Fumbling past 50

Hi All,

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A strange reflection in the water this morning looked like a sandbar across the river but must have been a reflection of Redwood Island to the right of the photo

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I have been hunting for diatomaceous earth for AGES now. David at wholesome house has just started stocking it and I can now use it with our chooks to rid them of any lice that they pick up and our dogs to kill intestinal parasites as well as with horticultural usage to kill aphids etc. It is human safe as well and apparently contains lots of minerals via the silica in the teeny tiny little fossils that comprise the powdered product. So glad to be able to buy it locally and support a small business in town 🙂

I am at ground zero the day after the big 5.0. birthday and so far nothing seems to have been lost since crossing that invisible but all too real line between “young” and “old”. I don’t seem to have lost my mind (so far), I haven’t started to resemble poor Brigitte Bardot in the wrinkle status and I could still get out of bed this morning without falling over despite imbibing freely of the demon drink last night. I had an altogether lovely birthday spent with Steve and got phone calls from family and friends to wish me happy birthday. I also received some amazing gifts from some precious friends out there to remind me that meeting people online is just as real as knowing them in person. I received a gorgeous jar of jam from my twin sister Christi in Olalla. I am starting to think that we might just be 2 of many “twins” out there Christi…a confraternity of women of “a certain age” who all share a common ethos a glorious muddle of middle aged possibilities who absolutely and positively refuse to fade into obscurity and whom age finds “windswept and interesting”. My jar of jam is precious. I get the jam, which is seriously the very best jam that I have ever eaten, I get the wonderful jar which I hoard with glee and use for my various date pastes and strange food creations along with the other precious jars from Olalla that I keep on my pantry shelf AND I get an amazing ziplock bag as well! I can hear you laughing Christi but as we live 50km away from the city where we shop, we only go in once a fortnight and we have to buy all of Steve’s milk at once so we freeze it. When I take the containers out of the freezer I place them in one of your huge ziplock bags (that we can’t buy here) and they don’t drip all over the fridge :o). I can’t forget that Earl had the MOST fun out of the coffee perculator box that you send me my jam and my wonderful “Official New Novelist Guidebook” which I am going to use as I write my novel all about “Life…the universe…and everything” according to narf. Earl shredded the box to within an inch of its life and aside from a few of the wonderful scrunched up comic pages that you added for our entertainment that I managed to save, he dove into the middle of them and went rip crazy…I have never seen him so happy since we bought him,  a whirling dervish of hurling tearing rolling delight :o)

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I still haven’t opened the jam yet…the anticipation of that first spoonful is almost as delightful as the jam itself 🙂

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The wise words and the friendship of Christi and Keith are the stuff that novels are made of 🙂

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Stewart and Kelsey and I on Kelsey’s birthday on Sunday (the day before mine 🙂 ) …and Earl photo bombing…

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I won’t tell you what Earl was doing on the sofa but it was shameful! 😉

Steve had to do the fortnightly shop on my birthday but when he got back he handed me a small parcel from Kym, my bestie from high school who I only caught up with again after mum died last year. She is coming for a visit on Friday and we are going to “Do” Tassie in style. I was most curious to open the parcel and found a wonderful small book that she had created all about our friendship. I must admit I cried. Circumstances made us drift apart but good friends are very difficult to lose. Poor Steve isn’t going to get a word in edgewise for the coming week and Kym and I are going to be trawling wineries, running up miles on her hire car and Kym has apparently booked somewhere amazing for us to stay on Saturday night in Hobart. I thought that we were going to do a day trip down so that Kym could visit the markets but now we can spend a lovely leisurely time at the Salamanca markets, we can wander around Hobart and we can head off to see what we can find. The apartment that we are going to be staying in looks amazing! It is right on the waterfront at Salamanca and I am going to take so many photos I am going to resemble a Japanese tourist. It’s all going to be great fun and by the time she heads back to her wonderful husband Bruce in order to celebrate her own 50th birthday, she is going to be knackered! She might just sober up by the time the 19th arrives but I very much doubt it! :o).

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A picture from the wonderful book that Kym had made and sent to me. This picture was taken in 1979 at Albany Senior High School when I was in year 11 at high school. Our close knit little group comprised Janet on the far left, yours truly, Kym, Kylie and Rachel. The photo was taken on the top balcony where seniors were able to take aim and drop water bombs on the juniors below…ah the sweet memories Kymmy 🙂

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The note informed me about how we are about to stay somewhere wonderful in Hobart overnight. Another adventure!

