“On the scrounge again…”

Hi All

“I just can’t wait to get on the scrounge again…” (ALL apologies to Mr Willy Nelson for taking his sterling effort and narforising it…)

Disclaimer…just before you start attempting to wade through this post it is probably one of the longest posts I have ever put on this blog. I completely and utterly forgive you if you just want to flick through the images and get a visual idea of what the post is about today. I guess summer has just taken over my brain…its my excuse, and I am sticking with it! 😉


These are Gladioli carmineus corms. Gladioli carmineus (Mini Gladioli) are a low growing gladioli that grow quickly and spread like wildfire. I got these bulbs when leaning over a gardeners fence and admiring her plants on one of my morning walks with Earl


Steve gets the bucket and I get the tahini from inside it…a win-win situation


Whatever these plums are they are not cherry plums. I noticed these on a small tree amongst some wild cherry plums so I picked some before the possums stripped the tree and am going to plant out the seeds


geranium cuttings and the reason why you pick fruit when it is green around here…the possums sampled my pilfered plums…cheeky sods!


I am a manic list maker…here you see some of my lists, some clasps to ensure that the hose doesn’t blow (again) and bags of chia, quinoa and amaranth seed that I am going to plant along with some buckwheat as experimental crops this year


The hay bales in Steve’s shed have just been appropriated for “other purposes”. I don’t mind, at least I know where this nest is!


Looks like it has more than one occupant!

Well here I am again on Wednesday but what a difference a couple of weeks makes to this little black duck. 2 weeks ago I was a spent husk. Today I am bursting with possibilities. December 1st was apparently the first day of summer but Tasmania seems to have decided to succeed from the rest of the world and do its own thing and we have had spring, autumn, winter and a tiny hint of summer thrown in over the course of the last 2 weeks. I can’t say I mind. I love all of the rain that we are having and so does the garden. 2 weeks ago the veggie garden was a sad reminder that I had been hiding under the bed with my fingers in my ears a little bit too long but the season appears to have been hiding under the bed with me so everything is rosy on Serendipity Farm.


Steve’s Chinese (larger) bonsai Japanese maple that he sourced from under the deck as a tiny seedling and has been training for 3 years now with it’s own nitrogen fixing crop of clover growing with it


A little primrose and a strappy liriopes both bought from the little stall at the top of the hill for $2 each


When I sorted through the potted plants I found this succulent that is just about to flower and a lavender that I can plant out in the garden


My newly purchased Egyptian walking onion and perennial leeks along with grape vines grown from cuttings from a Muscat grape and pelargonium and scented geranium cuttings sourced from one of our walks


Healthy melon and capsicum (pepper) plants that my daughter Madeline grew from seed and that are excess to her needs so I get some (cheers Madeline 🙂 )


More geranium and pelargonium cuttings. I usually take a whole lot more care with cuttings but geraniums and pelargoniums are very hardy and should all strike no problems

The vegetable garden is going great guns. Because of all of the rain that we have been having, the rest of the garden is great gunning as well; especially the forget-me-nots that I am studiously pretending don’t exist much to their amusement. I looked down at my jeans yesterday after I had gone hunting for eggs amongst the undergrowth (I live in hope and am ever optimistic…) and I was covered in forget-me-not seeds…the little buggers LOVE me! Earl, who had accompanied me on lead was also covered in forget-me-not seeds BUT the difference was, he just shook himself and they magically dropped off him…I attempted to follow suit and nothing happened…I was still scraping them off my jeans and muttering under my breath when I managed to haul Earl up the deck steps to the deck above. If truth be told, the jeans aren’t the only thing that is covered in forget-me-not seeds but every time I get infested I toss the item into the washing and continue on regardless “I CAN’T hear you forget-me-nots!”


Wheeling loquat seedlings, cherry plum seedlings and displaced herbs around to the veggie garden from the shed


An oak leaf hydrangea flower on the way


The only thing stopping this artichoke and the Jerusalem artichoke in this photo from being scoffed are the forget-me-nots and other “garden miscellanea” in this garden bed preventing the chooks from being able to see them


Looking back from the first garden to the house where you can see one of our fine specimens of guard dogs on alert…pity they weren’t on alert the other day when we had some Jehovah’s witnesses breach the compound, walk up the steps, come onto the deck and tap on my window for a good 5 minutes before I realised that it wasn’t Earl’s tail on the window, it was (shock horror) PEOPLE! I calmly informed them that I had NO idea why our big dogs hadn’t bounded around the corner barking to greet them, politely said “no thank-you” when offered literature and said goodbye to them as they headed back down the steps. Suddenly the deck started to rumble, an eruption of barking ensued and shamefaced dogs who had been sleeping on the job pelted down to bark off the intruders…sigh…


I hope you are all getting the picture as to why I am hiding under the bed and have NO idea where to start in the garden. Everything has gone completely mental and who would know what most of this is!


