Finding happiness in simple things

Hi Folks

I wanted to start this week’s post off with a simple but most beneficial truth that I learned this week and if I learn nothing else this month…perhaps even year…this is a goodn’. Do you ever keep getting the same message over and over and over again? I have been revisiting the “be grateful and thankful and happy with what you have and simple things” message a lot lately. Just about every blog post, FB page update (that I sporadically look at) and website that I access has some hidden message just for narf7 that involves me thinking about how very lucky I am to be learning how to be so happy with so little. When you can be content with little you are truly blessed.


“What do we have here?” (after changing my clothes to repeat the original “what do we have here” but after a quick change in clothing so as not to look like Granny weather wax out of the Discworld witches series 😉 )


Potato onions! Sent by Jess from rabbidlittlehippy. Out of season, and the people at Yelwek farm in Tassie couldn’t have bent over further to make this happen if they were contortionists. I couldn’t believe the amazing customer service folks. If you are in the market for potato onions (white or brown) or oca, the delicious little multi coloured yam fest of great happiness or if you want to wait a little bit because they are just about to add onion shallots to their fantastic repertoire (and they sent me 2 for free to trial!), check out their website and do yourselves a favour and buy some and support a small grassroots company that could do with your business. These guys make buying something fun 🙂 Oh, by the way…that isn’t really wurzel gummidges nose…it’s ALL mine! 😉 In my defence, I was running on 4 hours sleep and my eyes felt like boiled onions by this stage of the day 😉

I got the most overwhelming sense of bliss just walking into my veggie garden to water it yesterday. A true and most complete sense of being right with the world. As I watered (and flattened my veggies with their regular quotient of H2O) my mind wandered around all over the place as it tends to do. Just a quick aside…scientists have proven that older people don’t forget things because they are suffering from dementia as a rule, they forget things because they have SO MUCH INFORMATION CRAMMED IN THEIR HEADS that some leaks out. I, for one, will be supporting that scientific study with my hand on my heart and a fierce sense of loyalty most probably far outweighed by the studies weight in the scientific community 😉


I was supposed to get 10 of each…as you can see (if you are furiously counting…) I got 14 brown potato onions and 12 white and see that lovely little card filled with helpful information? How amazing are these guys eh? 🙂


One of my “pretties”. I don’t have a lot of them and indeed, I almost didn’t have this one. This is a tuberous begonia. I thought that this particular specimen had carked it so I tossed it outside the glasshouse where the poor thing overwintered completely devoid of potting mix and then started to grow little green leaves as soon as spring hit. I couldn’t believe it when I noticed it growing tenaciously next to the glasshouse. Here it is reminding me that I don’t know everything and that sometimes, what you throw out is beautiful…”be careful what you throw away”. Life lesson learned 🙂

I usually get up at 3am, have my first life giving and most wonderful mug (bucket) of tea soon after. It accompanies me as I browse and read blog posts delivered to me overnight into my RSS Feed Reader without which I would have to sift a whole lot more dross before I found the pure gold. I slowly sip my life giving elixir and all is right with the world. I don’t allow myself another cuppa till I get back from walking Earl. I do this because otherwise I have to find tracts of bushland in order to evacuate said extra mug (bucket) and you just never know who is watching 😉 that was up until today. Today I have coined the phrase that is going to accompany through 2014 and most probably the rest of my life. “Do simple things that make you happy”. Simple things like have that extra cuppa, go and read that book, stop following the dogs and sweeping behind them and go out to the garden instead and just sit and plan…little things that make my heart sing, my soul smile and that I keep putting off because I have so much to do…”so much to do” can wait. Life is here now and I want to enjoy it to the max 🙂


One of the “mints” that I pulled from out of the pathway at the community orchard in Deviot turned out to be a bee balm 🙂


My latest 2 fig “cuttings”. The one of the right appears to be happy but the one of the left might have been just a teensy bit too big to survive on the small amount of roots that this ground layer had managed to set down. Time will tell


What happens when plants are happy…you get fruit!

I kept coming up against reviews for the book “Eat, Pray Love” last year. I fortuitously found a copy for 20c at a local op shop and thought that it was a sign that I should read it. Sometimes signs are put there in order for you to learn, and sometimes they are put there for some higher being to have a bit of a laugh. I get the feeling it was the latter case for me in this situation. I settled down to read the book and by the time I got to chapter 3 I couldn’t stand the heroine and was starting to wish terrible things down upon her self-indulgent head. I stopped reading it and vowed never to let it, or anything written by its author darken my doorstep again! “Eat, Pray, Love” was supposed to teach me something and indeed it did. It taught me “never rely on someone else’s reviews to dictate what is and isn’t going to be a good read!” Earl has his own version of “Eat, Pray, Love” it’s called “Eat, Prey, No love involved” I don’t want to give people the wrong impression about American Staffies. They get a bad rap through the press as it is but there are some dogs that are just born hunters and Earl is one of them. Bezial, also an American Staffy, isn’t. He was born with a black and white peace sign planted square on his private parts and he has been keeping the peace ever since. When Steve and I have one of our rare arguments (I argue, he hides) Bezial is right there between us gently pressing his warmth up against the protagonist (that would be me) and attempting to sooth the waters and bring about peace. Maybe he is the reincarnation of Ghandi and is asking me with those doggy eyes to give non-violent protest a chance 😉


Happy mango seedlings grown from a seed. Time to repot them into bigger pots and let them overwinter another year before planting them out in the spring


The tall (and most spectacular) euphorbia here was grown from a small piece pinched from a friends succulent. The cactus below it came in my mum’s shoe from Western Australia 😉


The “Lone Banana” of Serendipity Farm still going after 4 seasons in our small glasshouse

