Where narf learns the value of hard work, gentle days, and is elevated to tribal wise woman and healer in a single week…

Hi Folks,

It’s full on summer here on Serendipity Farm but in a distinctly Tasmanian way. That means that yesterday I was wearing a sarong and thinking about Pina coladas and today I am wearing a jumper and thinking about swapping it for an even bigger one.  I have been learning more about nature thanks to me diving in with both feet…I learned that nature blends herself to adapt…native species live in harmony with Mediterranean species that are almost as hardy and drought tolerant banding together to help Serendipity Farm weather the long hot summers.  Back when Serendipity Farm had the ubiquitous name of “Highfield Gardens” it had been planted out with water loving tree ferns as an homage to an English garden. There are watering systems everywhere that are starting to atrophy and decompose but back in its heyday, when water was free in Tasmania (like it still is in parts of New Zealand you LUCKY BUGGERS!) this property was well irrigated by an automatic watering system. Now the automatic watering system is narf7 and there is a considerable decline in the degree and extent of watering that goes on at any given time.


Newly periwinkle denuded area but they are tenacious little buggers and will be back with friends


Part of the whipper snipped driveway. Note some of the plants that we planted out last year survived! This year they should be able to handle the harsh summer a bit better because they have had time to put down roots and get used to their place in the ground (and I have been putting mulch and rocks around the bottom of them just to make sure they do)

The property was left to its own devices when Tasmania implemented paying for water and those water hungry specimens promptly up and died. There are still relics to that luxurious past in the form of tree fern stumps dotted through the property that hardier more drought tolerant species have used to their effect. What remained on “Highfield Gardens” when we moved here was an overgrown tangle of adventitious vines and the hardier more resilient specimens that had been planted and I discovered this excellent site that guides you through choosing waterwise and drought tolerant plants for your garden whilst still being able to have a garden to make you smug with paternal joy. I am having a wonderful time learning about arid/drought hardy plants thanks to a French site…who’d  a thunk that Serendipity Farm had ANYTHING to do with France but apparently it does…same meridians…same climate. Check out http://www.mediterraneangardensociety.org/index.html if you live in a climate where you get very little rain over your summer months…that’s us to a tee. If you don’t think that you can have a lovely garden using waterwise plants then think again.


One of our “invasive species” in full flight. Here you can see honeysuckle engulfing a rosemary plant. We have a similar problem with blackberries and jasmine


Not sure if this is invasive but it is certainly putting on a good show this year whatever it is


This little peach tree grew in the debris from the recently fallen tree and the resulting squashed shrub that must have been towering over it preventing it from getting light. Reminds me of the Paul Kelly song “From little things, big things grow”


A most useful and happy Mediterranean plant that seems to like living here on Serendipity Farm. I got this small fig tree as a rooted cutting last year and overwintered it in its pot before planting it out in spring. It has 3 friends that are in close proximity. I learned that figs are pollinated by a small wasp and figure I want to give that little wasp the best possible chance of finding ALL of the figs on Serendipity Farm 😉

When I first started typing this post I was having a “Gentle Day”. I had been full on whipper snipping, carting wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of homemade compost from where we had dumped it into the veggie garden by the narf7 equivalent of a Rube Goldberg Machine…a contraption designed to allow access to what is effectively an inaccessible area. I used a combination of boards and planks in order to make the job easier but what eventuated was narf7 learning to skateboard indirectly (or I fell off the teetering boards) so I guess aside from learning how many barrow loads of compost you get in a metre square of homemade compost (27 if you are interested…) and learning that singing “X” barrows of compost to go…”X” barrows to go…” does a whole lot to keeping you motivated to push a heavy barrow up a steep incline on a hot day I am now able to hold my own at the skate park. Enter the “Gentle Day”. A day where narf7 sits here welded to the computer chair clicking “like” to Pinterest and smiling benignly to herself in a most appreciative way. Couple the gentle day with as many cups of tea as I feel like quaffing and you have a recipe for recovery that hospitals worldwide would kill for.


Once every 4 years these cicada’s emerge en mass and serenade the heat of summer in one long drawn out  “CLICK”


Steve’s liberated bird of paradise plant flowering like crazy and covered in cicada husks, much like everything else around here that doesn’t move around much


I thought this tree was dead…apparently not.

