Life, death and the endless progression of OH&S in between…

Hi All

There has to be a degree of irony in me, hunched over…floppy spined, myopically peering at my monitor with terrible lighting and trying to show the world how enlightened I am about office OH&S…does ANYBODY listen to or care about this stuff?!!! Come to think of it, does anyone ever stop eating peanut butter because some rake thin anorexic plastic “expert” in the health field tells them to? If we were ever vaguely inclined to follow “expert” advice we would have dangled on our parents every word…we would have learned to “fly right and steer straight” immediately as we were told and we would have made something of ourselves rather than arriving at 50, dazed and confused with only “windswept and interesting” as our chief saleable asset.


The young rooster on the right of this image died this week. He was never a “normal” rooster and spent his days sitting in this coop with his sisters keeping them company. He wasn’t prone to leaping on hens or crowing. He was gentle, beautiful and like so many of his Byron reading compatriots, he died too soon. R.I.P Little Boy Blue. In saying that, there are chicks hatching out all over the place on Serendipity Farm. The same day that Little Boy Blue died, another hen emerged triumphant and bedazzled with fluffy chicks…the poultry cycle of life goes on…


When all else fails eat fruit!

That brings me to today’s post… I have managed to tear myself away from OH&S for a whole blissful day. It doesn’t even bother me that it’s grey, dreary and raining outside because I didn’t have to try to wrap my poor addled brain around another “Act”; “Award” or “Industry Standard” when it couldn’t comprehend the first Act, let alone the last that I tried to stuff into the one remaining brain cell that appears to be on the ball. Today I got to sit here and type out interesting and sustainable hints, tips and anecdotes about how to live better with less. Steve and I have almost finished our websites that we have to create from scratch for our final assessment. Mine is called “Sustainability on a Shoestring” and despite it being entirely fictional, not available to the naked eye (apart from our lecturers …) and just something that we had to knock up at the last minute I have developed a motherly sort of fondness for it and am driving Steve nuts by my need to make it look good and function well. “No-one can see it!” is his mantra…”I can see it” is mine 😉


This shower door is about to be changed to a clear glass door that doesn’t get stuck when you are trying to open it with shampoo in your eyes because you forgot to get the bottle of conditioner that is over on the window ledge…Steve was given the shower door by a friends mum who is renovating and who didn’t need it. I doubt she realises how happy she has made me with her generous gift. Now I can open the door blinded by shampoo and not worry about having to call Steve to free me when the door sticks when I am halfway out of it…


My container of bread ties (still haven’t worked out what to do with them but I will!) and some of the bottle tops I am collecting on my early morning walks with Earl. If anyone out there drinks anything other than Boag’s beer and would like to send me a few bottle tops please feel free to let me know 😉


What happens when you discover some “fresh” pineapple that you juiced, put in a bowl in the fridge and promptly forgot about that when you rediscovered it and gave it a sniff (as you do) and realised that it was halfway to being pineapple vodka and you cleverly decide to pour it into the top of a bottle of second fermented Kombucha erupts like Krakatoa …”VESUVIUS”…that’s what happens

I have just finished off the last of the text for the various side panels, spry tabs etc. that we are required to show our lecturer to satisfy this unit. We are using Dreamweaver to create our sites making it a much easier process than having to write the HTML ourselves but I am still clueless about what most of it does but can see it has great possibilities. The best bit is that we got to buy the Student version of the Adobe suite at a significant discount because students = poor (damned RIGHT they do!) and educational institutions don’t want to force us into becoming shoplifters in order to satisfy their requirements. Lucky really because I suck at pinching things, unless they are cuttings when I am able to abrogate my guilt long enough to snip off a stray tendril and call it urban guerrilla gardening 😉


“I know what will make all of this study better…a litre bottle of homemade Kombucha…”


And another one…

I spend a lot of my life in the dark. It’s my choice, getting up at 3am seals the deal but if I want to get some quality “me” time to study, to read the blogs that I follow and to research the things that I am interested in I have to find an alternative to daylight hours where we tend to be studying or working in the garden. I now love getting up early and am firing on all cylinders by the time I wake Steve with a coffee at 7am after indulging my brain to the max with a wealth of fantastic possibilities that I have just waded through for the last 4 hours. Fennec foxes have enormous ears and narf7 has small ears…fennec foxes manage to navigate their way around in the dark with ease and agility where narf7 has bruises on her legs and hip where she bumbles hopelessly into furniture and walls…coincidence? I think not!


“What say we have another one?” I reckon I am starting to feel a bit like Keith Richards in that photo about now…


I am stuck inside the house when outside it looks like this…

One interesting thing that I have noticed about the dark is that you can see your brain sending messages to your eyes. Seriously…if you are sitting in the pitch dark and close your eyes you can see little chains of light where your brain is communicating with your eyes…in my case it is saying “watch out she is just about to bump into another table!” but as my eyes are officially closed (or I can’t see the synapses…) it’s too late…”OUCH!” I can, however, manage to find the correct place to spray the air freshener in the toilet in complete darkness…maybe there is a chance for future employment opportunities for my amazing newfound skill?


And this…


and this!

Earl is almost 3 and is just starting to “get it”. I must be a late bloomer because here I am at 50 and I still haven’t “got it”. One of life’s mysteries is that we only start to make sense of all of these lessons that life throws at us on a regular basis when we are past the point of impetuous youthdom and it leaves you wondering “surely it would have been so much better to have learned these lessons BEFORE all of those stupid mistakes we made?” I am left to believe that maybe we need to have made lots of stupid mistakes to “get” the life lessons in the first place…my head is starting to hurt with that conundrum so I might just leave it there for now folks as I have to keep a few functioning brain cells in reserve in order to complete our studies before next Thursday when the last of our units is due in.