Bezial will walk through the middle of a motley collection of chooks, cats, and small furry critters completely ignoring them. He would most probably love to leap into the centre of them and frolic for all he is worth but he knows that his freedom and ability to wander at will on Serendipity Farm (where Earl is on a leash at all times…) rely on him playing pool with our wishes. I must admit he does get a bit excited when he sees a rooster and that may, or may not, have something to do with me “releasing the hounds” (well…Bezial…) on said roosters whenever they bail up a poor unsuspecting hen and force their unwanted attentions upon her. Rape is rape folks. I am NOT speciesist and Bezial is my weapon of choice. Earl would do as good a job but the raper AND the rapee would both suffer the consequences of my outrageous indignation 😉


More exotics…if you don’t try them you will never know. The large leafed beauties are turmeric, grown from a single organic rhizome bought from the health food shop and the lush leaves in the background are avocado’s grown from seed. The palmate leaf on the left hand lower side is my choko (“YES JESS I AM GOING TO PLANT IT OUT!” 😉 )


A fully enclosed, “Garden Room” that I haven’t thought of what to put in here yet. Any ideas?



Scarlet runner bean futures. They can be eaten green in their pods or dried and cooked from dry. A most ambidextrous bean indeed 🙂


Pumpkins (triffids) who have decided that the grass is greener on the other side of the compound and who are heading off in a most determined way to prove it!

Look what I found the other day…a hazelnut! 🙂 we dug this small sapling up from a farm that we were working on. It was supposed to be discarded but we asked if we could have it and this year it has a solitary hazelnut. That’s what this is all about folks 🙂

You are getting 2 posts today. 1 recipe and 1 regular. I made the recipe the other day and saw that it had incredible possibilities and just wanted to share it with you all, especially Wendy from Quarter Acre Lifestyle  because she is a fellow penniless middle aged bit-of-a-health-nut hippy and would completely and utterly “get” the benefits to this recipe 🙂 I have since had an inquiry from Jess at rabbidlittlehippy asking about how I make my buckwheat porridge. That’s a much easier proposition than this cereal but I must admit, I love this bolshie buckwheaty granola stuff. I have eaten it every day for breakfast since I made it and it keeps me full until dinner time. When you look into buckwheat you start to realise that it is a nutritional powerhouse

It has a distinct earthy flavour to it that I love but if you mix it with other flavours it carries them well. It grows well in just about any conditions, it can take extreme heat and extreme cold and it seems to like being beneficial in all stages of it’s life cycle. I love a good multi-use plant!


I found some calendula (marigold) seeds on a plant on the side of the road verge the other day and decided to plant them and here are the very first marigolds grown by narf on Serendipity Farm 🙂


Beans growing in the experimental compost heap of great glory. Please don’t ask me what kind…no idea…just beans 🙂


These small seedlings are of a perennial plant known as “coin plant” or “honesty”

I am just waiting on my good friend Jenny previously known as “she-who-can’t-be-named”. She is the taskmaster who forced me to plant out a vegetable garden this year and so I guess I owe her for the entire mass tangle of fecundity that is threatening to take over Sidmouth as I type. I was watering happily the other day when I realised that as much as I adore permaculture and harvests, this little patch of green has fed my soul by simply being an oasis of growth in a sea of rapidly declining green cum brown paddock. It stands out like a beacon and at any time of the day you can find chooks circling it trying to scratch their way into the paradise beyond. Good luck with that chooks…after an early oversight on our behalf and a small invasion of the possum kind where said possum harvested a pathway right through my silverbeet and a small apple tree and ate a lime off a tiny little lime tree (that was how I knew we had been invaded by one of our furry foes…nothing else would eat an unripe lime!) which Steve and I patched up and fortified like Fort Knox, we haven’t had any other nocturnal (or otherwise) invaders to speak off aside from the odd insect but we also have a wonderful lizard population and a spider underclass that seem to be doing a sterling job of keeping the pest species to a minimum


The view of the (triffid) garden from up in the top right hand corner


This is what used to be my compost heap experimental patch and has been renamed the pumpkin patch


Potted edibles mix with their raised bed siblings


I got this red clover a year ago as an emaciated half dead specimen on the side of the road and it loves it’s new home on Serendipity Farm


Another view point of the garden


And yet another one. Whipper snipping the circumference of the garden beds made it much easier to really see the garden and how it is doing. Prior to this the grass and weeds were almost as high as the garden beds

My younger sister Cathy aka Pinky, got married last Thursday. She and her wonderful partner Jason have been together for almost 15 years and they finally decided to tie the knot. I am incredibly happy for them both because they are 2 of my most favourite people in the world. Cathy and I might be 2 strong women with strong personalities to go with the territory and it’s probably good that we are separated by a vast chunk of rocky Australia for most of the time but we would fight to the death for each other…she knows that I have her back and any time she really needs me, I will be there. Seriously Pinky…if you need a gas bottle changed, just send me a plane ticket and I will be there! 😉


How we cook our dinner on a hot HOT summer’s night…outside with a view and accompanied by an ice cold beer 😉


I took this shot to show Jess what feverfew flowers look like and decided that it was pretty so I am sharing it with you here 🙂

Well I don’t think I should waffle on too long in this post. Aside from wanting to get these 2 posts up and loaded nice and early, I have 2 of them to box your ears with and can’t expect you to wade through two long epistles in a single sitting. Have a fantastic week. Here in the South East of Australia we are copping a fair bit of heat at the moment but sooner than we know it, it will be autumn and that chilly wind will start to blow heralding another 6 months of Brunhilda crackling most companiably with me on my early morning starts. See you next Wednesday 🙂

55 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thecontentedcrafter
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 18:26:37

    Love those feverfew flowers – I’m a sucker for anything whitish and daisyish! The garden is looking most fecund! Yo are doing a good job there Mrs. It was nice to hear a bit more about Beziel – in the time I’ve been an avid fan of Serendipity Farm it has mostly been Earl getting all the publicity – it’s nice that you give the good boy a shot at the lime-light as well.