“So what is all this about “wise woman” and “healer” narf?” I wondered how long it would take you to get around to asking me…well Steve and I have an acquaintance that is either a prophet or doo-lally…and my money is on the latter to be honest. Methinks the combination of being Californian and imbibing heavily in the green weeds of happiness (and I am NOT talking Scotch thistles there folks 😉 ) has enabled him to put 2 and 2 together and make 14. On a good day he is a bit manic and likes to share with anyone who will listen (or won’t…makes no difference to him…) about how the aliens are shaping our world. On a bad day he becomes almost messianic with the need to spread “the good word” which in his case is always on the fringe borderland of sanity…teetering on the edge.


What I am reading (or have just finished) at the moment. I just finished Clarissa Dickson Wrights tomb about her amazing life, the Organic Gardening book is mine but I haven’t ever read it (and I have had it for 4 years) and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a recommendation by Jo of “All the Blue Day”. I have just started it and am enjoying sitting out on the deck in the sunshine with a big glass of Kombucha feeding body and soul at the same time


No sooner do we discover a nest than the bolshie hens abandon it and move further into difficult territory. The last nest that Earl and I found was nestled amongst forget-me-nots and hidden deep in a blackberry bush. I emerged triumphant with eggs held aloft but with my eyelids sticking to my eyebrows…time to invent a long handled egg plucker methinks!


Does anyone know what this is? I am SO used to not seeing these that I am confused when confronted with one. The local possums are still suspiciously conspicuous by their absence. I have been able to harvest ripe fruit from the native cherries and I am gearing up for a possum zombie apocalypse as we speak…

After having several visitations with him over the last week I got a little tired of listening most politely about aliens. I needed to push some heavy barrows up a steep hill in what was becoming the equivalent of the sun being the magnifying glass and narf7 taking the part of an ant. I had to think quick about where I was heading or I might have been holed up for hours so I pressed a few litres of kombucha into his hand and told him to go home and drink it for his health. The next day he was back…empty bottle in hand and I had suddenly been elevated from “woman who irritated him by talking when he was in full rant status to “wise woman of his tribe”…” Not entirely sure that I WANT to be the wise woman of his tribe but the next day he was back (with another empty bottle) and I had been elevated to healer and not only was I now officially sanctioned by the nursing union, but he has decided to put the aliens on ice for a bit and take up healing the world. I wonder if this lonely man is adapting himself to people that he sees as his community? Steve and I give him our time because he hasn’t got anyone else. He is bright, interesting but has some seriously whacked out ideas about the world but haven’t we all got some off the wall secrets? Michael just chooses to share his.


I refuse to salivate over this peach. I know that as soon as I start to contemplate the delicious juicy morsel it will disappear. I consider it collateral damage


Another job I did was to sort through the potted plants and move them all around under our watering system to make summer watering more efficient and easier to accomplish. These are Steve’s bonsai specimens that he works on sporadically when the mood hits him. They have been separated from the rest of the plants as he doesn’t mind pottering around watering them each day.


Here’s the rest of the potted plants all bundled together to make sure that they get watered by that overhead watering system that Steve rigged up. The empty stand was once where Steve’s bonsai babies lived. It will be dismantled and removed when we get around to it (so expect it to be still there come winter 😉 )

After taking more kombucha he headed off informing me that he would be back…sigh…he brought back a container of borax, some literature (to go with the other literature in the bag of literature in the spare room for when we get a budgie…) and a 1960’s wind up alarm clock that plays “some enchanted evening” as an alarm. It didn’t take him long to explain himself and apparently we all need to be turning off the electricity at the fuse box to make sure that we don’t get cancer and repressed… the clock was to ensure that we woke up in the mornings but as Steve so dryly put it when he headed off on his aging wheezing motorbike…”that dial is luminous…that paint is radioactive!” He seems to have found something else to do over the last few days (most probably making something to cure the world) so Serendipity Farm is back to the quiet hermitage that we know and love so well 🙂


The 60’s wind-up clock with Michaels new batch of Kombucha in the background and all the “literature” I can face at this moment in time

The voodoo lilies are out in force this year. They have been steadily building up numbers and the rain we had helped this year’s incarnation to be a particularly glorious and most foetid one. I was whipper snipping the driveway the other day and thought I could smell a dead possum or 5…turns out the voodoo lilies were in fine form that day. We even smelled them wafting through the door leading out to the deck and they are quite a way down the driveway. There is always a ferryman to be paid and in the voodoo lily case, the ferryman trod in something!