Some of us are enjoying the lovely weather


Note the lack of a care in the world and the amazing growth in that garden bed under the deck that we only planted out in April this year

I have been busy fermenting potions in between doing the hard yards with study and am learning how versatile cultures can be. My last batch of kombucha was flavoured with ginger and rosewater and turned out to be really delicious. It takes the mother SCOBY 7 days to culture a batch of black tea with sugar in it. I choose to double ferment the mix by adding a litre of juice to the results and fermenting it for another couple of days before putting it in the fridge. The results are fizzy and delicious and with summer promising to be long and hot I think a large quantity of kombucha in the fridge will be a definite asset. I have also been using my non-dairy kefir that I now make with homemade sesame milk (rather than the organic homemade soymilk that I used to make it with) to culture the sesame pulp left behind after making the milk. I use the resulting fermented  mix to make hummus that I ferment for a day at room temperature. One very interesting thing about fermenting hummus is that it rises up alarmingly in its bowl a bit like sourdough starter does. I guess that means that the culture really likes beans. Whatever it means the results are really delicious and I am enjoying seeing what else I can ferment


Fermented sesame seed pulp and some leftover cooked dried chickpeas and borlotti beans that I have been using from the freezer


The hummus before it decided to rise up out of the bowl and threaten to take over Serendipity Farm unless I took it to Cuba

I have been having porridge in the morning made from finely ground buckwheat flour and sunflower seeds that I add a bit of date paste to and cook. I then top it with sesame milk with a bit more date paste in it and a dash of rosewater. Now that the weather has started to warm up I might be able to start drinking my green smoothies again but if today is anything to go by, winter hasn’t quite given up yet. By next Thursday our course will officially be over. Steve and I are working as hard as we can to knock these final units on the head but they can’t be finished soon enough in our minds. We are really going to enjoy the free time that we get in between this course and the start of our next course and  hopefully we will get lots of time out in the garden in the coming month to make up for all of the time that we have spent chained to the PC.


The view out of my kitchen window this morning. Note the Grey Cuckoo Thrush sitting on the deck rail waiting for her early morning cheese cubes to be put out on the window ledge and note also how grey and rainy it is because I am not chained to the PC being forced to study OH&S until my brain melts…Murphy is a bollocks!


Its still grey out there but at least the grey cuckoo shrike has her cheese and I have a cup of tea and suddenly, after a few sips… all is right with the world again 🙂

Christmas is getting very close. I know it is because all of the advertisement’s on the television keep telling me it is. Is anyone else incredibly jaded by the mass push towards commercialisation this year? It started back in October and suddenly we are lighting Christmas trees mid-November and come mid-December we will be implored to buy next year’s Easter Eggs… what should be a time for people to get together with their families and friends to see out the old year and be thankful for our lot has been hijacked by the need for massive pre-Christmas profits. The spirit and the message of Christmas were born of humble circumstances and I think the still quiet message is slowly being drowned by all of the Christmas sales. Has anyone else worked out what they are going to do for Christmas this year? Neither have we! We were going to have a very quiet Christmas like we did last year but now Stewart and Kelsey are here we might all get together at my daughter’s home on Christmas morning and have Christmas breakfast together…or we might not…whatever we do it will be in the spirit of Christmas and nothing to do with how much we spent on food, drink and presents. Steve’s one stipulation is a bottle of brandy so that he can make the brandy and chocolate milk that he remembers from a long ago holiday spent falling over in Greece. Sounds like a plan Stevie-boy! 😉


A little Cassia fistula growing amongst the forget-me-nots. Cassia pods are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine so this little guy is welcome on Serendipity Farm


From one gorgeous thing to another…These marvellous track pants were inherited from my daughter Madeline who was about to throw them away because they were torn on the bottom. I decided to cut them (mainly to stop me falling over the frayed bits) and what you can’t see here is that one side is at least 10cm longer than the other even though I SWEAR I measured them! I mention this so that all of you wonderfully crafty folk out there realise that some of us are not as gifted in the crafty stakes as you are…but we are doing you a HUGE service by suffering the slings of craftless arrows that rain down on us whenever we pick up needles, hooks, material or dare to sit down at a sewing machine…we bow before your creative genius but some of you were born for craft greatness, some (like me) just have to satisfy ourselves with being born fashionistas…The jumper is warm. Narf7 cares not for fashion folks and its darned lucky that she doesn’t because if I EVER went out wearing this ensemble, I would be committed. The black socks that I am wearing in this picture were stolen from Steve’s side of the wardrobe by “moi” and were subsequently eaten by Earl when they were abandoned (foolishly) on one of my outdoor forays. Socks are not safe on Serendipity Farm…they are an endangered species

I think I might love you all and leave you there for today. I fear I am probably not at my best after a week of brain numbing rehashing of boring statistics. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible on Serendipity Farm but for now, this pays the bills so rehash we must! See you all next Wednesday when I will probably be giddy with happiness thanks to it being the final day before we are set free from our shackles of oppression…can you tell I’m a bit over this? ;). Have a great week folks and enjoy what you are doing wherever you are doing it 🙂

53 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linne
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 18:45:06

    It’s after midnight and I’m awake (nothing to do with 2 big mugs of tea this morning at my BIL’s office while I troubleshot the steam cleaner, then 3 mugs of coffee over lunch – my reward for a valiant attempt that failed – nice BIL 🙂 , then a large mug of instant + fancy instant coffee while at the computer in the ***evening***!!!!! nope, no relationship there, no sirree! Or so I tell myself 😉

    Anyway, my mouth runneth over . . .

    Being awake, I am delighted to see your latest post. I LOVE that jumper!! It would be great over a long skirt, too.

    Lucky Bezial, with the perfect place to view the kingdom AND bask in the sun. But no Earl??