Our mountain of home grown compost underneath some ex fish farm netting that has been dampened to keep the worms in it happy

Now that I am free to wander around the garden at will (forget-me-nots and all…) I have rediscovered my love of gardening all over again. It goes dormant for winter and appears to have erupted out of me with a vengeance this year. As a penniless student hippy who desires to live simply and sustainably I have to find all kinds of different ways to get what I want that don’t involve the green folding stuff (or even the silver stuff to be honest 😉 ) and the last week has seen me scrounging with impunity to our advantage. Here is a list of recent scrounges…

  1. Live Christmas trees scrounged by Stevie-boy, the son-and-heir, his Texan sweetie and my daughters from the firebreak between a pine plantation and our friends property
  2. 2 x 20 litre tahini buckets scrounged by Stevie-boy from Wholesome House health food shop for his shed that contained enough organic tahini to fill a large glass jar…BONUS!
  3. A visit to the Deviot Heritage Apple and Pear enclosed orchard yielded rooted cuttings of various kinds of herbs that had gone rampant into the path and that are now replanted into a large pot
  4. More angelica seed from the same garden scattered all over the place on Serendipity Farm
  5. Some cuttings of Tagetes lemmonii (an aromatic shrub native to south-eastern Arizona and south into Mexico) that I have on the windowsill in a mug of water with the hopes that the cuttings will produce roots
  6. 4 more small loquat trees that are now potted up and happy as clams in the veggie garden
  7. Lots of cherry plum seedlings found on a recent walk down at Bonnie Beach that are going to become the welcoming fence line trees on Serendipity Farm in the future
  8. A selection of pelargoniums and geranium cuttings that were sourced from plants growing on the side of the road on another one of our walks recently. I realised that some areas of Serendipity Farm are always going to be pretty arid so have decided to grow plants that will be able to tolerate low water conditions and geraniums and pelargoniums are perfect cheerful specimens. Soon to come will be lavender cuttings, rosemary cuttings and anything else that I deem drought ready and willing
  9. I walked with Earl over the Batman again and took my secateurs and a large plastic bag this time and arrived back home with cuttings from Cistus x “Purpureus” (Pink Rock Rose) and that unknown grey leaved sage type plant that I am experimenting with. I have put half of them in a glass of water on my kitchen windowsill and the other half are in potting mix in the veggie garden
  10. Seeds, seeds and MORE seeds…collecting like a crazy woman from wherever I can see something that I like (that doesn’t involve pole vaulting over someone else’s garden fence 😉 )
  11. I found a stash of possum sucked loquat seeds underneath a large loquat tree that I may, or may not have been going to predate (but the possums got there first…) and brought them home and shoved them into the ground in likely places of survival all over Serendipity Farm. I kept 5 back to plant in potting mix as I love loquats and want them all over the place as part of my lines of defence between us and the marauding natives. I figure, by the time they get to the heart of our garden where the “good” things are, they will be so stuffed full on lesser fruits that they will hardly be able to waddle…ever the optimist is narf7 😉
  12. I have been snacking on native cherry fruit as I have been walking Earl in the mornings down Auld Kirk Road. There is a particular tree that Earl likes to make a fuss over (due to a large brown hound once attempting to accost Earl in this exact place…) that gives me a little time to snack on the large native cherry tree in the vicinity. The fruits are small, reminiscent of cashew fruit with the seed sticking out the bottom of the fruit and the same shape (except a lot smaller) and quite tasty when they are ripe. There are so many of them the birds can’t actually keep up with them this year.
  13. Free seedlings from Madeline, my eldest daughter including red capsicum seedlings and some kind of melon (either rock or honeydew). I am just about to clear them their very own mountain of horse poo to grow happily in. The pumpkins that sprouted from compost hurled under the horse poo before we sunk the first pole in the veggie garden are all starting to grow like crazy so some melons may as well join the parade
  14. Still finding lots and lots of beer bottle caps on the side of the road that I am collecting to make this

That’s only a small selection of free or minimal cost things that I have been hunting out with a view to utilising them on Serendipity Farm. I get so excited about the possibilities of growing free plants and guess what I did this week…I FINALLY managed to sort through all of the potted plants and move them to one area. Steve helped me set up the overhead watering system so that most of them get watered without effort and only a few are going to need to be watered with the hose but pretty soon we will be taking some of them off to one of the Deviot Saturday morning basket markets with a large painted sign saying “Free to good home”. I would like to think that people will make the most of some free plants for their garden and that our potted babies will make someone else happy 🙂


Even the possums have been hiding under the bed when faced with the wealth of crazy undergrowth that Tasmania is generating. I am starting to think that we have switched poles and Tasmania is the new Bali! This rose bush is usually twigs. It lives as twigs for most of the year and then goes twiggily dormant…this year it has been allowed to keep it’s leaves and these little roses smell amazing. “Cheers possums!”


