No spam today, the spam has gone away…

Hi All,

It has been a very eventful few days since I got back from my daughter’s home culminating in us having to take a detour into Launceston today to hand our computer over to the P.C. MacGyver’s to detangle a nefarious viri from its intestinal tract.  We had planned on erecting the fence around our garden today. Yesterday it was cold and windy and rainy so we put off fencing the garden because the forecast was better today. Instead, we decided to finish off some of our studies to get ourselves a little bit ahead in advance. You would think that after being saturated in info about how viruses travel around in Flash that we would know better than to download a seemingly innocent little “free game” but we stupidly did and found ourselves in a world of hassle where our virus protectors weren’t all that much good. We pretty much shut the virus down as soon as we found it by unplugging our P.C. from the net and turning off our modem but a quick phone call in the last few moments before the computer shop shut had us booked in for today at shops opening and pacing the freezing cold wind ridden streets of Launceston with 2 very excited pooches who had a strong desire to tag all of Launceston with “We Woz Ere”. Paying someone $80 to free up our P.C. was the least painful part, we had to get back home and change ALL of our passwords…sigh… better safe than sorry I suppose. I have mixed old and new images to share with you today because what we could come up with ourselves from Serendipity Farm today was somewhat sad…enjoy the nostalgia 😉


A rare patch of sunshine on wintery Serendipity Farm. As you can see, there are leaves everywhere, the grass is overgrown which is amusing because up until the end of April we didn’t HAVE anything but dead bone dry dirt and the eucalypts are shedding their bark (and in some cases, their branches) like crazy. Couple this with both of the humanic variants that live on Serendipity Farm wanting to stay inside near the fire and out of the cold and you have a recipe for guilty sloth 🙂


A late winter/early spring picture taken at our house in town when we lived there about 4 years ago


I probably should have put this photo in before the last one because this shot is of autumn. This leaf blower was doing great service as a leaf sucker on the day. I managed to suck up and mulch all of these leaves in one shot and used the results to mulch the garden 🙂

I have noticed a steep increase in spam comment content on the blog but as it still amuses the heck out of me I am not concerned. Today, a spammer tried to get me to indignantly reply to their comment by insulting my spelling. Anyone who knows me well knows that I accept that I spell atrociously but that as most spelling is automatically corrected these days, my spelling mistakes are my own. I have a chuckle at the spammers who promise me increased blog followers if I will just let them put some of their “special videos” in my posts. We then have the spammers who want to sell their Louis Vuitton bags but all in Japanese… some of the spam should be listed on it is so hilarious and WordPress does a pretty good job of catching most of it before it gets around to me having to choose whether it is spam or not. I am well behind in reading my RSS Feed Reader thanks to a large pile of blogs that were waiting for me when I got home from my daughters that I still haven’t managed to get through and as I couldn’t use the P.C. on Friday morning the pile started to increase alarmingly. I am going to spend the weekend wading through posts and doing my level best to start next week off with a nice clean (and manageable) slate.


This is “Tickle”. He was named after one of the moonshiners on a hillbilly television show that Steve likes to watch. In the show, Tickle is prone to bad luck. So is this kitten. Earl almost killed him when he managed to squeeze under the gate to attempt to get one of Earls meaty bones and it was by sheer luck that Steve was outside at the time and saved his life. Steve has a soft spot for him now.


Another photo taken when we lived in town of a particularly bored Bezial. He still likes to lay in this chair affecting boredom, only the location has changed

Jenny, our previously “anon” friend who inadvertently outed herself recently by commenting on the blog using her name, allowed we pathetic, cold, computer-less creatures to visit her yesterday while we were waiting for our P.C. to be inoculated was telling us about how she had been planting pansies and stocks and that they had been disappearing. She had decided that the culprit was rats as there were small neat holes at the base of her missing plants…on closer inspection (and after talking to gardening friends) she realised that the holes were too perfect and after sharing her dilemma with her horticultural workmates they told her that the culprit was sure to be freshwater crayfish! Our good old Aussie yabby was crunching up her flowers! She had been planting leeks and potato onions etc. and none of the vegetables had been touched, only the flowers that she was planting to fool the pests. Now that it is winter the creek that flows through her property will refill and the ground is starting to get quite damp on her property and the yabbies have taken advantage of the newly softened ground to start tunnelling and pinching the tasty results of her hard work. I think it’s time to have a crawdad hunt with the kids this weekend and get some sweet tasty revenge on her flower pilferers!


I am not all that sure what this plant is. All I know is that it is a tall shrub that manages to take the dry difficult summer conditions here on Serendipity Farm and bounces back in winter with these lovely flowers when just about everything else (except the azaleas that are still flowering like crazy) has given up the ghost.


The Myrtus communis berries are finally ripe. They still taste acerbic (like unripe persimmons) but should we ever want to get experimental we could make a type of alcohol out of them that the Greeks prize.


