Where there’s muck, there’s brass

Hi All,

Have you ever listened to roosters till the novelty wears off? I do it on a daily basis. I have come to the conclusion that roosters are just like bagpipes. The similarities are actually quite startling. They are both bags that when inflated and squeezed (the pipes are man squeezed, the roosters are self-motivated…) they make a noise. The “noise” that emits from them could, initially, by some romantic person living 3 blocks away, be seen as entertaining for approximately 5 minutes before the novelty wears off and the repeated inhales and exhales punctuated by a raucous droning sound become unbearable. I have the dubious luxury of being situated directly above where our 2 feral roosters roost at night. We know that they roost there because aside from the loud inhales and exhales that can start anywhere from 1am onwards, we have discovered a large pile of nitrogenous fertiliser on a tall pile of firewood under the deck that coincides with the rough approximation about 2 metres above said pile of fertiliser that narf7 sits above as she taps away here to her dear constant readers…that would be you!


Here we have the two feral roosters that I talk about in this post. I have officially named them “Ralph” and “Hewie”. Their female counterpart who tends to hide a lot has been named “Elvira”. That interesting metal thing to the left of Ralph (the dark rooster with the rose comb) is my prospective still/rocket stove. I have yet to work out how to make it but for now, prospective is good enough for me!


This is not a rooster. It is a duck. You would think that a duck wouldn’t have the bagpipe lungs of a rooster but you would be wrong. A duck can use her lungs to great advantage when she wants to and this one wants to every 10 minutes.

Roosters are windbags. They are solely there to make a lot of noise and to repopulate the earth with mindless hens. The hens are mindless BUT they have enough primal cunning built in to allow them to hunker down and stay shtum once they spot more than 3 eggs in a nest…they remain hunkered for 3 weeks when they emerge triumphant leading a bewildered and bedraggled selection of fluff balls out of hiding and straight into the jaws of the starving feral cats…roosters are SUPPOSED to be protectors of the flock. In our experience, they are the first to run and hide up a tree and crow from a nice safe distance once they have covered their own furry derrières. If a mindless hen spots ANYTHING out of the ordinary…say a human standing in an area that they weren’t standing in 10 minutes ago…they will send out an alarm cluck…this cluck will be passed on with exponentially increasing degrees of alarm and clucking, much like the ubiquitous Chinese Whispers game, until all roosters are crowing maniacally, all hens are clucking in unison and the alarmee is supposed to flee in mortal terror at the sheer amount of noise going on.


If you look carefully you will see the quack-bag herself hiding behind this snapdragon that self seeds every year from goodness only knows where.


Myrtus communis…a Mediterranean fruit that tastes somewhat foul on it’s own but that enterprising Greeks have managed to turn into some form of potent (lethal) alcohol that they imbibe on a regular basis…you have to love the Greeks…they certainly know how to take a difficult situation and make it rock!

I read a lot of blogs folks…a LOT of blogs. Some of them deal with life on farms and smallholdings and no matter how many times you read about the keeping of hens, and what a pain in the derrière they can actually be, there is a propensity for “regular folk” (that’s you lot, living in cities and big towns) to wear rose coloured glasses whenever you think about fluffy bottomed chooks clucking quietly and pecking delicately around your back yards in a romantic countrified way. The reality is that chooks are the equivalent of Somalian pirates. They rob from the rich (supposedly “us”) and they give to themselves. They navigate Serendipity Farm with stealth and cunning that leaves us alarmed, bewildered and afraid for our lives. We managed to coral them into an enclosure for 5 months and the resulting garden happiness was directly correlated to a decided lack of the ovarian orbs that make keeping chooks worth it. We might not have had chicks popping out from all over the place but we also didn’t have any eggs. What’s a smart person to do? Give in to the pirates that’s what!


One of the “things” that have been keeping us busy on Serendipity Farm. Our crazy hippy friend down the road wants us to drink rainwater…we don’t have a say in it apparently, we HAVE to be drinking rainwater so he has given us a permanent loan of this 600 litre rainwater tank…I wonder if he will let us paint it blue to match the gas hot water heater (that is full of spiders as it gets turned off for most of the year while Brunhilda is pumping out her delicious heat…)


Another one of the things that has been keeping us busy for the last few days. Steve headed out bush to get a load of wood with a mate on Sunday and this is the resulting haul. He will be heading out again for more wood sometime soon so thanks to his wonderful mum Kaye, whose property they are plundering for firewood, narf7 and Stevie-boy should make it through winter without turning into human popsicles

