Damn the man!

Hi All,

I DID IT! It might have taken me 6 months but I DID IT! I damned the man. 6 months ago to the day, I barely blearily woke up assured that Daylight Savings wasn’t going to make me its biotch ever again. No longer would I stagger from my bed in October in a rough approximation of jetlagged for the next fortnight till I got used to having a precious hour of my day removed surgically by the nefarious powers that be, I would wake up an hour earlier AND I would hit Daylight Savings running…but then my ever inquisitive questing mind realised that this would be a pattern that would repeat itself and that I would just slide back into absorbing that extra hour come the end of Daylight Savings in April… how was I going to prevent this happening. You have to go back into the ether 6 months ago to see how very different my life was then…you have to imagine that wibbley wobbly cutaway scene that they are able to recreate on telly but that I seem to be having difficulty reproducing here in my post so it’s up to you guys to wibble and wobble ok? Righto, back to the story folks! 6 months ago I was a night person. I stayed up regularly till 1am reading, watching television and generally inhabiting the night. My mornings were a study in grouchiness and Steve was always up before me proffering my first (bucket) mug of tea with shaky hands and the scene was set with Steve, fully dressed and raring to go, both dogs twitching with anticipatory excitement at their prospective walk and me, stubbornly clinging to the bedclothes and my teacup in a vain effort to stay in bed…I grumbled…I complained, I muttered my way into my mornings with my ears pinned back in warning to ANYONE foolish enough to talk to me or even look in my approximate direction. I was a morning harpy folks! A full month before Daylight Savings was going to hit us I decided to get up slightly earlier to adapt to the full hour that Daylight Savings was going to steal from me. I started with setting the alarm clock 15 minutes earlier each week and by the time Daylight Savings hit, I was ready for it and it didn’t render me apoplectic and staggering like every year prior. Not THIS little black duck! I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and when I realised that there might just be a problem at the other end of Daylight Savings I just decided that if I could adapt to 6am…why the heck couldn’t I adapt to 5am? Now for me, this was tantamount to crazy land. I hadn’t seen 5am aside from the start of long trips and 5am wasn’t a time, it was a beginning…


“Err…excuse me…someone appears to have forgotten to leave the gate open, do you think you could do me a favour and just open it up?…please?…pretty please?…”


“I KNOW you aren’t going to leave me alone till you take a photo so just take it and bugger off!”


Steve’s collection of twang (note the inclusion of a banjo so that we can blend in with the local’s if we ever need to 😉 )


The invaders are coming to deliver a telephone mast to the other side of the river…”GET THE TIN FOIL STEVE!” 😉

After adjusting my brain to 5am and realising that there were so many possibilities with waking up at this ungodly hour, I started to wake up even earlier. In 6 months I have gone from a night person who shunned mornings to a very early morning person who went to bed at 7pm last night. Once you set yourself on the pathway to changing your habits you never know how much it is going to change your life. In the past 6 months I have managed to totally change my days and nights (although I don’t really know what happens at night anymore because I am fast asleep!). I went from having a degree of insomnia where I would lay awake worrying about the state of the world to being unable to prevent sleep and having no problems staying asleep. I went from someone who hated walking the dogs and exercise in general to someone who is out the front of the walk and eager to carry on. I went from bordering on obese to “ideal weight” with very little effort and you know what? I think it all came from that initial desire to damn the man and make a tiny positive change in my days. There is a Bupa health fund ad where people see their future healthier and fitter selves and that’s what I am doing today. If it wasn’t for my bolshie desire to bugger up Daylight Savings and remove its tentacle hold on my life, I wouldn’t be the vibrantly buzzing healthy specimen of early morning happiness and possibilities that I am today. One tiny little stubborn desire has entirely changed my ethos and my way of life.  I wonder what other tiny little changes could predominately effect our lifestyles? If something as simple as waking up 15 minutes earlier in my day could deliver this sort of massive change, what else could I start with by just putting my feet on a new pathway?


Talking about a new pathway…this is a Stromboli. A Stromboli is Steve’s latest favourite food. This one consists of some homemade pizza dough (with the inclusion of mixed herbs, chilli flakes and home grown, dehydrated and powdered tomato) and cabanossi sausage made by Nige our local butcher at “Nigel’s on Tamar” (do I get some free meat Nige? 😉 ), bacon, home grown sliced last of the season tomatoes, thin sliced local grown onions and a mix of grated parmesan and cheddar.


