Forget the fast lane…we live Life on the fringes

Hi All,

I am living a curious life at the moment. Getting up at 2am most days puts me into a strange bracket of insomniacs and shift workers but I am here by choice. I get 5 hours to myself in the quiet of the early morning and my mind works amazingly well at this time of day. The downside is that I am going to bed at 7.30pm. I do, however, sleep the sleep of the dead now and good luck trying to wake me before 2am unless you are a large dog trying to navigate the tangle of bodies in our bed and you have an amazing ability to hone in on my stomach each and every time…I get to listen to entire albums via YouTube…several of them each morning and I get to clear out my 100+ posts by 6am and get time to stoke Brunhilda, get the kettle boiling, twiddle my thumbs in glorious, luxurious blissful solitude and contemplate the day ahead.


This discoloured badly gestetnered piece of paper from 43 years ago contains my one claim to scholastic fame. I…along with my cousin Helen, in grade 2 got top of the class for some reason or other. Probably turning up every day, but Steve found this on FB from my old school and I am wielding it aloft like my own personal little Excalibur to prove that back in 1970 I sure knew how to rock a classroom!


This little Rhododendron was almost dead last year when we pulled all of the blackberries out of it and freed it up. It is rewarding us by flowering all over the place 🙂 “You are welcome little Rhodo :)”

Saturday is a busy one now. I recently decided to make Saturday “cleaning day” and while I was organising, I thought…let’s make it baking day as well. I will make my vat of soup de jour on Saturdays and then I get Sunday as a bonus free day, a real “weekend” day where I can choose what I want to do. The weather is getting colder here in Tasmania although the days are lovely with blue skies and a crisp urgency about them that makes you throw yourself into whatever it is that you are doing outside in the first place. My own personal urgency involves wanting to get our food forest initiated and that involves a lot of background planning. How big do they grow? How much room do they need? Do you need 2 of them for fruit/nut set? Do they prefer the company of specific other plants? How to create guilds…prevent the natives from scarfing them whole…keep the moisture in the soil around them…make them somewhat self-sufficient over the long hot summer…lots and lots of planning to ensure that these little babies get the best chance to grow, fruit and keep on doing so for years to come.


This is how you make narf7 happy…you let her take cuttings from your prize chilli tree, your peppino’s and your pineapple sage :). “Cheers Jen…and sorry I didn’t have today’s post ready at 7.30am when you texted… ;)”


Here’s some parsley plants and lots of leeks that Jenny gave us to plant in our veggie garden. “Cheers Jen they love Serendipity Farm :)”

Autumn also makes me want to cook more. Brunhilda is on most of the time and so her basking warmth is available whenever I want to cook whatever I want. What a luxury! I can simmer beans on her cooktop for hours on end and can dry things out in her warming ovens. I can use the proofing shelf that Steve built over her to warm and to ferment and to raise bread. Autumn is a reminder to get used to living indoors more. There are also lots of apples and pears everywhere in Tasmania at the moment. We have a large orchard up the road from us and I buy 4kg bags of apples for $4 and apples and pears are now my fruit of choice. Fresh ripe pears are heavenly and I have visions of almond based tart pastry layered with rich custard and layered with toffee pears… I could care less about cooking in summer but autumn reignites that passion inside me and curiously, we in the South and our Northern based friends tend to be eating similar food…crossover food I call it. Soon they will be eating and posting about salads and ice-cream and I will be thinking soups, stews, and casseroles and will only be thinking of ice-cream as something to adorn something delicious, sweet and hot from the oven.


