All you need – an elegant sufficiency

Hi Folks,

Armed only with my trusty library card narf7 is on the hunt. I am hunting a book called “Pigs tits and parsley sauce” a most worthwhile read by all accounts. A book about how to live more sustainably for less and wouldn’t you know it? The library didn’t let me down…another blow against the middle man and another point to narf7, the penniless middle aged student hippy who point blank REFUSES to say “can’t” this year. We just had our 600 litre borrowed water tank repossessed. Our Crazy American “friend” decided that another couple he has just met are more deserving of fluoride free water and we had to empty out 600 litres of prime rainwater but not before thrifty problem solving came into play…

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Exhibit A, Crazy old American

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Part 1 of 7 blue barrels that are going to make up our rainwater system

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Baking soda and cornflour…we made decorations but they still aren’t dry!

We recently found a large blue barrel floating on the tide close to shore on the riverbank near Serendipity Farm. I waded out to ferry it in to shore (Steve has delicate city feet 😉 ) and we managed to get it into the back of the car and back to Serendipity Farm complete with freshwater oysters. It had apparently been used as part of a pontoon and had broken free from its moorings to come and live on Serendipity Farm as a much prized single entity…obviously has Napoleonic tendencies (much like everything else on Serendipity Farm so it will fit in here well). So we were able to syphon 200 litres of our precious water into this makeshift rainwater tank. What to do now? Well, we have devised a most interesting gravity fed system that we are going to add to as we find more blue barrels. Steve has been hunting Gumtree for the elusive and most rare blue barrel but it would seem like most of Tasmania has the same idea.

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Our wonderful friend Roxy gave us a lovely little basket of home-grown happiness for Christmas 🙂

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This is my new most delicious healthy treat…homemade coconut cream yoghurt using coconut cream, blended up fruit and some of my finished non-dairy kefir to culture the brew…DELICIOUS! and a most satisfying substitute for “real” yoghurt

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Steve took some artistic shots of his Christmas food…

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Pork pies and sliced meat never looked so good! Sorry you didn’t get images of my nacho’s, they weren’t very photogenic but they tasted like heaven 🙂

Steve logged on for a final look as we are heading into Launceston today (Sunday) to pick up a Karcher high pressure cleaner from Steve’s mum for Christmas. A MOST appreciated gift indeed Pat 🙂 and some sundry cleaning products (sanding pads and sandpaper) so that we can prepare the deck and railings for painting when Stewart and Kelsey arrive on New Year’s Eve to help us paint the deck, rails and part of the house. Aside from 2 bedrooms, it will be the very last part of making Serendipity Farm completely “ours”. The whim paid off and we found another blue barrel in Launceston for $15 so now we will have 400 litres of rainwater storage…we just need to find 5 more blue barrels to make our plans complete.

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Buying your pet supplies through a small local producer sometimes yields benefits that you wouldn’t get from a large generic supplier. This is one of our boys bones gifted for Christmas by Suzie, our lovely pet food lady

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I saw and photographed this on Christmas Day for Jess and Bev and anyone else who would get a chuckle out of this mindful graffiti 😉

Well it is now 2014. “Happy New Year” everyone! I have a really good feeling about this year. Not because it isn’t going to contain its share of pain and heartache, but because I have learned to accept that without pain and heartache, the stark simple beauty of this amazing thing we call life is so much dimmer. This year finds Steve and I hard at work rubbing away years of dirt, grime, rust and neglect from our deck, the deck rails, guttering, downpipes and part of the house that was clad with Western Red Cedar as a feature. It has been exposed to the weather without protection now for a good many years and so we are going to paint it. After perusing the Karchers in our price range we decided that handing over good money for something cheap and plastic that we probably wouldn’t use much wasn’t something that we wanted to do and so we made a decision to carry on as we are and we have almost prepped every surface ready to start painting today.

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Wild foraged harvest…the larger red fruits are sour cherries from roadside trees (possums aren’t all that partial to sour) and the strange looking fruits that resemble cashew fruits are Native Cherries that for some reason, the possums haven’t scoffed from the trees this year like they usually do

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A before shot of the deck, by next week we should have painted the deck, the railings and the upright posts you can see here

2013 was a very important year for me. After half a century of life I finally learned that food is fuel, not comfort and managed to get down to a healthy weight with very little fanfare and fuss but with an incredible amount of happiness and contentment. I spent the year learning, living, and Steve and I managed to complete our media course and have the bits of paper to prove it. We built a huge fully enclosed veggie garden and Stewart and Kelsey who are glamping outside informed me that “something” spent most of yesterday evening attempting to breach the deck without luck…SCORE! I have a vision of a large sad possum laying spreadeagled out over the top of my vegetables pawing sadly at the netting in the direction of my magnificent lettuce tantalisingly close but completely out of reach.