Once you top the Stromboli, you need to roll it reasonably tightly


Next you need to cut the Stromboli midway through with a serrated bread knife


Put your Stromboli, along with the baking parchment you SO cleverly rolled it up on to prevent having to do washing up onto a baking sheet

I got a request for sharing a recipe for those baked spring rolls that I shared a photo of in the comments section of my last post so here is my recipe. Steve and I customised it to be healthier than regular deep fried spring rolls because Steve isn’t a fan of anything deep fried (I, on the other hand, LOVE deep fried anything and that, my dear constant readers, is why I had trouble fitting through doors in a past life 😉 ) and although baked spring rolls need to be served up and eaten pretty much straight away to maintain their crunch, you can be smug and satisfied that you get pretty much the same taste with a whole lot less fat and a lot more nutrition…

Homemade baked spring rolls

1 packet of spring roll wrappers (usually 20 in a pack). We get ours from Coles as they are the only reasonably priced option in Tasmania but feel free to get yours anywhere you want to

A large quarter of a cabbage finely shredded

6 large carrots grated (the longest part of this equation)

1 egg (I don’t eat these spring rolls anymore and the egg binds the filling and reduces any liquid that would make the rolls soggy)

2 packets of MI Goreng (ramen) noodles along with their seasoning packs OR if you are being über healthy, sub veggie stock powder (Massell is the BEST and is Aussie made :o) ) cook the noodles according to the packet, drain them and chop them finely with scissors and reserve the seasoning packs to add to the main mix or you could just add some dried Chinese noodles of your choice. We used to add rice vermicelli and that worked amazing well so it really is up to you :o)

You can add finely chopped capsicum, mung bean sprouts, finely chopped cooked mushroom (to remove excess moisture) and just about any other vegetable or Chinese add (we have previously used soaked dried wood ear fungus and white fungus to great advantage) in that you like at this point but we usually just use cabbage and carrot and the results are yummy

We add some form of protein. Steve likes finely diced chicken cooked with some chilli flakes and I used to have firm tofu but you can add diced up cooked omelette, bacon, any finely diced lightly fried meat, prawns, anything really and you only need about a cup of finely diced protein in total for 20 large spring rolls

Then comes the seasonings. I use lots of oyster sauce (for Steve), Thai chilli sauce, yellow American style mustard, a squirt of toasted sesame oil, lots of crushed garlic (about 7 cloves) and an equal quantity of crushed fresh or jarred ginger, a couple of squirts of Worcestershire Sauce and we add a couple of teaspoons of dried chilli flakes but we love hot food so I would suggest a little sprinkle if you aren’t sure as you already have chilli in the sauce (depending on how hot it
is). Steve likes pepper added and I used more of the Massell veggie stock powder (sub whatever stock powder you fancy to your heart’s content) and feel free to add any other favourite condiment to your batch that takes your fancy. It’s all about customising to your own personal tastes here…that’s what makes these delicious and what makes “homemade” the best.

Mix the entire mass together with clean hands. It’s therapeutic to be up to your elbows in Chinese food. Once you have an even distribution of sauce through the shredded/grated veggies you can start making the rolls. Open your packet of spring roll wrappers and keep a clean tea-towel over the packet to keep them from drying out as you work. I am pretty quick at rolling up a batch of 20 but I have had a lot of practice over the years. Here’s a great tutorial to show you how to roll them up…


She also talks about draining off the liquid to prevent soggy spring rolls. Liquid is an antagonist to a spring roll and keeping the filling reasonably dry is especially important with baked spring rolls. This tutorial makes small spring rolls…yours are going to be big spring rolls but the rolling method is the same and feel free to go ahead and deep fry them if you fancy. The process is the same BUT we like to brush ours with olive or rice bran oil and bake them till they are crisp and golden brown. Either way you end up with something full of flavour, absolutely addictive and you don’t have to pay by the roll. Very economical and much tastier than what you can buy from the supermarket or most food vendors. Give it a go, if you like Asian food (who doesn’t?!) you are going to love these :o)

YUM just found another pictorial tutorial with a completely delicious looking recipe for more spring rolls. Remember, it’s all about customising them to your own personal taste and when you are eating a plate piled high with your own personal favourite flavours you can smugly damn the man all over again!



This is what the cooked Stromboli should look like. I didn’t include a photo of Steve as he was drooling too much to be anywhere near presentable enough for a photo 😉


Cut crosswise into chunklets just like you would with a Swiss roll and eat…eat a lot…eat too much of it and there will STILL be enough left over to satisfy your appetite the night after with some home baked homemade oven wedges 🙂


I forgot I had this casserole dish…I picked it up for $2 from a local thrift shop because it didn’t have a lid. How many times do I need a lid? Not many! This is a shepherds pie topped with a mountain of riced cooked potato. Ricing the spuds keep them separate and make a lovely crisp topping.