Steve took this image on his mobile. It looks like something in Transylvania to me. You would expect that sort of exotica someplace where things howl maniacally at the moon (like Serendipity Farm 😉 )

13120013 A closer view (as close as my olfactory senses would let me get…) of the amazing flower on the voodoo lilies. The “scent” (far too mild a word for what emanates from them) is a blend of aged road kill, Roquefort cheese and Steve’s feet after a hard days work and comes from that darker stamen.

It is around about this time of year that our local council sends out notices to people to get their firebreaks mowed or face a fine. Stevie-boy (the tight) and narfypants (the equally as tight) don’t like to pay fines so it was up to the back block to wade through the metre tall poa grass in order to cut a 15 metre swath through the undergrowth. The good thing about the back block is that we rarely go there. Our least favourite neighbours live up here…the neighbours that conned our house sitter into clearing a large swathe of trees from the back block in order for them to get more of a view and a better price for their house sale (not sold yet 😉 ). I spent a lot of time being VERY careful to whipper snip gently around the outside of the small black wattle and sheok trees that have sprung up assisted by our wet winter…nature appears to be wanting her property back and I, for one am NOT going to argue with her 😉


One of natures first lines of demarcation in the war against bare earth…the ground cover. This particular ground cover is Acaena nova-zelandiae aka “Buzzies”. Its hard to believe that someone would want to buy this groundcover for their garden but on the mainland it is a nursery specimen. Why do I have a problem with buzzies?


Sigh…here’s why. Buzzies hitching a lift on narf7 to a new home (which most vindictively appears to be a concrete gutter…bad luck this time buzzies! 😉 )

I have been taking cuttings furiously and have added Artemisia and lavender to the mix. Both of these shrubs are incredibly hardy and water wise and should love living here on Serendipity Farm. I have been joyously hurling compost hand over fist onto our large pile of composted garden soil. Its full of worms and I figure the best way to keep it that way till I can get it made into more garden beds. Remember that thing about paying the ferryman? Well it’s really swings and roundabouts to be honest…you do have to pay the ferryman but you also get good stuff in return. Our “interesting” Californian friend might require a fair bit of patience and time but he offered to give me some of his old railway sleepers he has been hoarding to help build our garden. He also permanently loaned us that small rainwater tank. Friends come in all shapes, sizes and mental dispositions… we don’t discriminate here and karma has a way of giving back what you pass out to the universe…sounding a bit “woo-woo” there folks? I will give you 20 minutes with Michael and then you can tell me that my theories are woo-woo 😉 .


This is a small bowl of gumnuts that come from Eucalyptus globulus more commonly known as the Tasmanian blue gum. I collected them from underneath a huge specimen today on my walk with Earl. The heat brings out the smell of eucalypts and I had the most vivid memory of spending Christmas Day at my Grandmothers and heading out to laze away an overstuffed afternoon underneath the branches of a huge blue gum that was on her property. Right next to this specimen was an English broom in full bloom and the combination of scents made me smile.


I am well aware that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to Christmas Trees. For one, it is only vaguely reminiscent of a “tree”. It was made out of driftwood collected from the riverbank at the front of our property. It appears to have been decorated by a blind lunatic (that would be “moi”) and someone forgot when to stop when it came to putting decorations on it. Steve LOVES chaotic Christmas trees. I usually put the reigns on him and tell him that we have to be tasteful and the results are aesthetically pleasing and usually quite sterile. This year I decided to stop being the Grinch and let Steve have his Christmas Tree HIS way. This is the end result. What would happen if Pirates bothered to celebrate Christmas but Stevie-boy is happy and my sense of style shrunk 3 sizes in the process 😉