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Can’t say I blame the possums and wallabies…this all looks quite tasty

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IT looks like my yacon decided that living is fun and are putting on lots of growth. They are surrounded by spuds we planted out 2 weeks ago that are also having a great time in the veggie garden

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My compost heap experiment. We trucked this load of compost from over next to the chook shed where we had a large compost bin (that we never turned) and dumped it at the rear of the veggie garden in order to soften up the soil in this area. It was full of worms so I keep adding compost to the front of the pile to feed the worms but I noticed that there were all different kinds of seedlings growing in the pile so decided to let everything grow. The larger plants that you can see in this photo are melon plants that my eldest daughter Madeline grew and gifted to me. They have small flowers on them already 🙂

2014 feels good to me. We are starting it how we mean to finish off, busy and “doing”.  I can feel 365 days ahead and they feel fecund with possibilities. They are sending out tantalising rays of interest to me. I want to taste each one of them fully…to savour my moments and to enjoy those flavours, whatever they may be. There will be bitter days. There will be days that taste of sadness and hopelessness but underneath those days will be the surety that things will get better…that life is an incredibly rich tapestry of flavours, colours, textures and choices that will lead us from one day to the next. How lucky are we? How incredibly blessed to be allowed to experience this wonderful life each day and to have the chance to step out in the new day with a slate wiped clean of yesterday and all of the possibilities of today laid out before us like a huge pile of Lego waiting to be built

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Some of the adventitious food seedlings that are starting to grow

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And a few more

This year I am going to grow all of my vegetables from seed. This year I am going to learn something new every day, even if it is only something simple. I am going to challenge myself to wake up each morning and fully appreciate the moments that make up each day. I am going to go looking for the beauty in the simple and the mundane. I am going to look for the lessons in what life hands to me and I am going to try to be a better narf7 in the way that I both see things and react to them. I want to grow this year and learn and understand. I want to do more, see more and feel more and in the process I want to sample everything that life hands me in 2014

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We tipped compost in this area prior to me shovelling horse manure into this area and you can see a plethora of pumpkins are all starting to grow amongst the potatoes…nature doing her thang

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Not so tiny yellow zucchinis

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A tangle of herbs and Swiss chard and carrots

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Everything is growing like topsy and our efforts to build this garden look like being rewarded 10 fold 🙂

This is going to be a small post. Apparently WordPress has sent me a report about how the blog went this year. I could care less about stats to be honest. They are the annoying thing that makes my desktop take longer to load than it should. I don’t care where my dear constant readers are coming from, so long as they “get” us and our vision…you are all welcome. We don’t discriminate here (much 😉 ). Serendipity Farm has become our own tiny little island in the stream. Its where Steve and I can march in time to the cycles and heartbeat of the earth…an ancient and primal sound that most of us can’t hear any more. We get to say “BOLLOCKS!” to the speed of society and we get to put our feet up and just “be” us. We know how incredibly lucky we are to be us, right here, right now. Some people would say that we were part of the great unwashed masses…they would be right in the unwashed bit…our shower has been out of action now for 3 days thanks to someone (who shall remain anonymous) deciding to remove the door and put in the new shower door at the very same time as we decided (most insanely) to tackle the deck and house painting. We are part of the great unwashed. We are tumbled in with everyone else and we are incredibly happy that we have the chance that we have here on Serendipity Farm. Life is wonderful…life is good…a simple life full of compassion, hope, joy at simple things and gratefulness and where sharing is tantamount to societies lust for power, we find ourselves rich beyond riches in our simple life.