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This is apparently a present from the dogs for Kym and I in Hobart…I wonder what it is… 😉

I then got a message in the post to tell me that a parcel had arrived. I was on the phone to my sister Pinky at the time and she had sent me a parcel last week for my birthday. We both assumed that it was from her but it wasn’t. We have to head up to the small local store on the Batman Highway which acts as our local post office as well to pick up the parcel and when Steve got back it turned out to be something amazing. Not only did I get a wonderful and most glorious pair of knitted trousers from Jess aka rabidlittlehippy, but I also received a magnificent learning experience in the form of a fantastic book from Linne of A Random Harvest. 2 bloggers that I have gotten extremely close to over the last few months and who I think of as very close friends had sent me gifts from the heart. I adore my trousers. They are completely and utterly “me” and as Jess so rightly pointed out from the photos that I sent her to show that they both fit and “fit” me, they match our cupboards :o). I am wearing them now and will be sporting the winter camo look all the way to Exeter when we deposit the cheque that Steve’s mum sent to me for my birthday that arrived the same day. I love the book that Linne sent to me and will spend hours poring over it because it is an incredible tale of adventure, spirit and understanding and an empowering educational aid to anyone wanting to set out and do something a bit different on their land. Its “me” to a tee and I will be forever grateful to you for being able to see exactly what I needed and to be the bearer of another precious learning experience for narf7 to quaff liberally to add to my wonderful life experiences to date.

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I love that Linne found this book in an Australian bookstore for out of print books. Low carbon miles, high in the kudos factor girl…you did well and you made narf7 VERY happy on her 50th 🙂

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Aren’t these trousers the bomb! 🙂

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Steve told me to “work with me baby!” so I did 😉

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The trousers are wonderfully unisex…just sayin’ 😉

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Not only did I get some wonderful trousers and a fantasic book but the 2 wonderful art pieces that you see proudly displayed on our fridge were created by Jess’s wonderfully talented son Jasper. I will treasure them always Jas, one day they might be some of the first artworks that you produced (and then I will frame them! 😉 )

Steve has been helping a friend renovate his mother’s home in Launceston and when he was talking about my rapidly approaching 50th birthday, he was telling Guy that I adore bowls. Indeed I could be called a bowl fetishist my adoration is so compelling. Guy casually mentioned that he had a bowl that I would probably love and that I could have. It was a cava bowl, a ceremonial drink drunk by Fijian natives in their ceremonies and that he would give it to me on my birthday. I had no idea that I was getting this and Steve kept it from me amazingly well because Steve is usually unable to keep secrets. Guy and Roxie arrived in the afternoon armed with what Steve assumed to be a small wooden bowl but was actually a large bowl full of fruit! The bowl is amazing. I did a bit of research about it online after Guy and Roxie headed back home and found out that it was carved from a single piece of wood. I was amazed and delighted to discover that the wood used was Thespensia populnea and one of its common names is “Milo” wood! How very fitting that a Milo wood carved turtle shaped bowl would come back to live on Serendipity Farm. We couldn’t have Milo live with us, but we can have this Milo turtle to remind us of him :o). They also gave me $6 worth of scratch lottery tickets and I won $11 so all in all my birthday was a ceremony of good friends, wonderful gifts and incredible bon chance

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My wonderful antique milo wood cava bowl. I have named him Atuin in honour of his incredible turtleness. Rather than holding the earth on his carapace, he appears to be holding fruit, not a bad trade off methinks and twice as tasty

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A bottle of sticky next to Atuin the great fruit turtle

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Just in case anyone else out there wants to avail themselves of a particularly sweet and sticky drop. I got this bottle all to myself. Steve isn’t partial to sweet and sticky but I, the little fruit bat that I am, love it!

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Not only did I get Atuin I got fruit! I will be working my way through Atuin’s contents for the next few days. The bowl is currently minus the grapes, that apple and the banana and the kiwifruit (that I am allergic to) went back home with my daughters. Kelsey ate one of the lemons but the rest will be used wisely, one with Steve’s fish tonight

I still have my sisters “goodie box” to look forward to and my brother phoned last night and told me that he has a lovely hand framed photograph of Denmark, my home town earmarked to send to me. I am an incredibly lucky 50 year old woman to have so many friends and family who care about me :o). Steve bought me a wonderful deep frypan made from carbon steel that he carefully seasoned and that Brunhilda hasn’t managed to melt yet, a wonderful new kettle that makes my early morning tea making a blissfully quiet experience and 2 amazing heavy stoneware bowls with “tilt function” that I already treasure beyond belief. I have all of my children turning up today (Tuesday) for an impromptu birthday lunch together and hopefully soon Stewart and Kelsey will move to Launceston permanently. Stewart is applying for jobs here and hopefully he gets one and is able to move from inner city Melbourne to outer cumbuckance Launceston to start saving for their own property out in the bush somewhere. Tasmania is still a wilderness state despite the best efforts of miners and loggers to clear-fell and dig up the entire state for a few measly jobs and a lot of profit to be funnelled off elsewhere. If Stewart is able to get one of the jobs he has applied for they can move into the unit behind the home that we own in Launceston and live rent free so that they can save up for their own home. It’s a great chance to get their feet on the homeowners rung and to get out of the spiral of paying $2400 a month rent on what is effectively a very nice shoebox in the middle of inner city Melbourne.