We are already finding nests in far flung well hidden places. I can only image how this is going to end and I have a VERY good imagination. When we bought our initial 8 chooks from an unscrupulous (read desperate) woman at a local market she insisted that they were all hens. I now know that this poor woman was desperate to offload at least one of her windbag roosters to some poor newbies with rose coloured glasses and visions of gorgeous fluffies assisting them with their permaculture ideals. I have since discovered that this poor woman’s flock have gone over to the dark side. No longer working FOR her, they have taken over her entire property and are festering malcontent all over the place. She has no control over them anymore. They live out of the lovely high-rise coop that her husband made for her back when she was a wide eyed newbie (not all that long before I myself came into the picture…) and they live in the trees and on the surrounding neighbour’s properties. There are so many roosters that have gone feral that there is no chance of stopping this maniacal hen invasion and the only option is to plead insanity…Allison…I no longer hold you responsible for your actions when you slipped Big Yin into my initial 8. I would do exactly the same thing. Desperation breeds craziness…a yard full of chook poo, no eggs, 40 000 chicks and 20 feral roosters all crowing directly under your window at 2am is going to render you somewhat crazy no matter how stoic and resilient you are. And still my dear constant readers will smile knowingly and will muse internally about the delights of keeping chooks. That’s how they get you folks…be afraid…be VERY afraid…


I have been given permission to share a few of Steve’s more creative endeavours with you…


I like to call this one “Serendipity Farm as a Christmas Bauble”…

I have been invited up to a neighbours for “morning tea”. I am a hermit. I have forgotten the niceties of social graces. I eat cake with my hands and tea from the ceramic equivalent of a bucket. I don’t have to worry about slurping or where my pinkie finger ends up or how to make small talk because Steve could care less about any of it. We talk about what our lecturer is going to do when he sees some of our “creative” photography and how we are going to be able to amend our creativity once he does. We talk about rain, and we talk about digging holes and how to deal with feral cats. I have NO idea how to talk to real people. These people, an older couple from Western Australia, my home state, are very nice. They live in a lovely old homestead with a gorgeous cottage garden in a completely walled property with gorgeous deciduous trees and three lovely miniature schnauzers. The only thing that we have in common with them is a love of gardens and a propensity to visit the husband’s place of work, he manages a bottle shop.


I bought this ice-cream maker years ago from a market stall at the Evandale Markets. I paid $10 for it and have hardly ever used it. I would like to draw your attention TO the delicious chocolate ice-cream that is being churned in the ice-cream maker and AWAY from the dribbled chocolate creamy custard that narf7 dribbled onto the ice-cream maker and that Steve wouldn’t let me clear off before the shot was taken because I might melt the ice in the machine…sigh…


Aside from the chocolate deliciousness in the ice-cream we chopped up some Cadbury’s dream finger biscuits and an entire crunchy bar to add. Steve is hovering around the freezer just waiting till he has eaten tonight’s Cornish pasty and spicy homemade oven wedges till he can serve himself a HUGE bowl of it. There are a lot of benefits to having a vegan wife…consider this as being one of them ;).

By the way, if anyone would like to try the truly innovative recipe for homemade chocolate ice-cream that doesn’t require eggs and is loosely based on David Lebowitz’s recipe, you can go to my food porn heaven site at Food 52 and find it here… http://food52.com/recipes/5872-naked-chocolate-ice-cream-for-lovers

Being “me” I have tried to think about the angles of this “visit”. Steve has been let off the hook (the lucky bollocks) because someone has to stay here because today is the day when the electricity metre reading man turns up and we had to promise to be here and contain our dogs because he took one look at them 5 months ago and refused to read the meter even though they were completely enclosed at least 10 metres away from where he would be reading said metre. We now have the honour of being able to read our own metre 3 times in a row and only having to lock up our dogs once every 4 months for a day till the metre reader has been. Today IS that day so Steve is off the hook. I, however, am not. A social butterfly I am not. A bewildered narf7 I am! I made a cake. I made it last night out of whatever I could cobble together that I figured would taste good and that I could eat a thin sliver of. I made it vegan and I made it chocolate and I made it with tofu and I used this recipe…


I then decided to top it with a couple of jars of homemade coconut oil (that I almost blew my food processor motor out on trying to make), some date puree and some cinnamon to replicate a caramel topping. I ended up with something more akin to a caramel marzipan but it tasted delicious so I went with it. I formed it into a round on top of the cake and patted it neatly into a disc that fit the top of the cake nicely. I used a bit of Christi’s Farmlet jam, the BEST JAM IN THE WORLD to put in the centre of the cake and the end result looked both presentable and tasty, who could ask for more?


Today is Bezial’s day on the blog. He is tired of Earl getting the centre stage and told me in NO uncertain terms that it will be a dog day afternoon if I don’t do something to redress the imbalance so here is a profile picture of Bezial (showing his good side apparently…)


He will magnanimously allow this shot of Earl and would like to point out that battle scar that he, personally, inflicted on Earl making him the superior beast on the block. He doesn’t want me to tell you that this wound was inflicted while they were both rolling around playing on the floor…that would NEVER do 😉

I will hold this cake aloft like Excalibur along with a bottle of my non-dairy milk. I would hate for anyone to feel put out by my personal choice to exclude animal products from my diet. I hate a fuss being made and as I am already at a social disadvantage, I don’t want to add “crazy health nut lady” to my exponentially growing list of “crazies”. Steve and I keep to ourselves. We have, on occasion, visited with Glad next door. Glad is lovely. She is 90 years old, tough as old nails, calls a spade a spade and is ANYTHING but “old”. She also could care less what we wear and seems to like us. Frank and Adrian, our long suffering neighbours to the left seem to have gotten used to living next door to ferals. Feral cats, feral roosters, feral chooks and feral neighbours…they sigh but seem resigned to their fate. We never see Noel, our ex pilot neighbour who lives behind Frank and we don’t talk about our neighbours directly to the rear but needless to say, if “feudin’” were to be part of life on Serendipity Farm, we would pick these neighbours to start with…