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More experiments…this circle of mesh contains old compost that I threw in here in order to soften up the soil beneath it ready to plant out a food tree. I tossed the last of the silverbeet that we pulled out a while ago into here and as you can see, some of it is growing again! The bonus of experimentation is that you never know what you are going to get and sometimes you get more than you expected

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Bezial and Earl’s Boxing Day bonus

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Steve whipper snipped the tea-tree garden area and I whipper snipped a 15 metre firebreak around the back block. Here you see a before shot of the back block with Franks whipper snipped side already done

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A lovely little yellow fungus inside an old tree stump on the back block

My wish is that 2014 will bring happiness to you all. That it will provide you with opportunities to learn and grow in yourselves. That the lessons that you learn will not break your hearts and won’t be too hard to bear. I hope you will taste the breeze of contentment, that sunshine will fall in equal measure and that you and yours will grow in the light of understanding and possibilities that this wonderful New Year brings. Here’s to sharing Serendipity Farm and our lives with all of you my dear constant readers. Some of you may never comment but that doesn’t matter. All I hope is that you are still getting something out of my mad ramblings and our crazed middle aged Hippy antics and that there is an opportunity for us to touch the lives of someone whom we may never have been able to meet without this amazing platform and all of us will emerge the richer for that brief interlude as we pass

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Before we got started on the side of the house…

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We had to put gates in to stop the fabulous Mr E from absconding off the side of the deck to hunt cats and chooks after we sanded down the deck timbers and removed the chook netting (Earl resistant) in order to paint this side of the deck rails. As you can see, we also had to remove a fair bit of vegetation in the process. That tyre to the left of the image contains a poor long suffering well chewed artichoke plant. Hopefully we will have some complete transformation shots to show you by next Wednesday 🙂

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Not entirely sure how long these pears are going to last but I get the feeling that possums don’t like pears much. Those peaches that I refused to consider disappeared sometime in the night after I posted their tentative image last Wednesday 😉

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Earl “helping” to sand the deck…sigh…

See you next week folks. Hopefully the deck will be finished by then and we will have some good photos to share with you all but for now you are going to have to be content with what I have managed to find today (note to self “get out there and take some photos!”) 😉

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62 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 17:33:18

    Lovely words Fran, I’m hoping it’s a better year too, it does feel better already 🙂
    Can’t wait to see the deck and (hopefully) the new shower door :D. I hope the puppalups remember me, I have missed them and I hope they don’t decide to eat my husband as retribution lol. The undercover garden looks amazing! You will have to set up a produce stall at the markets for all the extra you can’t stuff into Steve and yourself. Will be blooming marvelous by the time we see it. Not sure why you would tent when there is a perfectly fine bed inside the house but does sound like an adventure… Bugger about the water tank :(, but I like your creative blue invention. So much to look forward too! x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 01, 2014 @ 17:38:49

      Well they didn’t eat Stewart and Kelsey, the shower door is 99% in place (should be finished by tomorrow)…think “salad and bbq” for when you guys are here and I think the boys are more likely to be scared of Bruce, he is a giant! ;).

      Reply

  2. Linne
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 17:34:43

    Such an amazing garden! I have loved seeing it grow from its humble beginnings, through all the toil and trouble of getting that netting up, to now . . . food galore! What more could ANY hippie want?? That recap was fun, too, and I love your ‘take’ on the more challenging bits of daily life; that they set off the more joyous portions so well. Looking forward to more this year and I do hope you share the ‘new’ things you do, too. You’ve had me thinking a lot this week . . . ~ Linne

    Reply

  3. rabidlittlehippy
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 21:08:33

    2014 is the year we hippies take over the world in true second hand, scrounged and laconic when we get there style. 😉
    I too have done the whole barrel for water tank thing although mine are for the veggie garden and I bought my tanks from our local animal feed and sundry store. They were $5 each but had been used to hold chemical fertilisers. I would NEVER drink the water and I have washed out the resudue, tipping it onto the poplar trees (not that they ned help growing or fixing nitrogen) but as much as I despise chemical fertilisers I couldn’t pass up $5 containers that are bigger in favour of the other ones which were $28 each.
    Your garden is asolutely DIVINE and I can’t wait to see it. It looks crunchy and fresh and every bit like a garden should. Ours too have come a long way since last year and I have high hopes (IF the weather co-operates) of a great crop. 🙂 Love your mental picture of the possum wringing its tiny hands, stretching as far as it might to reach your verdent paradise. I have images of Scratt from Ice Age at this point. 😉
    Happy New Year my hippy friend. Here’s to a great year and a fresh start with paint is a great place to start. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 03:13:11

      Here’s hoping this headache goes away someday soon 😦 We can’t get those blue barrels for hell or highwater. It would appear Tasmanians really love them and they always come at a premium. The second barrel we got was $15 for a food grade barrel so at least we are part of the way there but goodness only knows how long it is going to take us to amass 7! Great idea for the veggies and we will be using it as well (if we ever find enough barrels that is 😉 ).