Earl distracting me by trying to eat the duster while Bezial helps himself to the treat that I was using to get them to behave for this shot…sigh…

I am thinking of picketing the local electricity providers office in Launceston. I don’t usually do anything like this unless I am well miffed. I am well miffed. Today I woke up and rolled over and took a peek under my hot water bottle cover. Not something most people would do early in the morning but my hot water bottle cover doesn’t contain a hot water bottle, rather it sits over our overly bright alarm clock L.E.D. display and should one want to see what time it is, one surreptitiously lifts the corner to take a peek and as I am the only “one” who cares less what time it is when it is dark it was “me” doing the surreptitious lifting this morning. After blearily ascertaining that it was indeed 3.30am I turned off the alarm (set for 4am, wouldn’t want to sleep in…) and grabbed my clothes that I set out ready to be clutched in the dark and headed out to where Brunhilda was waiting for me to reignite her smouldering embers.

Steve took this gorgeous shot. Autumn is the bomb in Deviot :)

Steve took this gorgeous shot. Autumn is the bomb in Deviot 🙂

I got out to the kitchen and turned on the middle light. We have so many lights in the kitchen/living room area that we could have a disco should one of us decide to turn them all on and off at varying intervals and the other one gyrate maniacally. A bit of a sad disco to be sure but “whatchagonnadoeh?” When there are only 2 of you, you do what you do! After turning on the light I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe my eyes when I read “1.30am”…”1.30am? NO!”…I then checked the mobile phone and sure enough it was 1.30am! Mobile phones apparently don’t like where kitchen clocks are prone to it and bedroom alarm clocks are positively pathological about bending the truth! What happened?! What happened was a cold spell that resulted in hail storms yesterday, a government hell bent on propping up its arm of the electricity company that it holds a major shareholding interest in by pushing electric methods of heating your home, cooking your food etc. as “clean and green” and everyone deciding to use their reverse cycle air conditioners and heat pumps at once in Launceston with little regard to those of us out in the country who end up copping the brown outs that result from a spike in power use…sigh…


Another lovely shot taken whilst walking the dogs today in Deviot

Next time I am in Launceston I am going to be picketing the office. I will have a suitably vague placard (my motto is “make them work for it!”) saying something like “I Don’t Like Brown” or “Aurora hates Narf7” and will most probably be carted off for not applying for a permit to protest or because Aurora twitches whenever anyone stands outside their “clean green energy” office for more than 5 minutes because people might question why there is someone protesting and Tasmanian’s love to stand in queues…they are used to bad service. That’s how these companies have gotten away with substandard service for all of these years…the natives have been bred to just “accept”…well not THIS little black duck! “Placards for all and brown-outs for none!” Would YOU vote for me? There isn’t anyone else to choose from! I might even get into office in the coming elections purely because I was the only candidate that no-one had ever heard of! 😉 Might be onto a winner there! At least 4 years in office with a pollies salary doing sweet bugger all would get us a heck of a lot paid for on Serendipity Farm…heck…we could have a wind farm with what those lazy buggers earn! 😉


This is what happens when you tell a dog to go straight to his master…sigh…


A selection of cos lettuce, other lettuce and silver beet that Jenny gave us along with the Parsley, leeks and cuttings. Get picking out those tiles girl! 🙂

So here narf7 sits at 3.43. She has been up since 1.30. Has had her first cup of tea and is already contemplating her second and will soon be contemplating her navel as she is just about to run out of RSS Feed Reads to read and Bezial assumed her warm spot in the bed back at 1.30 when she stupidly chose to believe the bedroom alarm (FOOL ME ONCE!) and he took the chance to warm his hide 3 hours earlier than usual…sigh…oh well…let’s see what I can think up here…I am ever resourceful and “bored” isn’t a word that you are EVER going to hear come out of this narfs mouth. I have a copy of “Enjoy – new veg” by Nadine Abensur that I took out of the library recently. An amazing tome of gorgeous vegetarian Middle Eastern cookery and something that I am taking brief moments of my day to type out over the next 3 weeks. I might get to type out a few more recipes. I might stick on the headphones and watch a few “The Actor’s Studio” episodes from some of the greats. I watched Robert De Niro and Al Pacino’s sterling efforts the other day and am thinking about Robert Downy Jr. Anyone else think that he is gorgeousness personified?


