much easier to get along with! 😉 Maybe you were in the same pine forest, with a pink and purple Mohawk pinching spruces at the very same time as Steve! 😉 He just took orders from his folks as to what they were after and pinched to order! Aside from being booked for drunkenly peeing on a train station and being pulled up and questioned for “looking like a yob” for most of his early life he remained curiously out of trouble for a U.K. youth…”letting the punk side down babe!”…most probably because punk bled into Goth which as we all know is the antithesis of punk ethos. One is anger exhibited outwardly and the other is anger directed inwards ;). He expunged his anger in his youth and is surprisingly mellow now ;). I had a much tamer youth and maintain my rage! 😉 I have to admit to being somewhat liberal minded when it comes to other people but I have a bolshie core that can’t be denied and has come from a long line of Union representatives and a proud working class history. My family are all strongly opinionated and the loudest wins so I guess it’s kind of lucky that Steve likes to listen rather than compete! ;). Off to read that article now…cheers for the linkies by the way, this little black duck LOVES to learn and share :). Have a great weekend and you can thank me later for reminding you of your “red necked past” (get it…I segued nicely from punk to Ben Folds…sigh…)


  9. christiok
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 02:32:26

    What a great take on hipsters and their evolution to homesteaders! I have several blog followers who are young, in their twenties (I’m 56 and the mother of 3 in their 20s)….ferals as you say, earthy young people who want to have chickens and goats. The growth growth growth ethos is dead, but we don’t know how to think differently than climbing the ladder and accumulating. Recently, one of our U.S.A. regressive (Republican) politicians said that we didn’t need any new ideas, that we had all the ideas necessary, and that we just needed to get back to them. 😦 Made me think of the genius Australian movie “Strictly Ballroom” — and Barry Fife, Federation President of the ballroom dancing world, shouting, “There are no new steps!” And Liz, hero Scott Hastings’ partner, screaming, “I’m not dancing with you ’til you dance the way you’re ‘sposed to!” I LOVE that movie. Have you seen it? I didn’t know who Ben Folds was/is. lol

    Choice is indeed our lucky gift as humans.

    Jars. I’m going to make 220 1/2 pint jars of 4-Berry jam for our oldest daughter’s wedding on August 24! I’ve been doing the math. 10 jars fit in the canner. That’s 22 batches. 2 cups of Pomona’s pectin…etc. We must be very hip. 🙂

    Oh, and we put Steve’s prize winning pint jar of jam in the mail on Thursday. He identified our ubiquitous garden weed as flick weed, sent me a link on it, and advised I pull it, and he did this all within half an hour of me posting the Contest to Identify This Plant so I could go out and start weeding while it was sunny! Bless him. It should arrive at Serendipity in 3 weeks, and you’ll have another hip jar!

    The Bearded One is already chainsawing and splitting wood for next year, just like Steve. And he gave up on the ladle, too, like Steve. Too hard. It split.

    The posters are WONDERFUL! You can even add plant identification service as a side biz! The B.O. and I spot plants we don’t know all the time on our walks. I’m sure we are not alone in this.

    Thanks for the wonderful visit, inspiration, and blog recommendations. Love from Olalla. 🙂