I have been thinking about ways to be more sustainable I read several wonderful Aussie blogs that spur me on to want to try harder. Jess/Rabid of “Rabid little Hippy”, Jo of “All the blue day”, Linda of “Greenhaven” and Bev of “Foodnstuff” all motivate me to find even more ways to live simply and minimise our carbon footprint. The other day I was pondering how to keep water up to the arid garden under the deck. I have been mass planting it in order to keep as much moisture in the soil as possible but I know it is going to have a tough time when the sun comes out and stays out for the next few months. One way to water it would be to tap into the grey water that runs from the kitchen sink into the septic. This would require some plumbing skills that neither of us is willing to contemplate at the moment so I figured out the next best thing was to put a large plastic bowl in the kitchen sink and whenever it gets full I will take it out onto the deck and pour it onto the parched plants below. In the first couple of days of using this system I am amazed at how much water I flushed down into the septic tank on a daily basis. I feel positively virtuous and am managing to kill 2 birds with one stone, my favourite game :). Another idea involves a bucket, the end results of my cups of tea and our compost heap…still contemplating that one but again, 2 birds with 1 stone and a healthy dose of nitrogen thrown into the mix


My thrifted plastic tub ready for action


And what, pray tell is this?! This, my dear constant readers, is what happens when you are trying to cook bulk quantities of healthy vegetable soup and wonder what would happen if you threw some of your new most favourite seed (buckwheat) into the mix. This is a solid chunk of soup. About 8 solid portions. Puts a whole new slant on a “solid meal” 😉

I hauled 9 bags of mushroom compost into the enclosed veggie garden and noticed that one of them had large mushrooms in it that had gone over to the dark side. I decided to see if we couldn’t get some sort of benefit out of this situation and tipped the mushroom compost onto the surface of the large pile of compost I had just barrowed in and placed the squishy fungal matter spore side down onto the compost. I am thinking that the spores might infect the media and we might be onto a mushroomy winner but only time will tell.


Some of the 9 bags of mushroom compost that are waiting for me to tip them onto the pile of compost that I barrowed in and am guarding carefully


This doesn’t look like much. I tried to take a shot from various angles to give you the best idea of how much homemade compost lives in this worm sodden heap but you are just going to have to believe me…27 barrow loads doesn’t lie! I keep the netting over it so that I can keep it soaked and the heap nice and moist in order to keep my wormy mates happy. Mono-a-mono those worms and I. We have an understanding 🙂


I wasn’t entirely sure if these root cuttings of various mint varieties and what I think is a bergamot plant (the tall one) would survive the trip back from where I found them but they seem to be very happy in the veggie garden and are growing nicely.

I was sitting here on Monday at 3am when I suddenly heard what I thought was the sound of Christmas tree decorations falling onto the ground. A sort of “pop” sound. We had just put up the Christmas tree so it was a highly likely eventuality and I snuck into the lounge room expecting to see the floor littered with Christmas debris but was bemused to find that none of the decorations had fallen off. I returned to my seat where for the next 2 hours I heard this sound on a regular basis…I thought it might have been Earl sneezing on our bed (I had checked Bezial who gets up with me to keep me company) but he was out like a light and completely sneeze free. The noise kept coming until I headed off to make Steve his first cup of coffee and I heard the noise closer and on looking around discovered that my kefir…that I keep in a lidded bottle…was escaping. It had been forcing its fizzy way out of the screw top of the bottle…I judged (somewhat prudently it turns out) that the bottle might be under a degree of pressurisation and carefully opened the lid whereby the most curious thing happened…all of my kefir grains quite literally “Popped” out of the neck of the bottle and were deposited on the wooden bread board alongside the bottle. A nice neat collective of fermentation doing what it does best. Consider me warned that the warmer weather is going to require a revision of the fermentation schedule!


As you can see, everything is starting to take off in the wonderful humid conditions of the enclosed veggie garden…especially the weeds! I know what I will be doing tomorrow…sigh…


More exponential growth of “stuff”


Pumpkins and potatoes are most rewarding with the amount of growth that they put on in a week.

Finally I would like to share a most wonderful blog post with you all today. Feel free to read it or not. I think that should you choose to read it, you will arrive at the other side enriched and satiated and most probably with another blog tucked into your “must read” Rss Feed Reader (or equivalent). Did you ever wonder about the REAL Father Christmas? Turns out someone wrote a marvellous book about him and this post is redolent of a time, last century, when the world had just finished tearing itself apart and Santa was living a careful, simple and most austere life. Good to know that my superhero is adaptable :). By the way folks…next Wednesday just so happens to be Christmas. I will be posting as usual, most probably about the delightful communal celebrations we had the day before so feel free to check it out if you find yourself at a loose end. By the way…in the spirit of adventurous Christmas repasts future, I have chosen to institute a new Christmas food tradition for myself. From this day forward, December 25th shall be “Christmas Nacho Day”! “OLE!”