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Stewart looking like a Serendipity Farm health inspector just about to close the kitchen down and me doing my level best to hide the evidence 😉

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If the wind changes you will stay like that Kelsey! The remainder of the Stromboli’s that I made for lunch on Sunday got polished off by Steve for his tea that night along with some homemade oven chips. Do you like my magnetic knife rack? I do 🙂

Today finds me replete with the knowledge that I am both liked and loved and that 50 hasn’t dampened my ardour for life. I might have woken up a bit seedy but that was self-induced. Sweet white wine is indeed the debils work folks! I did have the presence of mind to stop drinking it when dinner was taking a long time thanks to interruptions from friends and relatives phoning up in the evening. I am usually in bed at 7pm and last night I didn’t get dinner till 8pm. My meal was wonderful. I managed to take a photo of the formed beetroot and chickpea patties (that look rather disturbingly like ground meat!) but alas, the wine rendered me somewhat senseless and I forgot to take photos of the finished meal, I was ravenous by the time I got it and it was absolutely scrumptious. Steve had bought some triangle seeded rolls to put the patties on and formed the patties into triangles to echo the shape of the rolls. We topped them with baby leaves, peppery with rocket and fresh sliced vine tomatoes. I had sliced marinated artichoke hearts because I love them, sliced pickled jalapeno chillies and lots of sliced avocado and Steve made me homemade crispy oven fried potatoes. I haven’t eaten potatoes since February and they tasted amazing. I topped it all off by eating half of the wonderful macadamia and coconut cream icecream that Steve had made for me and dragged my desperately tired derrière off to bed at 9.30pm. I fully intended to sleep in till 5am but one of the dogs let out a dream howl at 3am and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep. I lay in bed till 4.30am and decided to get up. I am trying to sleep in a bit as I can’t be getting up at 2.30am while Kym is here…the poor girl doesn’t want to be sitting up at night with only Steve to talk to as I have gone to bed at 7pm so narf7 is trying to redirect her habits for a week…it is a most interesting experiment that seems to be failing but at least I am trying 😉

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The delightful contents of the box my wonderful sister Pinky sent to me that we picked up today from the post office. The plate and the gorgeous blue shell bedecked container are made by a local producer in Albany that Pinky and Jason know well who sells their wares at a local weekend markets. The gardening gloves and the tin of gardeners balm are wonderful gifts for someone about to embark on a comfort free lifestyle and the gorgeous pashmak underneath will be lovely wrapped around my neck in Hobart on my rapidly approaching visit. Thankyou HEAPS sis and here’s a big slobbery smootchy hug and kiss from Tassie…now go wipe your face, you know you want to! 😉

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This glorious pile of amazing wool came from my wonderful daughters Madeline and Bethany. They always know the perfect gift to give me and homed in on my wool fetish to my delight. I have NO idea what I am going to make out of all of this amazing wool but most of the balls have a pattern with them and I can get creative and learn some new skills. The gorgeous fluffy pure white ball at the front has the strangest creature as the pattern that looks like some sort of rabbit crossed with a ghost! Not sure I will be making it whatever it is 😉

What does turning 50 mean to me? Not a lot really. I don’t feel any different to when I turned 49 aside from being fitter and healthier than I have been in years. Perchance turning 50 has offered me a valuable lesson in life appreciation. I think mid-life crisis are just people suddenly becoming aware that life is half gone…that we are entering territory that people don’t like to talk about and most people desperately attempt to deny. “Old Age”…what is old age to be honest? It’s something that comes to all of us, no matter how much we try to deny it or repel it. There isn’t anything sadder than someone who point blank refuses to age gracefully. You won’t find me fervently purchasing new breasts on the black market to be inserted by Asian doctors in special clinics…I am perfectly happy with what I have. You won’t find me scouring the shelves of upmarket department stores for promises of eternal youth in a jar. I could care less about eternal youth…it’s entirely overrated folks! So much work to maintain an exterior when the interior needs so much more. You can’t take all that silicone and eye work with you when you go folks even though it will remain here to be dug up by some future archaeologist and our vanity and stupidity will no doubt be marvelled at. Just think your fake silicone boobs that have a half-life might end up as trophies on some grave digger’s shelf or be sold on the future equivalent of eBay as “antiques”…

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My wonderful bowls that Steve bought for me, showing how they “tilt” They are heavy stoneware and gorgeous.