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 03:37:24

      LOL! Are you sure the B.O. and Steve aren’t “twins” as well as us? I used my own massive great spadle (spoon and ladle crossed) last night. Steve had abandoned it as a bad lot and I stubbornly insisted on trying to make it work. It not only worked, it is amazing for my massive great stock pot/pressure cooker when I make a huge cauldron of soup like I did last night. Sometimes you just have to get a bit bolshie and insist on giving it the old college try :). Steve hasn’t made a spoon in ages. I think he wore the idea out after feverishly beavering away at them for weeks on end. Sometimes “slow and steady” is a better ethos because you don’t burn out quickly and brightly but he needs to get active in the shed again to make me a special mothers day spoon for May’s giveaway :). So much jam! You are the best mother :). I am a bad mother…I would be buying up those massive catering tins of jam (about 2 gallons in each) and over a few bottles of red would be singing and sloshing them into jars! You are a much better person than I am! ;). If you ever need plant id, take a photo or find a pic online and send it to us. We love a good challenge :). We learn at the same time as you do. Glad you liked the posters. We are only at the beginning of our Photoshop adventure so they are a bit rough but we are suitably proud of our efforts and that’s why you guys got to see them :). I am treasuring the jars that you sent. The jam was/is amazing and Steve enjoyed every single bite of the peachy one on toast last time. I left it all for him after sampling a little bit as he loved it so much and Steve is a marmalade person usually :). You can be sure that our crispy mornings walking the dogs will culminate in a few weeks of pure happiness for Steve as he gets in, settles down and has some of your bright sunshiny jam on his morning toast and gets inner peace from the complete experience :). I get the wonderful jar after and I have so far managed to shield the labels from being washed off :). The difference between the B.O. and Steve is that it IS our wood needy season and we are just getting stuck in to chopping the wood, the B.O. win’s on that score! :). Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and enjoy that jam making…if you lose your stride or catastrophe strikes you can always fall back on the catering tins! (at least you have an option now and you can thank me later 😉 )


      • christiok
        Apr 07, 2013 @ 04:01:43

        Tins of catering jam! I don’t believe it. No way. I bet you’d be doing EXACTLY what I’m doing, figuring out how in hell you’re going to make 220 jars of jam! LOL I’m actually loving the challenge and the idea of all those folks getting a jar of yummy jam after the nupitals. Wish you and Steve could be there. 🙂

  10. narf77
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 04:23:27

    You are right Christi…you picked me in one…I am ever the perfectionist and couldn’t even BEAR the thought of not doing it all myself :). The guests might end up with some weird and crazy combinations (the table the furthest from the bride that consists of “Weird Uncle George” who likes to pick his nose in public, the ADHD nephew who you suspect of smuggling in moonshine in that hip flask he is being so furtive about and crazy Aunty Gert who insists on kissing every single child under the age of 29 would be getting hawthorn and bay berry!). I love that you are sharing your ethos through your amazingly delicious jam with your daughters guests and that they will, like we did, get to enjoy that gorgeous sunny and most heavenly pure flavour burst in all sorts of ways and the memory of your daughter’s wonderful wedding will be revisited time and again till those jars are wiped clean with questing fingertips :). Your jam is the BOMB Christi! You should sell it, it is that good! 🙂


  11. Sincerely, Emily
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 13:33:56

    oh my gosh, it took me all day to read the post and then the comments. Love it all. The recipes look wonderful. I definitely put beans in my chilli, but never thought of baked beans. That sounds good. I do add beans to my spaghetti sauce and that is good too. Love the “do not disturb, perturbed”look that Baziel and Earl have. Classic. I’m reading along and BAM you hit me with more food photos – Steve’s fried rices – Oh My, that looks good. I must be hungry! OK, I have a question about these jar holders you are crocheting… are they for the top of the jar to decorate it OR are they to slip over the jar from the bottom, to soak up the cold drink sweat? If it is the second, my friend calls those condom (but for you glass…) Posters – I like them both and agree w/one of the other comments. If they reach and appeal to the audience you are going for then they will work. I love the simplicity of Steve’s – focusing on the spoons and keeping it simple. One yours, the style is what pulled me in, that retro feel and funky-ness. What fun assignments you are both working on.


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 14:15:33

      I just sent you a pic of the covers…they are for mason jars and are gorgeous knitted/felted things…WAY too hard for moi but there are lots of wonderful crafters around who could make them easy peasy 🙂


  12. twotreesherbals
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 14:02:16

    this was such fun to read!! i spent the morning putting an herb spiral in the front yard; now that i finally have fresh seasonings i shall have to try some of your recipes! i can’t wait to post one i’ve been working on, lavender-infused truffles. i’m all backed up on posting because of a broken computer and traveling, so i may take a page from your book and just write a few super-long ones! thanks so much for complimenting my blog; i’m honored and touched! xo