I am still getting zucchini’s and a trickle of tomatoes and these are the very first of our ripened jalapeno chillies along with “something” curious that tends to invade most of my photos these days 😉

I am sitting here quietly on Tuesday morning tapping away with “eau de rotting kangaroo carcass” wafting through the air. The decomposing large roo that is about 20ft from the back door is starting to attract more than flies and crows and its wonderful aroma is starting to permeate more than it’s immediate proximity. The native wildlife has done it pretty tough this year and after a couple of bumper seasons, the bushfires that removed a lot of their grazing territory and the long, hot, extremely dry summer that we just had has resulted in a lot of animal deaths. Tasmania is the Aussie home of road kill, thanks to its cooler conditions and larger proportion of vegetation. The animals have been forced to eat pretty much anything this year and my guess is that our kangaroo friend up the back is the culprit who has been eating all of the potato leaves and rhubarb leaves and his toxin tolerance just hit zero. Steve had to take an impromptu trip into town because when we got back from walking the dogs our daughters phoned up to tell us that the hot water tap in the kitchen decided to turn itself on permanently last night and they had to turn the water off at the mains (at least they now KNOW where the mains is 😉 ). Steve was expecting a major job but $15 for a tap and a few extras and about the same amount of minute’s worth of work resulted in job done and happy campers all round. Steve thought that his midday adventures pootling around in the Mumbly Cumumbus were going to be extinguished but now they are back on the cards. I just finished my wireframe drawing of my poster, the final part of my assessment that needs to be submitted on Monday and have the rest of the week to put in a concerted effort to reduce my RSS Feed Reader and to plan our veggie garden that we will be starting on quite soon. I am hoping to convince Steve that our small orchard could do with enclosing fully at the same time so that we can prune the poor long suffering possum playgrounds and perhaps get some fruit next year.


Proof…Irrefutable PROOF that Flares ARE coming back man!


And the foolishness continues…Just in case anyone wanted to know what colour our kitchen was 😉


This is a Schacht Inkle Loom. I bought it for $5 from the year before last’s HUGE progressive garage sale that spans 15km along the Tamar River and is our favourite event on the yearly calendar. I have NO idea how to use it so any clever clogs out there who know about weaving (you KNOW who you are 😉 ) can tell me whether it is something I should/could be bothering with or whether I should just let Earl eat it like he has been trying to do for a year and a half


The Mumbly Cumumbus just in from Steve’s latest “pootling” event on the river. He actually caught 2 flathead (fish) and the dogs got both of them… well Bezial got both of them as Earl was suspicious of Steve’s intentions and wasn’t going to eat the fish in case it negated us giving him large quantities of steak. Bezial would live on fresh fish if he could 🙂

I am starting to get excited about the prospects of being able to garden with impunity. To be able to plant things that nothing can get (aside from the insects but their predatory grubby friends can deal with them). In preparation for the garden I have been thinking about where to find lots of bulk to fill the prospective garden beds for free or at least as cheaply as possible. My idea is to use keyhole gardens (cheers YBert 😉 ) coupled with a lot of vertical action to gain the maximum amount of growing space. I found some Jerusalem artichokes growing on the road verge this morning and managed to procure a couple of them to plant out in one of my compost bins till I can sort out a corner of Serendipity Farm for them to live happily in and spread to their hearts content. I have visions of both Jerusalem and globe artichokes growing all over the place and if winter ever comes I have visions of spending long wet hours cuddled up near Brunhilda with the laptop, an excel spread sheet (Jess already beat me to it 😉 ) and my permaculture and food forest spidey senses tingling with the research possibilities. I love a good researching event and finding the right perennials, shrubs and trees to deliver food for our series of endemic conditions on Serendipity Farm is a wonderful challenge that I am up for. Permaculture gives us that option. It gives us a new way of looking at our problems and allows us to use our problems to form solutions. What might initially seem like a bit pain in the derrière can be twirled around till it’s good points are facing frontwards. Rocks in the ground? Dig them up and use them to make raised garden beds…Dry conditions causing you growing problems? Store water any way that you can through winter and use it on your gardens when the dry weather hits and use clever gardening tricks like mass planting, mulching, trickle irrigation, choosing food crops and plants that grow in arid conditions and you can bypass a lot of problems. There is ALWAYS  a solution…it’s just up to us to look for the answer and sometimes what you are trying to solve might not be the real problem. My Jerusalem artichokes come with a “you will NEVER be rid of them!” warning. I don’t want to be rid of them. I want food that will grow itself without too much effort. I want to be able to have food all over Serendipity Farm eventually, not just zone 1, but everywhere. I have a vision of fecundity and production and an eventual harmony/equilibrium of cycles on Serendipity Farm that fills me with a sense of hope and happiness. It’s often how you choose to look at things that gives you answers and I like to turn things around a whole lot and look at the bits that other people tend to shun…I’m a bit strange like that 😉