      Reply

  4. Lynda
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 23:25:35

    I just cannot believe how quickly your newly enclosed garden has flourished. I love Jess’s Scratt analogy, that is exactly how i pictured it. I wish i could do a similar enclosure for the bloody birds. Happy New Year my hippie friend. Look forward to all your posts in 2014.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 03:15:40

      Happy New Year Lynda :). I think it is a combination of not being harvested by feral animals every night, the good and most fortuitous rainfall that we have been having combined with the bit of heat we got recently along with the interesting temperature variants that the fully enclosed netting when damp give the garden that have resulted in everything growing like crazy. We are going to have to treat those yellow zucchini for powdery mildew though as its quite humid inside the enclosure. Time to find that recipe for bicarb soda treatment methinks!

      Reply

  5. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 06:49:54

    Oooh, the garden’s looking great!! Very productive.

    I have read Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce but found there wasn’t much in it that wasn’t being done already. I did read an article by her several years ago that was inspiring so maybe I have already had the benefit of her wisdom without actually realising lol.

    The coconut cream yogurt looks good, as does the pork pies and sour cherries.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 09:14:14

      I have been harvesting roadside fruits and planting the seed all over the place on Serendipity Farm. I figure if it can grow on the roadside, it can grow here! It is at least worth a try and I have nothing to lose. I have requested the book from the library (again nothing to lose…my favourite kind of “lose” 😉 ) so I will see what I make of it. Even if you get 1 thing from it it is worth reading in my world 🙂

      Reply

  6. teawithhazel
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 07:34:06

    gosh fran..your vegetable garden is looking amazing..

    i’m totally with you on simple..i’m surprised at how dissatisfied so many people seem and how they’re constantly seeking out the next new thing..maybe it’s just a case of horses for courses and all that though..i don’t have a ‘bucket list’ or an image of a ‘dream home’..i do aspire to be a better person though and that’s hard work..x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 09:16:09

      Very hard work indeed Jane, especially when you have a bad temper and a complete lack of patience like me…but I guess that gives me a good platform to work on this year :). The garden is doing all of that itself. I haven’t got much to do with it apart from watering it occasionally and watching it go mental. I have some plans to build a few more garden beds but not before we finish our deck (painting) which is going to take us a fair bit of time. I will share the results on the blog though for everyone to see :)Happy New Year by the way and heres to a wonderful new year for us all 🙂

      Reply

    • Linne
      Jan 07, 2014 @ 15:41:21

      I never received any stats, either. Could you copy me, too, on that? Please? Thanks very much. ~ Linne

      Reply

  7. teawithhazel
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 07:34:47

    ps happy new year fran to you both and to the fur boys..x

    Reply

  8. Jo
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 09:25:09

    My grandmother always asked us whether we had had ‘an elegant sufficiency’ at the end of dinner. I love that phrase! Happy New Year:)

    Reply

  9. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:37:58

    What a full post – my gosh, it would take me ages to do this much!! But I loved it. The name of the book for starters is too funny. And love there’s no “can’t” this year. Good on you 🙂

    Fully entertaining!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:38:48

      I have to laugh because that is a small post…most of my dear constant readers are used to great long tombs of posts that waffle on all over the place. I try to punctuate them with interesting images so that people can jump around all over the place and just look at the pictures if they like but at the end of the day my muses (and there are many 😉 ) all want to have their say and God help me if I don’t let them! ;). Your blog is excellent and you come from Perth? I was born in W.A.! We only moved here to Tassie because we inherited a house here. Lovely to catch up with a fellow Sandgroper. Your words are truly moving and inspirational. Just had a look-see at your lovely blog. Kudos on your book 🙂

      Reply

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes
        Jan 02, 2014 @ 18:03:24

        Oh, a sandgroper! 🙂 Love you more!!!

        Yes, born in Perth, went to Melbourne when I was 6 & my mum had died, went to Brisbane at age 19 to escape my family (Oh My Fking God repression, frustration, bitterness, loth), then caravanned across Australia to Perth with my then husband.

        Then to Melbourne mid 2008 with my then 13yo son!! Freedom at last!

        I have an old friend in Tassie – Geoff. He has been mentioned but once in this blog, though by pseudonym. He didn’t like his pseudonym!