    I have never herd of potato onions – what do you do with them? I am a fan of buckwheat so must get to the next post and read up there on what you do with it.

    I’ve been a bit distracted this past week or so and have only managed to get two of your words done. But have no fear, I shall continue plowing my way through and you have kindly dropped a few more words for me to play with in your opening paragraphs 🙂

    Our weather has finally cleared up and I felt motivated today to get into my garden [rather belatedly, but its only 30 sq inches, so hey!] I am planting veges and herbs into tubs of gypsyish colours, just to make my heart sing! See what an influence you are on me? As I have no further words of wisdom or advice on what to do with your garden room I shall scarper along to the buckwheat. xoxo


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:17:05

      As a horticulturalist and amateur Permaculturalist (all of the yummy “ists” 😉 ) I love to dabble in multi-function food. Potato onions don’t take up too much room, are less difficult to grow than regular onions and increase. They are smaller than regular onions but who cares? They keep sending off offsets and you get more and more of them each crop you grow :). Bezial says “Hi” and he is dead chuffed as my friend that came to visit yesterday brought a huge bag of Tasmanian salmon trimmings for him. He had a whole bowl full for his tea and is as fat and contented as the cat that got the cream ;).
      Earl hogs limelight. He is an attention seeker where Bezial shies away from the limelight and won’t let me take pictures of him where Earl poses. That’s why you see more of Earl ;). Buckwheat is amazingly good for you. I never looked into it much but it is excellent for your circulation and I have shite circulation so buckwheat is my cereal/seed de rigeur these days. It is pretty useful as well and can be cooked like rice, eaten like porridge, baked into just about anything and you don’t need a fancy shmansy blender to render it into flour as it is quite soft. Just your regular old blender will do the trick nicely 🙂

      You could plant some amaranth. It has spectacular seed pods, amazing gypsy colour variations and you can eat the leaves and the seed as well. A great and most interesting plant for containers and easy to grow as well :). Glad you liked the post. Take your time with the cards…I am in no great rush and can wait like Methuselah 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:39:36

        I used to see amaranth all the time when I was a child – well, I think it was amaranth. It grew wild and was considered a weed. Where do you get the plants from? I’ve never seen any…. I have a jar filled with amaranth and hardly ever use it – meed some inspiration…. 🙂

        Buckwheat is pretty cool and has been in my kitchen for 40 years 🙂 [Pat, pat, pat!] Should probably use it more often ….. I tend to go for the quinoa.

        I’m very fond of Beziel – he sounds like my kind of dog! If you ever decide to up and head for Honolulu like some others we know, send him to me.

        Have a good week xoxo

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:52:12

        You can try growing amaranth from the seed you get from the health food shop. I have a bag sitting in front of me right now along with another 2 bags of chia seed and quinoa (from a local grower) that I am going to toss out and see what eventuates. This food gardening lark is the bomb! I was trained in trees and shrubs and although I love them dearly, they aren’t a patch on growing something that you can eat. I have bypassed the annuals (lazy narf 😉 ) and am completely enraptured by perennial vegetable and fruit crops at the moment…I love learning!

        Bezial is a love. He gets terribly excited when we have visitors and wants to jump up and kiss everyone. At 37kg he packs a doggy punch though :(. He is our peace dog. He is also part labrador so that tiny bit seems to have infested his American Staffy brain. He is a bit of a hog when it comes to food and he loves to wade out up to his chest and peer out to sea (doesn’t go deeper though…that is where the Amstaff kicks in 😉 ). He is very clever. I had the bags of salmon trimmings out to thaw and they sat there for a few hours on a large platter. I had let Bezial sniff them to know that they were his most treasured “FISH!!!” when Jenny gave them to me and he knew that he was in for a treat. He lay in front of the cupboard that the fish was sitting on top of for most of the rest of the day. When it was their dinner time I said “are you ready for your meat Bezial?” and he looked straight in my eyes and then back to the counter-top where his fish was and NOT to where the meat was thawing out ;)” Earl doesn’t like raw fish so Bezial got a large bowl full of salmon trimmings and Earl got to eat all of the alloted meat for both of them. Happy days for dogs indeed! ;). Bezial requires a view. He doesn’t mind cats (or anything else for that matter) and likes to bask upside down in the sunshine. He is “of an age” now and loves nothing more than a cuddle, a big plate of something tasty, the odd bit of pastry that falls off someone’s plate and love…he LOVES being loved 🙂 Ditto on the good week Pauline. I am off with my daughters for the weekend. I will arrive back home late on Sunday totally exhausted but will have done SO much in that time. It will be enough to give me plenty of fodder for my next blog post (note to self “TAKE THE CAMERA!” 😉 )

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:00:27

        There’s nothing as good as a weekend with the daughters is there!! Have a great one – and take the camera!

        B is definitely the kind of dog companion I should like to order up – O needs a friend who will do as told too – fits the bill really… Err….are you considering joining our triplet sister in Hawaii at all?

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:05:11

        LOL! Bezial would love to only have a “cat” to contend with but I fear he doesn’t realise how much like Earl an imperial cat would be and how downtrodden he would remain 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:01:27

        Oh, and I shall plant the seed I keep in the jar in the kitchen 🙂 Well, some of it anyway …

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:06:56

        As my gran would say “suck it and see!” give it a go and see what happens. You aren’t any worse off and you might just get lucky :). I am going to give peanuts a shot after reading that Sarah the Gardener (another sterling NZ blog) buys them in packets from the supermarket and grows them that way…give it a go is my new motto. I grew nut trees from seed and fruit trees from seed so can’t see why we can’t grow our own seed crops from food grade seed. Makes good sense to me 🙂

  2. foodnstuff
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 18:28:48

    I’ve grown buckwheat, it’s easy but…HOW DO YOU GET THE SEEDS OUT OF THE KERNELS!!!