This is a winter iris…it’s winter…it’s flowering…

Jenny gave me some snow pea seeds to plant out in our new garden. Our milder conditions here allow us to grow things that might not be possible in other Tasmanian areas. We don’t often get a frost and so I am going to plant out some snow peas and see if they will grow for us in the new garden.  It’s Saturday morning and we started the garden! I am very excited about how quickly the rope and the netting went up on the first part of the garden. We have roped all of the poles and will be putting netting up over the next few days. We realised that our massive (6 trailer loads) pile of well composted horse manure is outside the perimeter of the garden and unless I want to barrow 6 trailer loads of manure around to where the gate is going to be situated, (conveniently on the other side of the garden to where the manure pile is now…sigh…) I should get shovelling BEFORE we put the netting up on that side of the garden. I have a couple of days to shovel it all as well as cut the branches from the sheoak and wattle trees that we had to remove when we created the perimeter of the garden. Both sheoak’s and wattles are nitrogenous so lets hope that’s not just their roots and that they add something back to the garden when they are used to line the base of the garden beds. We noticed that the huge winds that we had yesterday have stolen almost all of the leaves that were waiting to be raked over at Glad’s place next door. It’s a definite case of “fool me once” that has made fools out of us. Last year exactly the same thing happened! Next year I will be raking nice and early. We had decided to wait till all of the oak trees had lost their leaves and they were just about ready for us to harvest and now most of them are clogging up Glads little stream and I fear that yours truly is going to have to get down and dirty into the creek bed to shovel leaves out all over again. Consider me educated in the ways of Tassie winter now…I won’t be doing that again!


Here is Steve the chameleon. That’s his natural hair colour by the way folks…we made this cake as a thankyou to a good friend at Polytechnic for all of his help.


This is what it looked like inside and that was YEARS before those rainbow cakes became de rigor… we penniless student hippies are inadvertent trend setters 😉


Another incarnation of Steve. His hair might naturally be black but it is also naturally curly (not that you are going to see it any day soon aside from here 😉 ). This photo was taken of us both when we were in Melbourne in 2010 at the Melbourne International Flower Show.

I am just about to dehydrate a large quantity of milk kefir grains. I figure it is the best way to preserve them for storage and if anyone wants any kefir grains I can send them to them. I will be using the instructions I found here Dom is the kefir king here in Australia and has been sending kefir worldwide for many years so I would imagine he knows his preservation technique stuff and has honed it to a fine art. I am first going to wash them in rainwater which we now have access to. Our little 600 litre rainwater tank is full to the brim. After the grains have been washed clean of milk curds clinging to them they get put on a dehydrator sheet lined with baking paper. I just need to ensure that the grains don’t get heated higher than 85F which is almost 30C until they are dried out and then I store them in milk powder. I have some organic milk powder that I store in the freezer that will give them the best chance of being viable once they are rehydrated. Managing ferments and cultures is a very interesting process and it’s good to know that you don’t have to just let your little helpers die if you have too many of them.


You might initially think that this was a photo of some seaside daisies over some rocks…you would only be partially right there…


Look a little bit closer and you will find a hidden stash…well I found the stash and I am starting to despair of finding the rest. The hens are getting crafty (the hens that aren’t currently clucky that is :(…)



I made some soy milk yesterday, heavily fortified with date paste and will be dunking my regular kefir grains back in non-dairy milk after a few days soaking in regular milk. I had left them in the fridge for the 5 days that I was away which slows their activity down and after 2 days refreshment they are back to the coalface culturing my non-dairy kefir for my morning green smoothies. I didn’t expire after consuming almost 3 litres of semi-explosive kefir (rather than wasting it) before I headed to my daughters so I figure that gives me impunity to mess around with my milks and see just what I can make. So long as I add date paste the kefir seems to be happy with my experimentation. There doesn’t appear to be much difference between the appearance of the regular milk kefir grains and my hybrid non-dairy milk grains aside from the non-dairy milk grains seem to grow faster. I am creating mutants! You can call me Dr Fronkenstein ;).

Another cake! This one was a rich coffee mud cake covered with chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache and milk and dark chocolate covered coffee beans

This wonderful contraption was captured by Steve when he had volunteered to take our daughters to an arty festival in Launceston. That tent in the background had regular acts and there was a wonderful display of wicker art including furniture. This wonderful sculpture was towed around by this man for hours. The teapot on top went around and around and it was fully articulated. Kudos sir but next time you might want to find a few friends to help you tow 😉