Steve’s Strelitzia’s are just about to bloom and this large black cicada has just hatched out of his pupae and is waiting for his wings to harden enough for him to fly off to the trees above and join hundreds of his brethren in a chorus that will herald the heat of summer. They are great food for birds and other animals and every 4 years we get invaded by these huge slow chirping behemoths


The offending pipe that kept blowing apart when we turned the tap on in the veggie enclosure. This pipe is all that stands between water and the garden so I mended it today with some of those clips that you saw in an earlier image. Soon we will get another water tap inside the enclosure but for now this one is good enough


This used to be the first series of 3 garden beds in our original set-up. We were late to the game this year so decided to use the existing infrastructure to get going sooner and after pulling out the now unnecessary partitions we have a fair bit more room to grow veggies


The bed in the foreground contains silverbeet that our horticulture friend Jenny gave us months ago. They were languishing in a cardboard box with most of their soil washed away and I am amazed that they survived, let alone are growing like crazy now! It can only attest to their hardiness


Next time I plant carrots I will use seed tape…as you can see “someone” accidentally tipped a few extra seed halfway along that third row…oh well, the packets were only $1 each and the thinnings should be prolific

I have been studiously ignoring Christmas almost as much as I have been ignoring the forget-me-nots to the same effect…it is just flowing past me regardless. I have reached a point where I am just about ready to tentatively stick my toe into the Christmas tide BUT I will be doing it at my pace and point blank refuse to get caught up in the hype. The television is manic with “GREAT DEALS FOR CHRISTMAS” but narf7 is content with “slowly, slowly catchy monkey”. Wouldn’t a monkey be great on Serendipity Farm? He could live in the veggie garden and have fun with the possum marauders on their nocturnal visits…but seriously, this year will be spent doing what we want, when we want. A most glorious wish and one that I get the feeling I just might get.


Rows of peas going crazy…now I just have to work out how I am going to support them when they get bigger


On the left hand side of this small garden bed are some scarlet runner beans that formed large bulbous tubers last year and that the chooks scratched most of the soil away from. I didn’t expect them to grow back this year but once we topped up the soil and added lots of horse manure they started growing again. Bonus crop with no sowing effort at all!


The nut trees that had been living in Steve’s shed to protect them from the native animals are much happier out in the open


My 2 yacon plants surrounded by the pallid tendrils of a forgotten bag of potatoes in the back of the pantry


Horse poo mountain that I am going to leave in this spot because all of these pumpkins spontaneously grew here. I must have dumped some household compost underneath this spot and now they are growing happily…more plants that I didn’t have to coax to seedling height and transplant out…I LOVE this gardening lark!


More free plants. This time they are some of the strawberries that I sourced from a stack of strawberry runners that someone threw onto the green waste at the local dump. Their loss, my gain! This pot is one of almost 15 that we will be planting out “somewhere” inside the veggie compound


The Egyptian walking onion and perennial leeks in situ. Is it just me or does that Egyptian walking onion look like Earthworm Jim? 😉

Bev, from the wonderfully inventive and sustainable blog “Foodnstuff” posted a post this week that was completely invigorating and got me out and about collecting plant material and getting stuck into the garden. Sometimes you just need a gentle shove and Bev’s post was mine. If you would like to see how a real garden works, click on the link above and head on over and check out Bev’s garden full of possibilities. I love Bev’s blog because every time I see a new post it gives me some new ideas and new ways of doing things that I didn’t know before. I am ever on the scrounge for useful information and Bev’s blog is cram packed full of it


The sum total of the lettuce population in the garden…a bit sad really but we are just about to remedy this problem. I have to use slug/snail pellets in the garden at the moment because they appear to have heard on the grapevine that there is free grub on Serendipity Farm and I am NOT losing any more food to freeloading varmints…


Looking into the veggie garden at the possibilities…note the amazing architectural construction of the gateway into the garden. Another one of my dad’s “wonderful creations”. I am just REALLY glad that he didn’t build the house! 😉


Note the garden is now taking over the “lawn”. Note also that someone has to mow the lawn! (Note to self…mow the lawn BEFORE you show them another photo of this area! 😉 )


This is what is commonly called “Elephants Ears” or Bergenia cordifolia by people who want to appear horticulturally clever “You KNOW who you are!”


Note Earl has just about had enough of me walking backwards and forwards and taking photos…We picked up that Cray pot full of floats for $5 at the last progressive garage sale in march…I love the progressive garage sale 🙂


Sadly, I don’t know what this is. I bought it in a pot at Wychwood because the lady told me that it was hardy. Here you can see it fighting a loosing battle against some native raspberries (note to self add “make tepee’s for the native raspberries as number 732 on your to-do list”…sigh…)


Unlike the unknown perennial that the native raspberries are attempting to throttle, these little guys are edible. They are going great guns in the garden under the deck and you can see the small fruit forming on the vines now