I just found this Youtube link to a wonderful animation voiced by the late actor Mel Smith illustrated by Raymond Briggs (the author of Father Christmas) if any of you would like to watch it…




Look what just turned up in the mail… 🙂

35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Oxy-plast
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 18:47:17

    Well done Ma and Steve! I have only seen the certificates so far so I had best scroll up and read the rest of things.


    • narf77
      Dec 18, 2013 @ 18:56:40

      How many hours do you have spare? 😉 Cheers for the congrats sonny boy…another bit of paper to add to the rest and soon Steve will be able to wallpaper his music room with them ;). Steve is coming in Friday to drop your stuff off now, see you then 🙂


  2. thecontentedcrafter
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 18:57:58

    Good God! I snickered and chortled and laughed so loudly the cat woke up and looked at me in alarm! I have no idea where to start – I think you need to have spaces for us to comment as we go along even if it is just to shout praise the lord, amen or lookout there’s an alien behind you …..

    So I’ll start at the end and see how far forward I can go.

    Congrtulations!! 🙂 Well done 🙂 Hallelujah 🙂

    Ole!! Good choice!! We are planning cheese platters, vege chunks to dip in hummus and such like, a couple of bottles of bubbly and thats as far as we got….

    I was reading on Facebook today via Wendy at 1/4 acre, about growing cucumbers on fences … that seemed to me to be a really sensible idea and for years I grew cucumbers sprawling along the ground because everyone else did….. Just mentioned it cause your vege patch reminded me.

    Things that go pop in the night or early hours are most interesting – I had ginger beer do it once. It was aging nicely in the basement under our bedroom and we lay in bed one night listening to molotov cocktails exploding beneath us and wondering if one would zip up through the floor boards and we’d be found ripped and bloody by our children in the morning…. Not one bottle survived and no-one dared to enter the basement for two days.

    Love the slab of soup – a new food perhaps? That was when the cat got woken up!

    The Christmas tree is great, very creative. Who the hell buys buzzies? They are a sea side pest!

    I’ve never heard of voodoo lilies before – I hope I never meet one….

    Love what you are doing with the water wise garden and the drive way looks great. I don’t know of any where here that pays for water – unless it’s them Aucklanders, who probably should – what with all their coffees and showers and spa pools…. oh geez, did I say that out loud??

    And finally, Michael sounds a barrel of laughs – keep feeding him the kambucha and all should be well – get a big black pot and stir it thoughtfully muttering under your breath whenever he comes calling and ask him if he has any eye of newt or toe of frog on him…. Or make yourself a necklace out of all those bottle caps you are collecting from the roadside and if he gets out of hand just rattle it at him and roll your eyes a bit – perhaps a wee shimmy and shake as well as you declaim ‘Something wicked this way comes’ or something similar…….. [though all that is Macbeth’s witches rather than a ‘wise woman’ but personally I think they are all the same thing…. but that’s a whole other blog post!

    Thank you for making my evening a delight!