    LIkewise for sunflower seeds. My chooks love the hulled ones (which are expensive) but won’t eat the unhulled ones (which are cheap and which I could grow). Grrrrr.


    • foodnstuff
      Jan 29, 2014 @ 22:29:11

      Ooops. This comment was supposed to go under the buckwheat post. Working under difficulty on laptop at the moment ‘cos desktop has crashed. Not very good at manipulating said laptop.


      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:34:00

        I am bowing to your looping. We only use our desktop…no loops here. If this crashes we race off to our trusty computer guys in Launceston and hold it out pathetically to them and say “fix?” They usually do it pretty quickly. They don’t want to be responsible for what I would be like let loose on the small (and most probably endangered) community of Sidmouth should I not have the ability to research and have to amuse myself in the real world… as the mafia don said to his mate “forgedaboudit!” 😉

    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:19:15

      Your chooks must be spoiled Bev as mine dive into the organic mix that I buy and scratch and sift through looking for the black hulled sunflower seeds first. Wheat gets eaten last here but they don’t get fed anything more till they finish the lot so they begrudgingly eat it ;). NO idea how to get the seeds out of the kernels as I haven’t grown it yet so haven’t arrived at that point. Maybe you could just grind it in your Thermomix hulls and all? I now have something to research over the next few days :). Glad to see it is easy to grow buckwheat as I LOVE the stuff 🙂


      • foodnstuff
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 10:06:22

        The Thermomix would certainly reduce it to dust (almost) but no idea how that would affect the taste or if there’s anything in the hulls we shouldn’t ingest.

        My chooks aren’t spoiled (well, not much), they’re just not proper chooks. They don’t even like worms. I’m ashamed to admit what they don’t do/like that regular chooks do/like.

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 11:07:58

        You are right about there might be something in the husks as it is related to rhubarb and would probably have phytates or some such inhibitor. Best look into that…maybe sprouting it first and then drying it and making sprouted flour? Looks like I have some experimentation to be on with! 🙂 My chooks are feral for the most part and eat whatever they damned well please, mostly my tender garden plants and the roots of my tender garden plants. They can reduce a large globe artichoke plant to slivers in a matter of moments. They are garden terrorists! Your chooks are like little feathered humans. Bezial is a little furry human. My chooks don’t like worms or snails either but the duck certainly does ;). My lot hop up and down (pogoing I call it…) around the outside of my cape gooseberry shrubs and scoff all of the berries that they can reach…humorous to watch, especially when the rooster is going it and pecks them down for his girls 😉

  3. brymnsons
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 19:24:46

    I think that spot could house a couple of chairs and a table quite nicely. It would be a nice quiet, cool spot to drink your favourite drop and read a lovely book 🙂


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:24:45

      That’s what I am hoping and it is just out of hearing range so I would be far enough away from the “madding crowd” to pretend I didn’t hear the yelling and barking and crowing etc. 😉


  4. teddyandtottie
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 20:43:25

    Well, Narf, you are the very first person I have heard speak the truth about “Eat, Pray, Love”!! I, too, got a copy from our local op shop (in hindsight, no wonder there are so many copies in op shops!!) I had heard a bit of hype and saw that Julia Roberts had the main role in the film version – and I thought I was in for a treat! Boy, was I wrong! I did manage to crawl my way through the whole book because I really wanted it to get better. But, alas, lesson learned here, too!
    On a brighter note, your veggies look great – and the variety of plants you have at Serendipity Farm is amazing! Yes, great to hear about Bezial – he sounds like the good cop to Earl’s bad cop – we still love you though Earl! I’m also very keen to check out this buckwheat business – I could definitely do with some healthier options – especially something that fills me until dinner! Thanks for sharing Narf – it’s always informative, entertaining and fun! xoxoxoxoxoxox


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:31:43

      Bezial hovers around anxiously waiting for Earl to act up and then runs for the toy box and brings him a toy to take his mind off it. I am thinking of renaming Bezial as “nursey” 😉 Buckwheat is something that I have only just discovered. I never paid it much attention (aside from a wide berth after some earlier experimentation in the 80’s made me twitch) but after reading that it was excellent for poor circulation I figured I might just give it a waltz around the dinner table again. Turns out I was spoiled in the 80’s! I ate cheese and butter and bread and didn’t know what side of my bread the butter was on. Now I don’t eat ANY of those deliciousness’s and so buckwheat has assumed a hallowed place in my dietary regime. Cheers for the positive comments about the veggies (triffids) they seem to have developed quite a thriving community out there. The only reason I am tolerated is because I bring the hose on a daily basis. I wouldn’t like to head out there without the magic hose though! I might never be seen again… Yeah…Eat,Pray,Love was a waste of a day of my life trying to find SOMETHING good in that morass of self righteous bampf. “Get over yourself lady…none of us want to read about how amazing you are to bugger off and indulge yourself to everyone else’s detriment!” 😉 Glad I wasn’t the only one 🙂


  5. Littlesundog
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 01:22:02

    My copy of Eat, Pray, Love was given by a sister-in-law who just knew I would love it. “It’s SO YOU she said”. Well, not many chapters in I first realized my sister-in-law did NOT know me, and I even felt a bit insulted that she thought it was “so me”. I thought surely, after the rave reviews, that perhaps I had missed something. I later saw the movie and felt perhaps it seemed a bit better because it was over with quicker than the book took me to read. I still had the same impression. The book went on my next garage sale and sold immediately. Poor sucker. I never uttered a word.