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Don’t these look like they are made of meat?! They aren’t, they are beetroot and chickpea burgers and they were delicious. I still have 3 of them in the freezer for the next time I need a burger fix

50 has found me thoughtful and in a redirection phase. I now have intent and purpose to move forwards. Steve and I have been bumbling around and now I have direction. I am channelling my energies towards what is important and getting the veggie garden up and running is incredibly important. After Kym heads off Steve and I will be sinking 4 more poles in the centre of the garden to help make the netting that will be covering the enclosure more stable and less likely to yield to possum bouncing. We want to plant horizontally AND vertically and after learning all about how clever possums really are, I don’t want a repeat of my bean cube. I want to harvest enough dried beans to actually use this year and will use last season’s harvested dried beans to grow this seasons eating beans. I cleaned out my RSS Feed Reader and now I am slowly adding precious new blogs that are all about growing your own food and learning to use what you grow to maximum potential. The internet can be a big waste of time (think Pinterest) or a huge boost to your information highway, its really up to you. I have been channelling my Pinterest addiction to find lots of new places to learn how to ferment foods, how to grow things and how to make things myself. There is a wealth of free information out there and Pinterest can allow you to find things that you are specifically after…you just have to resist the temptation to wade into the pretty pictures and just funnel your searches to what you are actually after.

Chinese Red Dates

Steve likes to surprise me with little treats when he goes shopping and this fortnights treats started with these Chinese red dates. Not only are they delicious, but they are treasured by the Chinese as valuable medicine. I am in the process of sourcing a Ziziphus jujuba (Chinese Red Date) tree for Serendipity Farm as these babies are delicious

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This is coconut sugar. It’s a cross between brown sugar and molasses and tastes delicious. It’s another one of Steve’s little treats 🙂

I am going to write my first post for my new blog sharing experiment on “Not Dabbling in Normal” a compilation blog by some very interesting people all over the world. I need to get my first post up and running and find out how it all works, so far I am a bit confused about it but what the heck, in for a penny, in for a pound as my gran used to say! 50 has given me the impetus to start trying new things. I have decided that this is going to be my year of getting out of my comfort zone. I am going to do 1 thing a day that takes me out of my regular routine and that forces me to move forwards rather than remain safe. When I think of myself I imagine an image of someone who has plastered herself with protective glue and who sticks regular routine onto that glue like a hermit crab. I have all of my regular routines down pat…my inner control freak is most happy when everything is in its place. I was always good at mis en plus when I worked in the food industry. I like things to be “just so” and I don’t like chaos. I married chaos though so I am just going to have to learn to peel off some of my hermitty control freak layers and step out into the sunshine of the real world in my undies to see how the wind blows. Safe is good but it also stifles creativity and knowing that we only get 1 ride of this carousel called life, I don’t want to limit my life through my desire to remain contained and safe.

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We went to Launceston today to pick up some last minute things for Kym’s impending visit. Steve couldn’t find a hot water bottle on shopping day and we found one today but we also picked up a bag of toys for Earl from the thrift shop. He was pretty tired when we got home after dragging me all over Launceston on a most exciting walk and didn’t have the energy to rip them limb from limb so I tipped them into this old box till he regained his mojo

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Mojo regained! There aren’t many of these toys left and the box ended up shredded like wheat 😉

50 has gifted me the desire to set out on some new pathways. I am going to test myself. I am going to stop procrastinating and start “Doing”. I am just about to wood burn myself a sign that I am going to mount on the wall above my computer monitor. It is going to say “I can and I will”. I come from a long line of most determined women. They did amazing things despite their worldly limitations and I will be buggered if I am going to let the side down now! I will document my daily comfort breakers here and hopefully my journey into the unknown will help other control freaks out there break their own fears and will let them at least peel a few layers off their own hermitty shells of control to allow them to stop and smell the roses…watch a few clouds disappear into the ether and dance like they mean it. Watch this space folks…narf the elder is back…in pog form! See you next week. My comfort zone experience will be starting after Kym heads back home so the post after next should have some interesting components. Kym and I will be in full force doing Tassie to a tee this time next week so you can expect a few photos of the 2 of us and some adventures of our own. Till then, keep safe, but not too safe 😉

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45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. quarteracrelifestyle
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 18:47:24

    Ohhh – wishing you a very happy birthday Fran, I’m glad it was such a lovely one. Big hugs to you. How nice Linne found you such a great book 🙂 Pants are gorgeous 🙂 🙂
    I absolutely love Chinese red dates and haven’t been able to find them for years here.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 04:50:27

      It was probably the best birthday that I have had in years Wendy :). if you would like some Chinese red dates let me know, I can send you some for old times sake 🙂