Here you see yet ANOTHER reason why we have been busier than beavers around here on Serendipity Farm. We saw a note stuck in our gate latch the other day saying “ring this number to get some more horse manure”…we phoned and were told that we could have a mountain of aged horse manure from a gentleman’s property because the person who was supposed to be taking it, didn’t so it was now free for the taking…we took! Here you can see 3 trailer loads. We ended up with 6 so even after our feathered buccaneers did their best to level the heap you can imagine the size of the mountain of manure that we can use in our new fully enclosed veggie garden 🙂


Bezial laying next to a pile of spent hay that the chooks have done their best to redistribute all over Sidmouth. I am thinking of hiring them out as earth  movers…sigh…

The people that I will be visiting today (Tuesday) live directly opposite the neighbours directly to the rear of us. I will be heading up through the back of our property, cake aloft, plastic beer bottle full of non-dairy milk aloft and will gingerly attempt to step over the barbed wire fence between our properties where there is a council enforced “no-man’s-land” that was once mooted to be a road before they realised that lesser Sidmouth was NEVER going to be a teaming metropolis and shelved the plans to fester, along with neighbourly coveting of this area of non-road. We could care less about this small stretch of prospective road but Frank has already claimed his bit. He let us know in NO uncertain terms that should his bit of ex-road become available, he had kept it cleared for the past 10 years and had first dibs. Fair do’s Frank, you have earned it!


Steve insisted that I put this photo of me actually doing some work on the blog. Here I am…narf7…willing and able to be the stunt double of the lead singer of Aphex Twin 😉


Someone MUCH more handsome to look at. Isn’t he lovely? He actually smiled in town the other day and Steve got this lovely shot of him where Bezial has an uncanny knack of being able to avoid being photographed 🙂

I am not so sure that I would be as accommodating with the ex-road at the rear of our property…our neighbours to the rear are the same folk that duped our house sitter into cutting down trees on our back block so that they could attempt to gain more of a view to sell their house for more. No-one is willing to pay the ridiculous amount of money that they are asking for their modest home and so they are resorting to telling fibs to try to increase their chances of a sale. These self-same people sold my dad a dud of a car that he then gifted to my eldest daughter for her 21st birthday. He paid enough for it to have bought a sensible small modern car but a massive great automatic Mercedes Benz from the 70’s is NOT an ideal first car for a girl to learn in. When it stopped doing what cars are supposed to do…”Go”…she managed to sell it for $200 and is well shot of it. She catches buses along with her sister and living 4km from the city centre is an added bonus. No need of a petrol guzzling, road tax requiring car when you practically live in the middle of Launceston. It’s this ex-road that I will be navigating to get to my morning tea date today. Wish me luck folks and hopefully our neighbours to the rear don’t choose today, when my hands are both full, to decide to take a pot-shot of your own dear narf7!


Here is Steve wearing his Canadian Club hat that keeps his ears warm…


And here is Steve “Acting the Giddy Goat” as my nana would say. I doubt that he thinks I am going to put this picture in today’s blog post…but you know what Steve? You would be wrong! HA!!! He just told me he doesn’t care because this Canadian hat has been superseded by his new Russian hat that you will have to wait till my next post to see…

Bollocks…a week has passed since this post and I am tossing up whether or not to hurl it into the ether but I only have a day till I need to post again and narf7 needs something under her belt (aside from a stiff vodka) to get her through the day. It’s all things go here on Serendipity Farm. On Sunday Steve was fast asleep in bed and I was pootling around buttering bread to throw to feral chooks (it’s a tough life here on Serendipity Farm…) when the phone rang. I picked it up in shocked confusion hoping that my daughters hadn’t managed to get the dog stuck in the blender…again…and was pleasantly surprised to hear the dulcet tones of our friend who lives down the road asking for Steve. I carried the phone reverently in to Steve who was now awake and a detour for his day was on the cards. Our friend Guy was off to collect wood on his mum’s farm and had invited Steve to go with him “someday”. Apparently Sunday was “someday” and Steve was up for it. He jumped out of bed (another Jamie Oliver “literally” moment…) and hooked up the trailer and was off in a space of 15 minutes (had to have a coffee as well). That left the boys and I twiddling our thumbs and doing sweet nothing which gave me the time to eradicate my RSS Feed Reader and actually do something else on my Sunday


Here’s a blended photo of Earl and Bezial. We had 2 photos. One where Bezial looked good and one where Earl looked good but the other dog (in each shot) was looking away so Steve used a Photoshop blending tool to blend the images. This is his first attempt but if you look closely at Earls little pink nose, you will notice it looks a little bit strange…


With a bit of blending and a bit of cropping Steve turned less than great images into 1 wonderful image…Photoshop is the bomb! 🙂