    Oh, I’m basking in your warmth this morning, looking at the lovely photos of your gardens and veggies and happy faces. It’s bitter cold here, but I sit at my little computer nook with the love of my blogger friends and the simplicity of our lives. Ah, life is good Fran!


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:40:31

      I agree with you…no matter how cold/hot/disillusioned/twitchy/”add negative emotion or physical condition that you are currently suffering here” you are, there is always a post somewhere out there that can make you feel happier and more positive about your lot, even if it is only to show you how lucky your life is :). At least YOU don’t have a Wurzel gummidge nose! (Cheers nature! 😉 ). I am SO with you on that book and I would have been insulted as well. The author indulged herself to the MAX. What a selfish woman? She just ran off and did whatever she felt like to everyone else’s detriment. The ultimate in selfish in my book and completely self indulged. Badly written as well! ;). SO glad I dumped it back to the op shop ;). Have a great day Lori, pretty soon your sun will come back and another busy season will be upon you but for now, enjoy these moments of pure, still, cold beauty that nature has handed you. I am really enjoying seeing this amazing site through your camera lens. We never see nature like this here, it never gets that cold 🙂


  6. christiglover
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:24:19

    I showed the B.O. your lovely photo and he said, “I see Fran still has her long, beautiful hair.” Yes, you look absolutely radiant, my Australian twin! I couldn’t finish Eat, Pray, Love, either. And I am looking forward to warm garden bliss in Hawaii, ever closer to your Tasmanian shores. When I buy Swiss chard now, I call it Silverbeet. Love to you and all your boys. xxoo


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:43:58

      Can’t wait to read about your Sea Change :). Yes I still have my long hair because I saw a picture of myself with my hair tied back the other day and I looked like my grandmother…not ready for that yet!!! ;). I can’t find anyone in my circle of dear constant readers who actually read and enjoyed that crap novel! I reckon that author bought all of the copies herself (rich sugar daddy 😉 ) and managed to get on the best seller list that way! “CHEATING!” ;). I hope you aren’t too cold on The Farmlet. What are you going to do with the goat’s by the way?


      • christiglover
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:47:50

        We emailed the lady on Vashon Island where we got them 2 years ago. She gave them to us! for the promise that we wouldn’t eat them. Which we haven’t. Anyway, she hasn’t responded so I’m thinking she doesn’t want them back. We’ll advertise them on Craigslist, just like she did, and hope that a lovely person(s) who loves fleece goats will adopt them. I’ll keep you posted.

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:56:17

        I wish we were closer…we would have them in a flash! “The Universe” will send the right person :). Hugs to you both. You must be getting VERY excited about your wonderful seachange move. I know I would be :).

  7. Chica Andaluza
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 04:57:03

    You are growing mango and turmeric – woo hoo – very jealous! Mangos grow down on the coast near us in Spain and are my very very very fave fruit but it’s too cool up our mountain 😦 And did I see feverfew as well…I really should grow some as it’s good for migraines. You look beautiful in your photos and thank you for the reminder to be happy and grateful for all that we have 🙂


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 05:04:09

      I am not sure what will happen when I plant my little mangoes (and everything else) out. We have possums, wallabies (at least 2 and one large kangaroo that I spotted the other day) to contend with and the weather as well…They might just have to live inside another fully enclosed space…the things we do to get food! I can’t find it in me to be grateful for my Wurzel Gummidge nose. I guess I still have a ways to go 😉


  8. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 06:09:52

    Lol, I do love your personality profile on me Fran 🙂 Fits perfectly!! I look forward to seeing your recipes.
    I always comment on your vege garden cage because I am in awe of the work it must’ve taken, what we have to do in order to grow things sometimes!! You have a garden room? Surely that calls for a hammock, that’s what I’d be putting there as she who loves to sleep 🙂
    I love your Feverfew photo too, it is such a pretty plant. Once you have had one plant it pops up everywhere. I am going to be making a tincture of it to use for my Fibro. A friend of ours made me a batch of vodka so I can finally do those sorts of things I have been wanting to try.
    Someone gave me potato onions a few years back I just realised (not by that name) They disappeared never to be seen again so my limited experience of them not great.
    Great photos from a very productive lot, as always 🙂


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 10:55:29

      (they can actually “see” their personality profile?!!! OOPS! 😉 ). I was determined to be able to grow food here and the ONLY way to do that was to make some impenetrable fortress against the most determined native animals. I hadn’t even seen a possum in my whole life till we moved out here and now I am saturated in the little bollocks! I MUCH prefer your verminous hedgehogs ;). My friend who visited yesterday told me the same thing but she said that her potato onions were teeny compared to mine. Jess had a good harvest so I am not entirely sure what was amiss. She got hers from the same source I have mine from (she bought them for me 🙂 ) so hopefully her success is my success :). Your friend made vodka?! Oh that’s right…you guys are allowed to distil booze over there. Again you are “LUCKY BUGGERS!” 😉


  9. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 06:12:42

    Forgot to say, I got the boot Eat, Pray, Love as well, but only after I had seen the movie. I didn’t enjoy the book but loved the movie…I enjoyed seeing her transformation but I think Julia Roberts is a great actress so I think maybe she did the author alot more justice than can be seen in the book.