A goat that we saw on our walk today. This one’s for Christi 🙂

What else could I do? I could bake some biscuits. Not the “biscuits” that you Americans call our scones but the biscuits that you Americans call “cookies”. I completely forgot to make any for our friend Jennies partner Glen. I want to thank him for allowing Steve to get a load of wood from their 50 acre property out in the sticks. The pile of steel on the property has his name on it but he seems to want to leave it where it is (too late Glen, we moved it! 😉 ). I will be setting up Jennie’s phone to receive regular updates from Serendipity Farm in the near future. She can lay in bed at 1.30 as the consummate insomniac that she is and can commiserate with me for my brown out rude awakenings. What else can I do? Well I can have breakfast…I can go hunting online for solutions to the world and Serendipity Farms problems…I can read a book…I can put some more wood on Brunhilda and stand in front of her and bask in the luxury that is our simple life here on Serendipity Farm and I can just enjoy being me right here right now :o)


Here I am feeding another goat some forbidden grass…this goat was chained to a tyre…good idea for Earl…where do we get tractor tyres? 😉

Here’s something to force a page break on this post. Even though this is Vimeo, and I would rather eat my own foot than wait for it to load, here I am both linking to a short animated video AND nibbling my extremities…I think I need to share this with you all…it’s wonderful :o)…

And THAT is why I own a dog :o). His name is Bezial…they haven’t been brave enough to make an animation about Earl yet…aside from borrowing “Earl” from Rocko’s Modern Life as a close approximation (I would be the “Mrs Bighead” in that equation 😉 ) I can’t think of another dog that would do him justice! Refreshed after that little break? If not…you should actually “watch” it…it really is good, short, animated, has a message AND a very catchy little song that runs through it in Italian so you can pretend that you are one of the hipsters while you watch it…


This is a HUGE Granny Smith apple that was inside the Heritage Apple and Pear orchard in Deviot. The fruit is free to anyone who would like it…this one was delicious 😉

That’s better :o) wouldn’t it be great if life came with little interludes like that at regular intervals? You could just wait out whatever calamitous thing was happening in your life at any given time, whatever was weighing heavy and pendulous on your thought processes because you would know that at precisely an hour and 45 minutes into the calamity, a nice little interlude would come along and break up the stress and give you a breather from the situation and from yourself. There are plenty of little interludes folks, you just have to go hunt for them and take advantage of them and actually look outside yourself occasionally and “notice” them. Most of them are short, simple and to the point and will do you almost as much good as a good laugh will :o)


Before any of you say ANYTHING rude…this is a lovely little first of autumn mushroom that I fell in love with today 🙂

I just had another double take moment whilst perusing and saving recipes from my (now) 392 RSS Feed Read blogs… to be fair, they aren’t all food blogs but about 75% of them are and I actually have blogs that I can’t even read sent to me. I like to challenge my mind and I head off to Google Translate for a wonderful recipe and a good laugh. I saw the latest offering from “Cake time”, a wonderful Polish food blog that I follow and immediately wanted to know what the orange sweet curd like layer was that was sandwiching together some lovely looking sponge. I headed over to my old mate “Google” and whacked in the unfathomable recipe (no…I haven’t yet gotten around to grasping the basic premise of the Polish vernacular. That’s next on my list…) to be utterly surprised by this… Here is the name of the cake…

Ciasto kubusiowe

You got that folks? Here is the translation…

“Pooh Cake”…hmm…appetising? Did I just find out what that “orange” layer REALLY WAS! I read further (one eye between my index and middle finger with my face covered just in case…) to find that the blog author was talking about “Pooh” in respect to “Mr Winnie The” himself! A greater sigh of relief at 5.12am I doubt you are going to hear folks! Feel free to head over to Cake Time and marvel at that gorgeous orange layer to your heart’s content…knock yourselves out! Hey…what the heck…why don’t you whack the recipe into Google Translate if you have a few minutes to spare, you might end up with a great recipe and a good laugh to boot. You don’t get those opportunities every day folks 😉


I decided to take a photo of the outside of the Apple and Pear orchard. This is what gave us our idea to fully enclose our veggie garden. Our garden will be bigger than this.