I chose to take some gorgeous brightly coloured knitted sock boots that my wonderful son had bought for me previously. I had removed the red fleece insert prior to Earl nibbling 2 holes in each one and they had been languishing in the cupboard as I was loath to hurl them out. It’s lucky I didn’t hurl them out, even though they have the equivalent of a small airplane of a moth bite in each one, I can unpick them and use them for my next knitting project. My last knitting project, if I can remember back that far, was when I lived in Western Australia and attempted to make my ex-husband a jumper. It got as far as the front and back portion and the 2 sleeves and when it came time to put needle to collar and cuffs that was all she wrote folks! I have been married to Steve for 13 years this year so you can work out for yourselves how long it has been since I knit anything. I am going to take this gloriously and most raucously dyed (supposedly) Tibetan wool (it is certainly rustic enough in texture to be nomadic…) and after wrangling it out of its booty shape, which takes HOURS and is punctuated with moments of arm waving and Earl restraining as he is reminded of just how tasty nomadic Tibetan woollen boots are, rolling it up into ball shape and then actually knitting gauntlets using a pattern that I found through Ravelry, a most wonderful and magical place where furtive knitters and crocheters can go to satisfy their textile lust in packs. You can get some amazing patterns for free if you hunt and cheers to Linnie for sharing it with me…



Here is a random stolen image from my brothers Facebook page of the beach where I come from in Western Australia. Check it out folks…it’s paradise :). It took a fair bit for us to consider leaving this wonderful part of the world and relocating down to the hole in the ozone layer but the lure of 4 acres of self sufficiency was strong young padawans and here we are…but I do miss those beaches…and Steve misses the fishing…by the way sorry for pinching your image Jim (no I’m not…you never read my blog posts anyway! HA!) 😉


I designed this shirt. I WANT this shirt. Steve Photoshopped it for me and I am going to just have to head in to a printers somewhere and get myself this shirt.

On Monday I got addicted to Pinterest. That’s all I really need to say about that. On Sunday I looked down at anyone who used Pinterest as “sad” and “pathetic” creatures who didn’t have a life. On Monday Steve left me alone to go shopping and by 11am I was hopelessly addicted with the fervour of a heroin addict on a crack high.  I have been a Pinterest “member” since foreverty-boo and just ignored it ever since. I like the fact that I had to go through a waiting period to be admitted (and they say that clever marketing doesn’t work!) which shows that I fit exactly smack bang into the middle of their ideal demographic and niche market… the person (usually female) who has NO control over her life but who has a tragic desire to put EVERYTHING in labelled boxes and create order in her chaotic (read “real”) life. It’s food porn folks, food, and health, and travel, and photographic and just about everything else “ic” that you can think of and I am now officially addicted beyond hope thanks to Steve going shopping and my RSS Feed Reader emptying out nice and early in the day. I spent an entire morning cramming my Pinterest fluffy cloud with as many foodie things as I could find and I can find a HUGE amount folks, that’s what narf7’s are for…finding things. Steve returned with a carload of stuff and I had 154 Pinterest pages open on my poor groaning browser and couldn’t do ANYTHING till I had clicked “follow” on every single one. I learned (quick smart) how to make other pages on my page and now have so much food porn I won’t ever have to cook anything myself ever again to be able to satisfy that “perfect shot”. Don’t you love the fantasy of the interweb? 😉


Steve and I FINALLY finished our media studies for this term. We finished nice and early to give ourselves 3 weeks off to get our veggie garden built. We needed to produce a slideshow of 11 photographs that we took ourselves that mirrored the 11 rules of photography for our final assessment. The only real stipulation was that we had to link them with the common theme of a colour. Steve chose green and this photo is a portrait shot…


This was my submission…I chose blue…I didn’t get away with it. I had to repost another image that was less photogenic where Earl and I were both looking most intently over the deck rail but a girl has her pride you know and I liked THIS shot! It might not give a very good representation of portrait but who cares…for once I am happy to post an image of myself to the blog so here it is…happy days! 🙂

So there you have it…another big mutha post and I haven’t even caught up with what we are doing! I guess that means I have plenty for Saturdays post already so I might just start it off so that when I am laying somewhat comatose at 3pm because of all of the hard work that I have undertaken for the last week and am unable to lift my feeble fingers to keyboard to share it all with you, I will at least have something to offer you, my dear constant readers. See you then and whatever you do…DON’T go to http://pinterest.com/ …don’t say I didn’t warn you folks! 😉

43 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. teawithhazel
    May 29, 2013 @ 18:09:42

    it’s too late..i’m already a pinaholic..and do tell about your afternoon tea..x


    • narf77
      May 29, 2013 @ 18:11:51

      It went well Jane and they were well impressed with my vegan cake :). I bet I beat you with the pins…I think I have followed about 20 000 pages since Monday! 😉


  2. LyndaD
    May 29, 2013 @ 18:40:17

    So where was the photo of the cake, or did you make that up? Proof Girl! You so make me laugh. I needed it today. I told my friend something she should know and she’s hurt and i feel like a heel. Should i have kept my mouth shut? Dont know. I apologised for hurting her (but im not sorry i told her).