I just sent Steve off armed with his camera to try to find something of worth to photograph to share in tonight’s post.  Winter tends to rob bloggers of photo opportunities and where we have no snow, rain or anything else noteworthy to report, we have had a lot of gusty wind over the last few days that has peeled the remaining loose bark from the trees, has stolen our leaves and has made a mess of any grassy surface so I need to rake up those valuable leaves before I take photos of the mess that the pesky wind has made. I haven’t made much of a dent in my RSS Feed Read but that is what Sundays are for. We have a really good head start on next terms studies (that start again on Monday) and so we figure that we should be able to get our garden sorted out next week and once we get the perimeter up, I can start creating my keyhole gardens. I am going to use the existing gardens (after pulling them apart) to start off the new gardens but then I have to get creative with what I am going to use to form the perimeters of the gardens. Rocks are abundant and free so I dare say they are going to figure predominately in the new garden structure. They also allow you to create more organic shapes and so I should be able to form my keyholes. Keyhole gardening is a more efficient way to use the space that you have available. I have space amounting to a double tennis court so I should be able to grow a considerable amount of our own food in spring. Here’s what keyhole gardening is all about…


Steve’s hand hammering the first “U” tack to hold the rope for our new fully enclosed veggie garden…


The first piece of net going up. Please disregard the interesting debris littered landscape…I did 😉


Over the next week this entire area will be fully enclosed. I have to shovel a tonne of horse poo before the final side goes up but at the moment, the possums are as intent on staying home as I am. Note the beans in the uncovered veggie garden that we left for the chooks and possums to clear out for us have kept growing…when they were covered up the possums couldn’t wait to scarf them…now that they are out in the open their natural bolshie suspicion must have kicked in and they are refusing to eat them…sigh…

I finally got around to putting the dried beans that have been languishing in egg cartons on the spare bedroom floor away. In doing this I had to also clean up the spare room. I have more seeds that I have been saving in various states of “dry” all over the place. I have a dormouse desire to collect seeds and stuff them everywhere and now I have finally made a place to put them all in the spare bedroom cupboard. The idea that I will be able to actually grow real beans this year and that they will be able to climb as tall as they want to with impunity (and no small furry tooth marks on them) is starting to make me excited. I scour gardening websites like other people scan expensive gardening magazines. My preferred sites all revolve around my own personal ethos and all of them give me hope that someday we will produce most of our food here on Serendipity Farm. Steve is under the influence of the photography bug at the moment and is taking alarming red images and converting them to smoky black and white shots that then become pastel coloured 1950’s style images. I keep expecting to see a Studebaker or a petticoat skirt in the pictures. He is having fun messing around with different filters and at least it is keeping him off the streets ;).


Apparently carob trees and bay trees are persona-non-grata with possums and wallabies as these delicious young specimens have not been touched by the dreaded tag-team twosome. I am NOT going to be fooled by this apparently immunity. I will be protecting these babies when they get planted out after we finish the veggie garden…”Fool me once possums…FOOL ME ONCE!”


This is Joanna Griggs. She is famous. She was once in the Aussie Olympic swim team and now presents Australia’s version of “Better Homes and Gardens” and she was posing for photos at the Melbourne International Flower Show when Steve got this wonderful shot of her. I really like Joanna but not because of her association with the bright lights. When the cameramen all went away and only a motley crowd remained behind a little girl with Down’s Syndrome ran up to Joanna and hugged her and she reached down, picked up the little girl and gave her a huge hug right back. Now THAT is my definition of a star 🙂

The dogs are careening around the house with a 3 litre milk container that I had to bribe Earl with when I was vacuuming the spare room. It’s getting close to their meal time and they are well aware of it. The level of noise increases exponentially as the time to be fed approaches. I think we could set our watches (if we wore them) by Bezial and his stomach ;). I have decided to use a few images from the past to pad out the poor sad efforts that we were able to take today. Steve did a montage of cats but as this post hasn’t got much to do with cats I will only use one of them. I have a sneaking suspicion that the cats were close to the house and he didn’t want to venture further afield into the cold afternoon and so took enough pictures for me to think he had put an effort in…it’s that kind of weather around here at the moment…the sort that makes you want to pull your head into your jumper and just snuggle up and do sweet nothing. The problem is that we have to get a fair bit accomplished here over the next few months. It will be interesting to see how we manage to motivate ourselves into doing it because not doing it isn’t an option.


This lovely shot was taken at Hollybank, a nature reserve about 15 – 20km away from Launceston city. It’s a lovely place to visit and you can walk your dogs here as well. This is Earl and Bezial’s idea of heaven 🙂


Another shot from Hollybank. We used to walk here a lot when we lived in Launceston. We haven’t been there for ages now but we are making plans to remedy that pretty soon


Isn’t this pretty tea? A friend of ours gave it to me as we were walking the dogs the other day. Her partner had bought the wrong kind of tea accidentally and she is quite particular about what she does and doesn’t like. This wasn’t the right kind so I got a wonderful present. It’s very light and has a lovely fruity floral perfume and I just had a cup of it 🙂 Cheers Roxy, it’s lovely 🙂

I have given in to the sad puppy dog eyes and am going to feed the dogs. I might leave this rumpled post there for the day. Sometimes posts come easy and sometimes they don’t. Today was harder than usual but hopefully it contains enough to stop you, my dear constant readers, from feeling jipped. I am quite glad that this week has come to an end. Tomorrow I will clear out my RSS Feed Reader and will emerge triumphant at the end of the day with an empty post box and ready to face another week. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend. Somewhere in the ethos it is sunny, indeed it’s hot! Not here…here it’s lovely and cold and I am enjoying every single moment of it :o).