    Stufying your first photo with the shrike, I spent some time trying to figure out what wee animal was standing on its hind legs and hanging onto the bottom rail . . . I could tell it was on the outside, looking in toward you. A giant squirrel?? A new Aussie specimen?? Or . . . ???

    I gave it up, meaning to ask you here. Then I saw the second picture, taken at a slightly different angle, and realized it was a figurine on a table or shelf ‘inside’ the window . . . Thanks for inadvertently providing even more distraction and amusement that usual
    😉 I DO love following your adventures!

    Poor rooster! But WHAT are you going to do with tbe horde of chookies? I fear you (and serendipity farm) will soon be overrun and languishing beneath an ever-higher layer of eggs, feathers and possibly poo . . .

    Glad you are about to loose your fetters and will soon be outdoors, singing “Unchained Melody” to entertain the neighbours . . . and us . . .

    In your


    • narf77
      Nov 20, 2013 @ 18:53:08

      That was a grey shrike thrush on the deck rail and on the outside of the window Linnie. We get lots of them come to visit us for small cubes of cheese that we put out each day. Dad used to feed them beef mince but they won’t eat it now and prefer cheese. She comes every morning and I took that image at 5.30am this morning, that’s part of why it’s dark and the second reason is it has been raining all day.


      • Linne
        Nov 22, 2013 @ 04:59:53

        Yes, I saw the shrike; nice you caught her. No, it was the larger white shape below and to her right that looked at first (to me) like a large squirrel standing on two feet, hanging on to the bottom rail with its front feet. All became clear by the second photo. Too much caffeine, I think!

      • narf77
        Nov 22, 2013 @ 05:06:46

        That larger shape is a fishing buoy, one of 4 that dad found floating in the river and we put up on the deck to keep a nautical theme. We have an enormous solid pine yacht mast over in the pile of metal that was left here and we are thinking about strapping that onto the deck…we already have a cray pot…next we need an eyepatch each, a jolly roger flag and a flag pole and the ability to say “Arrrrghhhh” to each other without cracking up laughing 😉

  2. teawithhazel
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 18:49:16

    oh..i’m sorry to hear of the demise of your young boy fran..roosters are such gorgeous creatures..but thank goodness for the end of the study year..i know only too well that feeling of relief at the end of an arduous semester after having studied for 10 years straight as a mature age student..x


    • narf77
      Nov 20, 2013 @ 18:55:04

      I have been studying for 7 years and Steve has been studying for 10 now. It’s amazing what you can learn and how valuable it becomes to you :). The problem with all of that study is that every single course comes complete with it’s own OH&S unit that you absolutely positively HAVE to do…sigh…at least we know some of the answers by rote now 😉


  3. Lynda
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 20:29:11

    Bread ties make great cable/electrical cord labels – both on items being used but also that drawer of spares that you visit in 6 mths time (or ten years) and go “what’s that for”? I hate OH&S but when you have a factory full of men you spend half your day running around after them like their mother. I caught one in the metal shop the other day with cavas shoes (hello, thats steel you are playing with) where are you steelcaps that I pay for, another in the spraybooth with a tshirt around his face because he didnt want to put on a mask worn by someone else – did he tell me or anyone else? I find myself walking out and telling the guys squatting in front of a switchboard to stand up and run around the board 4 times to get the circulation going (my hubby experienced extreme DVT in his legs squatting at work). So i guess, all those courses and running a company that was OH&S Accredited (my Lord, the paperwork and audits) had to have rubbed off on me and its become ingrained. Either that or i just like bossing everyone around.


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 03:03:31

      I will send you the last of my OH&S and my first born son (only born and a well paid accountant) to finish it for me! ;). Seriously though…the OH&S bit I can bear…it’s the industry standards bamf that has me twitching…wading through to find the right Awards, Standards, Licenses etc. when I am not even going to work in the industry is what gets me. If I was passionate about being a media mogul, fair does, but I am a narf7 ship that is passing through the night and designing a “perfect workstation” with all of the accoutraments when you have 3 days to finish off a large fully functioning website at the same time has knobs on it :(. I get the “why” for OH&S and I am a stickler for rules and bossy to a tee (I tend to seeth when it comes to workmates not doing what they are “supposed” to do…I don’t work well with others 😉 ) so OH&S comes naturally to my mindset BUT it’s the fact it was dropped on us at the last minute, it is 52 hours long (so that’s 104 for both Steve and I) and we have a lot on our plate…the resentment factor is HUGE and directed fair and square at our slothful lecturer!


  4. brymnsons
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 21:14:20

    Hey Frannie the study light is at the end of the long, long tunnel :). I can only see one leg of your pants and they look magnificent! I hear that different lengths are in this year 😀 x


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 02:56:14

      I will be wearing this classy ensemble when you guys turn up (yes…even if it is 35C! 😉 ). Still haven’t got that sewing machine but if I DID have it, it would be languishing in the spare room at the moment. SO glad that there is light at the end of the OH&S tunnel. Studies I love, OH&S studies…not so much 😦


  5. Littlesundog
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 01:38:52

    I’m in a bit of a hurry to get outside and finish a project I started earlier in the week… this is the last day of balmy, warm weather here! The arctic fronts are on their way beginning tomorrow, with another wave early next week with a mix of precipitation in store for us. I had to have my morning coffee along with a good read here to get me started! I’m sorry about your rooster. We have old Earl and Hugo who are very elderly now, but still very good at their jobs, and respectful of each other (Earl is in charge in the outside yard and Hugo likes the ladies in the barn!). It’s always sad to lose a good rooster and friend. Keep your chin up Fran… and thank you for always managing time to entertain us and give us a boost mid-week! You are so dedicated!