      Reply

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 08, 2013 @ 08:58:32

        Oh, you are so kind Fran, I will have to see if I can get them by maih l here first, that’s alot of hassle for you. Oh my gosh though, they are good food and I was just thinking a couple of weeks ago I wish I could get them.
        I’m pleased you had such a nice birthday and you aren’t feeling crap in turning 50, many do 🙂

      • narf77
        Aug 08, 2013 @ 13:42:03

        I am healthier and fitter now than I was in my 20’s so I guess that’s something ;). I am also a whole lot happier with who I am and where I am so I guess that makes up for the big 5.0. hitting home. I don’t think that you would have any problems getting the dates as they are dried to the Nth and are actually sticky candied deliciousness. No seeds and just the glace flesh. Stuck to a Tee! The only problem that you would have is if one of the customs men decided to have a taste as then you would likely get a whole lot less of them than I actually sent 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Aug 08, 2013 @ 18:53:42

        Well you’re obviously doing alot right so keep it up!! I can’t quite say the same thing but certainly don’t feel 54, I want to be one of those 70 yr olds that can still do yoga!!
        Yes true, or the drug dogs might sniff them out and devour 🙂

      • narf77
        Aug 09, 2013 @ 13:02:37

        😉 At least the dogs would be happy 🙂

  2. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 19:27:29

    Dear Fran. Happy Birthday, belated. I have really enjoyed reading about your birthday celebrations. I like birthdays that last for days! You have received lovely thoughtful gifts from your family and friends.
    I am looking forward to hearing more about your new pathways.
    Have a wonderful time with Kym. I hope Hobart knows what it’s in for!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 04:53:11

      Hobart has NO idea Jean or they would ban us outright ;). It’s not Hobart that has to worry, our week is going to be a haze of winery visits somewhat akin to Patsy and Edina when they went to France that time. Keep your eyes on this space, it could make for some very interesting photos ;). Thankyou for your wonderful birthday wishes. I loved how my birthday rolled all over the place (a bit like me after a bottle of that lovely sticky wine 😉 ) and how it seamlessly took my mind off “50” and put it right back where it belonged on family and friends and happiness. 50 wasn’t such a big deal it turns out…I don’t feel any different and aside from a few new ideas about what to do now, I am still trucking along nicely :).

      Reply

  3. ediblethings
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 21:48:52

    Happy Birthday Narf!
    It has been a loooong time since we connected all those miles across the internet, but I’m really glad I found you in time to wish you many more happy returns. Must be serendipity 😉

    I’m looking forward to reading about your new adventures on the edge of the comfort zone.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 04:54:36

      My comfort zone doesn’t know what its in for! I have some major plans to make it twitch ;). Glad to catch up with you again and hugs from Tassie. Hope everything is going amazingly well where you are and that life is treating you in the awesome way that you deserve. Cheers for the birthday wishes and heres to the sisterhood/confraternity of bloggers who “grow” 🙂

      Reply

  4. Emily
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 22:46:00

    Happy Belated Birthday! 🙂

    Reply

  5. Littlesundog
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 23:27:02

    Aw, Happy Belated Birthday, my dear friend! I really enjoyed this post… so much I can reflect on in my own little world, being just a couple of years ahead of you. In 1979 I had just graduated high school and was on my first real job, and had moved away from home and into my first apartment.

    There is something beautiful about turning 50. I too, am concentrating on the interior work, and there is much to be done, so much to tap into and explore. I know a lot of people who are going for exterior improvement… American’s tend to be very vain, and I suppose that is an important part of their journey. My confidence level and thought process is magnificent in the 50’s… and it has nothing to do with the game face… the superficial layer that others might see first. I speak with my heart and inner soul. It’s what I yearn to know of others now. A smile and beautiful spirit lasts forever.

    Thanks for giving me an Earl fix again… my he’s a handsome boy. I especially love that photo where he’s looking right into the camera.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 04:58:30

      He was shamelessly photo bombing Lori! He loves his photo being taken ;). Cheers for the lovely birthday wishes and I am with you on the interior being more important. Life hands you lessons and one of the first ones is the pretty box is meant to be opened…not left on the shelf to fade! Once it is opened THAT is where you find the priceless gift :). Aside from qualifying for “seniors car insurance” (cheers Steve for the reminder 😉 ) I don’t feel any different to 49 and 364 days so 50 isn’t so great a deal but it has given me a few gentle nudges in the right direction. Times a wastin’ narf7 get it together and push off out of that comfort zone and get busy girl! 🙂