Another lovely day on the river


Steve’s aquatic companions


The Deviot Yacht Club from the river. You can see the deciduous trees starting to colour up nicely


Some of the houses in Deviot that span the riverbank

Well I am back to normal. I am just about to finish this post off as somewhat less than a novella but definitely more than a quick read over a 5 minute tea break. I hope that all of my dear constant readers are beavering away in their respective changeling seasons between the wet and the dry and vice versa. Spring and autumn are definitely bridging seasons and whatever you are trying to achieve this year, I hope that you get it at least started before the heat of summer or the cold and wet of winter sets in for the long haul. Have a great rest of your week and see you on the weekend, rested and ready to rumble :o)

55 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rabidlittlehippy
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 18:45:27

    The concept of food forest gardens is so amazing isn’t it. To have pretties that imitate nature and feed our faces for minimum work just kind of appeals to me. I can’t imagine why. 😉 And as you say, permaculture is about working with what we have, not against it as traditional farming is wont to do. Rock in the way? Move it. traditional. Rock in the way? Turn it into a feature/seat/plant something in its shade and so on. Permaculture. You just can’t beat nature and it really is pointless to try. If we can work with us she becomes a valuable ally.

    As Paul Kelly sang, from little things, big things grow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXQf7zx968 A small, nearly insignificant change of a mere 15 minutes has wrought big changes and in fact it seems in most cases to be the only way to make big changes.

    Your spring rolls and stromboli sound and look delicious. I think a sourdough stromboli is on the cards. I’ve done a pint sized one but cut and baked as scrolls which always goes down well with the kids but a big one might appeal to all. 🙂

    As usual I love the photos, especially the ones of the madcap in flares. 😉 I’m off to plan a food forest garden. 🙂


    • LyndaD
      Apr 10, 2013 @ 22:24:41

      Sometimes those rocks can actually be litte heaters and create microclimates for winter crops. A big flat slate piece can be beautiful in a garden but also useful and it absorbs the heat of the day.


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 05:20:52

        Heat absorbtion. Brilliant! 😀

      • narf77
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:50:50

        Tyres do that as well 🙂

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:59:15

        Just watch the heavy metals in tyres. No go for spuds and other heavy metal absorbers. 😦

      • narf77
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 14:04:31

        Spuds just don’t grow here no matter what we plant them in. I thought I was a clever clogs and grew amazing spud plants in the compost but they came to nothing…lucky spuds are so cheap here in Tassie 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 12, 2013 @ 06:46:17

        Is your soil to acid? Had a random though of your spud problem last night and remembered the boys liming the field to reduce the high acidity in Edwardian Farm. I think spuds can still tolerate low acid soils but not high acid. Just a thought. 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:45:17

        We probably have a bit higher than usual BUT Tassie isn’t just known as the apple isle, its one of the primary spud growing regions as well so I guess that just makes me a lame assed spud farmer 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 12, 2013 @ 16:47:16

        I should laugh (but I am) as my spud harvest was pitiful to say the least. I’m going to whack them in my composting garden in the greenhouse and see if something won’t happen with the collection of seed potatoes I grew (cos only 2 could possibly be considered to be edible size and only just at that).

      • narf77
        Apr 12, 2013 @ 17:08:15

        lol! We suck righteously don’t we? I should be the most ashamed as I am supposed to know what I am doing! 4 years of horticulture should make me some kind of guru genius but I am more clueless than clever ;). I just LERVE spuds and now that I haven’t been eating them we have gone from 2 x 10kg sacks a fortnight to 1 x 10kg box a month! I wonder who was eating all the potatoes? Must have been Earl 😉