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 02:58:39

      Dedicated and tired…Bezial just kicked me out of bed at 2.30am so its probably lunchtime or something where you are ;). We have your arctic front at the moment and Earl (who ate my cushion from my chair because he didn’t get a walk yesterday) is most probably going to graduate to eating the rug. I can see the light at the end of the study tunnel and it’s lovely, sunny and full of gardening so I will just keep inching along the information highway till I finish. That’s the thing about being stubborn…it gets you through like nothing else 😉


  6. Chica Andaluza
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 02:44:03

    The track suit bottoms look just fine to me – I always haveto cut mine down as I am a shorty! Mmm…pineapple vodka type drink sounds fab and look at your weather…looks glorious compared to here. Sorry this is short and sweet – I popped home for my sander and got distracted by your blog but I have to get back to work nnow 😦 Have a lovely day!


  7. christiglover
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 04:50:01

    What gorgeous spring photos! I just made one the backdrop on my computer screen. I admire your dedication to study and the syllabus (syllabi:) handed you. Especially when the work load is so crazy. You’ll end up with a website, though, so that is some motivation. I’m counting the days ’til you’re finished — feeling your pain, methinks!

    Christmas is super crazy in the USA…all about shopping and money and end of the year balance sheets. Bah humbug. I am sooo glad that Stewart and Kelsey are there now. It feels so right. And Arly steels all socks, shoes and anything else that can be chewed, which we haven’t dealt with in a decade. I’ll lose my little mind if he’s still doing this in 3 YEARS! Hugs from Olalla. 🙂


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 04:58:14

      Remember that Beagles are “eaters”…it lasts forever. Earl must be part beagle (the bit between his ears I think) and he is just about to turn 3 (next week) so you have a few years ahead of you at least. Earl has settled down to only eating things that he is allowed to eat (like the contents of his toy basket) UNLESS you miff him. Then, he takes it somewhat personal and likes to wait his time till he finds something that you are particularly enarmoured of (or that props you up on the couch when you are watching television in a most fluffy and comfortable way…) and tears it up with glee. Bezial “tells” on him always but yesterday I was busy with working on the text for the website and chose to ignore Bezial poking me in the side and rubbing on my leg (his telltale “Earl is in the process of doing a very BAD thing…”) to my detriment. When his actions managed to penetrate my addled brain I got up and went into the loungeroom (Bezial at this point goes outside and stares over the deck so that Earl doesn’t realise who told me that he was in full chewing action 😉 ) to find him with both front paws on my cushion ripping it with his teeth like crazy. I KNOW he was being vindictive because he knew he was being naughty and the closer I got to him the faster he ripped! I might have to suruptitiously leave something (that I could care less about) laying in easy reach of him today. I need to use clever psychology because Earl is also clever so I have to be UBER clever (and with only one brain cell left to dedicate to “other” things at the moment that is going to be a tough call). Wish me luck. I fear I will catch him with my pillow today but I am going to pick up on Bezial’s early vibes ASAP and will race to save (what is left of it) so that I can still sleep tonight 😉


  8. christiglover
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 05:10:19

    Ha! Garfield “tells” on Arly, too! Yesterday Arly pooped in the house by the door and Garfield meowed up a storm…the outrage. “Punish him,” Garfield said, “or I will!” We don’t punish puppies (or anything for that matter!), but Garfield does. It’s a cat thing. They are touching noses every day now…which helps us all. Good luck to you with your uberness. 🙂


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 05:19:11

      I might be uber tired by about 5pm tonight because Bezial kicked me out of bed early (2.30am) and I am back to the hard grind today after an albeit brief respite yesterday…there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is certainly going to make my days spent bums up in the enclosed garden feel like magic. I guess there IS a reason for all of this torture…to deliver me into the arms of the garden with the right attitude 🙂


  9. quarteracrelifestyle
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 05:55:22

    Ew, I hate doing research with statistics, hate, hate! I am not a numbers person and lab reports etc drive me crazy. I just pass them thankfully but I have to think that is partly due to the kindness of the tutors doing the marking. You will relish the end of it and more time to do your own thing!

    You are looking VERY healthy and you sound like me, anything goes as well as hubby’s socks that Syd chews lol

    No, not looking forward to Christmas and I am the same every year. It has become such hype that I find it off putting rather than inspiring me to shop. We are very low key Christmas celebrators.


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 06:01:03

      So are we…usually…now we have all the family living here in Launceston I think that might change a little but we are all tossing up “what to do” next Friday when I go to visit my girls and it looks like it might be a combined Christmas breakfast of all things! ;). Leaves us all with the rest of the day to do whatever we like ourselves 🙂


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Nov 21, 2013 @ 06:05:18

        Well that sounds nice 🙂 I enjoy the getting together bits of Christmas. I have only one work function this year which is great, last year there was masses and I hate those lol.

      • narf77
        Nov 21, 2013 @ 06:08:53

        No employment…no work functions…seems there ARE some benefits to being penniless student hippies 😉

  10. gardeningkiwi
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 06:46:18

    Hey Fran. We had some pretty full on rain this week – but I was so grateful for it. I have been laid up all week with a viral tummy bug (the joys of having small boys bringing home undesirable things) and so the garden has been completely neglected and I was worried about my pumpkins. I have been stuck inside – like you – just much less productive!
    So losing a week and just generally being unprepared I think Christmas has blindsided me! I’m not ready for it and would love another 6 weeks to let the idea of it settle into a comfortable position. Once the kids start getting excited then its like a runaway train and there is no help for any of us.
    All the best with the last of your studies – it doesn’t seem that long ago that you started them off. Where has the year gone?
    Cheers Sarah : o )