50 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Jun 15, 2013 @ 20:56:25

    I love the spoon you have in the photo with the tea Fran, and the tea looks interesting too. Hollybank looks like a gorgeous spot, no wonder the dogs love it! The fenced garden is taking shape, how exciting, although all that poo to move doesn’t sound exciting lol. At least you realised you needed to move it before it was fully enclosed 🙂 I showed Bruce the photo of the cake you made, the layered one, and he said wow! Now I have cake envy lol, because there is no way in the world I could reproduce it. I like the look of the other one too. I hope you get time to clear out your rss feeder. It’s amazing how quickly things pile up. I went away over night and my email was chockers! Have a great Sunday. I wish I had your Brunhilda, it is freezing here. x


    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 02:59:37

      Brunhilda sends hugs and says that you can bask in front of her soon :). That cake was a bit of a worry. Madeline actually made the cake layers for us as we were at Polytechnic full time then and she was at home. The cake kept wanting to fall over and it took 2 litres of cream and a whole jar of jam to sandwich it all together! That chocolate thing on the side was one of 4 that we made by drizzling chocolate onto baking paper and there was something on the top (can’t remember what it was a while ago 😉 ) that we made as well. We made it for the head groundsman who is an amazing fix-it man. If you took your chainsaw, whipper snipper ANY small engine to him that wasn’t working he would fix it for free. He was also a genius with working out how to do things for free or how to make something work or create something for the Polytechnic that would have cost a packet for very little and often invented amazing things for them to do what they wanted done. He was amazing. He isn’t there any more and we saw him working driving trucks the other day past our house. He works for a large earthmoving company that is working on rolling out the new broadband network around Tasmania (we get it first). I think we might have to work together and create ourselves a massive edifice of a cake to “50” what do you think? Steve makes amazing spongecakes now and I reckon that monoliths days of being the biggest cake are numbered! 🙂 Stay warm this weekend. Have you got a fireplace? If not, get hot water bottles and blankies and hug your pooches 🙂


      • brymnsons
        Jun 16, 2013 @ 10:11:25

        Oh yes I like the thought of making a huge cake for our 50th lol. I can whip the cream 😀 I made a cake for my birthday person at work. It had to be wheat free (Yikes!) so I made a Persian Orange and Almond cake. I got the recipe off Taste .com. It actually came out well, no one died and it tasted edible…. anyway I wanted to get arty farty and put some of those chocolate thingys you had on your layer cake. I melted the chocolate as per instructions, but could not get it to drizzle nicely 😦 I didn’t want to waste the chocolate so I got my piping bag out, (cheap from woolies and dies after 2 goes apparantly), and piped chocolate candles. They were woeful but ended up looking cute and were also edible. I now have brownie points at work 🙂 Mind you the next cake to come in for a birthday was one of those french crockenbush thingies! Sorry about the spelling but too lazy to look it up, God I hate that b**** 😀

      • narf77
        Jun 16, 2013 @ 11:11:54

        how come you have to cook her cakes? Does she have something on you?!!! ;). Bake her a cake with a file in it and when she says “I am not in prison?” say no, but that’s where blackmailers end up! ;). Or you can do what my daughters did when I got them to do the dishes way back and just keep “accidentally” dropping my favourite plates, cups etc. till I got them to stop…works every time “anyone for gooseberry sour gummy worm okra cake?” 😉

  2. LyndaD
    Jun 15, 2013 @ 21:58:43

    Must be the week for it. I am currently working all weekend to make up for having no computer for Thurs and Fri because a worm entered my work PC and all of a sudden, the Aust Fed Police site came on and told me i was being investigated and then the camera turned on and i was looking at myself life. EEkkkk! If that isnt the scariest thing – i had just entered the bank details before keying in the payroll on Thursday and the phone rings – its Suncorp, saying get off now, you are being hacked and they are trying to access your bank accounts. Double EEkkkk. So i had to manually fax the payroll to the bank and get them to enter it manually and all internet banking was down. PC is dead stick – lucky all the data files are copied to server. The AFP site is a symptom not the worm itself and so my PC has to be formatted and start loading software on again. Of course, as i do, i logged into my own account earlier in the day, so of course that had to be shut down as well. Drama Drama and i’ve not no weekend again. I need a piece of that coffee mud cake – that will make me feel better.