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:30:01

      It’s part of we compartmentalisers temperments that we like to make sure that everything is in the right place. We are quintessential “fixers” and sometimes we try to fix things that someone else might not want fixed…been there done that…trying to get the t-shirt ;). Your friend will eventually understand. She is your friend because she loves you how YOU are. She knows what you are like and that’s part of you isn’t it. I didn’t take a photo of the cake (or did I? Steve keeps moving images from the camera because he “needs the space for my close-ups Mr Deville!” 😉 ). I will hunt around and see if I can’t find it but believe me, it wasn’t all that flash, just a ho-hum tofu chocolate cake that I tarted up as best I could so that I could eat some with impunity. They gave me half back as they said that they couldn’t eat it all and Steve polished it off quick smart so it can’t have been that bad :).


  3. LyndaD
    May 29, 2013 @ 18:46:16

    Im also beginning to feel slightly disillusioned about my impending chooks. I have visions of 4 well behaved hens, that will cluck when i arrive and produce the required number of eggs in exchange for healthy food. They must do No. 2’s in the right spot and behave impecably for visitors who want to sit on the well placed garden bench and pat the chooks and take photos. I will no doubt be assigned the title of “crazy chook lady” who talks too them and about them non-stop (warning its coming – just look at Narf77).


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:33:45

      “HA”!!!! That’s all I can say…”HA!!!!”. Although I must admit that the big problems come when you add a rooster to the flock. Hens on their own tend to be ok, it’s the rooster in the equation that starts the problems. Hens can’t repopulate the earth on their own ;). They can be downright entertaining to say the least especially when they are all chasing after the same insect at the same time. I watched about 8 of ours climb up the enormous mountain of horse poo to the very top where I was shovelling out the remainder from our long suffering trailer yesterday and run around grabbing flung spiders and slaters and the odd corby (lawn grub) that arrived with the load. They had a ball. When I headed off them did their best to level the pile but 6 trailer loads was a bit much even for my industrial mining pirates to manage. I am sure they will be back there today…they don’t give up easily 😉


  4. Chica Andaluza
    May 29, 2013 @ 19:13:31

    Phew! Our poor little flock has been decimated by a mountain cat (we had nearly 30 hens and roosters) now we have 6 hens and two roosters so I am being indulgent about the noise they make as they are protecting their ladies. We have a cuckoo nearby and the first week or two it’s quite nice to hear it calling as it hops from nest to nest but by now we’re ready to shoot the damn thing…:( Love the dog shots, Bezial is a handsome boy but like my Luna he doesn’t like having hs photo taken so much. The cake sounds good and I hope that your tea morning went well and you didn’t let the side down too much…you didn’t blow your nose on your napkin or burp hopefully 😉 Have a wonderful visit with your daughters, looking forward to hearing all about it.


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:38:05

      I have to admit that I was well behaved and even gave free gardening advice! The only problem occurred when the husband took my homemade non-dairy milk (almond and oat) and without asking me about it’s properties he poured it into a stainless steel jug and proceeded to attempt to froth it in his uber chic coffee maching (DAAARRRLINGS!). Err…not so sure it performs all that well with steam and even though it did attain a degree of “fluff” it also set like a rock on his steam nozzle thanks to oats having a propensity to turn into porridge with any degree of heat ;). Oh well…I got a couple of good cups of coffee and that cake tasted pretty damned good for cocoa and tofu! 😉 Might just be because I haven’t had cake in over a year? I would like to think it was actually tasty and Steve certainly polished off the bit that they gave me to bring home (along with 2 of their lemonade and cream scones that they made because they really HAD forgotten that I was vegan 😉 )


      • Chica Andaluza
        May 30, 2013 @ 04:34:01

        Sounds like you’ll be invited back…even if it’s just to fix their coffee frother 😉

      • narf77
        May 30, 2013 @ 04:43:55

        I think they were just being polite (and nosy about the crazy hippy that lives somewhat close to them 😉 ) and I don’t think I am there sort of person but at least I didn’t exude gas from any of my orrifaces or fall asleep with boredom or comit any faux pas that I was aware of so I figure I didn’t let the side down too badly 😉

  5. cathyandchucky
    May 29, 2013 @ 21:19:59

    Nice blog dear Aphex Twin Fronkii 😉 We don’t use many eggs at all nowadays so I just find the best free range ones that I can for my cooking.


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:49:08

      You and me both Pinky but yours cost you less in time and energy than mine do! To “find” (the emphasis is on the word FIND) my eggs I have to go on a cross country hunt. Whenever I find a clutch I emerge victorious with eggs held aloft like excalibar! Earl went on a hunt with me yesterday as Bezial got to go with Steve to collect trailer loads of horse poo and he found a nest with 2 eggs in it so he got to eat them (indoors and cracked nicely into his bowl mind you). I am training him to be an egg hunting dog…wish me luck! If dogs can find truffles, Earl can find eggs! 🙂


      • cathyandchucky
        May 30, 2013 @ 09:49:56

        Why did they stop laying Fronkii? They seriously cannot, not lay or else they get eggbound! They’re like egg funnels usually 😉
        I would love a couple of hens but not until we fully enclose the yard. Tahlia has been having rather exciting times with her and Coreys chickens and ducks. SHe’s a natural chook lady too like you!