        That is, I just may one day wonder down to Tassie. I’ve always wanted to.

        It’s really nice to meet you. Sincerely. Noeleen.

  10. foodnstuff
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 12:41:03

    I know you’ve got it from the library, but it’s nice to have your own copy, so there is one in the post for you courtesy of me (my personal budget ended up in the black last year and I am looking to spend the excess and we have to look after the penniless hippies in our society who are doing such a great job at self-sufficiency). And I love buying things on the Net, it is so easy 😉

    The garden looks lovely as usual and my possums love pears so can send you some if you like (possums, not pears).

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:15:46

      That is incredibly generous and kind of you Bev :). Do you have the book yourself? I will have to think up something suitable to send you in return…most probably a wooden spoon :). I LOVE trading and sharing, it is such good fun 🙂

      Reply

      • foodnstuff
        Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:28:48

        No, I don’t have the book so you can tell me all about it. And don’t forget, you sent me that HUGE fermentation book of Sandor Katz’s, so I’m just returning the favour. A spoon would be nice, though, as the last one you sent me was for a friend. It’s in her sugar bowl and I use it every time I go there for a coffee. She still remarks on how elegant it is.

        The book is coming from NZ so will update you when they update me.

      • narf77
        Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:31:30

        Cheers Bev, I would love to send you a spoon in return. I got the Sandor Katz book for free so it wasn’t like it cost me anything :). I love to spread the love around. 🙂

  11. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 13:45:32

    Homegrown veggies for Christmas truly sounds like a dream come true. Your garden is quite enviable, but it’s clear how much work you put into that fertile patch, so you deserve ever last bit of its produce. You really put a city slicker like me to shame! I always feel so wasteful and indulgent after reading your posts.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:21:55

      You give the world an amazingly creative slant on vegan food so unless you are standing on your rooftop throwing money to the 4 winds (if you are… can you please let me know when you next plan to do so, and I will book my ticket!) you can’t be doing that badly ;). I guess I just like trying to do as much as I can for myself and learning how to make basic things gives penniless student hippies a huge boost in the back pocket so that the money saved can go towards things like water tanks, wind turbines etc. It also gives you a massive sense of satisfaction at the end of the day…but I would love to be able to take photos even an eighth as good as you do and I just wish my brain was a teeny bit as creative as yours is when it comes to creating scrumptious and most marvellous new vegan recipes 🙂

      Reply

      • Hannah (BitterSweet)
        Jan 03, 2014 @ 00:39:07

        I guess we do both have our strengths… Your posts do continue to inspire me though, and make me wish I could be at least a little bit more self sufficient! It sounds impossible from afar, which is why it’s so exciting to see you really live it every day. Don’t forget, you’re doing quite a bit for the world as well- Your creativity comes through in writing. 🙂

      • narf77
        Jan 03, 2014 @ 05:28:06

        Cheers for this lovely comment Hannah. I am blushing because you are one of my foodie hero’s. I can’t believe how wonderful most vegan chefs and cookbook writers are. I friended Bryanna Clark Grogan on FB and she comments all the time on my posts. I love how social media has allowed us to find like minded people that inject our lives with positivity, creativity and hope and that is where social media is truly a blessing. There are lots of people out there who for whatever reason just can’t interact and we are able to reach them and give them an online hug in our posts. A real world community 🙂

  12. Littlesundog
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 15:20:13

    What beautiful greens! I love all of these photos of your vegetables. My swiss chard finally bit the dust this year but it managed 3 winters prior. Not much weathers the winter months here, You spoke wonderful words for good wishes for all of us… I know one thing; my world is a little brighter each time I hear from you! Happy New Year!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:25:17

      Happy New Year Lori! Have a wonderful time in your gorgeous winter wonderland in Oklahoma and think of us slaving away slowly turning into Smurf’s painting the deck 😉

      Reply

  13. Roz Takes
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 18:24:24

    I do so envy your wonderful garden. I am trying desperately to grow a few vegies here in this Perth soil. Beans, watermelon and rockmelon seem to be growing but the bok choy went straight to seed,ants took the carrot and radish seed and we had a heatwave that ruined most else. Still will persevere. Have now got a compost tumbler this will help the sandy soil.
    Have a wonderful New Year!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 05:16:28