  10. Joanna
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 07:26:12

    Eat, Prey, no love involved – Earl is a Prince among Dogs – very funny 🙂 🙂

    I got up at 5 am when my ear was licked by a small brown poodle who needed to go out to attend to some urgent matter and I am fading fast tonight. Love all the fecundity and serendipitous growing that is happening on your farm Granny Weatherwax xxx


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 11:02:20

      Yeah…I fear I am destined to be Granny Weatherwax indeed…my grandmother was SO her! If I showed you a photo of her you would say “Look…it’s Granny Weatherwax!” ;). Got to say I am happier I looked up where that monument was to John Woodcock Graves as now at least I know where I am heading ;). My daughters are on the case and the eldest can actually navigate so hopefully I end up in the immediate vicinity and we can take lots of photos for you. It is promising to be a lovely sunny day so if I take enough photos you can take your pick of them…all yours :). Earl is hoping to open a chapter of his fan club in your area…do you reckon Zeb would be interested? 😉


      • Joanna
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 19:27:04

        But i love the witches in Discworld! I wish they all lived next door – practical, smart and funny, good people to have round in a crisis, great people! Just a couple of photos is more thsn generous, maybe one of you to show D, just how fabulous you are!! I wish you a successful hunt xxxx jo

      • narf77
        Jan 31, 2014 @ 03:21:22

        I would rather be like Nanny Og to be honest, at least she has a lot of fun just being “her” ;). I always take a lot of photos. Cameras have a habit of turning photos that you think are going to be great into fuzzy out of focus messes so I never trust a few, always take heaps to get at least a couple of goodn’s Feel free to show D your Wurzel Gummidge mate who smacks of Granny Weatherwax out of the Terry Pratchett Discworld series…I no longer have any shame about my image any more LOL! 😉

  11. Yelena
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 08:45:17

    You have an amazing view from your balcony, it is a dream of mine to have a view like that. Breathtaking!
    Fresh strawberries, yummy-))) And we had a snow today again, and I am feeling “under the weather”. Need some sun and warm water to swim-)))




    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 11:04:39

      A nice sunny hug right back atcha Yelena 🙂 I have warm arms at the moment as I have been out watering that behemoth of a garden in order to prevent it from learning to turn the tap on itself ;). Its a lovely day here, not too hot and should be a wonderful day to read a book and drink lots of tea which is what I am planning to do :). Hope you can feel a bit of sunshine in the post. I tried to radiate it out to you all. I know you can’t wait for summer and I can’t wait for autumn (at least after my veggies have ripened and been harvested 😉 ). Have a wonderful week 🙂


  12. rabidlittlehippy
    Jan 30, 2014 @ 13:14:15

    Bright spark me. Comment typed and ready to post and I forgot to post before shutting down FeedDemon. Grrr 😦 And yes, I even thought yesterday how you type in another program to cut and paste but did I do that? Fool me once. 😦

    Potato onions are just about to hit the shelf so to speak but I knew you were keen on them and I was determined to get in first. Ask and ye may very well receive! 🙂

    I too get that bliss when I am in my veggie gardens. It’s peaceful out there (peace is as rare as hens teeth inside) and the smell of the tomato bushes is just wonderful. Even the smell of the wet soil is joy. 🙂

    I must admit I didn’t mind Eat Pray Love the film first time around but second time I felt like throttling her. That woman needs to learn to be grateful for what she does have I think. Yes, if you are unhappy, by all means change your circumstances but be grateful for the good things you DO have. Friends, food, the finances to be able to fly all over the world looking for your happiness! I guess it struck me that her problems are very first world problems and even though in her travels she visited 2 countries that are most definitely not first world countries it never seems to strike her to be grateful for what she has. Maybe this came across to me because I am on that same journey of learning to be grateful for what I do have, being content to settle for the good things I own and can do rather than always yearning for more and I guess that’s the trick isn’t it. Balancing dreams and determination against being grateful and satisfied and happy. Too much yearning means unhappiness. Too little and you lack the drive to better things. Not necessarily to better materialistically but even just the drive maybe to increase your veggie garden in size or to I don’t know, try new things. Balance.

    I am aiming to better things around here through hard work now, not necessarily buying things. Growing apple pips to trees for rootstock, citrus seeds too. I have 2 mango seeds planted although 1 had fallen apart somewhat but still it seemed surprisingly viable so worth a try. Taro bulb planted and my $15 + taps worth of water barrel butts to help heat the greenhouse. Nothing to lose but so much to gain is my motto I guess. Give it a go! Have a try. Enrich your life through nothing more than a little effort. Now THIS I can live with! 😀

    As for your choko, yeah, believe it when I see it! 😉 Time to find an unclaimed pile of manure where there is much available trellising and vertical space. Maybe to climb up and along your deck once the enclosure is enlarged? Possum proofed and outside of Sanctuary?

    Your enclosed garden space NEEDS a seat, even if it’s a flat edged log stood on end on which to plonk your bum. What point a wonderful shaded enclosure full of verdant (feed me) greenery if not to sit and look at it sometimes and just “be” with it?

    I LOVE your hazelnut. Of my 3 neglected hazels I have 1 still fighting to live another day. I’ll provide it with company in the cooler months. Can I grow them from unpeeled nuts? Ok, yes, I shall hit up Dr Google. 😛

    When things are a little less toasty around here (in a month given the ongoing forecast) I shall give your buckwheat cereal a go. With us being gluten free and not always wanting the good ol bacon and eggs for breakfast I NEED some cereals that don’t have tortured rice as the base. We have no cereal in the house and only GF oats (oops, had to correct the typo of goats then 😉 ) I really need more breakfast variety. I am not the biggest breakfast fan anyway.

    I love your red clover and I have it on my list of plants to introduce to Cavae. I have dried red clover for tea but being able to grow my own, fix nitrogen in the soil as well and well, it’s just plain pretty and makes a good living mulch too. 😀

    Congratulations Pinky. Many many happy years of marriage for you and your husband.