      • narf77
        May 30, 2013 @ 12:42:21

        You would be wrong there Pinky because for 5 months they just “stopped”. They were in a fully enclosed area and we hunted it from top to bottom…no eggs. We were getting an egg a week out of 18 chooks so I guess they CAN hold back their eggs. Within a week of letting them out they started laying again and I am getting about 1 1/2 dozen eggs a week now (if I can find them where the swines have hidden them that is! 😉 ).

  6. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    May 29, 2013 @ 22:43:17

    Love the photo of you with the dogs. I think the one with the circular image could be made into notecards. Farm work is never ending isn’t it? There is so much to do around here. If only I had Chris’s energy and know how. We are currently trying to get all the trail tractorized (made up word) for easier maintenance, at least on my part. This past weekend we added over a mile to our current trail. I guess I’m obsessed with the trail. It takes up a lot of time. When we first started it I used to spend the better part of the day in the woods. Come to think of it, that’s when I lost weight. Also, rock laying will do the trick. One of our good friends has chickens. If we ever go that route we will get from him and hopefully learn from his expertise. Chris is currently talking bees. You must be super fast at things. It would take me all day to write this much. And, you must have incredible energy. Must be those chia seeds. We actually don’t drink our rainwater. I’ve been buying distilled water to drink. It’s mostly used for showers, baths and laundry. We use the city water in the kitchen, but also have a filtering system in there.


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:42:23

      I don’t have a whole lot of energy but since I lost weight I have a lot more than I had before ;). I am able to move around a whole lot better to and where I had a lot of trouble with my left knee before (so much so I thought I was going to need surgery) It is amazingly much better now and I can get around more easily. I can help Steve shovel out trailer loads of horse manure and I can haul wood with the best of them. Not sure it’s the chia seed but I am eating really well now. I just worked out that if you cook pinto beans and freeze them you can use the frozen cooked beans in your morning green smoothie to add protein and to make it nice and creamy with added nutrients. It tastes really yummy to without any “beany” aftertaste. My new go-to breakfast protein without having to buy that insidious powder that probably contains G.M. soybeans. Another win for Narf7 and another small local business that I can support 🙂


  7. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    May 29, 2013 @ 22:45:39

    Oh, and going to look into the ice cream recipe, as I promised Chris I would make him some ice cream.


  8. Angela @ Canned Time
    May 30, 2013 @ 00:16:46

    I want that rain water tank!!!
    Your dogs are so lovely, hehe 😉 I miss my Sophie so much (most days anyway)
    She worked with me in my car all day and when she passed 2 years ago, it was a huge change for me. Give your boys a hug for me which I’m sure you wont mind.
    Good luck with the tea invite, sounds so much more proper than invites here in the U.S. I’d be awful making small talk with anyone at their house. I’d probably start lecturing them about the state of the economy and get to leave early though 😉
    Great post Fran!


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:46:43

      I will hug the boys as soon as they wake up at 7am with Steve ;). I behaved impeccably Angela! You would be proud of me…I never once told them that their home was entirely too oriented to electricity, that they spent more on electricity in 3 months for 2 older people than we spend in 2 years (they were complaining about their bill) and I gave free horticultural advice and helped the owners find a nest of 11 eggs that one of their chooks had been sitting on for 2 weeks…all in all I would say a successful day. Not sure they will invite me again (after all, my non dairy home-made almond and oat milk DID clog up his steam nozzle on his uber chic coffee machine… kind of his fault for not listening to me when I said that it tends to turn to porridge when you heat it really eh? 😉 ). I even got to bring a bit of that cake back and Steve polished it off and said it was delicious and he is a fussy bollocks. A win for the cake and for narf7 and her ability to hold her head up further up the hill 😉


      • Angela @ Canned Time
        May 30, 2013 @ 04:10:14

        I knew you’d be perfectly reserved and more importantly glad to get back to your own beautiful home where you live in the real world. Proud of you Girl 😉

      • narf77
        May 30, 2013 @ 04:19:24

        It was tough…but after a few slices of that cake and some good coffee it got easier ;). I WAS enormously happy to trot back down the road to Serendipity Farm and up the driveway just in front of the meter reading man! At least we knew he was coming 😉

  9. jellybeanerz
    May 30, 2013 @ 01:24:15

    Earl and Bezial are so cute! Although Steve and his Canadian hat give them a run for the money in cuteness. Great post, thanks for sharing!


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 03:24:57

      I am sure that the boys will be glad of the kudos ;). Just wait till Steve shares his Russian hat photo! (Note to self…make sure to edit out the cobwebs on the clock first…unlike the chocolate on the ice-cream machine! 😉 )


  10. quarteracrelifestyle
    May 30, 2013 @ 04:33:42

    Good post 🙂 A funny thing I discovered about myself on Pinterest. My inner does quite match my outer. If you looked at my boards they are full of crafts I don’t do but would like to, endless images of bohemes with coloured dreads (I am 54 and though a long way from conservative have never been “out there”, bright gypsy style interiors (my house is very definately earthy, natural, practical) It all allows the imagination to roam into areas we didn’t know were there 🙂

    We love our chooks, which is just as well because I think in the end they will die owing us for the privilege of having them.