      Have you tried growing veggies in containers Roz? I am very interested in water wicked garden beds and they are very waterwise but you can get big pots (those self watering ones are great but expensive) and carrots and other root veggies grow really well in them and again, use a lot less water. I am festering an idea for using large water containers elevated and using gravity fed rainwater for the veggie garden in order to cut the costs of watering. It’s an ever evolving plan :). Have a fantastic New Year Roz and cheers for the lovely comment 🙂

      Reply

  14. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 22:19:37

    Always happy to read from another of the ‘great unwashed’ Fran. I hope your decking looks great and your garden continues the way it is…damn it looks good!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 05:23:01

      The possums think it looks good too apparently. The poor little guys are trying to break in to no avail. If seals can’t chew through this ex-fish farm netting, they have NO hope (possums aren’t known for their toothiness 😉 ). I can imagine families of them lying prostrate peering through the netting sadly with their little paws working slowly in the direction of my gorgeous green completely untouched (apart from insects…) prospective food…SO happy to get some of it this year! I can’t wait to invent all kinds of things using our harvest and this is just the beginning. I have some very interesting ideas for how to water the garden (gravity fed and cheap), how to grow some very interesting things (peanuts etc.) and how to do it all dirt cheap and this year we learn how to make e-books in our course so I will probably make a Serendipity Farm e-book for anyone who would like to see what we are up to here. And it will be FREE!!! 🙂

      Reply

  15. Chica Andaluza
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 06:15:11

    Fabulous post miss narf and I want to thank you for a fantastic year of blogging and sharing with us. Looking forward to the year ahead and according to my stats you’re a great commenter (but more importantly I was able to fonally subscribe rather than just have to remember to pop over – yay!). We have one of those pressure cleaners in Spain and when you clean the patio you can write rude words on it as you clean – great fun! Wishing you all a fantatic 2014 and I know I am going to enjoy sharing it with you. Eres una maravilla (there you go, something new to learn today “you’re a marvellous woman”!)

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 06:22:59

      “STEEEEVE! We NEED a karcher…I want to write rude words on the deck!” 😉 You are most entirely welcome Miss Chica. I have enjoyed your gloriously abandoned posts full of the joi de vivre of life and your honest (and hilarious) commentary about your life. The best thing about this social media hokum is that we get to meet fellow numpkins who are managing to defy gravity and stay standing on this fast spinning top we call earth. I once checked out how fast it is going and had to have a lay down I was that overwhelmed! We “women of a certain age” RULE you know. We are sharing our lives, our ups and our downs and in the sharing we make our lives all the richer for doing so. Hugs and smooches to you all in Spain and the UK and wherever you find yourself and heres to a fantastic year of sharing and shuffling and SHAZAM! (Had to add that last one…nothing like a good SHAZAM to blow off the cobwebs of 2013 and get 2014 in party mode 😉 ).

      Reply

      • Chica Andaluza
        Jan 03, 2014 @ 06:26:51

        Oh definitely a good SHAZAM while we are spinning round the axis of the world and writing rude words on the decking or patio 🙂

      • narf77
        Jan 03, 2014 @ 06:33:05

        Problem is we have this leftover booze left from Christmas/New Year that we are stoically working through (can’t be doing with waste) so just standing up these days (let alone gravity affected whilst wielding a high pressure spray nozzle AND actually spelling, let alone thinking about how to spell, rude words) is hard enough! 😉

      • Linne
        Jan 07, 2014 @ 15:50:53

        Maybe you could regress and just draw ‘dirty’ pictures . . . 😉

      • narf77
        Jan 08, 2014 @ 03:40:04

        Due to a complete and utter lack of artistic ability in the drawing department neither Steve nor I will be attempting that. The results would be more hilariously funny than rude 😉

  16. Namita
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 15:49:37

    Hello Fran,
    A very Happy New year to everyone at Serendipity farm. I love your posts. You always reflect on the events, life, work, learning, growing etc etc etc so well. You pen down your thoughts so beautifully that it seems that we are all a part of your life and living in Serendipity farms.
    You are really living a great life. Nature itself is a big teacher and a great healer. I see myself in your shoes once my kids grow up.
    Love and regards,
    Namita

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 17:20:46

      Thankyou for your lovely comment Namita. You always make me smile when you comment and I am really enjoying working with nature and learning so much in the process. There are so many natural cycles that our ancestors knew that we seem to be losing but I am trying to use as many of them as I can on Serendipity Farm. Its great fun learning how to do things ourselves and it saves a lot of money as well :). Your recipes are wonderful and I look forward to seeing your new posts in my RSS Feed Reader with glee. Every time I see one I know that something delicious is coming my way 🙂