I am back listening to early morning music again. It’s either that, or “Chicken” and “Stock” will have me outside barefoot in the moonlight cashing in my vegan ticket whilst tearing their heads off with my bare vegan hands…yes folks…music is vegan diazepam. Today I am listening to Ben Folds latest gorgeous offering. “Gorgeous” might not be the right word…quirky, manic, and poignant and simply “right”…if you can get hold of “The sound of the life of the mind” do yourselves a favour and grab a pair of headphones…let the rooster’s crow, who cares! You won’t hear them 😉 he is one of those incredibly talented people whose sum is SO much more than its separated components. I dare say there are 4 ex-wives out there that would LOVE to separate Ben Folds into his relevant components but for now he is still whole and producing the most incredibly heartfelt and honest lyrics I have heard in ages.


One of the best things about autumn is the plethora of gorgeous fungi that spring up overnight and disappear just as fast…narf7 is a fungi nut and doesn’t care who knows it! 🙂

If you are game here’s a great song I particularly love from the reformed Ben Fold’s 5 album… “Draw a Crowd” please note there are parts of this song that might offend some of you (but I doubt it 😉 ) be warned folks! 😉

Is it just me or does Conan Obrien look like Gumby?! I listened twice and now am being knocked sideways by the incredible voice of Ellie Goulding an amazingly ethereal singer from the U.K. Check out “Hanging on” from her sterling album “Halcyon”


When we have treats we have amazingly well behaved dogs…as soon as the treats are guzzled, they are back to ignoring us, pulling like tractors and dragging us down the road


The blackmailing hens won 😦 There are 9 eggs here. This was 9 weeks worth of eggs for 5 months till we conceded and started to let them out to wreak havoc on our garden again…now we get this many eggs in 2 days. I guess them’s the breaks folks! Chickens 1 narf7 nil 😦

Amazing isn’t she? Reminds me of an elven Sarah McLachlan. Music transcends so many things and I am a real believer that what you put into yourself, is what you become. Listen to wonderful lyrics, immerse your inner “you” with beautiful, poignant, real, heartfelt music, eat gorgeous things and balance them out with food for your body and soul. Don’t put anything inside you, by choice, that you wouldn’t give to your children and remember, when life is busy sucking, which it tends to do at least once on a daily basis for most people, these little moments of pure pleasure, of complete satisfaction and of comforting soul uplifting are what is going to get you through those abject moments of irritation and pain. Life is constantly trying to balance itself out…to reach its own nirvana…nature does it in cycles and we are part of that cycle whether we think we have made it to the top of the heap or not and if we listen to the small beautiful moments, if we seek out and fill our minds and our bodies and our souls and our spirits with amazement and happiness and pure unadultered pleasure we are balancing our lives and giving ourselves inner strength. See what spills out of me after a few stanzas of Ellie Goulding? 😉 Here are a few pictures I had handed to me in an early morning post this morning. I love this blog AND it’s an Aussie blog! Ever felt like packing everything up and buggering off? ;)…


“WOO-HOO!” Guess where we will be next Saturday! We have a race with our neighbours around the circuit and try to best them every year. So far its 1 all… its up to Serendipity Farm to pull off a blinder of a bargain this year…wish us luck!

See you on Wednesday folks. Next Saturday it’s my entry for The Virtual Vegan Potluck so if you open your post and think “we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto!” you would be right! But it’s only for 1 post guys…humour me 😉

23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    May 04, 2013 @ 18:46:26

    Cheeky chooks! They sure showed you guys eh. I wish I could be there for the progressive garage sale 😦 I miss puddling through peoples goodies and the thrill of a bargain. Have fun, I hope you find THE bargain of the day 🙂 I liked the Ellie Goulding clip. She sure has a lovely voice.