      • narf77
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:50:00

        Hi Lynda, we don’t have those gorgeous slate rocks, or granite, we have dolerite rock and LOTS of it. The ground on Serendipity Farm is littered with rocks and the soil is cram packed full of them. I know that they must have SOME benefits but for 2 penniless aging hippies all we can see at the moment is some hard slog in our immediate future ;). We are going to use some of them to create raised beds in our new large enclosed veggie garden. A friend just gave us a gate for the enclosure “Score!” and now we just have to prepare the area and get it ready for the hard slog bit. It gets cold here but we don’t get much frost as we are on a steep slope facing North and we are very close to a large body of water that keeps the temperature quite even here. I am looking forward to growing winter crops for the very first time this year. I cut my silverbeet back thinking it was spent but it has come back with a vengeance and appears to want to keep on keeping on. Only one of them has gone to seed and the rest are just happily growing. I have 4 pathetic kale plants that have really suffered and that the cabbage moths and slugs repeatedly harvest BUT I am going to plant more, surrounded by garlic! I am SURE those slugs are mini kale vampires! ;).

    • narf77
      Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:42:36

      Food forest garden ahoy! We are preparing the area that we are going to make our large fully enclosed veggie garden in soon. First we have to get ourselves some firewood from the back block and deal with the piles of branches etc. all over the place. We let our enclosed chooks (most of them) out today for the first time in ages. Ducky was SO happy! She started dibbling in the outside water bowl and making little contented noises and soon disappeared up to her fluffy bum in grass :). Big Yin and the 2 feral roosters came to an early agreement that they would agree to disagree and Yin pecked their hen and they pecked one of his, as if to say “nothing to see here…move on!” and they peeled off in separate directions and seem to be coexisting quite nicely at the moment. The fact that they are the equivalent of adolescents and Yin is the equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his hayday might have something to do with it ;). Yin postured around and crowed for about an hour and everyone has settled down to enjoy the new situation. I don’t know who that crazy woman was in the flares. We are thinking of putting another lock on the door as she obviously broke in when we were busy ;). I have been observing lots of things of late about the garden. Permaculture is all about observing and learning. Where I couldn’t be bothered to remove the last of the poor long suffering powdery mildew affected zuke plants, not only did they grow back, but they lost the mildew thanks to an invasion of mould ladybirds! I did bugger all and nature cleaned it up…next I noticed that I only have to water every couple of days now where the soil was SO parched before. Still no rain BUT the cooler temperatures seem to have stopped the evaporation out of the soil and the dew is back in the mornings. I hadn’t watered a compost heap that I had put a sprouting sweet potato into along with some spuds and when I put my hand into the mix of leaves and hay it was moist. I figure nature knows what she is doing. If we want something out of the equation, its up to us to work out how to “help” nature to facilitate it. Can’t wait to get our baby trees planted out :). I was thinking of that Paul Kelly song when I typed those words :). Those rocks are a bollocks by the way 😉 They might have some good solutions, BUT you have to manipulate them all the way round the dancefloor to get them to put out! 😉


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:57:32

        Our caterpillar problem has not resolved itself like your powdery mildew but there has been a positive come out of it – I am now able to pick the pack green buggers off albeit wearing gloves. I am getting there. 🙂 Our aphids on the self same long suffering and probably never going to sprout purple broccoli have sorted themselves out thought – the ladybug army is arriving in dribs and drabs but arriving they are. 😀 You’re right. Nature knows what she is doing and we can either help by letting her be and only assisting when the challenges are insurmountable (ie watering when there is a severe lack of precipitation) and otherwise sitting on our hands and letting her do what she has been doing for eons. 🙂
        Your Yin sounds like our Black Boy (he was one of the black dorking chicks) and apart from being the randiest rooster I have EVER seen, he packs size like a roided up Arnie, has the looks of George Clooney and the manners of Prince William (except when aforementioned randiness kicks in). 🙂 All I can say is that I feel IMMENSE pity for Honey our tiny little pekin bantam and the younger generation of roosters… 😦 Mine are free ranging today too. 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 11, 2013 @ 14:03:41

        I can hear the roosters crowing out there now! ;). Hopefully my lot remember that home is in the coop and we don’t have to run around like Benny Hill trying to get them all back into the coop this evening ;). We left a few of them with the babies in the outside enclosed area as there are 12 feral cats that would polish off the smaller chooks. The bigger girls are sassy and one of the kittens patted Pingu on the back of her leg today and she turned around and stared it down…no problemo with the bigger girls! ;). Yin would give Black Boy a go for his money with randiness. He populated Serendipity Farm all by himself and we had 50 chooks at one stage ;). We are thinking of reducing the size of our flock (giving some away) so that they can come out regularly as I miss them being happy (and their eggs!) maybe we might get a couple of eggs tomorrow! Sigh…we live in hope ;).