I am just about to gird my loins and head off to a local friend’s home and spend some time chatting to her about making my idea about developing local community a reality. I know that there are a lot of people living in the area who might be interested in getting together with other like-minded people in order to develop our local community and share our combined knowledge to everyone’s advantage. My idea is to have a meeting to see how many people are interested, to start a group of us that are interested in getting together over a cuppa for a crafting group, baking circle, gardening group etc. all invested in teaching each other new skills and forging a sense of community here in tiny little riverbank Sidmouth. Stevie-boy suggested the name “Sidmouth Sustainability Group” which sounds like a plan to me and my friend is the perfect place to start because she has been a “hippy” for most of her life and knows more about sustainability than I have had hot dinners (and that is a LOT folks 😉 ). Together we should be able to at least host a few interesting talks about various subjects ranging from keeping goats, making goat cheese, spinning, gardening (Roxy) through to keeping ferments, cooking for allergies etc. (me). The idea keeps lodging itself in my head and I think it’s the right time to bring it to fruition. I will keep you in the loop about how it pans out but I doubt I will do anything about it till after Christmas (oh NO! I said it! If you acknowledge it, it will come! Sigh…)


This spot under the deck is very dry and this is where I am going to plant lots of those pelargoniums and scented geraniums in order to keep moisture in the soil and to grow other shrubs that wouldn’t otherwise survive in this arid spot. There was nothing here last year and as you can see, we have some plants growing. A note to anyone who thinks that where they live won’t grow flowers. Plant snap dragons. Those snapdragons are self sown from “somewhere” (dad most certainly didn’t sow them!) and keep coming back and spreading year after year.


This was a scented geranium that I potted up as a cutting last year that we planted out earlier in spring


So is this one. They are hardy, have pretty flowers that stay on the shrub all summer and whenever they are touched by anything (including wind or water) they release a lovely scent. The perfect plant for under the deck on a hot summers day 🙂


This bottlebrush seems happy out the back but it will soon be enclosed inside the dogs compound (we are going to extend it) so I can’t vouch for it’s continued happiness. We can only hope that Earl decides to “mark” things a bit further afield but I won’t hold my breath…


Steve’s collection of “Solar Groovers”, little solar powered things that he has collected that wiggle in his music room window. You can see one of his tab books on the music stand in the background.


Back on the deck now (much to Earl’s delight) and looking back towards the veggie enclosure. Note the gypsy hoards of chooks wandering around pinching things…sigh…


Our bedroom window with assorted vegetation


“Someone” who wishes to remain anonymous because he was a very silly man, left the door to the pantry open where he had placed his nice new crocs that he had purchased the day before…


We can’t be having Earl get ALL the attention now…better do my cute “upside down” number and have a bit of a chew on what was left of that croc while I do…

Looks like I have earbashed you again but like the large black cicada’s that are hatching out all over the place, my summer exoskeleton is firming up nicely and I will be ready to fly in a week or so. I have even been contemplating the Christmas meal! Next week I will have the tree put up and decorated (although it will probably take me a month to take it down again…), decorations made of an interesting baking soda clay from this site… and goodness only knows what else will be fermenting on Serendipity Farm so stay tuned for the next summery instalment of simple sustainability on Serendipity Farm and enjoy your nice warm fires and hot chocolate because at the moment, I am doing the very same thing! 😉


The cherry plum seedlings that I found on our walk at Bonnie Beach


The loquat seedlings that I found on our walk in Deviot…if you keep your eyes open and look for things you would be amazed at what is right there on the ground


I was happy to get a red cherry plum seedling so it should remain true to type and stay red as it grows with red cherry plums


The herbs that I pulled out of the sawdust path at the Apple and pear heritage orchard in Deviot. No idea what they are but probably some form of mint. They look a bit sorry at the moment but they will soon perk up. Anything with a square stem (minty sage type families) tends to be very hardy


Some of the cuttings that I took from the park over the other side of the Batman bridge while I was walking Earl the other day on the kitchen window ledge


The Scented marigold shrub cuttings that I am hoping will strike in water also on the kitchen window ledge that is pretty full incidentally. Note the collection of shoes that need to be removed before we come inside due to being coated in something insidious and the lengths that we have to go to in order to ensure that they remain wearable and out of doggy reach.


52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thecontentedcrafter
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 17:18:44

    I’ve momentarily stopped reading at the monkey paragraph – because it reminded me of a story I must share with you 🙂

    When my children were little we lived on a 1/4 acre in Hawkes Bay [the 70’s] it was here I was in my hippy-back-to-nature-nothing-unhealthy-shall-enter-my-children phase. My eldest child was about to have her 7th birthday and asked for an elephant. I said I didn’t think we could care for an elephant properly and was stunned by her response. She had obviously thought it through very carefully.

    The elephant, she explained to me, could live in the back garden [it had a 3 foot high white picket fence lovingly built by her dad around it] The elephant could be tied to the old plum tree which was beside the old unused concrete compost bins that had been renovated and turned into a two room play house for the girls. The elephant could crawl into the play house if it got cold or wet. She knew elephants could bend their knees because she had seen one do it once on a trip to the zoo…..
    The elephant would be able to eat the plums from the tree, the veges from the garden and also feijoas, lemons, grapefruits and apples – all growing on youngish trees we had planted in the vicinity of the old plum.

    She would take the elephant for a walk everyday after school and it could be with me in the garden while she was away. The elephant would be able to access her bedroom via the double doors of the sun porch that opened into her room from the back garden. She would read it stories every night before bed and the elephant could listen to the stories that mummy read or told before sleep. Then it would go to the little hut and sleep there. Daddy would have to wash the elephant with the hose because he was the only person tall enough to reach.