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 07:41:05

      The year just streaked past with Earl close behind… he didn’t get a walk yesterday and its pouring down steadily here today so he won’t get a walk today either…not looking good for tomorrow or the next day either Earl. He ate my fluffy cushion that I use on my sofa yesterday. Tore it to shreds in protest at his lack of energy expenditure…I am starting to worry about what might bite the dust while I wrap my cortex around more OH&S while the year flies out the window and off to someplace else. You have small kids so Christmas is a very different proposition to ours. My youngest is 23 and we are all probably going to get together for Christmas breakfast (according to my daughters) before going our separate ways (Son-and-heir and his Texan sweetie are now on the Christmas in Launceston train as well) and “do” Christmas how we see fit. I might have to start learning how to “do” thanksgiving for Kelsey soon and she is starting to get clucky about having kids…might be fun to “do” Christmas with grandkids…I could hand them back filthy and twitching from too many treats…sounds like a plan! But first…I have to make sure that I know where Earl is at ALL times of the day today… one day at a time…


  11. Jo
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 11:29:57

    Seriously, windswept and interesting will get you everywhere! All the best for the last few days of study. Are you enjoying our lovely spring weather today?


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 16:44:16

      I was out sunbathing dear…in my bikini 😉 Going to make something AWESOME this weekend with the artichokes and will hopefully have a lubbly jubbly post to post about them. They are SO worth a good recipe :). By the way, the eggs will get dropped off in the afternoon on Monday as we will be busy till then. Steve will be in town at about 5pm so don’t hit him over the head with a frypan. He will still be the egg ninja and is very quiet (unlike our car 😉 )


  12. rabidlittlehippy
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 13:27:41

    Murphy is a bollox. A big old bollox too. He delights in keeping poor Narf chained when chaining is least desirable and free when there’s no bloody point. I’m just grateful there is (in theory at least) more sunshine on the way, if not this month, maybe next? 😉 Climate change almost guarantees it I guess.

    After all that kombucha you must be off to the loo every 5 minutes and half way to sozzled by breakfast time! 😉 Ok, so it’s not really all that boozy but even so. 😀 I reckon the probiotics woud more than make up for any sozzling going on though right? And with fermented milk, fermented hommus and fermented just about everything else, you would have trebled your weight in good bacteria this year.
    Christmas truly is a revoting concept to me. I’ve started thinking about gifts for the hoppers and we’re going with the experience thing this year. Museums, trains, aquariums and such. Costs just as much (if you want it to) but the memories will last forever, unlike the plastic toys they used to receive and break before Santa had finished his global rounds. As for Steve’s brandy, it’s only 1 step from fermenting to distilling I’d reckon. 😉 2014’s brandy bottle could well be Serendipity brandy. (I can hear Steve’s ears pricking up at the thought 😉 ).

    We have, for the past few years, had our extended family Xmas booked in before the big day which means we can all focus on other family and traditions on the day but this year the calendar doesn’t suit. We’d planned a day at home with homegrown food, roast duck with the trappings, much of which I hope we can harvest from either our freezer (homegrown still) or the garden, or at worst the farmers market but apparently we must fit in with the rest of the famiy and we’ve got the drive across town to arrive at Mums mid morning to watch my kids slowly (well not so slowly really) dive off the rails into sugar induced psychosis. Just because WE are weird doesn’t mean she needs (or wants) to cater for us. 😦 *sigh*

    Bring on some PROPER Spring weather I say. May it rain steadily but gently all night long and may the sun shine from sun up to sun down. THAT is proper Spring weather!


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 16:51:42

      “Dear Rabid’s mum…a life lesson is about to descend upon your Christmas door step. You are going to give these poor deprived children a HUGE dose of Christmas (sugary preservative laden) cheer and in return, your wonderful daughter is going to stay at your house until the dose of “Christmassy cheer” kicks in and then she is going to say “I am just off down the shop to pick up some batteries for the kids…come on Martin lets go…” and leave nana with the kids bouncing off the wall. When she gets back after 3 hours and nana is booking herself into the nearest mental facility she will most politely say “but mum…YOU insisted on giving it to them”…” life lesson time. If it isn’t learned, it’s wasted ;). It looks like I might have Sunday off and might be finished my OH&S hard slog early (thanks to my incredible diligence) so I am looking forwards to reading a good book. Why not get out into the garden you say? Because the weather is foul…is supposed to be foul for the foreseeable future and so narf7 will do what she does best and that’s “adapt” :). Hugs from Sidmouth where Steve brought a bottle of port home and narf7 had a tiny glass and is officially drunk. 😉


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 21, 2013 @ 19:36:35

        I have some seriously evil yet comparatively healthy salted caramel popcorn (maple syrup and Himalayan rock salt with coconut oil) to indulge in after the hoppers hit the sack and Martin hits the pub (music practice night). Sadly my kids are a little sugar-high (natural sugars not withstanding) so it might be a LONG wait. 😉

        I’ve told mum before that if she feeds that crap to my kids I will walk out and leave them with her for the 24 hours for the sugar high to come down (then there’s the 48 hours of withdrawing it from their systems again and the 2 week long memories of “good food” at Nanna’s to contend with). So far I’ve not had cause to put that threat (and believe me it is a threat) into practice but Xmas is a whole new ball game. She won’t want to deprive the other kids of junk food so we have to face the consequences. 😦

        You need a drizabone for gardening in the foul weather. Yep I’ve done it but then sometimes the gardening bug simply won’t be put off (or its the only time can be done). My driza was a $20 op shop bargain. 😀

      • narf77
        Nov 22, 2013 @ 04:01:57

        I need to get me some op shopping under my belt. I am going a bit stir crazy here from literally getting out of bed, sitting down here with a cup of tea and working through till 3pm where I get up, get the dogs tea done and then make our tea and after I eat it, it is off to bed and the cycle starts again. I have been doing this for a week and a half (again, “CHEERS LECTURER FOR DROPPING THE OH&s BOMBSHELL ON US AT THE LAST MINUTE!”…sigh…) but again, I try to look for the good in it and it is certainly making me appreciate any little taste of freedom and free time that I get. I can’t believe how happy I was to work on my website instead of OH&S on Wednesday :). Sugar eventually leeches out…it’s the leech time that is the killer.