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 14:17:05

      Your blog is SO worth visiting! It’s one of the best reads I get these days :). Bummer on the broken PC 😦 Lavender infused truffles? YUM! Can’t wait to see that recipe and hopefully your own dear constant readers won’t complain too much like mine do…you KNOW who you are! 😉


  13. rabidlittlehippy
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 14:52:15

    My gods! That’s a marathon effort reading this post. I had to write essays shorter than this in high school! Printing and publishing it would nearly require a bound spine as opposed to staples! 😉 It took me until now to get the required peace and quiet to read it all (plus the comments) but it’s been a blissful hour or so. 😉
    Chilli recipe sounds yummolicious and I reckon it might go well pressure canned in single serve amounts too. Saves freezer space of which I have little so reckon that’s on the cards. I remember making chilli con carne in school home ec class, musta been about year 8 and we used baked beans. It’s about the only way I’ll eat baked beans otherwise.

    I swear you’ve described me to a tee talking about hipsters. I started off with a love of the vintage (I go back a little further to the 50’s but that’s the start of consumerism again post WWII) and we’ve tree-changed to the country to enjoy our little slice of paradise. My kids, as much as I try to insist upon shoes given the construction zone and previous owner debris of nails, screws, broken glass and wot not that we randomly find glued into the now dried clay mud we call soil around here, insist upon frolicking in socks or barefoot in all places. They step upon thistles (yep scotch thistles) and wonder why it hurts. They wonder why it squishes in the chook pen too. They’re usually covered in some degree of dirt and muck. Meh, they’re happy and loving roaming around like ferals in the garden and I’m learning to let them. And we are slowing down well on the consumerism. We still spend a lot but these days it’s on things to get ready for keeping our own or raising our own or preparing our own food. Fowlers Vacola bottles, soil, the shed (I can brew beer and all sorts out there I hope 🙂 ) and then a lot on bulk food too so here’s hoping we stop the money haemorrhage and soon. I HATE spending money! As for pre-programming our kids, that’s one advantage we’ve found of no tv. And I must say too that since we’ve started chasing a different carrot (self sufficiency and sustainability) we are much much happier. It’s in many ways just as unobtainable BUT there is the fantastic bonus of being able to get close and closer to the carrot, of being allowed to have bites when you can say that you’re off grid for water, or electricity or food or whichever aim you realise. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to taste the rewards.

    I love the quirky uses to which many put mason jars but I would never feel comfy doing that with my precious vacola jars. And if they sit there empty for too long then they are either being saved for the next tomato harvest or will be packed and canned with something else. A free bottle for drinking coffee from? Only one with a chip in the rip and that would make coffee drinking a risky procedure.

    I too would love to learn about fungi. I would love to be able to inoculate and grow my own but at this point in time I would not dare pick a single mushroom unless it was either from the grocers/supermarket or from a prepackaged grow your own, and I drowned my last lot of them. 😦

    I love your seed hauls. Again I wish I knew more about plants and being able to harvest and grow them. I do plan to try and grow some walnuts though and I’ve stored your tips as well as those from the people from whom I got my walnuts.

    Loving the posters. And I love the Goodies Influences I see with all the psychodelia. I love both posters and although I’m no knowledge on design or anything, I think they’re fab. 🙂 Love your logo too Fran.

    P.S. Martin and Steve have even more in common – arrested for drunken and public urination. 😉


  14. ybertaud9
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 06:01:22

    LOL Yes this is the longest post written on a recipe! I love it! The photos, detailed recipes and the stories. Keep it coming… 😉


  15. gardeningkiwi
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 18:45:50

    Hi Fran… I made it to the end. Great blog. Chestnut cream… hmm… sounds interesting, I’m sure you will share how you get on there. Just watch out for the prickles – they really hurt!
    Cheers Sarah : o )


  16. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 21:16:42

    Phew! Made it 🙂
    No time left now to comment properly but just wanted to say I like the posters and especially your one.


  17. Sophie33
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 05:52:19

    Thanks for your tasty chili con carne & tomato sauce recipe! I am so gong to make it soon! Thanks! xxxx


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