    I said I would think about it. How could I say no to such a well thought out plan of adoption? Later I told her there were no elephants looking for homes at the moment. We still rock with laughter over the elephant adoption plan!

    Now I must go back to reading.


    • narf77
      Dec 11, 2013 @ 18:54:31

      So what you are saying in effect…is that I can have my monkey?…for Christmas?…


    • quarteracrelifestyle
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 06:53:56

      Pauline 🙂 What a lovely story. I love elephants.
      When I was little I asked for a monkey for my 6th birthday. I have had a lifelong fascination and love for them. I was told “No, can’t do that”. Stomped off to my room, cried for hours because my heart was set on one (I too had sorted how a monkey could fit into our home) and because my parents were so mean. I went back out and then asked “Why”. The conversation went on for days with me crying, nagging, cajoling…before my parents FINALLY had the sense to say we can’t legally keep monkeys as pets in NZ. Short conversation, I got it, no need for anymore drama, sorted lol. I remember it very well lol.


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 07:01:36

        Some memories never fade and some dreams never die – isn’t it amazing what we remember!! Your poor parents- all that drama and heart break to deal with!

        I really was chickening out when I said I would think about it – and then pretending I had searched for one and there were none available! She remembers it as how hard her mummy tried to find an elephant that was looking for a home 🙂 Hero!!

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 07:10:09

        You absolutely are a hero lol, a far kinder and more sensible solution to a problem than my parents inflicted on themselves 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 09:28:09

        Hero indeed! 😉

      • narf77
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 09:27:44

        Its a wonder why you parents didn’t just pull that ace out first?! I wanted to be come a naturalist when I was a kid. I wanted to travel the seven seas and collect plants and animals and start a zoo (I may have read a lot of Gerald Durrell books when I was young 😉 ) but I didn’t want to have a monkey or an elephant…I wanted a palomino horse. Simple really…I too was denied…sigh…

  2. thecontentedcrafter
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 17:29:19

    I like the way you get your cuttings – reminds me of my favourite aunt who’s handbag just used to fall open and bits of plants would hop in. She had a fabulous garden! Love the bottlecap wind chime – I’m collecting them too, but alas they are not as plentiful as they once were.

    You are so busy and so productive – I’m amazed every week …. and you write these great long informative posts as well! I have to go have a wee lie down now ….


    • narf77
      Dec 11, 2013 @ 18:56:55

      Bottle caps are very prolific here in Tasmania. I walk down the highway and get a couple every day. I figure I am doing Tasmania a service picking them up ;). Seriously though, it seems like there are quite a few locals that drink and drive around here…maybe I should be VERY careful when I walk down the highway! Glad you liked my HUGE post. They aren’t all that big but 54 photos insisted in going into the post today and who am I to argue? 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:27:42

        I always enjoy your posts – and they are big but worth the time! This peek into your life and your head is so enlivening – I have some joyful envy of your farm and energy 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:51:48

        The camera tells fibs. If you were standing here where I am you would say “is this the same place?!!!” ;). My energy peaks at about 3pm. It’s all downhill after that and at 7.51 it’s bedtime 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:58:01

        Sleep well – have another happy busy day tomorrow!

      • narf77
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 03:11:57

        Lots of plans for today including weeding a mountain of horse poo and planting out rockmelon seedlings and figuring out how to get a wheelbarrow from the outside of the enclosure to the inside…might have to make a ramp methinks…whatever I do it will be productive and nothing makes you more satisfied (or sleep as well) as being productive in your day :). Have a great day yourself and here’s to mutual productivity and happiness. I am raising my first mug (bucket) of tea to that! 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 05:13:31

        I had a big sleep!! Not usual for me – I usually do 5 hours at the most – so I’m on my first coffee and happily picturing you deep in horse poo 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 12, 2013 @ 05:17:52

        Not at the moment I’m not! I am wrapped up in a big wooly brown blanket tapping away furiously attempting to comment on as many of my RSS Feed Read blogs as I can before I have to wake Steve and the dogs up at 6am. Gotta say it keeps me on my toes ;). I need about 7 hours sleep a night or I get twitchy. I don’t have any trouble sleeping with the hours that I keep and I used to be a very light sleeper but bombs could go off outside and I would be fast asleep these days ;). The only time I wake up is when Earl jumps on my stomach when he comes back in from his nightly “checks”… not sure how he ALWAYS knows where my stomach is but I figure he thinks it is his right to trampoline on the human prior to settling down to slobber on himself for about 15 minutes… sigh…

  3. foodnstuff
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 18:39:44

    Thanks for the nice comments, but my blog is decidedly dull compared to yours. After seeing all that you’ve done, I think I’m gonna have to have a wee lie down too….

    Love the snow, too!