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 22, 2013 @ 14:32:50

        The sugar withdrawal sucks! I know. I’ve sort of done it. As a previous refined sugar addict, changing over to Rapadura was a challenge but it meant I was still eating sweet things which satisfied the mental cravings but the body still demanded the refined sugars. It was confusing there for a while but much easier to break the refined sugar addiction. Nowadays I get headaches from eating even a small amount of chocolate (3 balls of bliss, much like Lindt ball size and I was hit with a headache that hung around for 2 days. 😦 ). We’ve got an invite to a birthday party on Sunday and in all honesty I am dreading it! Sugar and gluten everywhere I anticipate. 😦
        OH&S. Important? Yes. Fun? Interesting? No! Great to bamboozle students with as last minute torture? Yes, yes and yes again! 😉

      • narf77
        Nov 23, 2013 @ 03:14:04

        Almost there…just…one…more…bit…and THEN I can get out into the garden! I took Earl up to the garden yesterday as Steve had taken Bezial for a bit of a walk and it was unctuous up there thanks to our recent rains so I dug over the last few garden beds, said “Hello” to the worms and the lizards (so did Earl 😉 ) and just “knew” that when I get in there all is going to be right with the world again :). Have a great weekend…did you finish that cardie? By the way, I subbed the date paste for sugar and it stopped the cravings while giving me a nutritional hit. Same has happened since I subbed sesame milk for non-dairy/soy…I have been buzzing around like crazy. I had 1 small glass of port the other day and got drunk out of my mind and the next day I was hung over! Sugar…you are my enemy!

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 23, 2013 @ 09:43:59

        Yes, the cardi is finished but not a great fit. I know exactly what I would do to change it next time as the pattern is a good un, just needs tweaking. 🙂

        Even a few minutes a day in the garden is therapy hey. I usually try and do a roam of the garden and greenhouse every morning after I feed the animals. I pull a few weeds, pick any remaining possibly viable and almost edible sized broccoli sprouts (95% now ripening seed but just a few little purple sporuts and a few golden flowers left now), smile worriedly at my garlic – it looks good but how many have worms in them (onion maggots or some such), and water the greenhouse. I had a tiny scrabble under my greenhouse spuds the other day and there are small finger nail sized spuds in there. 🙂 I also squeezed in a wander yesterday after we got home from playgroup to check out my front garden and I have 6 pumpkin seeds up, well I did yesterday. I only hope and pray the snails bugger off and leave them alone unlike my poor beans which have been decimated upon soil break. 😦 If I didn’t have cats I’d be into the snail bait, organic or not I tell you! Grrr
        You’re going to have to start making your own wine and port. You’ve got sourdough, kefir, miso and all the rest under your belt so once all your dozens of grapes are growing nicely… 😉

      • narf77
        Nov 24, 2013 @ 03:47:51

        I…am…FREE! I did it! We finished off our PowerPoint presentations yesterday arvo (no thanks to my incredible hard work assimilating that bampf like the borg and then paring it back to its bone dry basics so that we could just copy and paste dot points into the presentations and toss in a few tasty images to make it at least worth staying awake for 😉 ) and all we both have to do now is “draw a picture of your ideal workstation…” as both of us suck at drawing I am thinking this is going to be fun ;).

        I can get into the garden again! We took the boys up yesterday after we had finished (and I discovered a bag of cauliflower and celery leaves from 2 weeks ago that I was going to make into soup but “forgodaboud” in the laundry and had to track down the “what is that SMELL?!!” sigh…) to dump the compost into my heap of compost in the corner of the covered garden. It is absolutely delicious to just dump the bucket on the top (Earl added some nitrogen at that point 😉 ) and KNOW that nothing is going to frolic in the contents and that all of that bucket-o-goodness is going back into our soil!

        On a sad note, all of my beans in my sprouter turned rotten and some insect decided to take advantage of the stinking fortune of protein and lay it’s offspring in them :(. I had to wash it out (OH the irony of narf7 having to dispose of the beans that she loved SO much because her hated studies that she hates so much took her away from them and made her forget :(…) I have a few more but some of them were precious and I don’t have any more. My scarlet runners from last year that were chewed back to stumps by the chooks have decided to re-grow in the garden! I was amazed as I had heard that they were perennial and me, being me, (read “lazy”) didn’t pull the large tuberous lumps that they grew last year out of the soil so when I was digging the garden bed (the chooks and “others” compacted the soil down and it needed aerating and horse poo adding) I discovered little green shoots coming out from the tubers and so I covered them over with soil and horse poo and the big lumpy tubers are growing! Looks like narf7 at least gets scarlet runners this year (now to work out how to contain them!).

        I need…I NEED a passionfruit (will get Stevie-boy to pick me up one in town next shop) and my forgotten choko in the glasshouse has decided to come back to life and will be planted out with the 2 hop vines (if they survived the winter) and anything else promising in pots. I am almost bouncing on my seat here at 3.36am (Bezial turfed me out of bed at 2.30am…seems I have my own Orik 😉 ) thinking about the possibilities! We are off for a walk “elsewhere” today so I will take my secateurs and go hunting for “green mass”. We park next to the Deviot fully enclosed heritage orchard so narf7 might go hunting for cuttings before we head home. They have all kinds of herbs in there and I am sure they wouldn’t mind me pinching a few strands of their perennial herbs :).