      Reply

  6. Chica Andaluza
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 23:42:52

    Cumpleanos Feliz Fran! Happy, happy, happy (belated) birthday to you. I loved this post so much (but then, I love them all). It sounds like a wonderful celebration and like the Queen you seem to be able to draw the celebration out – marvellous idea. What fabulous presents you received from folk who know and love you well. No unuseable bubblebath or ugly ornaments for our narf7 – oh no, just lots of gorgeous things which reflect the lovely person they were given to. When I read you were going to be in Salamanca I did a double take – thought you were going to be in Spain and I was all set to make a 6 or 7 hour drive to meet you 😦

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:02:27

      Tanya, if I am ever in Spain I probably took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and will NEED you to take the 6 – 7 hour drive to meet me where you will find a most bewildered and confused narf7 hiding under a park bench or behind a pot of geraniums ;). I don’t think I have any bubble bath giving relatives left to be honest Tanya, they have all sparked out and I am left with the juniors who shop and my siblings who know me well. I loved each and every gift and the thought that went into them. I loved how it dragged out luxuriously and languidly to 3 – 4 days starting on Kelsey’s birthday on Sunday and just meandering from there…what the heck…I might as well make it a week and be done with it! “Steve, get that ice cream machine cranking…I need another batch of that macadamia and coconut ice cream!” 😉

      Reply

  7. brymnsons
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 00:28:06

    Tell the dogs I’m looking forward to that gift 🙂 Nice to hear of all your lovely gifts and surprises. See you guys soon x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:03:43

      Hopefully your adventure doesn’t start with you being stranded in Dilston ;). At least we will know where to send rescue Steve out to find you ;). That “gift” from the boys is apparently for us to share in the evening in the apartment in Hobart…must be a squeaky toy or something eh? Bags I the first “squeak!” 😉

      Reply

  8. Bread & Companatico
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 00:32:34

    happy birthday! buon compleanno! and those burgers do look like juicy pieces of meat!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:05:39

      They were most disturbing to say the least in their raw state but tasted delicious and most unmeatylike with lots of avocado and salad. All in all they were wonderful especially as I had emptied a bottle and a half of sweet white wine before I got to eat them and was ravenous…odds were my boots might have tasted almost as good at that moment ;). Thankyou for your lovely birthday wishes. Turning 50 wasn’t such a big deal and the wrinkle fairy didn’t drop a pile of them on me overnight so I figure I can rest easy for now 😉

      Reply

  9. gardeningkiwi
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:27:10

    Oh Fran – Happy Birthday. I’m so pleased your birthday was so perfectly you. It makes the transition across the imaginary ‘0’ boundary so much more enjoyable. When I have ‘0’ birthdays I just move the goalposts and old is officially always the next decade from the one I’m in! That way I can be young forever!
    I love your anti-comfort zone philosophy, I love staying safe but Hubby the Un-Gardener has written a book called The 1% Principle – What can I do today to improve my life by 1% – so we kind of live a life that tends to freak me out from time to time. But when I look back at what I have achieved I almost can’t believe it! You have an amazing year ahead of you. Thanks for sharing your blog with us, I love reading what you have been up to. You are really inspiring.
    Happy Birthday. Cheers Sarah : o )

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:58:29

      1%? What an amazing concept! Anyone can do 1% :). Your husband is a genius :). Cheers for the lovely birthday message. The anti comfort zone bit is to get me to stop hermitting myself up and get out there and just “DO IT” (I am NOT paying you for that reference nike! 😉 ). I am a natural procrastinator and it is sometimes like pulling hens teeth to get me to put what I have learned into practice but it’s time for me to get my act together and put all of that knowledge that has been making my head weigh a tonne into action and blow off a bit of that head steam ;). You have discovered that “action” is where the real promise is, it’s the results, the arriving at where you want to be bit of the equation and that’s what is my next step. That garden is first on the list closely followed by planting out all of those little nut trees into groves. We planted out a little almond tree that we had given up for dead (and remember, we are horticulturalists so if we thought it was dead, we had done our homework!) and discarded at our last home. The girls told us that it was covered in leaves (after 3 years of no leaves!) and we didn’t believe them but it was! We planted the lazareth almond out and the poor thing appeared to have died all over again in our awful summer we just had but I just wandered down into the second garden where it is situated and guess what? It is covered in little pink blossom buds! The lazareth almond is constantly teaching me about persistence :). My mum did the same thing. Despite the odds, despite her age, despite just about EVERYTHING conspiring against her she kept a spirit of “can do!” and never gave up. She died just after watering her precious garden and that is exactly how she would have wanted to go. I can only hope that I will be doing something as noble at my end time and you are right about the goalposts. 90 is old! 😉

      Reply

  10. teawithhazel
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 08:45:51

    happy fiftieth fran..it sounds as if you’ve been having a wonderful time and i hope that continues on your winery trip..x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 13:39:58

      I might not remember much of it Jane BUT at least we should have the bottles to count fondly and remember a fugish haze of bliss for a while to come 😉

      Reply

  11. christiok
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 10:23:32

    Next box I send, Fran, will include so many ziplock bags it will make you swoon! I LOVE that you love them. I think they are miracles myself and always wash them out and reuse them over and over. And we buy them at Costco by the HUNDREDS. We are so spoiled, I swear. Costco is roughly 8 miles/13 km from us, as is a regular grocery store, a HomeDepot, a Target, the bank, Petco, and myriad other box stores that will all collapse when Peak Oil has its way.