      • Linne
        Apr 16, 2013 @ 01:47:22

        I’d be looking at Earl and designing a small stoneboat, since you don’t have a sturdy pony in your stable yet . . . even a cart . . . think of the Belgian dog-carts for delivering mulk, etc. Ask Earl; vet ge’d love to pull his weight, so to speak.

      • narf77
        Apr 16, 2013 @ 03:36:00

        God only knows where anything that Earl pulled would end up Linne! Most probably in the same place that one of dads drunken mates brand new S.U.V. ended up after one of their late night brandy binges did…straight down the driveway, forgot to turn left or right (as you do) and they had to fish it out of the river the next morning…the only difference is that the SUV was still there in the morning…when Earl hit the water he would start swimming and by morning he would be closer to Jessie than to us! 😉

  2. brymnsons
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 19:47:47

    The spring rolls sound yum. I haven’t tried them in the oven. I had an email come in the other day and it was advertising an air fryer, wonder what that would be like? Not that we are big on deep frying, even shallow frying is a bare minimum. We had the left over chilli con carne with some potatoes, sour cream and avacado for tea last night. Yum! It was a good value brew, two evening meals and three lunches 🙂 I love your flare photos. Where they from the 70s?? Lol.


    • narf77
      Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:45:00

      “FLARES ARE COMING BACK”!!!! ;). Glad you liked that chilli and it stretched that far :). Just about everything you can fry, you can bake, dry, in the oven. If it is going to dry out, just put a lid on it or some foil. My girls actually water sauté their food now and you can’t tell the difference. I guess it’s all about what you are used to and we are old school and are used to using a bit of oil or butter. Steve is going to pull some spring rolls out of the freezer for tea tonight accompanied by some of that fried rice. Easy peasy tea and more free time for us 🙂


  3. LyndaD
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 22:21:23

    Thanks for the Spring Roll recipe. Cant wait to try it. Great Post, always interesting.


  4. Chica Andaluza
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 23:39:01

    I wibbled and wobbled (quite easy for me, being a larger lass)! Love the recipes and as I have had great success with the chili, will have to try one of these out soon. Love the idea of that 15km garage sale…pure heaven! We bought a second hand door today for 10 pounds so we’re happy campers too 🙂 Stunning shots of the river, very beautiful.


    • narf77
      Apr 11, 2013 @ 03:00:54

      It’s always good to be on the river side of the river, you get to see a whole lot of the embankment that you don’t see when walking the dogs from the road :). Kudos on the door for 10 pounds and that garage sale is coming up again soon so yours truly will be up early, armed with the trailer and with the well oiled moth eaten sock at the ready! 🙂 I have picked up some great things from the progressive garage sale as Tasmanians love new stuff SO much more than “old” stuff and tend to discard their better quality older products to make way for tinfoil cars and ready-to-break modern technology. So many bargains…so little time! 😉


  5. gardeningkiwi
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 06:47:05

    Hi Fran. I just wanted to say you are such an inspiration with your small change. It is amazing what you have achieved.
    Cheers sarah : o )


    • narf77
      Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:51:29

      Thank you Sarah…it really is true “from little things big things grow” and if I am NOT careful and go back to my old eating habits a most enormous thing will grow! ;).


  6. teawithhazel
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 07:31:19

    despite all your sage words it’s the riced the potato on top of the shepherd’s pie i’m mesmerised by..it looks so damned good..bye..i’m off to buy a ricer! x jane


  7. Littlesundog
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 12:25:57

    Fran, you absolutely cracked me up laughing tonight!! I love, love, LOVE your spin on life and living. Another great post, my friend. I can’t wait to try the recipes!!


  8. Sincerely, Emily
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:09:54

    Oh those cute furry faces! All those guitars (and banjo) and that Stromboli! I loved hearing what setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and moving your way into daylight savings gracefully, along with the other wonderful and amazing things it has changed for you. And lovin’ the flare pants (bell bottoms!) I planted two very small Jerusalem artichokes in my herb/flower gardens last summer – dug them from mom’s gardens (at the wrong time to dig) I am still waiting for them to come up. I have faith that they will as our weather becomes consistently warmer. It will be fun to hear how yours do. We have a neighborhood garage sale in June. Why they picked a HOT time of year is beyond me. Instead of having my own sale to get rid of stuff, I instead opt to go around and see what treasurers I can find. Can’t wait to see what you find this year.