    • narf77
      May 05, 2013 @ 03:59:44

      Yes she did and KUDOS to you Kymmy on being probably the only one of my dear constant readers who bothered to go to any of the links. Did you watch the Vimeo link? It was lovely 🙂 A dog cooked dinner for his depressed lonely master. Made me smile a lot and the music was scrumptious 🙂 I will take lots of photos of the garage sale for you and will make a post specifically about it (next Wednesdays to be specific) just for you 🙂


  2. Littlesundog
    May 05, 2013 @ 04:13:42

    Oh Fran, I just love your posts… inspiring and so heart-felt! I especially loved the second-to-last BIG paragraph! That was just what I needed to hear this morning. The past two days I’ve been dealing with a horrible skin irritation all over my legs and it seems to be spreading. Just a few minutes ago FD and a friend of ours confirmed it to be poison ivy. While I’m not too keen on acquiring poison ivy, your lovely words had me thinking in a better light. There IS balance to life. I am healthy and I nourish my body with good things (most of the time!) and this experience has prompted me to make the best of it… and to assist my body in healing.

    I loved the Ellie Goulding clip. I listened to a few other songs by her… she has a very unusual voice, and sings quite beautifully.

    Drat! I would love to attend a garage sale! I love repurposing and giving a second home to unwanted and discarded items! It’s like a giant treasure hunt!


    • narf77
      May 05, 2013 @ 04:28:01

      Sorry to hear about your poison ivy :(. I hope it clears up soon. I am going to share that Garage Sale in next wednesdays post so you aren’t technically going to miss out and can share it vicariously :). So glad you got something out of that last paragraph, I was wafting and waxing lyrical after listening to Ellie Goulding. That’s what happens when you put beautiful things in your mind, heart and soul, you can’t help but feel lovely on the inside :).


  3. LyndaD
    May 05, 2013 @ 23:18:12

    I watched links, do i get a gold star too!!! Beautiful falsetto – Ellie is a new artist for me, thank you. I really like Mary Black – have you heard of her. Her Song for Ireland is amazing. Hey, i know two people who spent the afternoon in David Holmgren’s Melliodora 2 acre food forest in Hepburn Springs!. Wonder who that was? Wouldnt be Jessie (kidless no less) and Moi. I have two hrs of voice recording on my phone. Poor David must have thought i was stalking him as i was about one foot away from him the whole time. It was so informative i think it will take a while to process.


  4. christiok
    May 05, 2013 @ 23:40:39

    I am tickled pink that you think of me when you see a goat, Fran! And that is indeed a fine goat you saw, basking in the sun. Look at that cute face! What is it about goats that I instantly want to kiss them?

    Our seasonal crossover — similar weather in N. and S. hemis — is coming to an end fast. We are 50F/10C this morning! That’s toasty for us. And yesterday it got to 80F/27C! It’ll get cool again, but for the first time this year, we took off our hats. 28C=82F (the only Celsius to Fahrenheit trick I know)

    Austin is here for the summer, so we are 3 around here and I’m getting up early now, too, to get that solitary time and my computer time. I always get up early to write, but now I’m up early to read. 🙂

    And BE. With the dog.
    Hugs from Olalla.


    • narf77
      May 06, 2013 @ 04:07:45

      Did that reply go to you? I clicked it and it seemed to go too fast…if it didn’t have a great day in your lovely warm temperatures, we seem to have picked up where you left off and it would appear that Tassie is going to have one of the coldest winters on record after a hottest on record summer. Hugs right back attcha and “Hi” to Austin, maestro of the “Flea” 🙂


      • christiok
        May 06, 2013 @ 05:06:04

        This is the only reply, the one that asks if the reply went to me, so perhaps there was one that was eaten by the Internet. It requires sacrifices from time to time. 🙂 Thanks for the cheers and it is noon here on Sunday with blazing sun. The deck plan is further along — much male assessing and discussing, which is lovely to watch — and it has grown, of course. Keep bundled up and cooking, even though Steve is “just one man.” My favorite line of all time. 🙂