    Glad you liked the crunched up comic pages, too. We save them for packing and start the woodstove with the editorials and news. 🙂

    You sure look svelt, girl. I’m looking forward to seeing Tassie through yours and Kym’s eyes as you “Do” it and photograph it as you do. I love Jess’s and Linne’s gifts! And hearing about Stewart and Kelsey’s efforts to get employed and move to Launceton is so exciting. Having grown up in Houston, like the beautiful Kelsey, I yearn to ask her her impressions of it all. And having all your grown kids nearby, what a dream come true.
    Here’s to breaking your comfort zone, or at least one side of it. And Happy Happy Birthday, Fran. Love you. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 13:57:31

      Thankyou my wonderful twin :). I had the BEST birthday and I adore each and every one of the ziplock bags you sent me. I keep washing and reusing them over and over again and they are just about as precious to me as the jars (which I use for my date pastes and my experimental date and apple and date and pumpkin butters). I was so sorry to read about Ruby Christi :(. I know that when it is time for Bezial and then Earl to pass it is going to knock us out and it will be like we lost a child. Please give the B.O. a HUGE hug from us both. We know that Ruby was his shadow and it just aint gonna be the same without a furry nose questing curiously into just about everything that he does. I will get Kelsey to tell me in her own words what she thinks about here. She took a photo of our garden and posted it on her FB page saying “Isn’t this the BEST view ever to wake up to?” ;). I guess that means she likes it here and Steve taught her how to use the chainsaw to chop wood and she and Stewart cut LOTS of wood (Steve loved it 😉 ). Kym and I are probably going to be 9/10’s cut for most of her visit. The only real thing that she wants to see are wineries and we have about 12 surrounding us in the near vicinity so a permanent fugish haze is likely to be our state of being for the coming week. Best lay off for the Saturday and Sunday as we will be driving down to Hobart and back up the next day. I will be taking photos like a Japanese tourist “Clickity clickity click!” so don’t worry about me documenting it, I will have to post every day for a week just to post them all :). Again, so sorry about Ruby. It broke my heart to read about it and you documented it so beautifully. So glad that the B.O. didn’t have to shoot her. Dad did that to his little dog (while we were here) as she was fitting badly and her medication wouldn’t work for her any more. Steve dug her grave and dad was heartbroken. I guess it would be the right thing to do but I am just glad that the B.O. didn’t have to do it. Very interested in the Alaskan dog sled training by the way, might be a great post sort of a “As told by the great white dog sledder Keith…” 😉 Hugs and smootches from Tassie and kudos on all that jam! I was drooling thinking about those vats of jam and how lucky are the guests at Mollies wedding? What an original and gorgeous gift 🙂

      Reply

  12. foodnstuff
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 12:36:52

    A day late, but Happy Hippy Birthday!

    I have been trying to get that diatomaceous earth for ages over here. Will Google Wholesome House and see if he sells online.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 08, 2013 @ 13:59:07

      He is on FB if you use it. I had almost given up on getting it as the cost to send it here from (I think) Queensland was prohibitive. He would probably send you some, he is a really great guy 🙂

      Reply

  13. cathyandchucky
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 00:36:23

    So glad the box of goodies arrived intact Fronkiii. I worked out that what you were calling a Pashmak in your email is actually Persian fairyfloss!!!!! I think you meant a Pashmina. I actually thought it was a lovely thick scarf but I think your bang on the money with calling it a Pashmina. I’d be using it all the time over there doubled over as a thick warm scarf. I’ve warned Kym that you will drink her under the table so mind these wineries have very low tables okay? Hahahahahahaha 😀

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 09, 2013 @ 13:07:03

      I can see myself with some Pashmak draped over my shoulders and Earl following me around licking the trailing strands ;). At least I got the first few letters right! ;). I will have to wear it, plus 2 scarves, plus 4 pairs of gloves and some wellington boots down to Hobart if this rain doesn’t stop sometime soon! It has been raining solid since about 4am and the driveway is threatening to do a bunk and float off down to the Tamar…wish I had managed to afford that dam/pond I wanted to put in down in the teatree garden bit now! What a waste of water…oh well, at least we bought Kym a hot water bottle 😉

      Reply

      • cathyandchucky
        Aug 10, 2013 @ 21:19:08

        You know the rain will always come again on the Tamar Fronkii so don’t despair. Dig that dam/pond and it will be filled before you know it 😀

  14. Eva Taylor
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 04:03:34

    Happy belated birthday! I just recently joined that club too, only my version is 50 and Fabulous! As one of my (albeit younger) friends said: 50 is the new 40! I’m working too, but without the fab pants!!!!