    • narf77
      Dec 11, 2013 @ 18:58:51

      Yeah…it’s pretty cold here in Tassie ;). Apparently I can turn it off if I like but we rarely get to see snow and I like it from the comfort of my computer chair MUCH better than having to hike up mountains in the frigid cold to see it ;). Cheers for letting me hijack your post and share it with my dear constant readers. You really DID inspire me to do everything I did this week. You gave me the enthusiasm after I read your wonderful post 🙂


  4. Lynda
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:13:11

    I made it all the way through. Phew!! I think i need a lay down for a rest. LOL

    Im loving that bottle cap hanging thingy. Cool. We have a turret punch at work that punches programmed holes in the sheet metal. The result is a pile of little metal disc that are round or square, all shiny and silver. I see so many possibilites. Id send them to you but the postage would be astonomical.

    You certainly have very fruitful walks.

    Im with you, id hide under your bed too if i had a garden that is so big and so prolific. How on earth do you remember what is where. Do you plot it on a map of your yard. Really, there is so much going on.


    • narf77
      Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:56:12

      I don’t remember anything in the garden…I just find things and get excited about them. Its actually a jungle out there and I often have no idea where to start when I get the urge to go out there and “facilitate change”. I am drooling over your shiny discs…don’t forget I am a magpie and we love shiny things ;). I see a lot of things on my walks but I tend to be dragging along behind Earl at any given time. The trick is being able to grab and snip plant material when Earl decides that he needs to pee…lucky for me he needs to pee a lot! :).


  5. brymnsons
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:41:22

    Looking good Frannie! I wonder if I posted the spring onion seeds to you if they would arrive? I have managed to harvest thousands of the little black seeds, so have plenty to share 🙂 We are booking a ride on the wilderness train from Strahan. They messaged us to say it will be running again in January. Looks like a lovely trip through the huon pine etc. It’s going to be an action packed 4 days I can tell you!!


    • narf77
      Dec 11, 2013 @ 19:52:52

      Stewart went on that railway and loved it. He said it was absolutely wonderful and really enjoyed his trip. January is a great time to visit Tassie and you guys are going to have a ball 🙂


  6. Elizabeth Mars
    Dec 11, 2013 @ 20:40:07

    I also feel exhausted and in need of a nap after reading your posts. That is a massive garden you have there, can’t wait to see what it produces for you in the summer.


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 03:12:41

      Neither can I Elizabeth…sorry about the post length. I think summer just caught up with my brain and insisted… INSISTED… on me sharing it all 🙂


  7. Chica Andaluza
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 04:44:33

    Made it – but it was a good one! Love your scrounging, you’re like two little Tasmanian Wombles…does that make you Tombles? Or maybe Narfles? That Japanese Maple is beautiful and my geranium cuttings just get stuck straight into the ground and they seem to do ok. Had to laugh at the crocs – I’ve had several pairs destroed too – they must taste amazingly good to dogs!


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 05:13:59

      Narfles methinks…sort of like Miss Marples on steroids ;). Earl swallows them whole and Bezial uses them as props for his “cute” displays ;). Steve dug that maple up as a teeny seedling. It was underneath a large overgrown maple here on Serendipity Farm back when dad was alive (prior to 2010). He potted it up and has been training it ever since. It appears to like being back where it came from and rewards us every year with it’s structure and beauty. I shove all kinds of things into the ground…mum did and if it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for me! In saying that…lots of what I “shove into the ground” doesn’t strike so I guess there is some kind of lesson to be learned for narfles there 😉


  8. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 06:17:09

    Hehehe, still smiling here at ‘narforising’ which is what Narfles do. You could turn it into a tv show like “Dirt Girl World” 🙂
    I love Japanese Maples as well. My mum used to have the most beautiful one on her property, it was always so serene to look out on.


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 09:21:27

      I have lots that I am just about to give away at the local Deviot Basket market. We grew hundreds of them from seed a few years ago when we studied horticulture. We moved here when my dad died and our ideas of “gardening” undertook a radical change. We are now all about permaculture and sustainable principals and a lot of what we grew isn’t what we want to grow on the property so giving it away to people who will plant them and love them would be the best outcome. “Narf Girl World”…sounds like a terrifying prospect! I don’t think the world is ready for me and my sidekick Earldog…do you? 😉


  9. quarteracrelifestyle
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 06:43:21

    Great post Fran and what alot going on! The garden looks great 🙂 I have a bright scarlet climbing geranium I have taken cutting off to grow all through the Cypres hedge, it’s not a colour I could live with inside but out amongst thousands of shades of green it’s stunning.
    Would love to be able to grow loquats!
    My sister-in-law is a nun working in Brazil, her garden is full of banana trees and wee monkeys (spider monkeys I think) How neat would that be!!!
    You buy Tahini by the bucket full?! Gosh here we would pay $4 for a tiny pottle!
    We get cicadas here too and we know when they start chirping it is hot enough for a nasty bug we get here to start eating it’s way through our veg garden, then I know it’s that time of the year that Roger will start obsessing over garden pests and wartime strategies.