    • LyndaD
      Jun 15, 2013 @ 22:00:40

      Seriously, i should proof read my comments – the spelling is attrocious. What is was thinking was not what came out my fingers. Oh Well.


      • narf77
        Jun 16, 2013 @ 03:10:39

        I figure the human mind is pretty good at seeing past spelling mistakes (although my daughter is bordering on not being human because she notices every single one! 😉 ) so fire away with impunity. I SUCK at spelling. Always have, and I was training to be an English Teacher way back (probably good I didn’t actually end up going there eh? 😉 ). As a badly mangled Stephen King quote salves the savage breast (and we bad spellers…) “We all spell badly down here!” 😉

    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 03:08:26

      Bugger! I will send a whole one! My son wants to work for the ATO. It was a minor inconvenience for us because we picked it up pretty much straight away when it started to do crazy things (like tell us that the zip our lecturer had just sent us was infected with a virus and so was AVG 😉 ) and just unplugged it and turned off the modem but it certainly puts you behind the ball doesn’t it :(. My ex used to be a payroll clerk for a while till he rose up through the ranks to be a Shire Clerk. All of my children take after him and have analytical minds. The son-and-heir is the only one (so far…my eldest daughter is thinking about studying accounting now) who has entered the profession. I hear it pays well ;). Have a good weekend and you might have to get out into that gorgeous garden of yours or make some of that amazing feta or hassle Jess for a cuppa to keep your mind active and off that P.C.


  3. Littlesundog
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 01:25:53

    Hollybank is beautiful… and it would indeed be heaven for me there, especially if Earl was to walk with me! LOL Fran, if all you managed was a little, bitty paragraph, I would still not feel jipped! I love your posts… and this one was still a two-cups-of-coffee read for me… getting my day started off splendidly!


    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 03:18:07

      I hate not having the time to do a post justice. My biggest problem is that I am bolshie. If I “have” to do something I tend to balk at it even if I love it! I hate being told what to do ;). I will get Wednesdays post started today so that I can add a bit every day till I get there and that’s how I work best and what delivers the best posts. I type out things when they happen and when I am in the mood rather than rushed and hassled. Earl says any day you want to walk around Hollybank with him he is up for it…he would like me to open the back gate as he says that he has a date in Hollybank and can make his own way there…he IS almost 3 you know! Seriously though, he showed me what a very clever dog he was yesterday. He is still a young teenager in dog years and races around with toys and doesn’t like to give them to you even for a game but yesterday he ran off with a toy and I said “Earl, if you don’t want to play the throwing game (he loves me to throw a toy and he races off after it) that’s fine by me!” and he looked at me and turned his head sideways. I then said “I can’t throw that toy unless you put it down” using actions as I explained. I was just talking to him and not imagining that he was listening to me but he looked directly at me and slowly put the toy on the ground! He then spent the rest of the day bringing me things and putting them on the ground in front of me! When Earl learns something, he learns it well! 🙂 Now I just need to get him to learn to drive, and to type posts for me! 😉


  4. Joanna
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 03:34:35

    I think your winter iris looks just like my summer iris and they are flowering too in serendipitous synchroncity, (squints at spelling). I like your way of writing posts. I sometimes half write one in my mind but then it never quite makes it onto the blog, I think I have run out of blog puff for the most part. I like writing them very fast and throwing the photos on there and then rushing away and looking at it after I have pressed publish and realising I have used the same word four times in two sentences. Then I edit it. I know this is not what one should do, but that’s what happens. And on that confessional note, I had better go and make food. Again. bye for now. x Jo


    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 04:36:11

      I just let my muses take the reigns most of the time Jo ;). The last week has seen me behind the 8 ball and having to dredge for post content which isn’t a place where I like to be. I guess we all have post moments but when it gets a bit stale, time to up the ante and write a post or two “outside the box”… ever thought of writing a post about the mailman? 😉


  5. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 08:13:38

    That tea looks yummy! And love the spoon. I have been learning about Kefir from Linne and would love to try this Fran if you are happy to share some grains? Very timely post!!


  6. cathyandchucky
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 11:21:58

    Great post yet again Fronkii. Word of warning though with washing your kefir grains in rainwater. Make sure you boil said rainwater first to kill off any poo bugs from birds, possums, frogs (remember frogs in the rainwater tanks and well on the farm?). Nasty E.coli and other bacteria can live quite happily in your rainwater tanks. Unless, of course, you have a you beaut filter device fitted to the tank? The way my mind is at the moment, i’d like to fly over and hibernate with you two and just get as far away from ALbany and a certain family members problems as possible.