    I most definitely have feverfew (yay) and yes they truly are beautiful. Given their relationship to pyrethrum and the apparent effectiveness as the chooks dust bathe next to the feverfew bushes I shall be planting its drought tolerant self around here there and everywhere. I moved 3 out the front and 2 are happily growing away out there and I found one all happy go lucky growing next to my dwarf beans this morning. When I have the chance and more transplantable weather I shall move it to a new home close to the chook pen. The animals don’t eat them either which means I get pretties, herbs and insect control all in 1. 😀

    It won’t be long now until Brunhilda is awoken from her slumbers although I am trying to enjoy the heat as much as possible as heat means tomatoes and verdant summer veggies. I want lots of tomatoes for bottling. 😀


    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2014 @ 13:35:27

      I love the smell of the tomato bushes when I water them. They just waft around making the possums in their vegetable filled dreams snort with somnomulant anger ;). When do we plant the potato onions by the way? I have them drying on a rack like I was told (rare I do what I am told but I made an exception this time 😉 ). Can’t wait to get those little babies into the ground and growing their little hearts out on Serendipity Farm. I am even going to make them their own potato onion bed customised just for them 🙂

      You just hit the nail right on the head! “Ungrateful” That’s what grated me, she was so bloody ungrateful for her amazing lot in life. She kept excusing her wanton desire to fulfil herself at everyone elses expense by trying to make it some sort of personal quest to happy Nirvana. Nirvana is finding happiness in your own little patch of dirt. I wonder how many people who “LOVED” that book are lusting after something over the other side of the fence and completely missing the blessings that they have in their own little space. THAT is what made me angry about the book and the author…they were selling a dream that most people will never be able to attain.

      “She was fecund with possibilities” now THAT is a great epitaph for you! ;). Those bollocking possums must be seething all over the top of the veggie garden as my giant sunflower was just about to flower up against the cover and today it has been snapped off about a foot down from the top of the netting :(. That tells me that the choko is going to have to live inside and I am going to have to find it a forever home space inside the hallowed possum free walls 😉

      I fear if I put a seat up there I am gone. I won’t ever return to the house and Steve will be able to file for a divorce on the grounds that “Fran? Who the hell is she? I haven’t seen her in 3 years!” ;). I love that space and will protect it with my life! “Hear that possums?!!!” At the moment I am working out how to get surround sound up there to play my preciouses Mozart and Beethoven and Bach in order to get some culture in my vegetables…they say that cultured vegetables are very good for you 😉

      No need to hit up google, I grew all of my seedling trees from unpeeled nuts :). By the way, a friend told me that his hazelnut trees have never been hit by possums and he has lived in his house down the road (where the possums make nocturnal raids on his orchard screaming for possession every night…) for 10 years now so hopefully I might be able to just plant my babies out (but I will make sure to protect them from the wallabies in wire till they get tall enough 🙂 )

      I never ate breakfast prior to getting serious about losing weight after mum died. I forced myself and now if I don’t eat it I get twitchy about morning tea time (and my body demands morning tea…cake…hot chips…entire roast dinners…best I give it breakfast methinks! 😉 ). This cereal is the bomb. It feeds your senses (tasty), and your body and keeps you going for hours on end. Gluten free, wholesome, no bad ingredients and delish and really easy to customise to your wants and needs :). You could even get the hoppers involved and turn the making of it into a lesson (Buckwheat from Russia…”why don’t we eat cane sugar kids?” and so much more 🙂 ).I like the idea of buckwheat goats but not if I was growing it…imagine the devastation a goat could do to a crop of buckwheat!

      I love my red clover and it will always have a spot in my garden. It is pretty and has SO many flowers I will be able to harvest some for making tea and it, and its white cousins are fixing nitrogen in the soil for me for free…not that I need nitrogen at the moment. The plants are all shoots and no roots 😦

      Tomatoes are in short supply here for some reason this year. I reckon it was the late season start but that tells me we might get a long…LOOOOONG summer again (bugger 😦 ) I guess I need a reason to be happy about it and I have 2…tomatoes and eggplants :). I will pass your felicitations on to Pinky, who will bask in your wishes I am sure 🙂


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 13:50:28

        Go for some proper cuture then! Maybe some Andre Rieu, Bach, Handel (I reckon your garden already sings the hallaluja chorus every morning at having survived the attack of the possums), maybe some flight of the bumblebee too. The flowers would like that one. Oh, and never forget Vivaldi’s four seasons!. 😉

        Try to focus that a long summer means lots of tomatoes. Lots of zucchinis (ok, that’s a little scary) and bloody big pumpkins! That last should make you squee loud enough to be heard on the mainland. 😉
        Sorry Steve but the seat in the veggie patch is a necessity. You need to be able to sit, visualise and plan but I have one in mine and it doesn’t get used for a long period of time and I am too keen to get up and doing things in there. Still, it’s nice to have. 🙂 I’m planning a large reo mesh trellis over mine, complete with grap vines to shade the seat and feed the visitor. 🙂 Still, that is a little while off yet. The reo meshi Have in mind is currently in use keeping hoppers out from under the house. 😉

        Potato onions are an April planting I believe. Yep, ok, just checked the email from Yelwek farm and I hope they don’t mind me quoting this “The majority of the potato onions we harvested this month were planted last April. We used to plant them in July, but after reading Steve Solomon’s veggie book, we now plant most in April. Planting in April results in larger bulbs (more warmer days). ” I haven’t yet read Steve Solomon’s veggie book but I know he’s a big name in gardening, particularly in Tasmania so that’s enough for me. 🙂

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2014 @ 14:13:39

        ALL your suggestions noted ma’am except for the Andre Rieu (the classical musicians equivalent of a boy band 😉 ). OH BABY am I going to be weighed down by pumpkins then ;). I have forty squinty scintillion of the little buggers growing exponentially every day. If I get barely anything else out of this veggie garden I await the pumpkin harvest with eager anticipation. You can look forward to images of me bathing in pumpkins (if Steve EVER learns to take photos of me that aren’t shaky…it isn’t like I move around all that much I just reckon he is trying to be kind to me and is blurring them on purpose to minimise my wrinkles 😉 ).