    And we also tend towards hermitism (if there’s such a word) 🙂


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 04:42:41

      Now I would officially like to request your pinterest board please maam! It sounds right up my alley! I am rapidly approaching 50 and feel the need for some Bohemian relief ;). My boards are cram packed full of food. A couple of hints and tips (mostly for the kitchen) and food…more food and a bit more FOOD! 😉


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        May 30, 2013 @ 04:54:22

        lol, look me up, Wendy Caughley 🙂

      • narf77
        May 30, 2013 @ 05:01:02

        I just went to pin another board and can’t till I get more followers! I TOLD you I was addicted 😉 I will look you up and steal with impunity from your board 😉 that is till they stop me pinning because I have gone over my limit and THEN I will head off to Food gawker and Tastespotter…I can’t be stopped can I! 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        May 30, 2013 @ 05:13:01

        Lol. I didn’t know they stopped people pinning. You might need to find a support group somewhere sweet 🙂

      • narf77
        May 30, 2013 @ 05:18:46

        Yeah! And it isn’t as if I am hogging the sweeties either! I am trying to pin veganese for all I am worth! 😉 I am currently sharing time between my RSS Feed Reader and your board where I am plundering with impunity…I will save your board address for when I am “allowed” to pin a board again…sigh…I might have to get the neighbours to join Pinterest and follow me just so that I can pin boards again! 😉 Desperate? Addicted? “Moi?”!!! 😉 Great fun isn’t it?!!!! Have a fantastic day on your side of the channel and hopefully it warms up a bit more today as we are going to be outside cutting nets in half…no dolphins will be harmed in the production of this fully enclosed veggie garden however I can’t promise that a few hens won’t end up with ruffled feathers and all of the possums will turn into tiny little angry Rumplestiltskins 😉

  11. The Vegan Green
    May 30, 2013 @ 06:42:16

    Hope your neighbour liked the cake?!


  12. Allotment adventures with Jean
    May 30, 2013 @ 07:01:17

    Hi Fran. I was interested to read about Steve’s wood gathering on your blog today. I find this sort of action very satisfying. Foraging for stuff that would go to waste otherwise and making good use of it. I have blogged on the subject today – in my case it’s foraging for vegetables. The thrill is the same.


    • narf77
      May 30, 2013 @ 12:53:25

      Foraging for ANYTHING is satisfying Jean :). I love collecting the blackberries in late summer and the rose hips in autumn and knowing that no-one else can see any benefit to them :). Steve’s friend’s mum is trying to sell her property and while it is still in her hands they are going to collect firewood. They are only collecting it from the fallen dead trees and Steve is taking branchwood as it suits Brunhilda better 🙂


  13. rabidlittlehippy
    May 30, 2013 @ 21:43:05

    Oh I hear you on your roosters. I figured n having one polite gentleman but currently we have 3 that are mature, if not 4 and the randy buggers, once let out in the mornings are anything but gentlemanly or polite. Seriously, you’d think they’d just spent 10 months in solitary and not 10 hours sleeping. I’m looking forward to shrinking the population and loading the freezer.
    So envious of your poo pile score too. All that yummy garden fodder. 🙂

    I too am a hermit and use my 3 kids as a perfect excuse often. I wouldn’t know what to say if cake and tea were on the menu and I can guarantee that best behaviour or not, I would put my foot in it at least once.

    As for Pinterest, I had a MAJOR addiction when first I started but I can modulate myself nowadays. I was back ont ehre to look up a recipe I had pinned the other day and noticed you had been going kind of seriously ballistic with pinning. I even snarfed a few of your pins.

    I wonder if your mobile feather dusters went on egg strike due to being in moult. Ours went off the lay over the same sort of time and for ages too but then I realised they’d had a vey long and drawn out moult. They started laying again just in time for winter when I’m sure they will stop again (silly buggers).

    Give your boys a pat from me and a hello to Steve. Maybe one day we hermits might meet up. 🙂


    • narf77
      May 31, 2013 @ 03:58:48

      I still think my hens are bolshie. I had more hope of getting an egg out of The Big Yin than one of them ;). I have plans of starting a “community” here in Sidmouth. I want to start with the locals that I know and start sharing with them. I have plans of starting a produce swap markets at the local hall where nothing ever happens. Plenty of room for stalls and a great wodge of producers all situated here. We have an organic walnut farm (I know the owners), we have a dairy, we have lots of wineries including Tamar Ridge that was bought by Brown Brothers, we have a Tasmanian salmon farm, a lavender farm and perfume distillery, we have Albert up the hill who distils grappa and makes lovely wine from a small vineyard on his hill and we have a strawberry farm, a stone fruit orchard and so many apple and pear orchards we could probably survive off them for years come the revolution. No-one is bothering to make the most of them and narf7 has a plan…that’s why I am in such a hurry to clear up our own little patch and get it working FOR us so that I can put out my narfy tentacles and start facilitating “community” on a larger scale. If we can get a few of us together and working on the same playing field, we can start permablitzes and we can start classes for “how to” at the local community centre and we can spread the word. Might even be able to get some funding to do so. It would be nice to meet up, hopefully before we are both so old that we forget how to use our manners entirely 😉


  14. christiok
    May 30, 2013 @ 23:46:41

    I am so late to the comments, Fran! And now there are 36! So much has been said, but I will add that I laughed my ass off at your description of hens freaking out! Here when one even lays an egg, the trumpets sound and its cacophony. Here, also, the B.O. is cutting wood and we talk endlessly of the weather. And regarding the niceties and social graces, do you suffer any increased flatulence with all the kefir? We are going to a wedding on Saturday, and I hope and pray that I can maintain some dignity in this regard.