    • narf77
      Apr 11, 2013 @ 13:55:19

      I keep pinching those artichokes (growing on the road verge so fair game 😉 ) and hopefully they grow. I planted a tray of them that I bought at a local supermarket when we lived in town at our home in town and they all grew like topsy. They grow thick in the front garden every year! I want that to happen here every year and for them to spread like topsy :). I hope we find something worth sharing with you all now that I have made it sound so good ;).


  9. Bread & Companatico
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 20:30:03

    love your stromboli. I would drool too if I had to see it live 🙂 ciao


  10. thinkingcowgirl
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 20:46:52

    What is a ricer?? It’s all new to me. Looks fantastic I bet the crunchy bits are divine. Interesting story of your transformation…what do you think brought it on, there must have been something working at a deeper level than a stubborness to beat daylight saving?! As I’ve got older the balance has tipped to having more time behind than in front and this is a great motivator for opting for a life which feels right ie: there’s not so much time left!

    The stromboli looks heavenly and has got me salivating…must go and eat my oat and buckwheat and banana and ricemilk porridge – not in the same league but lovely all the same.


  11. christiok
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 01:19:19

    First off, I must tell you what Annie said! Our middle daughter, the nurse, was here yesterday and she saw the picture on our fridge of you and Steve in your graduation garb. I said, “That’s Fran and Steve.” She looked closer and said — “Fran is really beautiful.” There you have it!! I TOLD YOU! And Annie is not one to lavish praise or say untruths. She’s an RN! So, with that, congratulations on your damning of the man and creating the glowing woman that so many of us love to hear from each week.

    Steve’s guitars are so lovely and diverse. And I just found the banjo! Took me a long time. Weird. It’s right there. lol

    I love the water main story. Steve really is a treasure. The story reminds me of when I left my first husband, the kids’ dad, in March, 1996, and moved into a little rental 10 minutes away. The faucet in the tub broke and I didn’t have a clue what to do, the water was still running and all three kids were with me, so I called my husband and he came right away and did what Steve did. I’ve learned to always know how to turn the water off. 🙂

    Your pictures continue to be a lovely complement to your stories and thoughts…this week’s food shots and instructions are keepers. Love from Olalla!


    • narf77
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 03:32:19

      Steve is thinking of writing a kids book called “Where’s Banjo” ;). Annie needs glasses Christi ;). The girls put off calling us because they thought that they were going to have to pay for it to be fixed but after a night and half a day without water they figured it was time to “fess up” and all it was, was a $15 tap that needed replacing ;). I wish we could get together in a communal kitchen and cook up a storm. Imagine how delicious a combined feast of our two inventive minds could cook up! We could cater for the whole neighbourhood…heavenly kefir bread spread with the best jam I have EVER tasted…that’s the God honest truth girl, your jam is seriously better than anything else I have tasted (heads above it 🙂 ) and Steve keeps volunteering to go down to check the mail to see if “his” jam is here yet :). We could make stromboli and pasta and spongecakes and trifles and so much food the neighbourhood would talk about it for years whilst patting their stomachs…our job there…would be done! :). Remember, get Annies eyes tested ASAP…you wouldn’t want her attempting to change the nappy on a bedpan now would you? 😉


  12. Sophie33
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 05:55:53

    Lovely pics, my friends! Your home-made stromboli looks fantastic, man! waw!!
    Ypu have more guitars then my husbnad & me! I have an acoustic one & an electric one, a white & blue & my husband has a bass guitar & an acoustic one!


  13. brymnsons
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 18:36:47

    I couldn’t get your link to open, but typed “potato ricer” into google and it came up with pictures and blurbs about it. Very interesting, might have to get me one of those and it would be healthier because you don’t have to mix in the milk and butter 🙂


    • narf77
      Apr 13, 2013 @ 04:00:36

      We still mix in butter and milk (and sour cream if we are being naughty for Steve 😉 ) but you have the option not to. What it does is make little rice-like chunklets that if you rice your spuds directly onto whatever it is that you want spud topped, they remain separate and get nice and crunchy and brown when you bake it…YUM and they make the best shepherd’s pie topping 🙂


  14. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 11:30:12

    Oh my, where has that stromboli been all my life? That is one gorgeous, glorious monster of a meal. I can’t believe I’ve never made, let alone tasted one before. Your inclusion of powdered tomato in the dough was simply inspired- I’m sure it added such wonderful flavor, in addition to the obvious eye-catching color. I even have some tomato powder stashed away somewhere, which I’ve been at a complete loss as to how to use. You just solved that problem!