        When I walked Earl over the Batman bridge the other day (his new favourite walk with log trucks whizzing past at 100km/hr and a 90 metre drop to the water below…) I headed into the park on the other side. It used to be infested with “loon” but he has been shifted on (only after a full year of living there!) and now it is only inhabited with a dumped rooster, a little black chook (probably also dumped) and 2 masked lapwings who all hang around the parking lot. I am going to take some grain in a bag next time as those tenacious little chooks make me smile. I didn’t know that they were there until Earl, sniffing under the hawthorn hedges, made a lunge for “something” that started to squark maniacally and the weirdest little rooster emerged. He is obviously the result of a mad breeding experiment between a grey frizzle and a Sussex because he has the tiny body of a grey frizzle and the massive great head of a HUGE Sussex complete with an enormous red comb and full white and black striped regalia. The little black chook is just a little black chook but he fusses over her and it’s true love. I picked some native cherries (ripe at the moment) and scattered them around the area where they were eyeing us off from. He is MOST careful around Earl now ;). I love their tenacity. I know something will probably eat them but at least for now they are living the dream :).

        While I was walking (being dragged maniacally) around the park I noticed several very hardy shrubs that have managed to survive with no water and am going to head back with my secateurs and a bag on our next walk over the Batman and get some cuttings. A wise gardener who needs to fill a large property always notices things like this. First they are free to take cutting material from and second they are obviously happy as larry in our local growing conditions and thirdly (bonus…) they don’t need lots of water! A salvia, a cistus and another sagey type thing but if they are growing like topsy, narfy (the observant…for once!) will take advantage. That’s why we humans are so horrifically prolific, because we learned to watch and take advantage.

        Have a great weekend ma’am and don’t feed those hoppers too many artificial colourings. I know it’s fun to watch them careen off the walls like ping-pong balls but you are going to have to stop experimenting with them 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 24, 2013 @ 17:12:22

        Funny you should say that. Someone who shall remain nameless (JASPER) climbed my pantry shelves and helped himself to the maple syrup this morning but after reading the ingredients it is not maple syrup but maple flavoured sugar syrup and he has indeed been bouncing of the walls. 😦 It’s not been a good day at al. 😦 Still, birthday party was fun, kids didn’t eat any of the food (all contained guten) and aside from some obviously barely contained hyperactivity the kids were good.
        I had to make the “Bunnings for seedlings” run today which almost ended in disaster when I realised that a heavy jacket had ridden home atop the bag of seedlings. Squashed slighty but nothing is dead. Phew!
        You’ve got me eeing my eyes around town for a fig tree. I’m learning how to look and to look for things that are growing here as they will be frost tolerant. 🙂 Therein lies our biggest. Same too for the low water requiring plants. I bow to your expertise in these matters though. Next I must needs learn to graft and propogate. 🙂

      • narf77
        Nov 25, 2013 @ 02:26:37

        The good thing about those hardy shrubs that want to survive in whatever Australia throws at them is that they tend to want to grow easily. Things like lavender, rosemary, cistus, sages etc. are easy to strike from cuttings. Most of the time you can cut a bit off the plant (usually so long as it has a bit of hard woody stem on it) and shove it in the ground and it will grow. I know they will because before we did our horticultural courses I had NO idea about how to garden and just remembered mum shoving bits of plant material into the ground or a pot of soil with a bit of rooting hormone on the cut end. Most of the time they grew and what have you got to lose? Free plants are a fantastic bonus and give you so much back. We need a balance of flowering, medicinal and food plants in order to attract those amazing beneficials to look after the garden for us. It’s all just getting that cycle of life going and setting up your own little ecosystem by ensuring that the raw materials are available for everything to be set in motion. My typing is terrible this morning. Bezial must have been cold and kicked me out of bed at 2am…I am yawning and my eyes don’t seem to want to work right…the joys of “kids” eh? 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 25, 2013 @ 11:53:24

        My kids take up less room than yours although conversely they are more likely to wet the bed than yours. 😉 I had small company keeping my back warm all night last night. I could do with a second coffee methinks. Yawning here too.

      • narf77
        Nov 26, 2013 @ 03:30:15

        I didn’t go to bed till almost 9pm and that last hour was spent mostly asleep ;). Didn’t manage to get into the garden as most of the day was spent trying to sort out Centrelink problems…sigh…has happened every year since we started studying so I SHOULD be ready for it by now ;). Today is a new day…out into the garden and at em’! I might even get those poor yacon planted out! 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 24, 2013 @ 17:12:42

        And of course, CONGRATUMALATIONS!

      • narf77
        Nov 25, 2013 @ 02:32:44

        Congratumalations received and accepted ma’am! I am MOST grateful to have ridden that behemoth of a beast known as OH&S and not to have been bucked off and crushed beneath its incredible weight. I DID IT and it makes me feel both happy and proud of myself. Now we just have to see how much we have to “fix up” ;). We handed our website URL’s in to our lecturer and he will see them this morning. No doubt we will have a list of things to fix by mid morning (sigh). Steve said that we can share the URL’s so I will wait to see what the lecturer makes us fix and then will share it with you all. It’s not fantastic but it’s not all that bad from scratch either. Very simple but we really haven’t been taught much about Dreamweaver yet so that’s to be expected. Its a pity we couldn’t do the cert 4 course (you have to rock up in person each day and 100km round trip 5 times a week isn’t on the cards) and learn how to make amazing websites but thems the breaks and the course that we have our eye on next year will teach me how to make e-books and use art, text and graphics well on web pages so we progress albeit sideways ;). Have a great week and tell Jasper from aunty Fran “Kiddo…if you are going to get stuck into the sweet stuff, do it in style! Pour that maple syrup over some ice-cream, throw on some of mum’s chocolate stash and go to town!” If you are going to have a wall bouncing session, you have to make the most of it 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 25, 2013 @ 11:57:12

        Mum doesn’t HAVE a chocolate stash any more. I s a good girl! 😀 Kicked that habit and most grateful for having done so. No ice-cream in the house either. Yes, I am a mean old mum with my deprived children suffering for having healthy things to eat. 😉
        Getting there straight or getting there sideways, it’s supposed to be the journey that counts isn’t it? Sideways would make or a much more interesting one I suspect. Youch, 500kms a week would be a little sore on the wallet as well as the time “wasted” sitting in a car too. Not to mention the ouchies to the environment, no matter how good or bad on emissions your car might be. Good choice methinks all around.