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 03:23:35

      Glad you liked it Pauline…again it grew like topsy but we have been very busy around here. I fear Michael would expect me to come over all “crone like”…it would be my next incarnation on the wheel of elevation methinks and so I am going to try to remain the voice of reason…the small voice that pipes up in the night and says “er…not all that sure about the lizard people Michael…” always best to have at least one of us in the sanity camp at any given time…goodness only knows Steve and I are fringe dwellers in the borderlands as it is! I have bed bases, lengths of wire mesh etc. that I have to work out how to insert between rows in the garden. My maniacal friend (this one blends in somewhat seamlessly with her environment so we can’t hold it against her…) had me mass planting every square inch of the garden with “things” so I pretty much didn’t get much time to think about vertical. All of the scarlet runner stumps (leftover from last year) have taken off with alacrity and already have red flowers on them so we will at least have “beans” to eat next year. The whole idea of succession planting and building new garden beds and going hunting for soil ameliorants has me terrified so I think I will just head up to the back block today and do a bit of mindless, vacuous whipper snipping to ease the mental strain…that leaves me replete and satisfied and fineless…my favourite state of being :). Your Christmas fare sounds suspiciously like mine…sort of cheesy and vegetabley and hummusy except mine has corn chips and will be in mountain form rather than sensible human portion form and I will only have 1 dish to wash (albeit the size of the Albert Hall 😉 ). Have a great one for me…drink some bubbly fizzy stuff (not ginger beer, save your intestinal fortitude for the good stuff…its Christmas after all 😉 ), get merry with your family and friends and know that our worldwide community is doing exactly the same thing in their own little way all around the world and that you get to read about it next week…wonderful isn’t it? Not entirely sure that I will be fessing up a picky of my nacho haul quite yet…I think that might be for my eyes only (there is a movie and song in that! 😉 ) but our celebrations at our girls with the son-and-heir and Kelsey are fair game for my happy snaps so expect to see shielded faces, exasperated looks redolent with “MUM I am trying to eat here!” and lots of grub shots in fuzzy splendour…what Christmas is all about 🙂


  3. quarteracrelifestyle
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 19:38:10

    Voodoo lillies…I have never heard of them, what a beautiful colour!!
    We have to pay for our water here too which really hacks me off because in winter we have to get it from the school because it’s not drinkable. I would not want to be watering 4 acres on paid water!!! It cost us around 280 – $300 a year.
    You soup looks………..interesting! I hope you enjoy it, but chooks come in handy sometimes 🙂
    Michael sounds great fun lol


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 03:30:42

      I don’t water 4 acres…most of it looks after itself and that’s why I am beavering away here implementing permaculture principals because first of all its the cheapest and most effective way to get the soil up to scratch and systems in place for it to look after itself (ALWAYS the best option 😉 ) and even more importantly, because its cheap…anything we do around here has to be cheap and cheerful like us 🙂
      Water costs us around $500 a year and we are careful with it. Even moreso now that I am using it to water the garden under the deck. The plants are already looking up at me with “SQUEE!” looks in their stomata when I come out with my plastic bowl…methinks I just made some new best mates (although the feral cats that sleep in the plants under the deck have dumped me down a few notches in their world…). Still working on the idea of the nitrogen rich source…

      The soup is delicious…just solid and not being someone that gives up on delicious food just because it refuses to conform to normal standards of what food is meant to be I turned it into slabs of soup and threw it into the freezer. I figure I can water it down and add veggies to it when I want some soup…in other words I turned it into tomorrows problem but solved todays problem of stiff soup and wondering what to do with it. Clever clogs eh? 😉 Michael IS great fun. He is hilarious and tells us that “you know…my neighbour thinks I am crazy?!!” “Really Michael?” 😉 who is to say who is crazy and who isn’t. Might turn out there ARE lizard people and they ARE out to get us and his help might be all that gets us through…most of the northern hemisphere believe in a zombie apocalypse, at least Michaels slant is a road less travelled I guess 😉


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 05:34:24

        I would use the soup that way too 🙂 🙂 Even accidents (unless charred black) are ok for something usually – just takes a bit of creativity!!

        I love that saying “Blessed are the weird, the poets and the misfits, the painters and the troubadors…for they teach us to see the world through different eyes”. There are some for who imagination is their lens of perception and that’s OK, then there are other who judge them horribly for it and that’s just sad. And you are quite right of course, he could be right and we’re all wrong lol

      • narf77
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 05:36:54

        I bloody well hope not! His version of events makes a zombie apocalypse something to aim for! 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 05:46:52

        lol….oh dear!! Oh well, at least the chosen few will be prepared for it, I guess!