    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 17:39:57

      Our American friend who loaned us the tank also loaned us a you-beaut filter that removes everything from the water before it gets to the tap so we figure that we should be alright but cheers for the heads up Pinky :). Hopefully your weekend is going well and it’s not too cold over there. It’s getting a lot colder here but its lovely to head indoors and settle down next to the fire and read a book :). Things will get better this week. The girls phoned me and asked me to mind Qi and the house as they are off on Roberts Birthday to Melbourne. I think he is going to a footy game or something and they are going to get together for lunch someplace. Hopefully his team wins 😉


  7. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 17:04:47

    How frustrating to get a virus in your computer. Such a nuisance, and an expense.
    I love the photographs, as always, that chocolate cake looks pretty yummy Fran.


  8. Chica Andaluza
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 17:59:10

    What a pain about the virus – wordpress does indeed seem to be letting more spam through, I’ve noticed it too. Lovely to see some of your photos from the past and it looks like you have some days of good old fashioned shit shovellign ahead of you in the veggie garden. Oh well, it will kep you warm! My dogs too are good at reminding me when it’s time to eat 🙂


    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 18:28:04

      If I don’t feed them (when they think I should…) and I am on the P.C. they take turns walking past me and nudging my elbow so I can’t type…don’t say dogs are fools 😉


  9. thinkingcowgirl
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 19:10:31

    What IS kefir? Keep meaning to ask. In the leaf blowing pic you look like you’re wearing a wedding dress underneath! That horticultural layered cake is stupendous 🙂


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2013 @ 03:22:48

      Kefir is a symbiotic relationship between yeast and lactic (and other beneficial) bacterias. It looks like little cauliflowers and it grows when you dunk it in milk. It’s natural food of choice is milk and dairy but it can be easily coaxed to work with other non-dairy milks so long as there are enough sugars in them. It seems kefir has a sweet “tooth” ;). It cultures the milk like yoghurt does but has been used by the Russians and Eastern Europeans for years and has some really good probiotic properties including that it contains a lot more beneficials that work together to even out your gut balance. You can strain it to make a cheese or just eat it/drink it fresh. You can have it mild or quite sour and you can use it to start bread dough (thanks to the yeast proponent) and to make cakes. It’s very versatile and I am just starting to find other ways to use it. I have grains spare (just dehydrated them) if you are interested in trying them anytime. Just let me know and I will send you some :).


  10. christiok
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 00:17:35

    What is it about winter that brings on computer troubles? Seems like every computer melt-down I’ve had has been in the winter — long memorable nights when I had to really experience what life is like without a computer. Please God, give me back my internet and word processor! Glad you managed the trauma and are now on the other side. Computer trouble for the winter, check.

    That photo of Bezial is priceless. The drama. The ennui. I love him.

    Congratulations on starting the garden netting! AND realizing you should put the soil in first! And gather the leaves early. We do these logistics constantly, trying to learn from year to year. Like you, we can learn. lol

    I like Steve’s curly black hair, and you have cute dimples.

    My kefir grains are resting in the fridge after wearing me out. I’ll re-activate some this week. Thanks for the link and instructions for dehydrating the extra…I anxiously await your report on the results. 🙂 Love from Olalla!


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2013 @ 03:36:32

      Life has been SO very hard for Bezial…he has had to suffer greatly by being placed in this family…in a past life he must have been feted and adored and fanned with large peacock feathers and fed their tongues but in this life he has to put up with Earl chasing him around and chewing on his front leg. How indignant he can be! I always think of Ingrid Bergman whenever I see that picture “I vant to be alone…” Bezial gives “emo” a bad name ;). Steve liked his curly black hair (not the curly bit but the black bit 😉 ) to but nature appears hell bent on turning it snowy white! He has decided to go blonde until he is ready to face the music ;). I was born with those dimples and choose to affect them whenever I can. Life is too short to be dropping your dimples ;). I have been documenting my kefir grains journey to “sleep”. They will last a year and a half if you dehydrate them. I only dried my excess grains as I feel terrible to just throw them out. They worked hard for me and I feel like I owe them…now you see why I find it so hard to kill anything, I empathise easily ;). I even throw flies out rather than kill them…we all have a place here in this little biosphere is my ethos ;). I am going to send some dehydrated kefir grains to “quarteracrelifestyle” in New Zealand and we can see if they rehydrate ok. Lets just call it an intercontinental experiment of middle aged women. Thank goodness they don’t burn girlies like us at the stake any more! ;). Have a fantastic week in that gorgeous green paradise that you live in and give Ruby, The B.O. and Austin and anyone else that needs it a hug from me 🙂


  11. Linne
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 10:53:01

    Sorry to hear of your virus; I don’t seem to get them or the spammy stuff, so maybe it’s whatever my uber-techie sister set up on Mum’s PC (but that doesn’t explain the iPhone not getting spam . . .).