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 09:25:39

      Our health food guy was giving away “empty” tahini buckets and when Steve brought them home (ostensibly for his shed but more like for the making of booze 😉 ) they had a fair bit of tahini still in them. David had only just emptied them so the tahini was fine to use so I scraped it out and got a jar full and here in Tassie it is $7 a small jar! BONUS to me :). Wartime strategies…I would rather a bug than possums to be honest. They don’t just eat, they try to climb as well and all of our fruit trees suffer under their fat little nocturnal raids. I love the stark contrast of a bit of red amongst a lot of green. I am not a “flowery” person. I prefer foliage and greens and browns (lucky because the lawn turns brown every summer 😉 ) myself but there is something about a red hot geranium and its optimistic enthusiasm that can’t be denied. It’s filthy hot outside, everything is wilting, the dogs are laying on the bathroom tiles panting and the ONLY thing happy is the bright red flowering geranium waving around in the dry breeze…now THAT is resilience! 😉


  10. teawithhazel
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 08:37:32

    i’m really impressed with your cutting and seed gathering prowess..there’s a cafe called the observatory cafe outside the botanic gardens here in melbourne that used to have a kitchen garden open to the public..i used to take my mother quite often and on one occasion (i promise) i purloined some rocket seeds of a variety id not seen before and i now have them growing prolifically all over my garden..they’re a lovely and constant reminder of the special times i shared with her..i love the different associations plants can have with the people or places they came from..x


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 09:30:26

      If I am being honest (and I am 😉 ) Steve and I took regular pilgrimages down to the Hobart Bot gardens in order to pilfer seed at it’s optimum. We managed to get lots of maple seed and grew hundreds of little trees and we harvested some very interesting seed from other species as well. I am MUCH better now. I harvest seed from road verges and don’t pinch anything from anyone’s garden although it is in the blood, my mum and her mum before her all grew gardens based on cuttings that they had pinched or garnered from other gardeners and their gardens ;).


  11. thecontentedcrafter
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 09:49:43

    My favourite aunt – the one that taught me to love gardens – never purchased a plant in her life, she said ‘You never know where they come from’ – [sadly prophetic of what is going on in the world now……[ She preferred to pinch cuttings form local gardens – public and private and always carried her handbag over arm for that very purpose. Her thinking quite correctly was that if it was growing well down the road it would grow well in her garden. She had a beautiful garden 🙂


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 10:45:10

      That’s my thoughts exactly. Your aunt was a woman after my own heart. If it is growing well in your local district, go get some! I try to always ask if I want something from someones gardens. I have learned that the most generous people in the world are gardeners and I usually leave with MUCH more than just a few cuttings 🙂


  12. Jo
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 10:01:24

    Fran, do come and pilfer seeds and cuttings from my garden anytime you like! Kettle always on:) I like the idea of your sustainablity group. I go to one here in Launceston run by the wise and clever Tania at Suburban Jubilee. Last Thursday in the month 7-9pm if you want to join us one day.
    I think those plums you found are greengages – they have that distinctive almond shape. Always in demand for making the best jam ever.


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 10:48:34

      The leaves didn’t look like a greengauge (sort of flocked) though…I reckon they were maybe a mutant variety of cherry plum but I figure the size of them made them worth collecting. I would love to visit with my city cousins. When is the next meeting? I would love to see how it all works as I think that building community and a sense of connectedness is vitally important these days. We need to know that we have neighbours and that they are real people just like us and that we can share what we learn and what we are growing in our gardens and our collective knowledge to make our little hamlet a better place. The kids have a greengauge in town…I will be raiding it soon ;). If you hear a crash outside in your front garden and come out to see me upside down in your ranunculi’s you know I have been on the scrounge. I will do my level best to appear shamefaced but that’s hard when you are laughing fit to burst 😉


  13. Littlesundog
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 11:46:08

    Fran, I want you to know I did have to resort to placing artificial tears in each eye TWICE while reading this post… but it was worth the effort! LOL I am always amazed at some of the plants that thrive there and here! And, reading about the spring weather and gardening makes me anxious to see spring here – but it will be 3 or 4 months yet. I hear the 20th of December will bring us another Arctic front even worse than this last one! We Okie’s are not used to such bitter cold! My FAVORITE part of this post (and I’m sorry for my odd sense of humor) was the demise of Steve’s crocs!! It’s not just Earl designing fashion wear… now Bezial has his own label. Of course in this case, it’s not really “Bezial Wear”. He went a little too far! Great post Fran! I loved all of the photos!


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 14:40:21

      Got to admit…Earl ate the croc and Bezial was just posing with some of the debris ;). I don’t like bitter cold either but we tend not to get it here. Sticks around 0C which is mild for you guys I guess but cold enough for an Aussie where on the mainland it usually hovers around 10 – 15C in winter. Glad you liked the post and lucky I took out shares in the artificial tear company BEFORE I pressed “Publish” eh? 😉


  14. christiglover
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 12:55:54

    “Next time I plant carrots I will use seed tape” Excellent advice and I will do the same. Carrot seeds are soooo tiny. 🙂 And I LOVE the Sidmouth Sustainability Group! May your energies ripple around the planet, Fran! Serendipity Farm looks absolutely verdant.