      Reply

  17. Joanna
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 07:00:31

    Wow what amazing veggies everywhere! it is all growing everywhere on Serendipity farm!!!! You must not be able to look anywhere for greenery and rootery and the possums and large things that go bump in the night must not know where to look first and just sit there scratching their heads. Glorious summer photos make my heart sing!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 05, 2014 @ 04:20:00

      Hang around and you will get to see human sized “smurf’s” as well! Steve and I have been painting our large deck and have given up on attempting to remove paint at the end of the day as “we are just going to get covered in it tomorrow” so each day we amass a new skin of woadi-like bluescence to add to yesterday’s skin… I will keep the summer photo’s coming as I love to make people’s heart sing :). I hope the garden doesn’t go too feral while we are AWOL and doing the deck! I race up to water it (if it hasn’t rained) and back to the hard slog. I will be turning into Kermit today as I am painting a dark sage green onto part of the house so maybe I will be able to camouflage well amongst the trees? ;). Have a great Sunday Joanna. We will be off to Hobart (my daughters and I) on Feb 2nd so if you would like me to take that book down for you it might be an idea to get it sent off pretty soon :). I have plans to head off to a small nursery to pick up some very interesting food perennials in the form of tubers and roots at the same time so I will be multitasking 🙂

      Reply

  18. Spy Garden
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 07:23:15

    Garden looks amazing!!! And I need to start trying the kefir thing, sounds yummy!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 05, 2014 @ 03:59:30

      Milk kefir is pretty easy and makes a great smoothie and you can also use it to make bread, to help make your cakes nice and moist and light (like yoghurt) and to amuse the kids (nothing like a small colony of “cauliflowers” to amuse the kids 😉 ). The garden is mental. It is being left to do its own thing at the moment as we are flat out painting our deck (and turning ourselves into a pair of middle aged smurfs in the process) and too busy to spend time on normal things (like gardening) at the moment so it will be interesting to see just how insane it gets over the next week or so! 😉

      Reply

  19. Lucinda Sans
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 08:58:15

    Your veggies look lush, very lush!

    Glad to hear the possums can’t get in. The buggers ate the buds from my most beautiful magnolia tree for several years. They seemed to have taken a break last year but the poor tree is too scared to put out too many buds.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 05, 2014 @ 04:01:24

      I know what you mean. They hammer something for years and then it gets a break and is completely shell shocked. We can go around the property pointing out their favourites as the season goes on by the sad lack of new growth. You just never know which trees they are going to hammer as we have 2 mandarins. One, has about 4 leaves and they constantly attack it and the other once is completely covered in leaves and has no possum infestation even though they are only metres apart…I think possums are just completely insane!

      Reply

      • Lucinda Sans
        Jan 05, 2014 @ 17:59:44

        No, have to disagree. I don’t think possums are insane; I think they are evil creatures that want to mess with our minds, want to drive us insane! I used to think they were cute, harmless animals. That was when I lived in an area that had none. Now I know better. They are absolute buggers!

      • narf77
        Jan 06, 2014 @ 03:15:04

        Get this…I used to feed them! When I first arrived out in “the country” as a fresh faced city girl who point blank REFUSED to mow a patch of forget-me-nots in my dad’s lawn because “they are SO pretty”…when dad died and left us this place I actually paid good money to buy chocolate chip and other biscuits, jars of peanut butter and bread and fruit. I would cut up little peanut butter sandwiches, put out cookie’s (like they were Santa) and cut up fruit like it was my kids morning fruit time when I was doing parent duty at school. I figured (in my misguided/stupid way) that if I fed them, they would leave our precious (most delicious) potted specimens alone. It took me all of a month to realise that not only was I feeding the fat guzzling buggers, but they were scoffing my plants as well! We then moved the plants onto the deck where our dog promptly pruned them under the grafts, to within an inch of their lives…sigh…we have feral cats on the property. We have a curious dearth of rats, mice, rabbits and now possums… I am thinking there has to be a correlation there somewhere! ;). Still not with you on evil but sometimes when Earl is hurtling around the house after a particularly delicious repast and he is bouncing of furniture (and the walls) with a wild look in his eye…I see a little bit of possum in him…