    I don’t care how my friends spell things (often entertaining . . . ), but I’m fussy about my own and also commercial spelling; ads, books, papers, mags, etc. And as often as everyone else, I hit ‘post’ and then see the weird words . . . sometimes I don’t bother editing, as I’m sure some have noticed lol. There’s a lot to be said for creative spelling anyway . . .

    Is the Myrtus communis what the Greeks make ouzo from? If so, you will have to give it a go . . . (unless you hate ouzo) 😉

    That ‘leaning tower’ cake is stupendous! I would have liked to watch you cutting it and getting the slices onto plates . . . I’m not so good at that myself. The mud cake recipe . . . can you share it? or is it a family secret? I’ve had days where I could have scarfed one down all by myself . . . with a tall cup of coffee or tea, of course!

    Watching the netting go up is SO exciting; good thing you thought about shoveling the poo before you have to barrow it round . . . Too bad you couldn’t have a bit that lifted up for future poo deliveries.

    Love your egg stash and I do know how exasperating it can be, especially if you don’t find them for some time and they were fertilised. I used to help the neighbour girls hunt for eggs back when; one time their Mum sent some to my Mum, who decided to make a cake. The second egg she broke had a half-formed chick in it! She put the whole thing in the compost . . . but we still got a cake that night. However, from then on, she broke each egg into a small dish before adding it to whatever dough she was mixing up. We both remember that day quite well! Neither of us is squeamy, but there IS a limit . . .

    Thanks for the Joanna Griggs story, too; I define ‘star’ the same way you do. What a naturally kind person she is! Just the sort of encounter all parents hope for, but especially for a child that has a challenge or two.

    I have no good ideas on self-motivating, especially today. I was thinking, though, that a big pot of soup on the hob and some scones, buns or whatever to go with it would be perfect as a reward for doing what must be done. I know it’s a reward to see the garden in the springtime, but on weathery days I think we need something more immediate, don’t you?

    The tea looks so lovely and the spoon even more so . . .

    Thanks for the amazing links on keyhole gardens and drying kefir. I’ve bookmarked them both after a quick look. Now I’m thinking of ways to make the keyhole idea work with long rectangular beds; I think it could be done. The keyholes would be great for elders, too.

    Thanks for sending the kefir grains to Wendy; I think that’s the best way to get them. I got mine, as you know, from Christi. I’ve been eating bits of Delilah, as she got so big I just couldn’t keep up with the output. A quart a day for someone who used to only drink a cup of milk two or three times a week is a lot! But I do have a smoothie pretty much every day now. Haven’t tried your green ones yet, as I rarely have green stuff to put in them. Was thinking I might try it with spinach as Mum buys that to help with her AMD and I should be doing the same. I was looking at that Chai-Chocolate dessert thingy that I re-blogged and the comments referring to adding greens to chocolate smoothies and thinking I could add spinach to that, too.

    Well, I’d best quit here; I’m way behind on my own reader and have not written any post yet, never mind such an entertaining one. I love that you and Steve make me laugh . . . it’s very good for me!

    (Oh, and your daughter is in my good books again for being big on spelling! LOL)


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2013 @ 17:12:55

      I found this on Myrtus Communis… “The common myrtle, Myrtus communis, also called true myrtle, is used to produce an aromatic liqueur called mirto by macerating it in alcohol.” After eating some of the ripe berries I can only think that some people must be desperate for booze to think of putting something that acerbic into perfectly good “licker!” ;). Madeline is a taskmaster with spelling and grammar and is constantly griping at me about my spelling and my incorrect use of the vernacular. She also abhors spell check and calls it a salve for the masses…I breed them intellectually obscure 😉


  12. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 11:49:51

    Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear you have to go through such a computer ordeal! That is the absolute worst, especially since I know that I personally depend on my computer for just about everything these days. The amount of spam I get is out of control, so I’m terrified that it’s just a matter of time… I can’t even think about it!

    Those are some crazy amazing cakes, though. Hopefully you had a few bites left for when the going got rough.


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2013 @ 17:15:44

      My own choice of cake tends to be a whole lot plainer but more moist, dense and unctuous with syrup. I love Greek and Turkish pastries with nuts as well ;). I found a recipe for how to make Vegan Danish Pastries yesterday and both pinned it (can’t be hogging the good stuff!) and saved it in a word doc for posterity. I know what I will be doing this weekend! I just have to make the puff pastry from scratch without hurling it off the deck in disgust…perfect weather for making pastry though and I have naturally cold hands 😉


  13. brymnsons
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 20:22:35

    We put our names down to be in the birthday cake list. Then you get someone from that list to make a cake for their birthday, and someone will get your name to make a cake for you 🙂 You should know be by now, I don’t do something unless I want to 😀 it must be the Leo in me..


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2013 @ 20:59:21

      How come you got the same woman twice (or are you a masochistic Leo 😉 ).