      • narf77
        May 06, 2013 @ 05:14:32

        How hilarious! Bezial just ran outside to bark at something that doesn’t exist just as I opened your post…perhaps he is saying “Hi” from freezing Sidmouth to you there in sunny Olalla ;). I made custard cream biscuits, chocolate sandwiched Kingston biscuits and a sourdough chocolate cake was retrieved from the freezer and sandwiched together with your gorgeous jam (still eking it out 😉 ) and topped with rich chocolate buttercream. Steve is slowly working his way through it all…by next summer he might have gained a kilo! 😉

  5. LyndaD
    May 06, 2013 @ 10:03:06

    Hey, how come i dont get a reply?? Feeling left out.


    • narf77
      May 06, 2013 @ 10:16:27

      Hi Lynda, because you are on Blogger, I can’t see your replies unless I trawl posts to see them. I have almost 400 blogs in my RSS Feed Reader and tend not to revisit posts. I can see anything that you post here on my site so feel free to reply here :). The very worst thing about Blogger is that we poor Word pressers have to jump through horrific hoops just to post a comment to you. Have you ever filled in one of those STUPID catchpha things?!!! I find I have to click the “re-do” button at least 5 times before I can read the stupid font to type out the letters…lots of kerfuffle just to be a dear constant reader and make a comment. Anyhoo…hopefully that enlightens you as to why I don’t reply to comments that you make as replies to my comment…I get notification in my RSS Feed Reader when you post and I will multi-task next time and go to your back posts and check ;).


  6. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    May 07, 2013 @ 00:20:43

    Speaking of Robert Downey, Jr., we just saw the new Iron Man last night, in 3D. Also love Robert De Niro. I’m pretty sure I saw Al Pacino sitting on a bench in Central Park one time when we were in NY. I hope our pear tree does well this year. We lost our big one due to heavy winds. The electric company has always been my Moriarty. Since you are a day ahead, we will be driving towards our anniversary vacation while you are at your garage sale.


  7. brymnsons
    May 08, 2013 @ 14:06:03

    I think Robert Downey Jr is delish!


    • narf77
      May 09, 2013 @ 03:14:45

      Me too Kymmy! 😉 So does my daughter Madeline…there is something about a bad boy isn’t there and those big brown eyes… 😉


  8. Dan Riegler
    May 09, 2013 @ 05:28:50

    Hey. I would vote for you. Fungophiles unite.
    Not only do you have blackberries everywhere, mountain pepper and single malt whisky, you got lotsa cool mushrooms!! What am i doing here? Must be the violets and Wild Ginger.
    Thanks for the very entertaining post!!


    • narf77
      May 09, 2013 @ 05:31:09

      😉 The mushies are few and far between this year. It would seem like Serendipity Farm is entering a bit of a dry phase…not to “phase” me! I will be planting out more arid food plants! Best to stay positive 😉


  9. Allotment adventures with Jean
    May 26, 2013 @ 06:17:25

    This is a lovely post Fran. I’m not sure what part to reply to first. I love your Brunhilda. Lovely company for you during those quiet hours when everybody else is asleep and it’s the middle of the night!!
    I loved the link to the doggie who cooked dinner for his master. So cute.
    Now I know how you make the time to do your long posts and keep up with all your RSS feeds. You don’t sleep! LOL
    Nearly forgot. I know what you mean about posting a comment on Blogger. I give up sometimes too which is very frustrating after you have prepared a very witty (I think!) comment and you spend five minutes trying to send the damn thing. Sigh.


    • narf77
      May 26, 2013 @ 06:22:49

      FINALLY someone else who agrees with me about Blogger! The world is full of smug bloggers who don’t have to go through what we poor WordPressers have to jump through just to comment. A bit like not owning anything by Apple and feeling left out of the loop ;). Glad you liked my post and I do sleep, just from 7pm onwards ;). I loved that dog video and just had to share it and I am glad you liked it 🙂


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