    • narf77
      Apr 13, 2013 @ 11:40:43

      😉 Glad to share and feel free to spread the love around :). Steve loved the Stromboli and said “this tastes like a heavenly toasted ham, cheese, tomato and onion sandwich”…I guess I DID make a toastie for toasted sandwich week after all! 😉


  15. Africanaussie
    Apr 15, 2013 @ 08:10:16

    Thanks for finding my blog and leaving such a lovely message so I could find your blog in blogland. I just got a book out of the library that refers to an inkle loom! It is The Australian Weaving Book by Karen Madigan – it is worth having a look at, there are some lovely items woven out of scrap fabrics 🙂 I love the colour of your stromboli dough, and enjoyed perusing all your recipes. It seems you are vegan but your husband is omni? I try to cook a few vegetarian meals a week and look forward to some more recipes from you. I thought you always had plenty of rain in Tasmania.


    • narf77
      Apr 15, 2013 @ 08:26:38

      The rain thing is a common fallacy. We have long dry summers but plenty of rain in winter but Hobart is the second driest capital city in Australia (after Adelaide) apparently! I only found that out recently as well ;). I don’t come from Tassie and am a Western Australian import. Dad left us 2 houses over here and what’s a penniless student hippy to do but move where the opportunities are? I LOVE your blog :). I found you through 8 acres and completely love your ethos, your gorgeous garden (Steve and I just spent 4 years studying horticulture) and your crafty nature as well. I love finding more Aussies (African or otherwise 😉 ) to share with because we certainly live in a peculiar place and trying to adapt our endemic conditions to Northern gardening just results in frustration. Can’t wait to read your next post and am off to check out TALIS (our local library online) to see if I can’t get hold of a copy of that wonderful sounding book. Cheers for the heads up, the excellent blog and for another wonderful early morning read in my future :).


  16. Linne
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 00:40:05

    Slipper sock pattern here: http://www.simplicity.com/t-free-crochet-project-High-Top-Sneaker-Slippers.aspx

    Also see the mOst recent blog on my blogroll.

    LOVE the flares AND your kitchen is cool, too!

    Stromboli: my first thought: YUM!! My second thought: a filling of fruit, a bit of cornstarch or ??, honey/maple syrup/ rapadura/??, spice {Pear n candied ginger; apple n cinnamon n vanilla; peach, mango, blueberry n ??} = Stromboli dessert!! I’d pinch the ends and cut less deeply before baking.

    Blueboard = brilliant!!

    More later . . .


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 03:33:43

      Fruity Stromboli? Aside from sounding AMAZING (with pouring cream and custard…) it also sounds like something that robin would say to Batman ;)… “Great fruity Stromboli Batman!” ;). LOVE the slipper pattern but I bet they look decidedly different when I try to make them…”comical crochet”…thinking about starting a new crafting blog…like the name? 😉


  17. Linne
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 02:07:54

    The Inkle Loom: do not discard!! They are super easy to use and you create long strips on them. Good for guitar straps, belts, etc. Or sew them together to make bags and all that. If you want to make fabric, though, I recommend a floor loom, small if space doesn’t permit a larger one. I only have a table loom (on loan to friends for lack of space); Mum has the same model on a stand with treadles, which makes the weaving go much faster. Her big looms are in pieces (lack of space again).

    For future reference, research Navajo weaving. Loom is hung from a branch or beam. Or there are smaller upright looms (I have one of those, too, in Vernon, BC). They are the same in principle as Navajo looms and Steve could easily make one.


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2013 @ 03:39:34

      My gran got my carpenter grandad to make my sister and I small looms when we were girls. I guessed that the Inkle loom would be great for guitar straps and knowing someone with 13 guitars I figured that $5 was a bargain and would constitute cheap and most interesting prospective straps BUT I never got around to finding out how to use it ;). I had a spinning wheel that sat in the corner looking “decorative” and that the spiders did more spinning than I ever did and I gave it away. My ethos is that if you aren’t going to use it, find someone who is and give it to them :). I want to give the inkle loom a chance to at least deliver “one” guitar strap before it wends its way to another home 🙂


  18. Dan Riegler
    Apr 27, 2013 @ 07:25:09

    Wow! Encouraging! All that change from one defiant little step!! Makes ne want to give it a whiz with my list of bad habits!! Thanks for the good read.
    Wishing you abundance in your garden.
    And honestly,, do keep an eye on those Jerusalem Artichokes!! Delicious as they are,
    And as big as your garden may be, they don’t call them “chokes” for nothing.


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