    Reply

  15. Lynda
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 20:46:54

    Golly Jeepers, ive missed your birthday while ive been marooned in the land of no internet. I tried using my phone data but after Monday’s post that was it. Ive missed so much. The pants do look rather fab. I saw them mid production at Jess’s and we marveled at your svelte figure. I turn 50 in March and if Jess has this kind of gift in mind she had better start knitting this year to cover my a……e! I really dont care about turning 50 either other than using it as an excuse to lobby for more travel. I dont need more stuff! But a lovely memory would do fine. Im covering Tassie for our 20th anniversary in October so perhaps i might squeeze NZ in for March. Anyway, it sounds like you had a pretty great day and received some really heart felt gifts. You must feel great.

    Reply

  16. Finn
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 22:12:19

    Hello Fran, many congratulations on reaching the big five zero with sinew and sanity intact. I shall race past that milestone myself this time next year and catapult myself into entirely unrespectable middle age.

    May you publish the recipe for your beetroot and chickpea burgers in a subsequent post? They sound very good and I’d love to try making some.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 12, 2013 @ 06:55:02

      I most certainly will post the recipe for you and your family Finn :). Cheers for the birthday wishes…I don’t think I have been stone cold sober since I hit 50 though so not entirely sure what “50” feels like yet…once my best friend from school goes back home and we stop drinking (she is turning 50 on Wednesday…BIG drinking day Wednesday) I might hit the ground running…or…I might just fall in a 50 year old heap, who knows! ;). 50 is the new 30 😉

      Reply

  17. thinkingcowgirl
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 09:41:46

    You had me laughing about the silicone breast implants…such a funny image. MUCH better to do work on the interior…and I don’t mean the grog 😉

    Hope you’ve had a wonderful Hobart weekend. 50 is definitely the new something. But I don’t know what. New trousers. New books. New jam. New novel writer? Or how about new ‘Going Beyond the Boundaries of My Experience’ … definitely a contender.

    I’m sure you’ll embrace it whatever 🙂

    Reply

  18. rabidlittlehippy
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 10:06:54

    I am so glad you like your trousers. 🙂 When making something a little (lot?) left of centre it’s always a little worrying as to how the gift will be taken. I should have known better with you though I think. 😉 Quirky is all you, hippie is right up your alley and homemade or recycled (these aren’t recycled though sadly) is designed to be just perfect right? 😉

    A’Tuin would be distraught at the missing apostrophe dear Narfie! But otherwise your A’Tuin is almost as gloriously beautiful as the “real” one. What a brilliant gift.

    Tell Steve I shall knit him some woollen daks for his birthday (when is it by the way) or in trade for some butter paddles or some such if he so desires. 😉 Green maybe or would you prefer matching daks? 😉 I must complete my own too, in a boring jet black. Not quite so ready to adventure out in multi-colours here in town. 😉

    I am so glad you’ve had an awesome birthday. May each day bring you more motivation, more excitement, more knowledge and more fun, food and fantastic times of self sufficiency.

    Much love my hippy Auntie and just remember, 50 is the new 40 and life begins at 40. 😉 xx

    Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 16, 2013 @ 14:29:27

      Just dropped in for a quick peek at my RSS Feed Reader and thought I would reply to the comments. Too busy drinking and carousing to stop for long…I am going to faint clean away when I get to Monday and actually open it up to see how many posts I have by then…it’s at 373 posts to read at the moment…(hysterical laughter! 😉 )

      Reply

    • narf77
      Aug 18, 2013 @ 16:40:42

      Kym just winged home…I am too scared to look at my RSS Feed Reader today and I am off to recover for the afternoon before heading off to town to have lunch with my girls tomorrow…it never stops around here! Next we have studies to catch up with etc…busy, busy BUSY! Steve is looking forwards to the trousers next January 😉

      Reply

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Aug 18, 2013 @ 16:42:52

        Duly noted. Email me a more specific date if Steve would prefer not to announce his birthday to the blogosphere. 😉 And colour preferences too as well as any measurement adjustments. 🙂

      • narf77
        Aug 18, 2013 @ 18:22:53

        I will get back to you on the details, I am recovering from our mutual liver thumping fest today…time to vege out in front of the television with a glass of water (YES WATER KYM! 😉 )

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