    OMG, you still have jam! You guys crack me up, you are so frugal with it. Reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where little Charlie nibbles one tiny corner of his yearly chocolate bar a day, letting the chocolate spread out across his tongue, to make it last forever. I am deeply flattered and will, of course, be sending you jam for your birthday.

    Bezial is a gorgeous dog. I have always admired his name and wonder how and why you came up with it. The B.O. and I keep to ourselves, too, which is true regardless of the fact that we know EVERYONE on our road — 25 households — and they know us — because we fill the potholes and walk every day. We know no one else in Olalla! I LOVE that pile of aged horse manure. What a fertile garden you and Steve are going to have! The pictures of you are darling, and I love Steve’s goat hat. The ears!! Foreverty-boo? Love you. 🙂


    • narf77
      May 31, 2013 @ 04:09:23

      I don’t know that I could count kefir into my flatulent quotient to be honest Christi because it has to compete with all of the red lentils, beans and other flatulence inducing foods that I scarf on a regular basis as a vegan…lucky we have 2 dogs that I can blame…maybe you can take Ruby to the wedding with you? ;). We still have half a jar of that precious elixir! Steve ekes it out on his toast and only has a tiny little smear. Your jam is the best jam we have ever tasted. If my dear mum was still alive I might have to hurt her feelings with the honesty of it but it is the truth! So full of flavour and the lower sugar amount lets the flavour really shine through :). You are the jam queen girl! The story of Bezial is a bit of a love story really :). You are privy to how TERRIBLY Steve spells on Facebook…when he started out using the PC way back last century he played online games with a mate (also called Steve) and they decided to choose interesting names for their Quake personalities. Steve was aiming for “Beelzebub” or something along those lines but gave up halfway through and ended up with “Bezial”. His mate Steve is a computer technician and geek and wanted the name but Steve had come up with it and so it was “his”. We have since found out that it is also the name of a massive monster in a computer game. Steve used this name online as his name when we met. I fell in love with “Bezial” and when he moved here and we picked out our new little black floppy fat bellied pup the name just tumbled out of him so Bezial he is :). Steve might only use his moniker for his dog and a bit of online stuff but his mate in the U.K. stole it with impunity when he left and if you enter “Bezial” into most gaming sites and lots of online sites you will come up with Steve’s friend the thieving git! ;). So there you go…now you know :). Steves “goat hat” suit Steve’s personality…he NEVER GIVES UP! Not ever. He is more stubborn than anyone else I have ever met and will work deep into the night and will dream about ways to fix a problem. Most probably lucky for us because I tend to give up at the first sign of hassle and throw things into the river…we wouldn’t have a P.C. if it was just me and it. It would have been thrown into the Tamar River LONG ago ;). Have an amazing day Christi and our pile of horse dung is decreasing alarmingly and being spread all over the place by our wicked pirate hens! 😉


      • christiok
        May 31, 2013 @ 11:15:30

        Wonderful Beziel love story. Steve is a creative speller. It’s an art form, Fran. 🙂

      • narf77
        May 31, 2013 @ 15:39:32

        Steve has taken his art to a new level Christi…I sometimes have NO idea how to translate what he is artistically representing ;). Have a lovely weekend and Steve just said “by the way…you spelt “Bezial” wrong! 😉 )”

  15. Jo
    May 31, 2013 @ 15:10:33

    Goodness, Fran, the chicken tales were horrifying. I have been toying with the idea of chickens in our suburban garden, but am now having second thoughts (secretly relieved, because chickens are scary). I am thrilled to find a local(ish) blogger. Don’t we live in the most beautiful corner of the earth?


    • narf77
      May 31, 2013 @ 15:38:16

      Hi Jo, Great to see you here on Serendipity Farm :). I was one of those “Aren’t chickens GORGEOUS”…now they are Somalian pirates who have managed to reduce 6 large trailer loads of horse manure to one large flat heap. They are NEVER to be trusted! ;). In saying that, if you just got a couple and NO ROOSTER it would probably be a different proposition :). There is something wonderful in collecting your own eggs :). We most certainly do live in a beautiful corner of the earth. We live right next door to the Auld Kirk Church (if you know where that is) in Sidmouth and our property goes right down to the riverfront. We walk our dogs in God’s own country…an added incentive as otherwise I might hide under the bed every morning and pretend that I was a dust bunny rather than get dragged around by Earl the great and mighty for another morning ;). Have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the markets, your children and anything else that finds it’s way into your home over the weekend (apart from cockroaches that is…if you end up with cockroaches you have my permission to take a thong to them! 😉 )


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