      • brymnsons
        Jun 18, 2013 @ 09:36:21

        I’m not sure what you mean by twice??? I did a cake for someones birthday and another lady did a french creation for another persons birthday….:) My youngest is coming for a visit this week. I’m looking forward to seeing him, I just have to buy some extra food to sustain his appetite lol.

      • narf77
        Jun 18, 2013 @ 13:35:19

        I just read your comment other than how you obviously meant it…I thought “you” had to make the croquembouche! 😉 better stock up BIG 😉

  14. Deb Cameron
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 00:09:22

    thanks for the heads up on Hollybank as a great dog walking place. I must take Django there on my next visit north. I had forgotten about that beautiful spot.


    • narf77
      Jun 18, 2013 @ 03:36:06

      Not only would Django love you forever for taking him, you would get some amazing images if you took your camera :). Now I want to go this weekend! Too busy at the moment though and its a lot further away from us than it used to be when we lived in Launceston. Have you ever been to Red Dragon nursery? Andrew is an amazing (albeit unusual) plantsman and Steve and I did some work experience with him when we were doing our hort courses at Polytechnic. We made firm friends with him because he not only knows his stuff but he loves what I love, cold climate species that have many uses other than ornamental. Just about everything that he sells is special and he has amazingly cheap prices. Our conifer collection swelled alarmingly when we met him :). Well worth a trip and the turn off is almost directly opposite the turnoff for Hollybank 🙂


  15. Debi at Life Currents
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 05:44:13

    Your cakes are lovely, as is your tea! Yucky and boo on viruses! It is getting quite warm here. Summer and spring are now battling it out. Summer is winning, but we still get a few grey days here and there. won’t be long and we will have 90+ all the time. whew! Good thing our neighbors put in a new pool! Have a lovely week!


  16. Fig & Quince
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 07:14:07

    WOW! What a visual feast – smiled my way reading through this post. Very happy to find your blog!


    • narf77
      Jun 18, 2013 @ 15:43:20

      I was very happy to find your wonderful blog as well…2 of us happy on other sides of the world to each other has to mean it’s a pretty good day 🙂


  17. Angela @ Canned Time
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 10:01:33

    Love the winger Iris Fran. And your enclosed veggie house is really making me envious 😉


    • Angela @ Canned Time
      Jun 18, 2013 @ 10:02:04

      winter iris….


      • narf77
        Jun 18, 2013 @ 13:38:26

        Lol…”winger iris” seems somewhat consistent with how the weather is going…one of the water pipes decided to burst today so poor Steve is out there in the cold fixing it…lucky he is handy! We got 2 more sides up on the big garden and only 1 (the poop shovelling side) to go. After I haul ass and get that poop inside we can close the loop and the chooks will just have to stand outside and look in. The possums can still get over the side but when we get the top on (in spring) we will be completely pest proof! (aside from the bugs but that’s another story and I have plans for them 😉 ).

  18. rabidlittlehippy
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 21:17:21

    How awesome the veggie gardens arise! I am trying to decide what is more exciting, spring planting or autum/winter planting. I mean either way the weather is uncomfortable (sunburn or chillblains) but the extra rain in winter is kind of helpful.
    My soil blockers arrived in the post today (poor postie knocked on the door just as I got out of the shower. Poor bugger had a wonderful giggle as I, half dressed, hid behind the door in hastily dragged on jarmies to sign for my parcel yeah, it just HAD to be a signature required one hey) so I’m now trying to be proactive about summer planting.
    As for the pests in your garden (insect variety) I saw a most novel and cute approach today on a blog. A herb garden with 4 or 5 toad houses and their respective bug eating toads. It was really kind of cute. 🙂 And totally natural, sustainable and all the rest. 🙂


    • narf77
      Jun 19, 2013 @ 04:09:30

      I doubt that toads would live here, it’s too dry :(. I did notice that there are a plethora of small birds that seem to think that the area around my 2 existing veggie gardens belongs to them. They feed off the insects that are attracted to the gardens. I might have to leave some small bird sized holes in strategic places in the garden so that they can get in and out to deal with the pest species. I am also going to plant flowers all over the place as pollinators and am going to have a ball with designing keyhole, vertical and spiral gardens all through to maximise the potential… before I can contemplate garden bed creation I have to shovel that 6 trailer loads of dung 3 metres to the west…sigh…then I have to cut the branches off and up from the trees that we had to fell inside the perimeter of the garden and Steve has to chop up the trunks and then we have to dismantle one of the existing veggie gardens (the other one is still in use for winter crops) and start to form the raised garden beds. All of the gorgeous leaves from Glads place next door blew away last week in a strong wind BUT her little creek is cram packed full of leaves and no doubt she will let us get down and dirty (and wet…) into the creek and take as many as we want…I say this because she let us do it last year when the very same thing happened…come next year “I am ready for you wind!” I won’t be waiting for the trees to dump their leaves in entirety, I will be collecting them as they fall!


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