    • narf77
      Dec 12, 2013 @ 14:41:55

      It sure is my dear twin sister in Olalla…I hope your enforced absence from the blogging world is feeding your soul and you are imbibing copious quantities of delicious hot beverages, reading amazing books that fill you with possibilities and spending lots of quality time with the B.O. before the Christmas mania hits 🙂


  15. Yelena
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 09:40:53

    I am learning so much from you here! Thank you for information, very helpful-)


  16. rabidlittlehippy
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 08:21:23

    Ok, am I the only nutcase wishing this post was longer? I love reading your posts and although the long ones do at times fill me with trepidation (will I have the staying power) I love every word there. 🙂
    My gardens look similar in the sense that everything is growing like topsy and the verdency is extreme but sadly, most of what is growing is rainbow chard going to seed and weeds, mainly sticky weed, thistles, something that looks like mallow but all lacy and dock. Bloody dock!
    My blueberries, in protestation of the weather have turned their little leaves red and decided it’s autumn. Given the weather and the northern hemisphere bogs I follow, I too have been confused trying to remember in which season we rest at the moment.

    Your lettuces are one up on me. I too have carrots in generous proportions. Seed tape – sounds good. Can one make seed tape though? I guess you might as well fiddle with the tiny seeds in the garden as make the tape though. I just bunged them in and deformed and crowded or not, they will all taste great I’m sure. I can thin them as baby carrots perhaps?
    Went bandicooting in my greenhouse the other day and found that I have spuds of edible size. SQUEEE! 😀 I too have pop up seeds in there although mine are much welcomed watermelons coming up in the pots I transplanted my tomatoes into. Looks like I might have 4 watermelons now. i’ve managed to kill the other gazillion seeds of which I planted. My mum and Nanna gardened much like your mum – bung it in and see what grows but they mainly pilfered from each others gardens as far as I know, although Nanna, on her walks around the golf course and national parks was known to pinch bits and bobs. Mainly paper daisies to be honest, because they amused her eldest granddaughter with their rustly petals. I still love paper daisies. 😉
    Thanks for the dose of motiation you’ve shared on to me. Í’ve been a little lcking in garden oomph the last week. Plenty of motivation to watch films, paint stuff with the kids and learn archery but aside from the painting, the rest can wait. 😦 Still, maybe you’ve given me the kick in the butt needed. Thanks.
    Have a great day, enjoy the warmth and get ready to hide on Thursday when it gets REALLY hot. 40 forecast for Melbourne although the 36 up here isn’t much of an improvement really.


    • narf77
      Dec 17, 2013 @ 13:01:17

      There are lots of tutorials for how to make seed tape out there but I particularly liked this one… “Garden Betty – Diary of a Dirty Girl”…sounds like we would all get along! 😉


      No thanking me for motivation, I got mine from Bev, so I guess we should all thank her but I bet she has someone else that motivated her ;). We are supposed to be getting up to 28C here in Sidmouth on the dreaded Thursday from heck…it will be 30 in Launceston but it is always a few degrees cooler out here and cooler even still on the sea. The wind is blowing, I have just spent a most productive week but I think I might email you about it to share. Check your inbox…I dare say it got sent back to me at least once! 😉


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Dec 17, 2013 @ 18:53:20

        30? *snort* So hot! 😉
        I did get your email. Wish I could figure out the bouncy bounce. *sigh* I swear it’s not deliberate.

        I shall check out Dirty Girls link. Thanks.

      • narf77
        Dec 18, 2013 @ 03:14:04

        Something to do with the hoppers? Every hopper loves unravelling toilet paper…hoppers and dogs…its a toilet paper thing. AND they get to put glue onto toilet paper and then attempt to stick seeds to it! Might be a good photo opportunity (when they look like glued up mummies 😉 ).

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Dec 18, 2013 @ 09:19:18

        Bahahahahahaha! I LOVE IT! Easy clean up too – Bath! And that’s a horticulture, maths, arts and craft and writing (labeling the seeds) lessons all in one! Me thank you!

      • narf77
        Dec 18, 2013 @ 10:01:03

        Welcome ma’am…now you just have to get the seed tape mummies completed first, THEN you tack a batch of seed bomb making onto the end of it so that they are an interesting shade of muddy brown along with all of that toilet paper and THEN you give them the bath…may as well kill 2 birds with one stone and get lots and LOTS of excellent Christmas gifts (nice cheap ones and most well received by whoever you give them to) completed at the same time…”my job here…is DONE!” 😉

      • rabidlittlehippy
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 09:33:28

        In the interest of saving water I should probably combine those 2 activities I am sure but in the interest of entertaining 3 kids for 2 separate days… There are 2 separate activities. 😛 NOT today though. I’m not sure the old brain box can compute the necessary information in my beach fried brain from yesterday. But yes, your work is well done! 😀

      • narf77
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 12:10:54

        Beach eh? I am thinking I might introduce Earl to the beach someday soon…he would have to be on a long lead as he still thinks he is the reincarnation of Attila the Hun when it comes to small critters but he would love to bound around rolling in sand getting filthy…I dare say that’s what the hoppers did, albeit without the long line 😉

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