      • narf77
        Nov 26, 2013 @ 03:33:47

        We could technically catch a bus but we would have to walk 5km a day just to get to the bus stop… public transport is NOT good here in Tassie ;). Have you made the hoppers coconut icecream? Gorgeous stuff that you can throw all kinds of heavenly things into and you can beam knowing that its good for them AND its nutritious food :). You could even get the hoppers involved in a lesson if you use the 2 bag method (the salt in the outer, bigger bag and the chilled icecream mix in the middle smaller bag) as it would be great fun for them to watch it change from a liquid state to a solid state…THAT is where life lessons matter (and in the ice cream eating…you certainly learn lessons there 😉 ). Mean mums chain their kids to chairs. I don’t think you are quite there yet 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 26, 2013 @ 08:50:23

        Tempting some days. 😉

        Do you have a recipe for coconut ice cream? It does sound like a cool lesson and one I know Jas will ove particularly as he is quite the chef. 🙂
        A 5km daily walk is not so fun and busses aren’t so good for taking bicyces on board either. Does Tassie have trains in any capacity? I was wondering the other day. 🙂

      • narf77
        Nov 27, 2013 @ 04:05:19

        There IS a train network in Tassie but its been very underutilised. The truckers association (part of the logging industry that rules the roost here…) put the kybosh on the trains as they didn’t want to lose work but it would make a whole lot of sense to have a passenger train running between Launceston and Hobart a few times a day. No trains and the busses are crap. If you want to catch a bus from Georgetown to Launceston you can catch it once a day…to the city…and back from the city…don’t miss it! 😉,12920

        and head to Yummly for some amazing inspiration, pages FULL of coconut ice cream…

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Nov 27, 2013 @ 07:33:21

        Well given that a fuel crisis is on its way they had better get a move on and build one!
        Thanks for the recipes too, I shall go read them now. 🙂

      • narf77
        Nov 27, 2013 @ 10:50:41

        Not much distance from the bottom of Tassie to the top so a horse and cart would be the way to go (or shanks pony or the ubiquitous (ugh) pushbike 😉 )

  13. thecontentedcrafter
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 15:45:56

    Hi Fran, fess up time – I keep missing your posts and after reading this one I vow to NEVER do that again! My god – it’s all on at your place – I get to the end of the paragraph and before I can take a breath, you are off and running on another adventure…. So much activity, so much energy, so much joie de vivre [is that how you spell it?] I so enjoyed my visit! Chuckle and laugh and ouch – with all the bumping into things – Like you I’m an early riser – I’m often up at 3 am and by 8am ready for a wee nap…. I do my best work in the early hours, it’s quiet, I’m unlikely to get interrupted and I can cruise around in blogland for hours 🙂

    I’m sending you all the best wishes I can find for a successful and happy end to your course, the onset of proper spring weather and a very happy, uncommercial Christmas season.


    • narf77
      Nov 21, 2013 @ 16:56:05

      I think I love you :). It might be the small glass of port that Steve just gave me but I am revelling in your wonderful comment. We just had a really wild day here in Sidmouth Tassie that was most reminiscent of winter. I don’t personally mind as we got lots of rain and I was shackled to the PC anyway but hopefully it has headed someplace else by next Thursday so that I can do my happy dance out in the garden. I get 8 weeks off before we start our next course and in that time I will do amazing things but none of them will be Christmas ;). I do love Christmas but not the commercialism that goes with it. I love getting together with family and friends, sharing a drink and some good food (bbq) and just hanging out but that ever present middle man keeps tapping me on the shoulder and insisting on me handing over the readies…not that we have any readies but you know what I mean ;). Hugs from Sidmouth and you are forgiven for missing my posts 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Nov 21, 2013 @ 17:08:41

        Ha! Love away – it’s probably mutual – and I haven’t had a glass of anything yet 🙂 Must buy wine, must buy wine…..

        I absolutely agree with you over Christmas, we [I] mostly make everything I give and everyone else has spending limits. We are far flung [well, you know, for NZ] and this year my daughters and I are spending it together with no men present – imagine – a girls Christmas!! My youngest [YD] has her b’day 2 days before and we are going to Queenstown for 3 days, coming back to my place for 3 days…best Christmas ever!!

      • narf77
        Nov 21, 2013 @ 17:32:01

        That sounds awesome! I am off to Hobart next weekend with my 2 daughters (also sans men). They are 23 and 25 and we are going to have an awesome time. Steve is happy to stay here with the dogs (must buy wine…MUST buy wine 😉 ) and we will be off adventuring around the Asian supermarkets, Korean restaurants and all sorts of interesting places (including the Salamanca markets). I love a good road trip especially with my girls :). Last Christmas we helped out with a local homeless and “lonely” Christmas do and came home and celebrated a lovely quiet Christmas with a simple but gorgeous Christmas lunch and it felt perfect. This year we are going to preserve the dogs paw prints in cold porcelain dough (got the recipe off Pinterest 😉 ) as Christmas decorations. We make our own Christmas trees out of driftwood etc. each year as we are both horticulturalists and HATE to kill a tree just for our indulgence. Hope you have an absolutely awesome time with your girls. Wish I was there…we could get stuck into that wine and MAN would the neighbours have something to talk about 😉

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