        I have about 10 little grape vines (Muscat) that need planting out. Still trying to work out where…maybe at the top of the garden so they won’t caste shadows on the rest of the veg and where they can knock themselves out growing and will get plenty of sun…it’s a plan! 🙂 (And they can grow with their good mate choko 😉 )

        As soon as the hoppers learn not to go under the house (REDBACKS!!!) that mesh biotch is YOURS! ;). April eh? I will let them sit on their mesh tray till then. I have Steve Solomon’s book as well but haven’t delved too deep into it as it is written in scientistese and my brain keeps rebelling against the structured botanical lessons that it needs to remind itself of just to wade through one of the vegetables information quotient 😦

        He writes for our little area. He lives in Grindelwald (Lol… like the Grindewalds 😉 ) which is a hop-step and a jump away from here but he has red iron rich soil and no rocks (the lucky bugger) and an acre plot at the front of his house completely given over to veggies. I know he does, I went there! He does inject a lot of scientese into his book though. Not for the lay person (or the lazy horticulturalist who just wants the stark details and not have to wade through all of the scientific bampf about root size and nematodes and how much of each soil nutrient you are going to need in order to get a good harvest type stuff…) “JUST THE FACTS MAN AND MAKE IT SNAPPY!” sigh… ;).

        Is it hot in Ballan? It’s lovely here. I keep alternating between putting a jumper on and taking it off and I have 2 dogs sighing at my feet as they want their dinner early apparently. Should I give in? Bezial knows he has a bag full of salmon trimmings in the fridge for his repast and Earl knows that means that he gets ALL of the meat to himself today…no wonder they want their tea! Best go get theirs in their bowls and Steve’s on to cook. I made him spaghetti bolognaise yesterday so I might make a pasta bake using the leftover bolognaise mix today. Sort of a lazy narfs lasagne ;).

  13. brymnsons
    Jan 31, 2014 @ 19:57:24

    If you get a bluetooth/wireless speaker you should be able to pick up your music in the garden from your computer. They are not too expensive, I managed to pick mine up for aroun $19 on scoupon or one of those. Dick smith online sells them too. It would be lovely to hear such beautiful music while sitting in your little patch of heaven, sipping on wine (well that’s my drink of choice, but combutcha… for you then) and reading a book. Sigh… such heaven..
    The Eat, Pray, Love book was better than the movie, even though it did have Julia in it, and I was not overly impressed with the book. I did get to the end, pushed on through, but not one to say “hey you must read this.”
    Anyway bloody hot and muggy here so enjoy your patch of coolness 🙂 x


    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2014 @ 04:09:46

      Cheers for that Kymmy, I didn’t know they existed! You are going to have to be my technological guru now :). At the moment the garden is so feral I might have to hide in the corner as the pumpkin hoard are advancing but until they breach my little patch in the corner I should be good to go with the kombucha and the book ;). I noticed that one of the shops at a local Coles plaza complex has closed and they have put a “community book swap” section in. One of the predominate titles is “Eat, Pray, Love”. Probably the copy that I got from the op shop for 20c and then took back after being completely unable to force myself to finish it ;). Stinking hot here too Kymmy so you don’t have to feel envious. The girls and I almost melted in Hobart and yesterday wasn’t much better with pavement shimmering heat. I am going to have a great day recuperating from an excellent weekend and catching up with my RSS Feed Reader as it is forecast to be a stinker again today 😦


  14. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 14:49:12

    It’s so true- The simplest things are often the best, and yet those which are most frequently taken for granted. It’s an exercise in mindfulness well worth taking to heart, since it’s all too forget about this seemingly obvious concept, and really lose sight of the true value of what’s important in our lives. Bah, you’ve gotten me feeling all sappy, thanks to a bag of potatoes! Obviously the principle extends well beyond the edible and tangible, too. 😉


    • narf77
      Feb 04, 2014 @ 03:17:33

      The sap flows freely here on Serendipity Farm…I am positively DRIPPING with the stuff most days ;). Hope your trip to Hawaii was an amazing interlude and fortified you (or is still fortifying you…) for the rest of your winter which if my “Spring Countdown” is accurate, has only 45 days and 40 minutes to wreak havoc on you guys before it has to leg it over here to give us a bit of reprieve from our stinking hot summer. “BRING IT ON!” I say 🙂


  15. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 05:19:05

    I loved “Eat, Pray, Love.” One reason I kind of quite blogging is I got all involved in Nanomowri in November. I ended up writing a novel, and ever since then I’ve been doing my best to edit. I really have no idea if it’s even any good, but I think I’m going to work on it a bit more and possibly put it on Amazon Kindle within the next couple of months. I see your word count. I think you could write one so easily.You could turn your blog into a book. I struggle with writing enough words in a day. It’s good to see an up close picture of you! Chris and I are on facebook together if you want to look us up: Chris n Jerri Schlenker


    • narf77
      Mar 23, 2014 @ 11:44:59

      I love to write. I love it that words just flow out of me and I love the act and feel of writing but I get the feeling that if I ever tried to harness it for my own use, it would dry up like our dams over summer. Words are my friends and I would like to stay acquainted with them for the immediate future so the most literary accomplishment I am going to attempt is blogging every Wednesday :). You wrote a novel? It would be most interesting to read :). I didn’t like Eat, Pray, Love but I know that it did affect a lot of people and gave a lot of people the courage to start doing things that they otherwise wouldn’t have. I didn’t like the authors selfish attitude, it just didn’t gel with me but that is “me” and how I perceived the book and as they say, everyone has a different perspective that they bring to reading and writing and what is one man or woman’s AMAZING life changing moment might just be someone else’s “meh”. That’s how I was with Eat Pray Love but I do understand that many people wouldn’t agree with me :). Let us know when you get your book published. I would love to read it 🙂 Just friended you on Facebook…hopefully you don’t regret it 😉


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