  20. Angela @ Canned Time
    Jan 06, 2014 @ 03:57:47

    With all that help from ole Earl, you and Steve can kick back and let him finish up the deck eh? And after 3 months of my unsuccessful past attempts to grow squash on my balcony…your gorgeous yellow beauties rock!! What a glorious spread of self sufficiency you guys have created there…maybe you should start a service where folks can visit for a weekend to see how its all done and learn for themselves. I’d stay and drool over all those plants and economical tricks and trades you guys have come up with, awesome!
    Here in D. C. we choose to just throw money at things to make them grow, HE HE, not very effective.
    If I can only achieve 1/10th of your New Year’s blessings in my own life, I will die fulfilled. My best to you and family in ’14 😉

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 06, 2014 @ 05:12:04

      I am not feeling particularly fulfilled at the moment, I am too busy attempting to stop the inside of the house from resembling the outside of the house… paint drips, a blue/grey striped (once orange and white) dog, nails, screws, paint, silicone all gravitating inside and finding new homes on my kitchen benches and (shock HORROR!) Brunhilda (who is fast asleep) and trying to scrub the smurfy/Kermit the froggy coatings from my poor tired skin at the end of the day. I learned the hard way that saying “oh bugger it, I won’t bother scrubbing tonight as I am only going to get covered in it again tomorrow…” is a foolish thing to contemplate when the next day you have to scrub extra hard… one day this deck will be finished. I may or may not be a broken woman but I WILL have emerged wiser, and certainly feeling older! 😉

      Reply

  21. Linne
    Jan 07, 2014 @ 15:57:44

    Hi; I came back to read this again and I STILL love the garden photos! Especially nice to live vicariously when it’s a bit frosty here (yesterday with wind chill colder than -31C; today it has warmed up to -12C with windchill) It’s all relatives . . .

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 03:52:16

      I watered the veggie garden before hurling myself head first into painting a second coat on the dark sage green on the house, the Ironstone grey/blue (sort of gunmetal grey but a bit bluer) on the decking steps, painting all of the gates, sanding down the last acreage of deck rails and finally painting them before heading off to bed completely knackered. You certainly know you are alive when you work hard! Today is a nice quiet day. I get to pick the fluffy dirty bits from out between all of the deck timbers, blow them off with our blower vac (that Earl ADORES) and then paint half of the deck inside the fortress that Steve and I had to build in order to prevent Earl from escaping out of the lower deck bit into the freedom beyond. I think Earl is readying himself for escape. He leaned against the blue deck rails yesterday and now has a smart line of woad. He already has his animal print blankie that makes him look like Lawrence of Arabia and so now he can escape, run free AND shout “NO PRISONERS!” Good luck cats! Yesterday, after I sanded the deck rails, I left the sander plugged in and turned on in case I needed to use it again. While I was painting I heard a buzz sound and a yelp and both dogs ran back to the gate that separated off me, from the chaos…methinks Earl was attempting to pick up the sander and pinch it for chewing on later and it bit back! He kept looking at it warily and gave it a wide berth so I think I am on the money there ;). The garden is going mental. My compost heap experiment is progressing nicely with tomatoes popping up everywhere and growing much faster than in the garden, pumpkins of all kinds manifesting themselves vicariously and potatoes and even beans! I have NO idea where the beans came from but they are growing so good luck to them ;). I just threw out a string of dried chillies I collected when we were studying at TAFE back in 2010. I looked at the seeds inside them and they look fine so you never know what might pop up from that lot. I am sort of bleeding my compost into the heap now. Making a big amalgamation of tasty soil food and spreading it along in a line. I figure it will keep the worms happy, it will attract beneficials and soil bugs and it will do some of the prep work with the soil underneath so it won’t turn to ceramic as our summer heats up. I LOVE experiments :). When we finish this painting (I should say “if” we finish, it seems to be taking forever!) after I claim back the garden from the spear thistles that seem to think they have a tenancy to uphold, I am going to start collecting trailer loads of manure (probably horse), clean out the chook run, collect the oak leaf mould that is now fluffy and delicious down at the front of the property, go to the local beach and get a couple of trailer loads of seaweed and generally keep collecting “stuff” that will be good for the garden and layer it in large heaps all around the peripherals of the garden where we will be building beds (but don’t have the time, inclination, money or infrastructure to do so at the moment) in order to do a little bit of the prep on the soil whilst stockpiling them for when we need them. I always love killing 2 birds with one stone and am aiming for knocking those “birds” out of the ballpark with benefits 🙂

      Reply

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