      • narf77
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 05:48:40

        And the rest will be eaten by the lizards or worse (what is worse than being eaten by lizards?!!!!) 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 19, 2013 @ 06:05:07


  4. Kaye Wheeler
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 22:43:18

    Hi Fran,
    Another great blog – always entertaining. I love Steve’s Christmas tree. I want one. And that clock made me feel all nostalgic. I had one exactly like it – bought it when I was a teenager working in the Co-op. What a scream!
    Have a wonderful Christmas.
    God Bless,
    Kaye W XXX


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 03:38:07

      They sold clocks like that at the coop? Come to think of it Kaye, they were STILL selling clocks like that in the coop just before they ceased trading! ;). I will lend you Steve’s homunculus of a tree for next year. By then I will have made some sort of giant driftwood wall plaque tree (I have one pegged out on Pinterest but have to run it past Steve first 😉 ) or a ladder to the roof covered in pinecones but methinks that might be a stage too far to expect Earl not to want to go questing with his beak in the night…he loves crunching pine cones up. The two discrete pinecones that I placed under this years tree appear to have gone un-noticed but he is VERY patient and I am no longer stupid…when we head up to the back block to whipper snip and leave the dogs here I ALWAYS shut the doors to the lounge room…”fool me once Earl…FOOL ME ONCE!” 😉 Have a wonderful albeit hot Christmas wherever you are for it Kaye and hugs from Tassie 🙂


  5. Kaye Wheeler
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 22:49:05

    Oh, forgot to mention the cicadas at Doon Doon. Each year at this time they are all over the trees in the schoolyard (and everywhere else throughout the Kimberley). The noise they make is deafening, night and day. The kids love them. They pluck them off the trees, attach them to their school shirts and walk around adorned with dozens of ‘brooches’. Very cool!


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 03:39:58

      We used to do that with weevils in Denmark at school… looks like kids love insectoid broaches all over the place ;). The cicada’s are tuning up the band. Most of them are still hatching out here and by mid January you can’t hear yourself think…its just one, long, drawn out CLICK……………….. I guess you just get used to them after a while and start to think you are deaf because everyone yells to each other ;).


  6. rabidlittlehippy
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 10:58:38

    I’ll take your kefir/kombucha and raise you tomato sauce. I had a Fowlers Vacola bottle of homemade sauce we’ve been working through which was all but empty and a little fusty (it’s been a while since sausages 😉 ) which I filled with water and left to soak on the sink. For some reason, probaby because they’re fun, I closed the lid. The soak for a day thing stretched out and it was probaby 3 or so days in a warmish house. Washing up the dishes the other night I was down to the last few bits to wash and I opened the tomato sauce bottle. SHOTGUN! POP!!! Aside from the eyeful of manky tomato sauce and the face mask of the same I managed to cover a good half of the kitchen ceiling (2m3), the kitchen cupboards and the curtains. Poor Martin was dancing around on the kitchen benches ready to kill me (it was bedtime after all) scrubbing off red gunk whilst I tried to paw it out of my eyes and nose and wipe off the rest of my face. If it hadn’t stung I would still be laughing. Fermentation, the latest in entertainment! 😀

    Loving the gardens too and well envious of your rabbit free gardens. That’s the latest in destructo forces here atm.

    We’re hunkering down inside today with 36C predicted in Ballan (Melbourne cops 40C) but the house is currently around 20 so it’s pleasant. Blinds down, doors shut up, animals and gardens well watered (can’t wait until my hugels become self watering), Christmas carols blarimg with me singing along (I wish Chrstmas came twice a year if only for the carols) and the kids playing with their duplo happily on the cool tile floor. We have Christmas crafts and gifts to finish later and the possibility of a trip to the local pool. Allegra is wearing her mermaid outfit (which helps to cool psychologically) and the animals are keeping cool with their water and in the shade.


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 12:19:50

      ROTFL!!! I thought it was only me that almost fermented myself to death! Glad to see I am in good company ;). Our deck sliding doors are open so that when the breeze heads down the river it will flow straight in. Its cool enough for me to be comfortable wearing trousers and a long sleeved shirt so it can’t be that hot yet. It never gets as hot as what Launceston has it as we are on the water and near the coast so we will probably get to about 27C here.

      Sounds like you have “cool” nailed :). Bezial and Earl are laying on the floor alternately sighing and panting but it isn’t even hot and I filled up their water bowls with cool fresh water so methinks it is in protest of their “rights” being violated. The poor sods at the Auld Kirk Church are setting up the Carols at the Kirk that is on tonight as I type this. Tassie might not be all that hot as a rule but the sun has a nasty bite thanks to no ozone layer over our heads so I don’t think it would be much fun to be setting it up today…hottest day of the year so far. Cruel irony! ;).

      Stay hunkered down and if you go to the pool splash like maniacs (all of you) nothing like a good splash to both cool you down and ensure that people leave you a nice wide swimming berth…if you take a berocca with you and dump it in the water next to orik even MORE people will stay away from you 😉


  7. Jo
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 12:13:19

    Jessie, love the tomato sauce story! Fran, I read the Father Christmas post – I have that book, and also the movie that goes with it, I just love it, and so do the children. I have a lovely collection of Christmas books, and I love the mid-20th century ‘austerity’ aesthetic that Raymond Briggs does so well. Happy gardening, although you get today off, as officially too hot for gardening, and should definitely be lying on the couch reading your library book instead.


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:55:07

      Yes MA’AM (I like the cut of your jib! 😉 ). Eggs coming tomorrow by the way, 2 dozen left on the doorstep. Hope you can use them 🙂 …by the way…if you like Raymond Briggs just don’t read “When the wind blows”…


  8. Littlesundog
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 14:26:28

    Those Buzzies look about as horrible as some of our native stick-tites and burrs around here! I’m so envious of all of your “green” this time of year. Everything is barren, brown and starkly boring around here. We’re expecting snow on the weekend so that will at least be pretty!


    • narf77
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 16:02:15

      You can make a snow angel for me :). Snow angels are on my bucket list ;). Have a fantastic Christmas Lori and give FD a hug from hot Tassie…we are sweltering today, its a veritable heat wave! 🙂


  9. brymnsons
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 01:07:18

    It’s a great post Fran, I agree with Pauline, wish we could comment along the way. Also liked the blasted tomato story in rabidlittlehippy’s comment too. I love that clock! And the lillies are an amazing colour, but glad we don’t have smellovision with your photos lol. Oh and the garden is looking good, you will be harvesting your arse of girl lol. Looking forward to your xmas post. Haven’t checked out the links yet as it is late and I’m knackered lol. x


    • narf77
      Dec 20, 2013 @ 05:29:51

      I am just posting stoically here in the hope that my efforts somehow buoy some poor tired spirit and give them a bit of a Christmas laugh along the way…I feel a bit like a starfish that got caught in a rip at the moment. The Christmas tide has turned into a rip and I am being tumbled along in its wake but at least Steve is doing the Christmas shopping today so we may well be bewildered at Chrissy…but we won’t be hungry and we most definately won’t be sober! Here’s to Christmas with exploding fermentations, crazy friends (you included 😉 ) and produce out the wazoo!!!


  10. cathyandchucky
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 15:03:04

    Congratulations Fronkiii 😀 I do hope those Certificates are going up on your walls so you can skite over them when we come over one day? :D.


    • narf77
      Dec 20, 2013 @ 18:45:20

      They will go on the walls in Steve’s music room with all of the other “bits of paper” that mean bugger all to be honest ;). Might even get a wall full this year 😉


      • brymnsons
        Dec 20, 2013 @ 21:27:52

        Don’t be so modest Fran, a lot of blood(y’s), sweat and tears went into those “bits of paper” 🙂 x

      • narf77
        Dec 21, 2013 @ 04:39:38

        More stubborn refusal to give in and swearing methinks 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Dec 21, 2013 @ 10:39:17

        They don’t mean bugger all Fronkiii as that is however many years of your brain power up there and the world has acknowledged that effort. See if you can’t put that knowledge to good use in your garden and on-line blogging 😀

      • narf77
        Dec 21, 2013 @ 13:16:22

        My friend Jenny just visited and said “knock this garden into order woman and we can have an open garden!”…after falling about on the floor for a bit I thought…I most probably could! (note to self “you can’t pass off topiary blackberries in ANY world 😉 )

      • cathyandchucky
        Dec 21, 2013 @ 16:12:32

        Yeah! Do it Fronkiii! Have an open garden where everyone brings their whipper snipers and shovels and you can put them to work for you 😀

      • narf77
        Dec 22, 2013 @ 03:04:31

        Better have a permablitz first so that they can FIND the garden 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Dec 22, 2013 @ 10:26:37

        Can Maddy and Beth come out and stay for a couple of days with Qi and give you guys a hand?

      • narf77
        Dec 23, 2013 @ 04:27:17

        Not likely! 😉 They are urbanites of the highest degree (all of them) ;).

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